Many people have recently argued that we need to distinguish between experiences and seemings and that this has consequences for views about how perception provides evidence. In this article I spell out my take on these issues by doing three things. First, I distinguish between mere sensations like seeing pitch black all around you and perceptual experiences like seeing a red apple. Both have sensory phenomenology in presenting us with sensory qualities like colors, being analog in Dretske's sense, and being (...) fine-grained. However, only the latter have furthermore a perceptual phenomenology characterized by objectification and related dualities of perspectivality/completion and variation/constancy. Second, I elaborate on the reasons for thinking that both mere sensations and perceptual experiences need to be distinguished from accompanying seemings that passively assign things into conceptual categories and thereby tell you something about them. For example, when you look at a red apple and have the relevant recognitional abilities it will also normally seem to you that this is an apple. Finally, I argue that the best version of the popular dogmatist view about evidence is one which claims that it's neither experiences nor seemings by themselves, but rather the right sorts of composites of experiences and seemings that provide evidence. (shrink)
Tim Bayne and Susanna Siegel have recently offered interesting arguments in favor of the view that we can experience high-level properties like being a pine tree or being a stethoscope (Bayne 2009, Siegel 2006, 2011). We argue first that Bayne’s simpler argument fails. However, our main aim in this paper is to show that Siegel’s more sophisticated argument for her version of the high-level view can also be resisted if one adopts a view that distinguishes between perceptual experiences and seemings.
Many philosophers think that games like chess, languages like English, and speech acts like assertion are constituted by rules. Lots of others disagree. To argue over this productively, it would be first useful to know what it would be for these things to be rule-constituted. Searle famously claimed in Speech Acts that rules constitute things in the sense that they make possible the performance of actions related to those things (Searle 1969). On this view, rules constitute games, languages, and speech (...) acts in the sense that they make possible playing them, speaking them and performing them. This raises the question what it is to perform rule-constituted actions (e. g. play, speak, assert) and the question what makes constitutive rules distinctive such that only they make possible the performance of new actions (e. g. playing). In this paper I will criticize Searle’s answers to these questions. However, my main aim is to develop a better view, explain how it works in the case of each of games, language, and assertion and illustrate its appeal by showing how it enables rule-based views of these things to respond to various objections. (shrink)
Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of implementing the idea give (...) rise to the Frege-Geach problem. Others think that predication must be neutral, if we’re to avoid the Frege-Geach problem. However, it looks like nothing neutral can explain representation. In this paper I present a third view, one which respects the powerful reasons while avoiding the problems. On this view predication is forceful and can thus explain representation, but the idea is implemented in a novel way, avoiding the Frege-Geach problem. The key is to make sense of the notion of grasping a proposition as an objectual act where the object is a proposition. (shrink)
Do we perceptually experience moral properties like rightness and wrongness? For example, as in Gilbert Harman’s classic case, when we see a group of young hoodlums pour gasoline on a cat and ignite it, can we, in the same robust sense, see the action’s wrongness?. Many philosophers have recently discussed this question, argued for a positive answer and/or discussed its epistemological implications. This paper presents a new case for a negative answer by, first, getting much clearer on how such experience (...) could be possible at all; second, responding the only argument for a positive answer; and, finally, arguing that postulation of such experience is explanatorily redundant. (shrink)
Ever since the publication of Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, there’s been a raging debate in philosophy of language over whether meaning and thought are, in some sense, normative. Most participants in the normativity wars seem to agree that some uses of meaningful expressions are semantically correct while disagreeing over whether this entails anything normative. But what is it to say that a use of an expression is semantically correct? On the so-called orthodox construal, it is to say (...) that it doesn’t result in a factual mistake, that is, in saying or thinking something false. On an alternative construal it is instead to say that it doesn’t result in a distinctively linguistic mistake, that is, in misusing the expression. It is natural to think that these two construals of semantic correctness are simply about different things and not in competition with each other. However, this is not the common view. Instead, several philosophers who subscribe to the orthodox construal have argued that the alternative construal of correctness as use in accordance with meaning doesn’t make any sense, partly because there are no clear cases of linguistic mistakes (Whiting 2016, Wikforss 2001). In this paper I develop and defend the idea that there’s a distinctively linguistic notion of correctness as use in accordance with meaning and argue that there are clear cases of linguistic mistakes. (shrink)
Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have recently developed similar views of propositional attitudes on which they consist at least partly of being disposed to perform mental acts. Both think that to believe a proposition is at least partly to be disposed to perform the primitive propositional act: one the performance of which is part of the performance of any other propositional act. However, they differ over whether the primitive act is the forceless entertaining or the forceful judging. In this paper (...) I argue that Soames’s “forceless” approach has an advantage over Hanks’s “forceful” approach which faces a serious problem. (shrink)
On Bernard Suits’s celebrated analysis, to play a game is to engage in a ‘voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles’. Voluntariness is understood in terms of the players having the ‘lusory attitude’ of accepting the constitutive rules of the game just because they make possible playing it. In this paper I suggest that the players in Netflix’s hit show Squid Game play the ‘squid games’, but they do not do so voluntarily; they are forced to play. I argue that this (...) means that we should rethink Suits’s analysis by claiming that all that is needed for players to play is that someone has put the rules in force for them for the reason that it makes playing the game possible. I then illustrate the virtues of the revised analysis by showing how it helps us to defuse Hurka’s recent counterexamples to Suits’s view. (shrink)
Do we perceptually experience meanings? For example, when we hear an utterance of a sentence like ‘Bertrand is British’ do we hear its meaning in the sense of being auditorily aware of it? Several philosophers like Tim Bayne and Susanna Siegel have suggested that we do (Bayne 2009: 390, Siegel 2006: 490-491, 2011: 99-100). They argue roughly as follows: 1) experiencing speech/writing in a language you are incompetent in is phenomenally different from experiencing speech/writing you are competent in; 2) this (...) contrast is best explained by the fact that we experience meanings in the latter case, but not the former. In contrast, in an important recent discussion Casey O’Callaghan has argued that we do not (O’Callaghan 2011). He responds to the above contrast argument by claiming that this phenomenal contrast is instead best explained by the fact that we hear language-specific phonological properties in the latter case, but not in the former. In this paper I argue that O’Callaghan’s response to the popular contrast argument is too limited in scope, provide a more general response, and present a new case against experiencing meanings. (shrink)
Over the course of the past ten-plus years, Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have developed detailed versions of Act-Based views of propositions which operate with the notions of reference to objects, indicating properties, predication, and judgment (or entertaining). In this paper I discuss certain foundational aspects of the Act-Based approach having to do with the relations between these notions. In particular, I argue for the following three points. First, that the approach needs both an atomistically understood thin notion of reference, (...) a bare act of thinking of o, as well as a more involved notion, something like making o a target of predication. Second, that the acts of thinking of o and indication of the property of being F are in no sense parts of the acts of predication of being F of o and judgment that o is F. Rather, the former are simply necessary preconditions for the performance of the latter. The acts of predication or judgment are emphatically not structured sequences of separate acts but unities in and of themselves. Finally, that we should understand the Act-Based theorists’ claim that to predicate is to judge as the claim that judgment can be reductively analyzed in terms of predication. Furthermore, while predication is metaphysically a multiple relation between a predicator, a target, and the property predicated, judgment is a monadic property, just one that has propositional content. (shrink)
‘Rule-following’ is a name for a cluster of phenomena where we seem both guided and “normatively” constrained by something general in performing particular actions. Understanding the phenomenon is important because of its connection to meaning, representation, and content. This article gives an overview of the philosophical discussion of rule-following with emphasis on Kripke’s skeptical paradox and recent work on possible solutions. Part I of this two-part contribution is devoted to the basic issues from Wittgenstein to Kripke. Part II will be (...) about recent answers to the skeptical paradox and Boghossian’s and Wright’s new puzzles. (shrink)
Recently, there’s been a lot of interest in a research program that tries to understand propositional representation in terms of the subject’s performance of sub-propositional mental acts like reference and predication (e. g. Burge 2010, Hanks 2015, Soames 2010, 2015). For example, on one version of the view, for a subject to predicate the property of being a composer of Arvo just is what it is to perform the to the basic propositional act of judging that Arvo is a composer (...) (e. g. Hanks 2015). In this paper I first present my own version of this view and contrast it with alternatives. I then argue that we must clearly separate the thin predication-resultant notion of judging (S(emantic)-judgment) from a much richer notion used in epistemology (E(pistemic)-judgment). The former is just the act of thinking a forceful thought. The latter is the act of making up one’s mind about how things are, a way of concluding theoretical or doxastic deliberation. I argue that these two acts differ in three ways: levels of propositional attitude, objective vs. subjective norms, and the possibility of sub-personal occurrence. (shrink)
The linguistic meaning of a word in a language is what fully competent speakers of the language have a grasp of merely in virtue of their semantic competence. The meanings of words sometimes change over time. 'Meat' used to mean 'solid food', but now means 'animal flesh eaten as food'. This type of meaning change comes with change of topic, what we’re talking about. Many people interested in conceptual engineering have claimed that there is also meaning change where topic is (...) retained. For example, they claim that the meanings of ‘fish’ and ‘pasta’ have undergone such change and that the meaning of 'marriage' would change this way after gay marriages become legal and widely accepted. In this paper I relate two sets of relatively independent literatures: mainstream philosophy of language and conceptual engineering to argue that on a plausible and widely accepted Minimalist view of meaning that is part and parcel of anti-descriptivism none of the above sorts of cases involve meaning change with topic retention. I do this by showing how to distinguish minimalism about meaning from the related theses of externalism and anti-individualism about intension and how to separate meaning from intension in a way that allows meaning and topic to remain the same despite changes in intension. The larger lesson is that much like we shouldn’t disregard the boundary between the narrowly meaning-related (“semantics”) and the more broadly communication-related (“pragmatics”), we shouldn’t disregard the boundary between the former and the more broadly thought-related, conceptual or cognitive (“cognition”). (shrink)
This is a short response piece to Jeremy Schwartz's "Saying 'Thank You' and Meaning It", published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2020, 98, pp. 718-731. -/- Schwartz argues against the received view that 'Thank You! is for expressing gratitude, claiming instead that it is for expressing one's judgment that gratitude is appropriate or fitting. I argue against the judgment view while defending the received one. -/- I mainly consider the objection that the judgment view is implausible since it makes ‘Thank (...) you!’ semantically indistinguishable from the declarative sentence ‘Gratitude is appropriate to you’ and show that Schwartz’s attempt to sidestep it relies on misunderstanding Kaplan's view of what it is for a sentence to be an expressive vs. a declarative. (shrink)
Minu eesmärgiks antud artiklis on pakkuda üht vaadet filosoofia olemuse, eesmärgi ja rolli kohta kaasaja maailmas. Artikli esimeses osas kirjeldan lühidalt nelja tänapäeva filosoofiat oluliselt mõjutanud filosoofiakontseptsiooni: ideaalkeele traditsiooni filosoofiamõistmist, tavakeele filosoofia arusaamu, Wittgensteini terapeutilis-deflatsionalistlikku kontseptsiooni ning kaasaegse filosoofilise naturalismi metafilosoofiat. Teises osas visandan Wilfrid Sellarsist inspireerituna filosoofiamõistmise, mis võimaldab meil näha kõiki eelnevalt käsitletud filosoofiakontseptsioone täitmas ühe ja sama projekti erinevaid osi ning mõista keskset osa kaasaja filosoofiast.