Artworld Metaphysics turns a critical eye upon aspects of the artworld, and articulates some of the problems, principles, and norms implicit in the actual practices of artistic creation, interpretation, evaluation, and commodification. Aesthetic theory is treated as descriptive and explanatory, rather than normative: a theory that relates to artworld realities as a semantic theory relates to the fragments of natural language it seeks to describe. RobertKraut examines emotional expression, correct interpretation and objectivity in the context of artworld (...) practice, the relevance of jazz to aesthetic theory, and the goals of ontology (artworld and otherwise). He also considers the relation between art and language, the confusions of postmodern relativism, and the relation between artistic/critical practice and aesthetic theory. (shrink)
Mathematical practice prompts theories about aprioricity, necessity, abstracta, and non-causal epistemic connections. But it is not clear what to count as the data: mathematical necessity or the appearance of mathematical necessity, abstractness or apparent abstractness, a prioricity or apparent aprioricity. Nor is it clear whether traditional metaphysical theories provide explanation or idle redescription. This paper suggests that abstract objects, rather than doing explanatory work, provide codifications of the data to be explained. It also suggests that traditional rivals—conceptualism, nominalism, realism—engage different (...) explanatory projects, and thus are not rivals at all. (shrink)
The technical apparatus of modal semantics--Possible worlds, World-Lines, Counterparts, Etc.--Continues to arouse suspicion among philosophers of various persuasions. A way to dispel at least some of the suspicion is to provide a naturalistic interpretation of the semantical machinery. My goal here is precisely that. More specifically, I provide a behavioristically acceptable interpretation of david lewis' counterpart theory. Reference to worlds and counterparts is construed in sober, Quinean terms. The result is a "metalinguistic" construal of counterpart semantics, And thus, Of modality. (...) Having shown that counterpart theory rests on no dubious philosophical assumptions, I briefly explore some of the metaphysical consequences of the resulting theory of modality. (shrink)
Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) theory of dialogue production cannot completely explain recent data showing that when interactants in referential communication tasks have different views of a physical space, they accommodate their language to their partner's view rather than mimicking their partner's expressions. Instead, these data are consistent with the hypothesis that interactants are taking the perspective of their conversational partners.
In this essay, I argue that a proper understanding of the historicity of love requires an appreciation of the irreplaceability of the beloved. I do this through a consideration of ideas that were first put forward by RobertKraut in “Love De Re” (1986). I also evaluate Amelie Rorty's criticisms of Kraut's thesis in “The Historicity of Psychological Attitudes: Love is Not Love Which Alters Not When It Alteration Finds” (1986). I argue that Rorty fundamentally misunderstands (...) class='Hi'>Kraut's Kripkean analogy, and I go on to criticize her claim that concern over the proper object of love should be best understood as a concern over constancy. This leads me to an elaboration of the distinct senses in which love can be seen as historical. I end with a further defense of the irreplaceability of the beloved and a discussion of the relevance of recent debates over the importance of personal identity for an adequate account of the historical dimension of love. (shrink)
RobertKraut has proposed an analogy between valuing a loved one as irreplaceable and the sort of “rigid” attachment that (according to Saul Kripke’s account) occurs with the reference of proper names. We wanted to see if individuals with Kripkean intuitions were indeed more likely to value loved ones (and other persons and things) as irreplaceable. In this empirical study, 162 participants completed an online questionnaire asking them to consider how appropriate it would be to feel the same (...) way about a perfect replica of a loved one, as well as other questions about replaceability. Participants who previously had endorsed Kripkean reference (n = 96) rated loved ones as less replaceable on two different measures than participants who had previously endorsed Descriptivist reference (n = 66, t(160)> 2.27, p <.02, eta2> .03). Additional results suggest that this difference extends to other targets as well and is at least partially dependent on sentimental attachment. (shrink)
Michael Friedman maintains that Carnap did not fully appreciate the impact of Gödel's first incompleteness theorem on the prospect for a purely syntactic definition of analyticity that would render arithmetic analytically true. This paper argues against this claim. It also challenges a common presumption on the part of defenders of Carnap, in their diagnosis of the force of Gödel's own critique of Carnap in his Gibbs Lecture. The author is grateful to Michael Friedman for valuable comments. Part of the research (...) towards this paper was carried out while the author was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. The paper was presented to the Center's Fellowship Reunion Conference in Athens in 1992. It was committed for publication in the Proceedings of that conference, but those Proceedings never appeared. By the time it became evident that they would never appear, both the hard copy and the source file had been mislaid. The hard copy re-surfaced in 2007. The literature on this topic since 1992 appears to leave some space for the ideas and arguments presented here. Although the paper has been updated in light of the more recent literature, its basic thesis, presented in 1992, remains the same. Only 3 is new, questioning a basic presumption made by more recent commentators in their presentation of Gödel's criticism of Carnap in his Gibbs Lecture. For helpful comments on the current version, the author is indebted to RobertKraut, Stewart Shapiro, and Adam Podlaskowski. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.1 That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product (...) of decisions that she could have rationally avoided making. That one’s character is the product of such decisions entails ultimate responsibility for its manifestations, engendering a free will. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject to (...) perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to describe and analyze the epistemological justification of a proposal initially made by the biomathematician Robert Rosen in 1958. In this theoretical proposal, Rosen suggests using the mathematical concept of “category” and the correlative concept of “natural equivalence” in mathematical modeling applied to living beings. Our questions are the following: According to Rosen, to what extent does the mathematical notion of category give access to more “natural” formalisms in the modeling of living beings? (...) Is the so -called “naturalness” of some kinds of equivalences (which the mathematical notion of category makes it possible to generalize and to put at the forefront) analogous to the naturalness of living systems? Rosen appears to answer “yes” and to ground this transfer of the concept of “natural equivalence” in biology on such an analogy. But this hypothesis, although fertile, remains debatable. Finally, this paper makes a brief account of the later evolution of Rosen’s arguments about this topic. In particular, it sheds light on the new role played by the notion of “category” in his more recent objections to the computational models that have pervaded almost every domain of biology since the 1990s. (shrink)
Quentin Skinner’s appropriation of speech act theory for intellectual history has been extremely influential. Even as the model continues to be important for historians, however, philosophers now regard the original speech act theory paradigm as dated. Are there more recent initiatives that might reignite theoretical work in this area? This article argues that the inferentialism of Robert Brandom is one of the most interesting contemporary philosophical projects with historical implications. It shows how Brandom’s work emerged out of the broad (...) shift in the philosophy of language from semantics to pragmatics that also informed speech act theory. The article then goes on to unpack the rich implications of Brandom’s inferentialism for the theory and practice of intellectual history. It contends that inferentialism clarifies, legitimizes, and informs intellectual historical practice, and it concludes with a consideration of the challenges faced by inferentialist intellectual history, together with an argument for the broader implications of Brandom’s work. (shrink)
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
Traditional eschatology clashes with the theory of entropy. Trying to bridge the gap, Robert John Russell assumes that theology and science are based on contradictory, yet equally valid, metaphysical assumptions, each one capable of questioning and impacting the other. The author doubts that Russell's proposal will convince empirically oriented scientists and attempts to provide a viable alternative. Historical‐critical analysis suggests that biblical future expectations were redemptive responses to changing human needs. Apocalyptic visions were occasioned by heavy suffering in postexilic (...) times. Interpreted in realistic terms, they have since proved to be untenable. The expectation of a new creation without evil, suffering, and death is not constitutive for the substantive content of the biblical message as such. Biblical future expectations must be reconceptualized in terms of best contemporary insight and in line with a dynamic reading of the biblical witness as God's vision of comprehensive optimal well‐being that operates like a shifting horizon and opens up ever new vistas, challenges, and opportunities. (shrink)
We commonly identify something seriously defective in a human life that is lived in ignorance of important but unpalatable truths. At the same time, some degree of misapprehension of reality may be necessary for individual health and success. Morally speaking, it is unclear just how insistent we should be about seeking the truth. Robert Sparrow has considered such issues in discussing the manufacture and marketing of robot ‘pets’, such as Sony’s doglike ‘AIBO’ toy and whatever more advanced devices may (...) supersede it. Though it is not his only concern, Sparrow particularly criticizes such robot pets for their illusory appearance of being living things. He fears that some individuals will subconsciously buy into the illusion, and come to sentimentalize interactions that fail to constitute genuine relationships. In replying to Sparrow, I emphasize that this would be continuous with much of the minor sentimentality that we already indulge in from day to day. Although a disposition to seek the truth is morally virtuous, the virtue concerned must allow for at least some categories of exceptions. Despite Sparrow’s concerns about robot pets (and robotics more generally), we should be lenient about familiar, relatively benign, kinds of self-indulgence in forming beliefs about reality. Sentimentality about robot pets seems to fall within these categories. Such limited self-indulgence can co-exist with ordinary honesty and commitment to truth. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Robert Kane’s defense of event-causal libertarianism, as presented in Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism, fails because his event-causal reconstruction is incoherent. I focus on the notions of efforts and self-forming actions essential to his defense.
This paper is an extended discussion of Robert Ulanowicz’s critique of mechanistic and reductionistic metaphysics of science. He proposes “process ecology” as an alternative. In this paper I discuss four sets of question coming out of Ulanowicz’s proposal. First, I argue that universality remains one of the hallmarks of the scientific enterprise even with his new process metaphysics. I then discuss the Second Law of Thermodynamics in the interpretation of the history of the universe. I question Ulanowicz’s use of (...) the terms “random” and “chance” in his definition of process. Finally, I discuss what difference a relational and process metaphysics might make in addressing the political and practical problems in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
On the publication of Robert Lowell’s Life Studies in 1959, some critics were shocked by the poet’s use of seemingly frank autobiographical material, in particular the portrayal of his hospitalizations for bipolar disorder. During the late fifties and throughout the sixties, a rich vein, influenced by Lowell , developed in American poetry. Also during this time, the nascent science of psychopharmacology competed with and complemented the more established somatic treatments, such as psychosurgery, shock treatments, and psychoanalytical therapies. The development (...) of Thorazine was a remarkable breakthrough allowing patients previously thought incurable to leave hospital. In 1955, the release of Miltown, the first ‘minor’ tranquilizer, was heralded with a media fanfare promising a new dawn of psychological cure-all. These two events blurred the boundary between ‘normality’ and madness by making treatment in the community more widely possible and by medicalizing more commonplace distress. Lowell’s early depictions of madness situate it as emblematic of the cultural malaise of ‘the tranquilized fifties. ’ By his final collection, Day by Day (1977), mental illness had lost its symbolic power. These late poems explore the power of art as a way of representing and remedying suffering in a culture where psychopharmacology has normalized madness. (shrink)
Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods is one of the most important and innovative contributions to theistic ethics in recent memory. This article identifies two major flaws at the heart of Adams’s theory: his notion of intrinsic value and his claim that ‘excellence’ or finite goodness is constituted by resemblance to God. I first elucidate Adams’s complex, frequently misunderstood claims concerning intrinsic value and Godlikeness. I then contend that Adams’s notion of intrinsic value cannot explain what it could mean (...) for countless finite goods to be intrinsically valuable. Next, I articulate a criticism of his Godlikeness thesis altogether unlike those he has previously addressed: I show that, on Adams’s own account of Godlikeness, a diverse myriad of excellences could not possibly count as resembling God. His theory thus fails to account for a whole world of finite goods. I defend my two criticisms against objections and briefly sketch a more Aristotelian and Christian way forward. (shrink)
This article examines the nature of Robert Grosseteste's commentary on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics with particular reference to his “conclusions” . It is argued that the simple demonstrative appearance of the commentary, which is very much the result of the 64 conclusions, is in part an illusion. Thus, the exposition in the commentary is not simply based on the strict principles of the Posterior Analytics and on the proof-procedures of Euclidean geometry; rather the commentary is a complicated mixture of different (...) elements of twelfth-century texts and the scholarship of Grosseteste's day. (shrink)