198 found

Year:

  1.  34
    Rethinking the Problem of Cognition.Mikio Akagi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3547-3570.
    The present century has seen renewed interest in characterizing cognition, the object of inquiry of the cognitive sciences. In this paper, I describe the problem of cognition—the absence of a positive characterization of cognition despite a felt need for one. It is widely recognized that the problem is motivated by decades of controversy among cognitive scientists over foundational questions, such as whether non-neural parts of the body or environment can realize cognitive processes, or whether plants and microbes have cognitive processes. (...)
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  2. Reasons for Action, Acting for Reasons, and Rationality.Maria Alvarez - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3293-3310.
    What kind of thing is a reason for action? What is it to act for a reason? And what is the connection between acting for a reason and rationality? There is controversy about the many issues raised by these questions. In this paper I shall answer the first question with a conception of practical reasons that I call ‘Factualism’, which says that all reasons are facts. I defend this conception against its main rival, Psychologism, which says that practical reasons are (...)
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  3.  21
    Introduction to the 2nd Synthese Special Issue: Trends in Philosophy of Language and Mind.Hanoch Ben-Yami, Robyn Carston & Markus Werning - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8).
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  4.  52
    Grounding, Mental Causation, and Overdetermination.Michael J. Clark & Nathan Wildman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3723-3733.
    Recently, Kroedel and Schulz have argued that the exclusion problem—which states that certain forms of non-reductive physicalism about the mental are committed to systematic and objectionable causal overdetermination—can be solved by appealing to grounding. Specifically, they defend a principle that links the causal relations of grounded mental events to those of grounding physical events, arguing that this renders mental–physical causal overdetermination unproblematic. Here, we contest Kroedel and Schulz’s result. We argue that their causal-grounding principle is undermotivated, if not outright false. (...)
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  5.  22
    The Redundancy of the Act.John Collins - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3519-3545.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...)
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  6.  94
    De Se Thoughts and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3311-3333.
    I discuss an aspect of the relation between accounts of de se thought and the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. I will argue that a deflationary account of the latter—the Simple Account, due to Evans —will not do; a more robust one based on an account of de se thoughts is required. I will then sketch such an alternative account, based on a more general view on singular thoughts, and show how it can deal with the problems I (...)
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  7.  60
    Knowing-How, Showing, and Epistemic Norms.Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3597-3620.
    In this paper I consider the prospects for an epistemic norm which relates knowledge-how to showing in a way that parallels the knowledge norm of assertion. In the first part of the paper I show that this epistemic norm can be motivated by conversational evidence, and that it fits in with a plausible picture of the function of knowledge. In the second part of the paper I present a dilemma for this norm. If we understand showing in a broad sense (...)
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  8. A Pluralistic Account of Epistemic Rationality.Matthew Kopec - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3571-3596.
    In this essay, I aim to motivate and defend a pluralistic view of epistemic rationality. At the core of the view is the notion that epistemic rationality is essentially a species of practical rationality put in the service of various epistemic goals. I begin by sketching some closely related views that have appeared in the literature. I then present my preferred version of the view and sketch some of its benefits. Thomas Kelly has raised challenging objections to a part of (...)
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  9.  25
    Mental Files, Concepts, and Bodies of Information.Poong Shil Lee - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3499-3518.
    In this paper, I argue that mental files are both concepts and bodies of information, against the existing views proposed by Fodor and Recanati. Fodor argues that mental files are not concepts but memories of information because concepts are mental symbols. However, Fodor’s argument against the identification of mental files with concepts fails. Recanati disagrees with Fodor and argues that mental files are concepts. But Recanati’s view does not differ essentially from Fodor’s because Recanati holds that mental files are simple (...)
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  10.  8
    Gamma Graph Calculi for Modal Logics.Minghui Ma & Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3621-3650.
    We describe Peirce’s 1903 system of modal gamma graphs, its transformation rules of inference, and the interpretation of the broken-cut modal operator. We show that Peirce proposed the normality rule in his gamma system. We then show how various normal modal logics arise from Peirce’s assumptions concerning the broken-cut notation. By developing an algebraic semantics we establish the completeness of fifteen modal logics of gamma graphs. We show that, besides logical necessity and possibility, Peirce proposed an epistemic interpretation of the (...)
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  11. Retractions.Teresa Marques - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3335-3359.
    Intuitions about retractions have been used to motivate truth relativism about certain types of claims. Among these figure epistemic modals, knowledge attributions, or personal taste claims. On MacFarlane’s prominent relativist proposal, sentences like “the ice cream might be in the freezer” or “Pocoyo is funny” are only assigned a truth-value relative to contexts of utterance and contexts of assessment. Retractions play a crucial role in the argument for assessment-relativism. A retraction of a past assertion is supposed to be mandatory whenever (...)
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  12.  19
    Functional Individuation, Mechanistic Implementation: The Proper Way of Seeing the Mechanistic View of Concrete Computation.Dimitri Coelho Mollo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3477-3497.
    I examine a major objection to the mechanistic view of concrete computation, stemming from an apparent tension between the abstract nature of computational explanation and the tenets of the mechanistic framework: while computational explanation is medium-independent, the mechanistic framework insists on the importance of providing some degree of structural detail about the systems target of the explanation. I show that a common reply to the objection, i.e. that mechanistic explanation of computational systems involves only weak structural constraints, is not enough (...)
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  13.  65
    The Experience Property Frame Work: A Misleading Paradigm.Martine Nida-Rümelin - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3361-3387.
    According to the experience property framework qualia are properties of experiences the subject undergoing the experience is aware of. A phenomenological argument against this framework is developed and a few mistakes invited by the framework are described. An alternative to the framework, the framework of experiential properties is presented and defended as preferable. It is argued that the choice between these two frameworks makes a substantial difference for theoretical purposes.
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  14.  11
    Thin Versus Thick Accounts of Scientific Representation.Michael Poznic - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3433-3451.
    This paper proposes a novel distinction between accounts of scientific representation: it distinguishes thin accounts from thick accounts. Thin accounts focus on the descriptive aspect of representation whereas thick accounts acknowledge the evaluative aspect of representation. Thin accounts focus on the question of what a representation as such is. Thick accounts start from the question of what an adequate representation is. In this paper, I give two arguments in favor of a thick account, the Argument of the Epistemic Aims of (...)
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  15.  17
    Aboutness and Negative Truths: A Modest Strategy for Truthmaker Theorists.Arthur Schipper - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3685-3722.
    A central problem for any truthmaker theory is the problem of negative truths. In this paper, I develop a novel, piecemeal strategy for solving this problem. The strategy puts central focus on a truth-relevant notion of aboutness within a metaphysically modest version of truthmaker theory and uses key conceptual tools gained by taking a deeper look at the best attempts to solve the problem of intentionality. I begin this task by critically discussing past proposed solutions to P-NEG in light of (...)
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  16.  66
    Visual Experience: Rich but Impenetrable.Josefa Toribio - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3389-3406.
    According to so-called “thin” views about the content of experience, we can only visually experience low-level features such as colour, shape, texture or motion. According to so-called “rich” views, we can also visually experience some high-level properties, such as being a pine tree or being threatening. One of the standard objections against rich views is that high-level properties can only be represented at the level of judgment. In this paper, I first challenge this objection by relying on some recent studies (...)
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  17.  9
    Judgment Aggregation in Nonmonotonic Logic.Xuefeng Wen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3651-3683.
    Judgment aggregation studies how to aggregate individual judgments on logically correlated propositions into collective judgments. Different logics can be used in judgment aggregation, for which Dietrich and Mongin have proposed a generalized model based on general logics. Despite its generality, however, all nonmonotonic logics are excluded from this model. This paper argues for using nonmonotonic logic in judgment aggregation. Then it generalizes Dietrich and Mongin’s model to incorporate a large class of nonmonotonic logics. This generalization broadens the theoretical boundaries of (...)
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  18.  35
    Defeaters and Practical Knowledge.Carla Bagnoli - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2855-2875.
    This paper situates the problem of defeaters in a larger debate about the source of normative authority. It argues in favour of a constructivist account of defeasibility, which appeals to the justificatory role of normative principles. The argument builds upon the critique of two recent attempts to deal with defeasibility: first, a particularist account, which disposes of moral principles on the ground that reasons are holistic; and second, a proceduralist view, which addresses the problem of defeaters by distinguishing between provisional (...)
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  19.  79
    In Defense of Hearing Meanings.Berit Brogaard - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2967-2983.
    According to the inferential view of language comprehension, we hear a speaker’s utterance and infer what was said, drawing on our competence in the syntax and semantics of the language together with background information. On the alternative perceptual view, fluent speakers have a non-inferential capacity to perceive the content of speech. On this view, when we hear a speaker’s utterance, the experience confers some degree of justification on our beliefs about what was said in the absence of defeaters. So, in (...)
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  20. Meta-Epistemic Defeat.J. Adam Carter - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2877-2896.
    An account of meta-epistemic defeaters—distinct from traditional epistemic defeaters—is motivated and defended, drawing from case studies involving epistemic error-theory and epistemic relativism. Mechanisms of traditional epistemic defeat and meta-epistemic defeat are compared and contrasted, and some new puzzles are introduced.
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  21.  39
    Pollock and Sturgeon on Defeaters.Albert Casullo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2897-2906.
    Scott Sturgeon has recently challenged Pollock’s account of undercutting defeaters. The challenge involves three primary contentions: the account is both too strong and too weak, undercutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat only in conjunction with higher-order beliefs about the basis of the lower-order beliefs whose justification they target, and since rebutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat in isolation, rebutting and undercutting defeaters work in fundamentally different ways. My goal is to reject each of these contentions. I maintain that (...)
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  22.  8
    Two Directions for Teleology: Naturalism and Idealism.Andrew Cooper - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3097-3119.
    Philosophers of biology claim that function talk is consistent with naturalism. Yet recent work in biology places new pressure on this claim. An increasing number of biologists propose that the existence of functions depends on the organisation of systems. While systems are part of the domain studied by physics, they are capable of interacting with this domain through organising principles. This is to say that a full account of biological function requires teleology. Does naturalism preclude reference to teleological causes? Or (...)
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  23.  57
    Deductive Cogency, Understanding, and Acceptance.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3121-3141.
    Deductive Cogency holds that the set of propositions towards which one has, or is prepared to have, a given type of propositional attitude should be consistent and closed under logical consequence. While there are many propositional attitudes that are not subject to this requirement, e.g. hoping and imagining, it is at least prima facie plausible that Deductive Cogency applies to the doxastic attitude involved in propositional knowledge, viz. belief. However, this thought is undermined by the well-known preface paradox, leading a (...)
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  24.  13
    What Are Chronic Diseases?Jonathan Fuller - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3197-3220.
    What kind of a thing are chronic diseases? Are they objects, bundles of signs and symptoms, properties, processes, or fictions? Rather than using concept analysis—the standard approach to disease in the philosophy of medicine—to answer this metaphysical question, I use a bottom-up, inductive approach. I argue that chronic diseases are bodily states or properties—often dispositional, but sometimes categorical. I also investigate the nature of related pathological entities: pathogenesis, etiology, and signs and symptoms. Finally, I defend my view against alternate accounts (...)
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  25.  27
    Defeating Looks.Kathrin Glüer - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2985-3012.
    In previous work, I have suggested a doxastic account of perceptual experience according to which experiences form a kind of belief: Beliefs with what I have called “phenomenal” or “looks-content”. I have argued that this account can not only accommodate the intuitive reason providing role of experience, but also its justificatory role. I have also argued that, in general, construing experience and perceptual beliefs, i.e. the beliefs most directly based on experience, as having different contents best accounts for the defeasibility (...)
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  26.  30
    Formulating Reductionism About Testimonial Warrant and the Challenge From Childhood Testimony.Peter J. Graham - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3013-3033.
    The case of very young children is a test case for the plausibility of reductionism about testimonial warrant. Reductionism requires reductive reasons, reductively justified and actively deployed for testimonial justification. Though nascent language-users enjoy warranted testimony based beliefs, they do not meet these three reductionist demands. This paper clearly formulates reductionism and the infant/child objection. Two rejoinders are discussed: an influential conceptual argument from Jennifer Lackey’s paper “Testimony and the Infant/Child Objection” and the growing empirical evidence from developmental psychology on (...)
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  27.  4
    What We Choose, What We Prefer.Brian Kogelmann - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3221-3240.
    This paper develops an account of what it is that rational agents choose and what it is that rational agents prefer. There are three desiderata to satisfy when offering such an account. First, the account should maintain canonical axioms of rational choice theory as intuitively plausible. Here I focus on contraction and expansion consistency properties. Second, the account should prevent canonical axioms of rational choice theory from becoming trivial—it should be possible to actually violate these axioms, less rational choice theory (...)
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  28.  5
    Seemings as Sui Generis.Blake McAllister - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3079-3096.
    The epistemic value of seemings is increasingly debated. Such debates are hindered, however, by a lack of consensus about the nature of seemings. There are four prominent conceptions in the literature, and the plausibility of principles such as phenomenal conservatism, which assign a prominent epistemic role to seemings, varies greatly from one conception to another. It is therefore crucial that we identify the correct conception of seemings. I argue that seemings are best understood as sui generis mental states with propositional (...)
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  29.  64
    Explanationist Aid for Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3035-3050.
    Phenomenal conservatism is a popular theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity and the fact that some think that phenomenal conservatism can provide a complete account of justification, it faces several challenges. Among these challenges are the need to provide accounts of defeaters and inferential justification. Fortunately, there is hope for phenomenal conservatism. Explanationism, the view on which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations, can help phenomenal conservatism with both of these challenges. The resulting view is one that respects (...)
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  30.  53
    Defeating Pragmatic Encroachment?Matthew McGrath - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7).
    This paper examines the prospects of a prima facie attractive response to Fantl and McGrath’s argument for pragmatic encroachment. The response concedes that if one knows a proposition to be true then that proposition is warranted enough for one to have it as a reason for action. But it denies pragmatic encroachment, insofar as it denies that whether one knows a proposition to be true can vary with the practical stakes, holding fixed strength of warrant. This paper explores two ways (...)
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  31. Defeaters in Current Epistemology: Introduction to the Special Issue.Luca Moretti & Tommaso Piazza - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2845-2854.
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  32.  34
    Non-Rational Action in the Face of Disagreement: An Argument Against Non-Conformism.Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2935-2966.
    Recently there has been a surge of interest in the intersection between epistemology and action theory, especially in principles linking rationality in thought and rationality in action. Recently there has also been a surge of interest in the epistemic significance of perceived peer disagreement: what, epistemically speaking, is the rational response in light of disagreement with someone whom one regards as an epistemic peer? The objective of this paper is to explore these two issues—separately, but also in connection with one (...)
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  33.  73
    Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology and Epistemic Defeat.Duncan Pritchard - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3065-3077.
    This paper explores how a certain theory of knowledge—known as anti-luck virtue epistemology—can account for, and in the process shed light on, the notion of an epistemic defeater. To this end, an overview of the motivations for anti-luck virtue epistemology is offered, along with a taxonomy of different kinds of epistemic defeater. It is then shown how anti-luck virtue epistemology can explain: why certain kinds of putative epistemic defeater are not bona fide; how certain kinds of epistemic defeater are genuine (...)
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  34.  18
    The Difference Between Indexicals and Demonstratives.Alexandru Radulescu - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3173-3196.
    In this paper, I propose a new way to distinguish between indexicals, like “I” and “today”, and demonstratives, like “she” and “this”. The main test case is the second person singular pronoun “you”. The tradition would generally count it as a demonstrative, because the speaker’s intentions play a role in providing it with a semantic value. I present cross-linguistic data and explanations offered of the data in typology and semantics to show that “you” belongs on the indexical side, and argue (...)
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  35.  12
    A Lewisian Taxonomy for Deontic Logic.Vladimír Svoboda - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3241-3266.
    Philosophers like G.H. von Wright and D. Makinson have pointed to serious challenges regarding the foundations of deontic logic. In this paper, I suggest that to deal successfully with these challenges a reconsideration of the research program of the discipline is useful. Some problems that have troubled this particular field of logical study for decades may disappear or appear more tractable if we view them from the perspective of a language game introduced by D. Lewis involving three characters: the Master, (...)
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  36.  41
    Quinean Holism, Analyticity, and Diachronic Rational Norms.Brett Topey - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3143-3171.
    I argue that Quinean naturalists’ holism-based arguments against analyticity and apriority are more difficult to resist than is generally supposed, for two reasons. First, although opponents of naturalism sometimes dismiss these arguments on the grounds that the holistic premises on which they depend are unacceptably radical, it turns out that the sort of holism required by these arguments is actually quite minimal. And second, although it’s true, as Grice and Strawson pointed out long ago, that these arguments can succeed only (...)
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  37.  24
    From Cognitivism to Autopoiesis: Towards a Computational Framework for the Embodied Mind.Micah Allen & Karl J. Friston - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2459-2482.
    Predictive processing approaches to the mind are increasingly popular in the cognitive sciences. This surge of interest is accompanied by a proliferation of philosophical arguments, which seek to either extend or oppose various aspects of the emerging framework. In particular, the question of how to position predictive processing with respect to enactive and embodied cognition has become a topic of intense debate. While these arguments are certainly of valuable scientific and philosophical merit, they risk underestimating the variety of approaches gathered (...)
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  38.  95
    Conceivability and Possibility: Some Dilemmas for Humeans.Francesco Berto & Tom Schoonen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2697-2715.
    The Humean view that conceivability entails possibility can be criticized via input from cognitive psychology. A mainstream view here has it that there are two candidate codings for mental representations (one of them being, according to some, reducible to the other): the linguistic and the pictorial, the difference between the two consisting in the degree of arbitrariness of the representation relation. If the conceivability of P at issue for Humeans involves the having of a linguistic mental representation, then it is (...)
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  39.  28
    Singular Truth-Conditions Without Singular Propositions.Gregory Bochner - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2741-2760.
    In this paper I argue that propositionalism is what generates a tension between referentialism and harmony. Harmony can be preserved if we replace propositionalism by centred referentialism, according to which referential thoughts and utterances about an object have descriptive contents that must be evaluated relative to a world centred on that object at the relevant time. By disentangling truth-conditions and contents, this move allows us to dissolve the tension between referentialism and descriptivism. The view that emerges has three main components: (...)
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  40.  46
    The Anticipating Brain is Not a Scientist: The Free-Energy Principle From an Ecological-Enactive Perspective.Jelle Bruineberg, Julian Kiverstein & Erik Rietveld - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6).
    In this paper, we argue for a theoretical separation of the free-energy principle from Helmholtzian accounts of the predictive brain. The free-energy principle is a theoretical framework capturing the imperative for biological self-organization in information-theoretic terms. The free-energy principle has typically been connected with a Bayesian theory of predictive coding, and the latter is often taken to support a Helmholtzian theory of perception as unconscious inference. If our interpretation is right, however, a Helmholtzian view of perception is incompatible with Bayesian (...)
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  41.  42
    Knowledge, Intuition and Implicature.Alexander Dinges - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2821-2843.
    Moderate pragmatic invariantism (MPI) is a proposal to explain why our intuitions about the truth-value of knowledge claims vary with stakes and salient error-possibilities. The basic idea is that this variation is due to a variation not in the propositions expressed (as epistemic contextualists would have it) but in the propositions conversationally implicated. I will argue that MPI is mistaken: I will distinguish two kinds of implicature, namely, additive and substitutional implicatures. I will then argue, first, that the proponent of (...)
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  42.  11
    Betwixt and Between: The Enculturated Predictive Processing Approach to Cognition.Regina E. Fabry - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2483-2518.
    Many of our cognitive capacities are the result of enculturation. Enculturation is the temporally extended transformative acquisition of cognitive practices in the cognitive niche. Cognitive practices are embodied and normatively constrained ways to interact with epistemic resources in the cognitive niche in order to complete a cognitive task. The emerging predictive processing perspective offers new functional principles and conceptual tools to account for the cerebral and extra-cerebral bodily components that give rise to cognitive practices. According to this emerging perspective, many (...)
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  43.  17
    Active Inference, Enactivism and the Hermeneutics of Social Cognition.Shaun Gallagher & Micah Allen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2627-2648.
    We distinguish between three philosophical views on the neuroscience of predictive models: predictive coding, predictive processing and predictive engagement. We examine the concept of active inference under each model and then ask how this concept informs discussions of social cognition. In this context we consider Frith and Friston’s proposal for a neural hermeneutics, and we explore the alternative model of enactivist hermeneutics.
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  44.  28
    Getting Into Predictive Processing’s Great Guessing Game: Bootstrap Heaven or Hell?Daniel D. Hutto - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2445-2458.
    Predictive Processing accounts of Cognition, PPC, promise to forge productive alliances that will unite approaches that are otherwise at odds. Can it? This paper argues that it can’t—or at least not so long as it sticks with the cognitivist rendering that Clark and others favor. In making this case the argument of this paper unfolds as follows: Sect. 1 describes the basics of PPC—its attachment to the idea that we perceive the world by guessing the world. It then details the (...)
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  45.  9
    Systematizing the Theoretical Virtues.Michael N. Keas - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2761-2793.
    There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least three virtues that sequentially follow a repeating pattern of progressive disclosure and expansion. Systematizing the theoretical virtues in this manner clarifies each virtue and suggests how they might have a coordinated and cumulative (...)
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  46.  26
    Content and Misrepresentation in Hierarchical Generative Models.Alex Kiefer & Jakob Hohwy - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2387-2415.
    In this paper, we consider how certain longstanding philosophical questions about mental representation may be answered on the assumption that cognitive and perceptual systems implement hierarchical generative models, such as those discussed within the prediction error minimization framework. We build on existing treatments of representation via structural resemblance, such as those in Gładziejewski :559–582, 2016) and Gładziejewski and Miłkowski, to argue for a representationalist interpretation of the PEM framework. We further motivate the proposed approach to content by arguing that it (...)
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  47.  12
    Predictive Brains and Embodied, Enactive Cognition: An Introduction to the Special Issue.Michael Kirchhoff - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2355-2366.
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  48.  33
    Autopoiesis, Free Energy, and the Life–Mind Continuity Thesis.Michael D. Kirchhoff - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2519-2540.
    The life–mind continuity thesis is difficult to study, especially because the relation between life and mind is not yet fully understood, and given that there is still no consensus view neither on what qualifies as life nor on what defines mind. Rather than taking up the much more difficult task of addressing the many different ways of explaining how life relates to mind, and vice versa, this paper considers two influential accounts addressing how best to understand the life–mind continuity thesis: (...)
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  49.  1
    Autopoiesis, Free Energy, and the Life-Mind Continuity Thesis.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2519-2540.
    The life–mind continuity thesis is difficult to study, especially because the relation between life and mind is not yet fully understood, and given that there is still no consensus view neither on what qualifies as life nor on what defines mind. Rather than taking up the much more difficult task of addressing the many different ways of explaining how life relates to mind, and vice versa, this paper considers two influential accounts addressing how best to understand the life–mind continuity thesis: (...)
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  50.  26
    What Do Predictive Coders Want?Colin Klein - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2541-2557.
    The so-called “dark room problem” makes vivd the challenges that purely predictive models face in accounting for motivation. I argue that the problem is a serious one. Proposals for solving the dark room problem via predictive coding architectures are either empirically inadequate or computationally intractable. The Free Energy principle might avoid the problem, but only at the cost of setting itself up as a highly idealized model, which is then literally false to the world. I draw at least one optimistic (...)
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  51.  12
    The Faulty Signal Problem: Counterfactual Asymmetries in Causal Decision Theory and Rational Deliberation.Daniel Listwa - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2717-2739.
    A decision theory can be useful not only as a tool for determining which action, given your desires and beliefs, is most preferable, but also as a means for analyzing the nature of rational deliberation. In this paper, I turn to two classic proposals for a causal decision theory, that of Lewis and that of Sobel :407–437, 1986. doi: 10.1080/00048408612342621). As Rabinowicz revealed, Lewis’ proposal is unable to be applied to as broad a set of decision problems as a version (...)
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  52.  66
    Happily Entangled: Prediction, Emotion, and the Embodied Mind.Mark Miller & Andy Clark - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2559-2575.
    Recent work in cognitive and computational neuroscience depicts the human cortex as a multi-level prediction engine. This ‘predictive processing’ framework shows great promise as a means of both understanding and integrating the core information processing strategies underlying perception, reasoning, and action. But how, if at all, do emotions and sub-cortical contributions fit into this emerging picture? The fit, we shall argue, is both profound and potentially transformative. In the picture we develop, online cognitive function cannot be assigned to either the (...)
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  53.  31
    Predictive Perceptual Systems.Nico Orlandi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2367-2386.
    This article attempts to clarify the commitments of a predictive coding approach to perception. After summarizing predictive coding theory, the article addresses two questions. Is a predictive coding perceptual system also a Bayesian system? Is it a Kantian system? The article shows that the answer to these questions is negative.
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  54.  10
    Idealized Models, Holistic Distortions, and Universality.Collin Rice - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2795-2819.
    In this paper, I first argue against various attempts to justify idealizations in scientific models that explain by showing that they are harmless and isolable distortions of irrelevant features. In response, I propose a view in which idealized models are characterized as providing holistically distorted representations of their target system. I then suggest an alternative way that idealized modeling can be justified by appealing to universality.
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  55.  6
    Leśniewski on Metalogic and Definitions.Sebastien Richard - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2649-2676.
    Leśniewski’s metalogic is often considered to be difficult to understand because it differs greatly from its standard formulation. In this paper I try to explain the reasons of these idiosyncrasies. I claim that they have mainly two sources. First of all there is Leśniewski’s conviction that a formal system should be conceived as a set of concrete marks that can always physically and syntactically be expanded by the addition of new theses. Secondly there is Leśniewski’s conviction that definitions should neither (...)
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  56.  17
    Frege’s Recognition Criterion for Thoughts and its Problems.Mark Textor - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2677-2696.
    According to Frege, we need a criterion for recognising when different sentences express the same thought to make progress in logic. He himself hedged his own equipollence criterion with a number of provisos. In the literature on Frege, little attention has been paid to the problems these provisos raise. In this paper, I will argue that Fregeans have ignored these provisos at their peril. For without these provisos, Frege’s criterion yields wrong results; but with the provisos in place, it is (...)
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  57.  20
    Predictive Brains, Dreaming Selves, Sleeping Bodies: How the Analysis of Dream Movement Can Inform a Theory of Self- and World-Simulation in Dreams.Jennifer M. Windt - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2577-2625.
    In this paper, I discuss the relationship between bodily experiences in dreams and the sleeping, physical body. I question the popular view that dreaming is a naturally and frequently occurring real-world example of cranial envatment. This view states that dreams are functionally disembodied states: in a majority of dreams, phenomenal experience, including the phenomenology of embodied selfhood, unfolds completely independently of external and peripheral stimuli and outward movement. I advance an alternative and more empirically plausible view of dreams as weakly (...)
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  58.  16
    What Makes Unique Hues Unique?Valtteri Arstila - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1849-1872.
    There exist two widely used notions concerning the structure of phenomenal color space. The first is the notion of unique/binary hue structure, which maintains that there are four unique hues from which all other hues are composed. The second notion is the similarity structure of hues, which describes the interrelations between the hues and hence does not divide hues into two types as the first notion does. Philosophers have considered the existence of the unique/binary hue structure to be empirically and (...)
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  59. Carnap’s Epistemological Critique of Metaphysics.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2247-2265.
    Many who take a dismissive attitude towards metaphysics trace their view back to Carnap’s ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’. But the reason Carnap takes a dismissive attitude to metaphysics is a matter of controversy. I will argue that no reason is given in ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’, and this is because his reason for rejecting metaphysical debates was given in ‘Pseudo-Problems in Philosophy’. The argument there assumes verificationism, but I will argue that his argument survives the rejection of verificationism. The root (...)
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  60.  24
    The Central Executive System.Denis Buehler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1969-1991.
    Executive functioning has been said to bear on a range of traditional philosophical topics, such as consciousness, thought, and action. Surprisingly, philosophers have not much engaged with the scientific literature on executive functioning. This lack of engagement may be due to several influential criticisms of that literature by Daniel Dennett, Alan Allport, and others. In this paper I argue that more recent research on executive functioning shows that these criticisms are no longer valid. The paper clears the way to a (...)
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  61.  26
    Epistemic Infinitism and the Conditional Character of Inferential Justification.Erhan Demircioglu - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2313-2334.
    In this paper, I will present and defend an argument from the conditional character of inferential justification against the version of epistemic infinitism Klein advances. More specifically, after proposing a distinction between propositional and doxastic infinitism, which is based on a standard distinction between propositional and doxastic justification, I will describe in considerable detail the argument from conditionality, which is mainly an argument against propositional infinitism, and clarify some of its main underlying assumptions. There are various responses to be found (...)
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  62. On Lewis Against Magic: A Study of Method in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
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  63.  9
    Strategies of Inquiry.Emmanuel J. Genot - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2065-2088.
    This paper examines critically the reconstruction of the ‘Sherlock Holmes sense of deduction’ proposed jointly by M.B. Hintikka and J. Hintikka in the 1980s, and its successor, the interrogative model of inquiry developed by J. Hintikka and his collaborators in the 1990s. The Hintikkas’ model explicitly used game theory in order to formalize a naturalistic approach to inquiry, but the imi abandoned both the game-theoretic formalism, and the naturalistic approach. It is argued that the latter better supports the claim that (...)
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  64.  16
    Rigidity and Triviality.Fredrik Haraldsen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1993-1999.
    Though it is often claimed that some general terms are rigid designators, it has turned out to be difficult to give a satisfying definition that avoids making all general terms rigid, and even if a non-rigid reading is available, makes that non-rigid reading matter. Several authors have attempted to develop examples that meet the trivialization challenge, with Martí and Martínez-Fernández providing what is, perhaps, the most convincing strategy. I show that the type of example Martí and Martínez-Fernández offer nevertheless fails (...)
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  65.  8
    A Neuropsychological Challenge to the Sentimentalism/Rationalism Distinction.Geoffrey S. Holtzman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1873-1889.
    Critical reflection on the available neuropsychological evidence suggests that the roles of emotion and reason in moral judgment may not be distinct. This casts significant doubt on our current understanding of moral judgment, and therefore also on all philosophical theories based on that understanding. Most notably, it raises doubts about both sentimentalism and rationalism, which historically have often been treated as exclusive and exhaustive theories regarding the nature of moral concepts. As an alternative, I endorse pluralism with regard to the (...)
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  66. Does the Normative Question About Rationality Rest on a Mistake?Yair Levy - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2021-2038.
    Rationality requires that our mental attitudes exhibit specific patterns of coherence. Do we have reason to comply? 'Prichardian Quietists' regard this question as fundamentally confused: the only reasons to comply with rational requirements are the ones given by the requirements themselves. In this paper, I argue that PQ fails. I proceed by granting that Prichard's own position, from which PQ draws inspiration, is defensible, while identifying three serious problems with the parallel position about rationality. First, as I argue, PQ is (...)
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  67.  6
    Intervening on Structure.Daniel Malinsky - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2295-2312.
    Some explanations appeal to facts about the causal structure of a system in order to shed light on a particular phenomenon; these are explanations which do more than cite the causes X and Y of some state-of-affairs Z, but rather appeal to “macro-level” causal features—for example the fact that A causes B as well as C, or perhaps that D is a strong inhibitor of E—in order to explain Z. Appeals to these kinds of “macro-level” causal features appear in a (...)
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  68.  9
    Criteria of Identity and the Hermeneutic Goal of Ante Rem Structuralism.Scott Normand - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2141-2153.
    The ante rem structuralist holds that places in ante rem structures are objects with determinate identity conditions, but he cannot justify this view by providing places with criteria of identity. The latest response to this problem holds that no criteria of identity are required because mathematical practice presupposes a primitive identity relation. This paper criticizes this appeal to mathematical practice. Ante rem structuralism interprets mathematics within the theory of universals, holding that mathematical objects are places in universals. The identity problem (...)
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  69.  18
    Philosophical Pictures About Mathematics: Wittgenstein and Contradiction.Hiroshi Ohtani - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2039-2063.
    In the scholarship on Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of mathematics, the dominant interpretation is a theoretical one that ascribes to Wittgenstein some type of ‘ism’ such as radical verificationism or anti-realism. Essentially, he is supposed to provide a positive account of our mathematical practice based on some basic assertions. However, I claim that he should not be read in terms of any ‘ism’ but instead should be read as examining philosophical pictures in the sense of unclear conceptions. The contrast here is (...)
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  70.  16
    Guidance Control and the Anti-Akrasia Chip.Chris Ovenden - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2001-2019.
    According to Fischer and Ravizza, an agent has guidance control over some action A, whenever A is issued from one of their own moderately reasons-responsive mechanisms. This involves two elements: the process P leading to their action being suitably responsive to reasons-; and their taking an attitude towards processes of kind P such that they see themselves as the agents of the behaviour those processes issue. For the purposes of this paper, I assume that guidance control amounts to actually guiding (...)
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  71.  12
    The Argument From Convention Revisited.Francesco Pupa - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2175-2204.
    The argument from convention contends that the regular use of definite descriptions as referential devices strongly implies that a referential semantic convention underlies such usage. On the presumption that definite descriptions also participate in a quantificational semantic convention, the argument from convention has served as an argument for the thesis that the English definite article is ambiguous. Here, I revisit this relatively new argument. First, I address two recurring criticisms of the argument from convention: its alleged tendency to overgenerate and (...)
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  72.  20
    An Interventionist Approach to Psychological Explanation.Michael Rescorla - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1909-1940.
    Interventionism is a theory of causal explanation developed by Woodward and Hitchcock. I defend an interventionist perspective on the causal explanations offered within scientific psychology. The basic idea is that psychology causally explains mental and behavioral outcomes by specifying how those outcomes would have been different had an intervention altered various factors, including relevant psychological states. I elaborate this viewpoint with examples drawn from cognitive science practice, especially Bayesian perceptual psychology. I favorably compare my interventionist approach with well-known nomological and (...)
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  73. In Defense of Doxastic Blame.Lindsay Rettler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2205-2226.
    In this paper I articulate a view of doxastic control that helps defend the legitimacy of our practice of blaming people for their beliefs. I distinguish between three types of doxastic control: intention-based, reason-based, and influence-based. First I argue that, although we lack direct intention-based control over our beliefs, such control is not necessary for legitimate doxastic blame. Second, I suggest that we distinguish two types of reason-responsiveness: sensitivity to reasons and appreciation of reasons. I argue that while both capacities (...)
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  74. Embodied Cognition and Temporally Extended Agency.Markus E. Schlosser - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2089-2112.
    According to radical versions of embodied cognition, human cognition and agency should be explained without the ascription of representational mental states. According to a standard reply, accounts of embodied cognition can explain only instances of cognition and agency that are not “representation-hungry”. Two main types of such representation-hungry phenomena have been discussed: cognition about “the absent” and about “the abstract”. Proponents of representationalism have maintained that a satisfactory account of such phenomena requires the ascription of mental representations. Opponents have denied (...)
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  75.  36
    Enactive Autonomy in Computational Systems.Mario Villalobos & Joe Dewhurst - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1891-1908.
    In this paper we will demonstrate that a computational system can meet the criteria for autonomy laid down by classical enactivism. The two criteria that we will focus on are operational closure and structural determinism, and we will show that both can be applied to a basic example of a physically instantiated Turing machine. We will also address the question of precariousness, and briefly suggest that a precarious Turing machine could be designed. Our aim in this paper is to challenge (...)
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  76.  34
    Scientific Revolutions, Specialization and the Discovery of the Structure of DNA: Toward a New Picture of the Development of the Sciences.Politi Vincenzo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2267-2293.
    In his late years, Thomas Kuhn became interested in the process of scientific specialization, which does not seem to possess the destructive element that is characteristic of scientific revolutions. It therefore makes sense to investigate whether and how Kuhn’s insights about specialization are consistent with, and actually fit, his model of scientific progress through revolutions. In this paper, I argue that the transition toward a new specialty corresponds to a revolutionary change for the group of scientists involved in such a (...)
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  77.  11
    From Symbols to Icons: The Return of Resemblance in the Cognitive Neuroscience Revolution.Daniel Williams & Lincoln Colling - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1941-1967.
    We argue that one important aspect of the “cognitive neuroscience revolution” identified by Boone and Piccinini :1509–1534. doi: 10.1007/s11229-015-0783-4, 2015) is a dramatic shift away from thinking of cognitive representations as arbitrary symbols towards thinking of them as icons that replicate structural characteristics of their targets. We argue that this shift has been driven both “from below” and “from above”—that is, from a greater appreciation of what mechanistic explanation of information-processing systems involves, and from a greater appreciation of the problems (...)
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  78. The Metaphysics of Natural Kinds.Alexander Bird - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1397-1426.
    This paper maps the landscape for a range of views concerning the metaphysics of natural kinds. I consider a range of increasingly ontologically committed views concerning natural kinds and the possible arguments for them. I then ask how these relate to natural kind essentialism, arguing that essentialism requires commitment to kinds as entities. I conclude by examining the homeostatic property cluster view of kinds in the light of the general understanding of kinds developed.
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  79.  7
    Relativistic Frameworks and the Case for Incommensurability.Jean-Michel Delhôtel - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1569-1585.
    The aim of this paper is to address, from a fresh perspective, the question of whether Newtonian mechanics can legitimately be regarded as a limiting case of the special theory of relativity, or whether the two theories should be deemed so radically different as to be incommensurable in the sense of Feyerabend and Kuhn. Firstly, it is argued that focusing on the concept of mass and its transformation across the two varieties of mechanics is bound to leave the issue unsettled. (...)
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  80.  12
    Is Ontology the Key to Understanding Tense?Yuval Dolev - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1741-1749.
    In this paper I claim that as bitter as the eternalist/presentist rivalry is, as far as both camps are concerned, a third position—which I defend—is more disturbing. The reason is that what eternalists and presentists agree on is more fundamental than what they disagree about. They agree that time carves, to use Orilia’s term, “ontological inventories.” This in a way answers the “fundamental question”—what is time? They disagree about the contents of the inventories, but that, I suggest, is a secondary (...)
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  81.  44
    Sensory Malfunctions, Limitations, and Trade-Offs.Todd Ganson - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1705-1713.
    Teleological accounts of sensory normativity treat normal functioning for a species as a standard: sensory error involves departure from normal functioning for the species, i.e. sensory malfunction. Straightforward reflection on sensory trade-offs reveals that normal functioning for a species can exhibit failures of accuracy. Acknowledging these failures of accuracy is central to understanding the adaptations of a species. To make room for these errors we have to go beyond the teleological framework and invoke the notion of an ideal observer from (...)
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  82.  11
    Prioritised Ceteris Paribus Logic for Counterfactual Reasoning.Patrick Girard & Marcus A. Triplett - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1681-1703.
    The semantics for counterfactuals due to David Lewis has been challenged by appealing to miracles. Miracles may skew a given similarity order in favour of those possible worlds which exhibit them. Lewis responded with a system of priorities that mitigates the significance of miracles when constructing similarity relations. We propose a prioritised ceteris paribus analysis of counterfactuals inspired by Lewis’ system of priorities. By analysing the couterfactuals with a ceteris paribus clause one forces out, in a natural manner, those possible (...)
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  83.  9
    A Probabilistic Analysis of Argument Cogency.David Godden & Frank Zenker - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1715-1740.
    This paper offers a probabilistic treatment of the conditions for argument cogency as endorsed in informal logic: acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. Treating a natural language argument as a reason-claim-complex, our analysis identifies content features of defeasible argument on which the RSA conditions depend, namely: change in the commitment to the reason, the reason’s sensitivity and selectivity to the claim, one’s prior commitment to the claim, and the contextually determined thresholds of acceptability for reasons and for claims. Results contrast with, and (...)
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  84. A Probabilistic Analysis of Argument Cogency.David Godden & Frank Zenker - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1715-1740.
    This paper offers a probabilistic treatment of the conditions for argument cogency as endorsed in informal logic: acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. Treating a natural language argument as a reason-claim-complex, our analysis identifies content features of defeasible argument on which the RSA conditions depend, namely: change in the commitment to the reason, the reason’s sensitivity and selectivity to the claim, one’s prior commitment to the claim, and the contextually determined thresholds of acceptability for reasons and for claims. Results contrast with, and (...)
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  85.  22
    Network Analyses in Systems Biology: New Strategies for Dealing with Biological Complexity.Sara Green, Maria Serban, Raphael Scholl, Nicholaos Jones, Ingo Brigandt & William Bechtel - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1751-1777.
    The increasing application of network models to interpret biological systems raises a number of important methodological and epistemological questions. What novel insights can network analysis provide in biology? Are network approaches an extension of or in conflict with mechanistic research strategies? When and how can network and mechanistic approaches interact in productive ways? In this paper we address these questions by focusing on how biological networks are represented and analyzed in a diverse class of case studies. Our examples span from (...)
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  86.  11
    Husserl on Completeness, Definitely.Mirja Hartimo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1509-1527.
    The paper discusses Husserl’s notion of definiteness as presented in his Göttingen Mathematical Society Double Lecture of 1901 as a defense of two, in many cases incompatible, ideals, namely full characterizability of the domain, i.e., categoricity, and its syntactic completeness. These two ideals are manifest already in Husserl’s discussion of pure logic in the Prolegomena: The full characterizability is related to Husserl’s attempt to capture the interconnection of things, whereas syntactic completeness relates to the interconnection of truths. In the Prolegomena (...)
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  87.  62
    Natural Kinds as Nodes in Causal Networks.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1379-1396.
    In this paper I offer a unified causal account of natural kinds. Using as a starting point the widely held view that natural kind terms or predicates are projectible, I argue that the ontological bases of their projectibility are the causal properties and relations associated with the natural kinds themselves. Natural kinds are not just concatenations of properties but ordered hierarchies of properties, whose instances are related to one another as causes and effects in recurrent causal processes. The resulting account (...)
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  88.  25
    Metasemantics, Intentions and Circularity.Lukas Lewerentz & Benjamin Marschall - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1667-1679.
    According to intentionalism, a demonstrative d refers to an object o only if the speaker intends d to refer to o. Intentionalism is a popular view in metasemantics, but Gauker has recently argued that it is circular. We defend intentionalism against this objection, by showing that Gauker’s argument rests on a misconstrual of the aim of metasemantics. We then introduce two related, but distinct circularity objections: the worry that intentionalism is uninformative, and the problem of intentional bootstrapping, according to which (...)
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  89.  19
    Do We Need Two Notions of Natural Kind to Account for the History of “Jade”?Françoise Longy - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1459-1486.
    We need to distinguish two sorts of natural kinds, scientific and common NKs, because the notion of NK, which has to satisfy demands at three different levels—ontological, semantic and epistemological—, is subject to two incompatible sets of constraints. In order to prove this, I focus on the much-discussed case of jade. In the first part of the paper, I show that the current accounts are unsatisfactory because they are inconsistent. In the process, I explain why LaPorte’s analysis of “jade” as (...)
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  90.  83
    Taxonomy, Ontology, and Natural Kinds.P. D. Magnus - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1427-1439.
    When we ask what natural kinds are, there are two different things we might have in mind. The first, which I’ll call the taxonomy question, is what distinguishes a category which is a natural kind from an arbitrary class. The second, which I’ll call the ontology question, is what manner of stuff there is that realizes the category. Many philosophers have systematically conflated the two questions. The confusion is exhibited both by essentialists and by philosophers who pose their accounts in (...)
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  91.  38
    Causal Powers and Isomeric Chemical Kinds.Andrew McFarland - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1441-1457.
    Some philosophers have claimed that kinds can be construed as mereologically complex structural properties. This essay examines several strategies aimed at construing a certain class of natural kinds, namely isomeric chemical kinds, in accordance with this view. In particular, the essay examines views which posit structural proper parts in addition to micro-constitutive parts to individuate isomeric chemical kinds. It then goes on to argue that the phenomenon of chirality in stereochemistry gives the proponent of kinds-as-complex-properties evidence for positing the existence (...)
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  92.  5
    Introduction for Synthese Special Issue Causation in the Metaphysics of Science: Natural Kinds.Andrew McFarland - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1375-1378.
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  93. The Nature of Doubt and a New Puzzle About Belief, Doubt, and Confidence.Andrew Moon - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1827-1848.
    In this paper, I present and defend a novel account of doubt. In Part 1, I make some preliminary observations about the nature of doubt. In Part 2, I introduce a new puzzle about the relationship between three psychological states: doubt, belief, and confidence. I present this puzzle because my account of doubt emerges as a possible solution to it. Lastly, in Part 3, I elaborate on and defend my account of doubt. Roughly, one has doubt if and only if (...)
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  94. Etiology, Understanding, and Testimonial Belief.Andrew Peet - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1547-1567.
    The etiology of a perceptual belief can seemingly affect its epistemic status. There are cases in which perceptual beliefs seem to be unjustified because the perceptual experiences on which they are based are caused, in part, by wishful thinking, or irrational prior beliefs. It has been argued that this is problematic for many internalist views in the epistemology of perception, especially those which postulate immediate perceptual justification. Such views are unable to account for the impact of an experience’s etiology on (...)
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  95.  61
    Is There a Place in Bayesian Confirmation Theory for the Reverse Matthew Effect?William Roche - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1631-1648.
    Bayesian confirmation theory is rife with confirmation measures. Many of them differ from each other in important respects. It turns out, though, that all the standard confirmation measures in the literature run counter to the so-called “Reverse Matthew Effect” (“RME” for short). Suppose, to illustrate, that H1 and H2 are equally successful in predicting E in that p(E | H1)/p(E) = p(E | H2)/p(E) > 1. Suppose, further, that initially H1 is less probable than H2 in that p(H1) < p(H2). (...)
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  96.  11
    Anchoring in Ecosystemic Kinds.Matthew H. Slater - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1487-1508.
    The world contains many different types of ecosystems. This is something of a commonplace in biology and conservation science. But there has been little attention to the question of whether such ecosystem types enjoy a degree of objectivity—whether they might be natural kinds. I argue that traditional accounts of natural kinds that emphasize nomic or causal–mechanistic dimensions of “kindhood” are ill-equipped to accommodate presumptive ecosystemic kinds. In particular, unlike many other kinds, ecosystemic kinds are “anchored” to the contingent character of (...)
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  97.  26
    A Simple Notion of Validity for Alethic Pluralism.Andrea Strollo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1529-1546.
    Alethic pluralism holds that there are many truth properties. The view has been challenged to make sense of the notion of logical validity, understood as necessary truth preservation, when inferences involving different areas of discourse are concerned. I argue that the solution proposed by Edwards to solve the analogous problem of mixed compounds can straightforwardly be adapted to give alethic pluralists also a viable account of validity.
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  98.  20
    The Prenective View of Propositional Content.Robert Trueman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1799-1825.
    Beliefs have what I will call ‘propositional content’. A belief is always a belief that so-and-so: a belief that grass is green, or a belief that snow is white, or whatever. Other things have propositional content too, such as sentences, judgments and assertions. The Standard View amongst philosophers is that what it is to have a propositional content is to stand in an appropriate relation to a proposition. Moreover, on this view, propositions are objects, i.e. the kind of thing you (...)
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  99.  23
    Challenging Lewis’s Challenge to the Best System Account of Lawhood.Rafal Urbaniak & Bert Leuridan - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1649-1666.
    David Lewis has formulated a well-known challenge to his Best System account of lawhood: the content of any system whatever can be formulated very simply if one allows for perverse choices of primitive vocabulary. We show that the challenge is not that dangerous, and that to account for it one need not invoke natural properties or relativized versions of the Best System account. This way, we help to move towards an even better Best System account. We discuss extensions of our (...)
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  100.  37
    The Peculiar Case of Lehrer’s Lawyer.Kevin Wallbridge - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1615-1630.
    The peculiar case of Lehrer’s lawyer purports to describe a scenario in which a subject has a justified belief, indeed knowledge, despite the fact that their belief is not causally or counterfactually sustained by any good reasons for it. The case has proven controversial. While some agree with Lehrer’s assessment of the case, others disagree, leading to a schism among accounts of the basing relation. In this paper I aim to reconcile these camps and put simple causal and counterfactual accounts (...)
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  101.  42
    Metaphysical Necessity Dualism.Ben White - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1779-1798.
    A popular response to the Exclusion Argument for physicalism maintains that mental events depend on their physical bases in such a way that the causation of a physical effect by a mental event and its physical base needn’t generate any problematic form of causal overdetermination, even if mental events are numerically distinct from and irreducible to their physical bases. This paper presents and defends a form of dualism that implements this response by using a dispositional essentialist view of properties to (...)
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  102.  25
    Omissions and Expectations: A New Approach to the Things We Failed to Do.Pascale Willemsen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1587-1614.
    Imagine you and your friend Pierre agreed on meeting each other at a café, but he does not show up. What is the difference between a friend’s not showing up meeting? and any other person not coming? In some sense, all people who did not come show the same kind of behaviour, but most people would be willing to say that the absence of a friend who you expected to see is different in kind. In this paper, I will spell (...)
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  103.  48
    A Sensitive Virtue Epistemology.Anthony Bolos & James Henry Collin - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1321-1335.
    We offer an alternative to two influential accounts of virtue epistemology: Robust Virtue Epistemology and Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology. We argue that while traditional RVE does offer an explanation of the distinctive value of knowledge, it is unable to effectively deal with cases of epistemic luck; and while ALVE does effectively deal with cases of epistemic luck, it lacks RVE’s resources to account for the distinctive value of knowledge. The account we provide, however, is both robustly virtue-theoretic and anti-luck, having the (...)
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  104.  46
    Doxastic Desire and Attitudinal Monism.Douglas I. Campbell - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1139-1161.
    How many attitudes must be posited at the level of reductive bedrock in order to reductively explain all the rest? Motivational Humeans hold that at least two attitudes are indispensable, belief and desire. Desire-As-Belief theorists beg to differ. They hold that the belief attitude can do the all the work the desire attitude is supposed to do, because desires are in fact nothing but beliefs of a certain kind. If this is correct it has major implications both for the philosophy (...)
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  105.  18
    On the Proper Construal of the Manifest-Scientific Image Distinction: Brandom Contra Sellars.Dionysis Christias - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1295-1320.
    In his new book, Brandom offers a new argument against the viability of Sellars’ scientific naturalism. Brandom attempts to show that if the Sellarsian it scientia mensura principle is understood as implying that manifest-image objects exist only if they are identical to scientific-image objects, it is undermined by the ‘Kant–Sellars’ thesis about identity which implies that manifest-image objects cannot be identical to scientific-image objects. This conclusion can be evaded by construing the relation between manifest and scientific objects as weaker than (...)
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  106.  23
    Minimalism and the Generalisation Problem: On Horwich’s Second Solution.Cezary Cieśliński - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1077-1101.
    Disquotational theories of truth are often criticised for being too weak to prove interesting generalisations about truth. In this paper we will propose a certain formal theory to serve as a framework for a solution of the generalisation problem. In contrast with Horwich’s original proposal, our framework will eschew psychological notions altogether, replacing them with the epistemic notion of believability. The aim will be to explain why someone who accepts a given disquotational truth theory Th, should also accept various generalisations (...)
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  107.  32
    The Qualitative Paradox of Non-Conglomerability.Nicholas DiBella - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1181-1210.
    A probability function is non-conglomerable just in case there is some proposition E and partition \ of the space of possible outcomes such that the probability of E conditional on any member of \ is bounded by two values yet the unconditional probability of E is not bounded by those values. The paradox of non-conglomerability is the counterintuitive—and controversial—claim that a rational agent’s subjective probability function can be non-conglomerable. In this paper, I present a qualitative analogue of the paradox. I (...)
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  108.  33
    The Value of Minimalist Truth.Filippo Ferrari - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1103-1125.
    Since the publication of Truth, Paul Horwich’s ‘Minimalism’ has become the paradigm of what goes under the label ‘the deflationary conception of truth’. Despite the many theoretical virtues of Horwich’s minimalism, it is usually contended that it cannot fully account for the normative role that truth plays in enquiry. As I see it, this concern amounts to several challenges. One such challenge—call it the axiological challenge—is about whether deflationists have the theoretical resources to explain the value of truth. Some philosophers (...)
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  109.  30
    Intersubstitutivity Principles and the Generalization Function of Truth.Anil Gupta & Shawn Standefer - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1065-1075.
    We offer a defense of one aspect of Paul Horwich’s response to the Liar paradox—more specifically, of his move to preserve classical logic. Horwich’s response requires that the full intersubstitutivity of ‘ ‘A’ is true’ and A be abandoned. It is thus open to the objection, due to Hartry Field, that it undermines the generalization function of truth. We defend Horwich’s move by isolating the grade of intersubstitutivity required by the generalization function and by providing a new reading of the (...)
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  110.  4
    Voting, Deliberation and Truth.Stephan Hartmann & Soroush Rafiee Rad - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1273-1293.
    There are various ways to reach a group decision on a factual yes–no question. One way is to vote and decide what the majority votes for. This procedure receives some epistemological support from the Condorcet Jury Theorem. Alternatively, the group members may prefer to deliberate and will eventually reach a decision that everybody endorses—a consensus. While the latter procedure has the advantage that it makes everybody happy, it has the disadvantage that it is difficult to implement, especially for larger groups. (...)
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  111.  18
    Constituting Assertion: A Pragmatist Critique of Horwich’s ‘Truth’.Andrew W. Howat - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):935-954.
    In his influential book Truth, Paul Horwich deploys a philosophical method focused on linguistic usage, that is, on the function(s) the concept of truth serves in actual discourse. In doing so Horwich eschews abstract metaphysics, arguing that metaphysical or ontological conceptions of truth rest on basic misconceptions. From this description, one might reasonably expect Horwich's book to have drawn inspiration from, or even embodied philosophical pragmatism of some kind. Unfortunately Horwich relies upon Russell's tired caricature of pragmatism about truth (''p' (...)
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  112.  28
    Can Minimalism About Truth Embrace Polysemy?Katarzyna Kijania-Placek - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):955-985.
    Paul Horwich is aware of the fact that his theory as stated in his works is directly applicable only to a language in which a word, understood as a syntactic type, is connected with exactly one literal meaning. Yet he claims that the theory is expandable to include homonymy and indexicality and thus may be considered as applicable to natural language. My concern in this paper is with yet another kind of ambiguity—systematic polysemy—that assigns multiple meanings to one linguistic type. (...)
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  113.  48
    Transitivity, Self-Explanation, and the Explanatory Circularity Argument Against Humean Accounts of Natural Law.Marc Lange - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1337-1353.
    Humean accounts of natural lawhood have often been criticized as unable to account for the laws’ characteristic explanatory power in science. Loewer has replied that these criticisms fail to distinguish grounding explanations from scientific explanations. Lange has replied by arguing that grounding explanations and scientific explanations are linked by a transitivity principle, which can be used to argue that Humean accounts of natural law violate the prohibition on self-explanation. Lange’s argument has been sharply criticized by Hicks and van Elswyk, Marshall, (...)
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  114.  23
    Is It Appropriate to ‘Target’ Inappropriate Dissent? On the Normative Consequences of Climate Skepticism.Anna Leuschner - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1255-1271.
    As Justin Biddle and I have argued, climate skepticism can be epistemically problematic when it displays a systematic intolerance of producer risks at the expense of public risks : 261–278, 2015). In this paper, I will provide currently available empirical evidence that supports our account, and I discuss the normative consequences of climate skepticism by drawing upon Philip Kitcher’s “Millian argument against the freedom of inquiry.” Finally, I argue that even though concerns regarding inappropriate disqualification of dissent are reasonable, a (...)
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  115.  36
    This is Not an Instance of (E).Teresa Marques - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1035–1063.
    Semantic paradoxes like the liar are notorious challenges to truth theories. A paradox can be phrased with minimal resources and minimal assumptions. It is not surprising, then, that the liar is also a challenge to minimalism about truth. Horwich (1990) deals swiftly with the paradox, after discriminating between other strategies for avoiding it without compromising minimalism. He dismisses the denial of classical logic, the denial that the concept of truth can coherently be applied to propositions, and the denial that the (...)
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  116. Transitivity and Proportionality in Causation.Neil McDonnell - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1211-1229.
    It is commonly assumed that causation is transitive and in this paper I aim to reconcile this widely-held assumption with apparent evidence to the contrary. I will discuss a familiar approach to certain well-known counterexamples, before introducing a more resistant sort of case of my own. I will then offer a novel solution, based on Yablo’s proportionality principle, that succeeds in even these more resistant cases. There is a catch, however. Either proportionality is a constraint on which causal claims are (...)
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  117.  21
    On Constructing a Logic for the Notion of Complete and Immediate Formal Grounding.Francesca Poggiolesi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1231-1254.
    In Poggiolesi we have introduced a rigorous definition of the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding; in the present paper our aim is to construct a logic for the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding based on that definition. Our logic will have the form of a calculus of natural deduction, will be proved to be sound and complete and will allow us to have fine-grained grounding principles.
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  118.  29
    Three Questions for Minimalism.Keith Simmons - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1011-1034.
    In this paper, I raise some interconnected concerns for Paul Horwich’s minimal theory of truth, framed by these three questions: How should the minimal theory be formulated? How does the minimal theory address the liar paradox? What is the explanatory role of the concept of truth? I conclude that we cannot be linguistic or conceptual deflationists about truth.
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  119.  27
    Belief Isn’T Voluntary, but Commitment Is.Nicholas Tebben - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1163-1179.
    To be committed to the truth of a proposition is to constrain one’s options in a certain way: one may not reason as if it is false, and one is obligated to reason as if it is true. Though one is often committed to the truth of the propositions that one believes, the states of belief and commitment are distinct. For historical reasons, however, they are rarely distinguished. Distinguishing between the two states allows for a defense of epistemic deontology against (...)
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  120.  74
    Minimalism About Truth: Special Issue Introduction.Joseph Ulatowski & Cory Wright - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):927-933.
    The theme of this special issue is minimalism about truth, a conception which has attracted extensive support since the landmark publication of Paul Horwich's Truth (1990). Many well-esteemed philosophers have challenged Horwich's alethic minimalism, an especially austere version of deflationary truth theory. In part, this is at least because his brand of minimalism about truth also intersects with several different literatures: paradox, implicit definition, bivalence, normativity, propositional attitudes, properties, explanatory power, meaning and use, and so forth. Deflationist sympathizers have introduced (...)
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  121. Truth, Explanation, Minimalism.Cory Wright - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):987-1009.
    Minimalists about truth contend that traditional inflationary theories systematically fail to explain certain facts about truth, and that this failure licenses a ‘reversal of explanatory direction’. Once reversed, they purport that their own minimal theory adequately explains all of the facts involving truth. But minimalists’ main objection to inflationism seems to misfire, and the subsequent reversal of explanatory direction, if it can be made sense of, leaves minimalism in no better explanatory position; and even if the objection were serviceable and (...)
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  122.  23
    Rigged Lotteries: A Diachronic Problem for Reducing Belief to Credence.Jonathan Wright - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1355-1373.
    Lin and Kelly :957–981, 2012) and Leitgeb :1338–1389, 2013, Philos Rev 123:131–171, 2014), offer similar solutions to the Lottery Paradox, defining acceptance rules which determine a rational agent’s beliefs in terms of broader features of her credal state than just her isolated credences in individual propositions. I express each proposal as a method for obtaining an ordering over a partition from a credence function, and then a belief set from the ordering. Although these proposals avoid the original Lottery Paradox, I (...)
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  123.  42
    The Evolution, Appropriation, and Composition of Rules.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):623-636.
    This paper concerns how rule-following behavior might evolve in the context of a variety of Skyrms–Lewis signaling game, how such rules might subsequently evolve to be used in new contexts, and how such appropriation allows for the composition of evolved rules. We will also consider how the composition of simpler rules to form more complex rules may be significantly more efficient than evolving the complex rules directly. And we will review an example of rule following by pinyon and scrub jays (...)
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  124.  24
    Basic Self-Knowledge and Transparency.Cristina Borgoni - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):679-696.
    Cogito-like judgments, a term coined by Burge, comprise thoughts such as, I am now thinking, I [hereby] judge that Los Angeles is at the same latitude as North Africa, or I [hereby] intend to go to the opera tonight. It is widely accepted that we form cogito-like judgments in an authoritative and not merely empirical manner. We have privileged self-knowledge of the mental state that is self-ascribed in a cogito-like judgment. Thus, models of self-knowledge that aim to explain privileged self-knowledge (...)
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  125. Science and the Special Composition Question.Andrew Brenner - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):657-678.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composition never occurs. Some philosophers have thought that science gives us compelling evidence against nihilism. In this article I respond to this concern. An initial challenge for nihilism stems from the fact that composition is such a ubiquitous feature of scientific theories. In response I motivate a restricted form of scientific anti-realism with respect to those components of scientific theories which make reference to composition. A second scientifically based worry for nihilism is that certain (...)
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  126. David Lewis in the Lab: Experimental Results on the Emergence of Meaning.Justin Bruner, Cailin O’Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon M. Huttegger - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):603-621.
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise—when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...)
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  127.  37
    Factivity, Consistency and Knowability.James Chase & Penelope Rush - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):899-918.
    One diagnosis of Fitch’s paradox of knowability is that it hinges on the factivity of knowledge: that which is known is true. Yet the apparent role of factivity and non-factive analogues in related paradoxes of justified belief can be shown to depend on familiar consistency and positive introspection principles. Rejecting arguments that the paradox hangs on an implausible consistency principle, this paper argues instead that the Fitch phenomenon is generated both in epistemic logic and logics of justification by the interaction (...)
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  128.  2
    The Implications of Learning Across Perceptually and Strategically Distinct Situations.Daniel Cownden, Kimmo Eriksson & Pontus Strimling - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):511-528.
    Game theory is a formal approach to behavior that focuses on the strategic aspect of situations. The game theoretic approach originates in economics but has been embraced by scholars across disciplines, including many philosophers and biologists. This approach has an important weakness: the strategic aspect of a situation, which is its defining quality in game theory, is often not its most salient quality in human cognition. Evidence from a wide range of experiments highlights this shortcoming. Previous theoretical and empirical work (...)
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  129.  30
    Levels of Communication and Lexical Semantics.Peter Gärdenfors - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):549-569.
    The meanings of words are not permanent but change over time. Some changes of meaning are quick, such as when a pronoun changes its reference; some are slower, as when two speakers find out that they are using the same word in different senses; and some are very slow, such as when the meaning of a word changes over historical time. A theory of semantics should account for these different time scales. In order to describe these different types of meaning (...)
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  130.  21
    Toward a Phenomenological Epistemology of Mathematical Logic.Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):863-874.
    This paper deals with Husserl’s idea of pure logic as it is coined in the Logical Investigations. First, it exposes the formation of pure logic around a conception of completeness ; then, it presents intentionality as the keystone of such a structuring ; and finally, it provides a systematic reconstruction of pure logic from the semiotic standpoint of intentionality. In this way, it establishes Husserlian pure logic as a phenomenological epistemology of mathematical logic.
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  131.  9
    GIRL Special Issue Introduction.Justine Jacot & Philip Pärnamets - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):483-490.
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  132. Grounding, Conceivability, and the Mind-Body Problem.Hasen Khudairi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):919–926.
    This paper challenges the soundness of the two-dimensional conceivability argument against the derivation of phenomenal truths from physical truths in light of a hyperintensional regimentation of the ontology of consciousness. The regimentation demonstrates how ontological dependencies between truths about consciousness and about physics cannot be witnessed by epistemic constraints, when the latter are recorded by the conceivability—i.e., the epistemic possibility—thereof. Generalizations and other aspects of the philosophical significance of the hyperintensional regimentation are further examined.
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  133.  10
    Grounding, Conceivability, and the Mind-Body Problem.Hasen Khudairi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):919-926.
    This paper challenges the soundness of the two-dimensional conceivability argument against the derivation of phenomenal truths from physical truths in light of a hyperintensional regimentation of the ontology of consciousness. The regimentation demonstrates how ontological dependencies between truths about consciousness and about physics cannot be witnessed by epistemic constraints, when the latter are recorded by the conceivability—i.e., the epistemic possibility—thereof. Generalizations and other aspects of the philosophical significance of the hyperintensional regimentation are further examined.
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  134.  13
    Towards a Theory of Ground-Theoretic Content.Stephan Krämer - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):785-814.
    A lot of research has recently been done on the topic of ground, and in particular on the logic of ground. According to a broad consensus in that debate, ground is hyperintensional in the sense that even logically equivalent truths may differ with respect to what grounds them, and what they ground. This renders pressing the question of what we may take to be the ground-theoretic content of a true statement, i.e. that aspect of the statement’s overall content to which (...)
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  135.  30
    Understanding What Was Said.Guy Longworth - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):815-834.
    On the most prominent account, understanding what was said is always propositional knowledge of what was said. I develop a more minimal alternative, according to which understanding is sometimes a distinctive attitude towards what was said—to a first approximation, entertaining what was said. The propositional knowledge account has been supported on the basis of its capacity to explain testimonial knowledge transmission. I argue that it is not so supported.
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  136.  17
    What Makes Interdisciplinarity Difficult? Some Consequences of Domain Specificity in Interdisciplinary Practice.Miles MacLeod - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):697-720.
    Research on interdisciplinary science has for the most part concentrated on the institutional obstacles that discourage or hamper interdisciplinary work, with the expectation that interdisciplinary interaction can be improved through institutional reform strategies such as through reform of peer review systems. However institutional obstacles are not the only ones that confront interdisciplinary work. The design of policy strategies would benefit from more detailed investigation into the particular cognitive constraints, including the methodological and conceptual barriers, which also confront attempts to work (...)
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  137.  29
    Comparing the Axiomatic and Ecological Approaches to Rationality: Fundamental Agreement Theorems in SCOP.Patricia Rich - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):529-547.
    There are two prominent viewpoints regarding the nature of rationality and how it should be evaluated in situations of interest: the traditional axiomatic approach and the newer ecological rationality. An obstacle to comparing and evaluating these seemingly opposite approaches is that they employ different language and formalisms, ask different questions, and are at different stages of development. I adapt a formal framework known as SCOP to address this problem by providing a comprehensive common framework in which both approaches may be (...)
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  138.  17
    Asymmetry in the Unificationist Theory of Causal Explanation.Sansom Roger & Shields Jannai - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):765-783.
    The unificationist theory of causal explanation offers a theory of causation and explanation with no causal primitives. Kitcher proposed that it offered an account of explanatory asymmetry, but his proposal has been criticized for being too dependent on contingent facts and surreptitiously supposing causal realism. In addition, critics have argued that unificationism cannot account for asymmetry in a world with symmetric laws of physics and is lead to accept backwards explanation in certain epistemic situations. Unificationism has been defended from some (...)
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  139. Which Witch is Which? Exotic Objects and Intentional Identity.Alexander Sandgren - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):721-739.
    This paper is about intentional identity, the phenomenon of intentional attitudes having a common focus. I present an argument against an approach to explaining intentional identity, defended by Nathan Salmon, Terence Parsons and others, that involves positing exotic objects. For example, those who adopt this sort of view say that when two astronomers had beliefs about Vulcan, their attitudes had a common focus because there is an exotic object that both of their beliefs were about. I argue that countenancing these (...)
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  140.  19
    Applying Mathematics to Empirical Sciences: Flashback to a Puzzling Disciplinary Interaction.Raphaël Sandoz - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):875-898.
    This paper aims to reassess the philosophical puzzle of the “applicability of mathematics to physical sciences” as a misunderstood disciplinary interplay. If the border isolating mathematics from the empirical world is based on appropriate criteria, how does one explain the fruitfulness of its systematic crossings in recent centuries? An analysis of the evolution of the criteria used to separate mathematics from experimental sciences will shed some light on this question. In this respect, we will highlight the historical influence of three (...)
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  141.  26
    At Least Not False, at Most Possible: Between Truth and Assertibility of Superlative Quantifiers.Maria Spychalska - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):571-602.
    Generalized Quantifier Theory defines superlative quantifiers at most n and at least n as truth-conditionally equivalent to comparative quantifiers fewer than n+1 and more than n \1. It has been demonstrated, however, that this standard theory cannot account for various linguistic differences between these two types of quantifiers. In this paper I discuss how the distinction between assertibility and truth-conditions can be applied to explain this phenomenon. I draw a parallel between the assertibility of disjunctions and superlative quantifiers, and argue (...)
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  142.  61
    Is Phenomenal Force Sufficient for Immediate Perceptual Justification?Lu Teng - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):637-656.
    As an important view in the epistemology of perception, dogmatism proposes that for any experience, if it has a distinctive kind of phenomenal character, then it thereby provides us with immediate justification for beliefs about the external world. This paper rejects dogmatism by looking into the epistemology of imagining. In particular, this paper first appeals to some empirical studies on perceptual experiences and imaginings to show that it is possible for imaginings to have the distinctive phenomenal character dogmatists have in (...)
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  143.  46
    Rational Analysis, Intractability, and the Prospects of ‘as If’-Explanations.Iris van Rooij, Cory Wright, Johan Kwisthout & Todd Wareham - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):491-510.
    Despite their success in describing and predicting cognitive behavior, the plausibility of so-called ‘rational explanations’ is often contested on the grounds of computational intractability. Several cognitive scientists have argued that such intractability is an orthogonal pseudoproblem, however, since rational explanations account for the ‘why’ of cognition but are agnostic about the ‘how’. Their central premise is that humans do not actually perform the rational calculations posited by their models, but only act as if they do. Whether or not the problem (...)
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  144.  16
    Crowdsourced Science: Sociotechnical Epistemology in the E-Research Paradigm.David Watson & Luciano Floridi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):741-764.
    Recent years have seen a surge in online collaboration between experts and amateurs on scientific research. In this article, we analyse the epistemological implications of these crowdsourced projects, with a focus on Zooniverse, the world’s largest citizen science web portal. We use quantitative methods to evaluate the platform’s success in producing large volumes of observation statements and high impact scientific discoveries relative to more conventional means of data processing. Through empirical evidence, Bayesian reasoning, and conceptual analysis, we show how information (...)
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  145.  25
    Richness and Rationality: Causal Decision Theory and the WAR Argument.Adam Bales - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):259-267.
    Causal decision theory is one of our most prominent theories of rational choice and the “why ain’cha rich?” argument is one of the most prominent objections to this theory. According to WAR, CDT is not an adequate theory of rational choice because it leads agents to make decisions that foreseeably leave them less well off than agents that decide in some other manner. Some philosophers take WAR to decisively undermine CDT. On the other hand, others take WAR to fail to (...)
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  146.  22
    A Yabloesque Paradox in Epistemic Game Theory.Can Başkent - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):441-464.
    The Brandenburger–Keisler paradox is a self-referential paradox in epistemic game theory which can be viewed as a two-person version of Russell’s Paradox. Yablo’s Paradox, according to its author, is a non-self referential paradox, which created a significant impact. This paper gives a Yabloesque, non-self-referential paradox for infinitary players within the context of epistemic game theory. The new paradox advances both the Brandenburger–Keisler and Yablo results. Additionally, the paper constructs a paraconsistent model satisfying the paradoxical statement.
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  147.  26
    A Logic for the Discovery of Deterministic Causal Regularities.Mathieu Beirlaen, Bert Leuridan & Frederik Van De Putte - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):367-399.
    We present a logic, \, for the discovery of deterministic causal regularities starting from empirical data. Our approach is inspired by Mackie’s theory of causes as INUS-conditions, and implements a more recent adjustment to Mackie’s theory according to which the left-hand side of causal regularities is required to be a minimal disjunction of minimal conjunctions. To derive such regularities from a given set of data, we make use of the adaptive logics framework. Our knowledge of deterministic causal regularities is, as (...)
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  148.  12
    Questions as Information Types.Ivano Ciardelli - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):321-365.
    This paper argues that questions have an important role to to play in logic, both semantically and proof-theoretically. Semantically, we show that by generalizing the classical notion of entailment to questions, we can capture not only the standard relation of logical consequence, which holds between pieces of information, but also the relation of logical dependency, which holds between information types. Proof-theoretically, we show that questions may be used in inferences as placeholders for arbitrary information of a given type; by manipulating (...)
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  149.  30
    Mechanistic and Topological Explanations in Medicine: The Case of Medical Genetics and Network Medicine.Marie Darrason - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):147-173.
    Medical explanations have often been thought on the model of biological ones and are frequently defined as mechanistic explanations of a biological dysfunction. In this paper, I argue that topological explanations, which have been described in ecology or in cognitive sciences, can also be found in medicine and I discuss the relationships between mechanistic and topological explanations in medicine, through the example of network medicine and medical genetics. Network medicine is a recent discipline that relies on the analysis of various (...)
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  150. Mechanisms Meet Structural Explanation.Laura Felline - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):99-114.
    This paper investigates the relationship between structural explanation and the New Mechanistic account of explanation. The aim of this paper is twofold: firstly, to argue that some phenomena in the domain of fundamental physics, although mechanically brute, are structurally explained; and secondly, by elaborating on the contrast between SE and mechanistic explanation to better clarify some features of SE. Finally, this paper will argue that, notwithstanding their apparently antithetical character, SE and ME can be reconciled within a unified account of (...)
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  151.  22
    What a Maker’s Knowledge Could Be.Luciano Floridi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):465-481.
    Three classic distinctions specify that truths can be necessary versus contingent,analytic versus synthetic, and a priori versus a posteriori. The philosopher reading this article knows very well both how useful and ordinary such distinctions are in our conceptual work and that they have been subject to many and detailed debates, especially the last two. In the following pages, I do not wish to discuss how far they may be tenable. I shall assume that, if they are reasonable and non problematic (...)
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  152.  69
    Mutual Manipulability and Causal Inbetweenness.Totte Harinen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):35-54.
    Carl Craver’s mutual manipulability criterion aims to pick out all and only those components of a mechanism that are constitutively relevant with respect to a given phenomenon. In devising his criterion, Craver has made heavy use of the notion of an ideal intervention, which is a tool for illuminating causal concepts in causal models. The problem is that typical mechanistic models contain non-causal relations in addition to causal ones, which is why the standard concept of an ideal intervention is not (...)
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  153.  48
    Repelling a Prussian Charge with a Solution to a Paradox of Dubins.Colin Howson - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1).
    Pruss uses an example of Lester Dubins to argue against the claim that appealing to hyperreal-valued probabilities saves probabilistic regularity from the objection that in continuum outcome-spaces and with standard probability functions all save countably many possibilities must be assigned probability 0. Dubins’s example seems to show that merely finitely additive standard probability functions allow reasoning to a foregone conclusion, and Pruss argues that hyperreal-valued probability functions are vulnerable to the same charge. However, Pruss’s argument relies on the rule of (...)
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  154.  42
    Diversifying the Picture of Explanations in Biological Sciences: Ways of Combining Topology with Mechanisms.Philippe Huneman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):115-146.
    Besides mechanistic explanations of phenomena, which have been seriously investigated in the last decade, biology and ecology also include explanations that pinpoint specific mathematical properties as explanatory of the explanandum under focus. Among these structural explanations, one finds topological explanations, and recent science pervasively relies on them. This reliance is especially due to the necessity to model large sets of data with no practical possibility to track the proper activities of all the numerous entities. The paper first defines topological explanations (...)
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  155.  31
    Mechanistic and Topological Explanations: An Introduction.Daniel Kostic - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1).
    In the last 20 years or so, since the publication of a seminal paper by Watts and Strogatz :440–442, 1998), an interest in topological explanations has spread like a wild fire over many areas of science, e.g. ecology, evolutionary biology, medicine, and cognitive neuroscience. The topological approach is still very young by all standards, and even within special sciences it still doesn’t have a single methodological programme that is applicable across all areas of science. That is why this special issue (...)
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  156.  46
    The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Mechanics of the Rejection of Science: Simulating Coherence by Conspiracism.Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook & Elisabeth Lloyd - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):175-196.
    Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence: greenhouse gas emissions from human economic activities are causing the global climate to warm and unless GHG emissions are drastically reduced in the near future, the risks from climate change will continue to grow and major adverse consequences will become unavoidable. People who oppose this scientific body of knowledge because the implications of cutting (...)
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  157.  21
    Why Warrant Transmits Across Epistemological Disjunctivist Moorean-Style Arguments.Thomas Lockhart - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):287-319.
    Epistemological disjunctivists make appeal to Moorean-style anti-skeptical arguments. It is often held that one problem with using Moorean-style arguments in the context of a response to skepticism is that such arguments are subject to a kind of epistemic circularity. The specific kind of epistemic failure involved has come to be known as a failure of warrant transmission. It would likely pose a problem for the anti-skeptical ambitions of the epistemological disjunctivist if his version of the Moorean-style argument failed to transmit (...)
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  158.  23
    Concept Originalism, Reference-Shift and Belief Reports.Seyed N. Mousavian & Mohammad Saleh Zarepour - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):269-285.
    Concept originalism, recently introduced and defended by Sainsbury and Tye, Tye, and Sainsbury, holds that “atomic concepts are to be individuated by their historical origins, as opposed to their semantic or epistemic properties”. The view is immune to Gareth Evans’s “Madagascar” objection to the Causal Theory of Reference since it allows a concept to change its reference over time without losing its identity. The possibility of reference-shift, however, raises the problem of misleading belief reports. S&T try to tackle the problem (...)
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  159.  96
    Reference Fiction, and Omission.Samuel Murray - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):235-257.
    In this paper, I argue that sentences that contain ‘omission’ tokens that appear to function as singular terms are meaningful while maintaining the view that omissions are nothing at all or mere absences. I take omissions to be fictional entities and claim that the way in which sentences about fictional characters are true parallels the way in which sentences about omissions are true. I develop a pragmatic account of fictional reference and argue that my fictionalist account of omissions implies a (...)
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  160.  57
    Making Mechanism Interesting.Alexander Rosenberg - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):11-33.
    I note the multitude of ways in which, beginning with the classic paper by Machamer et al., the mechanists have qualify their methodological dicta, and limit the vulnerability of their claims by strategic vagueness regarding their application. I go on to generalize a version of the mechanist requirement on explanations due to Craver and Kaplan :601–627, 2011) in cognitive and systems neuroscience so that it applies broadly across the life sciences in accordance with the view elaborated by Craver and Darden (...)
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  161.  15
    The Little Nell Problem: Reasonable and Resolute Maintenance of Agent Intentions.Richmond H. Thomason - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):433-440.
    The Little Nell Problem was formulated by Drew McDermott in 1982. It reveals unexpected complexities in the interaction of the beliefs and intentions of a planning agent. This paper discusses the problem and proposes a solution.
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  162.  13
    Bayesian Representation of a Prolonged Archaeological Debate.Efraim Wallach - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):401-431.
    This article examines the effect of material evidence upon historiographic hypotheses. Through a series of successive Bayesian conditionalizations, I analyze the extended competition among several hypotheses that offered different accounts of the transition between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age in Palestine and in particular to the “emergence of Israel”. The model reconstructs, with low sensitivity to initial assumptions, the actual outcomes including a complete alteration of the scientific consensus. Several known issues of Bayesian confirmation, including the problem of (...)
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  163. Kant and Frege on Existence.Toni Kannisto - 2018 - Synthese (8):01-26.
    According to what Jonathan Bennett calls the Kant–Frege view of existence, Frege gave solid logical foundations to Kant’s claim that existence is not a real predicate. In this article I will challenge Bennett’s claim by arguing that although Kant and Frege agree on what existence is not, they agree neither on what it is nor on the importance and justification of existential propositions. I identify three main differences: first, whereas for Frege existence is a property of a concept, for Kant (...)
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  164.  40
    Lay Intuitions About Epistemic Normativity.Pendaran Roberts, James Andow & Kelly Ann Schmitdtke - 2018 - Synthese (7):1-21.
    Recent empirical work on non-philosophers’ intuitions about epistemic normativity reveals patterns that cannot be fully accounted for by direct epistemic consequentialism. On the basis of these results, one might picture participants as “epistemic deontologists.” We present the results of two new experiments that support a more nuanced picture. We examine intuitions about guesses and hypotheses, and about beliefs. Our results suggest a two-factor model of intuitions, wherein both consequentialist and non-consequentialist considerations affect participants’ judgments about epistemic permissibility.
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  165.  42
    The Topological Realization.Daniel Kostić - 2018 - Synthese (1).
    In this paper, I argue that the newly developed network approach in neuroscience and biology provides a basis for formulating a unique type of realization, which I call topological realization. Some of its features and its relation to one of the dominant paradigms of realization and explanation in sciences, i.e. the mechanistic one, are already being discussed in the literature. But the detailed features of topological realization, its explanatory power and its relation to another prominent view of realization, namely the (...)
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  166. Network Representation and Complex Systems.Charles Rathkopf - 2018 - Synthese (1).
    In this article, network science is discussed from a methodological perspective, and two central theses are defended. The first is that network science exploits the very properties that make a system complex. Rather than using idealization techniques to strip those properties away, as is standard practice in other areas of science, network science brings them to the fore, and uses them to furnish new forms of explanation. The second thesis is that network representations are particularly helpful in explaining the properties (...)
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  167.  34
    A Bitter Pill for Closure.Marvin Backes - 2018 - Synthese.
    The primary objective of this paper is to introduce a new epistemic paradox that puts pressure on the claim that justification is closed under multi premise deduction. The first part of the paper will consider two well-known paradoxes—the lottery and the preface paradox—and outline two popular strategies for solving the paradoxes without denying closure. The second part will introduce a new, structurally related, paradox that is immune to these closure-preserving solutions. I will call this paradox, The Paradox of the Pill. (...)
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  168.  80
    Anti-Individualism and Transparency.Vojislav Bozickovic - 2018 - Synthese (forthcoming):1-14.
    Anti-individualists hold that having a thought with a certain intentional content is a relational rather than an intrinsic property of the subject. Some anti-individualists also hold that thought-content serves to explain the subject’s cognitive perspective. Since there seems to be a tension between these two views, much discussed in the philosophical literature, attempts have been made to resolve it. In an attempt to reconcile these views, and in relation to perception-based demonstrative thoughts, Stalnaker (Our knowledge of the internal world, Oxford (...)
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  169.  75
    Sosa Versus Kornblith on Grades of Knowledge.J. Adam Carter & Robin McKenna - 2018 - Synthese.
    In a series of works Ernest Sosa (see Sosa 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) has defended the view that there are two kinds or ‘grades’ of knowledge, animal and reflective. One of the most persistent critics of Sosa’s attempts to bifurcate knowledge is Hilary Kornblith (see Kornblith 2004, 2009, 2012). Our aim in this paper is to outline and evaluate Kornblith’s criticisms. We will argue that, while they raise a range of difficult (exegetical and substantive) questions about Sosa’s (...)
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  170.  64
    Philosophical Expertise Under the Microscope.Miguel Egler & Lewis Dylan Ross - 2018 - Synthese:1-22.
    Recent experimental studies indicate that epistemically irrelevant factors can skew our intuitions, and that some degree of scepticism about appealing to intuition in philosophy is warranted. In response, some have claimed that philosophers are experts in such a way as to vindicate their reliance on intuitions—this has become known as the ‘expertise defence’. This paper explores the viability of the expertise defence, and suggests that it can be partially vindicated. Arguing that extant discussion is problematically imprecise, we will finesse the (...)
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  171.  20
    Can Parts Cause Their Wholes?Toby Friend - 2018 - Synthese:1-22.
    Part–whole causation (PWC) is the thesis that some causes are part of their effects. PWC has been objected to because of its incompatibility with the criterion that causes not be spatially included within their effects and the criterion that causes and effects are ontologically distinct in some sense. This paper serves to undermine the sufficiency of these ways of objecting to PWC by showing that for each criterion either cause-effect relationships need not satisfy it or part–whole relationships can. A case-study (...)
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  172.  15
    An Empirical Solution to the Puzzle of Weakness of Will.Julia Haas - 2018 - Synthese:1-21.
    This paper presents an empirical solution to the puzzle of weakness of will. Specifically, it presents a theory of action, grounded in contemporary cognitive neuroscientific accounts of decision making, that explains the phenomenon of weakness of will without resulting in a puzzle.
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  173. “Nobody Would Really Talk That Way!”: The Critical Project in Contemporary Ordinary Language Philosophy.Nat Hansen - 2018 - Synthese:1-32.
    This paper defends a challenge, inspired by arguments drawn from contemporary ordinary language philosophy and grounded in experimental data, to certain forms of standard philosophical practice. There has been a resurgence of philosophers who describe themselves as practicing "ordinary language philosophy". The resurgence can be divided into constructive and critical approaches. The critical approach to neo-ordinary language philosophy has been forcefully developed by Baz (2012a,b, 2014, 2015, 2016, forthcoming), who attempts to show that a substantial chunk of contemporary philosophy is (...)
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  174.  50
    What Paradoxes Depend On.Ming Hsiung - 2018 - Synthese:1-27.
    This paper gives a definition of self-reference on the basis of the dependence relation given by Leitgeb (2005), and the dependence digraph by Beringer & Schindler (2015). Unlike the usual discussion about self-reference of paradoxes centering around Yablo's paradox and its variants, I focus on the paradoxes of finitary characteristic, which are given again by use of Leitgeb's dependence relation. They are called 'locally finite paradoxes', satisfying that any sentence in these paradoxes can depend on finitely many sentences. I prove (...)
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  175.  26
    Essential Bundle Theory and Modality.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-16.
    Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...)
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  176.  38
    Knowing How Things Might Have Been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-19.
    I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to (...)
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  177. Inference, Explanation, and Asymmetry.Kareem Khalifa, Jared Millson & Mark Risjord - 2018 - Synthese.
    Explanation is asymmetric: if A explains B, then B does not explain A. Tradition- ally, the asymmetry of explanation was thought to favor causal accounts of explanation over their rivals, such as those that take explanations to be inferences. In this paper, we develop a new inferential approach to explanation that outperforms causal approaches in accounting for the asymmetry of explanation.
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  178.  15
    On Causality as the Fundamental Concept of Gödel’s Philosophy.Srecko Kovac - 2018 - Synthese.
    This paper proposes a possible reconstruction and philosophical-logical clarification of Gödel's idea of causality as the philosophical fundamental concept. The results are based on Gödel's published and non-published texts (including Max Phil notebooks), and are established on the ground of interconnections of Gödel's dispersed remarks on causality, as well as on the ground of his general philosophical views. The paper is logically informal but is connected with already achieved results in the formalization of a causal account of Gödel's onto-theological theory. (...)
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  179. Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese:1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  180. Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese:1-20.
    I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes (...)
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  181.  28
    Regression to the Mean and Judy Benjamin.Randall G. McCutcheon - 2018 - Synthese.
    Van Fraassen's Judy Benjamin problem asks how one ought to update one's credence in A upon receiving evidence of the sort ``A may or may not obtain, but B is k times likelier than C'', where {A,B,C} is a partition. Van Fraassen's solution, in the limiting case of increasing k, recommends a posterior converging to the probability of A conditional on A union B, where P is one's prior probability function. Grove and Halpern, and more recently Douven and Romeijn, have (...)
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  182.  7
    On the Non-Conceptual Content of Affective-Evaluative Experience.Jonathan Mitchell - 2018 - Synthese:1-25.
    Arguments for attributing non-conceptual content to experience have predominantly been motivated by aspects of the visual perception of empirical properties. In this article, I pursue a different strategy, arguing that a specific class of affective-evaluative experiences have non-conceptual content. The examples drawn on are affective-evaluative experiences of first exposure, in which the subject has a felt valenced intentional attitude towards evaluative properties of the object of their experience, but lacks any powers of conceptual discrimination regarding those evaluative properties. I also (...)
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  183.  69
    Structure-Preserving Representations, Constitution and the Relative A Priori.Thomas Mormann - 2018 - Synthese.
    The aim of this paper is to show that a comprehensive account of the role of representations in science should reconsider some neglected theses of the classical philosophy of science proposed in the first decades of the 20th century. More precisely, it is argued that the accounts of Helmholtz and Hertz may be taken as prototypes of representational accounts in which structure preservation plays an essential role. Following Reichenbach, structure-preserving representations provide a useful device for formulating an up-to-date version of (...)
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  184.  83
    Mental Causation Via Neuroprosthetics? A Critical Analysis.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2018 - Synthese.
    Some recent arguments defending the genuine causal efficacy of the mental have been relying on empirical research on neuroprosthetics. This essay presents a critical analysis of these arguments. The problem of mental causation, and the basic idea and results of neuroprosthetics are reviewed. It is shown how appealing to the research on neuroprosthetics can be interpreted to give support to the idea of mental causation. However, it does so only in a rather deflationary sense: by holding the mental identical with (...)
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  185.  96
    How Genealogies Can Affect the Space of Reasons.Matthieu Queloz - 2018 - Synthese:1-23.
    Can genealogical explanations affect the space of reasons? Those who think so commonly face two objections. The first objection maintains that attempts to derive reasons from claims about the genesis of something commit the genetic fallacy—they conflate genesis and justification. One way for genealogies to side-step this objection is to focus on the functional origins of practices—to show that, given certain facts about us and our environment, certain conceptual practices are rational because apt responses. But this invites a second objection, (...)
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  186.  7
    Kuhn's "Wrong Turning" and Legacy Today.Yafeng Shan - 2018 - Synthese.
    Alexander Bird indicates that the significance of Thomas Kuhn in the history of philosophy of science is somehow paradoxical. On the one hand, Kuhn was one of the most influential and important philosophers of science in the second half of the twentieth century. On the other hand, nowadays there is little distinctively Kuhn’s legacy in the sense that most of Kuhn’s work has no longer any philosophical significance. Bird argues that the explanation of the paradox of Kuhn’s legacy is that (...)
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  187. The Structure of Sensorimotor Explanation.Alfredo Vernazzani - 2018 - Synthese.
    The sensorimotor theory of vision and visual consciousness is often described as a radical alternative to the computational and connectionist orthodoxy in the study of visual perception. However, it is far from clear whether the theory represents a significant departure from orthodox approaches or whether it is an enrichment of it. In this study, I tackle this issue by focusing on the explanatory structure of the sensorimotor theory. I argue that the standard formulation of the theory subscribes to the same (...)
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  188.  4
    Equivalence: An Attempt at a History of the Idea.Amir Asghari - 2018 - Synthese.
    This paper proposes a reading of the history of equivalence in mathematics. The paper has two main parts. The first part focuses on a relatively short historical period when the notion of equivalence is about to be decontextualized, but yet, has no commonly agreed-upon name. The method for this part is rather straightforward: following the clues left by the others for the ‘first’ modern use of equivalence. The second part focuses on a relatively long historical period when equivalence is experienced (...)
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  189.  3
    The Development of Renormalization Group Methods for Particle Physics: Formal Analogies Between Classical Statistical Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory.Doreen Fraser - 2018 - Synthese.
    Analogies between classical statistical mechanics and quantum field theory played a pivotal role in the development of renormalization group methods for application in the two theories. This paper focuses on the analogies that informed the application of RG methods in QFT by Kenneth Wilson and collaborators in the early 1970's. The central task that is accomplished is the identification and analysis of the analogical mappings employed. The conclusion is that the analogies in this case study are formal analogies, and not (...)
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  190.  8
    Replies.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2018 - Synthese.
    In this article, I reply to the preceding articles by Naomi Oreskes, Chrysostomos Mantzavinos, Brad Wray, Sarah Green, Alexander Bird, and Timothy Lyons. These articles contain a number of objections and suggestions concerning systematicity theory, as developed in my book ystematicity: The Nature of Science.
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  191. Refined Nomic Truth Approximation by Revising Models and Postulates.Theo Kuipers - 2018 - Synthese.
    Assuming that the target of theory oriented empirical science in general and of nomic truth approximation in particular is to characterize the boundary or demarcation between nomic possibilities and nomic impossibilities, I have presented, in my article entitled “Models, postulates, and generalized nomic truth approximation”, the ‘basic’ version of generalized nomic truth approximation, starting from ‘two-sided’ theories. Its main claim is that nomic truth approximation can perfectly be achieved by combining two prima facie opposing views on theories: the traditional view: (...)
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  192.  32
    The Genealogical Method in Epistemology.Martin Kusch & Robin McKenna - 2018 - Synthese.
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  193.  9
    Eternal Inflation: When Probabilities Fail.John D. Norton - 2018 - Synthese.
    In eternally inflating cosmology, infinitely many pocket universes are seeded. Attempts to show that universes like our observable universe are probable amongst them have failed, since no unique probability measure is recoverable. This lack of definite probabilities is taken to reveal a complete predictive failure. Inductive inference over the pocket universes, it would seem, is impossible. I argue that this conclusion of impossibility mistakes the nature of the problem. It confuses the case in which no inductive inference is possible, with (...)
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  194.  4
    Infinitesimal Idealization, Easy Road Nominalism, and Fractional Quantum Statistics.Elay Shech - 2018 - Synthese.
    It has been recently debated whether there exists a so-called “easy road” to nominalism. In this essay, I attempt to fill a lacuna in the debate by making a connection with the literature on infinite and infinitesimal idealization in science through an example from mathematical physics that has been largely ignored by philosophers. Specifically, by appealing to John Norton’s distinction between idealization and approximation, I argue that the phenomena of fractional quantum statistics bears negatively on Mary Leng’s proposed path to (...)
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  195.  1
    The Heuristic Function of Duality.Sebastian De Haro - 2018 - Synthese:1-35.
    I conceptualise the role of dualities in quantum gravity, in terms of their functions for theory construction. I distinguish between two functions of duality in physical practice: namely, discovering and describing ‘equivalent physics’, versus suggesting ‘new physics’. I dub these the ‘theoretical’ versus the ‘heuristic’ functions of dualities. The distinction seems to have gone largely unnoticed in the philosophical literature: and it exists both for dualities, and for the more general relation of theoretical equivalence. The paper develops the heuristic function (...)
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  196.  5
    A Precipice Below Which Lies Absurdity? Theories Without a Spacetime and Scientific Understanding.Sebastian De Haro & Henk W. de Regt - 2018 - Synthese:1-29.
    While the relation between visualization and scientific understanding has been a topic of long-standing discussion, recent developments in physics have pushed the boundaries of this debate to new and still unexplored realms. For it is claimed that, in certain theories of quantum gravity, spacetime ‘disappears’: and this suggests that one may have sensible physical theories in which spacetime is completely absent. This makes the philosophical question whether such theories are intelligible, even more pressing. And if such theories are intelligible, the (...)
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  197.  2
    Where Health and Environment Meet: The Use of Invariant Parameters in Big Data Analysis.Sabina Leonelli & Niccolò Tempini - 2018 - Synthese:1-20.
    The use of big data to investigate the spread of infectious diseases or the impact of the built environment on human wellbeing goes beyond the realm of traditional approaches to epidemiology, and includes a large variety of data objects produced by research communities with different methods and goals. This paper addresses the conditions under which researchers link, search and interpret such diverse data by focusing on “data mash-ups”—that is the linking of data from epidemiology, biomedicine, climate and environmental science, which (...)
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  198.  3
    Infinite Idealization and Contextual Realism.Chuang Liu - 2018 - Synthese:1-34.
    The paper discusses the recent literature on abstraction/idealization in connection with the “paradox of infinite idealization.” We use the case of taking thermodynamics limit in dealing with the phenomena of phase transition and critical phenomena to broach the subject. We then argue that the method of infinite idealization is widely used in the practice of science, and not all uses of the method are the same. We then confront the compatibility problem of infinite idealization with scientific realism. We propose and (...)
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