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A Study of Concepts

MIT Press (1992)

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  1. The concept of disease in the time of COVID-19.Maria Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (5):203-221.
    Philosophers of medicine have formulated different accounts of the concept of disease. Which concept of disease one assumes has implications for what conditions count as diseases and, by extension, who may be regarded as having a disease and for who may be accorded the social privileges and personal responsibilities associated with being sick. In this article, we consider an ideal diagnostic test for coronavirus disease 2019 infection with respect to four groups of people—positive and asymptomatic; positive and symptomatic; negative; and (...)
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  • Levels of Perceptual Content.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2000 - Philsophical Studies 100 (3):237-54.
    My main thesis is this paper is that, although Dretske's distinction between simple perception and cognitive perception constitutes an important milestone in contemporary theorizing on perception, it remains too coarse to account for a number of phenomena that do not seem to fall squarely on either side of the divide. I argue that what is needed in order to give a more accurate account of perceptual phenomena is not a twofold distinction of the kind advocated by Dretske but a threefold (...)
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  • Too Much Ado About Belief.Jérôme Dokic & Elisabeth Pacherie - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):185-200.
    Three commitments guide Dennett’s approach to the study of consciousness. First, an ontological commitment to materialist monism. Second, a methodological commitment to what he calls ‘heterophenomenology.’ Third, a ‘doxological’ commitment that can be expressed as the view that there is no room for a distinction between a subject’s beliefs about how things seem to her and what things actually seem to her, or, to put it otherwise, as the view that there is no room for a reality/appearance distinction for consciousness. (...)
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  • The Ontology of Perception: Bipolarity and Content.Jérôme Dokic - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):153-169.
    The notion of perceptual content is commonly introduced in the analysis of perception. It stems from an analogy between perception and propositional attitudes. Both kinds of mental states, it is thought, have conditions of satisfaction. I try to show that on the most plausible account of perceptual content, it does not determine the conditions under which perceptual experience is veridical. Moreover, perceptual content must be bipolar, whereas perception as a mental state is not. This has profound consequences for the epistemological (...)
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  • Introduction.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Introduction 2 (23):153-160.
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  • Language, Thought, and the Language of Thought (Aunty's Own Argument Revisited).Martin Davies - 1998 - In P. Carruthers & J. Boucher (eds.), Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 226.
    In this chapter, I shall be examining an argument for the language of thought hypothesis.
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  • Something About Mary.Alex Byrne - 2002 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):27-52.
    Jackson's black-and-white Mary teaches us that the propositional content of perception cannot be fully expressed in language.
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  • Language and Number: A Bilingual Training Study.Elizabeth S. Spelke - 2001 - Cognition 78 (1):45-88.
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  • Two Versions of the Conceptual Content of Experience.Daniel E. Kalpokas - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (1):36-55.
    In ‘Avoiding the Myth of the Given’, McDowell revisits the main themes of Mind and World in order to make two important corrections: first, he does not longer believe that the content of perceptual...
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  • Response to Akagi, Hughes, and Springle. [REVIEW]Edouard Machery - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (4):608-623.
    Volume 27, Issue 4, October 2019, Page 608-623.
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  • ‘The Echo of a Thought in Sight’: Property Perception, Universals and Wittgenstein.Michael O’Sullivan - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (1):1-15.
    Contemporary philosophers of perception, even those with otherwise widely differing beliefs, often hold that universals enter into the content of perceptual experience. This doctrine can even be seen as a trivial inference from the observation that we observe properties – ways that things are – as well as things. I argue that the inference is not trivial but can and should be resisted. Ordinary property perception does not involve awareness of universals. But there are visual experiences which do involve determinate (...)
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  • Understanding and Disagreement in Belief Ascription.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (2):183-200.
    It seems uncontroversial that Dalton wrongly believed that atoms are indivisible. However, the correct analysis of Dalton’s belief and the way it relates to contemporary beliefs about atoms is, on closer inspection, far from straightforward. In this paper, I introduce four features that any candidate analysis is plausibly bound to respect. I argue that theories that individuate concepts at the level of understanding are doomed to fail in this endeavor. I formally sketch an alternative and suggest that cases such as (...)
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  • Against Perceptual Conceptualism.Hilla Jacobson & Hilary Putnam - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (1):1-25.
    This paper is concerned with the question of whether mature human experience is thoroughly conceptual, or whether it involves non-conceptual elements or layers. It has two central goals. The first goal is methodological. It aims to establish that that question is, to a large extent, an empirical question. The question cannot be answered by appealing to purely a priori and transcendental considerations. The second goal is to argue, inter alia by relying on empirical findings, that the view known as ‘state-conceptualism’ (...)
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  • Do We Have To Choose Between Conceptualism and Non-Conceptualism?Corijn Van Mazijk - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (5):645-665.
    It is today acknowledged by many that the debate about non-conceptual content is a mess. Over the past decades a vast collection of arguments for non-conceptual content piled up in which a variety of conceptions of what determines a state’s content is being used. This resulted in a number of influential attempts to clarify what would make a content non-conceptual, most notably Bermúdez’s classic definition, Heck’s divide into ‘state’ and ‘content’ conceptualism and Speaks’s ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ non-conceptualism. However, these interpretations, (...)
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  • Nonconceptual Epicycles.Sonia Sedivy - 2006 - European Review of Philosophy 6:33-66.
    This paper argues that perception is a mode of engagement with individuals and their determinate properties. Perceptual content involves determinate properties in a way that relies on our conceptual capacities no less than on the properties. The “richness” of perceptual experience is explained as a distinctive individual and property involving content. This position is developed in three steps: (i) novel phenomenological description of lived experience; (ii) detailed reconstruction of Gareth Evans’ proposal that we are capable of genuinely singular thought that (...)
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  • The Knowledge Argument.Luca Malatesti - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Stirling
    Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument is a very influential piece of reasoning that seeks to show that colour experiences constitute an insoluble problem for science. This argument is based on a thought experiment concerning Mary. She is a vision scientist who has complete scientific knowledge of colours and colour vision but has never had colour experiences. According to Jackson, upon seeing coloured objects, Mary acquires new knowledge that escapes her complete scientific knowledge. He concludes that there are facts concerning colour experiences (...)
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  • Visual Experience and Motor Action: Are the Bonds Too Tight?Andy Clark - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (4):495-519.
    How should we characterize the functional role of conscious visual experience? In particular, how do the conscious contents of visual experience guide, bear upon, or otherwise inform our ongoing motor activities? According to an intuitive and (I shall argue) philosophically influential conception, the links are often quite direct. The contents of conscious visual experience, according to this conception, are typically active in the control and guidance of our fine-tuned, real-time engagements with the surrounding three-dimensional world. But this idea (which I (...)
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  • Skepticism and Internalism.Halvor Nordby - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):35-54.
    The skeptical Dream argument appeals to the possibility of dreaming. The skeptic holds that states of being awake are subjectively indistinguishable from possible dream states and that this means that we do not know that we are awake. This, the skeptic then claims, means that we have to accept that we do not have external world knowledge.It is natural to assume that there must be a connection between the Dream argument and epistemic internalism, the view that a belief is justified (...)
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  • The Rashness of Traditional Rationalism and Empiricism.Georges Rey - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (Supplement):227-258.
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  • Why the Question of Animal Consciousness Might Not Matter Very Much.Peter Carruthers - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):83-102.
    According to higher-order thought accounts of phenomenal consciousness it is unlikely that many non-human animals undergo phenomenally conscious experiences. Many people believe that this result would have deep and far-reaching consequences. More specifically, they believe that the absence of phenomenal consciousness from the rest of the animal kingdom must mark a radical and theoretically significant divide between ourselves and other animals, with important implications for comparative psychology. I shall argue that this belief is mistaken. Since phenomenal consciousness might be almost (...)
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  • A Moorean Paradox of Desire.David Wall - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):63-84.
    Moore's paradox is a paradox in which certain kinds of belief or assertion, such as a belief that ?it is raining and I do not believe that it is raining?, are irrational despite involving no obvious contradiction in what is believed. But is there a parallel paradox involving other kinds of attitude, in particular desire? I argue that certain kinds of desire would be irrational to have for similar, distinctive reasons that having Moorean beliefs would be irrational to have. Hence, (...)
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  • Spatial Content and Motoric Significance.Robert Briscoe - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 1 (2):199-216.
    According to “actionism” (Noë 2010), perception constitutively depends on implicit knowledge of the way sensory stimulations vary as a consequence of the perceiver’s self-movement. My aim in this contribution is to develop an alternative conception of the role of action in perception present in the work of Gareth Evans using resources provided by Ruth Millikan’s biosemantic theory of mental representation.
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  • Does Perceptual Content Have to Be Objective? A Defence of Nonconceptualism.Eva Schmidt - 2015 - .
    In this paper, I discuss the conceptualist 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, so that the view that perceptual experience has nonconceptual content is not tenable. I start out by presenting the argument from objectivity as it can be found in McDowell. I then present the following objections: First, perceptual objectivity cannot be due to the perceiver’s conception (...)
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  • Colour Inversion Problems for Representationalism.Fiona Macpherson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):127-152.
    In this paper I examine whether representationalism can account for various thought experiments about colour inversions. Representationalism is, at minimum, the view that, necessarily, if two experiences have the same representational content then they have the same phenomenal character. I argue that representationalism ought to be rejected if one holds externalist views about experiential content and one holds traditional exter- nalist views about the nature of the content of propositional attitudes. Thus, colour inver- sion scenarios are more damaging to externalist (...)
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  • Nonconceptual Content and the Nature of Perceptual Experience.Jose Luis Bermudez & Fiona Macpherson - 1998 - Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6.
    [1] Recent philosophy of mind and epistemology has seen an important and influential trend towards accounting for at least some features of experiences in content-involving terms. It is a contested point whether ascribing content to experiences can account for all the intrinsic properties of experiences, but on many theories of experiences there are close links between the ascription of content and the ways in which experiences are ascribed and typed. The issues here have both epistemological and psychological dimensions. On the (...)
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  • Representation, Presentation and the Epistemic Role of Perceptual Experience.Jonathan David Trigg - 2011 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (1):5-30.
    In this paper I argue that the representational theory of perception, on which the world is represented as being a certain way in perceptual experience, cannot explain how there can be a genuinely epistemic connection between experience and belief. I try to show that we are positively required to deny that perceptual consciousness is contentful if we want to make its fitness for epistemic duties intelligible. (So versions of the representational theory on which experience has a merely causal purchase on (...)
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  • Six Levels of Mentality.Leslie Stevenson - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (2):105-124.
    Examination of recent debates about belief shows the need to distinguish: (a) non-linguistic informational states in animal perception; (b) the uncritical use of language, e.g. by children; (c) adult humans' reasoned judgments. If we also distinguish between mind-directed and object-directed mental states, we have: Perceptual 'beliefs' of animals and infants about their material environment. 'Beliefs' of animals and infants about the mental states of others. Linguistically-expressible beliefs about the world, resulting from e.g. the uncritical tendency to believe what we are (...)
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  • Concepts and Properties.Dennis Earl - 2006 - Metaphysica 7 (1):67-85.
  • Could Evolution Explain Our Reliability About Logic?Joshua Schechter - 2013 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4. pp. 214.
    We are reliable about logic in the sense that we by-and-large believe logical truths and disbelieve logical falsehoods. Given that logic is an objective subject matter, it is difficult to provide a satisfying explanation of our reliability. This generates a significant epistemological challenge, analogous to the well-known Benacerraf-Field problem for mathematical Platonism. One initially plausible way to answer the challenge is to appeal to evolution by natural selection. The central idea is that being able to correctly deductively reason conferred a (...)
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  • Indiscriminable Shades and Demonstrative Concepts.Philippe Chuard - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):277 – 306.
    Conceptualists have it that the representational content of perceptual experience is determined by the concepts a subject applies in having such an experience. Conceptualists like Bill Brewer [1999] and John McDowell [1994] have laid particular emphasis on demonstrative concepts in trying to account for the fact that subjects can perceive and discriminate very many specific shades of colour in experience. Against this, it has been objected that such demonstrative concepts have incoherent conditions of extension and/or of individuation, due to the (...)
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  • First-Person Investigations of Consciousness.Brentyn Ramm - 2016 - Dissertation, The Australian National University
    This dissertation defends the reliability of first-person methods for studying consciousness, and applies first-person experiments to two philosophical problems: the experience of size and of the self. In chapter 1, I discuss the motivations for taking a first-person approach to consciousness, the background assumptions of the dissertation and some methodological preliminaries. In chapter 2, I address the claim that phenomenal judgements are far less reliable than perceptual judgements (Schwitzgebel, 2011). I argue that the main errors and limitations in making phenomenal (...)
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  • 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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  • Persons and Their Underpinnings.Martin Davies - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):43-62.
    I defend a conception of the relationship between the personal and sub-personal levels as interaction withoutreduction.There are downward inferences from the personal to the sub-personal level but we find upward explanatory gaps when we try to construct illuminating accounts of personal level conditions using just sub-personal level notions. This conception faces several serious challenges but the objection that I consider in this paper says that, when theories support downward inferences from the personal to the sub-personal level, this is the product (...)
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  • Personal and Sub‐Personal; A Defence of Dennett's Early Distinction.Jennifer Hornsby - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):6-24.
    Since 1969, when Dennett introduced a distinction between personal and sub- personal levels of explanation, many philosophers have used 'sub- personal ' very loosely, and Dennett himself has abandoned a view of the personal level as genuinely autonomous. I recommend a position in which Dennett's original distinction is crucial, by arguing that the phenomenon called mental causation is on view only at the properly personal level. If one retains the commit-' ments incurred by Dennett's early distinction, then one has a (...)
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  • Perception and Conceptual Content.Alex Byrne - 2005 - In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. pp. 231--250.
    Perceptual experiences justify beliefs—that much seems obvious. As Brewer puts it, “sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs” (this volume, xx). In Mind and World McDowell argues that we can get from this apparent platitude to the controversial claim that perceptual experiences have conceptual content: [W]e can coherently credit experiences with rational relations to judgement and belief, but only if we take it that spontaneity is already implicated in receptivity; that is, only if we take it that experiences have (...)
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  • The Nonconceptual in Concept Acquisition.Ángel García Rodríguez - 2007 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 22 (1):93-110.
    The objective of this paper is to discuss the nature of nonconceptual, as opposed to conceptual, states and their content, by exploring the suggestion that the distinction between the conceptual and the nonconceptual be mapped onto the distinction between the linguistic and the nonlinguistic. This approach gives special relevance to our intuitions about the cognitive relationship between small children and adults, especially regarding the acquisition of concepts, in the course of normal cognitive development. Assuming that there is a developmental challenge (...)
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  • Trivial Languages.Arvid Båve - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (1):1-17.
    I here present and defend what I call the Triviality Theory of Truth, to be understood in analogy with Matti Eklund’s Inconsistency Theory of Truth. A specific formulation of is defended and compared with alternatives found in the literature. A number of objections against the proposed notion of meaning-constitutivity are discussed and held inconclusive. The main focus, however, is on the problem, discussed at length by Gupta and Belnap, that speakers do not accept epistemically neutral conclusions of Curry derivations. I (...)
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  • Social Enactive Perception: Practices, Experience, and Contents.Alejandro Arango - unknown
    This dissertation proposes the central elements of a Social Enactive Theory of Perception. According to SEP, perception consists in sensory-based practices of interaction with objects, events, and states of affairs that are socially constituted. I oppose the representational view that perception is an indirect contact with the world, consists of the passive receiving and processing of sensory input, is in need of constant assessment of accuracy, and is a matter of individuals alone. I share the basic enactivist insight that perception (...)
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  • Not Quite Neo-Sentimentalism.Tristram Oliver-Skuse - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):877-899.
    The view that some evaluative concepts are identical to some affective concepts naturally falls out of neo-sentimentalism, but it is unstable. This paper argues for a view of evaluative concepts that is neo-sentimentalist in spirit but which eschews the identity claim. If we adopt a Peacockean view of concepts, then we should think of some evaluative concepts as having possession conditions that are affective in some way. I argue that the best version of this thought claims that possessing those concepts (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2021 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of undecidable propositions and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational intuition; and to the types (...)
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  • Against Schmought.Matthew Vermaire - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (9):465-485.
    Matti Eklund has argued that a new problem in metanormative theory arises when we consider the possibility of "normative counterparts"—normative concepts with the same normative roles as OUGHT and RIGHT, but with different extensions. I distinguish two versions of the problem, and propose a solution: when we attend to the attitudinal commitments involved in the possession and application of some normative concepts, we find that tolerance for the possibility of normative counterparts is rationally ruled out.
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  • Varieties of Conceptual Analysis.Max Kölbel - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    What exactly does conceptual analysis consist in? Is it empirical or a priori? How does it support philosophical theses, and what kinds of thesis are these? There is no consensus on these questions in contemporary philosophy. This paper aims to defend conceptual analysis by showing that it comprises a number of different methods and by explaining their importance in philosophy. After setting out an initial dilemma for conceptual analysis, the paper outlines a minimal ecumenical account of concepts, as well as (...)
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  • How To Conceptually Engineer Conceptual Engineering?Manuel Gustavo Isaac - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1–24.
    Conceptual engineering means to provide a method to assess and improve our concepts working as cognitive devices. But conceptual engineering still lacks an account of what concepts are (as cognitive devices) and of what engineering is (in the case of cognition). And without such prior understanding of its subject matter, or so it is claimed here, conceptual engineering is bound to remain useless, merely operating as a piecemeal approach, with no overall grip on its target domain. The purpose of this (...)
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • The Puzzle of Learning by Doing and the Gradability of Knowledge‐How.Juan S. Piñeros Glasscock - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Much of our know-how is acquired through practice: we learn how to cook by cooking, how to write by writing, and how to dance by dancing. As Aristotle argues, however, this kind of learning is puzzling, since engaging in it seems to require possession of the very knowledge one seeks to obtain. After showing how a version of the puzzle arises from a set of attractive principles, I argue that the best solution is to hold that knowledge-how comes in degrees, (...)
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  • Phenomenology and Nonconceptual Content.Christopher Peacocke - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):609-615.
    This note aims to clarify which arguments do, and which arguments do not, tell against Conceptualism, the thesis that the representational content of experience is exclusively conceptual. Contrary to Sean Kelly’s position, conceptualism has no difficulty accommodating the phenomena of color constancy and of situation-dependence. Acknowledgment of nonconceptual content is also consistent with holding that experiences have nonrepresentational subjective features. The crucial arguments against conceptualism stem from animal perception, and from a distinction, elaborated in the final section of the paper, (...)
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  • Inconsistent Languages.Matti Eklund - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):251-275.
    The main thesis of this paper is that we sometimes are disposed to accept false and even jointly inconsistent claims by virtue of our semantic competence, and that this comes to light in the sorites and liar paradoxes. Among the subsidiary theses are that this is an important source of indeterminacy in truth conditions, that we must revise basic assumptions about semantic competence, and that classical logic and bivalence can be upheld in the face of the sorites paradox.
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  • Color and Similarity.Alex Byrne - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):641-65.
    Anything is similar to anything, provided the respects of similarity are allowed to be gerrymandered or gruesome, as Goodman observed.2 But similarity in non-gruesome or—as I shall say—genuine respects is much less ecumenical. Colors, it seems, provide a compelling illustration of the distinction as applied to similarities among properties.3 For instance, in innumerable gruesome respects, blue is more similar to yellow than to purple. But in a genuine respect, blue is more similar to purple than to yellow (genuinely more similar, (...)
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  • Phenomenal Concepts and Higher-Order Experiences.Peter Carruthers - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):316-336.
    Relying on a range of now-familiar thought-experiments, it has seemed to many philosophers that phenomenal consciousness is beyond the scope of reductive explanation. (Phenomenal consciousness is a form of state-consciousness, which contrasts with creature-consciousness, or perceptual-consciousness. The different forms of state-consciousness include various kinds of access-consciousness, both first-order and higher-order--see Rosenthal, 1986; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000. Phenomenal consciousness is the property that mental states have when it is like something to possess them, or when they have subjectively-accessible feels; (...)
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