Synthese

ISSNs: 0039-7857, 1573-0964

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  1.  18
    How slurs enact norms, and how to retract them.Teresa Marques - 2024 - Synthese 203 (174):1-21.
    The present paper considers controversial utterances that were erroneously taken as derogatory. These examples are puzzling because, despite the audiences’ error, many speakers retract and even apologise for what they didn’t say and didn’t do. In recent years, intuitions about retractions have been used to test semantic theories. The cases discussed here test the predictive power of theories of derogatory language and help us better understand what is required to retract a slur. The paper seeks to answer three questions: are (...)
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  2. Does the no miracles argument apply to AI?Darrell P. Rowbottom, William Peden & André Curtis-Trudel - 2024 - Synthese 203 (173):1-20.
    According to the standard no miracles argument, science’s predictive success is best explained by the approximate truth of its theories. In contemporary science, however, machine learning systems, such as AlphaFold2, are also remarkably predictively successful. Thus, we might ask what best explains such successes. Might these AIs accurately represent critical aspects of their targets in the world? And if so, does a variant of the no miracles argument apply to these AIs? We argue for an affirmative answer to these questions. (...)
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  3. A Credence-based Theory-heavy Approach to Non-human Consciousness.de Weerd Christian - 2024 - Synthese 203 (171):1-26.
    Many different methodological approaches have been proposed to infer the presence of consciousness in non-human systems. In this paper, a version of the theory-heavy approach is defended. Theory-heavy approaches rely heavily on considerations from theories of consciousness to make inferences about non-human consciousness. Recently, the theory-heavy approach has been critiqued in the form of Birch's (Noûs, 56(1): 133-153, 2022) dilemma of demandingness and Shevlin's (Mind & Language, 36(2): 297-314, 2021) specificity problem. However, both challenges implicitly assume an inapt characterization of (...)
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  4.  11
    Perceptual justification and objectual attitudes.Valentina Martinis - 2024 - Synthese 203 (165):1-24.
    Some philosophers claim that perception immediately and prima facie justifies belief in virtue of its phenomenal character (Huemer, Skepticism and the veil of perception. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2001; Pryor, There is immediate justification. In: Steup M, Sosa E (eds) Contemporary debates in epistemology. Blackwell, London (2014), pp. 181–202, 2005). To explain this special justificatory power, some appeal to perception’s presentational character: the idea that perceptual experience presents its objects as existing here-and-now (Chudnoff, Intuition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013; Berghofer, (...)
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  5.  3
    Values, bias and replicability.Michał Sikorski - 2024 - Synthese 203 (164):1-25.
    The Value-free ideal of science (VFI) is a view that claims that scientists should not use non-epistemic values when they are justifying their hypotheses, and is widely considered to be obsolete in the philosophy of science. I will defend the ideal by demonstrating that acceptance of non-epistemic values, prohibited by VFI, necessitates legitimizing certain problematic scientific practices. Such practices, including biased methodological decisions or Questionable Research Practices (QRP), significantly contribute to the Replication Crisis. I will argue that the realizability of (...)
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  6. No Hope for Conciliationism.Jonathan Dixon - 2024 - Synthese 203 (148):1-30.
    Conciliationism is the family of views that rationality requires agents to reduce confidence or suspend belief in p when acknowledged epistemic peers (i.e. agents who are (approximately) equally well-informed and intellectually capable) disagree about p. While Conciliationism is prima facie plausible, some have argued that Conciliationism is not an adequate theory of peer disagreement because it is self-undermining. Responses to this challenge can be put into two mutually exclusive and exhaustive groups: the Solution Responses which deny Conciliationism is self-undermining and (...)
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  7. Bridgman and the Normative Independence of Science: An Individual Physicist in the Shadow of the Bomb.Mahmoud Jalloh - 2024 - Synthese 203 (141):1-24.
    Physicist Percy Bridgman has been taken by Heather Douglas to be an exemplar defender of an untenable value-free ideal for science. This picture is complicated by a detailed study of Bridgman's philosophical views of the relation between science and society. The normative autonomy of science, a version of the value-free ideal, is defended. This restriction on the provenance of permissible values in science is given a basis in Bridgman's broader philosophical commitments, most importantly, his view that science is primarily an (...)
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  8. ‘I knew all along’: making sense of post-self-deception judgments.Martina Orlandi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (136):1-15.
    Individuals deceive themselves about a wide variety of subjects. In fortunate circumstances, where those who manage to leave self-deception embrace reality, an interesting phenomenon occurs: the formerly self-deceived often confess to having ‘known [the truth] all along’. These post-self-deception judgments are not conceptually innocuous; if genuine, they call into question the core feature of prominent theories of self-deception, namely that self-deceived individuals do not believe the unwelcome truth. In this paper I argue that post-self-deception judgments do not track a belief, (...)
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  9.  1
    The Humean theory of motivation: much ado about nothing?Voin Milevski - 2024 - Synthese 203 (133):1-18.
    According to the Humean theory of motivation, desire is identified as the primary source of motivation, while cognitive states like beliefs are recognized as necessary but not sufficient conditions. This paper conducts a comprehensive analysis of the established teleological argument supporting the Humean theory of motivation. The analysis finds that recent anti-Humean strategies cannot conclusively challenge the core premises of this argument. While this result may initially imply a strong and convincing defense of the Humean theory against opponents’ criticisms, it (...)
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  10.  57
    Defending the pure causal-historical theory of reference fixing for natural kind terms.Jaakko Tapio Reinikainen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (131):1-15.
    According to the causal-historical theory of reference, natural kind terms refer in virtue of complicated causal relations the speakers have to their environment. A common objection to the theory is that purely causal relations are insufficient to fix reference in a determinate fashion. The so-called hybrid view holds that what is also needed for successful fixing are true descriptions associated in the mind of the speaker with the referent. The main claim of this paper is that the objection fails: reference (...)
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  11.  86
    Experiment-Driven Rationalism.Daniele Bruno Garancini - 2024 - Synthese 203 (109):1-27.
    Philosophers debate about which logical system, if any, is the One True Logic. This involves a disagreement concerning the sufficient conditions that may single out the correct logic among various candidates. This paper discusses whether there are necessary conditions for the correct logic; that is, I discuss whether there are features such that if a logic is correct, then it has those features, although having them might not be sufficient to single out the correct logic. Traditional rationalist arguments suggest that (...)
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  12.  33
    An idealised account of mechanistic computation.Luke Kersten - 2024 - Synthese 203 (99):1-23.
    The mechanistic account of computation offers one promising and influential theory of computational implementation. The aim of this paper is to shore up its conceptual foundations by responding to several recent challenges. After outlining and responding to a recent proposal from Kuokkanen (2022a), I suggest that computational description should be conceptualised as a form of idealisation (selectively attending to modified subsets of model features) rather than abstraction (selectively attending to subsets of features within a target system). I argue that this (...)
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  13.  55
    HOTT and Heavy: Higher-Order Thought Theory and the Theory-Heavy Approach to Animal Consciousness.Jacob Berger & Myrto Mylopoulos - 2024 - Synthese 203 (98):1-21.
    According to what Birch (2022) calls the theory-heavy approach to investigating nonhuman-animal consciousness, we select one of the well-developed theories of consciousness currently debated within contemporary cognitive science and investigate whether animals exhibit the neural structures or cognitive abilities posited by that theory as sufficient for consciousness. Birch argues, however, that this approach is in general problematic because it faces what he dubs the dilemma of demandingness—roughly, that we cannot use theories that are based on the human case to assess (...)
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  14.  88
    Environmental Epistemology.Dallas Amico-Korby, Maralee Harrell & David Danks - 2024 - Synthese 203 (81):1-24.
    We argue that there is a large class of questions—specifically questions about how to epistemically evaluate environments that currently available epistemic theories are not well-suited for answering, precisely because these questions are not about the epistemic state of particular agents or groups. For example, if we critique Facebook for being conducive to the spread of misinformation, then we are not thereby critiquing Facebook for being irrational, or lacking knowledge, or failing to testify truthfully. Instead, we are saying something about the (...)
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  15. The omniscient speaker puzzle.Aleksander Domosławski - 2024 - Synthese 203 (65):1-16.
    The epistemicist theory aims to explain ignorance due to vagueness by semantic plasticity: the shiftiness of intensions across close possible worlds resulting from shiftiness in usage. This explanation is challenged by the Omniscient Speaker Puzzle (Sennet in Philos Stud 161(2):273–285, 2012). Suppose that an omniscient speaker, Barney, who knows all the facts about usage and how these facts determine the intensions of expressions, cooks up a scheme to stabilise the intension of a normally semantically plastic term like ‘rich’. It seems (...)
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  16.  72
    Don’t get it wrong! On understanding and its negative phenomena.Haomiao Yu & Stefan Petkov - 2024 - Synthese 203 (48):1-33.
    This paper studies the epistemic failures to reach understanding in relation to scientific explanations. We make a distinction between genuine understanding and its negative phenomena—lack of understanding and misunderstanding. We define explanatory understanding as inclusive as possible, as the epistemic success that depends on abilities, skills, and correct explanations. This success, we add, is often supplemented by specific positive phenomenology which plays a part in forming epistemic inclinations—tendencies to receive an insight from familiar types of explanations. We define lack of (...)
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  17. The once and always possible.Kory Matteoli - 2024 - Synthese 203 (28):1-32.
    In Death and Nonexistence, Palle Yourgrau defends what he calls the principle of Prior Possibility: nothing comes to exist unless it was previously possible that it exists. While this seems like a plausible principle, it’s not strong enough; it allows the impossible to come to exist. I argue for a stronger principle: nothing exists unless its existence has always been possible. Further, I argue that we then have reason to accept a surprising result: nothing exists unless its existence is always (...)
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  18. Straightening the ‘value-laden turn’: minimising the influence of extra-scientific values in science.Philippe Stamenkovic - 2024 - Synthese 203 (20):1-38.
    Straightening the current ‘value-laden turn’ (VLT) in the philosophical literature on values in science, and reviving the legacy of the value-free ideal of science (VFI), this paper argues that the influence of extra-scientific values should be minimised—not excluded—in the core phase of scientific inquiry where claims are accepted or rejected. Noting that the original arguments for the VFI (ensuring the truth of scientific knowledge, respecting the autonomy of science results users, preserving public trust in science) have not been satisfactorily addressed (...)
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  19.  29
    The conceptual foundation of the propensity interpretation of fitness.Zachary J. Mayne - 2024 - Synthese 203 (10).
    The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) holds that evolutionary fitness is an objectively probabilistic causal disposition (i.e., a propensity) toward reproductive success. I characterize this as the conceptual foundation of the PIF. Reproductive propensities are meant to explain trends in actual reproductive outcomes. In this paper, I analyze the minimal theoretical and ontological commitments that must accompany the explanatory power afforded by the PIF’s foundation. I discuss three senses in which these commitments are less burdensome than has typically been recognized: (...)
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  20. The Promise of Supersymmetry.Enno Fischer - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-21.
    Supersymmetry (SUSY) has long been considered an exceptionally promising theory. A central role for the promise has been played by naturalness arguments. Yet, given the absence of experimental findings it is questionable whether the promise will ever be fulfilled. Here, I provide an analysis of the promises associated with SUSY, employing a concept of pursuitworthiness. A research program like SUSY is pursuitworthy if (1) it has the plausible potential to provide high epistemic gain and (2) that gain can be achieved (...)
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  21. “Humanity is another corporeity”: The evolution of human bodily appearance and sociality.Hayden Kee - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-27.
    Some accounts of human distinctiveness focus on anatomical features, such as bipedalism and brain size. Others focus on cognitive abilities, such as tool use and manufacture, language, and social cognition. Embodied approaches to cognition highlight the internal relations between these two groups of characteristics, arguing that cognition is rooted in and shaped by embodiment. This paper complements existing embodied approaches by focusing on an underappreciated aspect of embodiment: the appearance of the human body as condition of human sociality and cognition. (...)
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  22. The nature and difficulty of physical efforts.Olivier Massin - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-24.
    We make physical efforts when we swim, carry shopping bags, push heavy doors, or cycle up hills. A growing concern among philosophers and scientists in related fields is the absence of a well-defined concept for physical efforts. This paper addresses this issue by presenting a force-based definition of physical efforts. In Sect. 1, we explore the shortcomings of existing definitions of effort. Section 2 introduces the force-based account of efforts according to which making an effort consists in exerting a force (...)
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  23.  1
    Temporalism and Eternalism Reconsidered: Perceptual Experience, Memory, and Knowledge.Tamer Nawar - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-20.
    Traditional debates between semantic temporalists and eternalists appeal to the efficacy of temporal operators and the intuitive (in)validity of instances of temporal reasoning. In this paper, I argue that such debates are inconclusive at best and that under-explored arguments concerning perceptual experience, memory, and knowledge offer more productive means of advancing debates between temporalists and eternalists and rendering salient several significant potential costs and benefits of these views.
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  24. Representationalism and rationality: why mental representation is real.Krystyna Bielecka & Marcin Miłkowski - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-17.
    This paper presents an argument for the realism about mechanisms, contents, and vehicles of mental representation at both the personal and subpersonal levels, and showcases its role in instrumental rationality and proper cognitive functioning. By demonstrating how misrepresentation is necessary for learning from mistakes and explaining certain failures of action, we argue that fallible rational agents must have mental representations with causally relevant vehicles of content. Our argument contributes to ongoing discussions in philosophy of mind and cognitive science by challenging (...)
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  25.  22
    Metrics in biodiversity conservation and the value-free ideal.Federica Bocchi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-27.
    This paper examines one aspect of the legacy of the Value-Free Ideal in conservation science: the view that measurements and metrics are value-free epistemic tools detached from ideological, ethical, social, and, generally, non-epistemic considerations. Contrary to this view, I will argue that traditional measurement practices entrenched in conservation are in fact permeated with non-epistemic values. I challenge the received view by revealing three non-epistemic assumptions underlying traditional metrics: (1) a human-environment demarcation, (2) the desirability of a people-free landscape, and (3) (...)
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  26. Inquiry, value, and some peculiarities of the Pyrrhonist’s psychology.Chelsea Bowden - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-22.
    This paper offers a new psychological reading of the Pyrrhonian Skeptic and their way of life (the so-called Skeptic Way). The Pyrrhonist, I suggest, has three peculiar psychological hallmarks: (1) she is psychologically compelled to inquire after the truth, (2) she is persistently and repeatedly disturbed by anomaly in the facts, and (3) she is able to achieve tranquility (_ataraxia_) as a result of suspension of judgment (_epochē_). This new psychological interpretation has two payoffs. First, it helps us resolve the (...)
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  27. Rethinking core affect: the role of dominance in animal behaviour and welfare research.Víctor Carranza-Pinedo - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-23.
    This paper critically examines the philosophical underpinnings of current experimental investigation into animal affect-related decision-making. Animals’ affective states are standardly operationalised by linking positively valenced states with “approach” behaviours and negatively valenced states with “avoidance” behaviours. While this operationalisation has provided a helpful starting point to investigate the ecological role of animals’ internal states, there is extensive evidence that valenced and motivational states do not always neatly align, namely, instances where “liking” does not entail “wanting” (and vice versa). To address (...)
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  28.  1
    Testimonial justification under epistemic conflict of interest.Philippe Colo - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-19.
    Can a hearer be rationally justified to have beliefs based on testimony alone when the source of his information is known to have conflicting epistemic goals? When it comes to belief justification, existing theories either recommend avoiding epistemic conflicts of interest or ignoring them. This is an important epistemological limitation. A theory that comes in degrees, capable of explaining what beliefs we are justified to hold and why, despite epistemic conflict of interest, is still lacking. Building on a game-theoretical approach, (...)
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  29. Rational representations of uncertainty: a pluralistic approach to bounded rationality.Isaac Davis - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-30.
    An increasingly prevalent approach to studying human cognition is to construe the mind as optimally allocating limited cognitive resources among cognitive processes. Under this bounded rationality approach (Icard in Philos Sci 85(1):79–101, 2018; Simon in Utility and probability, Palgrave Macmillan, 1980), it is common to assume that resource-bounded cognitive agents approximate normative solutions to statistical inference problems, and that much of the bias and variability in human performance can be explained in terms of the approximation strategies we employ. In this (...)
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  30. Gatekeeping should be conserved in the open science era.Hugh Desmond - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-26.
    The elimination of gatekeepers for scientific publication has been represented as a means to promote the core moral values of open science, including democratic decision-making and inclusiveness. I argue that this framing ignores the reality that gatekeeping is a way of structuring prestige hierarchies, and that without gatekeeping, some other structuring would be needed: the flattening of prestige hierarchies is not possible given scientists’ need to navigate information overload. I consider two potential restructurings of prestige hierarchies, one based on citation (...)
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  31.  76
    Anatomy’s role in mechanistic explanations of organism behaviour.Aliya R. Dewey - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-32.
    Explanations in behavioural neuroscience are often said to be mechanistic in the sense that they explain an organism’s behaviour by describing the activities and organisation of the organism’s parts that are “constitutively relevant” to organism behaviour. Much has been said about the constitutive relevance of working parts (in debates about the so-called “mutual manipulability criterion”), but relatively little has been said about the constitutive relevance of the organising relations between working parts. Some New Mechanists seem to endorse a simple causal-linking (...)
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  32.  93
    Expertise, moral subversion, and climate deregulation.Ahmad Elabbar - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-28.
    The weaponizing of scientific expertise to oppose regulation has been extensively studied. However, the relevant studies, belonging to the emerging discipline of agnotology, remain focused on the analysis of empirical corruption: of misinformation, doubt mongering, and other practices that cynically deploy expertise to render audiences ignorant of empirical facts. This paper explores the wrongful deployment of expertise beyond empirical corruption. To do so, I develop a broader framework of morally subversive expertise, building on recent work in political philosophy (Howard, 2016). (...)
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  33. Scrutinizing the foundations: could large language models be solipsistic?Andreea Esanu - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-20.
    In artificial intelligence literature, “delusions” are characterized as the generation of unfaithful output from reliable source content. There is an extensive literature on computer-generated delusions, ranging from visual hallucinations, like the production of nonsensical images in Computer Vision, to nonsensical text generated by (natural) language models, but this literature is predominantly taxonomic. In a recent research paper, however, a group of scientists from DeepMind successfully presented a formal treatment of an entire class of delusions in generative AI models (i.e., models (...)
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  34. Extended animal cognition.Marco Facchin & Giulia Leonetti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-22.
    According to the extended cognition thesis, an agent’s cognitive system can sometimes include extracerebral components amongst its physical constituents. Here, we show that such a view of cognition has an unjustifiably anthropocentric focus, for it tends to depict cognitive extensions as a human-only affair. In contrast, we will argue that if human cognition extends, then the cognition of many non-human animals extends too, for many non-human animals rely on the same cognition-extending strategies humans rely on. To substantiate this claim, we (...)
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  35. Metaphysical laws and the directionality of grounding.Owen Forbes - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-29.
    _Grounding_ is meant to be a metaphysically explanatory relation of non-causal constitutive determination. Recently there has been significant interest in the idea that there might be ‘laws of metaphysics’ for grounding, analogous to the laws of nature for causation. In this paper I argue that current accounts of the structure of law-based grounding (focusing on Jonathan Schaffer’s structural equation modeling account) do not capture grounding’s directionality—a central feature. The formal account must be supplemented to satisfy this demand and give a (...)
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  36. On metaphors of mathematics: Between Blumenberg’s nonconceptuality and Grothendieck’s waves.Michael Friedman - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-27.
    How can metaphors account for the formation of mathematical concepts, for changes in mathematical practices, or for the handling of mathematical problems? Following Hans Blumenberg’s thought, this paper aims to unfold a possible answer to these questions by viewing the metaphorical frameworks accompanying these changes as essential for an understanding of how changes in mathematical practices have been accounted for. I will focus especially on cases in which these changes were caused by encounters with a mathematical object which did not (...)
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  37. If presentism is false, then I don’t exist. On common-sense presentism.Jean-Baptiste Guillon - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-36.
    For many presentist philosophers, e.g. Zimmerman (Contemp Debates Metaphys 10:211–225, 2008), a central motivation in favour of presentism is that it is supposed to be part of common sense. But the fact that common-sense intuitions are indeed presentist is usually taken for granted (and sometimes also conceded by eternalists). As has been shown in other domains of philosophy (e.g. free will), we should be careful when attributing some supposed intuitions to common sense, and Torrengo (Phenomenology and Mind 12: 50–55, 2017) (...)
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  38. Probabilistic epistemic logic based on neighborhood semantics.Meiyun Guo & Yixin Pan - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-24.
    In the literature, different frameworks of probabilistic epistemic logic have been proposed. Most of these frameworks define knowledge or belief by relational structure. In this paper, we explore the relationship between probability and belief, based on the Lockean thesis, and adopt neighborhood semantics that defines belief directly using probability. We provide a sound and weakly complete axiomatization for our framework. We also try to explain the lottery paradox by modelling it within our framework. Moreover, the paper presents findings concerning the (...)
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  39. Singular thought without temporal representation?Christoph Hoerl - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-17.
    What is required for an individual to entertain a singular thought about an object they have encountered before but that is currently no longer within their perceptual range? More specifically, does the individual have to think about the object as having been encountered in the past? I consider this question against the background of the assumption that non-human animals are cognitively ‘stuck in the present’. Does this mean that, for them, ‘out of sight is out of mind’, as, e.g., Schopenhauer (...)
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  40.  9
    Reflective equilibrium in practice and model selection: a methodological proposal from a survey experiment on the theories of distributive justice.Akira Inoue, Kazumi Shimizu, Daisuke Udagawa & Yoshiki Wakamatsu - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-31.
    In political philosophy, reflective equilibrium is a standard method used to systematically reconcile intuitive judgments with theoretical principles. In this paper, we propose that survey experiments and a model selection method—i.e., the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC)-based model selection method—can be viewed together as a methodological means of satisfying the epistemic desiderata implicit in reflective equilibrium. To show this, we conduct a survey experiment on two theories of distributive justice, prioritarianism and sufficientarianism. Our experimental test case and AIC-based model selection method (...)
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  41.  9
    Can episodic memory deter cheating and promote altruism?Nazim Keven - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-18.
    Episodic memory gives us the ability to mentally travel back in time to revisit and relive past experiences. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the function of episodic memory. According to the orthodox view, episodic memory should be considered a part of a constructive system that simulates the future for sophisticated foresight and flexible planning. In this paper, I offer a novel alternative view. I argue that episodic memory provides invaluable information about the past behavior of (...)
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  42. The two ideals shaping the content of modern science.Janet A. Kourany - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-12.
    Much has been written over the years regarding the norms, values, and ideals of modern science—in a word, what is expected of science and scientists. Most frequently, however, attention has focused on the conduct expected of scientists (e.g., Merton’s norms) rather than on the specific content expected of their scientific contributions, and attention has also tended to focus on the current scene rather than on the events that produced it. So. a kind of two-fold gap exists in our understanding of (...)
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  43. Factivity, hallucination, and justification.Jack C. Lyons - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-29.
    Veridically perceiving puts us in a better epistemic position than, say, hallucinating does, at least in that veridical perception affords knowledge of our environment in a way that hallucination does not. But is there any _further_ epistemic advantage? Some authors have recently argued that veridical perception provides a superior epistemic benefit over hallucination not just concerning knowledge, but concerning justification as well. This contrasts with a traditional view according to which experience provides justification irrespective of whether it’s veridical or hallucinatory. (...)
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  44. Defending internalism about unconscious phenomenal character.Tomáš Marvan & Sam Coleman - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-18.
    Two important questions arise concerning the properties that constitute the phenomenal characters of our experiences: first, where these properties exist, and, second, whether they are tied to our consciousness of them. Such properties can either exist externally to the perceiving subject, or internally to her. This article argues that phenomenal characters, and specifically the phenomenal characters of colours, may exist independently of consciousness and that they are internal to the subject. We defend this combination of claims against a recent criticism (...)
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  45.  2
    The sensitivity of legal proof.Guido Melchior - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-23.
    The proof paradox results from conflicting intuitions concerning different types of fallible evidence in a court of law. We accept fallible individual evidence but reject fallible statistical evidence even when the conditional probability that the defendant is guilty given the evidence is the same, a seeming inconsistency. This paper defends a solution to the proof paradox, building on a sensitivity account of checking and settling a question. The proposed sensitivity account of legal proof not only requires sensitivity simpliciter but sensitivity (...)
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  46. The function argument for ascribing interests.Parisa Moosavi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-22.
    In the debate over the moral status of nonsentient organisms, biocentrists argue that all living things, including nonsentient ones, have interests of their own. They often defend this claim by arguing that living organisms are goal-directed, functionally organized systems. This argument for ascribing interests has faced a serious challenge that is sometimes called the Problem of Scope. Critics have argued that ascribing interests on the basis of functional organization would have implausible implications regarding the scope of the argument, such as (...)
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  47. Natural language syntax complies with the free-energy principle.Elliot Murphy, Emma Holmes & Karl Friston - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-35.
    Natural language syntax yields an unbounded array of hierarchically structured expressions. We claim that these are used in the service of active inference in accord with the free-energy principle (FEP). While conceptual advances alongside modelling and simulation work have attempted to connect speech segmentation and linguistic communication with the FEP, we extend this program to the underlying computations responsible for generating syntactic objects. We argue that recently proposed principles of economy in language design—such as “minimal search” criteria from theoretical syntax—adhere (...)
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  48. Epistemic ownership and the practical/epistemic parallelism.Jesús Navarro - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):163.
    We may succed in the fulfilment of our desires but still fail to properly own our practical life, perhaps because we acted as addicts, driven by desires that are alien to our will, or as “wantons,” satisfying the desires that we simply happen to have (Frankfurt, 1988 ). May we equally fail to own the outcomes of our epistemic life? If so, how may we attain epistemic ownership over it? This paper explores the structural parallellism between practical and epistemic rationality, (...)
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  49.  3
    Perceptual occlusion and the differentiation condition.Søren Overgaard - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-22.
    Numerous philosophers accept the differentiation condition, according to which one does not see an object unless one visually differentiates it from its immediate surroundings. This paper, however, sounds a sceptical note. Based on suggestions by Dretske (2007) and Gibson (2002 [1972]), I articulate two ‘principles of occlusion’ and argue that each principle admits of a reading on which it is both plausible and incompatible with the differentiation condition. To resolve the inconsistency, I suggest we abandon the differentiation condition.
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  50. The puzzle of plausible deniability.Andrew Peet - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-20.
    How is it that a speaker _S_ can at once make it obvious to an audience _A_ that she intends to communicate some proposition _p_, and yet at the same time retain plausible deniability with respect to this intention? The answer is that _S_ can bring it about that _A_ has a high justified credence that ‘_S_ intended _p_’ without putting _A_ in a position to know that ‘_S_ intended _p_’. In order to achieve this _S_ has to exploit a (...)
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  51. Introduction to the topical collection ‘locating representations in the brain: interdisciplinary perspectives’.Sarah K. Robins & Felipe De Brigard - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-18.
  52. Defining the method of reflective equilibrium.Michael W. Schmidt - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-22.
    The method of reflective equilibrium (MRE) is a method of justification popularized by John Rawls and further developed by Norman Daniels, Michael DePaul, Folke Tersman, and Catherine Z. Elgin, among others. The basic idea is that epistemic agents have justified beliefs if they have succeeded in forming their beliefs into a harmonious system of beliefs which they reflectively judge to be the most plausible. Despite the common reference to MRE as a method, its mechanisms or rules are typically expressed in (...)
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  53.  80
    Restricted nominalism about number and its problems.Stewart Shapiro, Richard Samuels & Eric Snyder - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-23.
    Hofweber (Ontology and the ambitions of metaphysics, Oxford University Press, 2016) argues for a thesis he calls “internalism” with respect to natural number discourse: no expressions purporting to refer to natural numbers in fact refer, and no apparent quantification over natural numbers actually involves quantification over natural numbers as objects. He argues that while internalism leaves open the question of whether other kinds of abstracta exist, it precludes the existence of natural numbers, thus establishing what he calls “restricted nominalism” about (...)
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  54. Can video games be philosophical?Thomas J. Spiegel - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-19.
    Some video games are said to be philosophical. Despite video games having received some attention in academic philosophy, that contention has not been sufficiently addressed. This paper investigates in what sense video games might be properly called “philosophical”. To this end, I utilize Wittgenstein’s distinction between saying and showing to get into view how some video games might be properly called philosophical. This leads to two senses of being philosophical: a conventional sense of expressing philosophy through propositions, i.e., through saying, (...)
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  55.  3
    Correction: Legal concepts and legal expertise.Kevin Tobia - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-1.
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  56.  6
    Logicality and the picture theory of language.Tue Trinh - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-25.
    I argue that there is tension in Wittgenstein’s position on trivialities (i.e. tautologies and contradictions) in the Tractatus, as it contains the following claims: (A) sentences are pictures; (B) trivialties are not pictures; (C) trivialities are sentences. A and B follow from the “picture theory” of language which Wittgenstein proposes, while C contradicts it. I discuss a way to resolve this tension in light of Logicality, a hypothesis recently developed in linguistic research. Logicality states that trivialities are excluded by the (...)
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  57. Variational propensities: development and ultimate causes.Cristina Villegas - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-23.
    This paper applies philosophical tools from the causalists/statisticalists debate to the evo-devo idea of variational tendencies as propensities biasing phenotypic change. It contends that variational properties are present in a statistical sense in some population dynamics models, particularly quantitative genetics ones, providing ultimate variational explanations. It further argues that these properties, contrary to some recent views, cannot be subsumed under natural selection. Finally, it advocates for a causalist interpretation of these explanations, where variational statistical properties indirectly refer to evo-devo’s variational (...)
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  58. The Adequacy of purposes for data: a paleoecological case study.Aja Watkins - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-28.
    According to the “adequacy-for-purpose” view of data evaluation, data should be evaluated as better or worse relative to a given research purpose and corresponding research context. In this paper, I apply the adequacy-for-purpose view to a novel case study—concerning the use of paleoecological data to make predictions about coral reef response to contemporary climate change—and then use the case study to suggest two extensions to the adequacy-for-purpose view. First, I argue that we can evaluate research purposes according to their productivity (...)
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  59. Enacted institutions, participatory sense-making and social norms.Konrad Werner - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-26.
    This paper argues that institutions are higher-level autonomous systems enacted by patterns of participatory sense-making. Therefore, unlike in the standard equilibrium theory, institutions are not themselves thought of as behavioural patterns. Instead, they are problem domains that these patterns have brought forth. Moreover, these are not merely any patterns, but only those devoted to maintaining a specific strategy of problem solving, called the strategy of ‘letting be’. The latter refers to, following Hanne de Jaegher, a balance between underdetermination and overdetermination (...)
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  60. On the gradability of knowledge how, and its relationship to motor representations and ability.Garry Young - 2024 - Synthese 203 (5):1-20.
    In this paper I defend the traditional anti-intellectualist claim that a form of knowing how to Φ (e.g., knowing how to play the guitar) exists that entails the ability to Φ (play the guitar), and that this knowledge cannot be reduced to propositions (such as ‘S knows a way _w_ to Φ’, where _w_ is a means of Φing). I also argue that S can know how to Φ in the absence of the ability to Φ, and for this knowledge (...)
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  61.  19
    The pragmatic turn in the scientific realism debate.Sandy C. Boucher & Curtis Forbes - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-23.
    In recent years there has been a noticeable yet largely unacknowledged ‘pragmatic turn’ in the scientific realism debate, inspired in part by van Fraassen’s work on ‘epistemic stances’. Features of this new approach include: an ascent to the meta-level (the focus is not so much on whether scientific realism is true, but on the prior questions of the nature of the positions in this debate, how to decide whether to be a scientific realist, etc.); a reinterpretation of scientific realism and (...)
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  62.  61
    How to lose your memory without losing your money: shifty epistemology and Dutch strategies.Darren Bradley - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-15.
    An objection to shifty epistemologies such as subject-sensitive invariantism is that it predicts that agents are susceptible to guaranteed losses. Bob Beddor (Analysis, 81, 193–198, 2021) argues that these guaranteed losses are not a symptom of irrationality, on the grounds that forgetful agents are susceptible to guaranteed losses without being irrational. I agree that forgetful agents are susceptible to guaranteed losses without being irrational– but when we investigate why, the analogy with shifty epistemology breaks down. I argue that agents with (...)
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  63.  8
    Are thick aesthetic predicates assessment-sensitive?Ramiro Caso & Eleonora Orlando - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-30.
    The aim of the paper is to evaluate the prospects for an aesthetically informed assessment-sensitive semantic account of thick aesthetic predicates (TAPs) such as 'intense', 'sombre', ‘balanced’, ‘harmonious’, etc. We distinguish two meaning dimensions concerning TAPs, truth-conditional and use-conditional or expressive, and provide a dualist semantics that posits assessment sensitivity at both levels. Then we evaluate the extent to which assessment sensitivity is an apt rendition of aesthetic discourse involving TAPs. We distinguish between experiential TAPs (‘intense’, ‘sombre’) and theoretical TAPs (...)
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  64.  4
    The playing field of empirical facts: on the interrelations between moral and empirical beliefs in reflective equilibrium.Manuel Cordes - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-30.
    What exactly is the role of empirical beliefs in moral reflective equilibrium (RE)? And if they have a part to play, can changes in our empirical beliefs effectuate changes in the moral principles we adopt? Conversely, can empirical beliefs be adjusted in light of certain moral convictions? While it is generally accepted that empirical background theory is of importance to the method of wide reflective equilibrium (WRE), this article focuses on a different aspect, namely the role of empirical beliefs that (...)
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  65.  15
    Reliabilist epistemology meets bounded rationality.Giovanni Dusi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-21.
    Epistemic reliabilism holds that a belief is justified if and only if it is produced by a reliable or truth-conducive process. I argue that reliabilism offers an epistemology for bounded rationality. This latter concept refers to normative and descriptive accounts of real-world reasoning instead of some ideal reasoning. However, as initially formulated, reliabilism involves an absolute, context-independent assessment of rationality that does not do justice to the fact that several processes are reliable in some reasoning environments but not in others, (...)
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  66.  17
    Surrogative reasoning in the sciences.Rawad El Skaf, Laura Felline, Patricia Palacios & Giovanni Valente - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-11.
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  67. Motivational pessimism and motivated cognition.Stephen Gadsby - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-18.
    I introduce and discuss an underappreciated form of motivated cognition: motivational pessimism, which involves the biasing of beliefs for the sake of self-motivation. I illustrate how motivational pessimism avoids explanatory issues that plague other (putative) forms of motivated cognition and discuss distinctions within the category, related to awareness, aetiology, and proximal goals.
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  68.  15
    Conciliationism and the Peer-undermining Problem.Kevin Gausselin - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-18.
    This paper develops a problem for conciliationism that is structurally similar to the self-undermining problem but which is immune to most of the solutions offered against it. A popular objection to conciliationism is that it undermines itself. Given the current disagreement among philosophers about conciliationism, conciliationism seems to require rejecting conciliationism. Adam Elga (2010) has influentially argued that this shows that conciliationism is an incoherent method. By recommending its own rejection, conciliationism recommends multiple, incompatible responses to the same body of (...)
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  69. Belief revision in psychotherapy.J. P. Grodniewicz - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-22.
    According to the cognitive model of psychopathology, maladaptive beliefs about oneself, others, and the world are the main factors contributing to the development and persistence of various forms of mental suffering. Therefore, the key therapeutic process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)—a therapeutic approach rooted in the cognitive model—is cognitive restructuring, i.e., a process of revision of such maladaptive beliefs. In this paper, I examine the philosophical assumptions underlying CBT and offer theoretical reasons to think that the effectiveness of belief revision (...)
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  70. Processes as variable embodiments.Nicola Guarino & Giancarlo Guizzardi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-27.
    In a number of papers, Kit Fine introduced a theory of embodiment which distinguishes between rigid and variable embodiments, and has been successfully applied to clarify the ontological nature of entities whose parts may or may not vary in time. In particular, he has applied this theory to describe a process such as the erosion of a cliff, which would be a variable embodiment whose manifestations are the different states of erosion of the cliff. We find this theory very powerful, (...)
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  71.  71
    Lagrangian possibilities.Alexandre Guay & Quentin Ruyant - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-22.
    Natural modalities are often analysed from an abstract point of view where they are associated with putative laws of nature. However, the way possibilities are represented in physics is more complex. Lagrangian mechanics, for instance, involves two different layers of modalities: kinematical and dynamical possibilities. This paper examines the status of these two layers, both in the classical and quantum case. The quantum case is particularly problematic: we identify four possible interpretive options. The upshot is that a close inspection of (...)
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  72.  32
    Correction to: On ways of being true.Mark Jago - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-1.
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  73.  95
    The impoverishment problem.Amy Kind - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-15.
    Work in philosophy of mind often engages in descriptive phenomenology, i.e., in attempts to characterize the phenomenal character of our experience. Nagel’s famous discussion of what it’s like to be a bat demonstrates the difficulty of this enterprise (1974). But while Nagel located the difficulty in our absence of an objective vocabulary for describing experience, I argue that the problem runs deeper than that: we also lack an adequate subjective vocabulary for describing phenomenology. We struggle to describe our own phenomenal (...)
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  74.  21
    Bald-faced lying to institutions: deception or manipulation.Vladimir Krstić - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-13.
    Deceptionism about lying is the view that all lies are intended to deceive. This view sits uneasily with some cases that seem to involve lies not intended to deceive. We call these lies bald-faced because the liar lies while believing that the hearer knows that they are lying. The most recent deceptionist argument put forward by Rudnicki and Odrowąż-Sypniewska (this journal) defends the view that all genuine bald-faced lies are intended to deceive some of their hearers. I argue that this (...)
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  75. Conspiracy theories, epistemic self-identity, and epistemic territory.Daniel Munro - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-28.
    This paper seeks to carve out a distinctive category of conspiracy theorist, and to explore the process of becoming a conspiracy theorist of this sort. Those on whom I focus claim their beliefs trace back to simply trusting their senses and experiences in a commonsensical way, citing what they take to be authoritative firsthand evidence or observations. Certain flat Earthers, anti-vaxxers, and UFO conspiracy theorists, for example, describe their beliefs and evidence this way. I first distinguish these conspiracy theorists by (...)
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  76.  19
    Confidence in Covid-19 models.James Nguyen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-29.
    Epidemiological models of the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 played an important role in guiding the decisions of policy-makers during the pandemic. Such models provide output projections, in the form of time -series of infections, hospitalisations, and deaths, under various different parameter and scenario assumptions. In this paper I caution against handling these outputs uncritically: raw model-outputs should not be presented as direct projections in contexts where modelling results are required to support policy -decisions. I argue that model uncertainty should be handled (...)
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  77.  6
    Memory-based modes of presentation.François Recanati - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-21.
    To deal with memory-based modes of presentation I propose a couple of revisions to the standard criterion of difference for modes of presentation attributed to Frege. First, we need to broaden the scope of the criterion so that not merely the thoughts of a given subject at a given time may or may not involve the same way of thinking of some object, but also the thoughts of a subject at different times. Second, we need to ‘relativize’ the criterion of (...)
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  78.  43
    Attitude ascriptions: a new old problem for Russell’s theory of descriptions.Stefan Rinner - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-14.
    In order to explain that sentences containing empty definite descriptions are nevertheless true or false, Russell famously analyzes sentences of the form ‘The F is G’ as ‘There is exactly one F and it is G’. Against this it has been objected that Russell’s analysis provides the wrong truth-conditions when it comes to non-doxastic attitude ascriptions. For example, according to Heim, Kripke, and Elbourne (HKE), there are circumstances in which (1) is true and (2) is false. Hans wants the ghost (...)
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  79.  22
    Normal science: not uncritical or dogmatic.Samuel Schindler - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-22.
    When Kuhn first published his _Structure of Scientific Revolutions_ he was accused of promoting an “irrationalist” account of science. Although it has since been argued that this charge is unfair in one aspect or another, the early criticism still exerts an influence on our understanding of Kuhn. In particular, normal science is often characterized as dogmatic and uncritical, even by commentators sympathetic to Kuhn. I argue not only that there is no textual evidence for this view but also that normal (...)
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  80.  13
    Moving from the mental to the behavioral in the metaphysics of social institutions.Megan Henricks Stotts - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-28.
    One particularly influential strand of the contemporary philosophical literature on the metaphysics of social institutions has been the collective acceptance approach, most prominently advocated by John Searle and Raimo Tuomela. The continuing influence of the collective acceptance approach has resulted in alternative accounts that either preserve a role for collective acceptance, or replace it with some other kind of mental state. I argue that this emphasis on the mental in the metaphysics of social institutions is a mistake. First, I raise (...)
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  81.  27
    Legal concepts and legal expertise.Kevin Tobia - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-45.
    Scholarship in experimental jurisprudence has reported surprising findings about various concepts of legal significance: _acting intentionally_, _causation_, _consent_, _knowledge, recklessness_, _reasonableness,_ and _law_ itself. Often, these studies examine laypeople’s ordinary concepts and draw broader conclusions about legal experts’ concepts. This Article questions such inferences, from empirical findings about ordinary concepts to conclusions about the concepts of those with legal expertise. It presents a case study concerning what it means to act _intentionally._ An experiment examines intentionality judgments across four populations (N (...)
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  82.  13
    Distinctively generic explanations of physical facts.Erik Weber, Kristian González Barman & Thijs De Coninck - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-30.
    We argue that two well-known examples (strawberry distribution and Konigsberg bridges) generally considered genuine cases of distinctively _mathematical_ explanation can also be understood as cases of distinctively _generic_ explanation. The latter answer resemblance questions (e.g., why did neither person A nor B manage to cross all bridges) by appealing to ‘generic task laws’ instead of mathematical necessity (as is done in distinctively mathematical explanations). We submit that distinctively generic explanations derive their explanatory force from their role in ontological unification. Additionally, (...)
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  83. Irreplaceable truth.Jamin Asay - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-20.
    Conceptual engineers are always on the lookout for concepts that can be improved upon or replaced. Kevin Scharp has argued that the concept truth is inconsistent, and that this inconsistency thwarts its ability to serve in philosophical and scientific explanatory projects, such as developing linguistic theories of meaning. In this paper I present Scharp’s view about what makes a concept inconsistent, and why he believes that truth in particular is inconsistent. Then I examine the concepts that he suggests should replace (...)
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  84.  12
    Consumer-side reference through promiscuous memory traces.Michael Barkasi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-26.
    What fixes the referents of episodic memories? While developed theories are lacking, it is generally assumed that the causal production of a memory, via memory traces, determines its referent. Recently, it has been pointed out that the “promiscuity” of memory traces poses a problem for this approach. Proposed solutions focus on finding some nonpromiscuous causal link. In this paper, I refine the problem posed by promiscuous memory traces and show that these solutions fail. By developing the question of mnemonic episodic (...)
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  85.  8
    Precedent and rest stop convergence in reflective equilibrium.Bert Baumgaertner & Charles Lassiter - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-19.
    The method of reflective equilibrium is typically characterized as a process of two kinds of adjustments: hold fixed one’s current set of commitments/intuitions and adjust rules/principles to account for them, then hold fixed those rules while making adjustments to one’s set of commitments. Repeat until no further adjustments are required. Such characterizations ignore the role of precedent, i.e., information about the commitments and rules of others and how those might serve as guides in one’s own process of deliberation. In this (...)
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  86.  43
    Is there a defensible conception of reflective equilibrium?Claus Beisbart & Georg Brun - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-26.
    The goal of this paper is to re-assess reflective equilibrium (“RE”). We ask whether there is a conception of RE that can be defended against the various objections that have been raised against RE in the literature. To answer this question, we provide a systematic overview of the main objections, and for each objection, we investigate why it looks plausible, on what standard or expectation it is based, how it can be answered and which features RE must have to meet (...)
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  87. Indexicals and communicative affordances.Adrian Briciu - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-21.
    Various data from communication that does not occur face-to-face are taken to be problematic for Kaplan’s account of indexical expressions, as is the case with the so-called answering machine paradox. One fix, developed by Sidelle (1991) and Briciu (2018), is the remote utterance view: recording artifacts are means by which speakers perform utterances at a distance, just as by means of other artifacts agents performs other types of actions at a distance. This view has faced an important objection, namely that (...)
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  88.  24
    The consequence argument and ordinary human agency.E. J. Coffman - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-11.
    Brian Cutter (Analysis 77: 278-287, 2017) argues that one of the most prominent versions of the consequence argument—viz., Peter van Inwagen’s (An Essay on Free Will. Oxford University Press, 1983) ‘Third Formal Argument’—does not support an incompatibility thesis that every paradigmatic compatibilist would reject. Justin Capes (Thought 8: 50-56, 2019) concedes Cutter’s conclusion concerning van Inwagen’s Third Formal Argument and tries to meet the important challenge that Cutter issues at the end of his paper—viz., articulate a promising version of the (...)
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  89.  9
    Lying and self-defeating prophecies.Wolfgang Freitag - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-8.
    The paper disputes the common view which holds that to lie is, essentially, to assert a disbelieved proposition. It shows by reference to self-defeating prophecies that one can lie by asserting a believed proposition, and by reference to self-fulfilling prophecies that one can be truthful by asserting a disbelieved proposition. It concludes that lying is, essentially, asserting a proposition believed to be false conditionally on the occurrence of the assertion.
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  90. Lying by explaining: an experimental study.Grzegorz Gaszczyk & Aleksandra Krogulska - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-27.
    The widely accepted view states that an intention to deceive is not necessary for lying. Proponents of this view, the so-called non-deceptionists, argue that lies are simply insincere assertions. We conducted three experimental studies with false explanations, the results of which put some pressure on non-deceptionist analyses. We present cases of explanations that one knows are false and compare them with analogical explanations that differ only in having a deceptive intention. The results show that lay people distinguish between such false (...)
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  91.  37
    Correction to: The implicit decision theory of non-philosophers.Preston Greene, Andrew J. Latham, Kristie Miller & Michael Nielsen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-2.
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  92.  19
    Bolzano’s Tortoise and a loophole for Achilles.Yannic Kappes - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-29.
    This paper discusses a novel response to two closely related regress arguments from Bolzano’s Theory of Science and Carroll’s What the Tortoise Said to Achilles. Bolzano’s argument aims to refute the thesis that full grounds must include propositions involving notions such as entailment, grounding or lawhood which link the respective grounds to their groundee. This thesis is motivated, Bolzano’s argument is reconstructed, and a response based on self-referential linking propositions is developed and defended against objections concerning self-reference and Curry’s paradox. (...)
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  93.  39
    What is a mathematical structure of conscious experience?Johannes Kleiner & Tim Ludwig - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-23.
    Several promising approaches have been developed to represent conscious experience in terms of mathematical spaces and structures. What is missing, however, is an explicit definition of what a ‘mathematical structure of conscious experience’ is. Here, we propose such a definition. This definition provides a link between the abstract formal entities of mathematics and the concreta of conscious experience; it complements recent approaches that study quality spaces, qualia spaces, or phenomenal spaces; and it provides a general method to identify and investigate (...)
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  94.  25
    Coordinated ifs and theories of conditionals.Nathan Klinedinst - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-12.
    This paper concerns the semantics of coordinated if-clauses, as in (1)-(2). It is argued that the meanings of such sentences are explained straightforwardly on theories of conditionals that tie their non- monotonic behaviour to the if-clause itself (e.g. Schlenker 2004, but not theories that tie it to a (covert) modal operator (e.g. Kratzer 1981; 1991). Coordinated if-clauses are revealing of the fine-grained compositional semantics of conditionals.
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  95. Scientific Explanation as a Guide to Ground.Markel Kortabarria & Joaquim Giannotti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-27.
    Ground is all the rage in contemporary metaphysics. But what is its nature? Some metaphysicians defend what we could call, following Skiles and Trogdon (2021), the inheritance view: it is because constitutive forms of metaphysical explanation are such-and-such that we should believe that ground is so-and-so. However, many putative instances of inheritance are not primarily motivated by scientific considerations. This limitation is harmless if one thinks that ground and science are best kept apart. Contrary to this view, we believe that (...)
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  96.  20
    Are life forms real? Aristotelian naturalism and biological science.Jennifer Ryan Lockhart & Micah Lott - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-33.
    Aristotelian naturalism (AN) holds that the norms governing the human will are special instances of a broader type of normativity that is also found in other living things: natural goodness and natural defect. Both critics and defenders of AN have tended to focus on the thorny issues that are specific to human beings. But some philosophers claim that AN faces other difficulties, arguing that its broader conception of natural normativity is incompatible with current biological science. This paper has three aims. (...)
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  97. The Hole Argument without the notion of isomorphism.Joanna Luc - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-28.
    In this paper, I argue that the Hole Argument can be formulated without using the notion of isomorphism, and for this reason it is not threatened by the criticism of Halvorson and Manchak (Br J Philos Sci, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1086/719193). Following Earman and Norton (Br J Philos Sci 38, pp. 515–525, 1987), I divide the Hole Argument into two steps: the proof of the Gauge Theorem and the transition from the Gauge Theorem to the conclusion of radical indeterminism. In the analaysis (...)
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  98. Inquiry, reasoning and the normativity of logic.van Remmen Maximilian - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-28.
    According to the traditional view in the philosophy of logic facts of logic bear normative authority regarding how one ought to reason. Usually this is to mean that the relation of logical consequence between statements has some special relevance for how one’s beliefs should cohere. However, as I will argue in this article, this is just one way in which logic is normative for reasoning. For one thing, belief is not the only kind of mental state involved in reasoning. Besides (...)
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  99.  17
    Structuralism in differential equations.Colin McLarty - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-15.
    Structuralism in philosophy of mathematics has largely focused on arithmetic, algebra, and basic analysis. Some have doubted whether distinctively structural working methods have any impact in other fields such as differential equations. We show narrowly construed structuralism as offered by Benacerraf has no practical role in differential equations. But Dedekind’s approach to the continuum already did not fit that narrow sense, and little of mathematics today does. We draw on one calculus textbook, one celebrated analysis textbook, and a monograph on (...)
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  100. Reference in remembering: towards a simulationist account.James Openshaw & Kourken Michaelian - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-32.
    Recent theories of remembering and of reference (or singular thought) have de-emphasised the role causation was thought to play in mid- to late-twentieth century theorising. According to postcausal theories of remembering, such as simulationism, instances of the psychofunctional kind _remembering_ are not, in principle, dependent on appropriate causal chains running from some event(s) remembered to the occurrence of remembering. Instead they depend only on the reliability, or proper functioning, of the cognitive system responsible for their production. According to broadly reliabilist (...)
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  101.  8
    Rigor and formalization.Pawel Pawlowski & Karim Zahidi - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-18.
    This paper critically examines and evaluates Yacin Hamami’s reconstruction of the standard view of mathematical rigor. We will argue that the reconstruction offered by Hamami is premised on a strong and controversial epistemological thesis and a strong and controversial thesis in the philosophy of mind. Secondly, we will argue that Hamami’s reconstruction of the standard view robs it of its original philosophical rationale, i.e. making sense of the notion of rigor in mathematical practice.
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  102.  24
    The distinctly zetetic significance of disagreement.Quentin Pharr - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-21.
    Recent debates about disagreement’s significance have largely focused on its _epistemic_ significance. However, given how much attention has already been paid to its epistemic significance, we might well wonder: what significance might disagreement have when we consider other related normative domains? And, in particular, what significance might it have when we consider the broader _domain of inquiry,_ or what some thinkers have called either the “zetetic” or “erotetic” domain? In response, this paper suggest three things. Firstly, it suggests how we (...)
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  103.  11
    Authenticity as self-discovery and interpretation of value.Sara Pope - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-21.
    This paper offers an alternate solution to the puzzle of transformative experience raised by Paul (2014), through an appeal to Arthur Schopenhauer’s concept of the _acquired character_, which speaks to the intuition that authenticity entails a notion of the ‘self-as-guide’ (Rivera et al., 2019 ). On Paul’s solution to the puzzle, transformative decisions may be made authentically by adopting a meta-preference concerning personal transformation, such that the self is constituted after a decision is made. Yet when comparing Paul’s account of (...)
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  104.  10
    Phenomenal character and the epistemic role of perception.Carlo Raineri - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-30.
    Naïve Realism claims that the Phenomenal Character of perception is constituted by the mind-independent objects one perceives. According to this view, the Phenomenal Character of perception is object-dependent: experiences of different objects have different Phenomenal Characters, even if those objects are qualitatively identical. Proponents of Naïve Realism often defend this conception by arguing that it is necessary to accommodate the cognitive role of perceptual experience. John Campbell has presented the most influential version of this argument, according to which only an (...)
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  105.  23
    Functionalism, interventionism, and higher-order causation.Matthew Rellihan - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-22.
    It has been argued that nonreductive physicalism’s problems with mental causation disappear if we abandon the intuitive but naïve production-based conception of causation in favor of one based on counterfactual dependence and difference-making. In recent years, this response has been thoroughly developed and defended by James Woodward, who contends that Kim’s causal exclusion argument, widely thought to be the most serious threat to nonreductive mental causation, cannot even be given a coherent formulation within Woodward’s preferred interventionist framework. But Woodward has, (...)
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  106.  17
    A note on Williamson’s Gettier cases in epistemic logic.James Simpson - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-12.
    In a recent series of papers, Timothy Williamson argues that one can reach Edmund Gettier’s conclusion that the justified-true-belief (JTB) theory of knowledge is insufficient for knowledge by constructing Gettier cases in the framework of epistemic logic. In this paper, I argue, however, that Williamson’s Gettier cases in the framework of epistemic logic crucially turn on an assumption that the JTB theorist can plausibly and justifiably reject. In particular, I argue that it is rational for the JTB theorist to reject (...)
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  107.  19
    Practical perceptual representations: a contemporary defense of an old idea.Alison A. Springle & Alessandra Buccella - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-18.
    According to ‘orthodox’ representationalism, perceptual states possess constitutive veridicality (truth, accuracy, or satisfaction) conditions. Typically, philosophers who deny orthodox representationalism endorse some variety of anti-representationalism. But we argue that these haven’t always been, and needn’t continue to be, the only options. Philosophers including Descartes, Malebranche and Helmholtz appear to have rejected orthodox representationalism while nonetheless endorsing perceptual representations of a fundamentally practical kind not captured by orthodox representationalism. Moreover, we argue that the perceptual science called on by contemporary philosophers to (...)
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  108.  5
    The teleological modal profile and subjunctive background of organic generation and growth.Preston Stovall - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-37.
    Formal methods for representing the characteristic features of organic development and growth make it possible to map the large-scale teleological structure of organic activity. This provides a basis for semantically evaluating, or providing a theory of meaning for, talk of organic activity as purposive. For the processes of organic generation and growth are subjunctively robust under a variety of influences characteristic for the kind or species in question, and these subjunctive conditions can be displayed in a two-dimensional array. After motivating (...)
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  109.  18
    Exploring, expounding & ersatzing: a three-level account of deep learning models in cognitive neuroscience.Vanja Subotić - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-28.
    Deep learning (DL) is a statistical technique for pattern classification through which AI researchers train artificial neural networks containing multiple layers that process massive amounts of data. I present a three-level account of explanation that can be reasonably expected from DL models in cognitive neuroscience and that illustrates the explanatory dynamics within a future-biased research program (Feest Philosophy of Science 84:1165–1176, 2017 ; Doerig et al. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience 24:431–450, 2023 ). By relying on the mechanistic framework (Craver Explaining the (...)
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  110.  18
    Correction to: Don’t get it wrong! On understanding and its negative phenomena.Haomiao Yu & Stefan Petkov - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-1.
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  111.  13
    What is gullibility?Yingying Zhao & Zhiqiang Hu - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-16.
    Reductionism about testimony has become less popular as philosophers have uncovered our epistemic dependence on others. Meanwhile, both non-reductionism and the interpersonal view face a challenge from gullibility. Surprisingly, the concept of gullibility has not been sustainedly examined. The primary goal in this paper is to propose an analysis of gullibility. After some introductory remarks, we begin this paper by discussing an account of gullibility in terms of insensitivity to defeaters. We argue that this account cannot accommodate cases where agents (...)
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  112. Was Wittgenstein a radical conventionalist?Ásgeir Berg - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-31.
    This paper defends a reading of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mathematics in the Lectures on the Foundation of Mathematics as a radical conventionalist one, whereby our agreement about the particular case is constitutive of our mathematical practice and ‘the logical necessity of any statement is a direct expression of a convention’ (Dummett 1959, p. 329). -/- On this view, mathematical truths are conceptual truths and our practices determine directly for each mathematical proposition individually whether it is true or false. Mathematical truths (...)
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  113.  12
    Radical epistemology, theory choice, and the priority of the epistemic.William Conner - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-21.
    Beliefs based on pernicious ideology are widespread, and they often have harmful consequences. Attempts to solve the problems these beliefs cause could benefit from epistemological work on them, so it is heartening to see more epistemologists turning to study ideological beliefs. In this paper, I discuss one recent approach, radical epistemology, which has two aims: (1) offering structural explanations of epistemic justification and (2) putting these explanations to work in opposing ideology. While I share radical epistemologists’ opposition to pernicious ideology, (...)
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  114. Aristotelian universals, strong immanence, and construction.Damiano Costa & Alessandro Giordani - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-15.
    The Aristotelian view of universals, according to which each universal generically depends for its existence on its instantiations, has recently come under attack by a series of ground-theoretic arguments. The last such arguments, presented by Raven, promises to offer several significant improvements over its predecessors, such as avoiding commitment to the transitivity of ground and offering new reasons for the metaphysical priority of universals over their instantiations. In this paper, we argue that Raven's argument does not effectively avoid said commitment (...)
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  115. Probabilifying reflective equilibrium.Finnur Dellsén - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-24.
    This paper aims to flesh out the celebrated notion of reflective equilibrium within a probabilistic framework for epistemic rationality. On the account developed here, an agent's attitudes are in reflective equilibrium when there is a certain sort of harmony between the agent's credences, on the one hand, and what the agent accepts, on the other hand. Somewhat more precisely, reflective equilibrium is taken to consist in the agent accepting, or being prepared to accept, all and only claims that follow from (...)
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  116.  66
    A defense of Isaacson’s thesis, or how to make sense of the boundaries of finite mathematics.Pablo Dopico - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-22.
    Daniel Isaacson has advanced an epistemic notion of arithmetical truth according to which the latter is the set of truths that we grasp on the basis of our understanding of the structure of natural numbers alone. Isaacson’s thesis is then the claim that Peano Arithmetic (PA) is the theory of finite mathematics, in the sense that it proves all and only arithmetical truths thus understood. In this paper, we raise a challenge for the thesis and show how it can be (...)
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  117.  20
    The social contract for science and the value-free ideal.Heather Douglas & T. Y. Branch - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-19.
    While the Value-Free Ideal (VFI) had many precursors, it became a solidified bulwark of normative claims about scientific reasoning and practice in the mid-twentieth century. Since then, it has played a central role in the philosophy of science, first as a basic presupposition of how science should work, then as a target for critique, and now as a target for replacement. In this paper, we will argue that a narrow focus on the VFI is misguided, because the VFI coalesced in (...)
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  118.  15
    Memory in two dimensions.Jordi Fernández - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-20.
    Memories can be accurate or inaccurate. They have, then, accuracy conditions. A reasonable picture of the accuracy conditions of a memory is that a memory is accurate just in case the reference of a memory satisfies the information provided by the memory. But how are the references of our memories determined exactly? And what are the accuracy conditions of memories, given their references? In this paper, I argue that the notion of accuracy conditions for memories is ambiguous. There are two (...)
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  119.  27
    Rational factionalization for agents with probabilistically related beliefs.David Peter Wallis Freeborn - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-27.
    General epistemic polarization arises when the beliefs of a population grow further apart, in particular when all agents update on the same evidence. Epistemic factionalization arises when the beliefs grow further apart, but different beliefs also become correlated across the population. I present a model of how factionalization can emerge in a population of ideally rational agents. This kind of factionalization is driven by probabilistic relations between beliefs, with background beliefs shaping how the agents’ beliefs evolve in the light of (...)
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  120.  7
    Computational systems as higher-order mechanisms.Jorge Ignacio Fuentes - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-26.
    I argue that there are different orders of mechanisms with different constitutive relevance and individuation conditions. In common first-order mechanistic explanations, constitutive relevance norms are captured by the matched-interlevel-experiments condition (Craver et al. (2021) Synthese 199:8807–8828). Regarding individuation, we say that any two mechanisms are of the same type when they have the same concrete components performing the same activities in the same arrangement. By contrast, in higher-order mechanistic explanations, we formulate the decompositions in terms of generalized basic components (GBCs). (...)
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  121.  27
    The iterative conception of set does not justify ZFC.Thomas Glasman - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-31.
    Surveying and criticising attitudes towards the role and strength of the iterative conception of set—widely seen as the justificatory basis of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with Choice—this paper highlights a tension in both contemporary and historic accounts of the iterative conception’s justificatory role: on the one hand its advocates wish to claim that it justifies ZFC, but on the other hand they abstain from stating whether the preconditions for such justification exists. Expanding the number of axioms that the conception is standardly (...)
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  122. The implicit decision theory of non-philosophers.Preston Greene, Andrew Latham, Kristie Miller & Michael Nielsen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-23.
    This paper empirically investigates whether people’s implicit decision theory is more like causal decision theory or more like a non-causal decision theory (such as evidential decision theory). We also aim to determine whether implicit causalists, without prompting and without prior education, make a distinction that is crucial to causal decision theorists: preferring something _as a news item_ and preferring it _as an object of choice_. Finally, we investigate whether differences in people’s implicit decision theory correlate with differences in their level (...)
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  123.  8
    Interdisciplinarity in the 17th century? A co-occurrence analysis of early modern German dissertation titles.Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-19.
    In this paper we examine titles of early modern German dissertations with regard to their ‘interdiscplinarity’, challenging the established consensus that interdisciplinarity evolved only in the 18th century. Based on the construction and analysis of a co-occurrence network of 909 dissertation titles published in the 17thc entury it can be shown that various dimensions of early modern interdisciplinarity should be distinguished. This concerns dissertations that connect philosophical disciplines to the ‘higher’ faculties of the early modern university (theology, jurisprudence, medicine) as (...)
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  124.  16
    Value transparency and promoting warranted trust in science communication.Kristen Intemann - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-18.
    If contextual values can play necessary and beneficial roles in scientific research, to what extent should science communicators be transparent about such values? This question is particularly pressing in contexts where there appears to be significant resistance among some non-experts to accept certain scientific claims or adopt science-based policies or recommendations. This paper examines whether value transparency can help promote non-experts’ warranted epistemic trust of experts. I argue that there is a prima facie case in favor of transparency because it (...)
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  125. Monadic panpsychism.Nino Kadić - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-18.
    One of the main obstacles for panpsychism, the view that consciousness is fundamental and ubiquitous, is the difficulty of explaining how simple subjects could combine to form complex subjects. Known as the subject combination problem, it poses a possibly insurmountable challenge to the view. In this paper, I will assume that this challenge cannot be overcome and instead present a version of panpsychism that completely avoids talk of combination. Inspired by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s metaphysics of monads, I will focus on (...)
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  126.  15
    Perceptual justification and the demands of effective agency.Griffin Klemick - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-20.
    Pragmatist responses to skepticism about empirical justification have mostly been underwhelming, either presupposing implausible theses like relativism or anti-realism, or else showing our basic empirical beliefs to be merely psychologically inevitable rather than rationally warranted. In this paper I defend a better one: a modified version of an argument by Wilfrid Sellars that we are pragmatically warranted in accepting that our perceptual beliefs are likely to be true, since their likely truth is necessary for the satisfaction of our goal of (...)
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  127. Two Forms of Functional Reductionism in Physics.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2).
    Functional reductionism characterises inter-theoretic reduction as the recovery of the upper-level behaviour described by the reduced theory in terms of the lower-level reducing theory. For instance, finding a statistical mechanical realiser that plays the functional role of thermodynamic entropy allows for establishing a reductive link between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. This view constitutes a unique approach to reduction that enjoys a number of positive features, but has received limited attention in the philosophy of science. -/- This paper aims to clarify (...)
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  128.  55
    Reflective equilibrium in logic.Ben Martin - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-39.
    Among the areas of knowledge that the method of reflective equilibrium (RE) has been applied to is that of logical validity. According to RE in logic, we come to be justified in believing a (deductive) logical theory in virtue of establishing some state of equilibrium between our initial judgements over the validity of specific (natural language) arguments and the logical principles which constitute our logical theory. Unfortunately, however, while relatively popular, RE with regards to logical theorizing is underspecified. In particular, (...)
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  129.  9
    Objectivity, shared values, and trust.Hanna Metzen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):60.
    This paper deals with the nature of trust in science. Understanding what appropriate trust in science is and why it can reasonably break down is important for improving scientists’ trustworthiness. There are two different ways in which philosophers of science think about trust in science: as based on objectivity or as based on shared values. Some authors argue that objectivity actually grounds mere reliance, not genuine trust. They draw on a distinction that philosophers of trust following Annette Baier have made (...)
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  130.  14
    An accuracy characterisation of approximate coherence.Giacomo Molinari - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-25.
    Accuracy-first epistemologists argue that rational agents have probabilistically coherent credences. But why should we care, given that we can’t help being incoherent? A common answer: probabilistic coherence is an ideal to be approximated as best one can. De Bona (in: Philos Sci 84(2), 189–213, 2017) and Staffel (in: Unsettled thoughts: a theory of degrees of rationality, Oxford University Press, 2019) show how accuracy-firsters can spell out this answer by adopting an appropriate notion of approximate coherence. In this essay, I argue (...)
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  131.  54
    Bad social norms rather than bad believers: examining the role of social norms in bad beliefs.Basil Müller - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-27.
    People with bad beliefs — roughly beliefs that conflict with those of the relevant experts and are maintained regardless of counter-evidence — are often cast as bad believers. Such beliefs are seen to be the result of, e.g., motivated or biased cognition and believers are judged to be epistemically irrational and blameworthy in holding them. Here I develop a novel framework to explain why people form bad beliefs. People with bad beliefs follow the social epistemic norms guiding how agents are (...)
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  132.  13
    Infinitism: rival or common ground in answering the epistemic regress?Brendan Murday - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-12.
    Infinitism is often presented as a rival to foundationalism and coherentism as available answers to the epistemic regress problem. The most prominent contemporary defense of infinitism, due to Peter Klein, rests on the notion that an agent can perpetually amplify the justification for her belief insofar as they are able to iteratively answer an interlocutor’s questions why the proffered grounds for their belief should count as providing justification for that belief. We show that this argument does not offer any basis (...)
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  133.  11
    A case for animal reference: beyond functional reference and meaning attribution.Giulia Palazzolo - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-20.
    Reference is a basic feature of human language. A much debated question in the scholarship on animal communication and language evolution is whether traces of the human capacity for reference can be found in animals too. Do animals refer to things with their signals in the manner that humans do? Or is reference something that is unique to human communication? Answers to these questions have shifted significantly over the years and remain contentious. In this paper, I start by reconstructing and (...)
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  134.  23
    Bayesian defeat of certainties.Michael Rescorla - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-38.
    When P(E) > 0, conditional probabilities P(H|E)\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$(H|E)$$\end{document} are given by the ratio formula. An agent engages in ratio conditionalization when she updates her credences using conditional probabilities dictated by the ratio formula. Ratio conditionalization cannot eradicate certainties, including certainties gained through prior exercises of ratio conditionalization. An agent who updates her credences only through ratio conditionalization risks permanent certainty in propositions against which she has overwhelming evidence. To avoid this undesirable consequence, (...)
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  135.  10
    Earning epistemic trustworthiness: an impact assessment model.Kristina H. Rolin - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-21.
    Epistemic trustworthiness depends not only on one’s epistemic but also on moral qualities. Such qualities need to be upheld by scientific communities and institutions as well as by individual scientific experts. While non-experts can often take scientific experts’ epistemic trustworthiness for granted, in some cases they cannot rationally treat it as the default, and they need to be convinced of the experts’ commitment to the well-being of others. This study contributes to philosophical discussions on public trust in science by introducing (...)
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  136.  10
    Should dualists locate the physical basis of experience in the head?Bradford Saad - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-18.
    Dualism holds that experiences are non-physical states that exist alongside physical states. Dualism leads to the postulation of psychophysical laws that generate experiences by operating on certain sorts of physical states. What sorts of physical states? To the limited extent that dualists have addressed this question, they have tended to favor a brain-based approach that locates the physical basis of experience in the head. In contrast, this paper develops an argument for a form of dualism on which experience has a (...)
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  137.  4
    How (not) to integrate scientific and moral realism.Leon-Philip Schäfer - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-24.
    In this essay, I seek to clarify and defend a unified account of realism, i.e. a conception of realism that does not only apply to philosophy of science, but also acknowledges how realism is understood in other philosophical disciplines—particularly, how moral realism is treated in metaethics. I will argue that integrating scientific and moral realism is less straightforward than is commonly assumed, due to several substantial, but often unnoticed disanalogies that obtain between both views. As a consequence, scientific realists should (...)
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  138. Benardete paradoxes, patchwork principles, and the infinite past.Joseph C. Schmid - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):51.
    Benardete paradoxes involve a beginningless set each member of which satisfies some predicate just in case no earlier member satisfies it. Such paradoxes have been wielded on behalf of arguments for the impossibility of an infinite past. These arguments often deploy patchwork principles in support of their key linking premise. Here I argue that patchwork principles fail to justify this key premise.
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  139.  10
    Functionalism, integrity, and digital consciousness.Derek Shiller - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-20.
    The prospect of consciousness in artificial systems is closely tied to the viability of functionalism about consciousness. Even if consciousness arises from the abstract functional relationships between the parts of a system, it does not follow that any digital system that implements the right functional organization would be conscious. Functionalism requires constraints on what it takes to properly implement an organization. Existing proposals for constraints on implementation relate to the integrity of the parts and states of the realizers of roles (...)
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  140.  9
    What is an experiment in mathematical practice? New evidence from mining the Mathematical Reviews.Henrik Kragh Sørensen, Sophie Kjeldbjerg Mathiasen & Mikkel Willum Johansen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-21.
    From a purely formalist viewpoint on the philosophy of mathematics, experiments cannot (and should not) play a role in warranting mathematical statements but must be confined to heuristics. Yet, due to the incorporation of new mathematical methods such as computer-assisted experimentation in mathematical practice, experiments are now conducted and used in a much broader range of epistemic practices such as concept formation, validation, and communication. In this article, we combine corpus studies and qualitative analyses to assess and categorize the epistemic (...)
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  141.  7
    Pragmatist reflective equilibrium.Wibren van der Burg - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-26.
    Rawls’ notion of reflective equilibrium has a hybrid character. It is embedded in the pragmatist tradition, but also includes various Kantian and other non-pragmatist elements. I argue that we should discard all non-pragmatist elements and develop reflective equilibrium in a consistently pragmatist manner. I argue that this pragmatist approach is the best way to defend reflective equilibrium against various criticisms, partly by embracing the critiques as advantages. I begin with discussing how each of the three versions of reflective equilibrium in (...)
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  142. Paying attention to attention: psychological realism and the attention economy.Dylan J. White - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-22.
    In recent years, philosophers have identified a number of moral and psychological harms associated with the attention economy (Alysworth & Castro, 2021; Castro & Pham, 2020; Williams, 2018). Missing from many of these accounts of the attention economy, however, is what exactly attention is. As a result of this neglect of the cognitive science of attention, many of these accounts are not empirically credible. They rely on oversimplified and unsophisticated accounts of not only attention, but self- control, and addiction as (...)
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  143.  6
    Diseases as social problems.Jesús Zamora-Bonilla & Cristian Saborido - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-16.
    In this paper we articulate a characterization of the concept of disease as a social problem. We argue that, from a social ontology point of view, diseases are problems that are identified and addressed within the framework of concrete social institutions and practices (those that shape medicine). This approach allows us to overcome the classical distinction between naturalist and normativist approaches in the philosophy of medicine, taking into account both the material and the symbolic factors that shape the categories and (...)
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  144.  14
    How the evaluability bias shapes transformative decisions.Yoonseo Zoh, L. A. Paul & M. J. Crockett - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-22.
    Our paper contributes to the rapidly expanding body of experimental research on transformative decision making, and in the process, marks out a novel empirical interpretation for assessments of subjective value in transformative contexts. We start with a discussion of the role of subjective value in transformative decisions, and then critique extant experimental work that explores this role, with special attention to Reuter and Messerli (2018). We argue that current empirical treatments miss a crucial feature of practical deliberation manifesting across a (...)
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  145.  11
    Psychophysical neutrality and its descendants: a brief primer for dual-aspect monism.Harald Atmanspacher - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-21.
    A key ingredient of the metaphysical doctrine of dual-aspect monism is a psychophysically neutral domain, of which mental and physical aspects arise as epistemic descendants that manifest themselves by decomposition. This primer first introduces some elementary notions to define the basic concepts needed to understand the approach, such as those of states, state spaces, observables, partitions and correlations. Using these notions, the concepts of decomposition and manifestation are explained, and a differentiated view of the mereological distinction of wholes and parts (...)
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  146.  14
    Tensed truth, temporal particularity, and the fixity of the past.Julian Bacharach - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-20.
    Our ordinary conception of time has it that there are temporal particulars: not only do people do things, but there are particular doings by people; not only are we born, but the birth of each one of us was a particular event, and each of us will have our own particular death. Temporal particulars in this sense are individuated, fundamentally, by their temporal locations or relations, rather than by their intrinsic or qualitative characteristics. In this respect they are unrepeatable, not (...)
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  147.  17
    Causal reasoning from almost first principles.Alexander Bochman - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-34.
    A formal theory of causal reasoning is presented that encompasses both Pearl’s approach to causality and several key formalisms of nonmonotonic reasoning in Artificial Intelligence. This theory will be derived from a single rationality principle of causal acceptance for propositions. However, this principle will also set the theory of causal reasoning apart from common representational approaches to reasoning formalisms.
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  148.  5
    Components of arithmetic theory acceptance.Thomas M. Colclough - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-31.
    This paper ties together three threads of discussion about the following question: in accepting a system of axioms S, what else are we thereby warranted in accepting, on the basis of accepting S? First, certain foundational positions in the philosophy of mathematics are said to be epistemically stable, in that there exists a coherent rationale for accepting a corresponding system of axioms of arithmetic, which does not entail or otherwise rationally oblige the foundationalist to accept statements beyond the logical consequences (...)
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  149.  14
    Pregnancy, a test case for immunology.Arjun Devanesan - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-19.
    The traditional conception of immune function is that of a system which differentiates the organism’s own tissues (the self) from any foreign invaders (nonself), preserving the former by rejecting the latter. In a mammalian pregnancy, however, the immunologically foreign foetus is accepted by the gestator’s immune system. This presents a serious challenge to the self–nonself theory which has sometimes been called the immunological paradox of pregnancy. In this paper I shall defend the self–nonself theory against the critique posed by Thomas (...)
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  150.  7
    Deep convolutional neural networks are not mechanistic explanations of object recognition.Bojana Grujičić - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-28.
    Given the extent of using deep convolutional neural networks to model the mechanism of object recognition, it becomes important to analyse the evidence of their similarity and the explanatory potential of these models. I focus on one frequent method of their comparison—representational similarity analysis, and I argue, first, that it underdetermines these models as how-actually mechanistic explanations. This happens because different similarity measures in this framework pick out different mechanisms across DCNNs and the brain in order to correspond them, and (...)
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  151.  9
    The hybrid account of activities.Kalewold Hailu Kalewold - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-20.
    According to an influential account of the new mechanistic philosophy of science, entities and activities compose mechanisms. However, the new mechanists have paid too little attention to activities. Critics have charged that accounts of activities in the new mechanism literature are philosophically uninformative and opaque. This paper defends a novel account of causally productive activities, which I call the Hybrid Account, that marries the two dominant philosophical approaches to causation: production and difference-making. The Hybrid Account of Activities (HAA) identifies causally (...)
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  152.  9
    Propter quid demonstrations: Roger Bacon on geometrical causes in natural philosophy.Yael Kedar - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-21.
    In Posterior Analytics 1.13, Aristotle introduced a distinction between two kinds of demonstrations: of the fact (quia), and of the reasoned fact (propter quid). Both demonstrations take a syllogistic form, in which the middle term links either two facts (in the case of quia demonstrations) or a proximate cause and a fact (in the case of propter quid demonstrations). While Aristotle stated that all the terms of one demonstration must be taken from within the same subject matter, he admitted some (...)
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  153.  16
    A naturalist approach to social ontology.Harold Kincaid - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-18.
    I argue that a certain kind of naturalist approach to social ontology is likely to be both philosophically fruitful and relevant to empirical social science. The kind of naturalism I employ might be called contextualism, which emphasizes the constant presence of assumed background knowledge, is suspicious of general inference rules and all or nothing claims about the ontology of the social sciences, and argues that Quine’s quantificational criterion for ontological commitment has to be supplemented with local interpretations and arguments about (...)
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  154.  13
    Performative updates and the modeling of speech acts.Manfred Krifka - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-31.
    This paper develops a way to model performative speech acts within a framework of dynamic semantics. It introduces a distinction between performative and informative updates, where informative updates filter out indices of context sets (cf. Stalnaker, Cole (ed), Pragmatics, Academic Press, 1978), whereas performative updates change their indices (cf. Szabolcsi, Kiefer (ed), Hungarian linguistics, John Benjamins, 1982). The notion of index change is investigated in detail, identifying implementations by a function or by a relation. Declarations like _the meeting is (hereby) (...)
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  155.  14
    Broken wills and ill beliefs: Szaszianism, expressivism, and the doubly value-laden nature of mental disorder.Miguel Núñez de Prado-Gordillo - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-26.
    Critical psychiatry has recently echoed Szasz’s longstanding concerns about medical understandings of mental distress. According to Szaszianism, the analogy between mental and somatic disorders is illegitimate because the former presuppose psychosocial and ethical norms, whereas the latter merely involve deviations from natural ones. So-called “having-it-both-ways” views have contested that social norms and values play a role in _both_ mental and somatic healthcare, thus rejecting that the influence of socio-normative considerations in mental healthcare compromises the analogy between mental and somatic disorders. (...)
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  156.  12
    Why a Gricean-style defense of the vacuous truth of counterpossibles won’t work, but a defense based on heuristics just might.Tomasz Puczyłowski - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-18.
    Counterpossibles are counterfactuals with an impossible antecedent. According to the orthodox view of counterfactuals, all counterpossibles are vacuously true. This is puzzling because some counterpossible statements seem to be false. The paper analyzes two approaches to explaining why certain counterpossibles, though perhaps true, may appear to be false. The first, which appeals to the Gricean mechanism of conversational implicatures, asserts that some counterpossibles appear to be false because their assertion carries with it a false conversational implicature. However, I argue that, (...)
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  157.  14
    Definite totalities and determinate truth in conceptual structuralism.Matteo Zicchetti & Martin Fischer - 2024 - Synthese 203 (1):1-22.
    This article investigates the connection and dependence between the definiteness of the totalities involved in mathematical structures and the determinateness of statements about that structure. From a logical perspective, we investigate whether logical principles expressing the definiteness of totalities license the use of classical logic. From a philosophical perspective, this article provides a reconstruction of Solomon Feferman’s claim that the definiteness of the natural number conception implies the determinateness of arithmetical statements and therefore justifies the adoption of classical logic for (...)
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  158.  87
    A deflationary approach to legal ontology.Miguel Garcia-Godinez - 2024 - Synthese 203:1-20.
    Contra recent, inflationary views, the paper submits a deflationary approach to legal ontology. It argues, in particular, that to answer ontological questions about legal entities, we only need conceptual analysis and empirical investigation. In developing this proposal, it follows Amie Thomasson’s ‘easy ontology’ and her strategy for answering whether ordinary objects exist. The purpose of this is to advance a theory that, on the one hand, does not fall prey to sceptical views about legal reality (viz., that ontological truths about (...)
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  159.  20
    An experimental study on the ontology of relations.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (art. 75):1-21.
    There is an ongoing debate on the ontology of relations, which features four main competing approaches: directionalism, positionalism, anti-positionalism, and primitivism. This paper focuses on a particular version of positionalism, namely role positionalism, and proposes the results of an experimental philosophy research concerning aspects of it. We tested the intuitions of ordinary subjects regarding the inter-relational generality of the roles typically assumed for spatial and kinematic relations, namely source, destination, theme, location. According to a 2014 paper by Orilia, this generality (...)
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  160. Hyperintensionality and Overfitting.Francesco Berto - 2024 - Synthese 1 (4):1-21.
    A hyperintensional epistemic logic would take the contents which can be known or believed as more fine-grained than sets of possible worlds. I consider one objection to the idea: Williamson’s Objection from Overfitting. I propose a hyperintensional account of propositions as sets of worlds enriched with topics: what those propositions, and so the attitudes having them as contents, are about. I show that the account captures the conditions under which sentences express the same content; that it can be pervasively applied (...)
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  161.  95
    The Metaphysics of Puns.James Miller - 2024 - Synthese (5):1-17.
    In this paper, I aim to discuss what puns, metaphysically, are. I argue that the type-token view of words leads to an indeterminacy problem when we consider puns. I then outline an alternative account of puns, based on recent nominalist views of words, that does not suffer from this indeterminacy.
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  162. What is Mental Health and Disorder? Philosophical Implications from Lay Judgments.Somogy Varga & Andrew J. Latham - 2024 - Synthese (5).
    How do people understand the concepts of mental health and disorder? The objective of this paper is to examine the impact of several factors on people’s judgments about whether a condition constitutes a mental disorder or a healthy state. Specifically, this study examines the impact of the source of the condition, its outcome, individual valuation (i.e., the value the individual attaches to the condition), and group valuation (i.e., the value the relevant group attaches to the condition). While we find that (...)
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  163. Safety and Dream Scepticism in Sosa’s Epistemology.J. Adam Carter & Robert Cowan - 2024 - Synthese.
    A common objection to Sosa’s epistemology is that it countenances, in an objectionable way, unsafe knowledge. This objection, under closer inspection, turns out to be in far worse shape than Sosa’s critics have realised. Sosa and his defenders have offered two central response types to the idea that allowing unsafe knowledge is problematic: one response type adverts to the animal/reflective knowledge distinction that is characteristic of bi-level virtue epistemology. The other less-discussed response type appeals to the threat of dream scepticism, (...)
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