Jerry Fodor argues for individualism and for narrow content by way of rejecting an argument based on the conceptual connections between reason-properties and action-properties. In this paper I show that Fodor’s argument fails. He is right that there is a New Logical Connections Argument to be made, and that it does show that water thoughts and XYZ thoughts are not different causal powers with respect to intentional properties of behaviors. However, the New Logical Connections Argument also shows that they are (...) not causal powers at all with respect to intentional properties ofbehaviors, and so Fodor’s argument to individualism and narrow content is unsound. Along the way I show that Fodor’s version of the New Logical Connections argument has serious problems of overkill. (shrink)
Stephen Yablo has recently argued for a novel solution to the mental causation problem: the mental is related to the physical as determinables are related to determinates; determinables are not causal rivals with their determinates; so the mental and the physical are not causal rivals. Despite its attractions the suggestion seems hard to accept. In this paper I develop the idea that mental properties and physical properties are not causal rivals. Start with property dualism, supervenience, multiple realizability, and the claim (...) that no more than one supervenience base for a mental property can be had by a single instance of the mental property. Then a probabilistic account of causation will be unable to certify either mental properties or physical properties as causal factors for effect types. I suggest that this shows that we should not count mental properties as causal rivals with physical properties. (shrink)
Author Meets Critics Panel: Paul B. Thompson’s (2010) The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9340-4 Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
The discovery and publication of the manuscript of the Kitāb al-ridda wal-futūḥ of the 2nd/8th century historian Sayf b. ‘Umar al-Tamīmī brought with it the potential for profound new insights into the Sayfian historical corpus as well as into the origins of Islamic historiography more generally speaking. The present study examines a new, previously unknown Sayfian narrative brought to light by this manuscript concerning the origins of Christanity and its corruption by Paul the apostle. After demonstrating how Sayf employs this (...) extended narrative as a prolegomena for his considerably more famous narrative of the early heretic Ibn Saba'/ibn al-Sawdā' – a scheming Jew whom he blames for the emergence of Muslim sectarianism in the caliphate of ‘Uthmān b. ‘Affān – this essay demonstrates that Sayf composed his narrative of early Christianity from a mélange of sources. Finally, the study concludes with a re-evaluation of Sayf's methods and corpus in light of his narrative of Christian origins. (shrink)
Causally committed properties are properties which require that their instances have a cause (or an effect) of a certain kind. Sunburn, for instance, must be caused by the sun. Causal relevance is a contingent dependency relation between properties of events. The connection between a causally committed property and the property to which it is committed is not contingent. Hence a pair consisting of a causally committed property and the property to which it is committed should not be in the causal (...) relevance relation. I formulate conditions on the causal relevance relation designed to rule out causally committed properties. These conditions entail that being a propositional attitude is not causally relevant to being an action. (Nevertheless reasons can cause actions.). (shrink)
I make three points about Searle’s philosophical work on consciousness and intentionality. First, I comment on Searle’s presentation and paper “The Problems of Consciousness.” I show that one of Searle’s philosophical claims about the relation between consciousness and intentionality appears to conflict with a demand he makes on acceptable empirical theories of the brain. Second, I argue that closer attention to the difference between conceptual connections and empirical connections corrects and improves Searle’s response to the so-called “Logical Connections” argument, the (...) argument that claims that mental states cannot be causes, since they are conceptually connected with actions. Third, I give a formulation of his Chinese Room argument that avoids some tempting responses. (shrink)
Meaning involves normativity: a word has a meaning only if some of its uses are correct and some are incorrect. A full understanding of meaning demands an account of the normativity of meaning. One such account has it that the normativity of meaning stems from conventions for the use of words. Donald Davidson argues that communication does not require linguistic conventions. Ian Hacking has objected to Davidson's theory of meaning on the ground that Davidson is unable to allow for the (...) possibility of error, since his conception of communication is too impoverished to supply the requisite normativity. In this paper I describe Hacking's objection and attempt to answer it. (shrink)
Book review of Bechtel and Richardson, Discovering Complexity (1993). Review suggests that one theme of the book -- that scientific reason is "constituted" in part by a cognitive strategy of finding complexity -- is not fully supported.
Descartes' First Cosmological Argument for God's existence depends on a Causal Adequacy Principle for Ideas: an idea that has a certain degree of objective reality must have a cause with at least as much formal reality. This principle is supposed to follow from a Causal Principle of Sufficient Reason. The derivation is unsound: more objective reality may not, for all Descartes says, really be something more, and hence it may not need any special sort of cause. I set this objection (...) in the context of measurement theory. I argue that there are two ways for Descartes to avoid the objection. He can provide further materials for justifying his linkage between formal reality and objective reality. Or he can hold that the objective reality of an idea is strictly identical to the formal reality of the things the idea is about. (shrink)
This is a critical review of J. B. Schneewind's Essays on the History of Moral Philosophy which both praises and raises worries about some of the main claims found in select articles in the volume. It engages with Schneewind's remarks on the historiography of moral philosophy.
Shaftesbury's philosophy combined a powerfully teleological approach, according to which all things are part of a harmonious cosmic order, with sharp observations of human nature (see section 2 below). Shaftesbury is often credited with originating the moral sense theory, although his own views of virtue are a mixture of rationalism and sentimentalism (section 3). While he argued that virtue leads to happiness (section 4), Shaftesbury was a fierce opponent of psychological and ethical egoism (section 5) and of the egoistic social (...) contract theory of Hobbes (section 6). Shaftesbury advanced a view of aesthetic judgment that was non-egoistic and objectivist, in that he thought that correct aesthetic judgment was disinterested and reflected accurately the harmonious cosmic order (section 7). Shaftesbury's belief in an harmonious cosmic order also dominated his view of religion, which was based on the idea that the universe clearly exhibits signs of perfect divine design (section 8). According to Shaftesbury, the ultimate end of religion, as well as of virtue, beauty, and philosophical understanding (all of which are turn out to be one and the same thing), is to identify completely with the universal system of which one is a part. (shrink)