A platonic theory of possibility states that truths about what’s possible are determined by facts about properties not being instantiated. Recently, Matthew Tugby has argued in favour of this sort of theory, arguing that adopting a platonic theory of possibility allows us to solve a paradox concerning alien properties: properties that might have been instantiated, but aren’t actually. In this paper, I raise a worry for Tugby’s proposal—that it commits us to negative facts playing an important truth-making role—and offer a (...) strategy to avoid the objectionable negativity. (shrink)
In this article I argue that Russell's multiple-relation theory of judgment is a continuation of the campaign against Frege and Meinong begun in “On Denoting” with the theory of descriptions. More precisely, I hold that the problem of false belief, to which the multiple-relation theory is presented as a solution, emerges quite naturally out of the problem context of “On Denoting” and threatens to give new life to the theories Russell purports to have laid to rest there, and that Russell's (...) solution to the much neglected third puzzle of “On Denoting” contains the gist of the multiple-relation theory. The failure of that theory to solve the problem of false belief thus signifies the failure of the theory of descriptions. (shrink)
Truth and knowledge are conceptually related and there is a way of construing both that implies that they cannot be solely derived from a description that restricts itself to a set of scientific facts. In the first section of this essay, I analyse truth as a relation between a praxis, ways of knowing, and the world. In the second section, I invoke the third thing—the objective reality on which we triangulate as knowing subjects for the purpose of complex scientific endeavours (...) like medical science and clinical care. Such praxes develop robust methods of “keeping in touch” with disease and illness. An analysis drawing on philosophical semantics motivates the needed account of meaning and truth and underpins the following argument: the formulation and dissemination of knowledge rests on language; language is selective in what it represents in any given situation; the praxes of a given culture are based on this selectivity; but human health and illness involve whole human beings in a human life-world; therefore, medical knowledge should reflectively transcend, where required, biomedical science towards a more inclusive view. Parts three and four argue that a post-structuralist account of the human subject can avoid both scientism and idealism or unconstrained relativism. (shrink)
The existence of complex predicates seems to support an abundant conception of properties. Specifically, the application conditions for complex predicates seem to be explained by the distribution of a sparser base of predicates. This explanatory link might suggest that the existence and distribution of properties expressed by complex predicates are explained by the existence and distribution of a sparser base of properties. Thus, complex predicates seem to legitimize the assumption of a wide array of properties. The additional properties are no (...) explanatory addition to the sparse base. I argue, however, that construing complex predicates as expressing properties undermines the explanatory links between simple and complex predications. The argument explores a variety of accounts of complex predicates currently on offer and develops a number of themes from the work of Herbert Hochberg. (shrink)
According to the standard opinions in the literature, blocking the unacceptable consequences of the notorious slingshot argument requires imposing constraints on the metaphysics of facts or on theories of definite descriptions (or class abstracts). This paper argues that both of these well-known strategies to rebut the slingshot overshoot the mark. The slingshot, first and foremost, raises the question as to the adequate logical formalization of statements about facts, i.e. of factual contexts. It will be shown that a rigorous application of (...) Quine’s maxim of shallow analysis to formalizations of factual contexts paves the way for an account of formalizing such contexts which blocks the slingshot without ramifications for theories of facts or definite descriptions. (shrink)
Causal slingshots are formal arguments advanced by proponents of an event ontology of token-level causation which, in the end, are intended to show two things: (i) The logical form of statements expressing causal dependencies on token level features a binary predicate ‘‘... causes ...’’ and (ii) that predicate takes events as arguments. Even though formalisms are only revealing with respect to the logical form of natural language statements, if the latter are shown to be adequately captured within a corresponding formalism, (...) proponents of slingshots usually take the adequacy of their formalizations for granted without justifying it. The first part of this paper argues that the most discussed version of a causal slingshot, viz. the one e.g. presented by Davidson (Essays on actions and events. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1980), can indeed be refuted for relying on an inadequate formal apparatus. In contrast, the formal means of Gödel’s (The philosophy of Betrand Russell. New York, Tudor, 1944) often neglected slingshot are shown to stand on solid ground in the second part of the paper. Nonetheless, I contend that Gödel’s slingshot does only half the work friends of event causation would like it to do. It provides good reasons for (i) but not for (ii). (shrink)
What is logical relevance? Anderson and Belnap say that the “modern classical tradition [,] stemming from Frege and Whitehead-Russell, gave no consideration whatsoever to the classical notion of relevance.” But just what is this classical notion? I argue that the relevance tradition is implicitly most deeply concerned with the containment of truth-grounds, less deeply with the containment of classes, and least of all with variable sharing in the Anderson–Belnap manner. Thus modern classical logicians such as Peirce, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and (...) Quine are implicit relevantists on the deepest level. In showing this, I reunite two fields of logic which, strangely from the traditional point of view, have become basically separated from each other: relevance logic and diagram logic. I argue that there are two main concepts of relevance, intensional and extensional. The first is that of the relevantists, who overlook the presence of the second in modern classical logic. The second is the concept of truth-ground containment as following from in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. I show that this second concept belongs to the diagram tradition of showing that the premisses contain the conclusion by the fact that the conclusion is diagrammed in the very act of diagramming the premisses. I argue that the extensional concept is primary, with at least five usable modern classical filters or constraints and indefinitely many secondary intensional filters or constraints. For the extensional concept is the genus of deductive relevance, and the filters define species. Also following the Tractatus, deductive relevance, or full truth-ground containment, is the limit of inductive relevance, or partial truth-ground containment. Purely extensional inductive or partial relevance has its filters or species too. Thus extensional relevance is more properly a universal concept of relevance or summum genus with modern classical deductive logic, relevantist deductive logic, and inductive logic as its three main domains. (shrink)
The paper contains four arguments to show that experiences don't represent. The first argument appeals to the fact that an experience can't occur without what the experience is of; the second appeals to the fact we can have an experience without having any awareness of what it is of, the third argument appeals to the fact that long experiences, such as the experience of being kidnapped, don't represent anything; and the fourth appeals to the fact that experiences often leave physical (...) traces. The author rebuts several arguments for the conclusion that experiences represent. The author also considers some of the pitfalls involved in stipulating that experiences represent in a technical sense of “experience” or “represent”. (shrink)
In his paper on ‘Frege's Theory of Sense and Reference’ Saul Kripke remarks: “Like the present account, Künne stresses that for Frege times, persons, etc. can be part of the expression of the thought. However, his reading is certainly not mine in significant respects . . .”. On both counts, he is right. As regards the differences between our readings, in some respects I shall confess to having made a mistake, in several others I shall remain stubbornly unmoved. Thus I (...) shall insist on the need for distinguishing Fregean sense from linguistic (lexico-grammatical) meaning, I shall resist Kripke's function-theoretic account of ‘hybrid’ thought-expressions, and I shall deplore his transformation of Gottlob Frege into Gottrand Fressell. As regards this transformation, I shall argue that some of the main points Kripke wants to drive home do not depend on it. (shrink)
The article concerns the treatment of the so-called denoting phrases, of the forms ?every A?, ?any A?, ?an A? and ?some A?, in Russell's Principles of Mathematics. An initially attractive interpretation of what Russell's theory was has been proposed by P.T. Geach, in his Reference and Generality (1962). A different interpretation has been proposed by P. Dau (Notre Dame Journal, 1986). The article argues that neither of these is correct, because both credit Russell with a more thought-out theory than he (...) actually had. The conclusion is mainly negative: at this date Russell has no coherent theory of these phrases. An appendix notes that his understanding of the quantifiers in predicate logic is also, at this date, not entirely secure. (shrink)
An account of validity that makes what is invalid conditional on how many individuals there are is what I call a conditional account of validity. Here I defend conditional accounts against a criticism derived from Etchemendy’s well-known criticism of the model-theoretic analysis of validity. The criticism is essentially that knowledge of the size of the universe is non-logical and so by making knowledge of the extension of validity depend on knowledge of how many individuals there are, conditional accounts fail to (...) reflect that the former knowledge is basic, i.e., independent of knowledge derived from other sciences. Appealing to Russell’s pre-Principia logic, I defend conditional accounts against this criticism by sketching a rationale for thinking that there are infinitely many logical objects. (shrink)
Following Neale, I call the notion that there can be no such thing as a structured referring expression ‘structure skepticism’. The specific aim of this paper is to defuse some putative counterexamples to structure skepticism. The general aim is to bolster the case in favor of the thesis that lack of structure—in a sense to be made precise—is essential to reference.
Here, I defend the view that there is no sensible way to pin a truth-maker objection on presentism. First, I suggest that if we adopt truth-maker maximalism then the presentist can requisition appropriate ontological resources with impunity. Second, if we deny maximalism, then the presentist can sensibly restrict the truth-maker principle in order to avoid the demand for truth-makers for talk about the non-present.
In this paper, I argue (a) that the predicate "true" is ambiguously used to express a deflationary and a substantial concept of truth and (b) that the two concepts are systematically related in that substantial truths are deflationary truths of a certain kind. Claim (a) allows one to accept the main insights of deflationism but still take seriously, and participate in, the traditional debate about the nature of truth. Claim (b) is a contribution to that debate. The overall position is (...) not new and it has previously been defended by supervaluationists about vagueness. However, the position is here motivated in a new, independent way, and an explanation is offered why some uses of "true" do not seem to require disambiguation. (shrink)
According to Donnellan the characteristic mark of a referential use of a definite description is the fact that it can be used to pick out an individual that does not satisfy the attributes in the description. Friends and foes of the referential/attributive distinction have equally dismissed that point as obviously wrong or as a sign that Donnellan’s distinction lacks semantic import. I will argue that, on a strict semantic conception of what it is for an expression to be a genuine (...) referential device, Donnellan is right: if a use of a definite description is referential, it has got to be possible for it to refer to an object independently of any attributes associated with the description, including those that constitute its conventional meaning. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with what I call the ‘problem of unity’ . This is the puzzle of how Armstrong‐like states of affairs are unified. The general approach is ‘relational internalism’: the unifier of such a state of affairs is a relation of some sort in it. A view commonly associated with relational internalism is that if such a relation satisfies a certain ‘naive’ expectation to a relation – that it is related to its relata – then Bradley's regress results. (...) As I argue, for one very natural species of relational internalism, this is indeed the case. Influential writers on the topic have therefore maintained that this relation is not related to its relata. But, as we shall see, while this ‘classic’ relational internalism obviously avoids Bradley's regress, intuitively, it fails completely to solve the problem of unity. I argue, however, that given the rejection of a natural, but unfounded, assumption of conventional relational internalism, a unique relation can unify states of affairs without leading to Bradley's regress. I consequently propose a novel version of relational internalism on which states of affairs are unified by such an entity. (shrink)
In recent work on a priori justification, one thing about which there is considerable agreement is that the notion of truth in virtue of meaning is bankrupt and infertile. (For the sake of more readable prose, I will use ‘TVM’ as an abbreviation for ‘the notion of truth in virtue of meaning’.) Arguments against the worth of TVM can be found across the entire spectrum of views on the a priori, in the work of uncompromising rationalists (such as BonJour (1998)), (...) of centrist moderates (such as Boghossian (1997)), and of uncompromising empiricists (such as Devitt (2004)). My aim is to dispute this widespread opinion. The outline is as follows: First, §§2-3 consist of preliminary stage-setting. Then, in §4 I will argue that some of the most prevalent arguments against the worth of TVM – in particular, one which is given clear expression by Quine (1970), and is recently reinforced by Boghossian (1997) – do not engage with the core idea motivating TVM. After deflecting this charge of incoherence, the aim of §§5-8 is to work toward developing a useful conception of TVM. (shrink)
This paper argues that a consideration of the problem of providing truthmakers for negative truths undermines truthmaker theory. Truthmaker theorists are presented with an uncomfortable dilemma. Either they must take up the challenge of providing truthmakers for negative truths, or else they must explain why negative truths are exceptions to the principle that every truth must have a truthmaker. The first horn is unattractive since the prospects of providing truthmakers for negative truths do not look good neither absences, nor totality (...) states of affairs, nor Graham Priest and J.C. Beall’s ‘polarities’ (Beall, 2000; Priest, 2000) are up to the job. The second horn, meanwhile, is problematic because restricting the truthmaker principle to atomic truths, or weakening it to the thesis that truth supervenes on being, undercuts truthmaker theory’s original motivation. The paper ends by arguing that truthmaker theory is, in any case, an under-motivated doctrine because the groundedness of truth can be explained without appeal to the truthmaker principle. This leaves us free to give the ommonsensical and deflationary explanation of negative truths that common-sense suggests. (shrink)
We investigate the conditions under which quasianalysis, i.e., Carnap's method of abstraction in his Aufbau, yields adequate results. In particular, we state both necessary and sufficient conditions for the so-called faithfulness and fullness of quasianalysis, and analyze adequacy as the conjunction of faithfulness and fullness. It is shown that there is no method of (re-)constructing properties from similarity that delivers adequate results in all possible cases, if the same set of individuals is presupposed for properties and for similarity, and if (...) similarity is a relation of finite arity. The theory is applied to various examples, including Russell's construction of temporal instants and Carnap's constitution of the phenomenal counterparts to quality spheres. Our results explain why the former is adequate while the latter is bound to fail. (shrink)
What makes it true when we say that something is not the case? Truthmaker maximalists think that every truth has a truthmaker—some fact in the world—that makes it true. No such facts can be found for the socalled negative truths. If a proposition is true when it has a truthmaker, then it would be false when it has no truthmaker. I therefore argue that negative truths, such as t<p>, are best understood as falsehoods, f<p>.
Josiah Royce (1855?1916) was, in addition to being the pre-eminent metaphysician at the turn of the 19th century in the USA, regarded as ?a logician of the first rank?. At the time of his death in 1916, he had begun a substantial and potentially revolutionary project in logic in which he sought to show the connection between logic and ethics, aesthetics, and metaphysics. His system was developed in light of the work of Bertrand Russell and A. B. Kempe and aimed (...) to include Russell's logic as a subsystem. This more comprehensive logic, which Royce called system Σ, brought together an analysis of the character of experience and knowledge with the principles which served to organize interests and direct actions. The result was to be a logical theory framed by ?a profoundly ethical motive as well as a genuinely intellectual one? that would serve as ?a theory of the way in which activities must go on if they go on at all?. This paper examines three stages in the development of Royce's logical system, its relation to the logic of Principia Mathematica, and prospects for its further development. (shrink)
The paper critically scrutinizes the widespread idea that Russell subscribes to a "Universalist Conception of Logic." Various glosses on this somewhat under-explained slogan are considered, and their fit with Russell's texts and logical practice examined. The results of this investigation are, for the most part, unfavorable to the Universalist interpretation.
Presentism is the view that only present entities exist. Recently, several authors have asked the question whether presentism is able to account for cross-time relations, i.e., roughly, relations between entities existing at different times. In this paper I claim that this question is to be answered in the affirmative. To make this claim plausible, I consider four types of cross-time relation and show how each can be accommodated without difficulty within the metaphysical framework of presentism.
In this paper, I make a contribution to a naturalistically-minded theory of truthmakers by proposing a solution to the nasty problem of truthmakers for negative truths. After formulating the difficulty, I consider and reject a number of solutions to the problem, including Armstrong's states of affairs of totality, incompatibility accounts, and JC Beall 's polarity view. I then defend the position that absences of truthmakers are real and are responsible for making negative truths true. According to the positive account of (...) absences I offer, absences of contingent states of affairs are causally relevant mind-independent features of the physical world, located within space and time, and capable of being discovered by scientific inquiry. Recognition of the reality of absences strengthens truthmaker theory as a naturalistic metaphysics, as truth and falsity of each and every contingent proposition finds an ontological grounding in some region of the physical universe. (shrink)
A critical discussion of selected chapters of the first volume of Scott Soames’s Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. It is argued that this volume falls short of the minimal standards of scholarship appropriate to a work that advertises itself as a history, and, further, that Soames’s frequent heuristic simplifications and distortions, since they are only sporadically identified as such, are more likely confuse than to enlighten the student. These points are illustrated by reference to Soames’s discussions of Russell’s logical (...) system and the place of the theory of descriptions in his ontological development. It is then argued that Soames’s interpretation of the point of G.E. Moore’s famous “proof” of an external world, while not straightforwardly undermined by the textual evidence, is nonetheless questionable, and plausibly overlooks what is novel in Moore’s discussion. This, it is argued, in his attempt to offer a common sense “refutation of idealism”, rather than (as is more commonly supposed) an anti-skeptical argument “from differential certainty”. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell introduced several novel ideas in his 1903 Principles of Mathematics that he later gave up and never went back to in his subsequent work. Two of these are the related notions of denoting concepts and classes as many. In this paper we reconstruct each of these notions in the framework of conceptual realism and connect them through a logic of names that encompasses both proper and common names, and among the latter, complex as well as simple common names. (...) Names, proper or common, and simple or complex, occur as parts of quantifier phrases, which in conceptual realism stand for referential concepts, i.e., cognitive capacities that inform our speech and mental acts with a referential nature and account for the intentionality, or directedness, of those acts. In Russell’s theory, quantifier phrases express denoting concepts (which do not include proper names). In conceptual realism, names, as well as predicates, can be nominalized and allowed to occur as "singular terms", i.e., as arguments of predicates. Occurring as a singular term, a name denotes, if it denotes at all, a class as many, where, as in Russell’s theory, a class as many of one object is identical with that one object, and a class as many of more than one object is a plurality, i.e., a plural object that we call a group. Also, as in Russell’s theory, there is no empty class as many. When nominalized, proper names function as "singular terms" just the way they do in so-called free logic. Leśniewski’s ontology, which is also called a logic of names can be completely interpreted within this conceptualist framework, and the well-known oddities of Leśniewski’s system are shown not to be odd at all when his system is so interpreted. Finally, we show how the pluralities, or groups, of the logic of classes as many can be used as the semantic basis of plural reference and predication. We explain in this way Russell’s "fundamental doctrine upon which all rests", i.e., "the doctrine that the subject of a proposition may be plural, and that such plural subjects are what is meant by classes [as many] which have more than one term" (Russell 1938, p. 517). (shrink)
Un des principaux enjeux de la théorie du jugement de Russell consistait à élaborer une théorie qui n’engage pas à admettre des entités complexes vraies, fausses ou inexistantes tels que les objectifs meinongiens. Dans l’etude du débat entre Russell et Wittgenstein sur cette théorie, on n’a jamais sérieusement envisagé que Wittgenstein n’ait pas suivi Russell sur cette question et qu’il ait plutôt adopteune position plus proche de celle de Meinong. Dans cet article, j’aborde cette question et soutiens que Wittgenstein a (...) trouvé la solution aux problèmes posés par la théorie du jugement de Russell dans la théorie de l’image et qu’il a longuement hésité dans les Carnets entre des versions de la théorie de l’image en accord avec la position de Russell et des versions en accord avec celle de Meinong. Enfin, je soutiens qu’il a finalement tranché la question dans le Tractatus en optant pour une théorie du type de celle privilégiée par Meinong.One of the main challenges faced by Russell’s theory of judgement was to provide a satisfactory account of judgement that was not committed to the existence of true, false, or non-existent complex entities such as Meinongian objectives. In the study of the Russell-Wittgenstein debate on that theory, scholars never considered the idea that Wittgenstein might not have followed Russell on that issue. In this article, I address that question and hold, first, that problems raised by Russell’s theory of judgement find their solution in the picture theory. Then, I show that Wittgenstein hesitated for a long period of time in the Notebooks between a version of his solution which is committed to the existence of possible (non-existing) complex entities and one which is not. Finally, I argue that he did, along with Meinong, go for a committing version in the Tractatus. (shrink)
This paper argues for the thesis that, roughly put, it is impossible to talk about absolutely everything. To put the thesis more precisely, there is a particular sense in which, as a matter of semantics, quantifiers always range over domains that are in principle extensible, and so cannot count as really being ‘absolutely everything’. The paper presents an argument for this thesis, and considers some important objections to the argument and to the formulation of the thesis. The paper also offers (...) an assessment of just how implausible the thesis really is. It argues that the intuitions against the thesis come down to a few special cases, which can be given special treatment. Finally, the paper considers some metaphysical ideas that might surround the thesis. Particularly, it might be maintained that an important variety of realism is incompatible with the thesis. The paper argues that this is not the case. (shrink)
We defend the view that an indexical uttered by an actor works on the model of deferred reference. If it defers to a character which does not exist, it is an empty term, just as ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Ophelia’ are. The utterance in which it appears does not express a proposition and thus lacks a truth value. We advocate an ontologically parsimonious, anti-realist, position. We show how the notion of truth in our use and understanding of indexicals (and fictional names) as (...) they appear within a fiction is not a central issue. We claim that our use and understanding of indexicals (and names) rests on the fact that their cognitive contribution is not exhausted by their semantic contribution. (shrink)
Quantified expressions in natural language generally are taken to act like quantifiers in logic, which either range over entities that need to satisfy or not satisfy the predicate in order for the sentence to be true or otherwise are substitutional quantifiers. I will argue that there is a philosophically rather important class of quantified expressions in English that act quite differently, a class that includes something, nothing, and several things. In addition to expressing quantification, such expressions act like nominalizations, introducing (...) a new domain of objects that would not have been present in the semantic structure of the sentence otherwise. The entities those expressions introduce are of just the same sort as those that certain ordinary nominalizations refer to (such as John's wisdom or John's belief that S), namely they are tropes or entities related to tropes. Analysing certain quantifiers as nominalizing quantifiers will shed a new light on philosophical issues such as the status of properties and the nature of propositional attitudes. (shrink)
In Appendix B of Russell's The Principles of Mathematics occurs a paradox, the paradox of propositions, which a simple theory of types is unable to resolve. This fact is frequently taken to be one of the principal reasons for calling ramification onto the Russellian stage. The paper presents a detaiFled exposition of the paradox and its discussion in the correspondence between Frege and Russell. It is argued that Russell finally adopted a very simple solution to the paradox. This solution had (...) nothing to do with ramified types but marked an important shift in his theory of propositions. (shrink)
This paper serves as a kind of field guide to certain passages in the literature which bear upon the foundational theory of abstract objects. The foundational theory assimilates ideas from key philosophers in both the analytical and phenomenological traditions. I explain how my foundational theory of objects serves as a common ground where analytic and phenomenological concerns meet. I try to establish how the theory offers a logic that systematizes a well-known phenomenological kind of entity, and I try to show (...) the various ways the theory systematizes the ideas of many analytic philosophers. The ideas of Plato, Leibniz, Frege, Russell, Goedel and even Kripke become connected through those of Brentano, Meinong, Husserl, and Mally. -/- The field guide will not only document the passages in which the distinction between two kinds of predication originates, but also document the other surprising, and often unrelated, contexts where the distinction reappears in the work of others. It will also document ways in which the theory can be used to represent precisely the ideas of the philosophers mentioned above. The resulting guide will bring together the works of many different authors, including some clearly within the analytic tradition, some clearly within the phenomenological tradition, and some who straddle the divide. (shrink)
Although naming biological clades is a major activity in taxonomy, little attention has been paid to what these names actually refer to. In philosophy, definite descriptions have long been considered equivalent to the meaning of names and biological taxonomy is a scientific application of these ideas. One problem with definite descriptions as the meanings of names is that the name will refer to whatever fits the description rather than the intended individual (clade). Recent proposals for explicit phylogenetic definitions of clade (...) names suffer from similar problems and we argue that clade names cannot be defined since they lack intension. Furthermore we stress the importance of tree-thinking for phylogenetic reference to work properly. (shrink)
Frege held that the result of applying a predicate to names lacks reference if any of the names lack reference. We defend the principle against a number of plausible objections. We put forth an account of consequence for a first-order language with identity in which the principle holds.
It is argued that the finitist interpretation of wittgenstein fails to take seriously his claim that philosophy is a descriptive activity. Wittgenstein's concentration on relatively simple mathematical examples is not to be explained in terms of finitism, But rather in terms of the fact that with them the central philosophical task of a clear 'ubersicht' of its subject matter is more tractable than with more complex mathematics. Other aspects of wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics are touched on: his view that mathematical (...) propositions are 'grammatical propositions' (and so, Strictly speaking, Not genuine propositions at all) and his view that in mathematics 'everything is algorithm, Nothing meaning'. His views on consistency and his anti-Foundationalism are linked with this central thesis. (shrink)
The reason for characterizing mental states as propositional attitudes is sentence form: ‘S Vs that p’. However, many mental states are not ascribed by means of such sentences, and the sentences that ascribe them cannot be appropriately paraphrased. Moreover, even if a paraphrase were always available, that in itself would not establish the characterization. And the mental states that are ascribable by appropriate senses do not form any natural subset of mental states. A reason for the characterization relying on beliefs, (...) etc., about non‐existing things is also rejected. Last, some sentences ascribing abilities and dispositions have the same grammatical form as some senses that ascribe mental states, so that the attempt to paraphrase the latter would obscure the conceptual relations between the two sorts. It follows that mental states are not relations to propositions. (shrink)
In the last decade, some feminist epistemologists have suggested that the global scepticism which results from the Cartesian dream argument is the product of a self‐consciously masculine modern era, whose philosophy gave pride of place to the individual cognizer, disconnected from the object of knowledge, from other knowers, indeed from his own body. Lorraine Code claims that under a conception of a cognizer as an essentially social being, Cartesian scepticism would not arise. I argue that this is false: an argument (...) parallel in structure, and as well supported as the first‐person Cartesian dream argument, could arise in an epistemology which recognizes the social nature of human life and knowledge. Against Code, it is not the first‐personhood of Cartesianism which generates scepticism. A second‐person scepticism could emerge in a socially conscious epistemology. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's insistence in his later philosophy that explanation comes to an end in the explication of what it is to follow a rule provides a locus for the awakening of wonder, analogous to the mystical awe referred to in the "Tractatus". While Wittgenstein did not explore this analogy, it provides a point of entry into the examination of the relevance of his work to religious concerns. Every regular practice is built on capacities of reaction, uptake, and response which are the (...) endpoints of explanation, whose sheer givenness in their relation to our physical and social environment can bring on amazement. This wonder at the end of explanation has been explored -- from quite a different perspective -- by Stephen Gould, whose conclusions complement Wittgenstein's own. (shrink)