Now in a new edition, this volume updates Davidson's exceptional Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984), which set out his enormously influential philosophy of language. The original volume remains a central point of reference, and a focus of controversy, with its impact extending into linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Addressing a central question--what it is for words to mean what they do--and featuring a previously uncollected, additional essay, this work will appeal to a wide audience of philosophers, (...) linguists, and psychologists. (shrink)
In this companion to ‘Charity, Interpretation, and Belief’, McGinn broadens his attack on Davidson's principle of charity, arguing that charity is no more required for the ascription of notional beliefs (i.e. shared concepts) than it is for the ascription of relational beliefs. His argument takes the form of a reductio: if Davidson were right that about the inherently charitable nature of interpretation, then, McGinn argues, traditional sceptical worries (e.g. concerning the external world, other minds) would not even arise. (...) But that is absurd. In the concluding section, McGinn presents his preferred (Quinean) method of interpretation, according to which the ascription of beliefs and meanings proceeds only after the attribution of perceptual experiences. (shrink)
Aestheticians in the tradition of Critical Theory have claimed that the or a purpose of musical interpretation is somehow to save or salvage or rescue ("retten") the musical work. What sense, if any, can be made of this claim? The notion of salvage or rescue presupposes the concept of danger. Threats to works of art emerge from two sources: from outside and from inside. Whilst the former problem is only touched upon, the latter is discussed in some detail, using (...) the example of Brahms' Alto Rhapsody op. 53. Kathleen Ferrier's and Clemens Krauss' interpretation of 1947 deals with rather than ignores the composer's crumbly attempt at fusing art and religion. Salvage as their attitude vis-a-vis the work is distinguished from cover-up on the one hand and exposure on the other hand. (shrink)
Can there be a theory of law? -- Two views of the nature of the theory of law : a partial comparison -- On the nature of law -- The problem of authority : revisiting the service conception -- About morality and the nature of law -- Incorporation by law -- Reasoning with rules -- Why interpret? -- Interpretation without retrieval -- Intention in interpretation -- Interpretation : pluralism and innovation -- On the authority and interpretation (...) of constitutions : some preliminaries -- Postema on law's autonomy and public practical reasons : a critical comment. (shrink)
What knowledge would suffice to yield an interpretation of an arbitrary utterance of a language when such knowledge is based on evidence plausibly available to a nonspeaker of that language? it is argued that it is enough to know a theory of truth for the language and that the theory satisfies tarski's 'convention t' and that it gives an optimal fit to data about sentences held true, Under specified conditions, By native speakers.
In terms of Groenendijk and Stokhofs (1984) formalization of exhaustive interpretation, many conversational implicatures can be accounted for. In this paper we justify and generalize this approach. Our justification proceeds by relating their account via Halpern and Moses (1984) non-monotonic theory of only knowing to the Gricean maxims of Quality and the first sub-maxim of Quantity. The approach of Groenendijk and Stokhof (1984) is generalized such that it can also account for implicatures that are triggered in subclauses not entailed (...) by the whole complex sentence. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has proposed that we should give a ‘knowledge first’ twist to David Lewis’s account of content, maintaining that for P to be the content of one’s belief is for P to be the content that would be attributed by an idealized interpreter working under certain constraints, and that the fundamental constraint on interpretation is a principle of knowledge maximization. According to this principle, an interpretation is correct to the extent that it maximizes the number of knowledgeable (...) judgments the subject comes out as making. Here I will argue against knowledge maximization and two fallback positions suggested by Williamson’s discussion. Williamson intends the principle of knowledge maximization to form the basis of an argument against a certain sort of skepticism about judgment. In the final section I argue that the kind of general response to judgment skepticism envisaged by Williamson is neither desirable nor necessary. (shrink)
This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a particular interpretation of the theory in (...) question. This claim is illustrated by examining how OSR fares with respect to the three main candidates for an ontology of quantum mechanics, namely many worlds-type interpretations, collapse-type interpretations and hidden variable-type interpretations. The result is that OSR as such is not sufficient to answer the question of what the world is like if quantum mechanics is correct. (shrink)
This article re-examines the theoretical basis for environmental and heritage interpretation in tourist settings in the light of hermeneutic philosophy. It notes that the pioneering vision of heritage interpretation formulated by Freeman Tilden envisaged a broadly educational, ethically informed and transformative art. By contrast, current cognitive psychological attempts to reduce interpretation to the monological transmission of information, targeting universal but individuated cognitive structures, are found to be wanting. Despite growing signs of diversity, this information processing approach to (...)interpretation remains dominant. The article then presents the alternative paradigm of hermeneutics through the works of Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer, to provide a broader interpretation of interpretation. This not only captures the essence of Tilden’s definition but construes heritage interpretation as a more inclusive, culturally situated, critically reflexive and dialogical practice. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that intersubjective intelligibility, testability with the use of evidence, rational argumentation and objectivity are possible in the case of text interpretation. As far as one is willing to accept that the application of such standards make up science as a rational enterprise, one should also accept text interpretation as a rational enterprise and should be willing to qualify hermeneutics as a rational methodology of interpretation.
Arthur C. Danto proposes a complex and controversial relationship between surface and deep interpretations in The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (1986). We detail the analogy between understanding human actions and interpreting works of art that both develops a motivation for Danto's view and clarifies it. We object to the most plausible version of content dependency among surface and deep interpretations and in so doing, we also clarify the way in which an interpretation is constitutive of an artwork.
I want to explore four different exercises of interpretation: (1) the interpretation of texts (or hermeneutics), (2) the interpretation of people (otherwise known as "attribution" psychology, or cognitive or intentional psychology), (3) the interpretation of other artifacts (which I shall call artifact hermeneutics), (4) the interpretation of organism design in evolutionary biology--the controversial interpretive activity known as adaptationism.
In this paper I propose an interpretation of classical statistical mechanics that centers on taking seriously the idea that probability measures represent complete states of statistical mechanical systems. I show how this leads naturally to the idea that the stochasticity of statistical mechanics is associated directly with the observables of the theory rather than with the microstates (as traditional accounts would have it). The usual assumption that microstates are representationally significant in the theory is therefore dispensable, a consequence which (...) suggests interesting possibilities for developing non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and investigating inter-theoretic answers to the foundational questions of statistical mechanics. (shrink)
I argue that quantum decoherence—understood as a dynamical process entailed by the standard formalism alone—carries us beyond conceptual aspects of non-relativistic quantum mechanics deemed insurmountable by many contributors to the recent quantum gravity and cosmology literature. These aspects include various incarnations of the measurement problem and of the quantum -to-classical puzzle. Not only can such problems be largely bypassed or dissolved without default to a particular interpretation, but theoretical work in relativistic arenas stands to gain substantial physical and philosophical (...) insight by incorporating decoherence phenomena. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to show that the realistic interpretation of the Theory of Relativity is something wrong, the result of false axioms and principles. By analyzing why Einstein’s famous theory cannot and should not be seen as something “physically true”, what Harmonia Philosophica has been postulating for many years now will become even more obvious: Scientific theories are nothing but useful tools to create scientific models of the cosmos, but not methods to reach what philosophers call (...) “truth”. (shrink)
Nonindexical Context-Dependence and the Interpretation as Abduction Approach Inclusive nonindexical context-dependence occurs when the preferred interpretation of an utterance implies its lexically-derived meaning. It is argued that the corresponding processes of free or lexically mandated enrichment can be modeled as abductive inference. A form of abduction is implemented in Simple Type Theory on the basis of a notion of plausibility, which is in turn regarded a preference relation over possible worlds. Since a preordering of doxastic alternatives taken for (...) itself only amounts to a relatively vacuous ad hoc model, it needs to be combined with a rational way of learning from new evidence. Lexicographic upgrade is implemented as an example of how an agent might revise his plausibility ordering in light of new evidence. Various examples are given how this apparatus may be used to model the contextual resolution of context-dependent or semantically incomplete utterances. The described form of abduction is limited and merely serves as a proof of concept, but the idea in general has good potential as one among many ways to build a bridge between semantics and pragmatics since inclusive context-dependence is ubiquitous. (shrink)
For the past fifty years anxiety over naturalism has driven debates in social theory. One side sees social science as another kind of natural science, while the other rejects the possibility of objective and explanatory knowledge. _Interpretation and Social Knowledge_ suggests a different route, offering a way forward for an antinaturalist sociology that overcomes the opposition between interpretation and explanation and uses theory to build concrete, historically specific causal explanations of social phenomena.
The aim of this paper is to consider in what sense the modal-Hamiltonian interpretation of quantum mechanics satisfies the physical constraints imposed by the Galilean group. In particular, we show that the only apparent conflict, which follows from boost-transformations, can be overcome when the definition of quantum systems and subsystems is taken into account. On this basis, we apply the interpretation to different well-known models, in order to obtain concrete examples of the previous conceptual conclusions. Finally, we consider (...) the role played by the Casimir operators of the Galilean group in the interpretation. (shrink)
A recent ontological variant of Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation, called “Possibilist Transactional Interpretation” or PTI, is extended to the relativistic domain. The present interpretation clarifies the concept of ‘absorption,’ which plays a crucial role in TI (and in PTI). In particular, in the relativistic domain, coupling amplitudes between fields are interpreted as amplitudes for the generation of confirmation waves (CW) by a potential absorber in response to offer waves (OW), whereas in the nonrelativistic context CW are taken as (...) generated with certainty. It is pointed out that solving the measurement problem requires venturing into the relativistic domain in which emissions and absorptions take place; nonrelativistic quantum mechanics only applies to quanta considered as ‘already in existence’ (i.e., ‘free quanta’), and therefore cannot fully account for the phenomenon of measurement, in which quanta are tied to sources and sinks. (shrink)
This paper shows how reasoning from best explanation combines with linguistic and factual presumptions during the process of retrieving a speaker’s intention. It is shown how differences between presumptions need to be used to pick the best explanation of a pragmatic manifestation of a dialogical intention. It is shown why we cannot simply jump to an interpretative conclusion based on what we presume to be the most common purpose of a speech act, and why, in cases of indirect speech acts, (...) we need to depend on an abductive process of interpretation. (shrink)
We study the process of observation (measurement), within the framework of a “perspectival” (“relational,” “relative state”) version of the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. We show that if we assume certain features of discreteness and determinism in the operation of the measuring device (which could be a part of the observer's nerve system), this gives rise to classical characteristics of the observed properties, in the first place to spatial localization. We investigate to what extent semi-classical behavior of the object (...) system itself (as opposed to the observational system) is needed for the emergence of classicality. Decoherence is an essential element in the mechanism of observation that we assume, but it turns out that in our approach no environment-induced decoherence on the level of the object system is required for the emergence of classical properties. (shrink)
Argues that choice, as a form of interpretation, is completely intertwined with the development of both sexual orientation and sexual identity. Sexual orientation is not simply a given, or determined aspect of personality.
_Interpretation and Construction_ examines the interpretation and products of intentional human behavior, focusing primarily on issues in art, law, and everyday speech. Focuses on artistic interpretation, but also includes extended discussion of interpretation of the law and everyday speech and communication. Written by one of the leading theorists of interpretation. Theoretical discussions are consistently centered around examples for ease of comprehension.
Elise Crull claims that by invoking decoherence it is possible to obviate many “fine grained” issues often conflated under the common designation of measurement problem, and to make substantial progresses in the fields of quantum gravity and quantum cosmology, without any early incorporation of a particular interpretation in the quantum formalism. We point out that Crull is mistaken about decoherence and tacitly assumes some kind of interpretation of the quantum formalism.
The paper’s target is the historically influential betting interpretation of subjective probabilities due to Ramsey and de Finetti. While there are several classical and well-known objections to this interpretation, the paper focuses on just one fundamental problem: There is a sense in which degrees of belief cannot be interpreted as betting rates. The reasons differ in different cases, but there’s one crucial feature that all these cases have in common: The agent’s degree of belief in a proposition A (...) does not coincide with her degree of belief in a conditional that A would be the case if she were to bet on A, where the belief in this conditional itself is conditioned on the supposition that the agent will have an opportunity to make such a bet. Even though the two degrees of belief sometimes can coincide (they will coincide in those cases when the bet has no expected causal bearings on the proposition A and the opportunity to bet have no evidential bearings on that proposition), it is the latter belief rather than the former that guides the agent’s rational betting behaviour. The reason is that this latter belief takes into consideration potential interferences that bet opportunities and betting itself might create with regard to the proposition to be betted on. It is because of this interference problem that the agent’s degree of belief in A cannot be interpreted as her betting rate for A. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to motivate and defend a recognizable version of N. L. Wilson's "Principle of Charity" Doing so will involve: (1) distinguishing it fromthe significantly different versions of the Principle familiar through the work of Quine and Davidson; (2) showing that it is compatible with, among other things, both semantic externalism and "simulation" accounts of interpretation; and (3) explaining how it follows from plausible constraints relating to the connection between interpretation and self-interpretation. Finally, (...) it will be argued that Charity represents a type of "minimal individualism" that is closely tied to first person authority, and that endorsing Charity in our interpretations of others reflects a commitment to capturing, from the third-person starting point, their first-personal point of view. (shrink)
The paper provides a new critical perspective on the propensity interpretation of fitness, by investigating its relationship to the propensity interpretation of probability. Two main conclusions are drawn. First, the claim that fitness is a propensity cannot be understood properly: fitness is not a propensity in the sense prescribed by the propensity interpretation of probability. Second, this interpretation of probability is inessential for explanations proposed by the PIF in evolutionary biology. Consequently, interpreting the probabilistic dimension of (...) fitness in terms of propensities is neither a strong motivation in favor of this interpretation, nor a possible target for substantial criticism. (shrink)
We argue from conceptual point of view the relationship between quantum entanglement and many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, the debate is still open, but we retain the objective Bayesian interpretation of quantum probability could be an interesting approach to solve this fundamental question.
This paper proposes a critical analysis of that interpretation of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of the two truths as summarized—by both Mark Siderits and Jay L. Garfield—in the formula: “the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth”. This ‘semantic reading’ of Nāgārjuna’s theory, despite its importance as a criticism of the ‘metaphysical interpretations’, would in itself be defective and improbable. Indeed, firstly, semantic interpretation presents a formal defect: it fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it (...) contains logically; the previously mentioned formula must necessarily be completed by: “the conventional truth is that nothing is conventional truth”. Secondly, after having recognized what Siderits’ and Garfield’s analyses contain implicitly, other logical and philological defects in their position emerge: the existence of the ‘conventional’ would appear—despite the efforts of semantic interpreters to demonstrate quite the contrary—definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something ‘real’; moreover, the number of verses in Nāgārjuna that are in opposition to the semantic interpretation (even if we grant semantic interpreters that these verses do not justify a metaphysical reconstruction of Nagarjuna’s doctrine) would seem too great and significant to be ignored. (shrink)
I approach the identification of the principles of legal interpretation through a discussion of an important but largely forgotten strand in our legal heritage: the idea (and at some points in English law, the rule) that the interpretation of legislation is to be done by the law maker. The idea that authentic interpretation is interpretation by the law maker united the Roman Emperors Constantine and Justinian with Bracton, Aquinas, King James I of England, Hobbes, and Bentham. (...) Already in the early 17th century, a new modern approach was emerging in England. The modern approach separates the interpretive power from the legislative power, and allocates the interpretive power to an independent court. I will argue that there are some cogent, general considerations in favour of the modern approach. But it is worth identifying the elements of good sense that made it seem that the interpretive power ought to be reserved for the law maker. And it is worth identifying the drawbacks in the modern approach; they are relevant to the complex question of how judges ought to interpret. (shrink)
Though the psychoanalytic method of interpretation is seen by psychoanalysts as a reliable scientific tool for investigating the unconscious mind, its reputation has long been marred by what’s known as the consensus problem: where different analysts fail to reach agreement when they interpret the same phenomena. This has long been thought, by both practitioners and observers of psychoanalysis, to undermine its claim to scientific status. The causes of this problem, however, are dimly understood. In this paper I attempt to (...) illuminate one important cause of the consensus problem by investigating the role which reliance on ‘associative evidence’ has in generating consensus failures. Various options for overcoming the difficulties with this form of clinical evidence are then examined. It is argued that these problems can be mitigated by the notion of overall associative fit, though they are exacerbated by certain loose standards used for what counts as acceptable associative evidence. The possibility of using more rigorous standards is discussed. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall consider the challenge that Quine posed in 1947 to the advocates of quantified modal logic to provide an explanation, or interpretation, of modal notions that is intuitively clear, allows “quantifying in”, and does not presuppose, mysterious, intensional entities. The modal concepts that Quine and his contemporaries, e.g. Carnap and Ruth Barcan Marcus, were primarily concerned with in the 1940’s were the notions of (broadly) logical, or analytical, necessity and possibility, rather than the metaphysical modalities (...) that have since become popular, largely due to the influence of Kripke. In the 1950’s modal logicians responded to Quine’s challenge by providing quantified modal logic with model-theoretic semantics of various types. In doing so they also, explicitly or implicitly addressed Quine’s interpretation problem. Here I shall consider the approaches developed by Carnap in the late 1940’s, and by Kanger, Hintikka, Montague, and Kripke in the 1950’s, and discuss to what extent these approaches were successful in meeting Quine’s doubts about the intelligibility of quantified modal logic. (shrink)
In the following we will investigate whether von Mises’ frequency interpretation of probability can be modified to make it philosophically acceptable. We will reject certain elements of von Mises’ theory, but retain others. In the interpretation we propose we do not use von Mises’ often criticized ‘infinite collectives’ but we retain two essential claims of his interpretation, stating that probability can only be defined for events that can be repeated in similar conditions, and that exhibit frequency stabilization. (...) The central idea of the present article is that the mentioned ‘conditions’ should be well-defined and ‘partitioned’. More precisely, we will divide probabilistic systems into object, initializing, and probing subsystem, and show that such partitioning allows to solve problems. Moreover we will argue that a key idea of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (the determinant role of the observing system) can be seen as deriving from an analytic definition of probability as frequency. Thus a secondary aim of the article is to illustrate the virtues of analytic definition of concepts, consisting of making explicit what is implicit. (shrink)
Oceanic languages typically make a grammatical contrast between expres- sions of alienable and inalienable possession. Moreover, further distinctions are made in the alienable category but not in the inalienable category. The present research tests the hypothesis that there is a good motivation for such a development in the former case. As English does not have a grammaticalized distinction between alienable and inalienable possession, it provides a good testing ground. Three studies were conducted. In Study 1, participants were asked to write (...) down the first interpretation that came to mind for possessive phrases, some of which contained inherently relational possessums, while o thers contained possessums that are not inherently relational. Phrases with non-relational possessums elicited a broader range of interpretations and a lower consistency of a given interpretation across possessor modifiers than those with relational possessums. Study 2 demonstrated that users assign a default interpretation to a possessive phrase containing a relational possessum even when another reading is plausible. Study 3, a corpus-based analysis of possessive phrase use, showed that phrases with relational possessums have a narrower range of interpretations than those with other possessums. Taken together, the findings strongly suggest that grammatical distinctions between different types of alienable possession are motivated. (shrink)
After establishing its roots in basic forms of sensorimotor coupling between an organism and its environment, the new wave in cognitive science known as “enactivism” has turned to higher-level cognition, in an attempt to prove that even socioculturally mediated meaning-making processes can be accounted for in enactivist terms. My article tries to bolster this case by focusing on how the production and interpretation of stories can shape the value landscape of those who engage with them. First, it builds on (...) the idea that narrative plays a key role in expressing the values held by a society, in order to argue that the interpretation of stories cannot be understood in abstraction from the background of storytelling in which we are always already involved. Second, it presents interpretation as an example of what Di Paolo et al. ( 2010 ) have called in their recent enactivist manifesto a “joint process of sensemaking”: just like in face-to-face interaction, the recipient of the story collaborates with the authorial point of view, generating meaning. Third, it traces the meaning brought into the world by interpretation to the activation and, potentially, the restructuring of the background of the recipients of the story. (shrink)
The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, following the time-symmetric formulation of electrodynamics, uses retarded and advanced solutions of the Schrödinger equation and its complex conjugate to understand quantum phenomena by means of transactions. A transaction occurs between an emitter and a specific absorber when the emitter has received advanced waves from all possible absorbers. Advanced causation always raises the specter of paradoxes, and it must be addressed carefully. In particular, different devices involving contingent absorbers or various types of interaction-free (...) measurements have been proposed as threatening the original version of the transactional interpretation. These proposals will be analyzed by examining in each case the configuration of absorbers and, in the special case of the so-called quantum liar experiment, by carefully following the development of retarded and advanced waves through the Mach-Zehnder interferometer. We will show that there is no need to resort to the hierarchy of transactions that some have proposed, and will argue that the transactional interpretation is consistent with the block-universe picture of time. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Giuseppe Ferraro mounted a sustained attack on the semantic interpretation of the Madhyamaka doctrine of emptiness, an interpretation that has been championed by the authors. The present paper is their reply to that attack.
The aim of this paper is to give a systematic account of the so-called “measurement problem” in the frame of the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is argued that there is not one but five distinct formulations of this problem. Each of them depends on what is assumed to be a “satisfactory” description of the measurement process in the frame of the standard interpretation. Moreover, the paper points out that each of these formulations refers not to a (...) unique problem, but to a set of sub-problems. (shrink)
The paper concerns the expression of non-strict comparison, focusing in particular on constructions of the form [no(t) . . .-er than] in modified numerals. The main empirical finding is the observation that negated comparatives contrast with regular comparatives in that the former but not the latter can give rise to (scalar) implicatures. It is shown that such a contrast falls out of theories of exhaustive interpretation that claim alternatives to form dense scales. An important result is that the paper (...) sharpens the desiderata for theories of exhaustification. (shrink)
Donald Davidson has argued that attention to the necessarily public character of language shows that we cannot be massively mistaken about the world around us, and that consequently skeptical doubts about empirical knowledge are misplaced. The arguments Davidson advances rely on taking as the fundamental methodological standpoint for investigating meaning and related concepts the standpoint of the interpreter of another speaker, on the grounds that it is from the interpreter’s standpoint that we discover what constraints are placed on meaning by (...) the public character of language. In this paper, I argue that although Davidson’s arguments reveal important conceptual connections between meaning and belief on the one hand, and truth and interpretation on the other, they do not show that it is impossible that we are massively mistaken about the external world. (shrink)
I present some objections to traditional literary interpretation and consider subversive interpretation as a solution to these problems. Subversive interpretation may seem more scientific and more democratic than traditional interpretation, but it is open to doubt that it is more democratic.
Recently it has been shown that transformations of Heisenberg-picture operators are the causal mechanism which allows Bell-theorem-violating correlations at a distance to coexist with locality in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. A calculation to first order in perturbation theory of the generation of EPRB entanglement in nonrelativistic fermionic field theory in the Heisenberg picture illustrates that the same mechanism leads to correlations without nonlocality in quantum field theory as well. An explicit transformation is given to a representation in (...) which initial-condition information is transferred from the state vector to the field operators, making the locality of the theory manifest. (shrink)
One way to show that text interpretation can be treated as a scientific problem is to show that the standards that are currently used in the natural sciences when dealing with problems not involving meaningful material can also be successfully employed in the case of text interpretation. These standards involve intersubjective intelligibility, testability with the use of evidence, rational argumentation, and making methodological decisions aiming at the attainment of truth, accuracy, simplicity and other epistemic values. In the case (...) of text interpretation—despite the fact that we deal with meaningful material—hypotheses can be formulated, consequences can be drawn by deduction, and these can be tested against empirical data. This claim is substantiated by the provision of an example of a scientific text. (shrink)
In this paper I will tackle three issues. First, I aim to briefly outline the backbone of semantic minimalism, while focusing on the idea of ‘liberal truth conditions’ developed by Emma Borg in her book ‘Minimal Semantics’. Secondly, I will provide an account of the three principal views in legal interpretation: intentionalism, textualism and purposivism. All of them are based on a common denominator labelled by lawyers ‘literal meaning’. In the paper I suggest a novel way of viewing this (...) common denominator as almost identical to the Borgian ‘liberal truth conditions’, at least at a conceptual level. In the third section I will focus on the conceptual similarities between the two ideas. I intend to depict that, although legal theorists do not admit it explicitly, they treat literal legal meaning as minimal propositional content that can be ascribed liberal truth conditions. There are two main objections to liberal truth conditions: their under-determinacy and unintuitive character. Both objections can be applied to ‘literal meaning’. However, the idea of liberal truth conditions gives an adequate account of what lawyers call literal meaning and is helpful in explaining the mechanism of understanding of provisions and reasons leading to the necessity of statutory interpretation. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently criticized Davidson's methodology of radical interpretation because of its apparent failure to reflect how actual interpretation is achieved. Responding to such complaints, Davidson claims that he is not interested in the empirical issues surrounding actual interpretation but instead focuses on the question of what conditions make interpretation possible. It is argued that this exchange between Fodor and Lepore on one side, and Davidson on the other, cannot be viewed simply (...) as a naturalist reaction to non-naturalist philosophical inquiry. Through a careful excavation of the hidden assumptions and commitments underlying this debate, we recognize a more serious disagreement over the intellectual obligations of naturalism; a position with a firm hold on current philosophical imaginations. In the process, we gain a new appreciation for how such commitments shape these naturalist positions, and recognize that any resolution to this specific debate will require careful attention to the divergent commitments that are its real source. (shrink)
A widely held view concerning the justification of associative duties is the so-called relationships view, according to which associative duties within personal relationships arise because of the value of those relationships. Against this view, it has been argued that there can be cases of undemanding friendships, that is, genuine friendships with no associative duties. In this article, I argue that undemanding friendships do not show that associative duties are not grounded in the value of the relationship that gives rise to (...) them by providing an interpretivist account of the normativity of friendships. I argue that friendships are complex values that need to be interpreted in order to determine which response to them would be appropriate, and that understanding one's friendship as undemanding is one valid interpretation of the value of friendship. Subsequently, I demonstrate that this solution is not ad hoc, because friendship is not the only complex value that needs to be interpreted. (shrink)
I argue that the extant theories of self-deception face a counterexample which shows the essential role of instability in the face of attentive consciousness in characterising self-deception. I argue further that this poses a challenge to the interpretist approach to the mental. I consider two revisions of the interpretist approach which might be thought to deal with this challenge and outline why they are unsuccessful. The discussion reveals a more general difficulty for Interpretism. Principles of reasoning—in particular, the requirement of (...) total evidence—are given a weight in attentive consciousness which does not correspond to our reflective judgement of their weight. Successful interpretation does not involve ascribing beliefs and desires by reference to what a subject ought to believe and desire, contrary to what Interpretists suggest. (shrink)
The present paper studies the general implications of theprinciple of compositionality for the organization of grammar.It will be argued that Janssen''s (1986) requirement that syntax andsemantics be similar algebras is too strong, and that the moreliberal requirement that syntax be interpretable into semanticsleads to a formalization that can be motivated and applied more easily,while it avoids the complications that encumber Janssen''s formalization.Moreover, it will be shown that this alternative formalization evenallows one to further complete the formal theory of compositionality, inthat (...) it is capable of clarifying the role played by translation,model-theoretic interpretation and meaning postulates,of which the latter two aspects received little or no attention inMontague (1970) and Janssen (1986). (shrink)
Einstein’s unpublished 1927 deterministic trajectory interpretation of quantum mechanics is critically examined, in particular with regard to the reason given by Einstein for rejecting his theory. It is shown that the aspect Einstein found objectionable—the mutual dependence of the motions of particles when the (many-body) wavefunction factorises—is a generic attribute of his theory but that this feature may be removed by modifying Einstein’s method in either of two ways: using a suggestion of Grommer or, in a physically important special (...) case, using a simpler technique. It is emphasized though that the presence or absence of the interdependence property does not determine the acceptability of a trajectory theory. It is shown that there are other grounds for rejecting Einstein’s theory (and the two modified theories), to do with its domain of applicability and compatibility with empirical predictions. That Einstein’s reason for rejection is not a priori grounds for discarding a trajectory theory is demonstrated by reference to an alternative deterministic trajectory theory that displays similar particle interdependence yet is compatible with quantum predictions. (shrink)