We argue that intentions are beliefs—beliefs that are held in light of, and made rational by, practical reasoning. To intend to do something is neither more nor less than to believe, on the basis of one’s practical reasoning, that one will do it. The identification of the mental state of intention with the mental state of belief is what we call strong cognitivism about intentions. It is a strong form of cognitivism because we identify intentions with beliefs, rather than maintaining (...) that beliefs are entailed by intentions or are components of them. (shrink)
Berislav Marusic explores how we should take evidence into account when thinking about future actions, such as resolving to do something we know will be difficult. Should we believe we will follow through, or not? He argues that if it is important to us, we can rationally believe we will do it, even if our belief contradicts the evidence.
It is widely agreed that the concept of general equilibrium and, in particular, general equilibrium existence proofs play a central role within the neoclassical approach to economic theory. There is much less agreement, however, on the concepts of general equilibrium and of neoclassical economic theory themselves.
Suppose we suffer a loss, such as the death of a loved one. In light of her death, we will typically feel grief, as it seems we should. After all, our loved one’s death is a reason for grief. Yet with the passage of time, our grief will typically diminish, and this seems somehow all right. However, our reason for grief ostensibly remains the same, since the passage of time does not undo our loss. How, then, could it not be (...) wrong for grief to diminish? Or how are we to make sense of the diminution of grief? Do reasons expire? —The paper clarifies the puzzle and then considers four responses. It argues that all of them are inadequate and that there are principled reasons why this should be so: In experiencing grief we are apprehending a loss. Yet in our effort to understand the diminution of grief, we must apprehend ourselves. But because grief is not about ourselves, our apprehension of the diminution of grief is at odds with our apprehension of the object of grief. This gives rise to a kind of double-vision, which is why the puzzle eludes a solution. (shrink)
We take a tremendous interest in how other people think of us. We have certain expectations of others, concerning how we are to figure in their thought and judgment. And we often feel wronged if those are disappointed. But it is puzzling how others’ beliefs could wrong us. On the one hand, moral considerations don’t bear on the truth of a belief and so seem to be the wrong kind of reasons for belief. On the other hand, truth-directed considerations seem (...) to render moral considerations redundant. In this paper, we argue that to understand the possibility of doxastic wronging, we need to understand beliefs, no less than actions, as ways of relating to one another. In particular, how we take account of what others think and say will depend on whether we take up what P. F. Strawson calls the participant stance toward them. We show how this helps to make sense of an example Miranda Fricker identifies as a case of epistemic injustice. We then use the example to spell out the ethical significance of Tyler Burge’s idea that we have a default entitlement to accept at face value what we receive from a rational source. (shrink)
In this paper, the set-theoretic approach in the logical theory of normative systems is extended using Broome’s definition of the normative code function. The syntax and semantics for first order metanormative language is defined, and metanormative language is applied in the formalization of the basic principles in Broome’s approach and in the construction of a logical typology of normative systems. Special attention is given to the types of normative systems which are not definable in terms of the properties of singular (...) sets of requirements (e.g. the realization equivalence of codes, the social compatibility of codes, and the compatibility of codes issued by different normative sources). Examples are given of the application of the typology in the interpretation of philosophical texts. Von Wright’s hypothesis on the connection of logical properties of normative systems, conceived set-theoretically, with standard deontic logic is proved by introducing the translation function between the metanormative language and the restricted language of standard deontic logic. The translation reveals that von Wright’s hypothesis must be appended. The problems of narrow and wide scope readings of the deontic conditionals and of the meaning of iterated deontic operators are addressed using the distinction between relative and absolute normative codes. The theorem on the existence of a realization equivalent absolute code for any relative code is proved. (shrink)
The paper points out that Adam Smith’s famous argument about the “invisible hand” of markets can be inverted. While the IH argument suggests that the baker and butcher do what is in their costumers’ interests not because they care for their costumers, but out of their own self-interest, one can also defend the converse claim: if one cares for other people and finds a way to satisfy their needs, one can expect that those others will be willing to pay for (...) the satisfaction of their needs. The paper argues that the IH argument has a strong link to the view that the ultimate goal of management should be “profit maximization” and to neo-liberalism’s tenet that in a market economy where companies attempt to maximize profits, a “socially optimal” allocation will be achieved. It is argued, however, that profit maximization is well-defined only within a mathematical model, while real-world decision-making requires one to choose the “relevant set” of options before any assessment of associated profits can be attempted. “Profit maximization” is therefore characterized as a heuristic for managerial decision-making, and it is pointed out that it is by no means essential for management to be successful and sustainable. The inverse IH argument supports natural alternatives, such as Prahalad and Hart’s “bottom-of-the-pyramid” and Yunus’s “social entrepreneurship” approach. Both require the manager to focus on people’s needs first, and regard the “money-making” aspect as secondary. (shrink)
We often promise to ϕ despite having evidence that there is a significant chance that we won’t ϕ. This gives rise to a pressing philosophical problem: Are we irresponsible in making such promises since, it seems, we are insincere or irrational in making them? I argue that we needn’t be. When it’s up to us to ϕ, our practical reasons for ϕ-ing partly determine whether it is rational for us to believe that we will ϕ. That is why we can (...) sometimes rationally believe that we will ϕ even if our belief goes against the evidence. (shrink)
Suppose you decide or promise to do something that you have evidence is difficult to do. Should you believe that you will do it? On the one hand, if you believe that you will do it, your belief goes against the evidence—since having evidence that it’s difficult to do it constitutes evidence that it is likely that you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you don’t believe that you will do it but instead believe, as your evidence suggests, (...) that it is likely that you will fail, your decision is not serious and your promise is not sincere. This problem—I call it the Epistemological Problem of Difficult Action—is a pressing philosophical problem that each of us faces. In this paper I consider several possible responses to it. I conclude that the right response is to say that we should believe against the evidence. Cases in which we decide or promise to do something that we have evidence is difficult to do are the best counterexamples to evidentialism. (shrink)
It is common to think of the attitude of trust as involving reliance of some sort. For example, Annette Baier argues that trust is reliance on the good will of others, and Richard Holton argues that trust is reliance from a participant stance. However, it is puzzling how trust could involve reliance, because reliance, unlike trust, is responsive to practical reasons: we rely in light of reasons that show it worthwhile to rely, but we don’t trust in light of reasons (...) that show it worthwhile to trust. To address the puzzle, I sketch an account of reliance, according to which reliance consists in action, and I sketch an account of trust, according to which trust consists in belief held from a participant stance. I conclude that it is plausible to see trust as the grounds for reliance. (shrink)
A theorem on the partitioning of a randomly selected large population into stationary and non-stationary components by using a property of the stationary population identity is stated and proved. The methods of partitioning demonstrated are original and these are helpful in real-world situations where age-wise data is available. Applications of this theorem for practical purposes are summarized at the end.
The ethics of belief is concerned with the question what we should believe. According to evidentialism, one should believe something if and only if one has adequate evidence for what one believes. According to classic pragmatism, other features besides evidence, such as practical reasons, can make it the case that one should believe something. According to a new kind of pragmatism, some epistemic notions may depend on one’s practical interests, even if what one should believe is independent of one’s practical (...) reasons. In this paper I recount and briefly assess the debate between evidentialism and pragmatism. (shrink)
In the First Meditation, the Cartesian meditator temporarily concludes that he cannot know anything, because he cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while he is dreaming. To resist the meditator’s conclusion, one could deploy an asymmetry argument. Following Bernard Williams, one could argue that even if the meditator cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while dreaming, it does not follow that he cannot do it while awake. In general, asymmetry arguments seek to identify an asymmetry between a bad case that is entertained (...) as a ground for doubt and a good case in which one takes oneself to know something. My aim in this paper is to consider how effective asymmetry arguments are as an anti-skeptical strategy. I conclude that although asymmetry arguments provide an effective response to dreaming skepticism, they fail as a response to brains-in-a-vat skepticism. (shrink)
Skepticism seems to have excessive consequences: the impossibility of successful enquiry and differentiated judgment. Yet if skepticism could avoid these consequences, it would seem idle. I offer an account of moderate skepticism that avoids both problems. Moderate skepticism avoids excessiveness because skeptical reflection and ordinary enquiry are immune from one another: a skeptical hypothesis is out of place when raised with in an ordinary enquiry. Conversely, the result of an ordinary enquiry cannot be used to disprove skepticism. This ‘immunity’ can (...) be explained by theories such as contextualism, or sensitive invariantism. Moderate skepticism avoids idleness, because it can eliminate dogmatic elements from our commitments. An analogy is used to illustrate this: Consider someone who is rootless—someone who doesn't have a home. She won't take this conclusion to undermine her judgment that she is flying home for the holidays—even if she is sleeping in the guest bedroom. Similarly, a skeptic won't take the skeptical conclusion to undermine ordinary claims to know. Yet concluding that one is rootless is significant: it can shape one's commitments; for instance it can check one's nationalism. Similarly, accepting the skeptical conclusion is significant; it can undermine dogmatic commitments and ultimately bring about intellectual catharsis. (shrink)
If we hold that perceiving is sufficient for knowing, we can raise a powerful objection to dreaming skepticism: Skeptics assume the implausible KK-principle, because they hold that if we don’t know whether we are dreaming or perceiving p, we don’t know whether p. The rejection of the KK-principle thus suggests an anti-skeptical strategy: We can sacrifice some of our self-knowledge—our second-order knowledge—and thereby save our knowledge of the external world. I call this strategy the Self-Knowledge Gambit. I argue that the (...) Self-Knowledge Gambit is not satisfactory, because the dreaming skeptic can avail herself of a normative counterpart to the KK-principle: When we lack second-order knowledge, we should suspend our first-order beliefs and thereby give up any first-order knowledge we might have had. The skeptical challenge is essentially a normative challenge, and one can raise it even if one rejects the KK-Principle. (shrink)
Critical examination of Alchourrón and Bulygin’s set-theoretic definition of normative system shows that deductive closure is not an inevitable property. Following von Wright’s conjecture that axioms of standard deontic logic describe perfection-properties of a norm-set, a translation algorithm from the modal to the set-theoretic language is introduced. The translations reveal that the plausibility of metanormative principles rests on different grounds. Using a methodological approach that distinguishes the actor roles in a norm governed interaction, it has been shown that metanormative principles (...) are directed second-order obligations and, in particular, that the requirement related to deductive closure is directed to the norm-applier role rather than to the norm-giver role. The approach has been applied to the case of pure derogation yielding a new result, namely, that an independence property is a perfection-property of a norm-set in view of possible derogation. This paper in a polemical way touches upon several points raised by Kristan in his recent paper. (shrink)
How does evidence figure into the reasoning of an agent? This is an intricate philosophical problem but also one we all encounter in our daily lives. In this chapter, we identify the problem and outline a possible solution to it. The problem arises, because the fact that it is up to us whether we do something makes a difference to how we should think of the evidence concerning whether we will actually do it. Otherwise we regard something that is up (...) to us as if it were not: We regard something that is up to us as if it were the outcome of a lottery. Nonetheless, we would be wrong to ignore the evidence. Otherwise we could not make a rational decision. In this chapter, we first show that a decision-theoretic approach to this problem cannot succeed. This approach does not explain how we can take evidence into account in practical reasoning without making predictions concerning matters that are up to us. It also gives rise to incoherence between our practical and our theoretical conclusions. We then argue that what is required to solve the problem is recognizing that beliefs about matters that are up to us can be grounded in practical reasoning. We argue that such beliefs are not subject to an evidential norm, because they are not meant to reflect a reality that is independent of them but instead are meant to bring about the reality they represent. Finally, we argue that, even if we are fully rational agents, we will sometimes lack practical knowledge of what we will do. That is because when it is practically rational to do something that will require resolve, we may be in a position to rationally conclude that we will do it, even though we have evidence that there is a non-negligible chance that we won’t. In such cases, our evidence serves as a defeater for our practical knowledge. (shrink)
The ambition of the paper is to provide a solution to the problem posed by Von Wright (1999): how is it possible that the two actions, one of producing P and the other of preventing P can have different deontic status, the former being obligatory and the latter being forbidden. The solution for the problem is sought for by an investigation into connections between imperative and deontic logic. First, it is asked whether a solution could be found in Lemmon's (1965) (...) system of "change logic", using his idea on connection between logic of orders being in force and deontic logic. The answer is the negative one. Next, the connection between Lemmon's imperative logic and deontic logic given in Aqvist's paper - "Next" and "Ought" (1965) - is analyzed. Than, the Lemmon's treatment of imperatives is restricted to the natural language imperatives and Aqvist's way of connecting imperative and deontic logic is modified accordingly. Some principles for the natural language imperatives are established (the negation rule ; the law of contraposition for imperative conditionals) and a simple "global" semantics is developed. The notion of "opposite action" is introduced and it is given an important role in semantics. Finally, a solution for von Wright's problem is given. In the closing sections some further topics for investigation are hinted: one of them being the connection between Aqvist's epistemic- imperative conception of interrogatives and "epistemic obligations", the other being formalization of the idea that imperatives create and re-create obligation patterns that can be described in deontic terms. (shrink)
This discussion note points to some verbal imprecisions in the formulation of the Enhanced Indispensability Argument. The examination of the plausibility of alternative interpretations reveals that the argument’s minor premise should be understood as a particular, not a universal, statement. Interpretations of the major premise and the conclusion oscillate between de re and de dicto readings. The attempt to find an appropriate interpretation for the EIA leads to undesirable results. If assumed to be valid and sound, the argument warrants the (...) rationality of the belief in an unusual variant of Platonism. On the other hand, if taken as it stands, the argument is either invalid or is unsound or does not support the mathematical Platonism. Thus, the EIA in its present form cannot serve as a useful device for the Platonist. (shrink)
There is often something wrong with merely promising to try to φ. In this article I explain what is wrong with such promises. I argue that a promise to try to φ, when it is entirely up to us to φ, is always wrong because it hides a possible choice under the veil of our susceptibility to circumstances beyond our control. I furthermore argue that this is often also the case when matters are not entirely up to us. Finally, I (...) contend that sometimes the promise to try places undue burdens on the promisee. (shrink)
The theory of imperatives is philosophically relevant since in building it — some of the long standing problems need to be addressed, and presumably some new ones are waiting to be discovered. The relevance of the theory of imperatives for philosophical research is remarkable, but usually recognized only within the ﬁeld of practical philosophy. Nevertheless, the emphasis can be put on problems of theoretical philosophy. Proper understanding of imperatives is likely to raise doubts about some of our deeply entrenched and (...) tacit presumptions. In philosophy of language it is the presumption that declaratives provide the paradigm for sentence form; in philosophy of science it is the belief that theory construction is independent from the language practice, in logic it is the conviction that logical meaning relations are constituted out of logical terminology, in ontology it is the view that language use is free from ontological commitments. The list is not exhaustive; it includes only those presumptions that this paper concerns. (shrink)
The relation between morality and rationality is a prominent theme in moral philosophy. D. Gauthier's account of this relation is an extraordinarily impressive one. He attempts to demonstrate a general co-incidence between rationality and morality. His approach is discussed in what follows, and it will be shown that most of his 'coincidence claims' are exaggerated.
Evidence and Agency is concerned with the question of how, as agents, we should take evidence into account when thinking about our future actions. Sometimes we promise and resolve to do things that we have evidence is difficult for us to do. Should we believe that we will follow through, or believe that there is a good chance that we won't? If you believe the former, you seem to be irrational since you believe against the evidence. Yet if you believe (...) the latter, you seem to be insincere since you can't sincerely say that you will follow through. Hence, it seems, your promise or resolution must be improper. To meet this challenge, Berislav Marušić considers and rejects a number of responses, before defending instead a solution inspired by the Kantian tradition and by Sartre in particular: as agents, we have a distinct view of what we will do. If something is up to us, we can decide what to do, rather than predict what we will do. But the reasons in light of which a decision is rational are not the same as the reasons in light of which a prediction is rational. That is why, provided it is important to us to do something we can rationally believe that we will do it, even if our belief goes against the evidence. (shrink)
An influential view, defended by Thomas Scanlon and others, holds that desires are almost never reasons. I seek to resist this view and show that someone who desires something does thereby have a reason to satisfy her desire. To show this, I argue, first, that the desires of some others are reasons for us and, second, that our own desires are no less reason-giving than those of others. In concluding, I emphasize that accepting my view does not commit one to (...) a desire-based account of reasons. Desires can be simply one kind of reasons alongside many others. (shrink)
The investigation into logical form and structure of natural sciences and mathematics covers a significant part of contemporary philosophy. In contrast to this, the metatheory of normative theories is a slowly developing research area in spite of its great predecessors, such as Aristotle, who discovered the sui generis character of practical logic, or Hume, who posed the “is-ought” problem. The intrinsic reason for this situation lies in the complex nature of practical logic. The metatheory of normative educational philosophy and theory (...) inherits all the difficulties inherent in the general metatheory but has also significantly contributed to its advancement. In particular, the discussion on its mixed normative-descriptive character and complex composition has remained an important part of research in educational philosophy and theory. The two points seem to be indisputable. First, the content of educational philosophy and theory is a complex one, connecting different disciplines. Second, these disciplines are integrated within the logical form of practical inference or means-end reasoning. On the other hand, the character of consequence relation in this field, although generally recognized as specific, represents an unresolved prob- lem, a solution of which requires a sophisticated logical theory and promises to influence the self- understanding of educational philosophy and theory. (shrink)
This paper is divided in four parts. In the first part we introduce the method of internal critique of philosophical theories by examination of their external consistency with scientific theories. In the second part two metaphysical and one epistemological postulate of Wittgenstein's Tractatus are made explicit and formally expressed. In the third part we examine whether Tractarian metaphysical and epistemological postulates (the independence of simple states of affairs, the unique mode of their composition, possibility of complete empirical knowledge) are externally (...) consistent with the theory of quantum mechanics. The result of the inquiry is negative: Tractarian postulates ought to be be revised. Relying on the result we approach the question of the empirical character of logic in the fourth part. The description of theoretical transformations of the notion of disjunction, in its ontological, epistemological, and logical sense, is a common element of in all parts of the text. The conjecture on the existence of different types of disjunctive connectives in the language of quantum mechanics concludes the paper. (shrink)
This short essay attempts to challenge some of widely held philosophical assumptions on the nature of the relationship between logic, language and reality. In Section 1 the hegemony of theoretical logic is being questioned; Section 2 proposes a hypothesis on socially mediated semantics; Section 3 addresses the problem of ontology of logical sentential moods.
Two parallelism hypotheses have been adopted and the third one on their relationship has been put forward. The illocutionary logic hypothesis states that the logic of linguistic commitments runs parallel to the logic of intentionality. The normative pragmatics hypothesis states that the logic of utterances runs parallel to the logic of linguistic commitments. According to the third stance or the logic projection hypothesis, the logic of utterances is the origin of all other logics used in describing psychological and social realities. (...) Consequently, the imperative logic or logic of utterances constitutes an independent but not self-sufﬁcient research topic. The logic of utterances manifests itself in its meaning effects such as deontic and bouletic ones. It can be studied only in relation to deontic logics of the hearer’s obligation and the speaker’s linguistic commitments and in relation to logics of intentionality of the speaker’s expression and the hearer’s impression. Therefore, research in logic of imperative and other utterances must include investigation of relations between logics. (shrink)
The program put forward in von Wright's last works defines deontic logic as ``a study of conditions which must be satisfied in rational norm-giving activity'' and thus introduces the perspective of logical pragmatics. In this paper a formal explication for von Wright's program is proposed within the framework of set-theoretic approach and extended to a two-sets model which allows for the separate treatment of obligation-norms and permission norms. The three translation functions connecting the language of deontic logic with the language (...) of the extended set-theoretical approach are introduced, and used in proving the correspondence between the deontic theorems, on one side, and the perfection properties of the norm-set and the ``counter-set'', on the other side. In this way the possibility of reinterpretation of standard deontic logic as the theory of perfection properties that ought to be achieved in norm-giving activity has been formally proved. The extended set-theoretic approach is applied to the problem of rationality of principles of completion of normative systems. The paper concludes with a plaidoyer for logical pragmatics turn envisaged in the late phase of Von Wright's work in deontic logic. (shrink)
In this paper ontological implications of the Barcan formula and its converse will be discussed at the conceptual and technical level. The thesis that will be defended is that sentential moods are not ontologically neutral since the rejection of ontological implications of Barcan formula and its converse is a condition of a possibility of the imperative mood. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first section a systematization of semantical systems of quantified modal logic is introduced for the (...) purpose of making explicit their ontological presuppositions. In this context Jadacki's ontological difference between being and existence is discussed and analyzed within the framework of hereby proposed system of quantified modal logic. The second section discusses ontological implications of the Barcan formula and its converse within the system accommodating the difference between being and existence. The third section presents a proof of incompatibility of the Barcan formula and its converse with the use of imperatives. In the concluding section, a thesis on logical pragmatics foreclosing the dilemma between necessitism and contingentism is put forward and defended against some objections. (shrink)
This paper is divided in five sections. Section 11.1 sketches the history of the distinction between speech act with negative content and negated speech act, and gives a general dynamic interpretation for negated speech act. “Downdate semantics” for AGM contraction is introduced in Section 11.2. Relying on semantically interpreted contraction, Section 11.3 develops the dynamic semantics for constative and directive speech acts, and their external negations. The expressive completeness for the formal variants of natural language utterances, none of which is (...) a retraction, has been proved in Section 11.4. The last section gives a laconic answer to the question posed in the title of the paper. (shrink)
The programmatic statement put forward in von Wright's last works on deontic logic introduces the perspective of logical pragmatics, which has been formally explicated here and extended so to include the role of norm-recipient as well as the role of norm-giver. Using the translation function from the language of deontic logic to the language of set-theoretical approach, the connection has been established between the deontic postulates, on one side, and the perfection properties of the norm-set and the counter-set, on the (...) other side. In the study of conditions of rational norm-related activities it has been shown that diverse dynamic second-order norms related to the concept of the consistency norm-system hold: -- the norm-giver ought to restore ``classical'' consistency by revising an inconsistent system, -- the norm-recipient ought to preserve an inconsistent system by revision of its logic so that inconsistency does not imply destruction of the system. Dialetheic deontic logic of Priest is a suitable logic for the purpose since it preserves other perfection properties of the system. (shrink)