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Profile: Hanoch Ben-Yami (Central European University)
  1.  26
    Vagueness and Family Resemblance.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2017 - In Hans-Johann Glock (ed.), A Companion to Wittgenstein. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 407-419.
    Ben-Yami presents Wittgenstein’s explicit criticism of the Platonic identification of an explanation with a definition and the alternative forms of explanation he employed. He then discusses a few predecessors of Wittgenstein’s criticisms and the Fregean background against which he wrote. Next, the idea of family resemblance is introduced, and objections answered. Wittgenstein’s endorsement of vagueness and the indeterminacy of sense are presented, as well as the open texture of concepts. Common misunderstandings are addressed along the way. Wittgenstein’s ideas, as is (...)
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  2.  2
    Logic & Natural Language on Plural Reference and its Semantic and Logical Significance.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2004 - Routledge.
    Frege's invention of the predicate calculus has been the most influential event in the history of modern logic. The calculus' place in logic is so central that many philosophers think, in fact, of it when they think of logic. This book challenges the position in contemporary logic and philosophy of language of the predicate calculus claiming that it is based on mistaken assumptions. Ben-Yami shows that the predicate calculus is different from natural language in its fundamental semantic characteristics, primarily in (...)
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  3.  80
    The Impossibility of Backwards Causation.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):439–455.
    Dummett and others have failed to show that an effect can precede its cause. Dummett claimed that 'backwards causation' is unproblematic in agentless worlds, and tried to show under what conditions it is rational to believe that even backwards agent-causation occurs. Relying on considerations originating in discussions of special relativity, I show that the latter conditions actually support the view that backwards agent-causation is impossible. I next show that in Dummett's agentless worlds explanation does not necessitate backwards causation. I then (...)
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  4.  36
    Circumcision: What Should Be Done?Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (7):459-462.
    I explain why I think that considerations regarding the opposing rights involved in the practice of circumcision—rights of the individual to bodily integrity and rights of the community to practice its religion—would not help us decide on the desirable policy towards this controversial practice. I then suggest a few measures that are not in conflict with either religious or community rights but that can both reduce the harm that circumcision as currently practiced involves and bring about a change in attitude (...)
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  5. Voluntary Action and Neural Causation.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2014 - Cognitive Neuroscience 5:217-218.
    I agree with Nachev and Hacker’s general approach. However, their criticism of claims of covert automaticity can be strengthened. I first say a few words on what voluntary action involves and on the consequent limited relevance of brain research for the determination of voluntariness. I then turn to Nachev and Hacker’s discussion of possible covert automaticity and show why the case for it is weaker than they allow.
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  6. Backwards Causation Still Impossible.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2010 - Analysis 70 (1):89-92.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  7.  44
    The Quantified Argument Calculus.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2014 - Review of Symbolic Logic 7 (1):120-146.
    I develop a formal logic in which quantified arguments occur in argument positions of predicates. This logic also incorporates negative predication, anaphora and converse relation terms, namely, additional syntactic features of natural language. In these and additional respects, it represents the logic of natural language more adequately than does any version of Frege’s Predicate Calculus. I first introduce the system’s main ideas and familiarize it by means of translations of natural language sentences. I then develop a formal system built on (...)
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  8.  74
    Could Sherlock Holmes Have Existed?Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2010 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):175-181.
    In Naming and Necessity Kripke argued against the possible existence of fictional characters. I show that his argument is invalid, analyze the confusion it involves, and explain why the view that fictional characters could not have existed is implausible.
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  9.  98
    Plural Quantification Logic: A Critical Appraisal.Hanoch Ben-yami - 2009 - Review of Symbolic Logic 2 (1):208-232.
    I first show that most authors who developed Plural Quantification Logic (PQL) argued it could capture various features of natural language better than can other logic systems. I then show that it fails to do so: it radically departs from natural language in two of its essential features; namely, in distinguishing plural from singular quantification and in its use of an relation. Next, I sketch a different approach that is more adequate than PQL for capturing plural aspects of natural language (...)
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  10.  49
    Higher‐Level Plurals Versus Articulated Reference, and an Elaboration of Salva Veritate.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):81-102.
    In recent literature on plurals the claim has often been made that the move from singular to plural expressions can be iterated, generating what are occasionally called higher-level plurals or superplurals, often correlated with superplural predicates. I argue that the idea that the singular-to-plural move can be iterated is questionable. I then show that the examples and arguments intended to establish that some expressions of natural language are in some sense higher-level plurals fail. Next, I argue that these and some (...)
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  11.  83
    Against Characterizing Mental States as Propositional Attitudes.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (186):84-89.
    The reason for characterizing mental states as propositional attitudes is sentence form: ‘S Vs that p’. However, many mental states are not ascribed by means of such sentences, and the sentences that ascribe them cannot be appropriately paraphrased. Moreover, even if a paraphrase were always available, that in itself would not establish the characterization. And the mental states that are ascribable by appropriate senses do not form any natural subset of mental states. A reason for the characterization relying on beliefs, (...)
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  12.  82
    On Free Will and on the Nature of Philosophy.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2015 - Iyyun 64:89-96.
  13. The Row of Heads: A Philosophical Tragedy.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2012 - Think 11 (32):71-84.
    Curtain. On the stage there's a row of about forty heads, of natural size, on a long and narrow white board roughly chest height, arranged facing the audience with equal spaces between them from near the left end of the stage to near its right end. The heads are all identical apart from two features. First, the leftmost head is completely bald, the rightmost head has lots of hair on its scalp, and the amount of hair on the heads increases (...)
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  14. Behaviorism and Psychologism: Why Block's Argument Against Behaviorism is Unsound.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):179-186.
    Ned Block. Psychologism and behaviorism. Philosophical Review, 90, 5-43.) argued that a behaviorist conception of intelligence is mistaken, and that the nature of an agent's internal processes is relevant for determining whether the agent has intelligence. He did that by describing a machine which lacks intelligence, yet can answer questions put to it as an intelligent person would. The nature of his machine's internal processes, he concluded, is relevant for determining that it lacks intelligence. I argue against Block that it (...)
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  15. A Note on the Chinese Room.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 1993 - Synthese 95 (2):169-72.
    Searle's Chinese Room was supposed to prove that computers can't understand: the man in the room, following, like a computer, syntactical rules alone, though indistinguishable from a genuine Chinese speaker, doesn't understand a word. But such a room is impossible: the man won't be able to respond correctly to questions like What is the time?, even though such an ability is indispensable for a genuine Chinese speaker. Several ways to provide the room with the required ability are considered, and it (...)
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  16.  70
    The Semantics of Kind Terms.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (2):155-184.
    This paper criticizes Kripke’s and Putnam’s theory of the semantics of natural kind terms (KPT) and develops an alternative theory. It first examines description theories of natural kind terms, to see what their flaws are and what can be preserved of them. It then presents the KPT and makes three main criticisms. These rely on the meaning of elementary particles’ names, on reactions to the absence of a common essential nature, and on applications of old terms to new cases. Lastly, (...)
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  17.  69
    Causality and Temporal Order in Special Relativity.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):459-479.
    David Malament tried to show that the causal theory of time leads to a unique determination of simultaneity relative to an inertial observer, namely standard simultaneity. I show that the causal relation Malament uses in his proofs, causal connectibility, should be replaced by a different causal relation, the one used by Reichenbach in his formulation of the theory. I also explain why Malament's reliance on the assumption that the observer has an eternal inertial history modifies our conception of simultaneity, and (...)
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  18. Response to Westerstahl.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2012 - Logique Et Analyse 55 (217):47-55.
  19.  41
    Absolute Distant Simultaneity in Special Relativity.Hanoch Ben-Yami - unknown
    What is simultaneous with an event is what can interact with it; events have duration; therefore, any given event has distant events simultaneous with it, even according to Special Relativity.
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  20.  47
    Generalized Quantifiers, and Beyond.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse (208):309-326.
    I show that the contemporary dominant analysis of natural language quantifiers that are one-place determiners by means of binary generalized quantifiers has failed to explain why they are, according to it, conservative. I then present an alternative, Geachean analysis, according to which common nouns in the grammatical subject position are plural logical subject-terms, and show how it does explain that fact and other features of natural language quantification.
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  21.  14
    Introduction to the 2nd Synthese Special Issue: Trends in Philosophy of Language and Mind.Hanoch Ben-Yami, Robyn Carston & Markus Werning - forthcoming - Synthese.
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  22.  45
    Why Rigidity?Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2014 - In J. Berg (ed.), Naming, Necessity and More: Explorations in the Philosophical Work of Saul Kripke. Palgrave. pp. 3-21.
    In Naming and Necessity Kripke argues 'intuitively' that names are rigid. Unlike Kripke, Ben-Yami first introduces and justifies the Principle of the Independence of Reference (PIR), according to which the reference of a name is independent of what is said in the rest of the sentence containing it. Ben-Yami then derives rigidity, or something close to it, from the PIR. Additional aspects of the use of names and other expressions in modal contexts, explained by the PIR but not by the (...)
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  23.  92
    An Argument Against Functionalism.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):320-324.
    Functionalists define a given mental state as a state that is apt to be the cause of specific effects and the effect of specific causes. Two tokens of the same belief, however, often cause and are caused by very different events: what makes them beliefs of the same type? Several answers, including the one relying on the identity of actual plus counterfactual causal relations, are considered and rejected. Functionalists did not notice that they have to specify how a state which (...)
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  24.  56
    Causal Order, Temporal Order, and Becoming in Special Relativity.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):277-281.
    I reconstruct from Rietdijk and Putnam’s well-known papers an argument against the applicability of the concept of becoming in Special Relativity, which I think is unaffected by some of the objections found in the literature. I then consider a line of thought found in the discussion of the possible conventionality of simultaneity in Special Relativity, beginning with Reichenbach, and apply it to the debate over becoming. We see that it immediately renders Rietdijk and Putnam’s argument unsound. I end by comparing (...)
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  25.  33
    A Critique of Frege on Common Nouns.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2006 - Ratio 19 (2):148–155.
    Frege analyzed the grammatical subject-term 'S' in quantified subject-predicate sentences, 'q S are P', as being logically predicative. This is in contrast to Aristotelian Logic, according to which it is a logical subject-term, like the proper name 'a' in 'a is P' – albeit a plural one, designating many particulars. I show that Frege's arguments for his analysis are unsound, and explain how he was misled to his position by the mathematical concept of function. If common nouns in this grammatical (...)
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  26.  33
    Bare Quantifiers?Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):175-188.
    In a series of publications I have claimed that by contrast to standard formal languages, quantifiers in natural language combine with a general term to form a quantified argument, in which the general term's role is to determine the domain or plurality over which the quantifier ranges. In a recent paper Zoltán Gendler Szabó tried to provide a counterexample to this analysis and derived from it various conclusions concerning quantification in natural language, claiming it is often ‘bare’. I show that (...)
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  27.  70
    A Wittgensteinian Solution to the Sorites.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2010 - Philosophical Investigations 33 (3):229-244.
    I develop a solution to the Sorites Paradox, according to which a concatenation of valid arguments need not itself be valid. I specify which chains of valid arguments are those that do not preserve validity: those that pass the vague boundary between cases where the relevant concept applies and cases where that concept does not apply. I also develop various criticisms of this solution and show why they fail; basically, they all involve a petitio at some stage. I criticise the (...)
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  28.  38
    Attributive Adjectives and the Predicate Calculus.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (3):277 - 289.
    I have attempted to show that many attributive adjectives can be dealt with within the framework of first-order predicate calculus by the method suggested in this paper. I've also supplied independent reasons for the claim that attributive adjectives that are not responsive to this method require a formal treatment different from the one that the adjectives successfully dealt with by that method require. Thus, if the method I've argued for is sound, then the scope of first-order predicate calculus was shown (...)
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  29.  25
    Review of D. Oderberg (Ed.), The Old New Logic: Essays on the Philosophy of Fred Sommers[REVIEW]Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2007 - Mind 116 (461):197-202.
  30.  30
    Apparent Simultaneity.Hanoch Ben-Yami - unknown
    deposited in Pittsburgh PhilSci-Archive, March 2007.
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  31.  9
    Diogenes and the brats (of providence).Hanoch Ben-Yami & Wilhelm Busch - manuscript
  32.  11
    Critical Study of Amie L. Thomasson, Ordinary Objects.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):267-279.
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  33.  91
    Descartes' Philosophical Revolution: A Reassessment.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2015 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    In this book, Ben-Yami reassesses the way Descartes developed and justified some of his revolutionary philosophical ideas. The first part of the book shows that one of Descartes' most innovative and influential ideas was that of representation without resemblance. Ben-Yami shows how Descartes transfers insights originating in his work on analytic geometry to his theory of perception. The second part shows how Descartes was influenced by the technology of the period, notably clockwork automata, in holding life to be a mechanical (...)
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