It has gradually become accepted among historians of ancient culture that the Greeks and Romans always, or nearly always, read aloud. They did not read to themselves, silently, save in rare and special cases. Either they were not able to read silently, or they felt no need to do so, or they did not enjoy doing it even when they were alone.
Recent developments in the semantics of natural language seem to lead to a genuine synthesis of ideas from linguistics and logic, producing novel concepts and questions of interest to both parent disciplines. This book is a collection of essays on such new topics, which have arisen over the past few years. Taking a broad view, developments in formal semantics over the past decade can be seen as follows. At the beginning stands Montague's pioneering work, showing how a rigorous semantics can (...) be given for complete fragments of natural language by creating a suitable fit between syntactic categories and semantic types. This very enterprise already dispelled entrenched prejudices concerning the separation of linguistics and logic. Having seen the light, however, there is no reason at all to stick to the letter of Montague's proposals, which are often debatable. Subsequently, then, many improvements have been made upon virtually every aspect of the enterprise. More sophisticated grammars have been inserted, more sensitive model structures have been developed, and even the mechanism of interpretation itself may be fine-tuned more delicately, using various forms of 'representations' mediating between linguistic items and semantic reality. In addition to all these refinements of the semantic format, descriptive coverage has extended considerably. (shrink)
The subject of Time has a wide intellectual appeal across different dis ciplines. This has shown in the variety of reactions received from readers of the first edition of the present Book. Many have reacted to issues raised in its philosophical discussions, while some have even solved a number of the open technical questions raised in the logical elaboration of the latter. These results will be recorded below, at a more convenient place. In the seven years after the first publication, (...) there have been some noticeable newer developments in the logical study of Time and temporal expressions. As far as Temporal Logic proper is concerned, it seems fair to say that these amount to an increase in coverage and sophistication, rather than further break-through innovation. In fact, perhaps the most significant sources of new activity have been the applied areas of Linguistics and Computer Science (including Artificial Intelligence), where many intriguing new ideas have appeared presenting further challenges to temporal logic. Now, since this Book has a rather tight composition, it would have been difficult to interpolate this new material without endangering intelligibility. (shrink)
Whether “information” exists in biology, and in what sense, has been a topic of much recent discussion. I explore Shannon, Dretskean, and teleosemantic theories, and analyze whether or not they are able to give a successful naturalistic account of information—specifically accounts of meaning and error—in biological systems. I argue that the Shannon and Dretskean theories are unable to account for either, but that the teleosemantic theory is able to account for meaning. However, I argue that it is unable to account (...) for error. Thus I conclude that while talk of informational meaning is justifiable within a naturalistic framework, talk of informational error is not, and must be used in a metaphorical sense only. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to demonstrate a problem with two medieval European views of existence: The property view and the essence view. Adopting a style of reasoning employed by the Indian Madhyamaka philosopher Nāgārjuna, I argue that both the property view and the essence view understand the relation between an object and its existence in terms of difference: The former understands the difference as the difference between an object and its property of existence, and the latter, as the difference (...) between an object’s essence and existence. Neither understanding is without problems, and both lack explanatory power. We must reject both the views. (shrink)
Recent work has argued that there may be cases where no attitude – including withholding – is rationally permissible. In this paper, I consider two such epistemic dilemmas, John Turri’s Dilemma from Testimony and David Alexander’s Dilemma from Doubt. Turri presents a case where one’s only evidence rules out withholding (without warranting belief or disbelief). Alexander presents a case where higher order doubt means one must withhold judgment over whether withholding judgment is rational. In both cases, the authors conclude that (...) no doxastic attitude is warranted. In this paper, I argue against the possibility of these epistemic dilemmas. I argue that withholding cannot be irrational in either case. But meditating on the dilemmas gives us an important – and overlooked – insight into the nature of rational withholding. First, rational withholding is a function of evidence failing to sufficiently support belief or disbelief. As a result, withholding is not symmetrical to belief and disbelief. Second, there can be two distinct grounds for rational withholding. First, propositional withholding, which arises when our evidence does not support belief or disbelief in p. And second, doxastic withholding, which arises when we cannot determine whether our evidence supports belief or disbelief in p. Accepting two grounds of rational withholding licenses a kind of Weak Permissivism. But this Weak Permissivism should not be troubling to anyone. (shrink)
The scientific study of consciousness emerged as an organized field of research only a few decades ago. As empirical results have begun to enhance our understanding of consciousness, it is important to find out whether other factors, such as funding for consciousness research and status of consciousness scientists, provide a suitable environment for the field to grow and develop sustainably. We conducted an online survey on people’s views regarding various aspects of the scientific study of consciousness as a field of (...) research. 249 participants completed the survey, among which 80% were in academia, and around 40% were experts in consciousness research. Topics covered include the progress made by the field, funding for consciousness research, job opportunities for consciousness researchers, and the scientific rigor of the work done by researchers in the field. The majority of respondents (78%) indicated that scientific research on consciousness has been making progress. However, most participants perceived obtaining funding and getting a job in the field of consciousness research as more difficult than in other subfields of neuroscience. Overall, work done in consciousness research was perceived to be less rigorous than other neuroscience subfields, but this perceived lack of rigor was not related to the perceived difficulty in finding jobs and obtaining funding. Lastly, we found that, overall, the global workspace theory was perceived to be the most promising (around 28%), while most non-expert researchers (around 22% of non-experts) found the integrated information theory (IIT) most promising. We believe the survey results provide an interesting picture of current opinions from scientists and researchers about the progresses made and the challenges faced by consciousness research as an independent field. They will inspire collective reflection on the future directions regarding funding and job opportunities for the field. (shrink)
Sometimes it is practically beneficial to believe what is epistemically unwarranted. Philosophers have taken these cases to raise the question are there practical reasons for belief? Evidentialists argue that there cannot be any such reasons. Putative practical reasons for belief are not reasons for belief, but reasons to manage our beliefs in a particular way. Pragmatists are not convinced. They accept that some reasons for belief are practical. The debate, it is widely thought, is at an impasse. But this debate (...) fails to address what is puzzling and interesting about the cases. By focusing on reasons for belief, the debate completely overlooks the role of action in relation to belief. We should be talking about the reasons for actions that shape our beliefs, which I will call belief management. I argue for three related theses: the interesting cases that motivate the debate are about belief management; Evidentialism is irrelevant to belief management; agents have practical reasons to manage their beliefs with the aim of forming true beliefs. These reasons are categorical in nature and result in the tension of conflict cases. (shrink)
The study reported here sought to examine the ethical orientations of business managers and business students in Singapore. Data were obtained using Defining Issue Test. Analysis of Variance revealed that age, education and religious affiliation had influenced cognitive moral development stages of the respondents. Vocation, gender and ethnicity did not seem to have affected moral judgement of the subjects. Contrary to the general view, both business students and business managers demonstrated the same level of sensitivity to ethical dimensions of decision-making. (...) Implications of the findings and limitations of the study are discussed. (shrink)
Constructivist approaches in epistemology and ethics offer a promising account of normativity. But constructivism faces a powerful Schmagency Objection, raised by David Enoch. While Enoch’s objection has been widely discussed in the context of practical norms, no one has yet explored how the Schmagency Objection might undermine epistemic constructivism. In this paper, I rectify that gap. First, I develop the objection against a prominent form of epistemic constructivism, Belief Constitutivism. Belief Constitutivism is susceptible to a Schmagency Objection, I argue, because (...) it locates the source of normativity in the belief rather than the agent. In the final section, I propose a version of epistemic constructivism that locates epistemic normativity as constitutive of agency. I argue that this version has the resources to respond to the Schmagency Objection. (shrink)
Recent data indicate that under a specific posthypnotic suggestion to circumvent reading, highly suggestible subjects successfully eliminated the Stroop interference effect. The present study examined whether an optical explanation could account for this finding. Using cyclopentolate hydrochloride eye drops to pharmacologically prevent visual accommodation in all subjects, behavioral Stroop data were collected from six highly hypnotizables and six less suggestibles using an optical setup that guaranteed either sharply focused or blurred vision. The highly suggestibles performed the Stroop task when naturally (...) vigilant, under posthypnotic suggestion not to read, and while visually blurred; the less suggestibles ran naturally vigilant, while looking away, and while visually blurred. Although visual accommodation was precluded for all subjects, posthypnotic suggestion effectively eliminated Stroop interference and was comparable to looking away in controls. These data strengthen the view that Stroop interference is neither robust nor inevitable and support the hypothesis that posthypnotic suggestion may exert a top-down influence on neural processing. (shrink)
_ Convention_ was immediately recognized as a major contribution to the subject and its significance has remained undiminished since its first publication in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities in the resolution of recurring coordination problems-situations characterized by interdependent decision processes in which common interests are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other kinds of regularity, and conventions governing systems of communication are given special attention.
The lack of consensus in American society regarding the permissibility of assisted suicide and euthanasia is due in large part to a failure to address the nature of the human person involved in the ethical act itself. For Karol Wojtyla, philosopher and Pope, ethical action finds meaning only in an authentic understanding of the person; but it is through acting (actus humanus) alone that the human person reveals himself. Knowing what the person ought to be cannot be divorced from what (...) he ought to do; forWojtyla, the structure of the ethical “do” – the act itself – comes first. The current paper will focus on four arguments used to justify assisted suicide and euthanasia: (1) the argument from autonomy, (2) the argument from compassion, (3) the argument from the evil of suffering, and (4) the argument from the loss of dignity. It will seek to answer each claim from the perspective of Karol Wojtyla's philosophical anthropology. Much of this will come from his defining work in pure philosophy, The Acting Person (1969). The final part of the paper will suggest some positive solutions to the stalemate over the euthanasia debate, again drawn from Wojtyla's idea of human fulfillment through participation with the other, and with the community itself. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to show the importance of moral sensitivity when including persons with dementia in research. The article presents and discusses ethical challenges encountered when a total of 15 persons with dementia from two nursing homes and seven proxies were included in a qualitative study. The examples show that the ethical challenges may be unpredictable. As researchers, you participate with the informants in their daily life and in the interviews, and it is not possible to plan (...) all that may happen during the research. A procedural proposal to an ethical committee at the beginning of a research project based on traditional research ethical principles may serve as a guideline, but it cannot solve all the ethical problems one faces during the research process. Our main argument in this article is, therefore, that moral sensitivity is required in addition to the traditional research ethical principles throughout the whole process of observing and interviewing the respondents. (shrink)
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