Philosophical accounts of the semantics of fiction have tended to be problematic in one of two ways: either they have denied that items used in fictional discourse have their plain meaning, introducing complications into otherwise satisfactory accounts of semantics, or they have posited special kinds of entities, introducing complications into otherwise satisfactory accounts of ontology. Accounts that tried to avoid these problems by positing mere possibilia as fictional entities were thought to be hopeless inasmuch as it was thought impossible to (...) pick out unique mere possibilia, and there could be no causal connection to them of the sort that was thought to be necessary for reference. I proposed to try to deal with the first problem by using counterfactuals, which each pick out a relatively small, constrained set of possible worlds, and presumably could so limit the possibilia contained in them to make picking out unique ones possible. I improve on David Lewis' counterfactual semantics for fiction by altering the analysis to make the experience of a hypothetical listener central, rather than the actions of a hypothetical narrator. As for the second, I show bow the causal theory of names can plausibly be expanded to a counterfactual theory of names, which would allow for naming across possible worlds. I conclude that fictional names rigidly designate mere possibilia, which allows for a more normal semantics for fiction than had seemed possible. (shrink)
David Lewis  offers a possible worlds approach to a theory of counterfactuals. He attempts to specify necessary and sufficient conditions according to which a given counterfactual is true or false. This MA Thesis surveys Lewis's theory of counterfactuals in detail. Although for the most part I defend Lewis's account from several objections, in the final chapter I reason that his theory is susceptible to skepticism, which threatens any philosophical theory that relies on Lewis's theory to distinguish between non-paradigmatically (...) true and false counterfactuals. As for the more sympathetic portion of my project, while I show how Lewis's canonical account cannot handle some paradigmatically false counterfactuals--viz., those containing true components--I try to repair his analysis in the spirit of Alan Penczek . I then discuss Lewis's extension or enhancement to his original theory, which he gives in order to foil an objection advanced by Kit Fine  and Jonathan Bennett . Finally, I outline and raise several worries inherent in Bennett's rival theory. As for the less then sympathetic section of this paper, I exploit arguments put forward by G. Lee Bowie  as well as by Daniel Krasner and Mark Heller , which are designed to undermine any systematic procedure to circumscribe Lewis's crucial three-place comparative similarity relation between possible worlds. (shrink)
In this paper, I advance a new view of the semantics of indexicals, using a paper by Quentin Smith as my starting point. I make use of Smith’s examples, refined and expanded upon by myself to argue, as Smith does, that the standard view, that indexicals refer to some prominent features of the context according to an invariant rule called the character, does not agree with a wide range of phenomena. I depart from Smith, however, in denying that we need (...) more complex rules, which he does not give, called metacharacters to account for all the deviations, and instead argue for a view of indexicals as just being special cases of demonstratives. I show how demonstratives can be substituted for indexicals to support this view, and I adduce recent work in the semantics of demonstratives to explain how it can work. (shrink)
Krasner considers the decline of the global economic power the United States enjoyed from the 1940s through the 1960s and prescribes a policy of repricocity to restore the country's postwar position, allowing it to compete effectively in an emerging and changing economic climate.
This classic edition presents the correspondence of one of the great thinkers of the 18th century, and offers a rich picture of the man and his age. This first volume contains David Hume's letters from 1727 to 1765. Hume's correspondents include such famous public figures as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, James Boswell, and Benjamin Franklin.
In 'How Many Lives Has Schrödinger's Cat?' David Lewis argues that the Everettian no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics is in a tangle when it comes to probabilities. This paper aims to show that the difficulties that Lewis raises are insubstantial. The Everettian metaphysics contains a coherent account of probability. Indeed it accounts for probability rather better than orthodox metaphysics does.
David and Mary Norton present the definitive scholarly edition of Hume's Treatise, one of the greatest philosophical works ever written. This set comprises the two volumes of texts and editorial material, which are also available for purchase separately. -/- David Hume (1711 - 1776) is one of the greatest of philosophers. Today he probably ranks highest of all British philosophers in terms of influence and philosophical standing. His philosophical work ranges across morals, the mind, metaphysics, epistemology, religion, and (...) aesthetics; he had broad interests not only in philosophy as it is now conceived but in history, politics, economics, religion, and the arts. He was a master of English prose. -/- The Clarendon Hume Edition will include all of his works except his History of England and minor historical writings. It is the only thorough critical edition, and will provide a far more extensive scholarly treatment than any previous editions. This edition (which has been in preparation since the 1970s) offers authoritative annotation, bibliographical information, and indexes, and draws upon the major advances in textual scholarship that have been made since the publication of earlier editions - advances both in the understanding of editorial principle and practice and in knowledge of the history of Hume's own texts. (shrink)
In this paper, I undertake to apply the de dicto/de re distinction familiar to philosophers of language from objects to properties. To do this, I come up with a new characterization of the distinction, and apply it to some cases in the literature to show how it deals with them, and how the phenomena are more common and varied than one might think. I discuss how it would apply to color-blind people’s understanding of color terms, to show its intuitiveness, and (...) how it would call for the use of Higher Order Logic, and then apply it to outstanding questions in Metaphysics, Moral Psychology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Moore Studies, Metaphilosophy, Metaethics, and Philosophy of Science, in order to develop new and significant ideas and insights. By doing this, I hope not only to cast light on old problems, and support some common and traditional, and I hope, common sense, views by showing how the distinction has the potential to deal with some familiar objections, but also to provide support for accepting the view that the de re/de dicto distinction makes sense when applied to properties, and that we should therefor embrace it and Higher Order Logic, because of their fecundity. (shrink)
The entwining of the craft worker’s body both with the materials of her artistic process and with the craft object itself is central to an understanding of craft aesthetics. This paper addresses embodied craft in Lia Cook’s weavings, which foreground the artist’s body and the embodying dynamics of woven art. Cook’s work is read in relation to the Lady of Shalott, a fictional textile artist portrayed in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem by that name, and the painted versions of it by (...) William Holman Hunt and other Pre-Raphaelite artists. Cook’s work emerges as an elaboration upon Pre-Raphaelite ideas for the digital age, and a useful model for understanding the embodied dynamics of craft aesthetics. (shrink)
We consider Kaplan's two main theories of demonstrative reference, that it is determined by intention, and that it is determined by a demonstration. The first, though showing genuine insight into the sort of private concerns relevant, is shown to fail due to circularity. The second, though it brings out clearly the more public factors relevant, fails because of vacuity. I advance a new theory, explaining demonstrative reference in terms of the closeness of match of the demonstrative utterance to the facts, (...) given the way the parties concerned are likely to think about it. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that the normativity of conceptual judgement poses problems for naturalism. Thus John McDowell urges that 'The structure of the space of reasons stubbornly resists being appropriated within a naturalism that conceives nature as the realm of law' (1994, p 73). Similar sentiments have been expressed by many other writers, for example Robert Brandom (1994, p xiii) and Paul Boghossian (1989, p 548).
Jon Elster reports that in 1940, and again in 1970, the U.S. draft lottery was challenged for falling short of the legally mandated ‘random selection’. On both occasions, the physical mixing of the lots appeared to be incomplete, since the birth dates were clustered in a way that would have been extremely unlikely if the lots were fully mixed. There appears to have been no suspicion on either occasion that the deficiency in the mixing was intended, known, or believed to (...) favor or disfavor any identifiable group. If the selection was non-random in the way charged, Elster asks, was it unfair? (shrink)
Moral realism and antirealist-expressivism are of course incompatible positions. They disagree fundamentally about the nature of moral states of mind, the existence of moral states of affairs and properties, and the nature and role of moral discourse. The central realist view is that a person who has or expresses a moral thought is thereby in, or thereby expresses, a cognitive state of mind; she has or expresses a belief that represents a moral state of affairs in a way that might (...) be accurate or inaccurate. The view of antirealist-expressivism is that such a person is in, or expresses, a conative state of mind, one that consists in a certain kind of attitude or motivational stance toward something, such as an action or a person. Realism holds that moral thoughts have truth conditions and that in some cases these truth conditions are satisfied so that our moral thoughts are true. Antirealist-expressivism holds, to a first approximation, that the distinctive moral content of a moral thought does not have truth conditions. (shrink)
Does morality override self-interest? Or does self-interest override morality? These questions become important in situations where there is conflict between the overall verdicts of morality and self-interest, situations where morality on balance requires an action that is contrary to our self-interest, or where considerations of self-interest on balance call for an action that is forbidden by morality. In situations of this kind, we want to know what we ought simpliciter to do. If one of these standpoints over-rides the other, then (...) there is a straightforward answer. We ought simpliciter to act on the verdict of the overriding standpoint. For purposes of this essay, I assume that there are possible cases in which the overall verdicts of morality and self-interest conflict. I will call cases of this kind “conflict cases.” The verdict of morality in a conflict case would be a proposition as to what we ought morally to do, or as to what we have the most moral reason to do; the verdict of self-interest would be a proposition as to what we ought to do in our self-interest, or as to what action is best supported by reasons or considerations of self-interest. These propositions are action-guiding or normative in a familiar sense. The conflict between morality and self-interest in conflict cases is there-fore a normative conflict; it is a conflict between the overall verdicts of different normative standpoints. I take it that the question of whether morality overrides self-interest is the question of whether the verdicts of morality are normatively more important than the verdicts of self-interest. In due course, I will explain the idea of normative importance as well as the ideas of a normative proposition and of a reason. (shrink)
The priority view has become very popular in moral philosophy, but there is a serious question about how it should be formalized. The most natural formalization leads to ex post prioritarianism, which results from adding expected utility theory to the main ideas of the priority view. But ex post prioritarianism entails a claim which is too implausible for it to be a serious competitor to utilitarianism. In fact, ex post prioritarianism was probably never a genuine alternative to utilitarianism in the (...) first place. By contrast, ex ante prioritarianism is defensible. But its motivation is very different from the usual rationales offered for the priority view. Given the untenability of ex post prioritarianism, it is more natural for most friends of the priority view to revert to utilitarianism. (shrink)
Consequentialism is often criticized for failing to accommodate impersonal constraints and personal options. A common consequentialist response is to acknowledge the anticonsequentialist intuitions but to argue either that the consequentialist can, after all, accommodate the allegedly recalcitrant intuitions or that, where accommodation is impossible, the recalcitrant intuition can be dismissed for want of an adequate philosophical rationale. Whereas these consequentialist responses have some plausibility, associational duties represent a somewhat different challenge to consequentialism, inasmuch as they embody neither impersonal constraints nor (...) personal options, but rather personal constraints. Our intuitions about associational duties resist capture within the intellectual net of consequentialism, and such duties do admit of a philosophical rationale at least as plausible as anything the consequentialist has to offer. (shrink)
This essay explains the inescapability of moral demands. I deny that the individual has genuine reason to comply with these demands only if she has desires that would be served by doing so. Rather, the learning of moral reasons helps to shape and channel self- and other-interested motivations so as to facilitate and promote social cooperation. This shaping happens through the “embedding” of reasons in the intentional objects of motivational propensities. The dominance of the instrumental conception of reason, according to (...) which reasons must be based in desires of the individual, has made it harder to recognize that reasons shape desires. I attempt to undermine this dominance by arguing that the concept of a self that extends over time is constructed to meet the demands of social cooperation. Prudential reasons to act on behalf of the persisting self's desires are often taken to constitute the paradigm of reasons based on desires of the individual. But such reasons, along with the very concept of the persisting self, are constructed to promote human cooperation and to shape the individual's desires. (shrink)
The question I shall attempt to address in what follows is an essentially historical one, namely: Why did analytic philosophy emerge first in Cambridge, in the hands of G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, and as a direct consequence of their revolutionary rejection of the philosophical tenets that form the basis of British Idealism? And the answer that I shall try to defend is: it didn't. That is to say, the ‘analytic’ doctrines and methods which Moore and Russell embraced in (...) the very last years of the nineteenth century were not revolutionary, did not emerge first in Cambridge, were the creation of neither Russell nor Moore and cannot be explained by appeal to facts concerning British Idealism. The adoption of the doctrines and methods which characterised the earliest manifestations of British analytic philosophy are to be explained neither by reference to anything specifically British, nor by appeal to anything unproblematically philosophical. Or so I shall argue. (shrink)