A logic is a doctrine of the logos, that is, of meaningful discourse; hence the first thing we expect from it is an account of what makes the logos meaningful — of what a meaning is. There is no single such doctrine or account: it is part of the immense richness of meaningful discourse that we can shift back and forth between several logics — several organized ways of reasoning, of providing reasons or grounds for our claims. Building on previous (...) work on Hegel's dialectical logic, the author here identifies three distinct logics simultaneously in play in our conversations. Analytic logic structures its organization of discourse around negation, contraries, and hence arguments forcing a conclusion to follow (under threat of inconsistency) from some premises. Dialectical logic's main tool is the construction of narratives, hence the attempted incorporation of interlocutors within one's own story. The third option, here labeled gradual logic, sees sorites (which are recalcitrant anomalies for the analytic approach) as ideal cases, since the bleeding of a predicate into an alleged contrary points the way to reaching an agreement among initially conflicting parties: to them eventually coming to regard themselves as stressing different aspects of one and the same thing. (shrink)
This clear, accessible account of Hegelian logic makes a case for its enormous seductiveness, its surprising presence in the collective consciousness, and the dangers associated therewith. Offering comprehensive coverage of Hegel's important works, Bencivenga avoids getting bogged down in short-lived scholarly debates to provide a work of permanent significance and usefulness.
Since Descartes, mathematics has been dominated by a reductionist tendency, whose success would seem to promise greater certainty: the fewer basic objects mathematics can be understood as dealing with, and the fewer principles one is forced to assume about these objects, the easier it will be to establish a secure foundation for it. But this tendency has had the effect of sharply limiting the expressive power of mathematics, in a way that is made especially apparent by its disappointing applications to (...) the social sciences. We should move in the opposite direction: toward a mathematics that deals in general with constructed objects, and whose scope includes fictional, poetic characters as much as numbers and sets. (shrink)
In Dancing Souls Bencivenga addresses the crucial question of how the subject can be one and multiple at the same time. He finds that this phenomenon is like the disciplined movement of the dancer through space. Bencivenga explores the structure of this ontological betweenness in its various levels of complexity from the most intimately personal to the communal and the political.
In an attempt at fleshing out the thesis that religious (and other similar) experiences cannot be attributed to an individual on the basis of outer behaviour alone, the hypothesis is entertained of somebody who decides, at a certain point in his life, to fool everybody into beUeving that he is a reUgious beUever. This person, it is claimed, lacks the inner conviction that is crucial to religious experiences. Does this claim fall prey to Wittgenstein-like objections to the possibility of a (...) private language? It is argued that it does not, by distinguishing between what counts empirically, and what conceptually, as a private language. (shrink)
THIS ARTICLE PRESENTS A THEORY OF REFERENCE AS AN INTENTIONAL ACT, INDEPENDENT OF THE METAPHYSICAL ASSUMPTION OF THE EXISTENCE OF A REAL (AND COMMON) WORLD. ACCORDING TO THE THEORY, SPEAKERS REFER TO ENTITIES IN THEIR COGNITIVE SPACES. DIFFERENT SPEAKERS HAVE DIFFERENT SPACES, WHICH AT ANY GIVEN TIME MIRROR THEIR BELIEF-SYSTEMS AT THAT TIME. OBJECTS IN COGNITIVE SPACES ARE DISTINGUISHED FROM IDEAS, "SINNE", AND MEINONGIAN NON-EXISTENTS, AND SEVERAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE THEORY ARE DISCUSSED: AMONG THEM, HOW TO HANDLE COMMUNICATION AND TRUTH.
I may feel guilty for situations and events in which I seemed to play no causal role, which (it would seem) would have been exactly the same had I never existed. What is the reason for this guilt? The paper argues that it is to be found in a sense of universal connectedness: I take myself to always make a difference, no matter how distant I appear to be from anything that happens.
The correspondence theory of truth provides standard semantics with a simple scheme for evaluating sentences. This scheme however depends on the existence of basic correspondences between singular terms and objects, And thus breaks down in the case of non-Denoting singular terms. An alternative to the correspondence theory is thus called for in dealing with such terms. The author criticizes various positions discussed in the literature in this regard, And then presents a solution of his own.
The famous passage from Descartes' Sixth Meditation (54), proving that I am distinct from my body, is analysed in a way that it presupposes the following argument: (1) God can make X and Y distinct. (2) I f God can make X and Y distinct, then X and Y are distinct. (3) Therefore, X and Y are distinct. (2) is shown up as the crucial premise, several objections to it and possible ways out are discussed with the result that Descartes (...) needs to avoid references to God within the argument for the real distinctness of mind and body. (shrink)
In her book "descartes", Margaret wilson proposes a new interpretation of the dreaming argument. According to this interpretation, Descartes does not reach his conclusion via a subconclusion that I cannot be certain that I am not dreaming (as was claimed by more traditional authors such as moore, Malcolm, Frankfurt, And walsh), But rather directly, By pointing out that I cannot be certain that waking experience is veridical. The present article examines the arguments supporting wilson's interpretation, And finds them to be (...) faulty. Thus the article's conclusions clearly favor the traditional interpretations mentioned above. (shrink)
A classic experiment by Henri Tajfel provides evidence for the conclusion that the division of a group into subgroups is enough to trigger discriminatory behavior, even if there is no reason for such behavior in terms of the individual’s own interest. I don’t challenge that conclusion; but I question an implicit assumption which is suggested by the experimental setup and by the language used by Tajfel in describing the experiment. The assumption is that an initially coherent group will typically experience (...) division as a result of outside influence. A totally different picture of the situation and totally different social policy recommendations will follow if we believe instead that groups are evolving structures, and specifically structures that constantly and autonomously come into conflict with themselves. (shrink)
When applying supervaluations to the analysis of a theory, one may encounter the following problem: in supervaluational semantics, contingent statements often have existential presuppositions, and these presuppositions may either contradict the theory or make the application of supervaluations pointless. The most natural way of handling this problem consists in revising the semantics each time a specific theory is considered, and in making the status of the axioms of the theory technically indistinguishable from that of logical truths. Philosophically, this position has (...) important implications: one must either give up any absolute distinction between logical and non-logical truths or allow for a third class of truths besides analytic and factual ones. (shrink)
If graduate school is a kind of professional school, then graduate school in philosophy should train students in the many facets of the profession. This paper describes the nature of the “philosophy workshop” by comparing and contrasting it to two other components of graduate school: lecture courses and research seminars. In contrast to lecture courses that provide a large quantity of information in a succinct and well-guided fashion, and research seminars that concentrate on a specific topic or line of argument, (...) philosophy workshops offers students a more exploratory and more open-ended approach to learning philosophy. (shrink)
Meinong justifies the need of his Gegenstandstheorie by presenting it as a generalization of (existing) metaphysics, in that the former deals with both existent and non-existent objects, whereas the latter used to deal with existent objects only. But this justification is disingenuous, since the notion of a non-existent object is virtually a contradiction in terms for the traditional paradigm. What Meinong is really proposing is a conceptual revolution of a Kantian variety, and we need to get clearer about the full (...) import of this revolution. This is what the present paper attempts to do. (shrink)