Frank Jackson champions the cause of conceptual analysis as central to philosophical inquiry. In recent years conceptual analysis has been undervalued and widely misunderstood, suggests Jackson. He argues that such analysis is mistakenly clouded in mystery, preventing a whole range of important questions from being productively addressed. He anchors his argument in discussions of specific philosophical issues, starting with the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism and moving on, via free will, meaning, personal identity, motion, and change, to ethics and the philosophy (...) of color. In this way the book not only offers a methodological program for philosophy, but also casts new light on some much-debated problems and their interrelations. (shrink)
Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes . Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no.
How is what an agent ought to do at time t related to what they ought to do over a period of time that includes t? I revisit an example that sheds light on this question, taking account of issues to do with the agent's intentions and the distinction between subjective and objective obligation.
What is the nature of, and what is the relationship between, external objects and our visual perceptual experience of them? In this book, Frank Jackson defends the answers provided by the traditional Representative theory of perception. He argues, among other things that we are never immediately aware of external objects, that they are the causes of our perceptual experiences and that they have only the primary qualities. In the course of the argument, sense data and the distinction between mediate and (...) immediate perception receive detailed defences and the author criticises attempts to reduce perceiving the believing and to show that the Representative theory makes the external world unknowable. Jackson recognises that his views are unfashionable but argues in detail that they are to be preferred to their currently favoured competitors. It will become an obvious point of reference for all future work on the philosophy of perception. (shrink)
Some properties are causally relevant for a certain effect, others are not. In this paper we describe a problem for our understanding of this notion and then offer a solution in terms of the notion of a program explanation.
This collection introduces the reader to some of the most interesting current work on conditionals. Particular attention is paid to possible world semantics for conditionals, the role of conditional probability in helping us to understand conditionals, implicature and the material conditional, and subjunctive versus indicative conditionals. Contributors include V.H. Dudman, Dorothy Edgington, Nelson Goodman, H.P. Grice, David Lewis, and Robert Stalnaker.
The 'best-system' analysis of lawhood [Lewis 1994] faces the 'zero-fit problem': that many systems of laws say that the chance of history going actually as it goes--the degree to which the theory 'fits' the actual course of history--is zero. Neither an appeal to infinitesimal probabilities nor a patch using standard measure theory avoids the difficulty. But there is a way to avoid it: replace the notion of 'fit' with the notion of a world being typical with respect to a theory.
How should we react to the contention that there is empirical evidence showing that many judge Gettier cases to be cases of knowledge, contrary to the verdict of most analytical philosophers about these cases? I argue that there is no single answer to this question. The discussion is set inside a view about how to view the role and significance of intuitive responses to some of philosophy's famous thought experiments. One take-home message is that experimental philosophy and conceptual analysis are (...) not as far apart as is often thought. (shrink)
Kant argued that we have no knowledge of things in themselves, no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of things, a thesis that is not idealism but epistemic humility. David Lewis agrees (in 'Ramseyan Humility'), but for Ramseyan reasons rather than Kantian. I compare the doctrines of Ramseyan and Kantian humility, and argue that Lewis's contextualist strategy for rescuing knowledge from the sceptic (proposed elsewhere) should also rescue knowledge of things in themselves. The rescue would not be complete: for knowledge of (...) things in themselves would remain elusive. (shrink)
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, (...) assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself” (Elster 1985, p. 5). Michael Taylor (1988, p. 96) agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”. (shrink)
This collection brings together some of Frank Jackson's most influential essays on mind, action, conditionals, method in metaphysics, and ethics. These have each been revised for this edition, and are presented along with his challenge to orthodoxy on the new riddle of induction.
I think recent discussions of content and reference have not paid enough attention to the role of language as a convention-governed system of communication. With this as a background theme, I explain the role of A-intensions in elucidating one important notion of content and correlative notions of reference.
I defend the view that the truth conditions of the ordinary indicative conditional are those of the material conditional. This is done via a discussion of assertability and by appeal to conventional implicature rather than conversational implicature.
Expressivists hold that ethical sentences express attitudes. We argue that it is very hard for expressivists to give an account of the relevant sense of 'express' which has some plausibility and also delivers the kind of noncognitivist account of ethical sentences they affirm. Our argument draws on Locke's point that words are voluntary signs.
"the incorrigibility thesis", The thesis that it is logically impossible to be mistaken about such things as whether I am now in pain or am seeing or seeming to see something red, Is very widely supposed to be false. I consider the arguments designed to show this, And argue that they all fail.
I survey recent work on mental causation. The discussion is conducted under the twin presumptions that mental states, including especially what subjects believe and desire, causally explain what subjects do, and that the physical sciences can in principle give a complete explanation for each and every bodily movement. I start with sceptical discussions of various views that hold that, in some strong sense, the causal explanations offered by psychology are autonomous with respect to those offered by the physical sciences. I (...) then proceed to views that see the problem of mental causation as that of identifying where in the physical story about us and our world lie the parts that in effect tell us abut mental causation - the kind of position that is pretty much standard in the cognitive science community - and consider issues raised by various forms of functionalism and externalism. The general thrust of my discussion is sympathetic to the story about mental causation suggested by those type-type versions of the mind-brain identity theory that allow for the possiblity of multiple realisability. I include a brief discussion of how a map-system account of belief, by contrast with a language of thought one, should understand explanations of behaviour in terms of what a subject believes. (shrink)
This paper develops an informal semantics for 'ought to be' and 'ought to be given...' and argues for its plausibility. A feature of the semantics is that it invalidates 'if a entails b, And o(a), Then o(b)' and 'if o(a) & o(b), Then o(a&b)', While validating detachment for conditional obligation.
The sentence ‘x is square’ might have had different truth conditions from those it in fact has. It might have had no truth conditions at all. Its having truth conditions and its having the ones it has rest on empirical facts about our use of ‘x is square’. What empirical facts? Any answer that goes into detail is inevitably highly controversial, but we think that there is a rough answer that is, by philosophers’ standards, relatively uncontroversial. It goes back to (...) Locke 1689 and beyond, and is best known to contemporary philosophers through the work of Grice 1957 and Lewis 1969. It is that we (usually implicitly) agreed, as a matter of contingent fact, to use ‘x is square’ as a way of conveying our taking it to be the case that x is square. (shrink)
Much of the contemporary debate in the philosophy of mind is concerned with the clash between certain strongly held intuitions and what science tells us about the mind and its relation to the world. What science tells us about the mind points strongly towards some version or other of physicalism. The intuitions, in one way or another, suggest that there is something seriously incomplete about any purely physical story about the mind.
Redness is the property that makes things look red in normal circumstances. That seems obvious enough. But then colour is whatever property does that job: a certain reflectance profile as it might be. Redness is the property something is represented to have when it looks red. That seems obvious enough. But looking red does not represent that which looks red as having a certain reflectance profile. What should we say about this antinomy and how does our answer impact on the (...) contest between realism and subjectivism about colour? I address the issues through the lens of a representationalist position on colour experience. (shrink)
1. Reflecting on possible cases can be very valuable in differing ways. Sometimes it makes clear a consequence of a theory, a consequence that then plays an important role in debates about the theory. Utilitarians who favour maximising average happiness confront utilitarians who favour maximising total happiness with possible cases where there are enormously many sentient beings whose lives are barely worth living. Sometimes reflecting on possible cases serves to clarify a doctrine. Classical versions of consequentialism value equity for its (...) good results; they don't value it per se. What this means is that in cases where we have two actions alike in the value of their consequences but differing in that one delivers a more equitable distribution, classical consequentialism treats the two actions as morally equivalent. Sometimes reflections on possible cases reveal relationships that are not immediately obvious. Take Galileo's famous thought experiment directed against the view that the heavier a body is the faster it falls in a vacuum. He describes a possible case where the only way to retain the view requires embracing independently implausible views about how various ways two bodies are connected to each other make a big difference to how fast the joined bodies fall. The thought experiment reveals a connection that might otherwise escape notice.This reminds us that we should not expect a uniform answer to the question, What role do thought experiments play? However, it is conventional wisdom that very often their role is to make trouble for one or another proffered conceptual analysis. Take two thought experiments that have been found especially compelling by the analytical philosophical community: Edmund Gettier's examples of true, justified belief, where the beliefs are true by some kind of fluke, and Ned Block's example of a being that makes ‘intelligent’ responses to the challenges the …. (shrink)
It turned out that there was no phlogiston, no caloric fluid, and no luminiferous ether. Might it turn out that there are no beliefs and desires? Patricia and Paul Churchland say yes} We say no. In part one we give our positive argument for the existence of beliefs and desires.
Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit, and Michael Smith have been at the forefront of philosophy in Australia for much of the last two decades, and their collaborative work has had widespread influence throughout the world. Mind, Morality, and Explanation collects the best of that work in a single volume, showcasing their seminal contributions to philosophical psychology, the theory of psychological and social explanation, moral theory, and moral psychology.
Intentional states represent. Belief represents how we take things to be; desire represents how we would like things to be; and so on. To represent is to make a division among possibilities; it is to divide the possibilities into those that are consistent with how things are being represented to be and those that are not. I will call the possibilities consistent with how some intentional state represents things to be, its content. There is no suggestion that this is the (...) only legitimate notion of content, but for anyone who takes seriously the representational nature of intentional states, it must be one legitimate and central notion of content. To discover that DNA has a double helix structure is to make a selection from the various possible structures. (shrink)