One philosophical approach to causation sees counterfactual dependence as the key to the explanation of causal facts: for example, events c (the cause) and e (the effect) both occur, but had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. The counterfactual analysis of causation became a focus of philosophical debate after the 1973 publication of the late David Lewis's groundbreaking paper, "Causation," which argues against the previously accepted "regularity" analysis and in favor of what he called the "promising alternative" (...) of the counterfactual analysis. Thirty years after Lewis's paper, this book brings together some of the most important recent work connecting--or, in some cases, disputing the connection between--counterfactuals and causation, including the complete version of Lewis's Whitehead lectures, "Causation as Influence," a major reworking of his original paper. Also included is a more recent essay by Lewis, "Void and Object," on causation by omission. Several of the essays first appeared in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy, but most, including the unabridged version of "Causation as Influence," are published for the first time or in updated forms.Other topics considered include the "trumping" of one event over another in determining causation; de facto dependence; challenges to the transitivity of causation; the possibility that entities other than events are the fundamental causal relata; the distinction between dependence and production in accounts of causation; the distinction between causation and causal explanation; the context-dependence of causation; probabilistic analyses of causation; and a singularist theory of causation. (shrink)
Much of the best contemporary work in the philosophy of language and content makes appeal to the theories developed in generative syntax. In particular, there is a presumption that—at some level and in some way—the structures provided by syntactic theory mesh with or support our conception of content/linguistic meaning as grounded in our first-person understanding of our communicative speech acts. This paper will suggest that there is no such tight fit. Its claim will be that, if recent generative theories are (...) on the right lines, syntactic structure provides both too much and too little to serve as the structural partner for content, at least as that notion is generally understood in philosophy. The paper will substantiate these claims by an assessment of the recent work of King, Stanley, and others. (shrink)
My paper defends the use of the poverty of stimulus argument (POSA) for linguistic nativism against Cowie's (1999) counter-claim that it leaves empiricism untouched. I first present the linguistic POSA as arising from a reflection on the generality of the child's initial state in comparison with the specific complexity of its final state. I then show that Cowie misconstrues the POSA as a direct argument about the character of the pld. In this light, I first argue that the data Cowie (...) marshals about the pld does not begin to suggest that the POSA is unsound. Second, through a discussion of the so-called `auxiliary inversion rule', I show, by way of diagnosis, that Cowie misunderstands both the methodology of current linguistics and the complexity of the data it is obliged to explain. (shrink)
Humean supervenience is the doctrine that there are no necessary connections in the world. David Lewis identifies one big bad bug to the programme of providing Humean analyses for apparently non-Humean features of the world. The bug is chance. We put the bug under the microscope, and conclude that chance is no special problem for the Humean.
Jerry Fodor, among others, has maintained that Chomsky's language faculty hypothesis is an epistemological proposal, i.e. the faculty comprises propositional structures known (cognized) by the speaker/hearer. Fodor contrasts this notion of a faculty with an architectural (directly causally efficacious) notion of a module. The paper offers an independent characterisation of the language faculty as an abstractly specified nonpropositional structure of the mind/brain that mediates between sound and meaning—a function in intension that maps to a pair of structures that determine soundmeaning (...) convergence. This conception will be elaborated and defended against a number of likely complaints deriving from Fodor's faculty/module distinction and other positions which seek to credit knowledge of language with an empirical or theoretical significance. A recent explicit argument from Fodor that Chomsky must share his conception will be diagnosed and the common appeal to implicit knowledge as a foundation for linguistic competence will be rejected. (shrink)
John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...) the very resources of the traditional conception. It is also shown that the act theories have no act-based account of quantification and other operator-involving relations. An elementary account of propositions is sketched, after Fodor, which retains the virtues of the traditional structural conception without falling into ’Platonism’. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is one of the most exciting and controversial philosophical movements today. This book explores how it is reshaping thought about philosophical method. Experimental philosophy imports experimental methods and findings from psychology into philosophy. These fresh resources can be used to develop and defend both armchair methods and naturalist approaches, on an empirical basis. This outstanding collection brings together leading proponents of this new meta-philosophical naturalism, from within and beyond experimental philosophy. They explore how the empirical study of philosophically (...) relevant intuition and cognition transforms traditional philosophical approaches and facilitates fresh ones. Part One examines important uses of traditional "armchair" methods which are not threatened by experimental work and develops empirically informed accounts of such methods that can potentially stand up to experimental scrutiny. Part Two analyses different uses and rationales of experimental methods in several areas of philosophy and addresses the key methodological challenges to experimental philosophy: Do its experiments target the intuitions that matter in philosophy? And how can they support conclusions about the rights and wrongs of philosophical views? Essential reading for students of experimental philosophy and metaphilosophy, Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism will also interest students and researchers in related areas such as epistemology and the philosophies of language, perception, mind and action, science and psychology. (shrink)
As the ball flew towards us I leapt to my left to catch it. But it was you, reacting more rapidly than I, who caught the ball just in front of the point at which my hand was poised. Fortunate for us that you took the catch. The ball was headed on a course which, unimpeded, would have taken it through the glass window of a nearby building. Your catch prevented the window from being broken.
The article takes up a range of issues concerning knowledge of language in response to recent work of Rey, Smith, Matthews and Devitt. I am broadly sympathetic with the direction of Rey, Smith, and Matthews. While all three are happy with the locution ‘knowledge of language’, in their different ways they all reject the apparent role for a substantive linguistic epistemology in linguistic explanation. I concur but raise some friendly concerns over even a deflationary notion of knowledge of language. Against (...) Devitt I have more serious worries. The latter half of the paper seeks further clarification of Devitt’s realism and raises concerns over its ability to reflect the shape and content of linguistics. (shrink)
Among the many philosophers who hold that causal facts1 are to be explained in terms of—or more ambitiously, shown to reduce to—facts about what happens, together with facts about the fundamental laws that govern what happens, the clear favorite is an approach that sees counterfactual dependence as the key to such explanation or reduction. The paradigm examples of causation, so advocates of this approach tell us, are examples in which events c and e— the cause and its effect— both occur, (...) but: had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. From this starting point ideas proliferate in a vast profusion. But the remarkable disparity among these ideas should not obscure their common foundation. Neither should the diversity of opinion about the prospects for a philosophical analysis of causation obscure their importance. For even those philosophers who see these prospects as dim—perhaps because they suffer post-Quinean queasiness at the thought of any analysis of any concept of interest—can often be heard to say such things as that causal relations among events are somehow “a matter of” the patterns of counterfactual dependence to be found in them. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of philosophers have argued against a biological understanding of the innate in favor of a narrowly psychological notion. On the other hand, Ariew ((1996). Innateness and canalization. Philosophy of Science, 63, S19-S27. (1999). Innateness is canalization: in defense of a developmental account of innateness. In V. Hardcastle (Ed.), Where biology meets psychology: Philosophical essays (pp. 117-138). Cambridge, MA: MIT.) has developed a novel substantial account of innateness based on developmental biology: canalization. The governing thought of (...) this paper is that the notion of the innate, as it re-emerged with the work of Chomsky, is a general notion that applies equally to all biological traits. On this basis, the paper recommends canalization as a promising candidate account of the notion of the innate. (shrink)
There is an incompatibility between the deflationist approach to truth, which makes truth transparent on the basis of an antecedent grasp of meaning, and the traditional endeavour, exemplified by Davidson, to explicate meaning through of truth. I suggest that both parties are in the explanatory red: deflationist lack a non-truth-involving theory of meaning and Davidsonians lack a non-deflationary account of truth. My focus is on the attempts of the latter party to resolve their problem. I look in detail at Davidson's (...) more recent work and suggest that it seeks to articulate a primitive notion of truth that may balance between a notion that collapses into deflationism and one that is wholly subsumed under a general theory of interpretation. I conclude that this tightrope walk is ultimately unsuccessful. Equally, however, some reasons are provided for thinking that deflationism might be equally unsuccessful with its problem. 'Truth or meaning?' remains an open question. (shrink)
The paper considers our ordinary mentalistic discourse in relation to what we should expect from any genuine science of the mind. A meta-scientific eliminativism is commended and distinguished from the more familiar eliminativism of Skinner and the Churchlands. Meta-scientific eliminativism views folk psychology qua folksy as unsuited to offer insight into the structure of cognition, although it might otherwise be indispensable for our social commerce and self-understanding. This position flows from a general thesis that scientific advance is marked by an (...) eschewal of folk understanding. The latter half of the paper argues that, contrary to the received view, Chomsky's review of Skinner offers not just an argument against Skinner's eliminativism, but, more centrally, one in favour of the second eliminativism. (shrink)
Newcomb’s problem is a decision puzzle whose difficulty and interest stem from the fact that the possible outcomes are probabilistically dependent on, yet causally independent of, the agent’s options. The problem is named for its inventor, the physicist William Newcomb, but first appeared in print in a 1969 paper by Robert Nozick . Closely related to, though less well-known than, the Prisoners’ Dilemma, it has been the subject of intense debate in the philosophical literature. After three decades, the issues remain (...) unresolved. Newcomb’s problem is of genuine importance because it poses a challenge to the theoretical adequacy of orthodox Bayesian decision theory. It has led both to the development of causal decision theory and to efforts aimed at defending the adequacy of the orthodox theory. (shrink)
This paper has as its topic two recent philosophical disputes. One of these disputes is internal to the project known as decision theory, and while by now familiar to many, may well seem to be of pressing concern only to specialists. It has been carried on over the last twenty years or so, but by now the two opposing camps are pretty well entrenched in their respective positions, and the situation appears to many observers (as well as to some of (...) the parties involved) to have reached a sort of stalemate. The second of these two disputes is, on the other hand, very much alive. While it has been framed in decision theoretic terms, it is definitely not a dispute internal to that enterprise. It is, rather, a debate about the very coherence of the notion of objective value, and as such touches on issues of central importance to, for example, meta–ethics and moral psychology. (shrink)
It is widely held that propositions are structured entities. In The Nature and Structure of Content (2007), Jeff King argues that the structure of propositions is none other than the syntactic structure deployed by the speaker/hearers who linguistically produce and consume the sentences that express the propositions. The present paper generalises from King’s position and claims that syntax provides the best in-principle account of propositional structure. It further seeks to show, however, that the account faces serve problems pertaining to the (...) fine individuation of propositions that the account entails. The ‘fineness of cut’ problem has been raised by Collins (The unity of linguistic meaning, 2007) and others. King (Philos Stud 163(3):763–781, 2013) responds to these complaints in ways this paper rebuts. Thus, the very idea of structured propositions is brought into doubt, for the best in-principle account of such structure appears to fail. (shrink)
Ecological research and conservation practice frequently raise difficult and varied ethical questions for scientific investigators and managers, including duties to public welfare, nonhuman individuals (i.e., animals and plants), populations, and ecosystems. The field of environmental ethics has contributed much to the understanding of general duties and values to nature, but it has not developed the resources to address the diverse and often unique practical concerns of ecological researchers and managers in the field, lab, and conservation facility. The emerging field of (...) “ecological ethics” is a practical or scientific ethics that offers a superior approach to the ethical dilemmas of the ecologist and conservation manager. Even though ecological ethics necessarily draws from the principles and commitments of mainstream environmental ethics, it is normatively pluralistic, including as well the frameworks of animal, research, and professional ethics. It is also methodologically pragmatic, focused on the practical problems of researchers and managers and informed by these problems in turn. The ecological ethics model offers environmental scientists and practitioners a useful analytical tool for identifying, clarifying, and harmonizing values and positions in challenging ecological research and management situations. Just as bioethics provides a critical intellectual and problem-solving service to the biomedical community, ecological ethics can help inform and improve ethical decision making in the ecology and conservation communities. (shrink)
Robert Hanna (Rationality and logic. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006) articulates and defends the thesis of logical cognitivism, the claim that human logical competence is grounded in a cognitive faculty (in Chomsky’s sense) that is not naturalistically explicable. This position is intended to steer us between the Scylla of logical Platonism and the Charybdis of logical naturalism (/psychologism). The paper argues that Hanna’s interpretation of Chomsky is mistaken. Read aright, Chomsky’s position offers a defensible version of naturalism, one Hanna may accept (...) as far as his version of naturalism goes, although not one that supports the claim that cognitive science offers a place for logic that is somehow outside the natural, contingent order. (shrink)
A counterfactual is a conditional statement in the subjunctive mood. For example: If Suzy hadn’t thrown the rock, then the bottle wouldn’t have shattered. The philosophical importance of counterfactuals stems from the fact that they seem to be closely connected to the concept of causation. Thus it seems that the truth of the above conditional is just what is required for Suzy’s throw to count as a cause of the bottle’s shattering. If philosophers were reluctant to exploit this idea prior (...) to 1970, it was because of a widespread feeling that the truth-conditions of the counterfactual conditional were not sufficiently well understood. The development of a formal semantics for counterfactuals by Robert Stalnaker  and David Lewis [1973b] stands as a major recent achievement in philosophical logic. (shrink)
The paper articulates and defends the view that paired structures of mentally 'represented' phonological and semantic features should, for all theoretical purposes, replace the notions of proposition and sentence. Following Chomsky, I refer to such pairs as expressions (EXP). In the first part, I elaborate the notion of an EXP and contrast it with that of sentence/proposition. The paper's second part questions a range of considerations which putatively show that propositions are fundamental to our understanding of meaning and cognitive attitudes. (...) I argue that while these considerations are effective against the theoretical worth of sentences, as usually understood, they may be accommodated by the EXP-conception or otherwise eschewed. (shrink)
This note briefly responds to Devitt’s (2008) riposte to Collins’s (2008a) argument that linguistic realism prima facie fails to accommodate unvoiced elements within syntax. It is argued that such elements remain problematic. For it remains unclear how conventions might target the distribution of PRO and how they might explain hierarchical structure that is presupposed by such distribution and which is not witnessed in concrete strings.
Jerry Fodor argues that the massive modularity thesis – the claim that (human) cognition is wholly served by domain specific, autonomous computational devices, i.e., modules – is a priori incoherent, self-defeating. The thesis suffers from what Fodor dubs the input problem: the function of a given module (proprietarily understood) in a wholly modular system presupposes non-modular processes. It will be argued that massive modularity suffers from no such a priori problem. Fodor, however, also offers what he describes as a really (...) real input problem (i.e., an empirical one). It will be suggested that this problem is real enough, but it does not selectively strike down massive modularity – it is a problem for everyone. (shrink)
Managers of organizations should be aware of the attitudes of employees concerning whistleblowing. Employee views should affect how employers choose to respond to whistleblowers through the evolving law of wrongful discharge.This article reports on a survey of employee attitudes toward the legal protection of whistleblowers and presents an analysis of the results of that survey.
This study builds upon the top management literature to predict and test antecedents to firms’ engagement in corruption. Building on a survey of 341 executives in India, we find that if executives have social ties with government officials, their firms are more likely to engage in corruption. Further, these executives are likely to rationalize engaging in corruption as a necessity for being competitive. The results collectively illustrate the role that executives’ social ties and perceptions have in shaping illegal actions of (...) their respective firms. (shrink)
The paper outlines the evolution of on-going meta-philosophical debates about intuitions, explains different notions of 'intuition' employed in these debates, and argues for the philosophical relevance of intuitions in an aetiological sense taken from cognitive psychology. On this basis, it advocates a new kind of methodological naturalism which it finds implicit, for instance, in the warrant project in experimental philosophy: a meta-philosophical naturalism that promotes the use of scientific methods in meta-philosophical investigations. This 'higher-order' naturalism is consistent with both methodological (...) naturalism and methodological rationalism about first-order philosophy, and can help us adjudicate between the two, in a piecemeal manner. (shrink)
Rationalizations of deliberation often make reference to two kinds of mental state, which we call belief and desire. It is worth asking whether these kinds are necessarily distinct, or whether it might be possible to construe desire as belief of a certain sort — belief, say, about what would be good. An expected value theory formalizes our notions of belief and desire, treating each as a matter of degree. In this context the thesis that desire is belief might amount to (...) the claim that the degree to which an agent desires any proposition A equals the degree to which the agent believes the proposition that A would be good. We shall write this latter proposition ‘A◦’ (pronounced ‘A halo’). The Desire-as-Belief Thesis states, then, that to each proposition A there corresponds another proposition A◦, where the probability of A◦ equals the expected value of A. (shrink)
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 This article explores the contemporary politics of global violence through an examination of the particular challenges and possibilities facing Palestinians who seek to defend their communities against an ongoing settler-colonial project (Zionism) that is approaching a crisis point. As the colonial dynamic in Israel/Palestine returns to its most elemental level – land, trees, homes – it also continues to be a laboratory for new forms of accelerated violence whose global impact is (...) hard to overestimate. In such a context, Palestinians and international solidarity activists find themselves confronting a quintessential 21 st century activist dilemma: how to craft a strategy of what Paul Virilio calls “popular defense” at a time when everyone seems to be implicated in the machinery of global violence? I argue that while this dilemma represents a formidable challenge for Palestinians, it also helps explain why the Palestinian struggle is increasingly able to build bridges with wider struggles for global justice, ecological sustainability, and indigenous rights. (shrink)
The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes offers a new interpretation of Thomas Hobbes's response to the English Revolution. By focusing on his religious thought, it debunks the standard view of him as a royalist, and recovers his sympathies with the religious projects of the 1640s and 1650s. This reinterpretation culminates with an exploration of Hobbes's surprising sympathies with Oliver Cromwell and his supporters. By placing Thomas Hobbes within fresh contexts, Professor Collins offers a new angle of vision on the religious significance (...) of the English Revolution itself. (shrink)
A plausible thought about vagueness is that it involves semantic incompleteness. To say that a predicate is vague is to say (at the very least) that its extension is incompletely specified. Where there is incomplete specification of extension there is indeterminacy, an indeterminacy between various ways in which the specification of the predicate might be completed or sharpened. In this paper we show that this idea is bound to founder by presenting an argument to the effect that there are vague (...) predicates which cannot be sharpened in such a way as to meet certain basic constraints (of penumbral connection and public accessibility) that must be imposed on the very notion of a sharpening. (shrink)
I argue for a cognitive architecture in which folk psychology is supported by an interface of a ToM module and the language faculty, the latter providing the former with interpreted LF structures which form the content representations of ToM states. I show that LF structures satisfy a range of key features asked of contents. I confront this account of ToM with eliminativism and diagnose and combat the thought that "success" and innateness are inconsistent with the falsity of folk psychology. I (...) show that, while my ensemble account of ToM and language refutes the culturalist presuppositions that tend to underlie eliminativist arguments, the falsity of folk psychology is consistent with the account. (shrink)