In the remainder of this article, we will disarm an important motivation for epistemic contextualism and interest-relative invariantism. We will accomplish this by presenting a stringent test of whether there is a stakes effect on ordinary knowledge ascription. Having shown that, even on a stringent way of testing, stakes fail to impact ordinary knowledge ascription, we will conclude that we should take another look at classical invariantism. Here is how we will proceed. Section 1 lays out some limitations of previous (...) research on stakes. Section 2 presents our study and concludes that there is little evidence for a substantial stakes effect. Section 3 responds to objections. The conclusion clears the way for classical invariantism. (shrink)
Does the Ship of Theseus present a genuine puzzle about persistence due to conflicting intuitions based on “continuity of form” and “continuity of matter” pulling in opposite directions? Philosophers are divided. Some claim that it presents a genuine puzzle but disagree over whether there is a solution. Others claim that there is no puzzle at all since the case has an obvious solution. To assess these proposals, we conducted a cross-cultural study involving nearly 3,000 people across twenty-two countries, speaking eighteen (...) different languages. Our results speak against the proposal that there is no puzzle at all and against the proposal that there is a puzzle but one that has no solution. Our results suggest that there are two criteria—“continuity of form” and “continuity of matter”— that constitute our concept of persistence and these two criteria receive different weightings in settling matters concerning persistence. (shrink)
This article examines whether people share the Gettier intuition (viz. that someone who has a true justified belief that p may nonetheless fail to know that p) in 24 sites, located in 23 countries (counting Hong-Kong as a distinct country) and across 17 languages. We also consider the possible influence of gender and personality on this intuition with a very large sample size. Finally, we examine whether the Gettier intuition varies across people as a function of their disposition to engage (...) in “reflective” thinking. (shrink)
Is behavioral integration (i.e., which occurs when a subjects assertion that p matches her non-verbal behavior) a necessary feature of belief in folk psychology? Our data from nearly 6,000 people across twenty-six samples, spanning twenty-two countries suggests that it is not. Given the surprising cross-cultural robustness of our findings, we suggest that the types of evidence for the ascription of a belief are, at least in some circumstances, lexicographically ordered: assertions are first taken into account, and when an agent sincerely (...) asserts that p, non-linguistic behavioral evidence is disregarded. In light of this, we take ourselves to have discovered a universal principle governing the ascription of beliefs in folk psychology. (shrink)
Although thought experiments were first discovered as a sui generis methodological tool by philosophers of science (most prominently by Ernst Mach), the tool can also be found – even more frequently – in contemporary philosophy. Thought experiments in philosophy and science have a lot in common. However, in this chapter we will concentrate on thought experiments in philosophy only. Their use has been the centre of attention of metaphilosophical discussion in the past decade, and this chapter will provide an overview (...) of the results this discussion has achieved and point out which issues are still open. (shrink)
I argue that Goodman’s philosophy should not be characterised in opposition to the philosophy of the logical empiricists, but is more fruitfully interpreted as a continuation of their philosophical programme. In particular, understanding Goodman’s philosophy as a continuation of the ideal language tradition makes explicable how a radical ontological relativist could be such a staunch nominalist at the same time.
We distinguish and discuss two different accounts of the subject matter of theories of reference, meta-externalism and meta-internalism. We argue that a form of the meta- internalist view, “moderate meta-internalism”, is the most plausible account of the subject matter of theories of reference. In the second part of the paper we explain how this account also helps to answer the questions of what kind of concept reference is, and what role intuitions have in the study of the reference relation.
We argue that the term “intuition”, as it is used in metaphilosophy, is ambiguous between at least four different senses. In philosophy of language, the relevant “intuitions” are either the outputs of our competence to interpret and produce linguistic expressions, or the speakers’ or hearers’ own reports of these outputs. The semantic facts that philosophers of language are interested in are determined by the outputs of our competence. Hence, philosophers of language should be interested in investigating these, and they do (...) this by testing what we would say or understand in hypothetical communication situations. In the final section of the paper we suggest some methods for investigating these outputs which are independent of whether subjects report them, and hence which might be used as an alternative to the standard use of hypothetical cases. (shrink)
Nelson Goodman's acceptance and critique of certain methods and tenets of positivism, his defence of nominalism and phenomenalism, his formulation of a new riddle of induction, his work on notational systems, and his analysis of the arts place him at the forefront of the history and development of American philosophy in the twentieth-century. However, outside of America, Goodman has been a rather neglected figure. In this first book-length introduction to his work Cohnitz and Rossberg assess Goodman's lasting contribution to philosophy (...) and show that although some of his views may be now considered unfashionable or unorthodox, there is much in Goodman's work that is of significance today. The book begins with the "grue"-paradox, which exemplifies Goodman's way of dealing with philosophical problems. After this, the unifying features of Goodman's philosophy are presented - his constructivism, conventionalism and relativism - followed by an discussion of his central work, The Structure of Appearance and its significance in the analytic tradition. The following chapters present the technical apparatus that underlies his philosophy, his mereology and semiotics, which provides the background for discussion of Goodman's aesthetics. (shrink)
This article examines whether people share the Gettier intuition in 24 sites, located in 23 countries and across 17 languages. We also consider the possible influence of gender and personality on this intuition with a very large sample size. Finally, we examine whether the Gettier intuition varies across people as a function of their disposition to engage in “reflective” thinking.
It is often claimed that nominalistic programmes to reconstruct mathematics fail, since they will at some point involve the notion of logical consequence which is unavailable to the nominalist. In this paper we use an idea of Goodman and Quine to develop a nominalistically acceptable explication of logical consequence.
One of the most basic methods of philosophy is, and has always been, the consideration of counterfactual cases and imaginary scenarios. One purpose of doing so obviously is to test our theories against such counterfactual cases. Although this method is widespread, it is far from being commonly accepted. Especially during the last two decades it has been confronted with criticism ranging from complete dismissal to denying only its critical powers to a cautious defense of the use of thought experiments as (...) counterexamples. One of the strongest criticisms of the method of thought experimentation is "modal skepticism" as explicated and defended by Peter van Inwagen. Van Inwagen argues that the philosopher's notion of logical possibility is confused and that its epistemology is dubious. I argue that van Inwagen's skepticism is unwarranted. There is a sufficiently clear notion of logical possibility and a sufficiently straightforward way of getting to know what is logically possible. In the remainder of the paper I show how that connects with the methodology of thought experimentation in philosophy. (shrink)
When reasons are given for compositionality, the arguments usually purport to establish compositionality in an almost a priori manner. I will rehearse these arguments why one could think that compositionality is a priori true, or almost a priori true, and will find all of them inconclusive. This, in itself, is no reason against compositionality, but a reason to try to establish or defend the principle on other than quasi-a priori grounds.
Since at least Hume and Kant, philosophers working on the nature of aesthetic judgment have generally agreed that common sense does not treat aesthetic judgments in the same way as typical expressions of subjective preferences—rather, it endows them with intersubjective validity, the property of being right or wrong regardless of disagreement. Moreover, this apparent intersubjective validity has been taken to constitute one of the main explananda for philosophical accounts of aesthetic judgment. But is it really the case that most people (...) spontaneously treat aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity? In this paper, we report the results of a cross‐cultural study with over 2,000 respondents spanning 19 countries. Despite significant geographical variations, these results suggest that most people do not treat their own aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theories of aesthetic judgment and the purpose of aesthetics in general. (shrink)
Nelson Goodman's acceptance and critique of certain methods and tenets of positivism, his defence of nominalism and phenomenalism, his formulation of a new riddle of induction, his work on notational systems, and his analysis of the arts place him at the forefront of the history and development of American philosophy in the twentieth-century. However, outside of America, Goodman has been a rather neglected figure. In this first book-length introduction to his work Cohnitz and Rossberg assess Goodman's lasting contribution to philosophy (...) and show that although some of his views may be now considered unfashionable or unorthodox, there is much in Goodman's work that is of significance today. The book begins with the "grue"-paradox, which exemplifies Goodman's way of dealing with philosophical problems. After this, the unifying features of Goodman's philosophy are presented - his constructivism, conventionalism and relativism - followed by an discussion of his central work, The Structure of Appearance and its significance in the analytic tradition. The following chapters present the technical apparatus that underlies his philosophy, his mereology and semiotics, which provides the background for discussion of Goodman's aesthetics. The final chapter examines in greater depth the presuppositions underlying his philosophy. (shrink)
Take a look at these four situations: Figure 1 All of these situations have certain features in common: in all of them an explanation is asked for, in all of them an explanation is given, and all these explanations are literally false (although in different ways).
This special issue of Erkenntnis is devoted to the varieties of disagreement that arise in different areas of discourse, and the consequences we should draw from these disagreements, either concerning the subject matter and its objectivity, or concerning our own views about this subject matter if we learn, for example, that an epistemic peer disagrees with our view. In this introduction we sketch the background to the recent philosophical discussions of these questions, and the location occupied therein by the articles (...) in this collection. (shrink)
As we write this, philosophers all over the world are in a state of temporary, collective self-scrutiny. Tey are poring over the results of the PhilPapers Survey, conducted by David Chalmers and David Bourgeta grand-scale survey of the professions views on 30 major philosophical issues, ranging from aesthetic value to zombies. More than 3000 people have responded, andmanymore are currently absorbing and analyzing the results.
n diesem Kapitel soll das Problem ›Was genstand dieses Kapitels. Wir werden sehen, ist Kunst?‹, wie es sich für die analytische dass sich diese Adäquatheitsbedingungen aus Kunstphilosophie stellt, erläutert und eine Reiunserer Auffassung von analytischer Philosohe von »Adäquatheitsbedingungen« für seine phie heraus begründen lassen. Dieses zweite möglichen Lösungen formuliert werden. Adä- Kapitel bereitet also gewissermaßen den theoquatheitsbedingungen sind dabei Anforderunretischen Boden für die Folgekapitel. gen, die wir an eine potentielle Problemlösung Wie aus der Charakterisierung der analystellen und die eine Bewertung (...) der verschietischen Philosophie im ersten Kapitel bereits denen vorgebrachten Lösungsvorschläge zudeutlich geworden sein sollte, ist ein Charaklassen. Solche Adäquatheitsbedingungen erteristikum der analytischen Philosophie in jegeben sich zum Teil aus der Wissenschaftsdem Fall in der arbeitsteiligen Organisation ihgeschichte einer Disziplin: Vorgebrachte Lö- rer Forschungsanstrengungen zu sehen – ein sungsvorschläge können bestimmte Aspekte Charakteristikum, das Rudolf Carnap bereits eines Problems erhellen, stoßen bei anderen im Vorwort zu seiner Habilitationsschrift Aspekten aber unter Umständen auf neue Pro-. (shrink)
Wie ist es wohl, eine Fledermaus zu sein? Wäre ein rein physikalisches Duplikat von mir nur ein empfindungsloser Zombie? Muss man sich seinem Schicksal ergeben, wenn man sich unfreiwillig als lebensnotwendige Blutwaschanlage eines weltberühmten Violinisten wieder findet? Kann man sich wünschen, der König von China zu sein? Bin ich vielleicht nur ein Gehirn in einem Tank mit Nährflüssigkeit, das die Welt von einer Computersimulation vorgegaukelt bekommt? Worauf beziehen sich die Menschen auf der Zwillingserde mit ihrem Wort 'Wasser', wenn es bei (...) ihnen gar kein H2O gibt? -/- Diese und weitere seltsame Fragen sind das tägliche Brot vieler professioneller Philosophen. Die abstrusen Umstände, die dabei geschildert werden, nennt man "Gedankenexperimente". -/- Was soll die Erörterung dieser Szenarien, die sich so weit von unserem alltäglichen Leben, z.T. außerhalb der Grenzen unserer Wirklichkeit abspielen? Welche Rolle spielen diese "Gedankenexperimente" in der philosophischen Methodologie? Ist diese Rolle überhaupt berechtigt? -/- Das vorliegende Buch gibt Antworten auf diese Fragen. Es stellt sich heraus, dass diese seltsamen Gedankenexperimente nicht nur berechtigte, sondern überaus wichtige Instrumente philosophischen Forschens darstellen. (shrink)
In their paper “Sixteen Days” Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard try to answer the question: when does a human being begin to exist? In this paper we will address some methodological issues connected with this exercise in ontology. We shall begin by sketching the argument of “Sixteen Days”. We shall then attempt to characterize what is special about the ontological realism of “Sixteen Days” as contrasted to the linguistic constructivism which represents the more dominant current in contemporary analytic philosophy. This (...) will allow us to infer guidelines for assessing the quality of ontological theories of various types. We shall argue that ontological parsimony, groundedness, faithfulness to ordinary language, consistency with science, coherence, and fruitfulness are at least part of the adequacy criteria for such theories. These criteria will then be applied to the theory presented in “Sixteen Days”, and they will lead us to some revisions of this theory as well as to some reflections on its ethical implications. (shrink)
Egal was der heutige Tag auch bringen mag, der 1. April 2063 wird zumindest als der Tag in die Geschichte des Wissenschaftsjournalismus eingehen, der die bisher aufwändigste Berichterstattung erfahren hat. So viele Kamerateams, wie hier vor den Toren der Australian National University in Canberra, hat bisher kein wissenschaftliches Experiment anziehen können. Selbst der Knüller des Vorjahres, als es einer 48jährigen Hausfrau in einem Vorort von London gelang, mit einfachsten Küchenutensilien einen kleinen Kalte-Fusion-Reaktor herzustellen, der den Staubsauger und die Mikrowelle zuverlässig (...) mit sauberer Energie versorgte, hatte bei weitem nicht ein solches Echo in der Wissenschaftspresse erfahren. Es war zwar noch nichts über den Experimentausgang zu erfahren, trotzdem wurde freilich seit drei Tagen ununterbrochen live auf fast allen Kanälen aus Canberra darüber berichtet, dass nun zwar noch nichts zu erfahren sei, dass es aber ja sehr bald soweit sein müsse. Das Experiment, dessen Ausgang man hier so gespannt erwartete, war schon im Vorfeld hitzig diskutiert worden und überhaupt nur durch einen Sonderbeschluss der Vereinten Nationen zustande gekommen. Immerhin läuft die Vorbereitung bereits seit fast 30 Jahren, als sich mehrere Philosophen und Bürgerinitiativen zusammenschlossen, die UNO um eine endgültige Klärung einer der ältesten Fragen der Menschheit zu bitten: Was ist Bewusstsein? Und insbesondere: Ist Bewusstsein etwas anderes als physikalisch beschreibbare Zustände unseres Gehirns, oder sind alle Tatsachen letztlich physikalische Tatsachen? Dass diese Fragen trotz ihres Ehrfurcht einflößenden Alters zunehmend auf den Nägeln brannten, hatte nicht zuletzt die jüngste Entwicklung der Computertechnologie befördert. Nachdem die KI in den letzten Jahrzehnten einen großen Schritt vorwärts gemacht hatte, war man in Sorge, dass ohne endgültige begriffliche Klärung dieser Fragen unser zukünftiger Umgang mit unseren elektronischen Helfern auf moralisch unsicherem Boden stehen könne. Man hatte sich daher nach langer Abwägung der ethischen Aspekte dieses Experiments dazu entschieden, ein gerade neugeborenes Waisenkind in einem völlig schwarz-weiß-grauen Raum groß werden zu lassen, sorgsam darum bemüht, dass die kleine Mary (so hatte man das Mädchen in Anlehnung an die Protagonistin einer fiktiven philosophischen Geschichte genannt) keine Farben zu Gesicht bekommt.. (shrink)
Conspiracy theories seem to play an increasing role in public political discourse. This development is problematic for a variety of reasons, most importantly because widespread belief in conspiracy theories will undermine the institutions of open societies. One of the central questions that will need to be answered here if we hope to fi nd out why conspirational thought is recently gaining such support and to find out how to respond to it, is the following: what mindset leads to the belief (...) in conspiracy theories? People who believe in conspiracy theories are often ridiculed as nutcases, tinfoil hats, and paranoid crackpots, while they portray themselves as particularly critical, better informed and enlightened responsible citizens. Finding out which of these characterizations is correct is crucial for coming up with the appropriate response to the rise of conspirational thought. In this article, I want to discuss this question and the phenomenon of conspirational thought in two respects. First, I want to explain how philosophy, and epistemology in particular, is essential for understanding the phenomenon and for developing a strategy to deal with the harmful kind of conspirational thought. Secondly, I want to show how epistemology in turn can learn from studying this phenomenon. (shrink)
Is moral realism compatible with the existence of moral disagreements? Since moral realism requires that if two persons are in disagreement over some moral question at least one must be objectively mistaken, it seems difficult to uphold that there can be moral disagreements without fault. Alison Hills argued that moral realism can accommodate such disagreements. Her strategy is to argue that moral reasoners can be faultless in making an objectively false moral judgement if they followed the relevant epistemic norm, i.e. (...) follow your conscience, when making their judgement. I will argue that Hills' strategy does not work. The putative epistemic norm follow your conscience does not trump moral truth, because believing something wrong for the wrong reasons is worse than believing something right for the wrong reasons. (shrink)
Sie halten gerade ein Buch in Ihren H¨anden. Vielleicht liegt es auch auf dem Tisch vor Ihnen, w¨ahrend Sie diese Worte lesen. Aber woher wissen Sie, dass Sie ein Buch vor sich haben? Nun, Sie sehen es nat¨urlich mit eigenen Augen. Vermutlich f¨uhlen Sie auch das Gewicht des Buches, das gegen Ihre Haut dr¨uckt, w¨ahrend sie es in H¨anden halten, und h¨oren das Rascheln der Seiten, wenn Sie umbl¨attern. Dar¨uber hinaus sind Sie wach und (so vermuten wir mal) einigermaßen n¨uchtern, (...) also in einem Zustand, in dem Sie f¨ur gew¨ohnlich Ihren Sinnen vertrauen. Da Sie von diesen zuverl¨assigen Quellen, die Sie st¨andig ¨uber Sie und Ihre Umgebung auf dem Laufenden halten, mit diesen Informationen ¨ubersch¨uttet werden und da diese zuverl¨assigen Quellen Ihnen nun mitteilen, dass Sie ein Buch in H¨anden halten, hegen Sie dar¨uber nicht den geringsten Zweifel. (shrink)
Sometimes philosophers draw philosophically significant conclusions from theories of references. This practice has been attacked [Sti96, BS98, Bis03, MMNS] for two different reasons. One line of attack against arguments from reference tries to show that they are invalid, the other attempts to show that empirical results from social psychology undermine all such arguments. In this paper I show that this criticism of arguments from reference is misplaced. There is nothing wrong in principle with arguments from reference.
In their paper, 'When are thought experiments poor ones?' (Peijnenburg and Atkinson, 2003, Journal of General Philosophy of Science 34, 305-322), Jeanne Peijnenburg and David Atkinson argue that most, if not all, philosophical thought experiments are "poor" ones with "disastrous consequences" and that they share the property of being poor with some (but not all) scientific thought experiments. Noting that unlike philosophy, the sciences have the resources to avoid the disastrous consequences, Peijnenburg and Atkinson come to the conclusion that the (...) use of thought experiments in science is in general more successful than in philosophy and that instead of concocting more "recherché" thought experiments, philosophy should try to be more empirical. In this comment I will argue that Peijnenburg's and Atkinson's view on thought experiments is based on a misleading characterization of both, the dialectical situation in philosophy as well as the history of physics. By giving an adequate account of what the Discussion in contemporary philosophy is about, we will arrive at a considerably different evaluation of philosophical thought experiments. (shrink)
In their paper, ‘When are thought experiments poor ones?’ (Peijnenburg and Atkinson 2003), Jeanne Peijnenburg and David Atkinson argue that most, if not all, philosophical thought experiments are “poor” ones with “disastrous consequences” and that they share the property of being poor with some (but not all) scientific thought experiments. Noting that unlike philosophy, the sciences have the resources to avoid the disastrous consequences, Peijnenburg and Atkinson come to the conclusion that the use of thought experiments in science is in (...) general more successful than in philosophy and that instead of concocting more “recherché” thought experiments, philosophy should try to be more empirical. (shrink)
The determination argument is supposed to show that a sentence's meaning is at least a truth-condition. This argument is supposed to rest on innocent premises that even a deflationist about truth can accept. The argument comes in two versions: one is metaphysical and the other is epistemological. In this paper we will focus on the epistemological version. We will argue that the apparently innocent first premise of that version of the argument is not as innocent as it seems. If the (...) premise is understood in the sense required for the argument to go through then it should be rejected by a deflationist. (shrink)
This paper is a defense of an elaborated ideal explanatory text conception against criticism as put forward by Bob Batterman. It is argued that Batterman's critique of "philosophical" accounts of scientific explanation is inadequate.
In their paper, ‘When are thought experiments poor ones?’ (Peijnenburg and David Atkinson, 2003, Journal of General Philosophy of Science 34, 305-322.), Jeanne Peijnenburg and David Atkinson argue that most, if not all, philosophical thought experiments are “poor” ones with “disastrous consequences” and that they share the property of being poor with some (but not all) scientific thought experiments. Noting that unlike philosophy, the sciences have the resources to avoid the disastrous consequences, Peijnenburg and Atkinson come to the conclusion that (...) the use of thought experiments in science is in general more successful than in philosophy and that instead of concocting more “recherché” thought experiments, philosophy should try to be more empirical. In this comment I will argue that Peijnenburg’s and Atkinson’s view on thought experiments is based on a misleading characterization of both, the dialectical situation in philosophy as well as the history of physics. By giving an adequate account of what the discussion in contemporary philosophy is about, we will arrive at a considerably different evaluation of philosophical thought experiments. For I am convinced that we now find ourselves at an altogether decisive turning point in philosophy, and that we are objectively justified in considering that an end has come to the fruitless conflict of systems. We are already at the present time, in my opinion, in possession of methods which make any such conflict in principle unnecessary. What is now required is their resolute application. (Schlick, ‘The Turning Point in Philosophy’, 1930/1959, p. 54). (shrink)
This personal letter describes the history and current situation of philosophy in Estonia. We sketch the development of academic philosophy since the foundation of Tartu University in 1632, and describe the current philosophical landscape. We discuss the challenges we are facing in trying to find a balance between the responsibility that a discipline in the humanties in a small country has with respect to local culture and society on the one hand, and our ambitions to build up an internationally collaborating (...) department with an international graduate programme on the other. We close with a description of the relation between academic philosophy and Estonian society and the role that the Center for Ethics in Tartu plays in supporting that relation. (shrink)