Dans cet article, je montre, dans un premier temps, le rôle joué par la passivité et la paresse dans la philosophie du droit de Hegel. Cela permet, dans un deuxième temps, de mieux comprendre la « philosophie première » de Jean-Luc Nancy, celle qui s’intéresse à l’être singulier pluriel et qui s’est élaborée, à ses débuts, dans un rapport à la passivité chez Hegel. Enfin, parce que paresse et activité sont toujours intrinsèquement liées, je termine ce parcours par un retour (...) critique sur ce que Nancy propose comme action dans une analyse d’un de ses plus récents ouvrages intitulé Que faire? In this article, I first show the role played by passivity and laziness in Hegel’s philosophy of right. This allows us to better understand Jean-Luc Nancy’s first philosophy which is concerned with the singular plural being, and which was first elaborated in relation with Hegel’s conception of passivity. Finally, since laziness and activity are always intrinsically linked, I end this article with a criticism of what Nancy proposes as an action by analyzing one of his most recent works entitled Que faire? (shrink)
Strawson offers three accounts of singular predication: a grammatical, a category and a mediating account. I argue that the grammatical and mediating accounts are refuted by a host of counter-examples and that the latter is worse than useless. In later works Strawson defends only the category account. This account entails that singular terms cannot be predicates; it excludes non-denoting singular terms from being logical subjects, except by means of an ad hoc analogy; it depends upon a notion of identification that (...) is too vague; and it is unnecessarily complicated, relying on analogies where a more uniform explanation should be possible. But I show how the account can be corrected to avoid all these difficulties and to provide an accurate account of singular predication. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Martin Hackl and I identified a variety of circumstances where scalar implicatures, questions, definite descriptions, and sentences with the focus particle only are absent or unacceptable (Fox and Hackl 2006, henceforth F&H). We argued that the relevant effect is one of maximization failure (MF): an application of a maximization operator to a set that cannot have the required maximal member. We derived MF from our hypothesis that the set of degrees relevant for the semantics of degree (...) constructions is always dense (the Universal Density of Measurement, UDM). The goal of this paper is to present an apparent shortcoming of F&H and to argue that it is overcome once certain consequences of the proposal are shown to follow from more general properties of MF. Specifically, the apparent problem comes from evidence that the core generalizations argued for in F&H extend to areas for which an account in terms of density is unavailable. Nevertheless, I will argue that the account could still be right. Certain dense sets contain "too many alternatives" for there to be a maximal member, thus leading to MF. But, there are other sets that lead to the same predicament. My goal will be to characterize a general signature of MF in the hope that it could be used to determine the identity of alternatives in areas where their identity is not clear on independent grounds. (shrink)
I argue that the conception of reflective equilibrium that is generally accepted in contemporary philosophy is defective and should be replaced with a conception of fruitful reflective disequilibrium which prohibits ad hoc manoeuvres, encourages new approaches, and eschews all justification in favour of continuous improvement. I suggest how the conception of fruitful disequilibrium can be applied more effectively to moral enquiry, to encourage genuine progress in moral knowledge, if we make moral theory empirically testable by adopting a meta-ethical postulate which (...) is independently plausible. (shrink)
I explain how Karl Popper resolved the problem of induction but not the pragmatic problem of induction. I show that Popper’s solution to the pragmatic problem of induction is inconsistent with his solution to the problem of induction. I explain how Popper’s falsificationist epistemology can solve the pragmatic problem of induction in the same negative way that it solves the problem of induction.
Karl Popper lamented the prevalence of dogmatic argument in philosophy and commended the kind of critical argument that is found in the sciences. David Miller criticises the uncritical nature of so-called critical thinking because of its attachment to dogmatic arguments. I expound and clarify Popper’s distinction between critical and dogmatic arguments and the background to it. I criticise some errors in Miller’s discussion. I reaffirm the need for philosophers to eschew dogmatic arguments in favour of critical ones.
We present an argument for revising the theory of alternatives for Scalar Implicatures and for Association with Focus. We argue that in both cases the alternatives are determined in the same way, as a contextual restriction of the focus value of the sentence, which, in turn, is defined in structure-sensitive terms. We provide evidence that contextual restriction is subject to a constraint that prevents it from discriminating between alternatives when they stand in a particular logical relationship with the assertion or (...) the prejacent, a relationship that we refer to as symmetry. Due to this constraint on contextual restriction, discriminating between alternatives in cases of symmetry becomes the task of focus values. This conclusion is incompatible with standard type-theoretic definitions of focus values, motivating our structure-sensitive definition instead. (shrink)
Building on previous works which argued that scalar implicatures can be computed in embedded positions, this paper proposes a constraint on exhaustification which restricts the conditions under which an exhaustivity operator can be licensed. We show that this economy condition allows us to derive a number of generalizations, such as, in particular, the ‘Implicature Focus Generalization’: scalar implicatures can be embedded under a downward-entailing operator only if the scalar term bears pitch accent. Our economy condition also derives specific predictions regarding (...) the licensing of so-called Hurford disjunctions. (shrink)
This paper will be concerned with the conjunctive interpretation of a family of disjunctive constructions. The relevant conjunctive interpretation, sometimes referred to as a “free choice effect,” (FC) is attested when a disjunctive sentence is embedded under an existential modal operator. I will provide evidence that the relevant generalization extends (with some caveats) to all constructions in which a disjunctive sentence appears under the scope of an existential quantifier, as well as to seemingly unrelated constructions in which conjunction appears under (...) the scope of negation and a universal quantifier. (shrink)
Judith Jarvis Thomson and others contend that rights are pro-tanto rather than absolute, that is, that rights may permissibly be infringed in some circumstances. Alan Gewirth maintains that there are some rights that are absolute because infringing them would amount to unspeakable evil. However, there seem to be possible circumstances in which it would be permissible to infringe even those rights. Specificationists, such as Gerald Gaus, Russ Shafer-Landau, Hillel Steiner and Kit Wellman, argue that all rights are absolute because they (...) have implicit exceptions, the exceptions being either right-voiding or right-compatible. Specificationists have charged pro-tantoism with preventing rights from being action-guiding, and pro-tantoists have levelled the same charge against specificationism. I show that both charges are mistaken. Pro-tantoists claim that specificationists cannot account for the moral remainder that we recognise in some circumstances and which can be explained by reference to a permissible right-infringement. Specificationists retort that the moral remainder can be explained by invoking compensation-rights. I show that the pro-tantoist claim is true and that the specificationist retort is false on two counts: explanation in terms of compensation-rights is not applicable to all cases; and it fails to account for the moral dynamic in the cases to which it is applicable. The contention that rights are pro-tanto does not conflict with the substance of the contention that rights are trumps, despite claims of specificationists to the contrary. (shrink)
The notion of measurement plays a central role in human cognition. We measure people’s height, the weight of physical objects, the length of stretches of time, or the size of various collections of individuals. Measurements of height, weight, and the like are commonly thought of as mappings between objects and dense scales, while measurements of collections of individuals, as implemented for instance in counting, are assumed to involve discrete scales. It is also commonly assumed that natural language makes use of (...) both types of scales and subsequently distinguishes between two types of measurements. This paper argues against the latter assumption. It argues that natural language semantics treats all measurements uniformly as mappings from objects (individuals or collections of individuals) to dense scales, hence the Universal Density of Measurement (UDM). If the arguments are successful, there are a variety of consequences for semantics and pragmatics, and more generally for the place of the linguistic system within an overall architecture of cognition. (shrink)
The computation of both Scalar Implicatures (SI) and Association with Focus (AF) is characterized with reference to sets of alternatives. However, it has generally been assumed that the relevant alternatives are determined in different ways for the two processes. Specifically, it has been assumed that the alternatives for SI – scalar alternatives – are computed by a special procedure specifically designed for implicatures, whereas the alternatives for AF – focus alternatives – are determined by the general theory of association with (...) focus – focus semantics. As far as we know, the only attempt to connect the two is Krifka (1995), under which scalar alternatives and focus alternatives are identical and determined by focus semantics. However, Krifka’s result is based on a specific stipulation about scalar items, which he borrows from Horn and incorporates into focus semantics, namely that scalar items are inherently focused and have their Horn Scale as their lexically specified focus values. (shrink)
There is ample discussion of MBA self-serving values in the corporate social responsibility literature, and yet empirical studies regarding the corporate manifestations and consequences of those values are scant. In a comprehensive study of major US public corporations, we find that MBA CEOs are more apt than their non-MBA counterparts to engage in short-term strategic expedients such as positive earnings management and suppression of R&D, which in turn are followed by compromised firm market valuations.
The sense of agency is the experience of being the origin of a sensory consequence. This study investigates whether contextual beliefs modulate low-level sensorimotor processes which contribute to the emergence of the sense of agency. We looked at the influence of causal beliefs on ‘intentional binding’, a phenomenon which accompanies self-agency. Participants judged the onset-time of either an action or a sound which followed the action. They were induced to believe that the tone was either triggered by themselves or by (...) somebody else, although, in reality, the sound was always triggered by the participants. We found that intentional binding was stronger when participants believed that they triggered the tone, compared to when they believed that another person triggered the tone. These results suggest that high-level contextual information influences sensorimotor processes responsible for generating intentional binding. (shrink)
This paper argues that “covert” operations like Quantifier Raising (QR) can precede “overt” operations. Specifically we argue that there are overt operations that must take the output of QR as their input. If this argument is successful there are two interesting consequences for the theory of grammar. First, there cannot be a “covert” (i.e. post-spellout) component of the grammar. That is, what distinguishes operations that affect phonology from those that do not cannot be an arbitrary point in the derivation (“spellout”) (...) before which the former apply and after which the latter do; all syntactic operations apply in the same component (henceforth ‘single component grammar’). Second, there must be some alternative means for distinguishing “overt” from “covert” operations. One such alternative, which we can call the ‘phonological theory of QR’, was suggested by Bobaljik (1995), Pesetsky (1998), Groat and O’Neil (1994). These authors proposed that the distinguishing property has to do with principles of the syntax-phonology interface. Assume that movement is a copying operation with phonology targeting one copy in a chain for pronunciation. The distinction between “overt” and “covert” movement, these authors suggest, is this: “overt” movements are the result of phonology targeting the head of a chain for.. (shrink)
Neil Levy defends no-platforming people who espouse dangerous or unacceptable views. I reject his notion of higher-order evidence as authoritarian and dogmatic. I argue that no-platforming frustrates the growth of knowledge.
A Logical Form (LF) is a syntactic structure that is interpreted by the semantic component. For a particular structure to be a possible LF it has to be possible for syntax to generate it and for semantics to interpret it. The study of LF must therefore take into account both assumptions about syntax and about semantics, and since there is much disagreement in both areas, disagreements on LF have been plentiful. This makes the task of writing a survey article in (...) the field fairly difficult, a difficulty that is amplified by the amount of material that needs to be covered if the result is going to be in any way representative. My response to this difficulty is to limit my objectives. As a start, I will confine myself to issues relating to the syntactic positions of Quantificational Noun Phrases (QNPs) at LF and to various interpretive consequences. But even within these relatively narrow confines, I will not attempt anything close to a comprehensive survey. Instead my goal will be restricted to the presentation of one leading idea and to the discussion of some evidence that might bear on it.1 Much research on the nature of LF has consisted in attempts to account for the meaning of sentences containing QNPs. (shrink)
Many contemporary legal positivists have argued that legal theory is evaluative because it requires the theorist to make judgments of importance. At the same time they argue that it is possible to know without resort to evaluative considerations. I distinguish between two senses of : in one sense it refers to legal validity, in another to the content of legal norms, and I argue that legal positivism is best understood (as indeed some legal positivists have explicitly said) as a claim (...) about legal content. Understood this way, however, it is open to the objection that knowing the content of legal norms requires evaluative considerations for reasons similar to those offered by positivists for thinking that legal theory is requires evaluative considerations. I then distinguish between evaluative considerations in general and moral considerations and argue that because of the subject-matter of legal norms, there are good reasons for thinking that it is moral considerations, and not just any other evaluative considerations, that are required for knowing the content of legal norms. (shrink)
Determinism seems incompatible with free will. However, even indeterminism seems incompatible with free will, since it seems to make free actions random. Popper contends that free agents are not bound by physical laws, even indeterministic ones, and that undetermined actions are not random if they are influenced by abstract entities. I argue that Popper could strengthen his account by drawing upon his theories of propensities and of limited rationality; but that even then his account would not fully explain why free (...) actions are not random. I offer a solution to this problem which draws on Hornsby’s analysis of action. I then borrow an idea of Kant about self-consciousness to distinguish free agents from sub-human animals. I make a brief evaluation of Popper ’s contribution. (shrink)
Social science employs teleological explanations which depend upon the rationality principle, according to which people exhibit instrumental rationality. Popper points out that people also exhibit critical rationality, the tendency to stand back from, and to question or criticise, their views. I explain how our critical rationality impugns the explanatory value of the rationality principle and thereby threatens the very possibility of social science. I discuss the relationship between instrumental and critical rationality and show how we can reconcile our critical rationality (...) with the possibility of social science if we invoke Popper’s conception of limited rationality and his indeterminism. (shrink)
This paper argues in favor of two claims: (a) that Scope Shifting Operations (Quantifier Raising and Quantifier Lowering) are restricted by economy considerations, and (b) that the relevant economy considerations compare syntactic derivations that end up interpretively identical. These ideas are shown to solve several puzzles having to do with the interaction of scope with VP ellipsis, coordination, and the interpretation of bare plurals. Further, the paper suggests a way of dealing with the otherwise puzzling clause-boundedness of Quantifier Raising.
Abstract. The paper begins by challenging Hart's argument aimed to show that sanctions are not part of the concept of law. It shows that in the "minimal" legal system as understood by Hart, sanctions may be required for keeping the legal system efficacious. I then draw a methodological conclusion from this argument, which challenges the view of Hart (and his followers) that legal philosophy should aim at discovering some general, politically neutral, conceptual truths about law. Instead, the aim should be (...) to discover the values because of which certain things in the world are classified as law and others as non-law. Focusing on those would give us a more insight to the roles law plays in society, as well as more illuminating answers to traditional jurisprudential questions like the status of law in evil regimes. (shrink)
Doxastic voluntarism maintains that we have voluntary control over our beliefs. It is generally denied by contemporary philosophers. I argue that doxastic voluntarism is true: normally, and insofar as we are rational, we are able to suspend belief and, provided we have a natural inclination to believe, we are able to rescind that suspension, and thus to choose to believe. I show that the arguments that have been offered against doxastic voluntarism fail; and that, if the denial of doxastic voluntarism (...) is part of a strategy to defeat scepticism, it is inept, because knowledge presupposes doubt. (shrink)
Many of the current debates in jurisprudence focus on articulating the boundaries of law. In this essay I challenge this approach on two separate grounds. I first argue that if such debates are to be about law, their purported subject, they ought to pay closer attention to the practice. When such attention is taken it turns out that most of the debates on the boundaries of law are probably indeterminate. I show this in particular with regard to the debate between (...) inclusive and exclusive positivists: I present several ways of understanding what this debate is about and argue that none of them is defensible. My second argument focuses more on the purpose of jurisprudential inquiry. I argue there that even if some jurisprudential debates have determinate answers, it does not follow that they deserve our attention, because not all true facts are worth knowing. After discussing and rejecting the claim that jurisprudence could be justified as knowledge for its own sake, I propose one possible justification for engaging in legal philosophy and outline its implications for the kind of issues that should be pursued. (shrink)
Ethical intuitionists regard moral knowledge as deriving from moral intuition, moral observation, moral emotion and inference. However, moral intuitions, observations and emotions are cultural artefacts which often differ starkly between cultures. Intuitionists attribute uncongenial moral intuitions, observations or emotions to bias or to intellectual or moral failings; but that leads to sectarian ad hominen attacks. Intuitionists try to avoid that by restricting epistemically genuine intuitions, observations or emotions to those which are widely agreed. That does not avoid the problem. It (...) also limits epistemically genuine intuitions, observations or emotions to those with meagre content, and the intuitionists offer no plausible explanation for how inference from such insubstantial propositions can engender substantial moral knowledge. Instead of moral knowledge, intuitionism offers the prospect of mutual name-calling between intellectually stagnant groups. I criticise and reject the principle of phenomenal conservatism, to which intuitionists sometimes appeal. (shrink)
In contrast to eminent historical philosophers, almost all contemporary philosophers maintain that slavery is impermissible. In the enthusiasm of the Enlightenment, a number of arguments gained currency which were intended to show that contractual slavery is not merely impermissible but impossible. Those arguments are influential today in moral, legal and political philosophy, even in discussions that go beyond the issue of contractual slavery. I explain what slavery is, giving historical and other illustrations. I examine the arguments for the impossibility of (...) contractual slavery propounded in the Enlightenment and their offspring expounded in recent writings, including those by Barnett, Cassirer, Ellerman, Rawls, Roberts-Thomson, Satz and Steiner. I show that they involve confusions between abilities and rights, free will and freedom, directing and doing, what may be true sequentially and what may be true simultaneously, default rights and universal rights, impermissibility and impossibility, and metaphorical and literal uses of language. (shrink)
In opposition to the tenet of contemporary action theory that an intentional action must be done for a reason, I argue that some intentional actions are unmotivated. I provide examples of arbitrary and habitual actions that are done for no reason at all. I consider and rebut an objection to the examples of unmotivated habitual action. I explain how my contention differs from recent challenges to the tenet by Hursthouse, Stocker and Pollard.
Recently there has been a lively revival of interest in implicatures, particularly scalar implicatures. Building on the resulting literature, our main goal in the present paper is to establish an empirical generalization, namely that SIs can occur systematically and freely in arbitrarily embedded positions. We are not so much concerned with the question whether drawing implicatures is a costly option (in terms of semantic processing, or of some other markedness measure). Nor are we specifically concerned with how implicatures come about (...) (even though, to get going, we will have to make some specific assumptions on this matter). The focus of our discussion is testing the claim of the pervasive embeddability of SIs in just about any context, a claim that remains so far controversial. While our main goal is the establishment of an empirical generalization, if we succeed, a predominant view on the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics will have to be revised. A secondary goal of this paper is to hint at evidence that a revision is needed on independent grounds. But let us first present, in a rather impressionistic way, the reasons why a revision would be required if our main generalization on embedded SIs turns out to be correct. In the tradition stemming from Grice (1989), implicatures are considered a wholly pragmatic phenomenon and SIs are often used as paramount examples. Within such a tradition, 㳊 semantics is taken to deal with the compositional construction of sentence meaning (a term which we are using for now in a loose, non technical way), while pragmatics deals with how sentence meaning is actually put to use (i.e. enriched and possibly modified through reasoning about speakers’ intentions, contextually relevant information, etc.). Simply put, on this view pragmatics takes place at the level of complete utterances and pragmatic enrichments are a root phenomenon (something that happens globally to sentences) rather than a compositional one.. (shrink)
It is well known that in Sluicing constructions wh-dependencies can cross certain projections that are otherwise barriers to movement (Ross (1969), Chomsky (1972)). This fact would follow under the assumption that the relevant barriers are somehow deactivated when phonologically deleted ('island repair'). The problem, however, is that another form of phonological deletion (VP Ellipsis, VPE) seems to be impossible in certain contexts where Sluicing allows for island repair (Chung et al. (1995), Merchant (1999)).
In this paper, the process for firms to decide whether or not to invest in corporate social responsibility is treated from a real option perspective. We extend the Husted framework with an important extra parameter that allows us to understand the timing of CSR investment and explain why some companies drag their feet over CSR investments. Our model explicitly allows for the impact of the opportunity cost of delaying the CSR investment decision, providing firms with tools to determine the optimal (...) moment of exercising the CSR investment option. We illustrate our timing model through a case study and analyze governmental support strategies for CSR from a real options perspective. (shrink)
The permissibility of actions depends upon facts about the flourishing and separateness of persons. Persons differ from other creatures in having the task of discovering for themselves, by conjecture and refutation, what sort of life will fulfil them. Compulsory slavery impermissibly prevents some persons from pursuing this task. However, many people may conjecture that they are natural slaves. Some of these conjectures may turn out to be correct. In consequence, voluntary slavery, in which one person welcomes the duty to fulfil (...) all the commands of another, is permissible. Life-long voluntary slavery contracts are impermissible because of human fallibility; but fixed-term slavery contracts should be legally enforceable. Each person has the temporarily alienable moral right to direct her own life. (shrink)