Frank Jackson champions the cause of conceptual analysis as central to philosophical inquiry. In recent years conceptual analysis has been undervalued and widely misunderstood, suggests Jackson. He argues that such analysis is mistakenly clouded in mystery, preventing a whole range of important questions from being productively addressed. He anchors his argument in discussions of specific philosophical issues, starting with the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism and moving on, via free will, meaning, personal identity, motion, and change, to ethics and the philosophy (...) of color. In this way the book not only offers a methodological program for philosophy, but also casts new light on some much-debated problems and their interrelations. (shrink)
What is the nature of, and what is the relationship between, external objects and our visual perceptual experience of them? In this book, Frank Jackson defends the answers provided by the traditional Representative theory of perception. He argues, among other things that we are never immediately aware of external objects, that they are the causes of our perceptual experiences and that they have only the primary qualities. In the course of the argument, sense data and the distinction between mediate and (...) immediate perception receive detailed defences and the author criticises attempts to reduce perceiving the believing and to show that the Representative theory makes the external world unknowable. Jackson recognises that his views are unfashionable but argues in detail that they are to be preferred to their currently favoured competitors. It will become an obvious point of reference for all future work on the philosophy of perception. (shrink)
Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes . Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no.
This collection introduces the reader to some of the most interesting current work on conditionals. Particular attention is paid to possible world semantics for conditionals, the role of conditional probability in helping us to understand conditionals, implicature and the material conditional, and subjunctive versus indicative conditionals. Contributors include V.H. Dudman, Dorothy Edgington, Nelson Goodman, H.P. Grice, David Lewis, and Robert Stalnaker.
The philosophy of mind and cognition has been transformed by recent advances in what is loosely called cognitive science. This book is a thoroughly up-to-date introduction to and account of that transformation, in which the many strands in contemporary cognitive science are brought together into a coherent philosophical picture of the mind. The book begins with discussions of the pre-history of contemporary philosophy of mind - dualism, behaviourism, and early versions of the identity theory of mind - and moves through (...) discussions of functionalism in autonomy of psychology, to topics such as eliminative materialism, individualism and the problems of content and representation. The synoptic nature of the discussion makes it ideal as the foundation of an undergraduate course in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Some properties are causally relevant for a certain effect, others are not. In this paper we describe a problem for our understanding of this notion and then offer a solution in terms of the notion of a program explanation.
David Braddon-Mitchell and Frank Jackson’s popular introduction to philosophy of mind and cognition is now available in a fully revised and updated edition. Ensures that the most recent developments in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science are brought together into a coherent, accessible whole. Revisions respond to feedback from students and teachers and make the volume even more useful for courses. New material includes: a section on Descartes’ famous objection to materialism; extended treatment of connectionism; coverage of the view (...) that psychology is autonomous; fuller discussion of recent debates over phenomenal experience; and much more. (shrink)
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, (...) assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself”. Michael Taylor agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”. (shrink)
Much of the contemporary debate in the philosophy of mind is concerned with the clash between certain strongly held intuitions and what science tells us about the mind and its relation to the world. What science tells us about the mind points strongly towards some version or other of physicalism. The intuitions, in one way or another, suggest that there is something seriously incomplete about any purely physical story about the mind.
I defend the view that the truth conditions of the ordinary indicative conditional are those of the material conditional. This is done via a discussion of assertability and by appeal to conventional implicature rather than conversational implicature.
How is what an agent ought to do at time t related to what they ought to do over a period of time that includes t? I revisit an example that sheds light on this question, taking account of issues to do with the agent's intentions and the distinction between subjective and objective obligation.
_Language, Names, and Information_ is an important contribution to philosophy of language by one of its foremost scholars, challenging the pervasive view that the description theory of proper names is dead in the water, and defending a version of the description theory from a perspective on language that sees words as a wonderful source of information about the nature of the world we live in. Challenges current pervasive view that the description theory of reference for proper names has been refuted (...) Discusses several topics at the center of current debates, including representation and information, two-dimensionalism, possible worlds, and broad vs. narrow content Maintains the conversational and somewhat informal tone of the original lectures upon which the book is based. (shrink)
This paper develops an informal semantics for 'ought to be' and 'ought to be given...' and argues for its plausibility. A feature of the semantics is that it invalidates 'if a entails b, And o(a), Then o(b)' and 'if o(a) & o(b), Then o(a&b)', While validating detachment for conditional obligation.
I think recent discussions of content and reference have not paid enough attention to the role of language as a convention-governed system of communication. With this as a background theme, I explain the role of A-intensions in elucidating one important notion of content and correlative notions of reference.
How should we react to the contention that there is empirical evidence showing that many judge Gettier cases to be cases of knowledge, contrary to the verdict of most analytical philosophers about these cases? I argue that there is no single answer to this question. The discussion is set inside a view about how to view the role and significance of intuitive responses to some of philosophy's famous thought experiments. One take-home message is that experimental philosophy and conceptual analysis are (...) not as far apart as is often thought. (shrink)
I survey recent work on mental causation. The discussion is conducted under the twin presumptions that mental states, including especially what subjects believe and desire, causally explain what subjects do, and that the physical sciences can in principle give a complete explanation for each and every bodily movement. I start with sceptical discussions of various views that hold that, in some strong sense, the causal explanations offered by psychology are autonomous with respect to those offered by the physical sciences. I (...) then proceed to views that see the problem of mental causation as that of identifying where in the physical story about us and our world lie the parts that in effect tell us abut mental causation - the kind of position that is pretty much standard in the cognitive science community - and consider issues raised by various forms of functionalism and externalism. The general thrust of my discussion is sympathetic to the story about mental causation suggested by those type-type versions of the mind-brain identity theory that allow for the possiblity of multiple realisability. I include a brief discussion of how a map-system account of belief, by contrast with a language of thought one, should understand explanations of behaviour in terms of what a subject believes. (shrink)
It turned out that there was no phlogiston, no caloric fluid, and no luminiferous ether. Might it turn out that there are no beliefs and desires? Patricia and Paul Churchland say yes} We say no. In part one we give our positive argument for the existence of beliefs and desires.
"the incorrigibility thesis", The thesis that it is logically impossible to be mistaken about such things as whether I am now in pain or am seeing or seeming to see something red, Is very widely supposed to be false. I consider the arguments designed to show this, And argue that they all fail.
Expressivists hold that ethical sentences express attitudes. We argue that it is very hard for expressivists to give an account of the relevant sense of 'express' which has some plausibility and also delivers the kind of noncognitivist account of ethical sentences they affirm. Our argument draws on Locke's point that words are voluntary signs.
Oxford Handbooks offer authoritative and up-to-date surveys of original research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates. Oxford Handbooks provide scholars and graduate students with compelling new perspectives upon a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy is the definitive guide to what's going on in this lively and fascinating subject. Jackson and Smith, themselves (...) two of the world's most eminent philosophers, have assembled more than thirty distinguished scholars to contribute incisive and up-to-date critical surveys of the principal areas of research. The coverage is broad, with sections devoted to moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, philosophy of mind and action, philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of the sciences. This Handbook will be a rich source of insight and stimulation for philosophers, students of philosophy, and for people working in other disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, who are interested in the state of philosophy today. (shrink)