To explore how model building adapts to changing environments, we had participants play “rock-paper-scissors” against a computer that played a frequency bias or a player-dependent bias and then switched. Participants demonstrated their use of prior experience in how quickly they recognized and exploited changes in the computer's play strategy; in general, the more similar the strategies, the more efficient the updating. These findings inform our understanding of previously reported updating impairments in right-brain damaged patients.
Origens : Alex Atala, Fernando e Humberto Campana -- Presente : Fernando e Humberto Campana e Jum Nakao -- Intermezzo : convívio : Jam Nakao e colaboradores -- Destinos : Alex Atala e Jum Nakao -- Entrevistas -- Um pouco de história.
Philosophy of Science is a mid-level text for students with some grounding in philosophy. It introduces the questions that drive enquiry in the philosophy of science, and aims to educate readers in the main positions, problems and arguments in the field today. Alex Rosenberg is certainly well qualified to write such an introduction. His works cover a large area of the philosophy of natural and social sciences. In addition, the author of the argument that the ‘queen of the social (...) sciences’, economics, is not a science at all, can be counted on to show how the philosophy of science can be relevant to the understanding of the status of scientific knowledge and can provide a critical assessment of practitioners’ view of their field. (shrink)
Using an economic bargaining game, we tested for the existence of two phenomena related to social norms, namely norm manipulation – the selection of an interpretation of the norm that best suits an individual – and norm evasion – the deliberate, private violation of a social norm. We found that the manipulation of a norm of fairness was characterized by a self-serving bias in beliefs about what constituted normatively acceptable behaviour, so that an individual who made an uneven bargaining offer (...) not only genuinely believed it was fair, but also believed that recipients found it fair, even though recipients of the offer considered it to be unfair. In contrast, norm evasion operated as a highly explicit process. When they could do so without the recipient's knowledge, individuals made uneven offers despite knowing that their behaviour was unfair. (shrink)
For many epistemologists, and for many philosophers more broadly, it is axiomatic that rationality requires you to take the doxastic attitudes that your evidence supports. Yet there is also another current in our talk about rationality. On this usage, rationality is a matter of the right kind of coherence between one's mental attitudes. Surprisingly little work in epistemology is explicitly devoted to answering the question of how these two currents of talk are related. But many implicitly assume that evidence -responsiveness (...) guarantees coherence, so that the rational impermissibility of incoherence will just fall out of the putative requirement to take the attitudes that one's evidence supports, and so that coherence requirements do not need to be theorized in their own right, apart from evidential reasons. In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake, since coherence and evidence -responsiveness can in fact come into conflict. More specifically, I argue that in cases of misleading higher-order evidence, there can be a conflict between believing what one's evidence supports and satisfying a requirement that I call “inter-level coherence ”. This illustrates why coherence requirements and evidential reasons must be separated and theorized separately. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider how certain longstanding philosophical questions about mental representation may be answered on the assumption that cognitive and perceptual systems implement hierarchical generative models, such as those discussed within the prediction error minimization framework. We build on existing treatments of representation via structural resemblance, such as those in Gładziejewski :559–582, 2016) and Gładziejewski and Miłkowski, to argue for a representationalist interpretation of the PEM framework. We further motivate the proposed approach to content by arguing that it (...) is consistent with approaches implicit in theories of unsupervised learning in neural networks. In the course of this discussion, we argue that the structural representation proposal, properly understood, has more in common with functional-role than with causal/informational or teleosemantic theories. In the remainder of the paper, we describe the PEM framework for approximate Bayesian inference in some detail, and discuss how structural representations might arise within the proposed Bayesian hierarchies. After explicating the notion of variational inference, we define a subjectively accessible measure of misrepresentation for hierarchical Bayesian networks by appeal to the Kullbach–Leibler divergence between posterior generative and approximate recognition densities, and discuss a related measure of objective misrepresentation in terms of correspondence with the facts. (shrink)
Alex Oliver and Timothy Smiley provide a new account of plural logic. They argue that there is such a thing as genuinely plural denotation in logic, and expound a framework of ideas that includes the distinction between distributive and collective predicates, the theory of plural descriptions, multivalued functions, and lists.
This book investigates context-sensitivity in natural language by examining the meaning and use of a target class of theoretically recalcitrant expressions. These expressions-including epistemic vocabulary, normative and evaluative vocabulary, and vague language -exhibit systematic differences from paradigm context-sensitive expressions in their discourse dynamics and embedding properties. Many researchers have responded by rethinking the nature of linguistic meaning and communication. Drawing on general insights about the role of context in interpretation and collaborative action, Silk develops an improved contextualist theory of CR-expressions (...) within the classical truth-conditional paradigm: Discourse Contextualism. The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the distinctive linguistic behavior of a CR-expression from a particular contextualist interpretation of an independently motivated formal semantics, along with general principles of interpretation and conversation. It is shown how in using CR-expressions, speakers can exploit their mutual grammatical and world knowledge, and general pragmatic reasoning skills, to coordinate their attitudes and negotiate about how the context should evolve. The book focuses primarily on developing a Discourse Contextualist semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals. The Discourse Contextualist framework is also applied to other categories of epistemic vocabulary, normative and evaluative vocabulary, and vague adjectives. The similarities/differences among these expressions, and among context-sensitive expressions more generally, have been underexplored. The development of Discourse Contextualism in this book sheds light on general features of meaning and communication, and the variety of ways in which context affects and is affected by uses of language. Discourse Contextualism provides a fruitful framework for theorizing about various broader issues in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Many philosophers and psychologists have attempted to elucidate the nature of mental representation by appealing to notions like isomorphism or abstract structural resemblance. The ‘structural representations’ that these theorists champion are said to count as representations by virtue of functioning as internal models of distal systems. In his 2007 book, Representation Reconsidered, William Ramsey endorses the structural conception of mental representation, but uses it to develop a novel argument against representationalism, the widespread view that cognition essentially involves the manipulation of (...) mental representations. Ramsey argues that although theories within the ‘classical’ tradition of cognitive science once posited structural representations, these theories are being superseded by newer theories, within the tradition of connectionism and cognitive neuroscience, which rarely if ever appeal to structural representations. Instead, these theories seem to be explaining cognition by invoking so-called ‘receptor representations’, which, Ramsey claims, aren’t genuine representations at all—despite being called representations, these mechanisms function more as triggers or causal relays than as genuine stand-ins for distal systems. I argue that when the notions of structural and receptor representation are properly explicated, there turns out to be no distinction between them. There only appears to be a distinction between receptor and structural representations because the latter are tacitly conflated with the ‘mental models’ ostensibly involved in offline cognitive processes such as episodic memory and mental imagery. While structural representations might count as genuine representations, they aren’t distinctively mental representations, for they can be found in all sorts of non-intentional systems such as plants. Thus to explain the kinds of offline cognitive capacities that have motivated talk of mental models, we must develop richer conceptions of mental representation than those provided by the notions of structural and receptor representation. (shrink)
ABSTRACTMany discussions of the ‘preface paradox’ assume that it is more troubling for deductive closure constraints on rational belief if outright belief is reducible to credence. I show that this is an error: we can generate the problem without assuming such reducibility. All that we need are some very weak normative assumptions about rational relationships between belief and credence. The only view that escapes my way of formulating the problem for the deductive closure constraint is in fact itself a reductive (...) view: namely, the view that outright belief is credence 1. However, I argue that this view is unsustainable. Moreover, my version of the problem turns on no particular theory of evidence or evidential probability, and so cannot be avoided by adopting some revisionary such theory. In sum, deductive closure is in more serious, and more general, trouble than some have thought. (shrink)
This chapter is centered around an apparent tension that research on implicit bias raises between virtue and social knowledge. Research suggests that simply knowing what the prevalent stereotypes are leads individuals to act in prejudiced ways—biasing decisions about whom to trust and whom to ignore, whom to promote and whom to imprison—even if they reflectively reject those stereotypes. Because efforts to combat discrimination obviously depend on knowledge of stereotypes, a question arises about what to do next. This chapter argues that (...) the obstacle to virtue is not knowledge of stereotypes as such, but the “accessibility” of such knowledge to the agent who has it. “Accessibility” refers to how easily knowledge comes to mind. Social agents can acquire the requisite knowledge of stereotypes while resisting their pernicious influence, so long as that knowledge remains, in relevant contexts, relatively inaccessible. (shrink)
In discussions of whether and how pragmatic considerations can make a difference to what one ought to believe, two sets of cases feature. The first set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic reasons for belief, is exemplified by cases of being financially bribed to believe (or withhold from believing) something. The second set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic encroachment on epistemic justification, is exemplified by cases where acting on a belief rashly risks some disastrous outcome if the belief turns (...) out to be false. Call those who think that pragmatic considerations make a difference to what one ought to believe in the second kind of case, but not in the first, ‘moderate pragmatists’. Many philosophers – in particular, most advocates of pragmatic and moral encroachment – are moderate pragmatists. But moderate pragmatists owe us an explanation of exactly why the second kind of pragmatic consideration makes a difference, but the first kind doesn’t. I argue that the most promising of these explanations all fail: they are either theoretically undermotivated, or get key cases wrong, or both. Moderate pragmatism may be an unstable stopping point between a more extreme pragmatism, on one hand, and an uncompromising anti-pragmatism on the other. (shrink)
Are individuals morally responsible for their implicit biases? One reason to think not is that implicit biases are often advertised as unconscious, ‘introspectively inaccessible’ attitudes. However, recent empirical evidence consistently suggests that individuals are aware of their implicit biases, although often in partial and inarticulate ways. Here I explore the implications of this evidence of partial awareness for individuals’ moral responsibility. First, I argue that responsibility comes in degrees. Second, I argue that individuals’ partial awareness of their implicit biases makes (...) them (partially) morally responsible for them. I argue by analogy to a close relative of implicit bias: moods. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that theories of perception that appeal to Helmholtz’s idea of unconscious inference (“Helmholtzian” theories) should be taken literally, i.e. that the inferences appealed to in such theories are inferences in the full sense of the term, as employed elsewhere in philosophy and in ordinary discourse. -/- In the course of the argument, I consider constraints on inference based on the idea that inference is a deliberate acton, and on the idea that inferences depend on the (...) syntactic structure of representations. I argue that inference is a personal-level but sometimes unconscious process that cannot in general be distinguished from association on the basis of the structures of the representations over which it’s defined. I also critique arguments against representationalist interpretations of Helmholtzian theories, and argue against the view that perceptual inference is encapsulated in a module. (shrink)
Mark Johnston has recently argued that four-dimensionalist theories of persistence are incompatible with some of our most basic ethical and prudential principles. I argue that although Johnston’s arguments succeed on a worm-theoretic account of persistence, they fail on a stage-theoretic account. So much the worse, I conclude, for the worm theory.
This introduction provides a highly readable critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth-century and contemporary metaethics. It traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and non-cognitivism. A highly readable critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth century and contemporary metaethics. Asks: Are there moral facts? Is there such a thing as moral truth? (...) Is moral knowledge possible? Traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent debates between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and noncognitivism. Provides for the first time a critical survey of famous figures in twentieth century metaethics such as Moore, Ayer and Mackie together with in-depth discussions of contemporary philosophers such as Blackburn, Gibbard, Wright, Harman, Railton, Sturgeon, McDowell and Wiggins. (shrink)
This essay responds to the criticism that contemporary efforts to redress discrimination and inequality are overly individualistic. Critics of individualism emphasize that these systemic social ills stem not from the prejudice, irrationality, or selfishness of individuals, but from underlying structural-institutional forces. They are skeptical, therefore, of attempts to change individuals’ attitudes while leaving structural problems intact. I argue that the insistence on prioritizing structural over individual change is problematic and misleading. My view is not that we should instead prioritize individual (...) change, but that individual changes are integral to the success of structural changes. These theorists urge a redirection of attention, claiming that we should think less about the individual and more about the social. What they should urge instead is that we think differently about the individual, and thereby think differently about the social. (shrink)
Priority monism is the view that the cosmos is the only independent concrete object. The paper argues that, pace its proponents, Priority monism is in conflict with the dependence of any whole on any of its parts: if the cosmos does not depend on its parts, neither does any smaller composite.
This paper presents a formal account of how to determine the discourse relations between propositions introduced in a text, and the relations between the events they describe. The distinct natural interpretations of texts with similar syntax are explained in terms of defeasible rules. These characterise the effects of causal knowledge and knowledge of language use on interpretation. Patterns of defeasible entailment that are supported by the logic in which the theory is expressed are shown to underly temporal interpretation.
This paper develops an account of the meaning of `ought', and the distinction between weak necessity modals (`ought', `should') and strong necessity modals (`must', `have to'). I argue that there is nothing specially ``strong'' about strong necessity modals per se: uses of `Must p' predicate the (deontic/epistemic/etc.) necessity of the prejacent p of the actual world (evaluation world). The apparent ``weakness'' of weak necessity modals derives from their bracketing whether the necessity of the prejacent is verified in the actual world. (...) `Ought p' can be accepted without needing to settle that the relevant considerations (norms, expectations, etc.) that actually apply verify the necessity of p. I call the basic account a modal-past approach to the weak/strong necessity modal distinction (for reasons that become evident). Several ways of implementing the approach in the formal semantics/pragmatics are critically examined. The account systematizes a wide range of linguistic phenomena: it generalizes across flavors of modality; it elucidates a special role that weak necessity modals play in discourse and planning; it captures contrasting logical, expressive, and illocutionary properties of weak and strong necessity modals; and it sheds light on how a notion of `ought' is often expressed in other languages. These phenomena have resisted systematic explanation. In closing I briefly consider how linguistic inquiry into differences among necessity modals may improve theorizing on broader philosophical issues. (shrink)
Are there ‘degrees of causation’? Yes and no: causation is not a scalar relation, but different causes can contribute to a causing of an effect to different extents. In this paper, I motivate a probabilistic analysis of an event’s degree of contribution to a causing of an effect and explore some of its consequences.
This paper sets out a novel response to the ‘screening off problem’ for naïve realism. The aim is to resist the claim (which many naïve realists accept) that the kind of experience involved in hallucinating also occurs during perception, by arguing that there are causal constraints that must be met if an hallucinatory experience is to occur that are never met in perceptual cases. Notably, given this response, it turns out that, contra current orthodoxy, naïve realists need not adopt any (...) particular view about the psychological nature of hallucinatory experience to handle the screening off problem. Consequently, room opens up for naïve realists to endorse whatever theory of hallucinatory experience seems to best capture the distinctive nature of such episodes. (shrink)
We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitive neuroscience and argue that cognitive neuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of information and biological function. (...) We echo several other philosophers by arguing that these theories over-generalize unless they are constrained by a theory of the functional role of representational vehicles. This leads to a discussion of the functional roles of representations, and how representations might be realized in the brain. We argue that there’s work to be done to identify a distinctively mental kind of representation. We close by sketching a way forward for the project of naturalizing intentionality. This will not be achieved simply by ascribing the content of mental states to generic neural representations, but by identifying specific neural representations that explain the puzzling intentional properties of mental states. (shrink)
Are grounding claims fully general in character? If an object a is F in virtue of being G, does it follow that anything that’s G is F for that reason? According to the thesis of Weak Formality, the answer here is ‘yes’. In this paper, however, I argue that there is philosophical utility in rejecting this thesis. More exactly, I argue that two currently unresolved problems in contemporary metaphysics can be dealt with if we hold that there can be cases (...) of ‘kind-dependent grounding’, the key thought being that once we allow for such cases, we must also accept that Weak Formality is false. (shrink)
Expressivism promises an illuminating account of the nature of normative judgment. But worries about the details of expressivist semantics have led many to doubt whether expressivism's putative advantages can be secured. Drawing on insights from linguistic semantics and decision theory, I develop a novel framework for implementing an expressivist semantics that I call ordering expressivism. I argue that by systematically interpreting the orderings that figure in analyses of normative terms in terms of the basic practical attitude of conditional weak preference, (...) the expressivist can explain the semantic properties of normative sentences in terms of the logical properties of that attitude. Expressivism's problems with capturing the logical relations among normative sentences can be reduced to the familiar, more tractable problem of explaining certain coherence constraints on preferences. Particular attention is given to the interpretation of wide-scope negation. The proposed solution is also extended to other types of embedded contexts—most notably, disjunctions. (shrink)
In most cases, liability in tort law is all-or-nothing—a defendant is either fully liable or not at all liable for a claimant's loss. By contrast, this paper defends a causal theory of partial liability. I argue that a defendant should be held liable for a claimant's loss only to the degree to which the defendant's wrongdoing contributed to the causing of the loss. I ground this principle in a conception of tort law as a system of corrective justice and use (...) it to critically evaluate different mechanisms for “limiting” liability for consequences of wrongdoing and for “apportioning” liability between multiple wrongdoers. (shrink)
Should we understand implicit attitudes on the model of belief? I argue that implicit attitudes are (probably) members of a different psychological kind altogether, because they seem to be insensitive to the logical form of an agent’s thoughts and perceptions. A state is sensitive to logical form only if it is sensitive to the logical constituents of the content of other states (e.g., operators like negation and conditional). I explain sensitivity to logical form and argue that it is a necessary (...) condition for belief. I appeal to two areas of research that seem to show that implicit attitudes fail spectacularly to satisfy this condition—although persistent gaps in the empirical literature leave matters inconclusive. I sketch an alternative account, according to which implicit attitudes are sensitive merely to spatiotemporal relations in thought and perception, i.e., the spatial and temporal orders in which people think, see, or hear things. (shrink)
Philosophy of Medicine provides a fresh and comprehensive treatment of the topic. It offers a novel theory of the nature of medicine, and proposes a new attitude to medicine, aimed at improving the quality of debates between medical traditions and facilitating medicine's decolonization.
Is life a purely physical process? What is human nature? Which of our traits is essential to us? In this volume, Daniel McShea and Alex Rosenberg – a biologist and a philosopher, respectively – join forces to create a new gateway to the philosophy of biology; making the major issues accessible and relevant to biologists and philosophers alike. Exploring concepts such as supervenience; the controversies about genocentrism and genetic determinism; and the debate about major transitions central to contemporary thinking (...) about macroevolution; the authors lay out the broad terms in which we should assess the impact of biology on human capacities, social institutions and ethical values. (shrink)
This paper combines the ancient idea that causes necessitate their effects with Angelika Kratzer’s semantics of modality. On the resulting view, causal claims quantify over restricted domains of possible worlds determined by two contextually determined parameters. I argue that this view can explain a number of otherwise puzzling features of the way we use and evaluate causal language, including the difference between causing an effect and being a cause of it, the sensitivity of causal judgements to normative facts, and the (...) semantics of causal disagreements. (shrink)
Recent work on rationality has been increasingly attentive to “coherence requirements”, with heated debates about both the content of such requirements and their normative status (e.g., whether there is necessarily reason to comply with them). Yet there is little to no work on the metanormative status of coherence requirements. Metaphysically: what is it for two or more mental states to be jointly incoherent, such that they are banned by a coherence requirement? In virtue of what are some putative requirements genuine (...) and others not? Epistemologically: how are we to know which of the requirements are genuine and which aren’t? This paper tries to offer an account that answers these questions. On my account, the incoherence of a set of attitudinal mental states is a matter of its being (partially) constitutive of the mental states in question that, for any agent that holds these attitudes jointly, the agent is disposed, when conditions of full transparency are met, to give up at least one of the attitudes. (shrink)
It is often natural to compare two events by describing one as ‘more of a cause’ of some effect than the other. But what do such comparisons amount to, exactly? This paper aims to provide a guided tour of the recent literature on ‘degrees of causation’. Section 2 looks at what I call ‘dependence measures’, which arise from thinking of causes as difference-makers. Section 3 looks at what I call ‘production measures’, which arise from thinking of causes as jointly sufficient (...) for their effects. Finally, section 4 examines the important question of whether there is any sense in which an agent is more responsible for an outcome in virtue of her action being more of a cause of it. I describe a puzzle that emerges from this question, and explore various strategies for resolving it. (shrink)
Peak human performance—whether of Olympic athletes, Nobel prize winners, or you cooking the best dish you’ve ever made—depends on skill. Skill is at the heart of what it means to excel. Yet, the fixity of skilled behavior can sometimes make it seem a lower-level activity, more akin to the movements of an invertebrate or a machine. Peak performance in elite athletes is often described, for example, as “automatic” by those athletes: “The most frequent response from participants when describing the execution (...) of a peak performance was the automatic execution of performance”. While the automaticity of skilled behavior is widely acknowledged, some worry that too much automaticity in skill would challenge its ability to exhibit human excellence. And so two camps have developed: those who focus on the automaticity of skilled behavior, the “habitualists,” and those who focus on the higher-level cognition behind peak performance, the “intellectualists.” We take a different tack. We argue that skilled behavior weaves together automaticity and higher-level cognition, which we call “pluralism.” That is, we argue that automaticity and higher-level cognition are both normal features of skilled behavior that benefit skilled behavior. This view is hinted at in other quotes about automaticity in skill—while expert gamers describe themselves as “playing with” automaticity, expert musicians are said to balance automaticity with creativity through performance cues: “Performance cues allow the musician to attend to some aspects of the performance while allowing others to be executed automatically”. We describe in this paper three ways that higher-level cognition and automaticity are woven together. The first two, level pluralism and synchronic pluralism, are described in other papers, albeit under different cover. We take our contribution to be both distinguishing the three forms and contributing the third, diachronic pluralism. In fact, we find that diachronic pluralism presents the strongest case against habitualism and intellectualism, especially when considered through the example of strategic automaticity. In each case of pluralism, we use research on the presence or absence of attention to explore the presence or absence of higher-level cognition in skilled behavior. (shrink)
It follows from David Lewis's counterpart-theoretic analysis of modality and his counterfactual theory of causation that causal claims are relativized to a set of counterpart relations. Call this Shlewis's view. I show how Shlewis's view can provide attractively unified solutions to similar modal and causal puzzles. I then argue that Shlewis's view is better motivated, by his own lights, than the view Lewis actually held, and also better motivated than a similar approach which relativizes causal claims to sets of ‘contrast (...) events’. (shrink)
This is the first book to systematically examine the underlying theory of evidence in Anglo-American legal systems. Stein develops a detailed and innovative theory which sets aside the traditional vision of evidence law as facilitating the discovery of the truth. Combining probability theory, epistemology, economic analysis, and moral philosophy, he argues instead that the fundamental purpose of evidence law is to apportion the risk of error in conditions of uncertainty.
This user-friendly text covers key issues in the philosophy of science in an accessible and philosophically serious way. It will prove valuable to students studying philosophy of science as well as science students. Prize-winning author Alex Rosenberg explores the philosophical problems that science raises by its very nature and method. He skilfully demonstrates that scientific explanation, laws, causation, theory, models, evidence, reductionism, probability, teleology, realism and instrumentalism actually pose the same questions that Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant and their (...) successors have grappled with for centuries. (shrink)
The political theory of migration has largely occurred within a paradigm of methodological nationalism and this has led to the neglect of morally salient agents and causes. This article draws on research from the social sciences on the transnationalism, globalization and migration systems theory to show how methodological nationalist assumptions have affected the views of political theorists on membership, culture and distributive justice. In particular, it is contended that methodological nationalism has prevented political theorists of migration from addressing the roles (...) of non-state agents and of transnational economic, social and political structures. These agents and structures contribute to the asymmetrical distribution of goods and opportunities and thus have important implications for debates about migration and distributive justice. (shrink)
When one faces competing claims of varying strength on public resources for health, which claims count? This paper proposes the following answer. One should count, or aggregate, a person’s claim just in case one could sympathize with her desire to prioritize her own claim over the strongest competing claim. It argues that this principle yields appealing case judgments and has a plausible grounding in both sympathetic identification with each person, taken separately, and respect for the person for whom most is (...) at stake. It also defends this principle against several heretofore unanswered objections. (shrink)
The difference between the unity of the individual and the separateness of persons requires that there be a shift in the moral weight that we accord to changes in utility when we move from making intrapersonal tradeoffs to making interpersonal tradeoffs. We examine which forms of egalitarianism can, and which cannot, account for this shift. We argue that a form of egalitarianism which is concerned only with the extent of outcome inequality cannot account for this shift. We also argue that (...) a view which is concerned with both outcome inequality and with the unfairness of inequality in individuals‘ expected utilities can account for this shift. Finally, we limn an alternative view, on.. (shrink)
Your belief that Obama is a Democrat wouldn’t be the belief that it is if it didn't represent Obama, nor would the pain in your ankle be the state that is if, say, it felt like an itch. Accordingly, it is tempting to hold that phenomenal and representational properties are essential to the mental states that have them. But, as several theorists have forcefully argued (including Kripke (1980) and Burge (1979, 1982)) this attractive idea is seemingly in tension with another (...) equally attractive thesis, namely, physicalism about the mental. In this paper, we show that these seemingly incontrovertible essentialist intuitions are in fact compatible with physicalism. By appealing to a plenitudinous ontology of objects, we argue that there are physical things with which mental states can be identified. This is preferable to existing views that give up the essentiality claims or weaken the physicalist thesis. (shrink)
This article puts pressure on moral motivational internalism and rejects normative motivational internalism by arguing that we should be aesthetic motivational externalists. Parallels between aesthetic and moral normativity give us new reason to doubt moral internalism. I address possible disanalogies, arguing that either they fail, or they succeed, but aren’t strong enough to underwrite a motivational difference between the domains. Furthermore, aesthetic externalism entails normative externalism, providing further presumptive evidence against moral internalism. I also make the case that, regardless of (...) these particular conclusions, examining different normative domains alongside each other is a fruitful way to move debates forward. (shrink)
Disagreement is a hot topic in epistemology. A fast-growing literature centers around a dispute between the ‘steadfast’ view, on which one may maintain one’s beliefs even in the light of disagreement with epistemic peers who have all the same evidence, and the ‘conciliationist’ view, on which such disagreement requires a revision of attitudes. In this paper, however, I argue that there is less separating the main rivals in the debate about peer disagreement than is commonly thought. The extreme versions of (...) both views are clearly indefensible, while more moderate versions of the views converge on the idea that how much revision of belief is called for by an instance of peer disagreement varies from case to case. Those tempted by this diagnosis are sometimes pessimistic about the prospects for giving a unified account which clearly predicts when more or less extensive revisions will be called for. By contrast, in this paper I give an account that aspires to such unity and predictive power, centering on the notion of the net resilience of your estimate of your own reliability against your estimate of your interlocutor’s reliability. The view I present thus amounts to a new, moderate theory of how one should respond to disagreement. I argue that ultimately, when we weaken conciliationism and the steadfast view to account for exception cases and to make them adequately plausible, they end up converging on the moderate view I present. Much of the seeming disagreement about disagreement is, then, illusory. (shrink)
This paper develops a contextualist account of certain recalcitrant embedding phenomena with epistemic modals. I focus on three prominent objections to contextualism from embedding: first, that contextualism mischaracterizes subjects’ states of mind; second, that contextualism fails to predict how epistemic modals are obligatorily linked to the subject in attitude ascriptions; and third, that contextualism fails to explain the persisting anomalousness of so-called “epistemic contradictions” in suppositional contexts. Contextualists have inadequately appreciated the force of these objections. Drawing on a more general (...) framework for implementing a contextualist theory, I argue that we can derive the distinctive embedding behavior of epistemic modals from a particular contextualist interpretation of a standard semantics for modals, general mechanisms of local interpretation, and typical features of discourse contexts. Examining embedding phenomena with epistemic modals raises difficult broader issues about conventionalization and pragmatic reasoning, the varieties of context-sensitive language, and the roles of context in interpretation. The paper concludes by briefly examining how the proposed contextualist account compares with certain relativist/expressivist accounts. (shrink)
This paper demarcates a theoretically interesting class of "evaluational adjectives." This class includes predicates expressing various kinds of normative and epistemic evaluation, such as predicates of personal taste, aesthetic adjectives, moral adjectives, and epistemic adjectives, among others. Evaluational adjectives are distinguished, empirically, in exhibiting phenomena such as discourse-oriented use, felicitous embedding under the attitude verb `find', and sorites-susceptibility in the comparative form. A unified degree-based semantics is developed: What distinguishes evaluational adjectives, semantically, is that they denote context-dependent measure functions ("evaluational (...) perspectives")—context-dependent mappings to degrees of taste, beauty, probability, etc., depending on the adjective. This perspective-sensitivity characterizing the class of evaluational adjectives cannot be assimilated to vagueness, sensitivity to an experiencer argument, or multidimensionality; and it cannot be demarcated in terms of pretheoretic notions of subjectivity, common in the literature. I propose that certain diagnostics for "subjective" expressions be analyzed instead in terms of a precisely specified kind of discourse-oriented use of context-sensitive language. I close by applying the account to `find x PRED' ascriptions. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, that is, that if we ought to do something, then it must be the case that we can do it. It is a frequent quip about this thesis that any account must specify three things: what is meant by the ‘ought’, what is meant by the ‘implies’, and what is meant by the ‘can’. Something is missed, though, when we state the thesis in its shortened, three-word form. We overlook what it means (...) to do something. It is, I think, not mere coincidence that nobody has discussed this issue: It is very difficult to specify what it means to do something in the relevant sense. This paper is devoted to fleshing out one way of doing something that is a problem for the thesis. (shrink)