Despite its intuitive appeal and the empirical evidence for it, the hypothesis of cognitive polyphasia (Moscovici, 1961/1976/2008) remains largely unexplored. This article attempts to clarify some of the ideas behind this concept by examining its operations at the level of individuals and by proposing a conceptual model that includes some elements of social cognition. Indeed, calls for a rapprochement between the theory of social representations and cognitive psychology have been made by Moscovici, in particular, in his 1984 paper on The (...) myth of the lonely paradigm and in his paper on La nouvelle pensée magique (1992) in which he argues that the theory of social representations provides an explanatory framework for the descriptions offered by cognitive psychology and that their combining could translate into a finer understanding of contemporary social phenomena.Building on the results of an empirical examination of the controversy that surrounded the MMR vaccination programme in the UK between 1998 and 2005, different ways of engaging into cognitive polyphasia are proposed, including what can be described as cognitive “monophasia”, that is, the exclusive use of one type of knowledge, at least at the level of the individual. A brief discussion about the implications of the proposed conceptual model for our understanding of cognitive polyphasia and of the different ways of making sense of the world around us concludes this article. (shrink)
Hannah Ginsborg has recently offered a new account of normativity, according to which normative attitudes are essential to the meaningful use of language. The kind of normativity she has in mind –– not semantic but ‘primitive’ — is supposed to help us to avoid the pitfalls of both non-reductionist and reductive dispositionalist theories of meaning. For, according to her, it enables us both to account for meaning in non-semantic terms, which non-reductionism cannot do, and to make room for the normativity (...) of meaning, which reductive dispositionalism cannot do. I argue that the main problem with Ginsborg’s account is that it fails to say what makes it possible for expressions to be governed by conditions of correct application to begin with. I do believe, however, that normative attitudes are essential to meaning, but they have to be thought of as fully semantic. And I suggest that conditions of correct application can be present only when those attitudes are present. (shrink)
I distinguish among three senses in which meaning may be said to be normative, one trivial, the other two more robust. According to the trivial sense, meaningful expressions have conditions of correct application. According to the first robust sense, these conditions are determined by norms. According to the second robust sense, statements about these conditions have normative implications. Normativity in one or the other of the robust senses, but not in the trivial sense, is commonly thought to pose a threat (...) to naturalism. I argue that, given its trivial normativity, meaning cannot be normative in the first robust sense but it is normative in the sense that statements about the meaning of terms have hypothetical normative implications that are essential to meaning. I further argue that this normativity itself poses no threat to naturalism. Rather, this normativity follows from the fact that the trivial normativity of meaning precludes its naturalization. (shrink)
According to many commentators, Davidson’s earlier work on philosophy of action and truth-theoretic semantics is the basis for his reputation, and his later forays into broader metaphysical and epistemological issues, and eventually into what became known as the triangulation argument, are much less successful. This book by two of his former students aims to change that perception. In Part One, Verheggen begins by providing an explanation and defense of the triangulation argument, then explores its implications for questions concerning semantic normativity (...) and reductionism, the social character of language and thought, and skepticism about the external world. In Part Two, Myers considers what the argument can tell us about reasons for action, and whether it can overcome skeptical worries based on claims about the nature of motivation, the sources of normativity and the demands of morality. The book reveals Davidson’s later writings to be full of innovative and important ideas that deserve much more attention than they are currently receiving. (shrink)
According to Davidson, 'triangulation' is necessary both to fix the meanings of one's thoughts and utterances and to have the concept of objectivity, both of which are necessary for thinking and talking at all. Against these claims, it has been objected that neither meaning-determination nor possession of the concept of objectivity requires triangulation; nor does the ability to think and talk require possession of the concept of objectivity. But this overlooks the important connection between the tasks that triangulation is meant (...) to perform. One cannot fix concepts or meanings, which one must do for there to be any concepts or meanings at all, without having the concept of objectivity. (shrink)
The authors' claim that analogical reasoning is the product of relational priming is compatible with language processing work that emphasizes the role of low-level automatic processes in the alignment of situation models in dialogue. However, their model ignores recent behavioral evidence demonstrating a effect on relational priming. We discuss implications of these data.
According to the sceptic Saul Kripke envisages in his celebrated book on Wittgenstein on rules and private language, there are no facts about an individual that determine what she means by any given expression. If there are no such facts, the question then is, what justifies the claim that she does use expressions meaningfully? Kripke’s answer, in a nutshell, is that she by and large uses her expressions in conformity with the linguistic standards of the community she belongs to. While (...) Kripke’s sceptical problem has gripped philosophers for over three decades, few, if any, have been satisfied by his proposed solution, and many have struggled to come up with one of their own. The purpose of this paper is to show that a more satisfactory answer to Kripke’s challenge can be developed on the basis of Donald Davidson’s writings on triangulation, the idea of two individuals interacting simultaneously with each other and the world they share. It follows from the triangulation argument that the facts that can be regarded as determining meaning are irreducible. Yet, contra Kripke, they are not mysterious, for the argument does spell out what is needed for an individual’s expressions to be meaningful. (shrink)
According to Donald Davidson, language is social in that only a person who has interacted linguistically with another could have a language. This paper is a discussion of Davidson’s argument in defence of that claim. I argue that he has not succeeded in establishing it, but that he has provided many of the materials out of which a successful argument could be built. Chief among these are the claims that some version of externalism about meaning is true, that possession of (...) a language requires possession of the concept of objectivity, and hence that the issue here concerns the identity of the external event that makes possible possession of the concept of objectivity. I end by presenting some reasons for thinking that only interpersonal linguistic interaction could play this role. (shrink)
According to the communitarian view, often attributed to the later Wittgenstein, language is social in the sense that having a (first) language essentially depends on meaning by one's words what members of some community mean by them. According to the interpersonal view, defended by Davidson, language is social only in the sense that having a (first) language essentially depends on having used (at least some of) one's words, whatever one means by them, to communicate with others. Even though these views (...) are importantly different, the arguments given for them--the interpretation argument in Wittgenstein's case, the triangulation argument in Davidson's--are interestingly similar. I see these arguments as complementary and argue that, contrary to what is widely thought, it is the interpersonal view, rather than the communitarian view, that they support. (shrink)
Two readings of Wittgenstein's rule-following paradox dominate the literature: either his arguments lead to skepticism, and thus to the view that only a deflated account of meaning is available, or they lead to quietism, and thus to the view that no philosophical account of meaning is called for. I argue, against both these positions, that a proper diagnosis of the paradox points the way towards a constructive, non-sceptical account of meaning.
Wittgenstein and Davidson are two of the most influential and controversial figures of twentieth-century philosophy. However, whereas Wittgenstein is often regarded as a deflationary philosopher, Davidson is considered to be a theory builder and systematic philosopher par excellence. Consequently, little work has been devoted to comparing their philosophies with each other. In this volume of new essays, leading scholars show that in fact there is much that the two share. By focusing on the similarities between Wittgenstein and Davidson, their essays (...) present compelling defences of their views and develop more coherent and convincing approaches than either philosopher was able to propose on his own. They show how philosophically fruitful and constructive reflection on Wittgenstein and Davidson continues to be, and how relevant the writings of both philosophers are to current debates in philosophy of mind, language, and action. (shrink)
Respectfulness is demanded of doctors and predicts more positive patient health-related outcomes, but research is scarce on ways to promote it. This study explores two ways to conceptualize unconditional respect from medical students, defined as respect paid to people on the basis of their humanity, in order to inform strategies to increase it. Unconditional respect conceptualized as an attitude suggests that unconditional respect and conditional respect are additive, whereas unconditional respect conceptualized as a personality trait suggests that people who are (...) high on unconditional respect afford equal respect to all humans regardless of their merits. One hundred and eighty-one medical students completed an unconditional respect measure then read a description of a respect-worthy or a non-respect-worthy man and indicated their respect towards him. The study found a main effect for unconditional respect and a main effect for target respect-worthiness but no interaction between the two when respect paid to the target was assessed, supporting the attitude-based conceptualization. This suggests that unconditional respect can be increased through relevant interventions aimed at increasing the relative salience to doctors of the human worth of individuals. Interventions to increase unconditional respect are discussed. (shrink)
Contra an expanding number of deflationary commentators onWittgenstein, I argue that philosophical questions about meaningare meaningful and that Wittgenstein gave us ample reason tobelieve so. Deflationists are right in claiming that Wittgensteinrejected the sceptical problem about meaning allegedly to befound in his later writings and also right in stressing Wittgenstein''s anti-reductionism. But they are wrong in taking these dismissals to entail the end of all constructive philosophizing about meaning. Rather, I argue, the rejection of the sceptical problem requires that we (...) abandon the questions that philosophers have traditionally addressed and that we replace them with more appropriate ones, to which constructive answers are forthcoming. However, though quietism is not the only alternative to reductionism, the rejection of reductionism does oblige us seriously to revise our sense of what constructive philosophy can achieve. (shrink)
While Peirce presented himself as a "scholastic realist of a somewhat extreme stripe", merely adapting the virtues involved in Scotism to the requirements of modern science to erect a plain scientific realistic metaphysics, he was also eager to emphasize that "everybody ought to be a nominalist at first" because such an hypothesis is "simpler than realism" and because "the economy of research prescribes to try the simpler one first, and to continue in that opinion", until one "is driven out of (...) it by the force majeure of irreconciliable facts". Even if, at first, he had been "blinded by nominalistic preconceptions", he also confessed that he had "never been able to think differently on that question of realism" and... (shrink)
Joining a vast Wittgensteinian anti-theoretical movement, John Canfield has argued that it is possible to read the claims that (1) “language is essentially communal” and (2) “it is conceptually possible that a Crusoe isolated from birth should speak or follow rules” in such a way that they are perfectly compatible, and, indeed, that Wittgenstein held them both at once. The key to doing this is to drain them of any theoretical content or implications that would put each claim at odds (...) with the other. I argue here, first of all, that it is not possible to detheorize both (1) and (2) and still hope to say anything illuminating about the nature of language. In fact, Canfield himself does not succeed in detheorizing both (1) and (2) but ends up trivializing (1) and leaving (2) with quite a bit of theoretical content. I further argue, however, that this is getting the matter the wrong way around. Contra Canfield et al., it is only when we recognize this that we can appreciate how radical and innovative Wittgenstein's claims about language really are. (shrink)
The chapter first provides a detailed exposition of Davidson's triangulation argument to the effect that only someone who has interacted simultaneously with another person and the world they share could have a language and thoughts. It then examines the core objections that have been made to the argument, namely, that triangulation is not needed either to fix the propositional contents of one's thoughts and utterances or to have the concept of objective truth; that one need not have the concept of (...) objective truth in order to be a thinker and speaker; and that the account the argument gives of what makes thought and language possible is circular. (shrink)
The aim of the text is to evaluate Peirce's evolutionary cosmology and to try to make sense of the mixture of idealistic and naturalistic elements that may be found in it, especially by focusing on Peirce's conception of logical norms and rationality, and on the links that may be drawn between such views and some evolutionary themes in the contemporary debates on norms, belief and knowledge.
According to Barry Stroud, Wittgenstein thought that language is social only in this minimal way: we cannot make sense of the idea of someone having a language unless we can describe her as using signs in conformity with the linguistic practices of some community. Since a solitary person could meet this condition, Stroud concludes that, for Wittgenstein, solitary languages are possible. I argue that Wittgenstein in fact thought that language is social in a much more robust way. Solitary languages are (...) not possible because we cannot make sense of the idea of someone having a language unless we can think of her as actively participating in the linguistic practices that fix the standards governing the applications of her words. (shrink)
Part of the obvious revival of pragmatism, at least in Europe is linked with the present success or "boom" of moral philosophy and the increasing tendency to identify the classical pragmatists as a common group of writers who, much better than any philosophers from other traditions, knew how to define scientific inquiry as an inquiry submitted to norms and principels, and realized that "what applies to investigation in general equally applies to ethical investigation ". The paper examines such claims and (...) focuses, in particular on Peirce's arguments against any form of moral rationalism and in favor of a normative conception of rationality, closer to a conception of the possible objectivity of ethics as may appear at first sight. (shrink)
Peirce's realism is a sophisticated realism inherited from the Avicennian Scotistic tradition, which may be briefly characterized by its opposition to metaphysical realism and various forms of nominalism. In this chapter, I consider how Peirce's realism fits his approach to mathematics, which is often presented as a somewhat incoherent mixture of Platonistic and conceptualistic elements. Without denying these, I claim that Peirce's subtle position not only helps to clear up some of these so-called inconsistencies but offers many insights for contemporary (...) ways of dealing with the mathematical aspects of the problem of universals. (shrink)
This article analyzes the “Interlude” in Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments. In particular, it examines Johannes Climacus’s response to Hegel’s view that a past actuality is necessary. I provide an in-depth analysis of Hegel’s view of modality and of what he means when he says that a past actuality is necessary. In contrast to the standard scholarly interpretation, I argue that Climacus need not reject Hegel’s view because Hegel’s view of the necessity of the past is not so controversial or difficult to (...) accept. Finally, I show that Climacus’s main critique is that we cannot know the past as necessary in any meaningful way. He worries that we might get so preoccupied with the futile task of trying to know the Hegelian necessity of the past that we forget to personally appropriate the past in a way that can help us live in the present. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to present some important insights of C. Hookway's pragmatist analysis of knowledge viewed less in the standard way, as justified true belief, than as a dynamic natural and normative question-answer process of inquiry, a reliable and successful agent-based enterprise, consisting in virtuous dispositions explaining how we can be held responsible for our beliefs and investigations. Despite the merits of such an approach, the paper shows that it may be inefficient in accounting for some challenges (...) posed by scepticism or by the nature of epistemic normativity. In which case it might be premature to propose it as a new conception of knowledge against the standard one and worth considering a different, though still pragmatist, strategy, in which inquiry would aim at the fixation of knowledge, still viewed as justified true beliefs, i.e critical commonsensical, warrantedly assertible, intellectual and sentimental dispositions for which the epistemic agent, viewed less as an individual person than as a scientific community of inquirers, should be taken as a knowing and reliable agent, both answerable and responsible for her assertions. (shrink)
Abstract For centuries researchers have studied the universality of matters of ethics and morality. Now, the challenge is to make theoretical contributions which account not only for the universals, but also for the life conditions and cultural circumstances of various people in different societies. This paper attempts to capture the essence of morality and ethics in the African context and to elucidate forms of moral wisdom and behaviour grounded in the web of the African community.
For C.S. Peirce, who had a well‐known influence on many aspects of Ramsey's thought, pragmatism was viewed as inseparable from realism. The aim of this paper is to challenge the view according to which Ramsey's reflexions on universals are of a mere linguistic and logical nature. Not only is this view controversial, but it may be argued that some elements in Ramsey's analyses suggest a possibly realist answer to the problem of universals. By drawing comparisons with Peirce's own position, it (...) is suggested that Ramsey's views might not be inconsistent with many aspects of Peirce's scholastic and even Scotistic version of realism. (shrink)
Née en 1553, morte en 1611, cette forte personnalité compte dans l'histoire de la Provence au temps des guerres de religion : elle anime la Ligue aixoise. L'historiographie la salue encore aux XVIIe et XIXe siècle, puis elle s'enfonce dans l'oubli. L'intérêt pour les femmes de pouvoir au XVIe siècle, la mise à l'honneur d'héroïnes à contre-emploi des rôles féminins traditionnels la replacent en lumière. Cette biographie à caractère scientifique, écrite par une ingénieure de recherches ..
Correspondence analysis of 28 proteomes selected to span the entire realm of prokaryotes revealed universal biases in the proteins’ amino acid distribution. Integral Inner Membrane Proteins always form an individual cluster, which can then be used to predict protein localisation in unknown proteomes, independently of the organism’s biotope or kingdom. Orphan proteins are consistently rich in aromatic residues. Another bias is also ubiquitous: the amino acid composition is driven by the GþC content of the first codon position. An unexpected bias (...) is driven, in many proteomes, by the AANbox of the genetic code, suggesting some functional biochemical relationship between asparagine and lysine. Less-significant biases are driven by the rare amino acids, cysteine and tryptophan. Some allow identification of species-specific functions or localisation such as surface or exported proteins. Errors in genome annotations are also revealed by correspondence analysis, making it useful for quality control and correction. (shrink)