In the late 19th century, physiologists such as David Ferrier, Eduard Hitzig, and Hermann Munk argued that cerebral brain functions are localized in discrete structures. By the early 20th century, this became the dominant position. However, another prominent physiologist, Friedrich Goltz, rejected theories of cerebral localization and argued against these physiologists until his death in 1902. I argue in this paper that previous historical accounts have failed to comprehend why Goltz rejected cerebral localization. I show that Goltz adhered to a (...) falsificationist methodology, and I reconstruct how he designed his experiments and weighted different kinds of evidence. I then draw on the exploratory experimentation literature from recent philosophy of science to trace one root of the debate to differences in how the German localizers designed their experiments and reasoned about evidence. While Goltz designed his experiments to test hypotheses about the functions of predetermined cerebral structures, the localizers explored new functions and structures in the process of constructing new theories. I argue that the localizers relied on untested background conjectures to justify their inferences about functional organization. These background conjectures collapsed a distinction between phenomena they produced direct evidence for (localized symptoms) and what they reached conclusions about (localized functions). (shrink)
We provide two programmatic frameworks for integrating philosophical research on understanding with complementary work in computer science, psychology, and neuroscience. First, philosophical theories of understanding have consequences about how agents should reason if they are to understand that can then be evaluated empirically by their concordance with findings in scientific studies of reasoning. Second, these studies use a multitude of explanations, and a philosophical theory of understanding is well suited to integrating these explanations in illuminating ways.
Human conflict and its resolution is obviously a subject of great practical importance. Equally obviously, it is a vast subject, ranging from total war at one end of the spectrum to negotiated settlement at its other end. The literature on the subject is correspondingly vast and, in recent times, technical, thanks to the valuable contributions made to it by game theorists, economists, and writers on industrial and international relations. In this essay, however, I shall discuss only one familiar form of (...) conflict-resolution. There is room for such a discussion, because philosophers have lately neglected compromise, despite the interest shown in it by the aforementioned experts, and despite the classic treatments of it by Halifax, Burke and Morley. Truly, ‘…compromise is not so widely discussed by philosophers as one might expect’, and ‘…the idea of compromise has been largely neglected by Anglo-American jurisprudence’. (shrink)
The majority of our linguistic exchanges, such as everyday conversations, are divided into turns; one party usually talks at a time, with only relatively rare occurrences of brief overlaps in which there are two simultaneous speakers. Moreover, conversational turn-taking tends to be very fast. We typically start producing our responses before the previous turn has finished, i.e., before we are confronted with the full content of our interlocutor’s utterance. This raises interesting questions about the nature of linguistic understanding. Philosophical theories (...) typically focus on linguistic understanding characterized either as an ability to grasp the contents of utterances in a given language or as outputs of this ability—mental states of one type or another. In this paper, I supplement these theories by developing an account of the process of understanding. I argue that it enables us to capture the dynamic and temporal aspect of understanding and reconcile philosophical investigations with empirical research on language comprehension. (shrink)
The philosophical problems of liberty may be classified as those of definition, of justification and of distribution. They are so complex that there is a danger of being unable to see the wood for the trees. It may be helpful, therefore, to provide an aerial photograph of a large part of the wood, namely, the liberty of individual persons . But it is, of course, a photograph taken from an individual point of view, as Leibniz would have put it.
What justifies our beliefs about what other people say? According to epistemic inferentialism, the justification of comprehension-based beliefs depends on the justification of other beliefs, e.g., beliefs about what words the speaker uttered or even what sounds they produced. According to epistemic non-inferentialism, the justification of comprehension-based beliefs does not depend on the justification of other beliefs. This paper offers a new defense of epistemic non-inferentialism. First, I discuss three counterexamples to epistemic non-inferentialism provided recently by Brendan Balcerak Jackson. I (...) argue that only one of Balcerak Jackson’s counterexamples is effective, and that it is effective against only one version of epistemic non-inferentialism, viz. language comprehension dogmatism. Second, I propose an alternative version of epistemic non-inferentialism, viz. comprehension-process reliabilism, which is immune to these counterexamples. I conclude that we should follow Balcerak Jackson in his rejection of language comprehension dogmatism but not all the way to the endorsement of epistemic inferentialism. Comprehension-process reliabilism is superior to both these alternatives. (shrink)
Contractarians aim to derive moral principles from the dictates of instrumental rationality alone. But it is well-known that contractarian moral theories struggle to identify normative principles that are both uniquely rational and morally compelling. Michael Moehler's recent book, *Minimal Morality* seeks to avoid these difficulties by developing a novel "two-level" social contract theory, which restricts the scope of contractarian morality to cases of deep and persistent moral disagreement. Yet Moehler remains ambitious, arguing that a restricted version of Kant's categorical imperative (...) is a uniquely rational principle of conflict resolution. We develop a formal model of Moehler's informal game-theoretic argument, which reconstructs a valid argument for Moehler's conclusion. This model, in turn, enables us to expose how a successful argument for Moehler's contractarian principle rests on assumptions that can only be justified by subtle yet significant departures from the standard conception of rationality. We thus extend our understanding of familiar contractarian difficulties by showing how they arise even if we restrict the scope of contractarian morality to a domain where its application seems both promising and necessary. We show that the problem lies not in contractarians' immodest ambitions but in the modest resources rationality can offer to satisfy them. (shrink)
After one has read for a while in the history of Western thought, one becomes cognizant of how many great intellects, believers and non-believers alike, have presented compelling examinations of Christian theism. And until recently, religious skeptics, following in the wake of David Hume, assumed that the ship of Christian philosophy of religion was too damaged to sail again. However, something unexpectedly emerged recently from the weathered ship, even after many pilots advised cautious hugging the shores, especially in light of (...) the ‘death of God’ storms of the 1960’s. Many abandoned the ancient mother ship, some escaping on rafts, lifeboats, or flotsam, transferring to modern vessels, such as SS Darwin, Freud, Marx, or Nietzsche. Still, a number of sailors stayed on board the ancient craft, and responded to the latter secularist fleet, honing their skills as navigators, first mates, and lookouts, so as to safeguard the ancient ship from secularist vessel forays.The anthology under re .. (shrink)
In The Construction of Social Reality, John Searle develops a theory of institutional facts and objects, of which money, borders and property are presented as prime examples. These objects are the result of us collectively intending certain natural objects to have a certain status, i.e. to ‘count as’ being certain social objects. This view renders such objects irreducible to natural objects. In this paper we propose a radically different approach that is more compatible with standard economic theory. We claim that (...) such institutional objects can be fully understood in terms of actions and incentives, and hence the Searlean apparatus solves a non-existent problem. (shrink)
Contemporary discussion concerning institutions focus on, and mostly accept, the Searlean view that institutional objects, i.e. money, borders and the like, exist in virtue of the fact that we collectively represent them as existing. A dissenting note has been sounded by Smit et al. (Econ Philos 27:1–22, 2011), who proposed the incentivized action view of institutional objects. On the incentivized action view, understanding a specific institution is a matter of understanding the specific actions that are associated with the institution and (...) how we are incentivized to perform these actions. In this paper we develop the incentivized action view by extending it to institutions like property, promises and complex financial organisations like companies. We also highlight exactly how the incentivized action view differs from the Searlean view, discuss the method appropriate to such study and discuss some of the virtues of the incentivized action view. (shrink)
In _Consciousness and the Existence of God_, J.P. Moreland argues that the existence of finite, irreducible consciousness provides evidence for the existence of God. Moreover, he analyzes and criticizes the top representative of rival approaches to explaining the origin of consciousness, including John Searle’s contingent correlation, Timothy O’Connor’s emergent necessitation, Colin McGinn’s mysterian ‘‘naturalism,’’ David Skrbina’s panpsychism and Philip Clayton’s pluralistic emergentist monism. Moreland concludes that these approaches should be rejected in favor of what he calls ‘‘the Argument from Consciousness.’’.
What does being money consist in? We argue that something is money if, and only if, it is typically acquired in order to realise the reduction in transaction costs that accrues in virtue of agents coordinating on acquiring the same thing when deciding what thing to acquire in order to exchange. What kinds of things can be money? We argue against the common view that a variety of things (notes, coins, gold, cigarettes, etc.) can be money. All monetary systems are (...) best interpreted as implementing the same basic protocol. Money, i.e. the thing that we coordinate on acquiring in order to lower our transaction costs, is, in all cases, a set of positions on an abstract mathematical object, namely a relative ratio scale. The things that we ordinarily call ‘money’ are merely records of positions on such a scale. (shrink)
The use of tensed language and the metaphor of set ‘formation’ found in informal descriptions of the iterative conception of set are seldom taken at all seriously. Both are eliminated in the nonmodal stage theories that formalise this account. To avoid the paradoxes, such accounts deny the Maximality thesis, the compelling thesis that any sets can form a set. This paper seeks to save the Maximality thesis by taking the tense more seriously than has been customary (although not literally). A (...) modal stage theory, MST, is developed in a bimodal language, governed by a tenselike logic. Such a language permits a very natural axiomatisation of the iterative conception, which upholds the Maximality thesis. It is argued that the modal approach is consonant with mathematical practice and a plausible metaphysics of sets and shown that MST interprets a natural extension of Zermelo set theory less the axiom of Infinity and, when extended with a further axiom concerning the extent of the hierarchy, interprets Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory. (shrink)
Neologicists have sought to ground mathematical knowledge in abstraction. One especially obstinate problem for this account is the bad company problem. The leading neologicist strategy for resolving this problem is to attempt to sift the good abstraction principles from the bad. This response faces a dilemma: the system of ‘good’ abstraction principles either falls foul of the Scylla of inconsistency or the Charybdis of being unable to recover a modest portion of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with its intended generality. This article (...) argues that the bad company problem is due to the ‘static’ character of abstraction on the neologicist's account and develops a ‘dynamic’ account of abstraction that avoids both horns of the dilemma. 1 Introduction2ion Reconstructed3 From Bad to Worse4 Abstraction Reconceived5 Bad Company Made GoodA AppendixA.1SemanticsA.2LogicA.3ConsistencyA.4Strength. (shrink)
'Johann Sommerville's is an impeccable textbook. Simply written, it provides exposition of Hobbes' arguments in the context of English and continental thought'. P. Springborg, University of Sydney, Political Studies, Vol. XL1, No 2 6/93 Thomas Hobbes was probably the greatest of British political theorists. Too often commentators have failed to grasp his meaning because they have ignored the historical context in which he wrote. Drawing on much recent scholarship and on many little-known seventeenth century sources, this book presents a lucid (...) and jargon-free examination of Hobbes' arguments, setting them against a background of the ideas of his contemporaries and of the political events of his lifetime. By viewing Hobbes in his context, the book both clarifies his theories and illuminates European thinking at a critical stage in the development of modern political ideas. (shrink)
Not long ago, one of us has clarified and defended a bare particular theory of individuation. More recently, D. W. Mertz has raised a set of objections against this account and other accounts of bare particulars and proffered an alternative theory of individuation. He claims to have shown that 'the concept of bare particulars, and consequently substratum ontology that requires it, is untenable.' We disagree with this claim and believe there are adequate responses to the three arguments Mertz raises against (...) bare particulars. To substantiate this assertion, we clarify the nature of bare particulars as individuators, state Mertz's objections, and respond to them. We conclude that Mertz has failed to show that bare particular theory is untenable. (shrink)
Declarations like “this meeting is adjourned” make certain facts the case by representing them as being the case. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the mechanism whereby the utterance of a declaration can bring about a new state of affairs. In this paper, we use the incentivization account of institutional facts to address this issue. We argue that declarations can serve to bring about new states of affairs as their utterance have game theoretical import, typically in virtue of (...) the utterer signaling a commitment to act in an incentive-changing way. (shrink)