Contemporary philosophy standardly accepts Frege's conceptions of sense as the determiner of reference and of analyticity as (necessary) truth in virtue of meaning. This paper argues that those conceptions are mistaken. It develops referentially autonomous notions of sense and analyticity and applies them to the semantics of natural kind terms. The arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke concerning natural kind terms are widely taken to refute internalist and rationalist theories of meaning. This paper shows that the counter-intuitive consequences about (...) the reference of natural kind terms depend as much on Frege's conceptions of sense and analyticity as on what such theories of meaning say about the senses of natural kind terms. Rather than refuting the internalist and rationalist theories of meaning, the arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke are best recast as refutations of their own Fregean assumptions. The paper also shows how autonomous notions of sense and analyticity enable us to reconstruct such theories, formulate an internalist/ rationalist account of semantic knowledge, and preserve Donnellan's, Putnam's, and Kripke's insights about reference. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy standardly accepts Frege’s conceptions of sense as the determiner of reference and of analyticity as truth in virtue of meaning. This paper argues that those conceptions are mistaken. It develops referentially autonomous notions of sense and analyticity and applies them to the semantics of natural kind terms. The arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke concerning natural kind terms are widely taken to refute internalist and rationalist theories of meaning. This paper shows that the counter-intuitive consequences about the (...) reference of natural kind tenns depend as much on Frege’s conceptions of sense and analyticity as on what such theories of meaning say about the senses of natural kind tenns. Rather than refuting the internalist and rationalist theories of meaning, the arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke are best recast as refutations of their own Fregean assumptions. The paper also shows how autonomous notions of sense and analyticity enable us to reconstruct such theories, formulate an internalist/rationalist account of semantic knowledge, and preserve Donnellan’s, Putnam’s, and Kripke’s insights about reference. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy standardly accepts Frege's conceptions of sense as the determiner of reference and of analyticity as truth in virtue of meaning. This paper argues that those conceptions are mistaken. It develops referentially autonomous notions of sense and analyticity and applies them to the semantics of natural kind terms. The arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke concerning natural kind terms are widely taken to refute internalist and rationalist theories of meaning. This paper shows that the counter-intuitive consequences about the (...) reference of natural kind terms depend as much on Frege's conceptions of sense and analyticity as on what such theories of meaning say about the senses of natural kind terms. Rather than refuting the internalist and rationalist theories of meaning, the arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke are best recast as refutations of their own Fregean assumptions. The paper also shows how autonomous notions of sense and analyticity enable us to reconstruct such theories, formulate an internalist/ rationalist account of semantic knowledge, and preserve Donnellan's, Putnam's, and Kripke's insights about reference. (shrink)
I survey a number of views about how we can obtain knowledge of modal propositions, propositions about necessity and possibility. One major approach is that whether a proposition or state of affairs is conceivable tells us something about whether it is possible. I examine two quite different positions that fall under this rubric, those of Yablo and Chalmers. One problem for this approach is the existence of necessary a posteriori truths and I deal with some of the ways in which (...) these authors respond to the problem, including the use of two-dimensional modal semantics. Conventionalism about modality offers a complementary approach to modal epistemology, prompting us to identify our knowledge of modal truths with our mastery of linguistic or conceptual conventions. Finally, I discuss an approach to modal epistemology deriving from David Lewis's work that seeks to identify structural features of the modal space over which necessity and possibility are defined. (shrink)
In the first two sections I present and motivate a formal semantics program that is modeled after the application of numbers in measurement (e.g., of length). Then, in the main part of the paper, I use the suggested framework to give an account of the semantics of necessity and possibility: (i) I show thatthe measurement theoretic framework is consistent with a robust (non-Quinean) view of modal logic, (ii) I give an account of the semantics of the modal (...) notions within this framework, and (iii) I defend the suggested account against various objections. (shrink)
In the first two sections I present and motivate a formal semantics program that is modeled after the application of numbers in measurement. Then, in the main part of the paper, I use the suggested framework to give an account of the semantics of necessity and possibility: I show that the measurement theoretic framework is consistent with a robust view of modal logic, I give an account of the semantics of the modal notions within this framework, and (...) I defend the suggested account against various objections. (shrink)
Charles Peirce's diagrammatic logic — the Existential Graphs — is presented as a tool for illuminating how we know necessity, in answer to Benacerraf's famous challenge that most ‘semantics for mathematics’ do not ‘fit an acceptable epistemology’. It is suggested that necessary reasoning is in essence a recognition that a certain structure has the particular structure that it has. This means that, contra Hume and his contemporary heirs, necessity is observable. One just needs to pay attention, not merely to (...) individual things but to how those things are related in larger structures, certain aspects of which relations force certain other aspects to be a certain way. (shrink)
Michael Ruse’s new anthology Philosophy After Darwin provides great history and background in the major impacts Darwinism has had on philosophy, especially in ethics and epistemology. This review focuses on epistemology understood through the lens of evolution by natural selection. I focus on one of Ruse’s own articles in the collection, which responds to two classic articles by Konrad Lorenz and David Hull on the two major forms of evolutionary epistemology. I side with Ruse against Lorenz’s account of the necessity (...) we think our principles of reasoning have, though I disagree with Ruse’s particular example. I also argue that Ruse’s alternative explanation is lacking. Against Hull, I side with Ruse in his doubts that a sociobiological approach to science will prove fruitful, though I point out that it has certain advantages other approaches do not have. Although I side with Ruse on the issue, I conclude that the two views do not really come into direct conflict and so one needs not reject either. Finally, I discuss Ruse’s positive view and raise questions for his conception of evolutionary epistemology. I conclude that his arguments are insufficient to overcome opposing views and his view has at least as many unintuitive conclusions as the alternatives. (shrink)
The book develops and synthesises two main ideas: contextualism about knowledge ascriptions and a knowledge-first approach to epistemology. The theme of the book is that these two ideas fit together much better than it's widely thought they do. Not only are they not competitors: they each have something important to offer the other.
To what extent are meaning, on the one hand, and knowledge, on the other, determined by aspects of the 'outside world'? Internalism and Externalism in Semantics and Epistemology presents twelve specially written essays exploring these debates in metaphysics and epistemology and the connections between them. In so doing, it examines how issues connected with the nature of mind and language bear on issues about the nature of knowledge and justification. Topics discussed include the compatibility of semantic externalism and epistemic (...) internalism, the variety of internalist and externalist positions, semantic externalism's implications for the epistemology of reasoning and reflection, and the possibility of arguments from the theory of mental content to the theory of epistemic justification. (shrink)
This article is about the conception of truth and signification in Augustine's early philosophical writings. In the first, semantic-linguistic part, the gradual shift of Augustine's position towards the Academics is treated closely. It reveals that Augustine develops a notion of sign which, by integrating elements of Stoic epistemology, is suited to function as a transmitter of true knowledge through linguistic expressions. In the second part, both the ontological structure of signified (sensible) things and Augustine's solution to the apparent tautologies of (...) mathematical truths are examined. Again his notion of sign turns out to be the keystone; this time, however, the natural in contrast to the conventional sign of linguistic expressions. In their complementarity, both parts show how Augustine intensely struggles with and (partially) overcomes the skepticism of the sensible world through his conception of sign and signification. (shrink)
A new direction in philosophy Between 1920 and 1940 logical empiricism reset the direction of philosophy of science and much of the rest of Anglo-American philosophy. It began as a relatively organized movement centered on the Vienna Circle, and like-minded philosophers elsewhere, especially in Berlin. As Europe drifted into the Nazi era, several important figures, especially Carnap and Neurath, also found common ground in their liberal politics and radical social agenda. Together, the logical empiricists set out to reform traditional philosophy (...) with a new set of doctrines more firmly grounded in logic and science. Criticism and decline Because of Nazi persecution, most of the European adherents of logical empiricism moved to the United States in the late 1930s. During the 1940s, many of their most cherished tenets became targets of criticism from outsiders as well as from within their own ranks. Philosophers of science in the late 1950s and 1960s rejected logical empiricism and, starting in the 1970s, presented such alternative programs such as scientific realism with evolutionary epistemology. A resurgence of interest During the early 1980s, philosophers and historians of philosophy began to study logical empiricism as an important movement. Unlike their predecessors in the 1960s-for whom the debate over logical empiricism now seems to have been largely motivated by professional politics-these philosopher no longer have to take positions for or against logical empiricism. The result has been a more balanced view of that movement, its achievements, its failures, and its influence. Hard-to-find core writings now available This collection makes available a selection of the most influential and representative writings of the logical empiricists, important contemporary criticisms of their doctrines, their responses, as well as the recent reappraisals. Introductions to each volume examine the articles in historical context and provide importantbackground information that is vital to a full understanding of the issues discussed. They outline prevalent trends, identifying leading figures and summarize their positions and reasoning, as well as those of opposing thinkers. (shrink)
This is identical with the first edition (see 21: 2716) except for the addition of a Supplement containing 5 previously published articles and the bringing of the bibliography (now 73 items) up to date. The 5 added articles present clarifications or modifications of views expressed in the first edition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).
A volume of studies in philosophical logic by a group of younger philosophers in the UK. There is a core of problems in the theory of meaning which have been accorded a central importance by philosophers, logicians and theoretical linguists, and which have stimulated some of the most powerful and original work in these subjects. The contributors to the volume have a common interest in these topics, insist on their continuing and fundamental importance, and offer here a distinctive and original (...) contribution to them. (shrink)
The traditional conception of knowledge is justified, true belief. If one looks at a modern textbook on epistemology, the great bulk of questions with which it deals are to do with personal knowledge, as embodied in beliefs and the proper experiences that someone ought to have had in order to have the right (or justification) to know. I intend to argue that due to the explosive growth of knowledge whose domain is “outside the head”, this conception has outlived its relevance. (...) -/- On the other hand, Karl Popper’s (1934) Falsificationism, with its emphasis on the objective character of knowledge, is not only a sounder, but also a more appropriate theory of knowledge for understanding the nature and growth of civilization. Later, Popper (1945) generalized this approach to obtain critical rationalism, in which all claims to knowledge, whether scientific or otherwise, are understood as objective solutions to objective problems and can be evaluated by other non-observational - types of criticism. I will first argue that Popper’s methodology is quite suited to the view that knowledge is an objective autonomous product and then adduce his theory of world 3, an ontology that neatly wraps up various considerations. World 3 is the domain of abstract products of the human mind that now have a life of their own, outside of human heads: theories, arguments, problems, plans, etc. I then adduce some other arguments for the autonomous quality of knowledge. (shrink)
This paper presents an account of the understanding of statements involving metaphysical modality, together with dovetailing theories of their truth conditions and epistemology. The account makes modal truth an objective matter, whilst avoiding both Lewisian modal realism and mind-dependent or expressivist treatments of the truth conditions of modal sentences. The theory proceeds by formulating constraints a world-description must meet if it is to represent a genuine possibility. Modal truth is fixed by the totality of the constraints. To understand modal discourse (...) is to have tacit knowledge of the body of information stated in these constraints. Modal knowledge is attained by evaluating modal statements in accordance with the constraints. The question of the general relations between modal truth and knowability is also addressed. The paper includes a discussion of which modal logic is supported by the presented theory of truth conditions for modal statements. (shrink)
The issue as to whether an atomistic or holistic viewof knowledge and meaning is correct relies on the way part/whole relationships is analysed,exactly as the issue as to whether a constructive or realistic view of knowledge and meaningis correct relies on the way internal/external relationships is analysed. Both theprinciple of compositionality and the context principle depend on how finely the constituents,the nature and the size of the context are identified; both the notion of meaning andthe notion of truth depend on (...) the resources of internalisation/externalisation. Thus thespectrum of semantic and epistemological theories varies from (global) atomismto (global) holism, and from minimal to maximal internalisation. Are compositionaltheories necessarily extensional? Does formal semantics necessarily rely on set theory?Does the domain-specific character of the notions of element, part and whole prevent anygeneral, non-trivial account? The aim of the present paper is to provide a negative answerto these questions by exploring some of the features a theory covering the phenomenologyof part and whole should have. This phenomenology will only be sketched through a fewparadigmatic examples, showing how the reference of notions of part and wholevaries and which are the constraints inherentin such variation. Categorytheory provides the tools for fashioning this framework, since it allows describing any coherentcollection of objects (with actions defined over them) and (action preserving) maps betweenthe objects, as well as the variation of such collections in terms of suitablefunctors, coding the ways parts and wholes undergo co-variation. The main thesis is thatthere are interference patterns between the two pairs Local/Global and Internal/External,only in terms of which the above phenomenology can be properly described.Se mai tu diventeraimetá di te stesso, e te l''auguro, ragazzo, capirai cose al di lá della comune intelligenza dei cervelli interi.Avrai perso metá di te e del mondo, ma la realtá rimasta sará mille volte piú profonda e preziosa. E tupure vorrai che tutto sia dimezzato e straziato a tua immagine, perchè bellezza e sapienza e giustizia ci sono soloin ció che é fatto a brani. (shrink)
The recent development of the research field of Computing and Philosophy has triggered investigations into the theoretical foundations of computing and information. This thesis consists of two parts which are the result of studies in two areas of Philosophy of Computing (PC) and Philosophy of Information (PI) regarding the production of meaning (semantics) and the value system with applications (ethics). The first part develops a unified dual-aspect theory of information and computation, in which information is characterized as structure, and (...) computation is the information dynamics. This enables naturalization of epistemology, based on interactive information representation and communication. In the study of systems modeling, meaning, truth and agency are discussed within the framework of the PI/PC unification. The second part of the thesis addresses the necessity of ethical judgment in rational agency illustrated by the problem of information privacy and surveillance in the networked society. The value grounds and socio-technological solutions for securing trustworthiness of computing are analyzed. Privacy issues clearly show the need for computing professionals to contribute to understanding of the technological mechanisms of Information and Communication Technology. The main original contribution of this thesis is the unified dual-aspect theory of computation/information. Semantics of information is seen as a part of the data-information-knowledge structuring, in which complex structures are self-organized by the computational processing of information. Within the unified model, complexity is a result of computational processes on informational structures. The thesis argues for the necessity of computing beyond the Turing-Church limit, motivated by natural computation, and wider by pancomputationalism and paninformationalism, seen as two complementary views of the same physical reality. Moreover, it follows that pancomputationalism does not depend on the assumption that the physical world on some basic level is digital. Contrary to many believes it is entirely compatible with dual (analogue/digital) quantum-mechanical computing. (shrink)
The New Semantics (NS) introduced by Kripke and Putnam is often thought to block antiphysicalist arguments that involve an inference from an explanatory gap to a failure of supervenience. But this “NS Rebuttal” depends upon two assumptions that are shown to be dubious. First, it assumes that mental-kind terms are among the kinds of terms to which NS analysis is properly applied. However, there are important differences in this regard between the behavior of notions like ‘pain’ and notions like (...) ‘water’, as Kripke himself has argued. Second, even on the assumption that NS analysis is appropriate to mental-kind terms, it is further assumed that this would block the anti-physicalist premise that an abiding and principled explanatory gap would entail a failure of metaphysical supervenience. But the paradigm examples of NS analysis show nothing of the sort. What they show is that there are a posteriori necessities (e.g., “water contains hydrogen”) that cannot be inferred from the sense of natural kind terms. But they do not show that such necessities cannot be derived from an adequate scientific understanding of the phenomena in question. Indeed, such derivations are often available with kinds like water, but seem unavailable with mental kinds like ‘pain’ and ‘belief’. (shrink)
Think of this paper as an exercise in applied philosophy of language. It has both semantic and deontic concerns. More than about the meaning of ‘marriage,’ it is about how one goes about determining the meaning of social kind terms like ‘marriage’. But it is equally about the place of philosophy of language in the legislative sphere, and inter alia, about the roles and responsibilities of philosophers in public life.