Zuckerberg almost always tells users that change is hard, often referring back to the early days of Facebook when it had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are good, and often he says he appreciates all the feedback.
I defend the ReceivedView on scientific theories as developed by Carnap, Hempel, and Feigl against a number of criticisms based on misconceptions. First, I dispute the claim that the ReceivedView demands axiomatizations in first order logic, and the further claim that these axiomatizations must include axioms for the mathematics used in the scientific theories. Next, I contend that models are important according to the ReceivedView. Finally, I argue against the claim that (...) the ReceivedView is intended to make the concept of a theory more precise. Rather, it is meant as a generalizable framework for explicating specific theories. (shrink)
Achinstein, Putnam, and others have urged the rejection of the receivedview on theories (which construes theories as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms are given partial observational interpretations by correspondence rules) because (i) the notion of partial interpretation cannot be given precise formulation, and (ii) the observational-theoretical distinction cannot be drawn satisfactorily. I try to show that these are the wrong reasons for rejecting the receivedview since (i) is false and it is virtually impossible to (...) demonstrate the truth of (ii). Nonetheless, the receivedview should be rejected because it obscures a number of epistemologically important features of scientific theorizing. I show this by sketching an alternative analysis which reveals some of these features and gives a more faithful picture of scientific theorizing. (shrink)
In the paper, I present Christopher Gauker's critique of the view that we talk to each other as a way to make ourselves understood (the receivedview of linguistic communication) and his alternative theory. I show that both his critique and his alternative fail, and defend the receivedview of linguistic communication.
The ‘receivedview’ about computation is that all computations must involve representational content. Egan and Piccinini argue against the receivedview. In this paper, I focus on Egan’s arguments, claiming that they fall short of establishing that computations do not involve representational content. I provide positive arguments explaining why computation has to involve representational content, and how the representational content may be of any type (e.g. distal, broad, etc.). I also argue (contra Egan and Fodor) that (...) there is no need for computational psychology to be individualistic. Finally, I draw out a number of consequences for computational individuation, proposing necessary conditions on computational identity and necessary and sufficient conditions on computational I/O equivalence of physical.. (shrink)
Much if not most recent literature in philosophy of biology concerns the extent to which biological theories conform to what is known as the "received" philosophical view of scientific theories, a descendant of the logical-empiricist view of theories. But the receivedview currently faces a competitor--a very different view of theories known as the "semantic" view. It is argued here that the semantic view is more sensitive to the nature and limitations of (...) evolutionary theory than is the receivedview. In particular, the semantic view better accomodates the fact that evolutionary theory is bound to change as a result of the evolutionary process itself. This unusual feature of evolutionary theory provides a good reason for reconsidering the receivedview and paying close attention to the semantic view. (shrink)
This volume is a historical anthology of interesting views on science from antiquity to the twentieth century plus a defensive anthology of logical positivism, whose legacy deserves better: clear-eyed assessment and then putting to rest.
The author discusses a number of topics related to the concept of legal order and the structure of legal orders. In particular, the following theses are challenged: (1) legal orders are sets of rules; (2) the criterion of membership to such sets is validity; (3) legal orders are dynamic sets; (4) legal orders are provided with a hierarchical configuration; (5) legal orders are coherent and consistent sets.
Marian Przełęcki’s semantics for the ReceivedView is a good explication of Carnap’s position on the subject, anticipates many discussions and results from both proponents and opponents of the ReceivedView, and can be the basis for a thriving research program.
The article discusses Friedman's classic claim that economics can be based on irrealistic assumptions. It exploits Samuelson's distinction between two "F-twists" (that is, "it is an advantage for an economic theory to use irrealistic assumptions" vs "the more irrealistic the assumptions, the better the economic theory"), as well as Nagel's distinction between three philosophy-of-science construals of the basic claim. On examination, only one of Nagel's construals seems promising enough. It involves the neo-positivistic distinction between theoretical and non-theoretical ("observable") terms; so (...) Friedman would in some sense argue for the major role of theoretical terms in economics. The paper uses a model-theoretic apparatus to refine the selected construal and check whether it can be made to support the claim. This inquiry leads to essentially negative results for both F-twists, and the final conclusion is that they are left unsupported. (shrink)
According to the semantic view of scientific theories, theories are classes of models. I show that this view -- if taken seriously as a formal explication -- leads to absurdities. In particular, this view equates theories that are truly distinct, and it distinguishes theories that are truly equivalent. Furthermore, the semantic view lacks the resources to explicate interesting theoretical relations, such as embeddability of one theory into another. The untenability of the semantic view -- as (...) currently formulated -- threatens to undermine scientific structuralism. (shrink)
I argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) unintended models do not pose a significant problem for syntactic approaches to scientific theories, (ii) in syntactic approaches, scientific theories can be as well connected to the world as in semantic ones, and (iii) some syntactic approaches are at least as language independent as semantic ones. Based on these results, I argue that syntactic and semantic approaches fare equally well when it comes to (iv) capturing the theory-observation relation, (v) ease of application, (...) and (vi) accommodating the use of models in the sciences. (shrink)
This dissertation consists of three parts. Part I is a defense of an artificial language methodology in philosophy and a historical and systematic defense of the logical empiricists' application of an artificial language methodology to scientific theories. These defenses provide a justification for the presumptions of a host of criteria of empirical significance, which I analyze, compare, and develop in part II. On the basis of this analysis, in part III I use a variety of criteria to evaluate the scientific (...) status of intelligent design, and further discuss confirmation, reduction, and concept formation. (shrink)
Based on a formalization of constructive empiricism’s core concept of empirical adequacy, I show that some previous discussions rest on misunderstandings of empirical adequacy. Using one of the inspirations for constructive empiricism, I generalize the concept of a theory to avoid implausible presumptions about the relations of theoretical concepts and observations, and generalize empirical adequacy to allow for lack of knowledge, approximations, and successive gain of knowledge and precision. As a test case, I provide an application of the concepts to (...) a simple interference phenomenon. (shrink)
There are two major approaches to the individuation of scientific theories, that have been called syntactic and semantic. We prefer to call them the linguistic and non-linguistic conceptions. On the linguistic view, also known as the receivedview, theories are identified with (pieces of) languages. On the non-linguistic view, theories are identified with extra-linguistic structures, known as models. We would like to distinguish between strong and weak formulations of each approach. On the strong version of the (...) linguistic approach, theories are identified with certain formal-syntactic calculi, whereas on a weaker reading, theories are merely analyzed as collections of claims or propositions. Correspondingly, the strong semantic approach identifies.. (shrink)
We present a brief history of decoherence, from its roots in the foundations of classical statistical mechanics, to the current spin bath models in condensed matter physics. We analyze the philosophical import of the subject matter in three different foundational problems, and find that, contrary to the receivedview, decoherence is less instrumental to their solutions than it is commonly believed. What makes decoherence more philosophically interesting, we argue, are the methodological issues it draws attention to, and the (...) question of the universality of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The running debate between Peter Achinstein and his critics concerning the nature of scientific evidence is misguided as each side attempts to explicate a distinct notion of evidence. Achinstein's approach, however, is valuable in helping to point out a problem with Carnap's statistical relevance model. By claiming an increase in probability to be necessary for evidence, the receivedview is incapable of accounting for evidence which is statistically irrelevant but explanatorily relevant. A broader view of evidence which (...) can account for pragmatic concerns such as explanation is thereby required. (shrink)
The semantic view of scientific theories has been defended as more adequate than the "received" view, especially with respect to biological theories. However, the semantic view has not been evaluated on its own terms. In this paper it is first shown how the theory of sociobiology propounded by E.O. Wilson can be understood on the semantic approach. The criticism that Wilson's theory is beset by the problem of unreliable generalizations is discussed. It is suggested that this (...) problem results from the use of the model-building strategy in theory construction. The author concludes that the problem is pressing enough to impugn the semantic view as an adequate account of sociobiological theory. (shrink)
There is an enduring story about empiricism, which runs as follows: from Locke onwards to Carnap, empiricism is the doctrine in which raw sense-data are received through the passive mechanism of perception; experience is the effect produced by external reality on the mind or ‘receptors’. Empiricism on this view is the ‘handmaiden’ of experimental natural science, seeking to redefine philosophy and its methods in conformity with the results of modern science. Secondly, there is a story about materialism, popularized (...) initially by Marx and Engels and later restated as standard, ‘textbook’ history of philosophy in the English-speaking world. It portrays materialism as explicitly mechanistic, seeking to reduce the world of qualities, sensations, and purposive behaviour to a quantitative, usually deterministic physical scheme. Building on some recent scholarship, I aim to articulate the contrarian view according to which neither of these stories is true. On the contrary, empiricism turns out to be less ‘science-friendly’ and more concerned with moral matters; materialism reveals itself to be, in at least a large number of cases, a ‘vital’, anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. This revision of two key philosophical episodes should reveal that our history of early modern philosophy is dependent to a great extent on ‘special interests’, whether positivistic or Kantian, and by extension lead us to rethink the relation and distinction between ‘science’ and ‘philosophy’ in this period. (shrink)
Can a moral defect be an artistic virtue? Can it make a positive contribution to artistic value? Further, if this can happen on occasion, does this imply that moral value has no systematic connection to artistic value since every conceivable relation between them is possible? The idea that moral defects can sometimes be artistic virtues has received a fair number of defenders recently and so has the anti-theoretical view that there is no systematic relation between artistic and moral (...) value. But I think immoralism—as the first of these views is called—is mistaken and I will try to show that no good reason has been offered to believe it. If immoralism is wrong, the anti-theoretical view at best devolves into moderate moralism—the idea that moral defects sometimes, but not always, are responsible for artistic defects. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The debate in relation to the soul suffers nowadays from a great lack of clarity. At least part of this cloudiness stems from a confusion among three different viewpoints that are not always reconcilable or mutually intelligible: the scientific point of view (natural sciences and empirical psychology), the therapeutic point of view (especially psychoanalysis) and the philosophical point of view. The goal of this paper is to blow away a little this cloudiness, and to introduce into the (...) discussion a view that has not yet received its proper place in it: existentialism. The scientific approach investigates the soul as if it were an object in the world, a fact. This approach gives priority to objective observations over subjective ones, and steps in the direction of materialization of the soul (the soul becomes the mind and the mind becomes the brain). Transcendental philosophy and psychological therapies explain the relation between the subject and its objects, and by this reveal the subjective dimension of our reality as the ground not only for our objective knowledge but for our ethical life as well. Existentialism, I suggest, makes a further and important step in this direction by focusing on individualistic aspects of human existence, which science could not know and general theories of the subject do not see. (shrink)
In the traditional African view, words and sentences are not viewed as being liable to objective reflective truth/falsehood-judgments. It is not a person-word-reality-view, but a person-word-person-view: the sender's words are units of orally produced energy that have the power to improve or degenerate the receiver's vitality. Words received can make you more powerful by increasing your confidence and your control over your environment. But they can equally well harm (parts of) you, by discouraging you in certain (...) endeavors. From the traditional African point of view, words are not logical, but physical phenomena: words are forces affecting power. (shrink)
Few if any of Kant’s critics were more trenchant than Hegel. Here I reconstruct some objections Hegel makes to Kant in a text that has received insufficient attention, the chapter titled ‘the Moral World View’ in the Phenomenology of Spirit. I show that Kant holds virtually all the tenets Hegel ascribes to ‘the moral world view’. I concentrate on five of Hegel’s main objections to Kant’s practical metaphysics. First, Kant’s problem of coordinating happiness with virtue (as worthiness (...) to be happy) is contrived. Kant denies that there is any inherent connection between acting rightly and being happy, but his denial depends on his defining happiness in terms of satisfying inclinations, rather than in terms of achieving ends in general. Second, Kant’s view of moral motivation is contrived; he ultimately admits that we cannot resolve to act without taking inclinations into account. (We cannot resolve to act apart from the matter of our maxim.) Third, Kant’s idea about perfecting our virtue in an infinite progress is incoherent. Kant defines virtue, and evidence of virtue, in terms of overcoming inclinations. Inclinations die with the body. Therefore there can be neither virtue nor evidence of virtue after death. Fourth, Kant’s view of the autonomy of moral agency is inconsistent with viewing the moral law as a divine command. Fifth, Kant’s moral principles cannot be put into practice in concrete circumstances because he supplies inadequate guidance for classifying acts. I conclude that Hegel’s objections to Kant’s practical metaphysics are sound, and I show that the problems Hegel raised against Kant’s account of autonomy and moral motivation are still current, since they have not been resolved, e.g., by Onora O’Neill’s Constructions of Reason. (shrink)
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.
Some philosophers believe that when epistemic peers disagree, each has an obligation to accord the other's assessment the same weight as her own. I first make the antecedent of this Equal-Weight View more precise, and then I motivate the View by describing cases in which it gives the intuitively correct verdict. Next I introduce some apparent counterexamples – cases of apparent peer disagreement in which, intuitively, one should not give equal weight to the other party's assessment. To defuse (...) these apparent counterexamples, an advocate of the View might try to explain how they are not genuine cases of peer disagreement. I examine David Christensen's and Adam Elga's explanations and find them wanting. I then offer a novel explanation, which turns on a distinction between knowledge from reports and knowledge from direct acquaintance. Finally, I extend my explanation to provide a handy and satisfying response to the charge of self-defeat. (shrink)
Among theories of personal identity over time the simple view has not been popular among philosophers, but it nevertheless remains the default view among non philosophers. It may be construed either as the view that nothing grounds a claim of personal identity over time, or that something quite simple (a soul perhaps) is the ground. If the former construal is accepted, a conspicuous difficulty is that the condition of causal dependence between person-stages is absent. But this leaves (...) such a view open to an objection from the failure to provide a condition of individuation. If, on the other hand something like a soul is said to ground personal identity over time, such an account turns out to be more suited to a kind of continuity view. (shrink)
The Subset View of realization, though it has some attractive advantages, also has several problems. In particular, there are five main problems that have emerged in the literature: Double-Counting, The Part/Whole Problem, The “No Addition of Being” Problem, The Problem of Projectibility, and the Problem of Spurious Kinds. Each is reviewed here, along with solutions (or partial solutions) to them. Taking these problems seriously constrains the form that a Subset view can take, and thus limits the kinds of (...) relations that can fulfill the realization relation on this view. (shrink)
Multiply realizable properties are those whose realizers are physically diverse. It is often argued that theories which contain them are ipso facto irreducible. These arguments assume that physical explanations are restricted to the most specific descriptions possible of physical entities. This assumption is descriptively false, and philosophically unmotivated. I argue that it is a holdover from the late positivist axiomatic view of theories. A semantic view of theories, by contrast, correctly allows scientific explanations to be couched in the (...) most perspicuous, powerful language available. On a semantic view, traditional notions of multiple realizability are thus very hard to motivate. At best, one must abandon either the idea that multiple realizability is an interesting scientific notion, or else admit that multiply realizable properties do not automatically block scientific reductions. (shrink)
According to the Simple View of intentional action, I have intentionally switched on the light only if I intended to switch on the light. The idea that intending to is necessary for intentionally -ing has been challenged by Bratman (1984, 1987) with a counter-example in which a videogame player is trying to hit either of two targets while knowing that she cannot hit both targets. When a target is hit, the game finishes. And if both targets are about to (...) be hit simultaneously, the game shuts down. The player knows that she cannot hit both targets, but still she concludes that, given her skills, the best strategy is to have a go at each target at the same time. Suppose she hits target 1. It seems obvious that she has hit target 1 intentionally. But, Bratman argues, she could not have intended to hit target 1. Since the scenario is perfectly symmetrical, had the player intended to hit target 1, she would have also had to intend to hit target 2. But the player knows that she cannot hit both targets. (shrink)
True contradictions are taken increasingly seriously by philosophers and logicians. Yet, the belief that contradictions are always false remains deeply intuitive. This paper confronts this belief head-on by explaining in detail how one specific contradiction is true. The contradiction in question derives from Priest's reworking of Berkeley's argument for idealism. However, technical aspects of the explanation offered here differ considerably from Priest's derivation. The explanation uses novel formal and epistemological tools to guide the reader through a valid argument with, not (...) just true, but eminently acceptable premises, to an admittedly unusual conclusion: a true contradiction. The novel formal and epistemological tools concern points of view and changes in points of view. The result is an understanding of why the contradiction is true. (shrink)
The main characters of a philosophy meant as an activity which is not essentially different from science but deals with questions which go beyond the limits of present sciences are the following: 1) Philosophy is an investigation of the world. It is aimed at dealing with major issues and is justified only insofar as it deals with them. 2) Philosophy provides a global view, it is not limited to sectorial questions. So there cannot be a philosophy of mathematics alone, (...) or physics alone, or biology alone, and so on. 3)Being an investigation about the world, philosophy aims at knowledge. Therefore questions about knowledge are central in philosophy. 4)Philosophy is continuous with sciences. Its objectives are not essentially different from those of sciences. 5)Philosophy makes use of results of sciences. This is not accessory to it, it is essential for its progress. 6)The method of philosophy is essentially the same as that of sciences. 7) Philosophy seeks new knowledge. Seeking new knowledge is part of its deepest nature. 8) Philosophy seeks new discovery methods. Seeking new knowledge, it also seeks new methods to obtain it. 9) Philosophy tries unexplored routes and, by so doing, it may even give origin to new sciences. Its greatest value consists in this. 10) Philosophy makes use of the experience of philosophers of the past. For this may help us to understand where certain ideas lead, avoiding us to try routes which have already revealed fruitless. 11) A conclusive solution of philosophical problems is impossible. Their solutions are always provisional and are bound to be replaced sooner or later by others. Progress exists everywhere, even in philosophy. 12) Philosophy has no specific field of its own, nor specific techniques of its own. But because it moves on an unexplored ground, it is at the same time always exposed to the risk of failure but also capable of surprising developments, originating new sciences. -/- . (shrink)
According to the theory of intrinsic value and moral standing called the ‘substance view,’ what makes it prima facie seriously wrong to kill adult human beings, human infants, and even human fetuses is the possession of the essential property of the basic capacity for rational moral agency – a capacity for rational moral agency in root form and thereby not remotely exercisable. In this critique, I cover three distinct reductio charges directed at the substance view's conclusion that human (...) fetuses have the same intrinsic value and moral standing as adult human beings. After giving consideration to defenders of the substance view's replies to these charges, I then critique each of them, ultimately concluding that none is successful. Of course, in order to understand all of these things – the reductio charges, defenders of the substance view's replies to them, and my criticisms of their replies – one must have a better understanding of the substance view (in particular, its understanding of rational moral agency) as well as its defense. Accordingly, I address the substance view's understanding of rational moral agency as well as present its defense. (shrink)
In this paper, a modest version of the Semantic View is motivated as both tenable and potentially fruitful for philosophy of science. An analysis is proposed in which the Semantic View is characterized by three main claims. For each of these claims, a distinction is made between stronger and more modest interpretations. It is argued that the criticisms recently leveled against the Semantic View hold only under the stronger interpretations of these claims. However, if one only commits (...) to the modest interpretation for all the claims, then the view obtained, the Modest Semantic View, is tenable and fruitful for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Halvorson (2012) argues that the semantic view of theories leads to absurdities. Glymour (2013) shows how to inoculate the semantic view against Halvorson's criticisms, namely by making it into a syntactic view of theories. I argue that this modified semantic-syntactic view cannot do the philosophical work that the original "language-free" semantic view was supposed to do.
In their paper ‘Why It Matters That Some Are Worse Off Than Others: An Argument against the Priority View’, Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve argue that prioritarianism is mistaken. I argue that their case against prioritarianism has much weaker foundations than it might at first seem. Their key argument is based on the claim that prioritarianism ignores the fact of the ‘separateness of persons’. However, prioritarianism, far from ignoring that fact, is a plausible response to it. It may be (...) that prioritarianism disregards the fact of the ‘unity of the individual’. But even if this is true, that doesn’t straightforwardly tell against prioritarianism as a view about distributive justice. In the end, Otsuka and Voorhoeve’s argument relies on a non-decisive intuition that they appeal to early in their paper. Their conclusion, as a result, is not compelling. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide a defence of the New View, on which ignorance is lack of true belief rather than lack of knowledge. Pierre Le Morvan has argued that the New View is untenable, partly because it fails to take into account the distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. I argue that propositional ignorance is just a subspecies of factive ignorance and that all the work that needs to be done can be done by using the concept (...) of factive ignorance. I also defend two arguments of mine in favour of the New View against Le Morvan’s criticisms. As to the Linguistic Argument, I point out that the intuitions of the adherent of the New View about cases of true belief that fall short of knowledge are really intuitions about factive rather than propositional ignorance. As to the Excuse Argument, I argue that true belief is exculpatorily relevant: a true belief in a proposition p , where disbelief that p or suspension on p would provide at least a partial excuse, is relevant in that it renders one blameworthy for one’s action, unless further excuses hold. Finally, I reply to two closely related objections that might be levelled against the New View, namely that it seems false that one can reduce one’s ignorance by arbitrarily believing as many propositions as possible and that it seems false that an intellectually conscientious and critical person is more ignorant than an intellectually sloppy and credulous person just because the latter has more true beliefs. (shrink)
Accounts of personal identity over time are supposed to fall into two broad categories: 'complex views' saying that our persistence consists in something else, and 'simple views' saying that it doesn' t. But it is impossible to characterize this distinction in any satisfactory way. The debate has been systematically misdescribed. After arguing for this claim, the paper says something about how the debate might be better characterized.
It is argued that recent discussion of the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII) and quantum mechanics has lost sight of the broader philosophical motivation and significance of PII and that the `receivedview' of the status of PII in the light of quantum mechanics survives recent criticisms of it by Muller, Saunders, and Seevinck.
According to Allen Wood’s “procedural principle” we should believe only that which can be justified by evidence, and nothing more. He argues that holding beliefs which are not justified by evidence diminishes our self-respect and corrupts us, both individually and collectively. Wood’s normative and descriptive views as regards belief are of a piece with the receivedview which holds that beliefs aim at the truth. This view I refer to as the Truth-Tracking View (TTV). I first (...) present a modest version of TTV, one which is sensitive to standard criticisms and one which is fully consistent with the procedural principle. I then raise some doubts about TTV by considering both anecdotal cases and empirical studies. These studies suggest that certain types of belief are designed to aim away from truth, in limited, carefully calibrated ways. Moreover, it seems to be the case that selectively aiming away from the truth is important for human well-being and performance. Beliefs that are designed to aim away I dub “Tertullian” beliefs (t-beliefs). I then limn the distinguishing characteristics of t-belief and proceed to evaluate the procedural principle in light of the evidence which suggests that t-belief plays an important role in our cognitive economy. Next I argue that t-beliefs might be essential to the maintenance of self-respect and that they do not corrupt in the way that Wood claims. Finally, I argue that the fate of Wood’s procedural principle will be determined by the results of further empirical research— sociological, psychological, and neuroscientific. (shrink)
How should one understand knowledge-wh ascriptions? That is, how should one understand claims such as ‘‘I know where the car is parked,’’ which feature an interrogative complement? The receivedview is that knowledge-wh reduces to knowledge that p, where p happens to be the answer to the question Q denoted by the wh-clause. I will argue that knowledge-wh includes the question—to know-wh is to know that p, as the answer to Q. I will then argue that knowledge-that includes (...) a contextually implicit question. I will conclude that knowledge is a question-relative state. Knowing is knowing the answer, and whether one knows the answer depends (in part) on the question. (shrink)
On the receivedview, counterfactuals are analysed using the concept of closeness between possible worlds: the counterfactual 'If it had been the case that p, then it would have been the case that q' is true at a world w just in case q is true at all the possible p-worlds closest to w. The degree of closeness between two worlds is usually thought to be determined by weighting different respects of similarity between them. The question I consider (...) in the paper is which weights attach to different respects of similarity. I start by considering Lewis's answer to the question and argue against it by presenting several counterexamples. I use the same examples to motivate a general principle about closeness: if a fact obtains in both of two worlds, then this similarity is relevant to the closeness between them if and only if the fact has the same explanation in the two worlds. I use this principle and some ideas of Lewis's to formulate a general account of counterfactuals, and I argue that this account can explain the asymmetry of counterfactual dependence. The paper concludes with a discussion of some examples that cannot be accommodated by the present version of the account and therefore necessitate further work on the details. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to raise some questions about the idea, which was first made prominent by Gilbert Ryle, and has remained associated with him ever since, that there are at least two types of knowledge (or to put it in a slightly different way, two types of states ascribed by knowledge ascriptions) identified, on the one hand, as the knowledge (or state) which is expressed in the ‘knowing that’ construction (sometimes called, for fairly obvious reasons, ‘propositional’ or (...) ‘factual’ knowledge) and, on the other, as the knowledge (or state) which is ascribed in the ‘knowing how’ construction (sometimes called ‘practical’ knowledge). This idea, which might be said to be Ryle's most lasting philosophical legacy, has, in some vague form, remained part of conventional wisdom in philosophy since he put it forward. My purpose here is fairly accurately described as ‘raising questions’, since both the criticisms of the receivedview (as I interpret it), and the positive alternative suggestions to be advanced, are, to some extent, tentative and exploratory. The aim is to assemble a broad range of evidence for the conclusion that we need to replace the standard account, to query especially what Ryle suggested as evidence for it, and to explore what seems to me to be the indicated replacement for it. (shrink)
In the past thirty years or so, the doctrine that actions are events has become an essential, and sometimes unargued, part of the receivedview in the philosophy of action, despite the efforts of a few philosophers to undermine the consensus. For example, the entry for Agency in a recently published reference guide to the philosophy of mind begins with the following sentence: A central task in the philosophy of action is that of spelling out the differences between (...) events in general and those events that fall squarely into the category of human action. There is no consensus about what events are. But it is generally agreed that, whatever events may prove to be, actions are a species or a class of events. We believe that the receivedview is mistaken: actions are not events. We concede that for most purposes, the kind of categorial refinement which is involved in either affirming or denying that actions are events is frankly otiose. Our common idiom does not stress the difference between actions and events, at least not in general terms, because it has no need to. Perhaps it sounds a little odd to say that some events are performed; but if we balked at describing, say, the abdication of Edward VIII as one of the politically significant events in Britain in 1936, it could not be for metaphysical reasons. And since actions, like events, are datable — though often, as we shall see, only imprecisely — actions are said to take place and to occur. But an important class of actions consist in moving something; indeed, according to many philosophers, every action consists in moving something. And when we consider actions of this sort from a theoretical point of view it becomes imperative to distinguish between actions and events. Or so we shall argue. (shrink)
_The opening paragraphs of Nagel's book_ _The View from Nowhere_ _(the first five_ _paragraphs below) indicate the general distinction he proposes between an_ _individual's subjective view of things or subjective standpoint as against an objective_ _or external view of things that is nobody's in particular._.
Though pictures are often used to present mathematical arguments, they are not typically thought to be an acceptable means for presenting mathematical arguments rigorously . With respect to the proofs in the Elements in particular, the receivedview is that Euclid’s reliance on geometric diagrams undermines his efforts to develop a gap-free deductive theory. The central difficulty concerns the generality of the theory. How can inferences made from a particular diagrams license general mathematical results? After surveying the history (...) behind the receivedview, this essay provides a contrary analysis by introducing a formal account of Euclid’s proofs, termed Eu . Eu solves the puzzle of generality surrounding Euclid’s arguments. It specifies what diagrams Euclid’s diagrams are, in a precise formal sense, and defines generality-preserving proof rules in terms of them. After the central principles behind the formalization are laid out, its implications with respect to the question of what does and does not constitute a genuine picture proof are explored. (shrink)
Cappelen and Hawthorne tell us that the most basic, explanatory notion of truth is a monadic property of propositions. Other notions of truth, including those applying to sentences, are to be explained in terms of it. Among them are those found in Kripkean, Montagovian, and Kaplanean semantic theories, and their descendants – to wit truth at a context, at a circumstance, and at a context-plus-circumstance. If these are to make sense, the authors correctly maintain, they must be explained in terms (...) of the monadic notion of truth. (1-2) I thought that this was the receivedview, but the authors indicate otherwise. They describe possible-worlds semantics as making it “very natural to think of the foundational mode of evaluation for propositions as truth relative to worlds.”(7) I disagree. The natural way to understand possible worlds-semantics is to take world-states to be certain kinds of properties, and to take the truth of p at w to be the fact that p would be true (i.e. would instantiate monadic truth) were the universe to instantiate w. The authors add that it is somewhat natural to take “the actual truth of a proposition as [being] a matter of the proposition getting the value ‘true’ relative to a distinguished world -- the actual world.” (7) If this means that being actually true is being true at the actual world-state @, this isn’t just natural, it is unassailable -- as long as one doesn’t erroneously identify being true with being actually true. Since Cappelen and Hawthorne don’t do this, I take us to be on more or less the same page. Others, apparently, aren’t. We are told that “a number of the participants in the relevant disputes [about relativism] seem to take it for granted that philosophical semantics has somehow shown that the semantic value of sentences cannot be evaluated for truth or falsity simpliciter, since truth and falsity hold of a proposition relative to a world.” (77-8) We are also told: 1 Contemporary Analytic relativists reason as follows: ‘Lewis and Kaplan have shown that we need to relativize truth to triples of .. (shrink)
The receivedview in the philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently, some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Grifﬁths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism, biological taxa do have essences. This article critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. This article’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the beneﬁts are (...) none, so there is no compelling reason to resurrect essentialism concerning biological taxa. (shrink)
According to the extended cognition hypothesis (henceforth ExC), there are conditions under which thinking and thoughts (or more precisely, the material vehicles that realize thinking and thoughts) are spatially distributed over brain, body and world, in such a way that the external (beyond-the-skin) factors concerned are rightly accorded fully-paid-up cognitive status.1 According to functionalism in the philosophy of mind, “what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way (...) it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part” (Levin 2008). The respective fates of these two positions may not be independent of each other. The claim that ExC is in some way a form of, dependent on, entailed by, or at least commonly played out in terms of, functionalism is now pretty much part of the receivedview of things (see, e.g., Adams and Aizawa 2008; Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2005, 2008, this volume a, b, forthcoming; Menary 2007; Rupert 2004; Sprevak manuscript; Wheeler forthcoming). Thus ExC might be mandated by the existence of functionally specified cognitive systems whose boundaries are located partly outside the skin. This is the position that Andy Clark has recently dubbed extended functionalism (Clark 2008, forthcoming; see also Wheeler forthcoming). (shrink)
The receivedview in philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Griffiths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism biological taxa do have essences. This paper critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. The paper’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none. (...) So there is no compelling reason to resurrect essentialism concerning biological taxa. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that the debate in epistemology concerning the nature and value of understanding can shed light on the role of scientific idealizations in producing scientific understanding. In philosophy of science, the receivedview seems to be that understanding is a species of knowledge. On this view, understanding is factive just as knowledge is, i.e., if S knows that p, then p is true. Epistemologists, however, distinguish between different kinds of understanding. Among epistemologists, there (...) are those who think that a certain kind of understanding—objectual understanding—is not factive, and those who think that objectual understanding is quasi-factive. Those who think that understanding is not factive argue that scientific idealizations constitute cognitive success, which we then consider as instances of understanding, and yet they are not true. This paper is an attempt to draw lessons from this debate as they pertain to the role of idealizations in producing scientific understanding. I argue that scientific understanding is quasi-factive. (shrink)
Representation is central to contemporary theorizing about the mind/brain. But the nature of representation--both in the mind/brain and more generally--is a source of ongoing controversy. One way of categorizing representational types is to distinguish between the analog and the digital: the receivedview is that analog representations vary smoothly, while digital representations vary in a step-wise manner. I argue that this characterization is inadequate to account for the ways in which representation is used in cognitive science; in its (...) place, I suggest an alternative taxonomy. I will defend and extend David Lewis's account of analog and digital representation, distinguishing analog from continuous representation, as well as digital from discrete representation. I will argue that the distinctions available in this four-fold account accord with representational features of theoretical interest in cognitive science more usefully than the received analog/digital dichotomy. (shrink)
The receivedview of multiple personality disorder (MPD) presupposes a form of realism, according to which the 'secondary personality' is an independent conscious entity joined to the psyche of the host. The receivedview of MPD is endorsed by the majority of psychologists, as are the major diagnostic criteria for MPD. Realism of this type, gives rise to a certain problem concerning the personal identity of the secondary personality, namely, who this individual is. It is argued (...) that three broad answers to the Question of Who in the context of MPD have been proposed in the history of psychology and psychiatry: psychological realism (Janet and the Dissociationist School); psychological anti-realism (Freud and the Psychoanalytic School), and neural realism (Wigan, Sperry and Gazzaniga). These views are examined. In addition, the relationship of the Question of Who to the traditional problem of personal identity is examined. It is argued that philosophers such as Locke, Reid and Parfit have either overlooked or presupposed the Question of Who. (shrink)
Emotional cognitivists, such as the Stoics and Aristotle, hold that emotions have cognitive content, whereas noncognitivists, like Plato and Kant, believe the emotions to be nonrational bodily movements. I ask, taking Martha Nussbaum's account of cognitivism, what if Kant had become convinced of a cognitive theory of the emotions, what changes would this require in his moral philosophy. Surprisingly, since this represents a radical shift in his psychology, it changes almost nothing. I show that Kant's account of continence, virtue, the (...) evaluation of inclinations, and his argument for morality taking the form of categorical imperatives, are immune to such a change, despite the prima facie deep connection (on the receivedview) between these and his moral psychology. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize the most significant recent examples of the practical knowledge analysis of knowledge-how in the philosophical literature: David Carr [1979, Mind, 88, 394–409; 1981a, American Philosophical Quarterly, 18, 53–61; 1981b, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 15(1), 87–96] and Stanley & Williamson [2001, Journal of Philosophy, 98(8), 411–444]. I stress the importance of know-how in our contemporary understanding of the mind, and offer the beginnings of a treatment of know-how capable of providing insight in to the use (...) of know-how in contemporary cognitive science. Specifically, I claim that Carr’s necessary conditions for know-how fail to capture the distinction he himself draws between ability and knowing-how. Moreover, Carr ties knowing-how to conscious intent, and to an explicit knowledge of procedural rules. I argue that both moves are mistakes, which together render Carr’s theory an inadequate account both of common ascriptions of knowledge-how and of widely accepted ascriptions of knowledge-how within explanations in cognitive science. Finally, I note that Carr’s conditions fail to capture intuitions (heshares) regarding the ascription of know-how to persons lacking ability. I then consider the position advocated by Stanley & Williamson (2001), which seems avoid Carr’s commitments to conscious intent and explicit knowledge while still maintaining that “knowledge-how is simply a species of knowledge-that" (Stanley & Williamson, 2001, p. 411). I argue that Stanley and Williamson’s attempt to frame a reductionist view that avoids consciously occurrent beliefs during exercises of knowledge-how and explicit knowledge of procedural rules is both empirically implausible and explanatorily vacuous. In criticizing these theories I challenge the presuppositions of the most pervasive response to Ryle in the philosophic literature, what might be described as “the receivedview." I also establish several facts about knowing-how. First, neither conscious intent nor explicit representation (much less conscious representation) of procedural rules are necessary for knowing-how given the theory of cognition current in cognitive science. I argue that the discussed analyses fail to capture the necessary conditions for knowledge-how because know-how requires the instantiation of an ability and of the capacities necessary for exploiting an ability—not conscious awareness of purpose or explicit knowledge of rules. Second, one must understand knowledge-how as task-specific, i.e., as presupposing certain underlying conditions. Conceiving of know-how as task-specific allows one to understand ascriptions of know-how in the absence of ability as counterfactual ascriptions based upon underlying competence. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson’s project in Knowledge and Its Limits (Williamson, 2000)1 includes proposals for substantial revisions in the received approach to epistemology. One receivedview is that knowledge is conceptualized in terms of a conjunction of factors that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for knowing. A central aim of epistemology is to state such necessary and sufficient conditions. Against this receivedview, Williamson argues that a necessary but insufficient condition need not be a conjunct of (...) a non-circular necessary and sufficient condition. Although being coloured is a necessary but insufficient condition for being red, we cannot state a necessary and sufficient condition for being red by conjoining being coloured with other properties specified without reference to red. Neither the equation ‘Red = coloured + X’ nor the equation ‘Knowledge = true belief + X’ need have a non-circular solution. (3) Williamson further argues that we have inductive reasons for thinking that no analysis of the concept knows of the standard kind is correct. The inductive reasons are simply the history of failed attempts at such “factorizing” or “decompositional” analyses. Williamson not only rejects the prospect of explaining knowledge in terms of belief, justification, and evidence, but he proposes to reverse the order of explanation. That order of explanation has been reversed in this book. The concept knows is fundamental, the primary implement of epistemological inquiry. (185) It is not altogether easy, however, to reconcile this radical program with other things Williamson says in the book. In particular, the book contains two rather unrelated accounts of knowing, and one of these accounts appeals to some of the same ingredients that traditional (or semi-traditional) analysts have used in the past. The first account, which appears in Chapter 1, says that knowing is the most general factive stative propositional attitude. The account is presented in terms of three conditions: (1) If Φ is an FMSO [factive mental state operator], from ‘S Φs that A’ one may infer ‘A’.. (shrink)
In moral dilemmas, where circumstances prevent two or more equally justified prima facie ethical requirements from being fulfilled, it is often maintained that, since the agent cannot do both, conjoint obligation is overridden by Kant's principle that ought implies can, but that the agent nevertheless has a disjunctive obligation to perform one of the otherwise obligatory actions or the other. Against this commonly receivedview, it is demonstrated that although Kant's ought-can principle may avoid logical inconsistency, the principle (...) is incompatible with disjunctive obligation in standard deontic logic, and that it entails paradoxically that none of the conflicting dilemma actions will in fact occur. The principle appears to provide the only plausible safeguard against deontic antinomy, but cannot be admitted because of its collision with considered moral judgments. (shrink)
The positivistic ReceivedView construed scientific theories syntactically as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms were given a partial semantic interpretation via correspondence rules connecting them to observation statements. This paper assesses what, with hindsight, seem the most important defects in the ReceivedView; surveys the main proposed successor analyses to the ReceivedView--various Semantic Conception versions and the Structuralist Analysis; evaluates how well they avoid those defects; examines what new problems they face and where (...) the most promising require further development or leave unanswered questions; explores implications of recent work on models for understanding theories; and rebuts the few criticisms of the Semantic Conception that have surfaced. (shrink)
A century after its publication, G.E. Moore''sPrincipia Ethica stands as one of theclassic statements of anti-naturalism inethics. Moore claimed that the most basic ethicalproperties were denoted by `good'' and `bad'' andthat all naturalist accounts of thoseproperties were inadequate. His open-questionargument aimed to refute any proposedidentification of good with some naturalproperty, and Moore concluded from theargument that good must be a nonnaturalproperty.The receivedview is that the open-questionargument is a failure. In this paper,my aim is to breathe some life (...) back intoMoore''s argument. My plan for doing so beginsby presenting the standard interpretation ofthe argument and then showing that there isan alternative to that interpretation. Thealternative is not developed at any length byMoore and stands in need of some elaboration. Isuggest a way of elaborating theargument and then show that the standardcriticisms of Moore fail to undermine thisalternative version of the open-questionargument. (shrink)
The receivedview of dynamical explanation is that dynamical cognitive science seeks to provide covering law explanations of cognitive phenomena. By analyzing three prominent examples of dynamicist research, I show that the receivedview is misleading: some dynamical explanations are mechanistic explanations, and in this way resemble computational and connectionist explanations. Interestingly, these dynamical explanations invoke the mathematical framework of dynamical systems theory to describe mechanisms far more complex and distributed than the ones typically considered by (...) philosophers. Therefore, contemporary dynamicist research reveals the need for a more sophisticated account of mechanistic explanation. (shrink)
Whilst it may seem strange to ask to whom "I" refers, we show that there are occasions when it is not always obvious. In demonstrating this we challenge Kaplan's assumption that the utterer, agent and referent of "I" are always the same person. We begin by presenting what we regard to be the receivedview about indexical reference popularized by David Kaplan in his influential 1972 "Demonstratives" before going on, in section 2, to discuss Sidelle's answering machine paradox (...) which may be thought to threaten this view, and his deferred utterance method of resolving this puzzle. In section 3 we introduce a novel version of the answering machine paradox which suggests that, in certain cases, Kaplan's identification of utterer, agent and referent of "I" breaks down. In the fourth section we go on to consider a recent revision of Kaplan's picture by Predelli which appeals to the intentions of the utterer, before arguing that this picture is committed to unacceptable consequences and, therefore, should be avoided if possible. Finally, in section 5, we present a new revision of Kaplan's account which retains much of the spirit of his original proposal whilst offering a intuitively acceptable way to explain all of the apparently problematic data. In doing so, we also show how this picture is able to explain the scenario which motivated Predelli's account without appealing to speaker intentions. (shrink)
Daniel Ellsberg presented in Ellsberg (The Quarterly Journal of Economics 75:643–669, 1961) various examples questioning the thesis that decision making under uncertainty can be reduced to decision making under risk. These examples constitute one of the main challenges to the receivedview on the foundations of decision theory offered by Leonard Savage in Savage (1972). Craig Fox and Amos Tversky have, nevertheless, offered an indirect defense of Savage. They provided in Fox and Tversky (1995) an explanation of Ellsberg’s (...) two-color problem in terms of a psychological effect: ambiguity aversion . The ‘comparative ignorance’ hypothesis articulates how this effect works and explains why it is important to an understanding of the typical pattern of responses associated with Ellsberg’s two-color problem. In the first part of this article we challenge Fox and Tversky’s explanation. We present first an experiment that extends Ellsberg’s two-color problem where certain predictions of the comparative ignorance hypothesis are not confirmed. In addition the hypothesis seems unable to explain how the subjects resolve trade-offs between security and expected pay-off when vagueness is present. Ellsberg offered an explanation of the typical behavior elicited by his examples in terms of these trade-offs and in section three we offer a model of Ellsberg’s trade-offs. The model takes seriously the role of imprecise probabilities in explaining Ellsberg’s phenomenon. The so-called three-color problem was also considered in Fox and Tversky (1995). We argue that Fox and Tversky’s analysis of this case breaks a symmetry with their analysis of the two-color problem. We propose a unified treatment of both problems and we present a experiment that confirms our hypothesis. (shrink)
Among contemporary epistemologists of testimony, David Hume is standardly regarded as a "global reductionist", where global reductionism requires the hearer to have sufficient first-hand knowledge of the facts in order to individually ascertain the reliability of the testimony in question. In the present paper, I argue that, by construing Hume's reductionism in too individualistic a fashion, the receivedview of Hume on testimony is inaccurate at best, and misleading at worst. Hume's overall position is more amenable to testimonial (...) acceptance than has traditionally been thought. In particular, Hume believes that indirect evidence of human nature and of the social world around us, can take the place of first-hand evidence of the track record of individual speakers or specific classes of testimony. In developing this interpretation of Hume's views on testimony, the present paper draws on discussions found in the Treatise, the Enquiry, and in Hume's writings on historical knowledge. (shrink)
Some twenty years ago, Bogen and Woodward challenged one of the fundamental assumptions of the receivedview, namely the theory-observation dichotomy and argued for the introduction of the further category of scientific phenomena. The latter, Bogen and Woodward stressed, are usually unobservable and inferred from what is indeed observable, namely scientific data. Crucially, Bogen and Woodward claimed that theories predict and explain phenomena, but not data. But then, of course, the thesis of theory-ladenness, which has it that our (...) observations are influenced by the theories we hold, cannot apply. On the basis of two case studies, I want to show that this consequence of Bogen and Woodward’s account is rather unrealistic. More importantly, I also object against Bogen and Woodward’s view that the reliability of data, which constitutes the precondition for data-to-phenomena inferences, can be secured without the theory one seeks to test. The case studies I revisit have figured heavily in the publications of Bogen and Woodward and others: the discovery of weak neutral currents and the discovery of the zebra pattern of magnetic anomalies. I show that, in the latter case, data can be ignored if they appear to be irrelevant from a particular theoretical perspective (TLI) and that, in the former case, the tested theory can be critical for the assessment of the reliability of the data (TLA). I argue that both TLI and TLA are much stronger senses of theory-ladenness than the classical thesis and that neither TLI nor TLA can be accommodated within Bogen and Woodward’s account. (shrink)
Among the main concerns of 20th century philosophy was that of the foundations of mathematics. But usually not recognized is the relevance of the choice of a foundational approach to the other main problems of 20th century philosophy, i.e., the logical structure of language, the nature of scientific theories, and the architecture of the mind. The tools used to deal with the difficulties inherent in such problems have largely relied on set theory and its “receivedview”. There are (...) specific issues, in philosophy of language, epistemology and philosophy of mind, where this dependence turns out to be misleading. The same issues suggest the gain in understanding coming from category theory, which is, therefore, more than just the source of a “non-standard” approach to the foundations of mathematics. But, even so conceived, it is the very notion of what a foundation has to be that is called into question. The philosophical meaning of mathematics is no longer confined to which first principles are assumed and which “ontological” interpretation is given to them in terms of some possibly updated version of logicism, formalism or intuitionism. What is central to any foundational project proper is the role of universal constructions that serve to unify the different branches of mathematics, as already made clear in 1969 by Lawvere. Such universal constructions are best expressed by means of adjoint functors and representability up to isomorphism. In this lies the relevance of a category-theoretic perspective, which leads to wide-ranging consequences. One such is the presence of functorial constraints on the syntax–semantics relationships; another is an intrinsic view of (constructive) logic, as arises in topoi and, subsequently, in more general fibrations. But as soon as theories and their models are described accordingly, a new look at the main problems of 20th century’s philosophy becomes possible. The lack of any satisfactory solution to these problems in a purely logical and set-theoretic setting is the result of too circumscribed an approach, such as a static and punctiform view of objects and their elements, and a misconception of geometry and its historical changes before, during, and after the foundational “crisis”, as if algebraic geometry and synthetic differential geometry – not to mention algebraic topology – were secondary sources for what concerns foundational issues. The objectivity of basic geometrical intuitions also acts against the recent version of structuralism proposed as ‘the’ philosophy of category theory. On the other hand, the need for a consistent and adequate conceptual framework in facing the difficulties met by pre-categorical theories of language and scientific knowledge not only provides the basic concepts of category theory with specific applications but also suggests further directions for their development (e.g., in approaching the foundations of physics or the mathematical models in the cognitive sciences). This ‘virtuous’ circle is by now largely admitted in theoretical computer science; the time is ripe to realise that the same holds for classical topics of philosophy. (shrink)
According to the receivedview in philosophy of mind, mental states or properties are _realized_ by brain states or properties but are not identical to them. This view is often called _realization_ _physicalism_. Carl Gillett has recently defended a detailed formulation of the realization relation. However, Gillett’s formulation cannot be the relation that realization physicalists have in mind. I argue that Gillett’s “dimensioned” view of realization fails to apply to a textbook case of realization. I also (...) argue Gillett counts as realization some cases that should not count if realization physicalism is to be distinguished from its competitors in the usual ways. I conclude that the relation described by Gillett cannot be realization. (shrink)
This book investigates the subjective and objective representations of the world, developing analogies between secondary qualities and indexical thoughts and arguing that subjective representations are ineliminable. Throughout, McGinn brings together historical and contemporary discussions to illuminate old problems in a novel way.
The present paper argues for the relevance of Immanuel Kant and the German Enlightenment to contemporary social epistemology. Rather than distancing themselves from the alleged ‘individualism’ of Enlightenment philosophers, social epistemologists would be well-advised to look at the substantive discussion of social-epistemological questions in the works of Kant and other Enlightenment figures. After a brief rebuttal of the receivedview of the Enlightenment as an intrinsically individualist enterprise, this paper charts the historical trajectory of philosophical discussions of testimony (...) as a source of knowledge, via such philosophers as C. Thomasius, C. A. Crusius, J. M. Chladenius, G. F. Meier, and finally Kant. Building on recent work on Kant's epistemology of testimony, the paper considers Kant's broader contributions to social epistemology. This includes an analysis of Kant's comments on the social basis of contingent epistemic standards, e.g. in the sciences, as well as on problems arising from the management of what Kant calls the growing ‘volume of knowledge’. Special attention is paid to the relation between Kant's views and contemporary problems arising both in the context of education and from our increased reliance on scientific experts. (shrink)
The receivedview is that computational states are individuated at least in part by their semantic properties. I offer an alternative, according to which computational states are individuated by their functional properties. Functional properties are specified by a mechanistic explanation without appealing to any semantic properties. The primary purpose of this paper is to formulate the alternative view of computational individuation, point out that it supports a robust notion of computational explanation, and defend it on the grounds (...) of how computational states are individuated within computability theory and computer science. A secondary purpose is to show that existing arguments for the semantic view are defective. (shrink)
The primary purpose of this paper is to argue that biologists should stop citing Karl Popper on what a genuinely scientific theory is. Various ways in which biologists cite Popper on this matter are surveyed, including the use of Popper to settle debates on methodology in phylogenetic systematics. It is then argued that the receivedview on Popper—namely, that a genuinely scientific theory is an empirically falsifiable one—is seriously mistaken, that Popper’s real view was that genuinely scientific (...) theories have the form of statements of laws of nature. It is then argued that biology arguably has no genuine laws of its own. In place of Popperian falsifiability, it is suggested that a cluster class epistemic values approach (which subsumes empirical falsifiability) is the best solution to the demarcation problem between genuine science and pseudo- or non-science. (shrink)
The receivedview about meteorological predicates like ‘rain’ is that they carry an argument slot for a location which can be filled explicitly or implicitly. The view assumes that ‘rain’, in the absence of an explicit location, demands that the context provide a specific location. In an earlier article in this journal, I provided a counter-example, viz. a context in which ‘it is raining’ receives a location-indefinite interpretation. On the basis of that example, I argued that when (...) there is tacit references to a location, it takes place for pragmatic reasons and casts no light on the semantics of meteorological predicates. Since then, several authors have reanalysed the counter-example, so as to make it compatible with the standard view. I discuss those attempts and argue that my account is superior. (shrink)
W. V. O. Quine’s assault on the analytic/synthetic distinction is one of the most celebrated events in the history of twentieth century philosophy. This paper shines a light on Quine’s own understanding of the history of this distinction. More specifically, this paper argues, contrary to what seems to be the receivedview, that Quine explicitly recognized a kindred subversive spirit in David Hume.
Recent Carnap scholarship suggests that the receivedview of the Carnap-Quine analyticity debate is importantly mistaken. It has been suggested that Carnap’s analyticity distinction is immune from Quine’s criticisms. This is either because Quine did not understand Carnap’s use of analytic-ity, or because Quine did not appreciate that, rather than dispelling dog-mas, he was merely offering an alternate framework for philosophy. It has also been suggested that ultimately nothing of substance turns on this dis-pute. I am sympathetic to (...) these reassessments and their rejection of the re-ceived view, but argue that they fail to pay proper attention to Carnap’s metaphysical deflationism. For it is there that Quine’s arguments ultimately make contact with Carnap, undermining his metaphysical deflationism. Moreover, the viability of deflationism is directly related to the viability of Carnap’s view of philosophy as methodologically distinct from science. Hence, Quine’s criticisms make contact with the deepest aspects of Car-nap’s views. (shrink)
According to the receivedview crimes like torture, rape, enslavement or enforced prostitution are domestic crimes if they are committed as isolated or sporadic events, but become crimes against humanity when they are committed as part of a âwidespread or systematic attackâ against a civilian population. Only in the latter case can these crimes be prosecuted by the international community. One of the most influential accounts of this idea is Larry Mayâs International Harm Principle, which states that crimes (...) against humanity are those that somehow âharm humanity.â I argue that this principle is unable to provide an adequate account of crimes against humanity. Moreover, I argue that the principle fails to account for the idea that crimes against humanity are necessarily group based. I conclude by suggesting that the problem with Mayâs account is that it relies on a harm-based conception of crime which is very popular, but ultimately mistaken. I submit that in order to develop an adequate theory of crimes against humanity we need to abandon the harm-based model and replace it with an alternative conception of crime and criminal law, one based on the notion of accountability. (shrink)
The receivedview of Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language is that it fails as an interpretation because, inter alia, it ignores or overlooks what Wittgenstein has to say in the second paragraph of Philosophical Investigations 201. In this paper, I demonstrate that the paragraph in question is in fact fully accommodated within Kripke's reading, and cannot therefore be reasonably utilised to object to it. -/- In part one I characterise the objection; in part two I explain (...) why it fails; in part three I suggest why commentators might have been motivated to offer it; and in part four I claim that two commentators who have offered it also imply otherwise. (shrink)
An identity statement flanked on both sides with proper names is necessarily true, Saul Kripke thinks, if it's true at all. Thus, contrary to the receivedview – or at least what was, prior to Kripke, the receivedview – a statement like(A) Hesperus is Phosphorus.
The receivedview in Thomas Hobbes scholarship is that theindividual rights described by Hobbes in his political writings andspecifically in Leviathan are simple freedoms or libertyrights, that is, rights that are not correlated with duties orobligations on the part of others. In other words, it is usually arguedthat there are no claim rights for individuals in Hobbes''s politicaltheory. This paper argues, against that view, that Hobbes does describeclaim rights, that they come into being when individuals conform to (...) thesecond law of nature and that they are genuine moral claim rights, thatis, rights that are the ground of the obligations of others to forebearfrom interfering with their exercise. This argument is defended againstboth Jean Hampton''s and Howard Warrender''s interpretations of rights inHobbes''s theory. The paper concludes that the theory of rightsunderlying Hobbes''s writing is not taken from Natural Law but isprobably closer to a modern interest theory of rights. (shrink)
According to the receivedview (Boche?ski, Kneale), from the end of the fourteenth to the second half of nineteenth century, logic enters a period of decadence. If one looks at this period, the richness of the topics and the complexity of the discussions that characterized medieval logic seem to belong to a completely different world: a simplified theory of the syllogism is the only surviving relic of a glorious past. Even though this negative appraisal is grounded on good (...) reasons, it overlooks, however, a remarkable innovation that imposes itself at the beginning of the sixteenth century: the attempt to connect the two previously separated disciplines of logic and mathematics. This happens along two opposite directions: the one aiming to base mathematical proofs on traditional (Aristotelian) logic; the other attempting to reduce logic to a mathematical (algebraical) calculus. This second trend was reinforced by the claim, mainly propagated by Hobbes, that the activity of thinking was the same as that of performing an arithmetical calculus. Thus, in the period of what Boche?ski characterizes as ?classical logic?, one may find the seeds of a process which was completed by Boole and Frege and opened the door to the contemporary, mathematical form of logic. (shrink)
That the successful development of fully autonomous artificial moral agents (AMAs) is imminent is becoming the receivedview within artificial intelligence research and robotics. The discipline of Machines Ethics, whose mandate is to create such ethical robots, is consequently gaining momentum. Although it is often asked whether a given moral framework can be implemented into machines, it is never asked whether it should be. This paper articulates a pressing challenge for Machine Ethics: To identify an ethical framework that (...) is both implementable into machines and whose tenets permit the creation of such AMAs in the first place. Without consistency between ethics and engineering, the resulting AMAs would not be genuine ethical robots, and hence the discipline of Machine Ethics would be a failure in this regard. Here this challenge is articulated through a critical analysis of the development of Kantian AMAs, as one of the leading contenders for being the ethic that can be implemented into machines. In the end, however, the development of Kantian artificial moral machines is found to be anti-Kantian. The upshot of all this is that machine ethicists need to look elsewhere for an ethic to implement into their machines. (shrink)
A prospective introduction -- The receivedview -- Troubles with the receivedview -- Are propositional attitudes relations? -- Foundations of a measurement-theoretic account of the attitudes -- The basic measurement-theoretic account -- Elaboration and explication of the proposed measurement-theoretic account.
This article is an extended analysis of the most recent scholarly work on Locke's account of sensitive knowledge. Lex Newman's "dual cognitive relations" model of sensitive knowledge is examined in detail. The author argues that the dual cognitive relations model needs to be revised on both philosophical and historical grounds. While no attempt is made to defend Locke's position, the aim is to show that it is at least consistent, contrary to the receivedview. The final section provides (...) textual support for the interpretation. (shrink)
The receivedview in medical contexts is that informed consent is both necessary and sufficient for patient autonomy. This paper argues that informed consent is not sufficient for patient autonomy, at least when autonomy is understood as a "relational" concept. Relational conceptions of autonomy, which have become prominent in the contemporary literature, draw on themes in the thought of Charles Taylor. I first identify four themes in Taylor's work that together constitute a picture of human agency corresponding to (...) the notion of agency implicit in relational accounts of autonomy. Drawing on these themes, I sketch two arguments against the position that informed consent secures autonomy. The first is that informed consent is an "opportunity" concept whereas autonomy is an "exercise" concept; the second is that informed consent requires merely weak evaluation and not strong evaluation. On Taylor's analysis of agency, strong evaluation is required for agency and for autonomy. (shrink)
This paper puts forward the hypothesis that the distinctive features of quantum statistics are exclusively determined by the nature of the properties it describes. In particular, all statistically relevant properties of identical quantum particles in many-particle systems are conjectured to be irreducible, ‘inherent’ properties only belonging to the whole system. This allows one to explain quantum statistics without endorsing the ‘ReceivedView’ that particles are non-individuals, or postulating that quantum systems obey peculiar probability distributions, or assuming that there (...) are primitive restrictions on the range of states accessible to such systems. With this, the need for an unambiguously metaphysical explanation of certain physical facts is acknowledged and satisfied. (shrink)
It has been long known (Perry in Philos Rev 86: 474–497, 1977 ; Noûs 13: 3–21, 1979 , Lewis in Philos Rev 88: 513–543 1981 ) that de se attitudes, such as beliefs and desires that one has about oneself , call for a special treatment in theories of attitudinal content. The aim of this paper is to raise similar concerns for theories of asserted content. The receivedview, inherited from Kaplan ( 1989 ), has it that if (...) Alma says “I am hungry,” the asserted content, or what is said , is the proposition that Alma is hungry (at a given time). I argue that the receivedview has difficulties handling de se assertion, i.e., contents that one expresses using the first person pronoun, to assert something about oneself. I start from the observation that when two speakers say “I am hungry,” one may truly report them as having said the same thing. It has often been held that the possibility of such reports comes from the fact that the two speakers are, after all, uttering the same words, and are in this sense “saying the same thing”. I argue that this approach fails, and that it is neither necessary nor sufficient to use the same words, or words endowed with the same meaning, in order to be truly reported as same-saying. I also argue that reports of same-saying in the case of de se assertion differ significantly from such reports in the case of two speakers merely implicating the same thing. (shrink)
If we think of perceptual expertise, we might think ofa neurologist interpreting a CAT scan or an astronomerlooking at a star. But perceptual expertise is notlimited to experts. Perceptual expertise is atthe heart of our everyday competence in the world. Wenavigate around obstacles, we take turns inconversations, we make left-turns in face of on-comingtraffic. Each of us is a perceptual expert (thoughonly in certain domains). If we misunderstandperceptual expertise, we risk misunderstanding ourepistemic relationship to the world. I argue that thestandard (...) arguments for the receivedview of perceptualexpertise are problematic at best. Of course, theissue of whether the receivedview is actually correctis an empirical issue. But the decision to adopt thereceived view, I argue, was not a scientific decision,but was made by inheriting a philosophical tradition– which many philosophers today would question. (shrink)
According to the receivedview, externalist grounds or reasons need not be introspectively accessible. Roughly speaking, from an externalist point of view, a belief will be epistemically justified, iff it is based upon facts that make its truth objectively highly likely. This condition can be satisfied, even if the epistemic agent does not have actual or potential awareness of the justifying facts. No inner perspective on the belief-forming mechanism and its truth-ratio is needed for a belief to (...) be justified. In my view, this is not the whole story. While I agree that introspective access to our reasons is a defining feature of justification for the access internalist, not the externalist, I will argue that even for the latter, some kind of introspective access is an epistemic desideratum. Yet, even given that I am right, the desirable might not be achievable for us. Recent psychological research suggests that we do not dispose of reliable introspection into the sources of our own beliefs. This seems to undermine the claim that we can introspectively know about the reasons upon which our beliefs are based. In this paper I will therefore additionally show why these results do not threaten the kind of introspective access desirable from an externalist point of view. (shrink)
This paper assesses several prominent recent attacks on the view that epistemic justification is conceptually prior to knowledge. I argue that this view—call it the ReceivedView (RV)—emerges from these attacks unscathed. I start with Timothy Williamson’s two strongest arguments for the claim that all evidence is knowledge (E>K), which impugns RV when combined with the claim that justification depends on evidence. One of Williamson’s arguments assumes a false epistemic closure principle; the other misses some alternative (...) (to E>K) explanations of a putative fact about the evidence a particular subject has. Next, I neutralize each of Jonathan Sutton’s three recent arguments to the conclusion that any justified belief constitutes knowledge. Finally, I consider a recent analysis of justification due to Alexander Bird, according to which justified belief is possible knowledge. I argue that Bird’s analysis delivers neither a sufficient nor (more importantly) a necessary condition for justification. [Word count: 149]. (shrink)
The central premise of Michael Dummett's global argument for anti-realism is the thesis that a speaker's grasp of the meaning of a declarative, indexical-free sentence must be manifested in her uses of that sentence. This enigmatic thesis has been the subject of a great deal of discussion, and something of a consensus has emerged about its content and justification. The receivedview is that the manifestation thesis expresses a behaviorist and reductive theory of meaning, essentially in agreement with (...) Quine's view of language, and motivated by worries about the epistemology of communication. In the present paper I begin by arguing that this standard interpretation of the manifestation thesis is neither particularly faithful to Dummett's writings nor philosophically compelling. I then continue by reconstructing, from Dummett's texts, an account of the manifestation thesis, and of its justification, that differ sharply from the receivedview. On my reading, the thesis is motivated not epistemologically, but conceptually. I argue that connections among our conceptions of meaning, assertion, and justification lead to a conclusion about the metaphysics of meaning: we cannot form a clearly coherent conception of how two speakers can attach different meanings to a sentence without at the same time differing in what they count as justifying assertions made with that sentence. I conclude with some suggestions about how Dummett's argument for global anti-realism should be understood, given my account of the manifestation thesis. (shrink)
“Philosophical perspectivism” is surely one of Nietzsche's most important insights regarding the limits of human knowledge. However, the perspectivist thesis combined with a minimal realist metaphysical position produces what Brian Leiter calls the 'ReceivedView': an epistemologically incoherent misinterpretation of Nietzsche which pervades the secondary literature. In order to salvage the thesis of perspectivism, Leiter argues that we must commit Nietzsche to an anti-realist metaphysical position. I argue that Leiter's proposed solution is (1) epistemically weak, and (2) inconsistent (...) with much of Nietzsche's views on truth, knowledge and the psychological make-up of human beings. I argue that we need to abandon the scheme/content distinction on which both the ReceivedView and Leiter's anti-realist construal of perspectivism are predicated and instead construe perspectives as environments of power. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the commonly receivedview that Kripke’s formal Possible World Semantics (PWS) reflects the adoption of a metaphysical interpretation of the modal operators. I consider in detail Kripke’s three main innovations vis-à-vis Carnap’s PWS: a new view of the worlds, variable domains of quantification, and the adoption of a notion of universal validity. I argue that all these changes are driven by the natural technical development of the model theory and its related (...) notion of validity: they are dictated by merely formal considerations, not interpretive concerns. I conclude that Kripke’s model theoretic semantics does not induce a metaphysical reading of necessity, and is formally adequate independently of the specific interpretation of the modal operators. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the receivedview that the anti-nativist arguments of Book I of Locke’s Essay conclusively challenge nativism. I begin by reconstructing the chief argument of Book I and its corollary arguments. I call attention to their dependence on (what I label) “the Awareness Principle”, viz., the view that there are no ideas in the mind of which the mind either isn’t currently aware or hasn’t been aware in the past. I then argue (...) that the arguments’ dependence on this principle is question begging on two counts. Unless this principle is defended, Locke’s arguments beg the question against Descartes and Leibniz because their nativism implies the denial of the Awareness Principle. And even when Locke defended the principle, his arguments remain question begging because they presuppose the empiricism they aim to prove. The disclosure of the question-begging status of these arguments debunks a seemingly powerful way of attacking nativism. (shrink)
This article argues that, contrary to the receivedview, prioritarianism and egalitarianism are not jointly incompatible theories in normative ethics. By introducing a distinction between weighing and aggregating, the authors show that the seemingly conflicting intuitions underlying prioritarianism and egalitarianism are consistent. The upshot is a combined position, equality-prioritarianism, which takes both prioritarian and egalitarian considerations into account in a technically precise manner. On this view, the moral value of a distribution of well-being is a product of (...) two factors: the sum of all individuals' priority-adjusted well-being, and a measure of the equality of the distribution in question. Some implications of equality-prioritarianism are considered. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended. The first is that negative categorical statements are not to be accorded existential import insofar as they figure in the square of opposition. Against Kneale and others, it is argued that Aristotle formulates his o statements, for example, precisely to avoid existential commitment. This frees Aristotle's square from a recent charge of inconsistency. The second claim is that the logic proper provides much thinner evidence than has been supposed for what appears to be the (...) class='Hi'>receivedview, that is, for the view that insofar as they occur in syllogistic negative categoricals have existential import. At most there is a single piece of evidence in favor of the view?a special case of echthesis or the setting out of a case in proof. (shrink)
A consensus exists among contemporary philosophers of biology about the history of their field. According to the receivedview, mainstream philosophy of science in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s focused on physics and general epistemology, neglecting analyses of the 'special sciences', including biology. The subdiscipline of philosophy of biology emerged (and could only have emerged) after the decline of logical positivism in the 1960s and 70s. In this article, I present bibliometric data from four major philosophy of science (...) journals (Erkenntnis, Philosophy of Science, Synthese, and the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science), covering 1930-59, which challenge this view. (shrink)
This paper concerns the recent debate on the nature and motivations of the epistemological project advanced in Rudolf Carnap's (18911970) Aufbau. Much of this debate has been initiated by Michael Friedman and Alan Richardson who argue (against the receivedview of the Aufbau as a foundationalist defense of empiricism) that Carnap's epistemological project is located in the tradition of neo-Kantian epistemology. On this revisionist reading of the Aufbau, Carnap's project is not motivated to address traditional empiricist problems regarding (...) the justification of knowledge, but rather to show how objective knowledge is possible. A central aspect of the Aufbau that is neglected in the revisionists' analysis is the role of epistemic justification in Carnap's project. The aim of the present study is to argue that although the general epistemology in the Aufbau can be cast as neo-Kantian, Carnap's method of construction theory (or rational reconstruction) is formulated precisely as an empiricist method for the justification of conceptual knowledge. Construction theory radically redefines `empirical justification' into a formal-conventional notion, and is part of Carnap's more general agenda of redefining epistemology as a purely formal discipline. (shrink)