After discussing the manifest inconveniences of Galilean physicalism for both science and common sense, I propose an alternate, Aristotelian ontology of material things and show how it solves the epistemological problems engendered by the New Science. Read at the annual POH Symposium in Lake Wenatchee, WA, May 2011.
The ability to anticipate events, to foresight, is an adaptive advantage. We humans use it all the time. Animals have a limited access to it. Positioning foresight in human evolution is a complex subject (Suddendorf, 2013). Why and how are humans, and not chimpanzees, performant in anticipating events? We propose here to address that question with an evolutionary scenario that links self-consciousness to anxiety management (Menant, 2018). The scenario positions self-consciousness as “the capability to represent one’s own entity as existing (...) in the environment, like conspecifics are represented as existing” (making “thinking about oneself” possible). The scenario proposes that our pre-human ancestors were capable of some level of identifications with their conspecifics, and that its development has progressively brought our ancestors to represent themselves as existing in the environment like their conspecifics were represented, thus introducing self-consciousness. The scenario also proposes that identifications with suffering conspecifics have been the source of an important anxiety that had to be limited for evolution to continue. Some of our ancestors have not been able to limit that new anxiety. Their mental pain became unbearable. Their evolution was almost stopped, thus initiating the pan-homo split. Developing an ability to anticipate events has been a key contributor to anxiety limitation by providing information about the sufferings to come, and consequently allowing to limit and avoid them. In addition to that role of foresight in human evolution it is worth noticing that the associated chaining of mental events brings to propose foresight as an entry point to the concept of causality in human evolution. Regarding our chimpanzee cousins, the pan-homo split in the scenario positions them as not self-conscious, not capable of anticipation like humans are, and less anxious than humans. Continuations are proposed. (shrink)
This is a response to Marie McGinn, who, roughly, lined me up with J. L. Austin over against GEM Anscombe and Wittgenstein on the issue whether perception is (or can be) intentional. I do not mind being aligned with Austin, but argue that this is the wrong way to line things up. I stand equally with Wittgenstein. Anscombe turns out to be odd man out on this one.
The Triviality Argument against presentism maintains that we should reject presentism because there is no way to define the view that is not either trivially true or obviously false. We suggest that this style of argument over-emphasises purely linguistic means of representing a philosophical thesis. We argue that there is no reason to suppose that all philosophical theses must be linguistically representable, and thus that the failure to linguistically represent presentism is no big deal. It certainly shouldn’t lead us to (...) reject the view. We offer a more general moral for philosophy, and that is to look beyond purely linguistic methods of representing philosophical views and embrace a wider range of representational media. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the consequences of two commonsensical premises in semantics and epistemology: (1) natural language is a complex system rooted in the communal life of human beings within a given environment; and (2) linguistic knowledge is essentially dependent on natural language. These premises lead me to emphasize the process-socio-environmental character of linguistic meaning and knowledge, from which I proceed to analyse a number of long-standing philosophical problems, attempting to throw new light upon them on these grounds. In (...) particular, I criticize the use of expressions such as ‘absolute truth’, ‘absolute existence’ and ‘the thing in itself’, arguing that they lead to what I call ‘the ultralinguistic paradox’ (a fatal antinomy). In the same way, I review a number of mainstream topics in philosophical semantics, epistemology and metaphysics, reformulating them in terms much more naturalistic – and less mysterious – than usual. (shrink)
Many think that expressivists have a special problem with negation. I disagree. For if there is a problem with negation, I argue, it is a problem shared by those who accept some plausible claims about the nature of intentionality. Whether there is any special problem for expressivists turns, I will argue, on whether facts about what truth-conditions beliefs have can explain facts about basic inferential relations among those beliefs. And I will suggest that the answer to this last question is, (...) on most plausible attempts at solving the problem of intentionality, ‘no’. (shrink)
The teleosemantic theory of representational content is held by some philosophers to imply that genes carry semantic information about whole-organism phenotypes. In this paper, I argue that this position is not supported by empirical findings. I focus on one of the most elaborate defenses of this position: Shea’s view that genes represent whole-organism phenotypes. I distinguish between two ways of individuating genes in contemporary biological science as possible vehicles of representational content—as molecular genes and as difference-maker genes. I show that (...) given either of these ways of individuating genes, genes fail to meet conditions which the teleosemantic theory requires an entity to meet if that entity is to qualify as a representational vehicle that represents a whole-organism phenotype. The considerations I present against Shea’s view generalize to other attempts to use the teleosemantic theory in support of the claim that genes represent whole-organism phenotypes. (shrink)
Is there some general reason to expect organisms that have beliefs to have false beliefs? And after you observe that an organism occasionally occupies a given neural state that you think encodes a perceptual belief, how do you evaluate hypotheses about the semantic content that that state has, where some of those hypotheses attribute beliefs that are sometimes false while others attribute beliefs that are always true? To address the first of these questions, we discuss evolution by natural selection and (...) show how organisms that are risk-prone in the beliefs they form can be fitter than organisms that are risk-free. To address the second question, we discuss a problem that is widely recognized in statistics – the problem of over-fitting – and one influential device for addressing that problem, the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). We then use AIC to solve epistemological versions of the disjunction and distality problems, which are two key problems concerning what it is for a belief state to have one semantic content rather than another. (shrink)
It is widely thought that philosophical behaviorism is an untenable and outdated theory of mind. It is generally agreed, in particular, that the view generates a vicious circularity problem. There is a standard solution to this problem for functionalism, which utilizes the formulation of Ramsey sentences. I will show that this solution is also available for behaviorism if we allow quantification over the causal bases of behavioral dispositions. Then I will suggest that behaviorism differs from functionalism mainly in its commitment (...) to anti-representationalism, and I will offer two new objections to anti-representationalism. The first will be based on considerations concerning the contents of desires and intentions. The second objection concerns inner speech and mental imagery. We will see that the objections are of relevance to contemporary debates, as they apply with equal force to the currently popular anti-representationalist versions of embodied and enactive cognition. (shrink)
A number of recent theories of quantum gravity lack a one-dimensional structure of ordered temporal instants. Instead, according to many of these views, our world is either best represented as a single three-dimensional object, or as a configuration space composed of such three-dimensional objects, none of which bear temporal relations to one another. Such theories will be empirically self-refuting unless they can accommodate the existence of conscious beings capable of representation. For if representation itself is impossible in a timeless world, (...) then no being in such a world could entertain the thought that a timeless theory is true, let alone believe such a theory or rationally believe it. This paper investigates the options for understanding representation in a three-dimensional, timeless, world. Ultimately it concludes that the only viable option is one according to which representation is taken to be deeply non-naturalistic. Ironically then we are left with two seemingly very unattractive options. Either a very naturalistic motivation—taking seriously a live view in fundamental physics—leads us to a very non-naturalistic view of the mental, or else views in the philosophy of mind partly dictate what is an acceptable theory in physics. (shrink)
Tool making has been proposed as a key force in driving the complexity of human material culture. The ontogeny of tool‐related behaviors hinges on social, representational, and creative factors. In this study, we test the associations between these factors in development across two different cultures. Results of Study 1 with 5‐to‐6‐year‐old Turkish children in dyadic or individual settings show that tool making is facilitated by social interaction, hierarchical representation, and creative abilities. Results of a second explorative study comparing the Turkish (...) sample with a sample of 5‐to‐6‐year‐old children in New Zealand suggest that tool innovation might be affected by culture, and that the role of cognitive and creative factors diminishes through social interaction in tool making. (shrink)
According to the classical account, propositions are sui generis, abstract, intrinsically-representational entities and our cognitive attitudes, and the token states within us that realize those attitudes, represent as they do in virtue of their propositional objects. In light of a desire to explain how it could be that propositions represent, much of the recent literature on propositions has pressured various aspects of this account. In place of the classical account, revisionists have aimed to understand propositions in terms of more familiar (...) entities such as facts, types of mental or linguistic acts, and even properties. But we think that the metaphysical story about propositions is much simpler than either the classical theorist or the revisionist would have you believe. In what follows, we argue that a proper understanding of the nature of our cognitive relations to propositions shows that the question of whether propositions themselves represent is, at best, a distraction. We will argue that once this distraction is removed, the possibility of a very pleasing, minimalist story of propositions emerges; a story that appeals only to assumptions that are shared by all theorists in the relevant debate. (shrink)
Em seu exame da teoria da verdade cartesiana, Raul Landim (1993, 2009) enuncia as três questões que toda teoria da verdade deve responder: (a) o sentido de ‘verdade’; (b) a possibilidade de conhecimentos verdadeiros e (c) a possibilidade do reconhecimento de conhecimentos verdadeiros. Os argumentos a serem apresentados dizem respeito sobretudo à terceira questão, mas consideram a necessidade de ser assegurar uma resposta adequada à segunda questão. Para tanto, retomarei (I) brevemente alguns pontos de um artigo anterior sobre o tema (...) (2017) para, em seguida, dar prosseguimento ao estudo ali iniciado, que ainda deverá ser completado em um terceiro texto, sobre atenção, representação e intecionalidade. Com efeito, três contextos argumentativos são relevantes para o exame da noção de atenção: (i) o tratamento psicofísico da atenção; (ii) as condições para a busca da verdade, no qual a atenção designa, prima facie, uma modulação do pensar, que é relevante para o método; (iii) a explicação do caráter intencional do pensar humano, no qual a atenção é um aspecto do pensar concernente à seleção do conteúdo pensado no tempo presente (presença). Somente o segundo será considerado aqui. Após a retomada dos resultados anteriores, apresentarei indícios da relação entre a atenção e o conceito de intenção na história da filosofia que precede Descartes e, em seguida, farei uma breve análise das ocorrências do texto na obra cartesiana (II). Por fim, na seção (III), passarei à análise daquelas ocorrências ligadas ao método do filósofo, tanto no que se refere à sua intervenção na determinação do critério de reconhecimento da verdade (a regra geral da verdade, ou regra do claro e do distinto), quanto no esclarecimento da via analítica do método de demonstração geométrico. (shrink)
Brogaard's book is extremely informative about the grammar of perceptual verbs, and questions that it indicates representationalism (as opposed to naive realism). As useful as this is, I question how much grammar tells us much about perception.
The neural vehicles of mental representation play an explanatory role in cognitive psychology that their realizers do not. In this paper, I argue that the individuation of realizers as vehicles of representation restricts the sorts of explanations in which they can participate. I illustrate this with reference to Rupert’s (2011) claim that representational vehicles can play an explanatory role in psychology in virtue of their quantity or proportion. I propose that such quantity-based explanatory claims can apply only to realizers and (...) not to vehicles, in virtue of the particular causal role that vehicles play in psychological explanations. (shrink)
During the last decade, the ontogeny of tool making has received growing attention in the literature on tool-related behaviors. However, the cognitive demands underlying tool making are still not clearly understood. In this cross-sectional study of 52 Turkish preschool children from 3 to 6 years of age, the roles of executive function (response inhibition), ability to form hierarchical representations (hierarchical structuring), and social learning were investigated with the hook task previously used with children and animals. In this task, children needed (...) to bend a pipe cleaner to fetch a small bucket with a sticker out of a tall jar. This study replicated earlier findings that preschoolers have great difficulty in tool innovation. However, social learning facilitates tool making, especially after 5 years of age. Capacities to form hierarchical representations and to inhibit prepotent responses were significant positive predictors of tool making after social learning. (shrink)
This paper is about the relevance of attitude-ascriptions to debates about singular thought. It examines a methodology (common to early acquaintance theorists [Kaplan 1968] and recent critics of acquaintance [Hawthorne and Manley 2012], which assumes that the behaviour of ascriptions can be used to draw conclusions about singular thought. Although many theorists (e.g. [Recanati 2012]) reject this methodology, the literature lacks a detailed examination of its implications and the challenges faced by proponents and critics. I isolate an assumption of the (...) methodology, which I call the tracking assumption: that an attitude-ascription which states that s Φ's that P is true iff s has an attitude, of Φ-ing, which is an entertaining of the content P (with entertain used in a stipulated sense). I argue that the tracking assumption must be rejected, not because it has deflationary consequences, but because it leads to unstable commitments. I also show that there are independent reasons to reject it, because ordinary attitude ascriptions underdetermine even the truth-conditions of the mental-states they ascribe. However, I argue, this does not involve rejecting the claim that attitude-ascriptions express relations between agents and contents. Instead, they state different relations depending on contextual factors other than the nature of the mental-states ascribed. (shrink)
Saul Kripke's influential ‘sceptical paradox’ of semantic rule-following alleges that speakers cannot have any justification for using a word one way rather than another. If it is correct, there can be no such thing as meaning anything by a word. I argue that the paradox fails to undermine meaning. Kripke never adequately motivates its excessively strict standard for the justified use of words. The paradox lacks the resources to show that its standard is truly mandatory or that speakers do not (...) frequently satisfy the well-motivated competitor I offer. So the paradox fails. (shrink)
Adverbialist theories of thought such as those advanced by Hare and Sellars promise an ontologically sleek understanding of a variety of intentional states, but such theories have been largely abandoned due to the ‘many-property problem’. In an attempt to revitalize this otherwise attractive theory, in a series of papers as well as his recent book, Uriah Kriegel has offered a novel reply to the ‘many-property problem’ and on its basis he argues that ‘adverbialism about intentionality is alive and well’. If (...) true, Kriegel will have shown that the logical landscape has long been unnecessarily constrained. His key idea is that the many-property problem can be overcome by appreciating that mental states stand in the determinable–determinate relation to one another. The present paper shows that this relation can’t save adverbialism because it would require thinkers to think more thoughts than they need be thinking. (shrink)
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 (...) this. I will argue that there is another important representation-hungry phenomenon that has been overlooked in this debate: temporally extended planning agency. In particular, I will argue that it is very difficult to see how planning agency can be explained without the ascription of mental representations, even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that cognition about the absent and abstract can. We will see that this is a serious challenge for the radical as well as the more modest anti-representationalist versions of embodied cognition, and we will see that modest anti-representationalism is an unstable position. (shrink)
The idea that plants have minds can sound improbable, but some widely respected contemporary scientists and philosophers find it plausible. It turns out to be rather tricky to vindicate the presumption that plants do not have minds, for doing so requires getting clear about what plants can do and what exactly a mind is. By connecting the most compelling empirical work on plant behavior with philosophical reflection on the concept of minds, _Plant Minds _aims to help non-experts begin to think (...) clearly about whether plants have minds. Relying on current consensus ideas about minds and plants, Chauncey Maher first presents the best case for thinking that plants do _not_ have minds. Along the way, however, he unearths an idea at the root of that case, the idea that having a mind requires the capacity to represent the world. In the last chapter, he defends a relatively new and insightful theory of mind that rejects that assumption, making room for the possibility that plants do have minds, primarily because they are alive. (shrink)
Unpleasant sensations possess a unique ability to make certain aversive actions seem reasonable to us. But what is it about these experiences that give them that ability? According to some recent evaluationist accounts, it is their representational content: unpleasant sensations represent a certain event as bad for one. Unfortunately evaluationism seems unable to make sense of our aversive behavior to the sensations themselves, for it appears to entail that taking a painkiller is akin to shooting the messenger, and is every (...) bit as unreasonable. In this paper I distinguish two versions of the shooting-the-messenger challenge: First, how do we account for the badness of unpleasant sensation? And second, how do we account for our access to that badness? I suggest plausible responses to the first question, but I also argue that the seriousness of the second has not been appreciated. I then propose a solution to the second: when we introspect our pains we also turn our emotional distress inwards, enabling them to represent our pains as bad. (shrink)
I defend the view that it is not impossible to see the impossible. I provide two examples in which one sees the impossible and defend these examples from potential objections. Theories of depiction should make room for impossible depictions.
Throughout the history of analytic philosophy the notion of the ‘phenomenological fallacy’ originally formulated by Place, has been used to criticize reification of the mental. Although this fallacy was originally not used to criticize the phenomenological tradition, it has popped up recently in debates between analytic philosophers and phenomenologists. However, a study of the history of both traditions reveals that a polemical notion similar, if not identical, to the phenomenological fallacy can be found within the phenomenological tradition, namely Sartre’s ‘illusion (...) of immanence’. In this article, I will explicate these two polemical notions and place them in the context of their respective traditions. This will reveal that both notions must be understood as a criticism of a certain form of representationalism I will call ‘dual-world representationalism’. This deep-rooted similarity between the analytic philosophy of mind and phenomenology, in turn, sheds a new light on current discussions between the two traditions. (shrink)
Mental representations—like many other things—seem to have parts. However, it isn’t clear how to properly understand the idea of a part of a representation. In this paper I shed new light on how representations can have a mereology. In particular, it has been recognized that there is a mereological element to Kant’s distinction between two kinds of representations: intuitions and concepts. A concept depends upon its parts, whereas an intuition is prior to its parts. The paper thus focuses on an (...) exploration of how to make sense of the parts and wholes of intuitions and concepts. (shrink)
In An Inquiry into the Human Mind and in Essays on Intellectual Powers, Thomas Reid discusses what kinds of things perceivers are related to in perception. Are these things qualities of bodies, the bodies themselves, or both? This question places him in a long tradition of philosophers concerned with understanding how human perception works in connecting us with the external world. It is still an open question in the philosophy of perception whether the human perceptual system is providing us with (...) representations as of bodies, or only as of their properties. My project in this article is to explain how, on Reid's view, we can have perceptual representations as of bodies. This, in turn, enables him to argue that we have a robust understanding of the world around us, an understanding that would be missing if our perceptual system only supplied us with representations as of free-floating properties of bodies. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to critically examine what I call Action-Centric Theories of Representation (ACToRs). I include in this category theories of representation that (1) reject construing representation in terms of a relation that holds between representation itself (the representational vehicle) and what is represented, and instead (2) try to bring the function that representations play for cognitive systems to the center stage. Roughly speaking, according to proponents of ACToRs, what makes a representation (that is, what is constitutive (...) of it being a representation) is its being functionally involved in preselecting or guiding the actions of cognitive systems. I intend to argue that while definitely valuable, ACToRs are underconstrained and thus not entirely satisfying, since there exist structures that would count as representations according to ACToRs, but which do not play functional roles that could be nontrivially or in an explanatorily valuable way classified as representing something for a cognitive system. I outline a remedy for this theoretical situation by postulating that a fully satisfying theory of representation in cognitive science should have two factors; i.e., it should combine the pragmatic, action-oriented aspect present in ACToRs with an element that emphasizes the importance of the relation holding between a representational vehicle and what is represented. (shrink)
Im Jahre 1998 verblüfften Andy Clark und David Chalmers die philosophische Gemeinschaft mit der so genannten These des erweiterten Geistes, die im Kern besagt, dass kognitive Systeme nicht-biologische Komponenten enthalten können und sich damit über die Grenzen biologischer Organismen hinaus erstrecken können. Die These wird seitdem nicht nur von Philosophen, sondern auch von Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaftlern intensiv und kontrovers diskutiert. In den Beiträgen, die in dem vorliegenden ersten deutschsprachigen Band zur These des erweiterten Geistes versammelt sind, werden u.a. die folgenden (...) Fragen behandelt: Was soll es heißen, dass der Geist nicht (nur) im Kopf ist? In welchem Sinne könnte er erweitert sein, und welche Möglichkeiten der Erweiterung gibt es? Welche Zusammenhänge bestehen zwischen Geist und Kognition sowie zwischen Kopplung und Konstitution? Was genau besagt der von Clark und Chalmers vorgebrachte aktive Externalismus? Welche Bedeutung hat die These des erweiterten Geistes für repräsentationalistische und für funktionalistische Theorien des Geistes sowie für Theorien kollektiver Intentionalität und sozialer Kognition? Welche Anwendungen der These könnte es geben? (shrink)
In this chapter, I turn to the claim that we cannot speak of perceptual content unless we assume it is objective content. The conceptualist argues that only conceptual content can meet the requirement of being objective. I start out by presenting the objection from objectivity as it can be found in McDowell (Mind and world, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1994a). I then discuss the following replies: First, even if objective perceptual experience requires the perceiver to have an objective world-view, the (...) experience’s own content may be nonconceptual; second, perceptual objectivity can be had in virtue of mere nonconceptual personal-level abilities; third, a weaker kind of perceptual objectivity that does not even require personal-level capacities is substantial enough to provide for genuine perceptual content. The last reply is the one championed by Modest Nonconceptualism. All that genuine perceptual content presupposes is that the world is perceptually presented to the subject. This requirement can be elucidated via a subpersonal account of how the perceptual systems generate representations underlying her experiences that are poised to influence her central behavior-guiding system. (shrink)
The icon is the type of sign connected to efficient representational features, and its manipulation reveals more information about its object. The London Underground Diagram (LUD) is an iconic artifact and a well-known example of representational efficiency, having been copied by urban transportation systems worldwide. This paper investigates the efficiency of the LUD in the light of different conceptions of iconicity. We stress that a specialized representation is an icon of the formal structure of the problem for which it has (...) been specialized. By embedding such rules of action and behavior, the icon acts as a semiotic artifact distributing cognitive effort and participating in niche construction. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett's distinction between personal and subpersonal explanations was fundamental in establishing the philosophical foundations of cognitive science. Since it was first introduced in 1969, the personal/subpersonal distinction has been adapted to fit different approaches to the mind. In one example of this, the ‘Pittsburgh school’ of philosophers attempted to map Dennett's distinction onto their own distinction between the ‘space of reasons’ and the ‘space of causes’. A second example can be found in much contemporary philosophy of psychology, where Dennett's (...) distinction has been presumed to be equivalent to Stephen Stich's distinction between doxastic and subdoxastic states. Both these interpretations of the personal/subpersonal distinction, and also Dennett's own philosophical views of the mind, go beyond the personal/subpersonal distinction itself. They each involve supplementing the distinction between personal and subpersonal explanations with metaphysical claims about the relationship between the two kinds of explanation and the entities they posit. (shrink)
Das Verhältnis von Emotionen, Gefühl, Sprache und Bewusstsein wird aus verschiedenen Perspektiven betrachtet. Zum einen aus zweien, die versuchen, einen repräsentationstheoretischen Ansatz mit Sprache zu verbinden, wobei exemplarisch für einen neurowissenschaftlichen Ansatz Antonio Damasios Theorie betrachtet wird, und für die sprachanalytische Perspektive die von Michael Tye und Fred Dretske. Das Zusammenspiel von Empfindung, Gefühl und Bewusstsein wird dabei aus neurowissenschaftlicher und aus analytischer Sicht jeweils ganz unterschiedlich konzipiert, aber es wird deutlich, dass die Klärung des Zusammenwirkens dieser Aspekte zentral ist (...) für phänomenales Bewusstsein. Gemeinsam ist den beiden Ansätzen jedoch, dass sie weder die Rolle von Handlungszusammenhängen noch die Rolle des Anderen in ihre Überlegungen mit einbeziehen. (shrink)
The classifications of signs are among the most important topics of Peirce's theory of signs. The 10 classes of signs were developed from 1903 and represent an important refinement of the fundamental division of signs into icons, indexes, and symbols. In this paper we present two diagrammatic models for 10 classes, proposed by Peirce, and an interpretation of the reasoning behind their development, based on the analysis of preparatory versions of these models.
This article addresses a profound anthropological issue: how do representation and the represented relate? What motivates or warrants the inevitable disconnection? It is a mistake to dismiss representation as misguided, oppressive, or misleading. Representation is part of cognition generally and natural language in particular. As such it is inescapable and part of how we think and talk about the world. Moving between visual and linguistic anthropology I suggest that photographs and portraits provide a rich basis for thinking about the particular (...) sorts of warrants for anthropological representations. The general conclusion is that anthropological representation may be conceived of as a form of ekphrasis (a verbal account or evocation of a typically non-present image or object) providing the indexical or deictic bridge between representation and the object represented. As “similarity implies difference” so “representation implies ekphrasis.” -/- Les Antinomies de la représentation: Anthropologie d'un procédé ekphrastique -/- Résumé: Cet article s'intéresse à une question anthropologique majeure: quel est le lien entre la représentation et le représenté? Qu'est-ce qui motive ou justifie leur inévitable déconnexion? Ce serait une erreur de ne pas prendre au sérieux la représentation sous prétexte qu'elle est erronée, oppressive, ou parce qu'elle prête à confusion. La représentation fait partie de la cognition en général et du langage naturel en particulier. Pour cette raison, elle est inévitable et elle fait partie de la manière dont nous pensons et parlons du monde. En invoquant tour à tour des éléments d'anthropologie visuelle et linguistique, je propose l'hypothèse que les photographies et les portraits constituent une riche archive à partir de laquelle on peut penser les différents types de mandats impartis aux représentations anthropologiques. La conclusion générale de ce propos est que la représentation anthropologique peut être conçue comme une forme d'ekphrasis (un récit ou l’évocation d'une image ou d'un objet typiquement non-présent) fournissant le lien indexical et déictique entre la représentation et l'objet représenté. De même que la “similarité engendre la différence”, “la représentation engendre l'ekphrasis.”. (shrink)
This paper explores Victoria Welby's fundamental assumption of meaning process (“semiosis” sensu Peirce) as translation, and some implications for the development of a general model of intersemiotic translation.
Descartes’ accounts of sensory perception have long troubled his interpreters, for their lack of clear and explicit statements on some fundamental issues. His readers have wondered whether he allows spatial sensory ideas (spatial qualia); whether sensory ideas such as color or pain are representations and, if so, what they represent; and what cognitive value Descartes attributed to sense perception. Recent discussions take differing stands on the questions just mentioned, and also disagree over Descartes’ account of the externalization of sensory qualities, (...) on the origin and correct analysis of the “material falsity” he attributes to some sensory ideas, and on the value of the “teachings of nature.” Such disagreement should not be surprising, for although sensory perception was an important topic for Descartes, his treatment of these particular issues is not systematic – or at least not apparently so. Generally, there are no proof texts that unequivocally settle questions about Descartes’ views on spatial qualia, the representationality of sensory ideas, their cognitive value, externalization, material falsity, and the status of the teachings of nature. Yet these questions and topics naturally arise from matters about which Descartes is explicit and (reasonably) consistent, regarding the role of the senses in philosophy and everyday life and concerning the nature of minds and ideas. It is, therefore, worthwhile to ask what his positions might have been. This chapter develops answers by considering Descartes’ systematic doctrines on the nature of the mind and its ideas and by combing his statements on sensation and perception for hints about how to apply such principles. The first section reviews some key texts. Succeeding sections develop positions on representationality, cognitive value, externalization, material falsity, and the teachings of nature. Ultimately, I favor an interpretation in which, for Descartes, all sensory ideas represent by resemblance, different kinds of sensory ideas vary in cognitive value, externalization arises through spatial localization, and, with sensory ideas of color and the like, as materially false they do not intrinsically misrepresent but afford occasion for false judgments, which arise as merely apparent, and so not actually legitimate, teachings of nature. (shrink)
Objectives: Medical decision support and other intelligent applications in the life sciences depend on increasing amounts of digital information. Knowledge bases as well as formal ontologies are being used to organize biomedical knowledge and data. However, these two kinds of artefacts are not always clearly distinguished. Whereas the popular RDF(S) standard provides an intuitive triple-based representation, it is semantically weak. Description logics based ontology languages like OWL-DL carry a clear-cut semantics, but they are computationally expensive, and they are often misinterpreted (...) to encode all kinds of statements, including those which are not ontological. Method: We distinguish four kinds of statements needed to comprehensively represent domain knowledge: universal statements, terminological statements, statements about particulars and contingent statements. We argue that the task of formal ontologies is solely to represent universal statements, while the non-ontological kinds of statements can nevertheless be connected with ontological representations. To illustrate these four types of representations, we use a running example from parasitology. Results: We finally formulate recommendations for semantically adequate ontologies that can efficiently be used as a stable framework for more context-dependent biomedical knowledge representation and reasoning applications like clinical decision support systems. (shrink)
This fascinating collection on artifacts brings together seven papers by philosophers with nine by psychologists, biologists, and an archaeologist. The psychological papers include two excellent discussions of empirical work on the mental representation of artifact concepts – an assessment by Malt and Sloman of a large variety of studies on the conflicting ways we classify artifacts and extend our applications of artifact categories to new cases, and a review by Mahon and Caramazza of data from semantically impaired patients and from (...) neuroimaging on concepts of living kinds versus artifact kinds. Following these are three papers on the development of artifact concepts in children, including a short but provocative piece by Keil, Greif, and Kerner arguing that there is a mismatch between the patterns of development for our concepts of artifacts and the patterns of representation we end up developing. The final part of the book includes authoritative papers on artifact use by insects, birds, and mammals, by primates, and by Australopithecines and Neanderthals. (shrink)
Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositional attitudes. In fact, many theorists hold that all attitudes are propositional attitudes. Our folk-psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non-propositional attitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non-propositional attitudes. More specifically, I argue that there are attitudes that relate individuals to non-propositional objects and do (...) so not in virtue of relating them to propositions. I reach this conclusion by not only showing that attempted analyses of apparently non-propositional attitudes in terms of the propositional fail, but that some non-propositional attitudes don’t even supervene on propositional attitudes. If this is correct, then the common discussions of intentionality that address only propositional attitudes are incomplete and those who hold that all intentional states are propositional are mistaken. (shrink)
Pain, crucially, is unpleasant and motivational. It can be awful; and it drives us to action, e.g. to take our weight off a sprained ankle. But what is the relationship between pain and those two features? And in virtue of what does pain have them? Addressing these questions, Colin Klein and Richard J. Hall have recently developed the idea that pains are, at least partly, experiential commands—to stop placing your weight on your ankle, for example. In this paper, I reject (...) their accounts. Against Klein, I use dissociation cases to argue that possession of ‘imperative content’ cannot wholly constitute pain. Against them both, I further claim that possession of such content cannot even constitute pain’s unpleasant, motivational aspect. For, even if it were possible to specify the relevant imperative content—which is far from clear—the idea of a command cannot bear the explanatory weight Klein and Hall place on it. (shrink)
While genomic and proteomic information describe the overall cellular machinery available to an organism, the metabolic profile of an individual at a given time provides a canvas as to the current physiological state. Concentration levels of relevant metabolites vary under different conditions, in particular, in the presence or absence of different disorders. Metabolite concentrations thus mediate an important link between chemistry and biology, contributing to a systems-wide understanding of biological processes and pathways. However, there are a number of challenges in (...) the ontological representation of such information. Firstly, concentration information is numeric and ranges over continuous values, while ontologies consist of discrete classes. Secondly, ontologies usually model only what is certain, and their logical formalisms are adapted to reasoning from certain axioms to logical deductions, however, the link between chemicals and diseases via concentration levels, like many threshold phenomena, is both uncertain and vague. In this paper we evaluate the representation of this knowledge using a combination of concrete domains and probabilistic reasoning. We parse concentration values from HMDB and create an ontology able to distinguish normal from abnormal concentrations and able to evaluate a probabilistic risk category for the presence of an associated disorder. (shrink)
In this book, Ilhan Inan questions the classical definition of curiosity as _a desire to know._ Working in an area where epistemology and philosophy of language overlap, Inan forges a link between our ability to become aware of our ignorance and our linguistic aptitude to construct terms referring to things unknown. The book introduces the notion of inostensible reference. Ilhan connects this notion to related concepts in philosophy of language: knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description; the referential and the (...) attributive uses of definite descriptions; the _de re/de dicto_ distinction; and Kripke’s distinction between rigid and accidental designators. Continuing with a discussion of the conditions for curiosity and its satisfaction, Inan argues that the learning process—starting in curiosity and ending in knowledge—is always an effort to transform our inostensible terms into ostensible ones. A contextual account is adopted for the satisfaction of curiosity. It then discusses the conditions of successful reference to the object of curiosity and its presuppositions. The book concludes with a discussion on the limits of curiosity and its satisfaction. (shrink)