This essay takes as its task the critical comparison of two thinkers who are rarely matched or studied in tandem: Jürgen Habermas and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. It stages a (largely) speculative dialogue between the two thinkers, considering not only the points of convergence but their likely objections to each other's accounts of communication and language. I will argue that Merleau-Ponty, whose own concerns significantly overlap with Habermas's, while simultaneously pulling in a different direction, serves as a useful counter-point to Habermas. This (...) is so because Merleau-Ponty offers us an intersubjectivist account of praxis, from which can be extrapolated an ethics of communicative engagement between self, other, and world. Such a phenomenological and/or existential rereading of the central Habermasian problematic not only compensates for the notorious abstraction of Discourse Ethics, but better underscores possibilities for social transformation inherent in intersubjectivity and the lifeworld than are acknowledged by Habermas. (shrink)
This is a transcript of a conversation between P F Strawson and Gareth Evans in 1973, filmed for The Open University. Under the title 'Truth', Strawson and Evans discuss the question as to whether the distinction between genuinely fact-stating uses of language and other uses can be grounded on a theory of truth, especially a 'thin' notion of truth in the tradition of F P Ramsey.
The central aim of this paper is to argue against Evans’ hybrid theory of reference. I will show that Evans’ theory makes false predictions in the case of some thought-experiments. The paper has two sections. After providing a short presentation of Evans’ theory in the first section, I will move on to criticize it in the second section.
Gareth Evans was arguably the finest philosopher of his generation; he died tragically young, but the work he completed has had a seismic impact on the philosophies of language and mind. In this volume an outstanding international team of contributors offer illuminating perspectives on Evans's groundbreaking work, paying tribute to his achievements and leading his ideas in new directions. Contributors Josi Luis Bermzdez, John Campbell, Quassim Cassam, E. J. Lowe, John McDowell, Christopher Peacocke, Ian Rumfitt, Ken Safir, Mark Sainsbury.
In “Understanding Demonstratives”, Gareth Evans bites the bullet regarding Rip van Winkle cases in cognitive dynamics: the fact that Rip sleeps for twenty years and completely loses track of time means he is unable to retain his original belief that “Today is a fine day”. In this paper, the author argues that Evans need not bite this bullet because there are resources in his account of the cognitive dynamics involved in belief retention developed in The Varieties of Reference to (...) successfully confront the challenge posed by the Rip van Winkle case. In particular, when we combine the two central elements of Evans’s cognitive dynamics – the skill of keeping track of one’s spatio-temporal location in addition to memory – it is possible to arrive at the conclusion that it is indeed possible for Rip to retain and re-express his original belief. (shrink)
Thought, Reference, and Experience is a collection of important new essays on topics at the intersection of philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and philosophical logic. The starting-point for the papers is the brilliant work of the British philosopher Gareth Evans before his untimely death in 1980 at the age of 34. Evans's work on reference and singular thought transformed the Fregean approach to the philosophy of thought and language, showing how seemingly technical issues in philosophical semantics are inextricably (...) linked to fundamental questions about the structure of our thinking about ourselves and about the world. The papers, all newly written for this volume, explore different aspects of Evans's philosophical legacy, showing its importance to central areas in contemporary analytic philosophy. The volume includes a substantial introduction that introduces the principal themes in Evans's thought and places the papers in context. (shrink)
By ‘the unity of psychology’ I mean something one might also express by saying that the psychology of human beings is part of the psychology of animals generally. Perhaps there are several different ways of trying to trace out the ramifications of the idea that psychology is one. A central consideration, I think, is likely to be some sort of principle of continuity up and down the scale of nature. The idea would be that up and down the scale of (...) animated or ensouled things there are always psychological continuities, never any strict discontinuity. If human beings can get angry, can want to get ahead in life, can see an illusion, can develop an Oedipus complex, then so can some lower animal do either the very same thing, something similar, or at least something analogous. (shrink)
This article highlights Gareth Matthews's contributions to the field of philosophy for young children, noting especially the inventiveness of his style of engagement with children and his confidence in children's ability to analyze perplexing issues, from cosmology to death and dying. I relate here my experiences in introducing philosophical topics to adolescents, to show how Matthews's work can be successfully extended to older students, and I recommend taking philosophy outside the university as a way to foster critical thinking in (...) young students and to improve the public status of the profession. (shrink)
In L. Frank Baum's story, Ozma of Oz, which is a sequel to Baum's much more famous story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companion come upon a wound-down mechanical man bearing a label on which are printed the following words: Smith and Tinker's Patent Double-Action, Extra-Responsive, Thought-Creating Perfect-Talking MECHANICAL MAN Fitted with our Special Clock-Work Attachment Thinks, Speaks, Acts, and Does Everything but Live As Dorothy and her companion are made to discover when they wind up this (...) man, he is indeed capable of doing all the things of which his label boasts—acting, speaking and even thinking. But as Tik-Tok himself insists, and no one in the story casts doubt on the matter, he is not alive. (shrink)
What is often called Descartes' dream problem should perhaps be called Plato's dream problem instead. Certainly it can be found in Plato's Theaetetus at 158b–c. It can also be found in Cicero and, through Cicero's influence, in much of the work of St Augustine.
As an undergraduate from 1964 to 1967, Gareth Evans, a British philosopher of language and mind, studied for the PPE degree (philosophy, politics and economics) at University College, Oxford, where his philosophy tutor was Peter Strawson. He was then a Senior Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford (1967–68) and a Kennedy Scholar visiting Harvard and Berkeley (1968–69). In 1968, less than a year after completing his degree, Evans was elected to a Fellowship at University College. He took up the position (...) in 1969, succeeding Strawson who had become Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford. During the 1970s, Evans and his University College colleague John McDowell played leading roles in developing a distinctive conception of truth-theoretic semantics, drawing on the work of Strawson, Michael Dummett, and especially Donald Davidson. Their co-edited collection, Truth and Meaning: Essays in Semantics, appeared in 1976. While philosophy of language enjoyed a central position in Oxford philosophy of that period, Evans did not share the view (regarded by Dummett as constitutive of analytic philosophy) that philosophy of language is foundational and so takes priority over philosophy of mind in the order of philosophical explanation. He attached particular importance to the mentalistic notion of understanding, and his work on the theory of reference was set within a theory of thought and especially thought about particular objects. Evans’s published work ranged over philosophy of language, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology. In 1979 he was elected to the Wilde Readership in Mental Philosophy at Oxford. He died in August 1980, at the age of thirtyfour. His book, The Varieties of Reference (1982), incomplete at the time of his death, was edited and brought to publication by McDowell. A collection of thirteen of his papers and two shorter notes appeared in 1985 and a further note was published in 2004.. (shrink)
Gareth Stedman Jones has written a scholarly and interesting biography of Karl Marx, framed by the plausible idea that the ‘authentic’ Marx needs to be recovered from layers of 20th-century misinterpretation. The book focuses more on the political context than the intellectual content of Marx's ideas, and its treatment of the latter has some limitations. Not least, the author underestimates the complexity, interest, and relevance, of certain elements of Marx's thought.
First, we argue that Dummett, in his accusing Husserl of psychologism, does not pay sufficient attention to the phenomenological framework of Husserl's philosophy. This framework must be taken into account for understanding why Husserl is not a psychologist in the theory of meaning. Second, it is shown that the thoughts required by Evans' theory of understanding indexical utterances are not to be identified with mental events as understood by psychologism. We then emphasize what Husserl's and Evans' explanation of the mind (...) share, and finally argue that Dummett's anti-psychologism is based on a psychologistic view of consciousness which is not questioned by Dummett. (shrink)
This volume of thirteen essays originated in a conference on Latin philosophy at Columbia University, organized by the editors in 2012. The guiding principle was to examine how writing philosophy in Latin gave a distinctive character to Roman philosophical thinking. The conference was interdisciplinary, involving philosophers and literary scholars, some interested in ancient history as well. In publishing the papers, the editors had in mind as a model Philosophia Togata I and II, the second volume of which is almost twenty (...) years old. More up to date, this volume also aims to fill gaps in the earlier enterprise by devoting one of the four parts to Seneca, not treated as a separate topic there, and by going beyond... (shrink)
In the paper Evans’s argument concerning indeterminate identity statements is presented and discussed. Evans’s paper in which he formulated his argument is one of the most frequently discussed papers concerning identity. There are serious doubts concerning what Evans wanted to prove by his argument. Theorists have proposed two competing and incompatible interpretations. According to some, Evans purposefully constructed an invalid argument in order to demonstrate that the vague objects view cannot diagnose the fallacy and is therefore untenable. According to others, (...) Evans wanted to formulate a (valid) argument to the effect that there cannot be vague identity statements whose vagueness is due solely to the existence of vague objects. As it has been argued, if it is the former interpretation which is correct, than the argument really is invalid, but it is doubtful whether it achieves its aim. It might be claimed that “the vague objects view” it refutes is not the view that most vague objects theorists hold. The main part of the paper is devoted to the second interpretation and the discussions concerning the validity of the argument on this interpretation. It appears that the vague objects theorist is in a position to object to the validity of every single step of the proof. (shrink)