Few philosophers believe that G. E. Moore's notorious proof of an external world can give us justification to believe that skepticism about perceptual beliefs is false. The most prominent explanation of what is wrong with Moore's proof—as well as some structurally similar anti-skeptical arguments—centers on conservatism: roughly, the view that someone can acquire a justified belief that p on the basis of E only if he has p-independent justification to believe that all of the skeptical hypotheses that undermine the support (...) lent by E to p are false. In this paper I argue that conservatism does not make trouble for Moore's proof. I do this by setting up a dilemma concerning the notion of "justification to believe" that figures in conservatism. On one understanding of justification to believe, conservatism is subject to obvious counterexamples. On another understanding of justification to believe, conservatism is consistent with Moore's "proof conferring justification upon its conclusion. Since these two understandings exhaust the logical space, the conservative indictment of Mooreanism fails. (shrink)
A range of extremely plausible moral principles turn out to generate “deontic cycling”: sets of actions wherein I have stronger reason to do B than A, C than B, and A than C. Indeed, just about anything recognizable as commonsense morality generates deontic cycling. This matters for two reasons. First, it creates a problem for the widely held view that agent-centered rankings can square consequentialism with commonsense morality. Second, it forces a choice between some deeply plausible views about rationality—wherein someone (...) cannot have stronger reason to do A than B, B than C, and C than A—and commonsense morality. (shrink)
Most promising responses to skepticism fall into “Moorean” or “rationalist” camps. Mooreans believe that some apparently circular forms of reasoning allow us to have justification to believe that skeptical hypotheses are false. Rationalists believe that we have a priori justification to believe that skeptical hypotheses are false. It can seem that anti-skeptics are stuck choosing between fishy circular reasoning and mysterious a priori justification. I present a new difficulty for rationalism by focusing on skeptical scenarios wherein our faculties of a (...) priori reasoning are untrustworthy. In dealing with these scenarios, rationalists end up having to embrace the same sorts of circular reasoning that Mooreans use to deal with more familiar skeptical scenarios. As a result, there is no viable diagnosis of what's wrong with Moorean reasoning that does not also apply to rationalism: both anti-skeptical approaches are in the same boat when it comes to embracing circular reasoning. (shrink)
Tim Willenken argues that ‘commonsense morality’ is committed to intransitive deontic cycles; that consequentialism cannot countenance such cycles; and that, therefore, the project of compatibilism—making consequentialism and commonsense morality deliver the same moral verdicts, by way of an axiology—cannot succeed. I argue that the appearance of intransitive cycles is made possible only by an idiosyncratic method of action-individuation; when traditional methods are used, the appearance of intransitivity goes away. These results may reopen the door for the compatibilist project.
In this paper we respond to Benjamin Crowe's criticisms in this issue of our discussion of the grounds of worship. We clarify our previous position, and examine Crowe's account of what it is about God's nature that might ground our obligation to worship Him. We find Crowe's proposals no more persuasive than the accounts that we examined in our previous paper, and conclude that theists still owe us an account of what it is in virtue of which we have obligations (...) to worship God. (shrink)
Tim Crane addresses the ancient question of how it is possible to think about what does not exist. He argues that the representation of the non-existent is a pervasive feature of our thought about the world, and that to understand thought's representational power ('intentionality') we need to understand the representation of the non-existent.
Tim Bayne draws on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in defence of the claim that consciousness is unified. He develops an account of what it means to say that consciousness is unified, and then applies this account to a variety of cases - drawn from both normal and pathological forms of experience - in which the unity of consciousness is said to break down. He goes on to explore the implications of the unity of consciousness for theories of consciousness, for the (...) sense of embodiment, and for accounts of the self. The Unity of Consciousness draws on a wide range of findings within philosophy and the sciences of the mind to construct an account of the unity of consciousness that is both conceptually sophisticated and scientifically informed. (shrink)
Elements of Mind (EM) has two themes, one major and one minor. The major theme is intentionality, the mind’s direction upon its objects; the other is the mind–body problem. I treat these themes separately: chapters 1, and 3–5 are concerned with intentionality, while chapter 2 is about the mind–body problem. In this summary I will first describe my view of the mind–body problem, and then describe the book’s main theme. Like many philosophers, I see the mind–body problem as containing two (...) sub–problems: the problem of mental causation and the problem of consciousness. I see these problems forming the two horns of a dilemma. Just as the problem of mental causation pushes us towards physicalism, so the problem of consciousness pushes us away from it. Each problem reveals the inadequacy of the solution to the other. Essentially the problem of mental causation is the conflict between (i) the apparent fact that mental states and events have effects in the physical world and (ii) a general principle about the causal nature of the physical world, which is sometimes called the ‘causal closure’ or the ‘causal completeness’ of the physical world. This principle says that all physical effects have physical causes which are enough to bring them about. The problem then is simple: how can a mental cause have a physical effect if that effect also has a physical cause which is enough to bring it about? Barring massive overdetermination of our actions by independent causes, it seems that the best answer is to identify the mental and the physical causes. And this is traditionally how physicalists have argued for their identity theory of mind and body. However, many physicalists reject the identity theory, and therefore they have to solve the mental causation problem in some other way. At present, there is no consensus among physicalists on which of the currently proposed solutions is correct. In chapter 2 of EM I propose an alternative, which I call ‘emergentism’. Inspired by the rejection of the identity theory, Emergentism is the idea that mental properties are genu.. (shrink)
Elements of Mind provides a unique introduction to the main problems and debates in contemporary philosophy of mind. Author Tim Crane opposes those currently popular conceptions of the mind that divide mental phenomena into two very different kinds (the intentional and the qualitative) and proposes instead a challenging and unified theory of all the phenomena of mind. In light of this theory, Crane engages students with the central problems of the philosophy of mind--the mind-body problem, the problem of intentionality (or (...) mental representation), the problem of consciousness, and the problem of perception--and attempts to find solutions to these problems. A fresh and engaging exploration of the main issues in the philosophy of mind, Elements of Mind is easily accessible to students with no background in the subject. (shrink)
In this work Tim Ingold provides a persuasive new approach to the theory behind our perception of the world around us. The core of the argument is that where we refer to cultural variation we should be instead be talking about variation in skill. Neither genetically innate or culturally acquired, skills are incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment.They are as much biological as cultural.
A modest proposal concerning laws, counterfactuals, and explanations - - Why be Humean? -- Suggestions from physics for deep metaphysics -- On the passing of time -- Causation, counterfactuals, and the third factor -- The whole ball of wax -- Epilogue : a remark on the method of metaphysics.
This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity using a geometrical approach, emphasizing intrinsic space-time structure rather than (...) coordinate systems or reference frames. He gives readers enough detail about special relativity to solve concrete physical problems while presenting general relativity in a more qualitative way, with an informative discussion of the geometrization of gravity, the bending of light, and black holes. Additional topics include the Twins Paradox, the physical aspects of the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, the constancy of the speed of light, time travel, the direction of time, and more.Introduces nonphysicists to the philosophical foundations of space-time theory Provides a broad historical overview, from Aristotle to Einstein Explains special relativity geometrically, emphasizing the intrinsic structure of space-time Covers the Twins Paradox, Galilean relativity, time travel, and more Requires only basic algebra and no formal knowledge of physics. (shrink)
Growing interest among historians and social scientists in the work of Karl Polanyi has yet to produce detailed historical studies of how Polanyi's work was received by his contemporaries. This article reconstructs the frustration of Polanyi's attempts to make a name for himself among English socialists between his arrival from Vienna in 1934 and his departure for New York in 1947. The most obvious explanation for Polanyi's failure to find a following was the socialist historians’ rejection of his unorthodox narrative (...) of the rise of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution in The Great Transformation. But this disappointment was anticipated in earlier exchanges revealing that Polanyi's social theory, specifically his conception of the self and its social relations, differed markedly from the views prevailing among socialists of R. H. Tawney and G. D. H. Cole's generation. As well as casting new light on the intellectual history of English socialism and variegating our understanding of the contexts in which conceptions of the human person were invoked in the interwar period, this article seeks to illuminate by example the importance of deep-seated, often tacit, commitments to particular conceptions of the self and its social relations in structuring mid-century intellectual life. (shrink)
To understand the mind, we need to draw equally on the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience. But these two fields have very separate intellectual roots, and very different styles. So how can these two be reconciled in order to develop a full understanding of the mind and brain.This is the focus of this landmark new book.
Tim Lewens aims to understand what it means to take an evolutionary approach to cultural change, and why it is that these approaches are sometimes treated with suspicion. While making a case for the value of evolutionary thinking for students of culture, he shows why the concerns of sceptics should not dismissed as mere prejudice, confusion, or ignorance. Indeed, confusions about what evolutionary approaches entail are propagated by their proponents, as well as by their detractors. By taking seriously the problems (...) faced by these approaches to culture, he shows how such approaches can be better formulated, where their most significant limitations lie, and how the tools of cultural evolutionary thinking might become more widely accepted. (shrink)
Tim Button explores the relationship between minds, words, and world. He argues that the two main strands of scepticism are deeply related and can be overcome, but that there is a limit to how much we can show. We must position ourselves somewhere between internal realism and external realism, and we cannot hope to say exactly where.
John McDowell's contribution to philosophy has ranged across Greek philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and ethics. His writings have drawn on the works of, amongst others, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Sellars, and Davidson. His contributions have made him one of the most widely read, discussed and challenging philosophers writing today. This book provides a careful account of the main claims that McDowell advances in a number of different areas of philosophy. The interconnections between the different (...) arguments are highlighted and Tim Thornton shows how these individual projects are unified in a post-Kantian framework that articulates the preconditions of thought and language. Thornton sets out the differing strands of McDowell's work prior to, and leading up to, their combination in the broader philosophical vision revealed in "Mind and World" and provides an interpretative and critical framework that will help shape ongoing debates surrounding McDowell's work. An underlying theme of the book is whether McDowell's therapeutic approach to philosophy, which owes much to the later Wittgenstein, is consistent with the substance of McDowell's discussion of nature that uses the vocabulary of other philosophers including, centrally, Kant. (shrink)
Tim Mulgan presents a penetrating examination of consequentialism: the theory that human behavior must be judged in terms of the goodness or badness of its consequences. The problem with consequentialism is that it seems unreasonably demanding, leaving us no room for our own aims and interests. In response, Mulgan offers his own, more practical version of consequentialism--one that will surely appeal to philosophers and laypersons alike.
Neuropsychological results are increasingly cited in cognitive theories although their methodology has been severely criticised. The book argues for an eclectic approach but particularly stresses the use of single-case studies. A range of potential artifacts exists when inferences are made from such studies to the organisation of normal function – for example, resource differences among tasks, premorbid individual differences, and reorganisation of function. The use of “strong” and “classical” dissociations minimises potential artifacts. The theoretical convergence between findings from fields where (...) cognitive neuropsychology is well developed and those from the normal literature strongly suggests that the potential artifacts are not critical. The fields examined in detail in this respect are short-term memory, reading, writing, the organisation of input and output speech systems, and visual perception. Functional dissociation data suggest that not only are input systems organised modularly, but so are central systems. This conclusion is supported by findings on impairment of knowledge, visual attention, supervisory functions, memory, and consciousness. (shrink)
The phenomenal character of perceptual experience involves the representation of colour, shape and motion. Does it also involve the representation of high-level categories? Is the recognition of a tomato as a tomato contained within perceptual phenomenality? Proponents of a conservative view of the reach of phenomenal content say ’No’, whereas those who take a liberal view of perceptual phenomenality say ’Yes’. I clarify the debate between conservatives and liberals, and argue in favour of the liberal view that high-level content can (...) directly inform the phenomenal character of perception. (shrink)
What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He also brings together several different contemporary philosophical discussions, including the demands of morality and international justice. His aim is to produce a coherent, intuitively plausible moral theory that is not unreasonably demanding, even when extended to cover future people. While (...) the book focuses on developing this new account, there are also substantial discussions of alternative views, especially contract-based accounts of intergenerational justice and competing forms of consequentialism. (shrink)
Dimensions of the ethical work climate, as conceptualized by Victor and Cullen, are potentially important influences on individual ethical decision-making in the organizational context. The present study examined the direct and indirect effects of individuals' perceptions of work climate on their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions regarding an ethical dilemma. A national sample of marketers was surveyed in a scenario-based research study. The results indicated that, although perceived climate dimensions did not have a direct effect on behavioral intentions, there were (...) significant moderating effects. Climates perceived as emphasizing social responsibility and rules/codes moderated the individual ethical judgment-behavioral intentions relationship such that individuals were less likely to say that they would engage in a questionable selling practice even when they themselves did not believe the practice to be unethical. Respondents were somewhat more likely to form intentions consistent with their judgment that the questionable practice was morally acceptable when the ethical climate was characterized by an emphasis on team/friendship. (shrink)
Many philosophers are impressed by the progress achieved by physical sciences. This has had an especially deep effect on their ontological views: it has made many of them physicalists. Physicalists believe that everything is physical: more precisely, that all entities, properties, relations, and facts are those which are studied by physics or other physical sciences. They may not all agree with the spirit of Rutherford's quoted remark that 'there is physics; and there is stamp-collecting',' but they all grant physical science (...) a unique ontological authority: the authority to tell us what there is. Physicalism is now almost orthodox in much philosophy, notably in much recent philosophy of mind. But although often invoked, it is rarely explicitly defined. It should be. The claim that everything is physical is not as clear as it seems. In this paper, we examine a number of proposed definitions of physicalism and reasons for being a physicalist. We will argue both that physicalism lacks a clear and credible definition, and that in no non-vacuous interpretation is it true. We are concerned here only with physicalism as a doctrine about the empirical world. In particular, it should not be confused with nominalism, the doctrine that there are no universals.2 Nominalism and physicalism are quite independent doctrines. Believers in universals may as consistently assert as deny that the only properties and relations are those studied by physical science. And nominalists may with equal consistency assert or deny that physical science could provide enough predicates to describe the world. That is the question which concerns physicalists, not whether physical predicates name real universals. (We will for brevity write as if they do, but we do not need that assumption.). (shrink)
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of calls for moral education to receive greater public attention. In our pluralist society, however, it is difficult to find agreement on what exactly moral education requires. Philosophical Discussion in Moral Education develops a detailed philosophical defence of the claim that teachers should engage students in ethical discussions to promote moral competence and strengthen moral character. Paying particular attention to the teacher's role, this book highlights the justification for, and (...) methods of, creating a classroom community of ethical inquiry. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that perceptual experience is a form of intentionality, i.e., that it has representational content. Many philosophers take this to mean that like belief, experience has propositional content, that it can be true or false. I accept that perceptual experience has intentionality; but I dispute the claim that it has propositional content. This claim does not follow from the fact that experience is intentional, nor does it follow from the fact that experiences are accurate or inaccurate. I (...) end by considering the relationship between this question and the question of whether experience has non-conceptual content. (shrink)
In this ingenious and powerfully argued book Tim Maudlin sets out a novel account of logic and semantics which allows him to deal with certain notorious paradoxes which have bedevilled philosophical theories of truth. All philosophers interested in logic and language will find this a stimulating read.
Abstract The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology (...) finds this misleading Aristotelian conception highly tempting, we are in fact better off if we refrain from mentioning human nature altogether in debates over enhancement. Content Type Journal Article Category Special Issue Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s13347-012-0063-x Authors Tim Lewens, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
Some have claimed that people with very different beliefs literally see the world differently. Thus Thomas Kuhn: ‘what a man sees depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual—conceptual experience has taught him to see’ (Kuhn 1970, p. ll3). This view — call it ‘Perceptual Relativism’ — entails that a scientist and a child may look at a cathode ray tube and, in a sense, the first will see it while the second won’t. The (...) claim is not, of course, that the child’s experience is ‘empty’; but that, unlike the scientist, it does not see the tube as a cathode ray tube. One way of supporting this claim is to say that one cannot see something as an F unless one has the concept F. Since the child plainly lacks the concept of a cathode ray tube, it cannot see it as a cathode ray tube. Although Perceptual Relativism is hard to believe, this supporting suggestion is not so implausible. After all, when we see (and more generally, perceive) the world, the world is presented to us in a particular way; so how can we see it as being that way unless we have some idea or conception of the way it is presented? We need not be committed to a representative theory of perception to think that perceptions in some sense represent the world. We can express this by saying that perceptions have content. Now it is a commonplace that the contents of beliefs and the other propositional attitudes involve concepts. The belief that this thing is a cathode ray tube involves, in some sense, the concept cathode ray tube. So the line of thought behind Perceptual Relativism may be expressed thus: seeing an F as an F is a state with content. (shrink)
Values based practice is a radical view of the place of values in medicine which develops from a philosophical analysis of values, illness and the role of ethical principles. It denies two attractive and traditional views of medicine: that diagnosis is a merely factual matter and that the values that should guide treatment and management can be codified in principles. But it goes further in the adoption of a radical liberal view: that right or good outcome should be replaced by (...) right process. I describe each of these three claims but caution against the third. (shrink)
Much recent work on the ethics of new biomedical technologies is committed to hidden, contestable views about the nature of biological reality. This selection of essays by Tim Lewens explores and scrutinises these biological foundations, and includes work on human enhancement, synthetic biology, and justice in healthcare decision-making.
Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry is a concise introduction to the growing field of philosophy of psychiatry. Divided into three main aspects of psychiatric clinical judgement, values, meanings and facts, it examines the key debates about mental health care, and the philosophical ideas and tools needed to assess those debates, in six chapters. In addition to outlining the state of play, Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry presents a coherent and unified approach across the different debates, characterized by a rejection of reductionism and (...) an emphasis on the ineliminability of uncodified skilled judgement. The first part, Values, outlines the debate about whether diagnosis of mental illness is essentially value-laden and argues that the prospects for reducing illness or disease to plainly factual matters are poor. It also explains the important role of skilled contextual judgement, rather than a principles-based deduction, in ethical judgement. The second part, Meanings, examines the central role of understanding and a shared first person perspective, both against attempts to reduce meaning to basic information-processing mechanisms and to explain away the difficulties of understanding psychopathology in recent models of delusion. The third part, Facts, shows the importance of uncodified clinical judgements, both in assessing the validity of psychiatric taxonomy and in the application of Evidence Based Medicine. Despite advances in the codifaction of practice and operationalism of diagnosis, an element of judgement remains in the assessment both of what, at one level, is good evidence for diagnosis and treatment and what, at a higher level, is good evidence for the validity of classification overall. (shrink)
I call into question a pair of closely related assumptions that are almost universally shared in the literature on predicates of taste. The assumptions are, first, that predicates of taste – words like ‘tasty’ – are semantically evaluative. In other words, that it is part of the meaning of a word like ‘tasty’ to describe an object as in some sense good, or to say that it is pleasing. And second, that the meaning of predicates of taste is in some (...) way relativized to an experiencer or standard – the person that the object is pleasing to or the standard according to which the object is good. Parties to the literature on these terms tend to disagree about the role of context in determining the truth of claims involving predicates of taste, or in determining which proposition is expressed. But they agree that to call some dish ‘tasty’ is to say something positive about that dish, to suggest that someone or other finds, or is disposed to find, the dish pleasing. I suggest instead that ‘tasty’, and indeed... (shrink)
Desires move us to action, give us urges, incline us to joy at their satisfaction, and incline us to sorrow at their frustration. Naturalistic work on desire has focused on distinguishing which of these phenomena are part of the nature of desire, and which are merely normal consequences of desiring. Three main answers have been proposed. The first holds that the central necessary fact about desires is that they lead to action. The second makes pleasure the essence of desire. And (...) the third holds that the central necessary fact about desires is that they open us to reward-based learning. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a natural experiment involving academic cheating by university students. We explore the relationship of moral judgment to actual behavior, as well as the relationship between the honesty of students self-reports and the extent of cheating. We were able to determine the extent to which students actually cheated on the take-home portion of an accounting exam. The take-home problem was not assigned with the intent of inducing cheating among students. However, (...) the high rate of observed cheating prompted the instructor to return to class and ask the students to provide information on their motivation. The students' responses are the data analyzed in this natural experiment. We found that in a simple regression the relationship between moral judgment scores and cheating behavior was insignificant. However, when we tested whether including Utilizer scores affected the relationship of cheating and moral judgment we found that Utilizer affected the relationship significantly. Finally, we found that moral judgment and honesty were not related, but higher levels of cheating behavior related to less honesty. (shrink)
What does it mean to be a citizen in a multicultural society? And what role must patriotism play in defining our relationship with our country and fellow citizens? In The Virtuous Citizen Tim Soutphommasane answers these questions with a critical defence of liberal nationalism. Considering a range of contemporary political debates from Europe, North America and Australia, over issues including multiculturalism, national history, civic education and immigration, Soutphommasane argues that a love of country should be valued alongside tolerance, mutual respect (...) and public reasonableness as a civic virtue. A liberal form of patriotism, grounded in national identity, is, if anything, essential for political stability in a diverse society. This book is required reading not only for political theorists and philosophers but also for researchers and professionals in political science, sociology, history and public policy. (shrink)
Newcomers to the philosophy of mind are sometimes resistant to the idea that pain is a mental state. If asked to defend their view, they might say something like this: pain is a physical state, it is a state of the body. A pain in one’s leg feels to be in the leg, not ‘in the mind’. After all, sometimes people distinguish pain which is ‘all in the mind’ from a genuine pain, sometimes because the second is ‘physical’ while the (...) first is not. And we also occasionally distinguish mental pain (which is normally understood as some kind of emotional distress) from the ‘physical pain’ one feels in one’s body. So what can be meant by saying that pain is a mental state? Of course, it only takes a little reflection shows that this naive view is mistaken. Pain is a state of consciousness, or an event in consciousness, and whether or not all states of mind are conscious, it is indisputable that only minds, or states of mind, are conscious.2 But does the naive view tell us anything about the concept of pain, or the concept of mind? I think it does. In this paper, I shall give reasons for thinking that consciousness is a form of intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’. I shall claim that the consciousness involved in bodily sensations like pain is constituted by the mind’s direction upon the part or region of the body where the sensation feels to be. Given this, it is less surprising that the naive view of pain says what it does: the apparent ‘physicality’ of pain is a consequence of confusing the object of the intentional state—the part of the body in which the pain is felt—with the state of being in pain. (shrink)
We outline a framework for analyzing episodes from the history of science in which the application of mathematics plays a constitutive role in the conceptual development of empirical sciences. Our starting point is the inferential conception of the application of mathematics, recently advanced by Bueno and Colyvan. We identify and discuss some systematic problems of this approach. We propose refinements of the inferential conception based on theoretical considerations and on the basis of a historical case study. We demonstrate the usefulness (...) of the refined, dynamical inferential conception using the well-researched example of the genesis of general relativity. Specifically, we look at the collaboration of the physicist Einstein and the mathematician Grossmann in the years 1912--1913, which resulted in the jointly published ``Outline of a Generalized Theory of Relativity and a Theory of Gravitation,'' a precursor theory of the final theory of general relativity. In this episode, an independently developed mathematical theory, the theory of differential invariants and the absolute differential calculus, was applied in the process of physical theorizing aiming at finding a relativistic theory of gravitation. We argue that the dynamical inferential conception not only provides a natural framework to describe and analyze this episode, but it also generates new questions and insights. We comment on the mathematical tradition on which Grossmann drew, and on his own contributions to mathematical theorizing. We argue that the dynamical inferential conception allows us to identify both the role of heuristics and of mathematical resources as well as the systematic role of problems and mistakes in the reconstruction of episodes of conceptual innovation and theory change. (shrink)
‘It is of the very nature of consciousness to be intentional’ said Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘and a consciousness that ceases to be a consciousness of something would ipso facto cease to exist’.1 Sartre here endorses the central doctrine of Husserl’s phenomenology, itself inspired by a famous idea of Brentano’s: that intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’, is what is distinctive of mental phenomena. Brentano’s originality does not lie in pointing out the existence of intentionality, or in inventing the terminology, which (...) derives from scholastic discussions of concepts or intentiones.2 Rather, his originality consists in his claim that the concept of intentionality marks out the subject matter of psychology: the mental. His view was that intentionality ‘is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon manifests anything like it’.3 This is Brentano’s thesis that intentionality is the mark of the mental. Despite the centrality of the concept of intentionality in contemporary philosophy of mind, and despite the customary homage paid to Brentano as the one who revived the terminology and placed the concept at the centre of philosophy, Brentano’s thesis is widely rejected by contemporary philosophers of mind. What is more, its rejection is not something which is thought to require substantial philosophical argument. Rather, the falsity of the thesis is taken as a starting-point in many contemporary discussions of intentionality, something so obvious that it only needs to be stated to be recognised as true. Consider, for instance, these remarks from the opening pages of Searle’s Intentionality: Some, not all, mental states and events have Intentionality. Beliefs, fears, hopes and desires are Intentional; but there are forms of nervousness, elation and undirected anxiety that are not Intentional.... My beliefs and desires must always be about something. But my nervousness and undirected anxiety need not in that way be about anything.4 Searle takes this as obvious, so obvious that it is not in need of further argument or elucidation. (shrink)
Brentano’s account of what he called intentionale Inexistenz — what we now call intentionality — is without question one of the most important parts of his philosophy, and one of the most influential ideas in late 19th-century philosophy. Here I will explain how this idea figures in Brentano’s central text, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (Brentano 1995a). I will then briefly explain how Brentano’s ideas about intentionality evolved after the first publication of this work in 1874, and how they were (...) then misinterpreted by some influential analytic philosophers. (shrink)
The recently rising field of Critical Data Studies is still facing fundamental questions. Among these is the enigma of digital subjectivation. Who are the subjects of Big Data? A field where this question is particularly pressing is finance. Since the 1990s traders have been steadily integrated into computerized data assemblages, which calls for an ontology that eliminates the distinction between human sovereign subjects and non-human instrumental objects. The latter subjectivize traders in pre-conscious ways, because human consciousness runs too slow to (...) follow the volatility of the market. In response to this conundrum Social Studies of Finance has drawn on Actor-Network Theory to interpret financial markets as technically constructed networks of human and non-human actors. I argue that in order to develop an explicitly critical data study it might be advantageous to refer to Maurizio Lazzarato’s theory of machinic subjugation instead. Although both accounts describe financial digital subjectivation similarly, Lazzarato has the advantage of coupling his description to a clear critique of and resistance to finance. (shrink)
Tim Maudlin sets out a completely new method for describing the geometrical structure of spaces, and thus a better mathematical tool for describing and understanding space-time. He presents a historical review of the development of geometry and topology, and then his original Theory of Linear Structures.
Sense-perception—the awareness or apprehension of things by sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste—has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. One pervasive and traditional problem, sometimes called “the problem of perception”, is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? The present entry is about how these possibilities of error challenge the intelligibility of the phenomenon of (...) perception, and how the major theories of perception in the last century are best understood as responses to this challenge. (shrink)