Hybrid metaethical theories attempt to incorporate essential elements of expressivism and cognitivism, and thereby to accrue the benefits of both. Hybrid theories are often defended in part by appeals to slurs and other pejoratives, which have both expressive and cognitivist features. This paper takes far more seriously the analogy between pejoratives and moral predicates. It explains how pejoratives work, identifies the features that allow pejoratives to do that work, and models a theory of moral predicates on those features. The result (...) is an expressivist theory that, among other advantages, is immune to embedding difficulties and avoids an overlooked difficulty concerning attitude ascriptions that is lethal to most other hybrid theories. (shrink)
This dissertation argues for a metaethical theory I call "Expressive-Assertivism." Expressive-Assertivism is a distinctive, substantial refinement of dual-use metaethical theories traditionally associated with R. M. Hare, C. L. Stevenson, and, more recently, with David Copp. If true, Expressive-Assertivism clarifies, resolves, or dissolves---without, in turn, raising additional difficulties---a number of philosophical problems, including what Michael Smith calls "The Moral Problem," which many consider to be the central organizing problem in contemporary metaethics. The following are the three most important features of Expressive-Assertivism. (...) ;1. The central tenet. The proper, literal use of an ethical sentence, such as 'Donating to charity is right', is the performance of a direct expressive illocutionary act and a direct assertive illocutionary act. Recognizing that ethical sentences can be used to both directly express a speaker's attitude and directly assert something about the world captures what is intuitively compelling about "expressivist" theories---namely, that there is some strong connection between a speaker's sincere moral utterance and his or her motivations to act---and what is intuitively compelling about "descriptivist" theories---namely, that moral utterances appear to have descriptive or cognitive content and, therefore, are truth-evaluable. The Central Tenet is the feature of Expressive-Assertivism that dissolves The Moral Problem. ;2. The generality principle. The proper, literal use of an ethical sentence directly expresses an attitude, not toward the subject of the sentence, but toward things of a more general kind, namely, things that have the property picked out by the ethical predicate . ;3. The extensionality principle. A speaker directly expresses an attitude toward things that have the property picked out by an ethical predicate whenever that predicate appears in any extensional context. Together, the Extensionality and Generality Principles shield Expressive-Assertivism from many objections to traditional expressivist theories, including "The Embedding Objection," which many consider to be the most difficult problem faced by expressivists. (shrink)
In the tradition of classical pragmatism, one could contend there are two kinds of thinkers. The first kind, represented most notably by William James and John Dewey, could be labeled as enthusiastic and prolific writers to whom it posed no difficulty to articulate their ideas at remarkable length and with enviable wit. The pragmatists of the second kind like Charles S. Peirce and George H. Mead, for various reasons, never managed to put their ideas on paper in the form of (...) a longer, systematic treatise. Whereas for Peirce such an endeavor might have arguably been a drag given his rushing mind, exploding with new ideas, Mead seems to never have been quite aware of the pioneering.. (shrink)
Upshot: Hutto & Myin’s latest “radical enactive cognition” manifesto is a truly exciting book and – despite its short length – quite thick with argumentation. The word “manifesto” here does not only describe the rousing writing style (filled with witty and resounding expressions), but also the general awed feeling one gets, while reading, of the importance of “RECtifying” the current state of research in enactive cognition. Interestingly for the constructivist community, the hallmark thesis of their book is that there can (...) be intentionally directed cognition and perceptual experience without content. (shrink)
Distinguished contributors take up eminent scholar Daniel R. Schwarz’s reading of modern fiction and poetry as mediating between human desire and human action. The essayists follow Schwarz’s advice, “always the text, always historicize,” thus making this book relevant to current debates about the relationships between literature, ethics, aesthetics, and historical contexts.
What are the grounds for the distinction between the mental and the physical? What is it the relation between ascribing mental states to an organism and understanding its behavior? Are animals and complex systems vehicles of inner evolutionary environments? Is there a difference between personal and sub-personal level processes in the brain? Answers to these and other questions were developed in Daniel Dennett’s first book, Content and Consciousness (1969), where he sketched a unified theoretical framework for views that are (...) now considered foundational in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. -/- Content and Consciousness Revisited is devoted to reconsider the ideas and ideals introduced in Dennett’s seminal book, by covering its fundamental concepts, hypotheses and approaches, and taking into account the findings and progress which have taken place during more than four decades. This book includes original and critical contributions about the relations between science and philosophy, the personal/sub-personal level distinction, intelligence, learning, intentionality, rationality, propositional attitudes, among other issues of scientific and philosophical interest. Each chapter embraces an updated approach to several disciplines, like cognitive science, cognitive psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive psychiatry. (shrink)
Wilfred Sellars's deeply original and systematic thought continues to inspire into the twenty-first century. Part of the explanation must be that Sellars's struggle to integrate a Kantian-Wittgensteinian normative view of meaning and intentionality with a naturalistic outlook remains at the forefront of philosophical inquiry. To acknowledge the deep impact that Sellars has had on their work, a list of prominent, contemporary philosophers honor Sellars's legacy in a volume craftily edited by James R. O'Shea with a superb introduction. Like Sellars's own (...) work, the contributions are distributed across a wide range of topics from, roughly, philosophy of perception, philosophy of... (shrink)