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Holism: A Shopper's Guide

Noûs 28 (2):241-252 (1994)

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  1. On Imagism About Phenomenal Thought.Pär Sundström - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):43-95.
    Imagism about Phenomenal Thought is (roughly) the view that there is some concept *Q* (for some sensory quality Q) that we can employ only while we experience the quality Q. I believe this view is theoretically significant, is or can be made intuitively appealing, and is explicitly or implicitly accepted by many contemporary philosophers However, there is no good reason to accept it. Or so I argue.
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  • Defusing Eliminative Materialism: Reference and Revision.Maurice K. D. Schouten & Huib Looren de Jong - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (4):489-509.
    The doctrine of eliminative materialism holds that belief-desire psychology is massively referentially disconnected. We claim, however, that it is not at all obvious what it means to be referentially (dis)connected. The two major accounts of reference both lead to serious difficulties for eliminativism: it seems that elimination is either impossible or omnipresent. We explore the idea that reference fixation is a much more local, partial, and context-dependent process than was supposed by the classical accounts. This pragmatic view suggests that elimination (...)
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  • A Recipe for Concept Similarity.Tim Schroeder - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (1):68-91.
    Sometimes your concept and mine have exactly the same content. When this is so, it is comparatively easy for me to understand what you say when you deploy your concept, for us to disagree, agree, and so on. But what if your concept and mine do not have exactly the same content? This question has occupied a number of philosophers, including Paul Churchland, Jerry Fodor, and Ernie Lepore. This paper develops a novel and rigorous measure of concept similarity, Proportion, such (...)
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  • Mental Representations and Millikan’s Theory of Intentional Content: Does Biology Chase Causality?Robert D. Rupert - 1999 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):113-140.
    In her landmark book, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories (Millikan1984),1 Ruth Garrett Millikan utilizes the idea of a biological function to solve philosophical problems associated with the phenomena of language, thought, and meaning. Language and thought are activities of biological organisms, according to Millikan, and we should treat them as such when trying to answer related philosophical questions. Of special interest is Millikan’s treatment of intentionality. Here Millikan employs the notion of a biological function to explain what it is (...)
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  • Minding One's Cognitive Systems: When Does a Group of Minds Constitute a Single Cognitive Unit?Robert Rupert - 2005 - Episteme 1 (3):177-188.
    The possibility of group minds or group mental states has been considered by a number of authors addressing issues in social epistemology and related areas (Goldman 2004, Pettit 2003, Gilbert 2004, Hutchins 1995). An appeal to group minds might, in the end, do indispensable explanatory work in the social or cognitive sciences. I am skeptical, though, and this essay lays out some of the reasons for my skepticism. The concerns raised herein constitute challenges to the advocates of group minds (or (...)
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  • The Empirical Case Against Analyticity: Two Options for Concept Pragmatists.Bradley Rives - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (2):199-227.
    It is commonplace in cognitive science that concepts are individuated in terms of the roles they play in the cognitive lives of thinkers, a view that Jerry Fodor has recently been dubbed ‘Concept Pragmatism’. Quinean critics of Pragmatism have long argued that it founders on its commitment to the analytic/synthetic distinction, since without such a distinction there is plausibly no way to distinguish constitutive from non-constitutive roles in cognition. This paper considers Fodor’s empirical arguments against analyticity, and in particular his (...)
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  • Tracing the Identity of Objects.Lance J. Rips, Sergey Blok & George Newman - 2006 - Psychological Review 113 (1):1-30.
    This article considers how people judge the identity of objects (e.g., how people decide that a description of an object at one time, t₀, belongs to the same object as a description of it at another time, t₁). The authors propose a causal continuer model for these judgments, based on an earlier theory by Nozick (1981). According to this model, the 2 descriptions belong to the same object if (a) the object at t₁ is among those that are causally close (...)
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  • Remembering Jerry Fodor and His Work.Georges Rey - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (4):321-341.
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  • Having the World in View: Essays on Kant, Hegel, and Sellars. [REVIEW]Paul Redding - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):137-140.
  • What Did You Mean by That? Misunderstanding, Negotiation, and Syntactic Semantics.William J. Rapaport - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (3):397-427.
    Syntactic semantics is a holistic, conceptual-role-semantic theory of how computers can think. But Fodor and Lepore have mounted a sustained attack on holistic semantic theories. However, their major problem with holism (that, if holism is true, then no two people can understand each other) can be fixed by means of negotiating meanings. Syntactic semantics and Fodor and Lepore’s objections to holism are outlined; the nature of communication, miscommunication, and negotiation is discussed; Bruner’s ideas about the negotiation of meaning are explored; (...)
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  • Holism, Conceptual-Role Semantics, and Syntactic Semantics.William J. Rapaport - 2002 - Minds and Machines 12 (1):3-59.
    This essay continues my investigation of `syntactic semantics': the theory that, pace Searle's Chinese-Room Argument, syntax does suffice for semantics (in particular, for the semantics needed for a computational cognitive theory of natural-language understanding). Here, I argue that syntactic semantics (which is internal and first-person) is what has been called a conceptual-role semantics: The meaning of any expression is the role that it plays in the complete system of expressions. Such a `narrow', conceptual-role semantics is the appropriate sort of semantics (...)
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  • A Defense of Derangement.Paul M. Pietroski - 1994 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):95 - 117.
    In a recent paper, Bar-On and Risjord (henceforth, 'B&R') contend that Davidson provides no 1 good argument for his (in)famous claim that "there is no such thing as a language." And according to B&R, if Davidson had established his "no language" thesis, he would thereby have provided a decisive reason for abandoning the project he has long advocated--viz., that of trying to provide theories of meaning for natural languages by providing recursive theories of truth for such languages. For he would (...)
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  • Freedom and Reason in Kant, Schelling, and Kierkegaard.Robert L. Perkins - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):134-137.
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  • Self‐Knowledge and Externalism About Empty Concepts.Ted Parent - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (2):158-168.
    Several authors have argued that, assuming we have apriori knowledge of our own thought-contents, semantic externalism implies that we can know apriori contingent facts about the empirical world. After presenting the argument, I shall respond by resisting the premise that an externalist can know apriori: If s/he has the concept water, then water exists. In particular, Boghossian's Dry Earth example suggests that such thought-experiments do not provide such apriori knowledge. Boghossian himself rejects the Dry Earth experiment, however, since it would (...)
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  • What is Communicative Success?Peter Pagin - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):pp. 85-115.
    Suppose we have an idea of what counts as communication, more precisely as a communicative event. Then we have the further task of dividing communicative events into successful and unsuccessful. Part of this task is to find a basis for this evaluation, i.e. appropriate properties of speaker and hearer. It is argued that success should be evaluated in terms of a relation between thought contents of speaker and hearer. This view is labelled ‘classical’, since it is justifiably attributable to both (...)
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  • Externalisme, Rationalité Et Explanandum de la Psychologie Intentionnelle.Élisabeth Pacherie - 1995 - Dialogue 34 (2):237-.
    In The Elm and the Expert (1994), Fodor attempts to reconcile the idea that psychological laws are characteristically intentional with the idea that their implementation is typically computational. In order to do so, Fodor must show that narrow contents are superfluous for the purposes of psychological explanation and that Frege cases are rare and constitute unsystematic exceptions. The paper contends that the argument Fodor offers in order to establish his claim is flawed. It argues that the principle of informational equilibrium (...)
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  • Two Constraints on a Theory of Concepts.Andrea Onofri - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (1):3-27.
    Two general principles have played a crucial role in the recent debate on concepts. On the one hand, we want to allow different subjects to have the same concepts, thus accounting for concept publicity: concepts are ‘the sort of thing that people can, and do, share’. On the other hand, a subject who finds herself in a so-called ‘Frege case’ appears to have different concepts for the same object: for instance, Lois Lane has two distinct concepts SUPERMAN and CLARK KENT (...)
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  • How to Be a Selective Quinean.Samir Okasha - 2002 - Dialectica 56 (1):37-47.
    This paper examines whether one can accept Quine's critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction while rejecting his indeterminacy of translation thesis. I argue that this is possible, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Holding that linguistic synonymy is a well‐defined relation, and that translation is thus a determinate matter, does not commit one to the existence of an analytic‐synthetic distinction capable of playing the explanatory role that the traditional distinction was supposed to play, unless one holds that logical truths have distinctive epistemological (...)
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  • Finding Value in Davidson.Robert H. Myers - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):107 - 136.
    Can an effective argument against scepticism about objective values be modelled on Donald Davidson’s familiar argument against scepticism about external things?
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  • Evidential Holism.Joe Morrison - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (6):e12417.
    Evidential holism begins with something like the claim that “it is only jointly as a theory that scientific statements imply their observable consequences.” This is the holistic claim that Elliott Sober tells us is an “unexceptional observation”. But variations on this “unexceptional” claim feature as a premise in a series of controversial arguments for radical conclusions, such as that there is no analytic or synthetic distinction that the meaning of a sentence cannot be understood without understanding the whole language of (...)
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  • Systematicity Redux.Brian P. McLaughlin - 2009 - Synthese 170 (2):251-274.
    One of the main challenges that Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn (Cognition 28:3–71, 1988) posed for any connectionist theory of cognitive architecture is to explain the systematicity of thought without implementing a Language of Thought (LOT) architecture. The systematicity challenge presents a dilemma: if connectionism cannot explain the systematicity of thought, then it fails to offer an adequate theory of cognitive architecture; and if it explains the systematicity of thought by implementing a LOT architecture, then it fails to offer an (...)
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  • Do Inferential Roles Compose?Mark McCullagh - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (4):431-38.
    Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore have argued that inferential roles are not compositional. It is unclear, however, whether the theories at which they aim their objection are obliged to meet the strong compositionality requirement they have in mind. But even if that requirement is accepted, the data they adduce can in fact be derived from an inferential-role theory that meets it. Technically this is trivial, but it raises some interesting objections turning on the issue of the generality of inferential roles. (...)
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  • What is Conceptual Glue?Eric Margolis - 1999 - Minds and Machines 9 (2):241-255.
    Conceptual structures are commonly likened to scientific theories, yet the content and motivation of the theory analogy are rarely discussed. Gregory Murphy and Douglas Medin's The Role of Theories in Conceptual Coherence is a notable exception and has become an authoritative exposition of the utility of the theory analogy. For Murphy and Medin, the theory analogy solves what they call the problem of conceptual coherence or the problem of conceptual glue. I argue that they conflate a number of issues under (...)
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  • The Significance of the Theory Analogy in the Psychological Study of Concepts.Eric Margolis - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (1-2):45-71.
    Many psychologists think that concepts should be understood on analogy with the terms of scientific theories, yet the significance of this claim has always been obscure. In this paper, I clarify the psychological content of the theory analogy, focusing on influential pieces by Susan Carey. Once plainly put, the analogy amounts to the view that a mental representation has its semantic properties by virtue of its role in a restricted knowledge structure. One of the commendable things about Carey's work is (...)
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  • Boghossian on Analyticity.E. Margolis & S. Laurence - 2001 - Analysis 61 (4):293-302.
    Paul Boghossian (1997) has argued that there is much to be said on behalf of the notion of analyticity so long as we distinguish epistemic analyticity and metaphysical analyticity. In particular, (1) epistemic analyticity isn’t undermined by Quine’s critique of the analytic-synthetic distinction, (2) it can explain the a prioricity of logic, and (3) epistemic analyticity can’t be rejected short of embracing semantic irrealism. In this paper, we argue that all three of these claims are mistaken.
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  • Varieties of Representation in Evolved and Embodied Neural Networks.Pete Mandik - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (1):95-130.
    In this paper I discuss one of the key issuesin the philosophy of neuroscience:neurosemantics. The project of neurosemanticsinvolves explaining what it means for states ofneurons and neural systems to haverepresentational contents. Neurosemantics thusinvolves issues of common concern between thephilosophy of neuroscience and philosophy ofmind. I discuss a problem that arises foraccounts of representational content that Icall ``the economy problem'': the problem ofshowing that a candidate theory of mentalrepresentation can bear the work requiredwithin in the causal economy of a mind and (...)
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  • In Defense of a Kripkean Dogma.Jonathan Ichikawa, Ishani Maitra & Brian Weatherson - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):56-68.
    In “Against Arguments from Reference” (Mallon et al., 2009), Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (hereafter, MMNS) argue that recent experiments concerning reference undermine various philosophical arguments that presuppose the correctness of the causal-historical theory of reference. We will argue three things in reply. First, the experiments in question—concerning Kripke’s Gödel/Schmidt example—don’t really speak to the dispute between descriptivism and the causal-historical theory; though the two theories are empirically testable, we need to look at quite different data (...)
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  • Carving the Mind at its (Not Necessarily Modular) Joints.Jack C. Lyons - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):277-302.
    The cognitive neuropsychological understanding of a cognitive system is roughly that of a ‘mental organ’, which is independent of other systems, specializes in some cognitive task, and exhibits a certain kind of internal cohesiveness. This is all quite vague, and I try to make it more precise. A more precise understanding of cognitive systems will make it possible to articulate in some detail an alternative to the Fodorian doctrine of modularity (since not all cognitive systems are modules), but it will (...)
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  • Color and Color Experience: Colors as Ways of Appearing.Joseph Levine - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (3):269-282.
    In this paper I argue that color is a relational feature of the distal objects of perception, a way of appearing. I begin by outlining three constraints any theory of color should satisfy: physicalism about the non‐mental world, consistency with what is known from color science, and transparency about color experience. Traditional positions on the ontological status of color, such as physicalist reduction of color to spectral reflectance, subjectivism, dispositionalism, and primitivism, fail, I claim, to meet all three constraints. By (...)
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  • Radical Concept Nativism.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 2002 - Cognition 86 (1):25-55.
    Radical concept nativism is the thesis that virtually all lexical concepts are innate. Notoriously endorsed by Jerry Fodor (1975, 1981), radical concept nativism has had few supporters. However, it has proven difficult to say exactly what’s wrong with Fodor’s argument. We show that previous responses are inadequate on a number of grounds. Chief among these is that they typically do not achieve sufficient distance from Fodor’s dialectic, and, as a result, they do not illuminate the central question of how new (...)
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  • Genericity and Logical Form.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (4):441–467.
    In this paper I propose a novel treatment of generic sentences, which proceeds by means of different levels of analysis. According to this account, all generic sentences (I-generics and D-generics alike) are initially treated in a uniform manner, as involving higher-order predication (following the work of George Boolos, James Higginbotham and Barry Schein on plurals). Their non-uniform character, however, re-emerges at subsequent levels of analysis, when the higher-order predications of the first level are cashed out in terms of quantification over (...)
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  • On Evolution of Thinking About Semiosis: Semiotics Meets Cognitive Science.Piotr Konderak - 2017 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 7 (2):82-103.
    The aim of the paper is to sketch an idea—seen from the point of view of a cognitive scientist—of cognitive semiotics as a discipline. Consequently, the article presents aspects of the relationship between the two disciplines: semiotics and cognitive science. The main assumption of the argumentation is that at least some semiotic processes are also cognitive processes. At the methodological level, this claim allows for application of cognitive models as explanations of selected semiotic processes. In particular, the processes of embedded (...)
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  • Horwich on Meaning and Use.Joel Katzav - 2004 - Ratio 17 (2):159–175.
  • Tacit and Accessible Understanding of Language.Kent Johnson - 2007 - Synthese 156 (2):253 - 279.
    The empirical nature of our understanding of language is explored. I first show that there are several important and different distinctions between tacit and accessible awareness. I then present empirical evidence concerning our understanding of language. The data suggests that our awareness of sentence-meanings is sometimes merely tacit according to one of these distinctions, but is accessible according to another. I present and defend an interpretation of this mixed view. The present project is shown to impact on several diverse areas, (...)
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  • From Impossible Words to Conceptual Structure: The Role of Structure and Processes in the Lexicon.Kent Johnson - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (3):334-358.
    The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure of concepts.
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  • The Dual Aspects Theory of Truth.Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (3-4):209-233.
    Consider the following 'principles':2(Norm of Belief Schema) Necessarily, a belief of is correct (relative to some scenario) if and only if p (at that scenario) — where 'p' has the aforementioned content .(Generalized Norm of Belief) Necessarily, for all propositions , a belief of is correct (relative to some scenario) if and only if is true (at that scenario).Both 'principles' appear to capture the aim(s) of belief. (NBS) particularizes the aims to beliefs of distinct content-types. (GNB) generalizes these aims of (...)
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  • Charity, Self-Interpretation, and Belief.Henry Jackman - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Research 28:143-168.
    The purpose of this paper is to motivate and defend a recognizable version of N. L. Wilson's "Principle of Charity" Doing so will involve: (1) distinguishing it fromthe significantly different versions of the Principle familiar through the work of Quine and Davidson; (2) showing that it is compatible with, among other things, both semantic externalism and "simulation" accounts of interpretation; and (3) explaining how it follows from plausible constraints relating to the connection between interpretation and self-interpretation. Finally, it will be (...)
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  • Beyond Logical Form.Brendan Jackson - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (2):347 - 380.
    Notice that each of (1)–(4) is an instance of a more general pattern. For example, we could replace ‘black’ in (1) with any of a wide range of other adjectives such as ‘furry’ or ‘hungry’ or ‘three-legged’, without rendering the entailment invalid or any less obvious. Similarly, there are a number of verbs that occur in entailments parallel to (3): ‘Moe boiled the water; so the water boiled’; ‘Bart blew up the school; so the school blew up’; ‘Homer sank the (...)
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  • Complexity: E-Special Introduction.Oliver Human - 2016 - Theory, Culture and Society 33 (7-8):421-440.
    This E-Special Issue collects together 11 articles from the archives of Theory, Culture & Society. These articles all articulate and debate the contribution of what some have described as either ‘complex complexity’ or ‘general complexity’. In contrast to reductionist or restricted attempts to understand complexity, the articles collected here move away from the tendency to assume mastery of complexity by expounding a set of universal and simple laws. Rather, the position of general complexity is that we cannot grasp the complexity (...)
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  • Quine.Christopher S. Hill - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):117-124.
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  • The Composition of Thoughts.Richard Heck & Robert May - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):126-166.
    Are Fregean thoughts compositionally complex and composed of senses? We argue that, in Begriffsschrift, Frege took 'conceptual contents' to be unstructured, but that he quickly moved away from this position, holding just two years later that conceptual contents divide of themselves into 'function' and 'argument'. This second position is shown to be unstable, however, by Frege's famous substitution puzzle. For Frege, the crucial question the puzzle raises is why "The Morning Star is a planet" and "The Evening Star is a (...)
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  • Editors' Introduction: Miscommunication.Patrick G. T. Healey, Jan P. de Ruiter & Gregory J. Mills - 2018 - Topics in Cognitive Science 10 (2):264-278.
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  • Folk Psychology and Mental Concepts.Alvin I. Goldman - 2000 - ProtoSociology 14:4-25.
    There are several different questions associated with the study of folk psychology: what is the nature of our commonsense concepts of mental states?, how do we attribute mental states, to ourselves and to other people?, and how do we acquire our concepts and skills at mental-state attribution?Three general approaches to these questions are examined and assessed: theory theory, simulation theory, and rationality theory. A preliminary problem is to define each of these approaches. Alternative definitions are explored, centering on which questions (...)
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  • Cross-Categorization of Legal Concepts Across Boundaries of Legal Systems: In Consideration of Inferential Links.Fumiko Kano Glückstad, Tue Herlau, Mikkel N. Schmidt & Morten Mørup - 2014 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 22 (1):61-108.
    This work contrasts Giovanni Sartor’s view of inferential semantics of legal concepts with a probabilistic model of theory formation. The work further explores possibilities of implementing Kemp’s probabilistic model of theory formation in the context of mapping legal concepts between two individual legal systems. For implementing the legal concept mapping, we propose a cross-categorization approach that combines three mathematical models: the Bayesian Model of Generalization, the probabilistic model of theory formation, i.e., the Infinite Relational Model first introduced by Kemp et (...)
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  • Confirmation and Meaning Holism Revisited.Timothy Fuller - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1379-1397.
    Does confirmation holism imply meaning holism? A plausible and novel argument, all of whose premises enjoy significant support among contemporary philosophers, links the two theses. This article presents this argument and diagnoses it with a weakness. The weakness illustrates a general difficulty with drawing morals for the nature of ordinary thought and language from claims about the nature of science. The diagnosis is instructive: It suggests more fruitful relations between theories of scientific theory confirmation and semantic theories of our everyday (...)
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  • Gonseth and Quine.Michael Esfeld - 2001 - Dialectica 55 (3):199-219.
    This paper compares the four principles of Gonseth's epistemology with Quine's “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”. It is shown how Gonseth's epistemology avoids the main objections to Quine's holism. On this basis, the relevance of Gonseth's epistemology for today's discussion is assessed.
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  • La détermination de la logique. Réponse à Michel Seymour.Pascal Engel - 1994 - Dialogue 33 (1):133-.
    Je suis trés reconnaissant à Michel Seymour d'avoir soumis mon livre à un examen détaillé, pénétrant, et charitable et d'avoir, par ses objections, mis le doigt sur un certain nombre de présupposés des thèses défendues dans ce livre, qu'il a souvent articulés bien mieux que je n'ai été capable de le faire. Le principal de ces présupposés est mon rejet implicite de la thése quinienne de l'indétermination de la traduction, qui m'engage, selon Seymour, à défendre une conception conservatrice de la (...)
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  • Concept Referentialism and the Role of Empty Concepts.Kevan Edwards - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (1):89-118.
    This paper defends a reference-based approach to concept individuation against the objection that such an approach is unable to make sense of concepts that fail to refer. The main line of thought pursued involves clarifying how the referentialist should construe the relationship between a concept's (referential) content and its role in mental processes. While the central goal of the paper is to defend a view aptly titled Concept Referentialism , broader morals are drawn regarding reference-based approaches in general. The paper (...)
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  • Propositions Are Not Simple.Matt Duncan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):351-366.
    Some philosophers claim that propositions are simple—i.e., lack parts. In this paper, I argue that this claim is mistaken. I start with the widely accepted claim that propositions are the objects of beliefs. Then I argue that the objects of beliefs have parts. Thus, I conclude that propositions are not simple. My argument for the claim that the objects of beliefs have parts derives from the fact that beliefs are productive and systematic. This fact lurks in the background of debates (...)
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  • Newton as Philosopher.Lisa Downing - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):124-129.