According to Russell, the intrinsic nature of the physical is the same as or deeply analogous to phenomenal qualities, those properties known through acquaintance in one's subjective experience. I defend his position and argue that it implies a kind of idealism, specifically the view that any intrinsic physical property instance can only exist as an object of acquaintance. This follows because a necessary feature of physicality is spatial location, and hence the intrinsic nature of the physical must share with phenomenal (...) qualities whatever makes some of them suitable space occupants. That feature is their occupying phenomenal spaces. There are reasons for believing that it is conceptually impossible for there to be a phenomenal space without a subject acquainted with its contents. Therefore, intrinsic physical properties must be objects of acquaintance. This view is shown to be compatible with contemporary science, and a scientific idealist metaphysic is briefly sketched. (shrink)
A cultural change occurred roughly 40,000 years ago. For the first time, there was evidence of belief in unseen agents and an afterlife. Before this time, humans did not show widespread evidence of being able to think about objects, persons, and other agents that they had not been in close contact with. I argue that one can explain this transition by appealing to a population increase resulting in greater exoteric (inter-group) communication. The increase in exoteric communication triggered the actualization of (...) a dormant potential for greater syntactic computational power; specifically it triggered syntactic movement. Syntactic movement, in turn, made possible variable binding, which crucially figures into cognition by description, a naturalistic analogue of Russell’s knowledge by description. Cognition by description made possible the ability to conceive of things one had never experienced, such as mythological beings, places only visited by the dead, and so forth. The Amazonian Pirahã provide some corroboration for this hypothesis, since they exhibit the combination of traits here attributed to Middle Paleolithic individuals, namely exclusively esoteric (intra-group) communication, evident lack of syntactic movement, and a limitation to knowledge (cognition) by acquaintance. (shrink)
Armstrong holds that a law of nature is a certain sort of structural universal which, in turn, fixes causal relations between particular states of affairs. His claim that these nomic structural universals explain causal relations commits him to saying that such universals are irreducible, not supervenient upon the particular causal relations they fix. However, Armstrong also wants to avoid Plato’s view that a universal can exist without being instantiated, a view which he regards as incompatible with naturalism. This construal of (...) naturalism forces Armstrong to say that universals are abstractions from a certain class of particulars; they are abstractions from first-order states of affairs, to be more precise. It is here argued that these two tendencies in Armstrong cannot be reconciled: To say that universals are abstractions from first-order states of affairs is not compatible with saying that universals fix causal relations between particulars. Causal relations are themselves states of affairs of a sort, and Armstrong’s claim that a law is a kind of structural universal is best understood as the view that any given law logically supervenes on its corresponding causal relations. The result is an inconsistency, Armstrong having to say that laws do not supervene on particular causal relations while also being committed to the view that they do so supervene. The inconsistency is perhaps best resolved by denying that universals are abstractions from states of affairs. (shrink)
The view that moral cognition is subserved by a two-tieredarchitecture is defended: Moral reasoning is the result both ofspecialized, informationally encapsulated modules which automaticallyand effortlessly generate intuitions; and of general-purpose,cognitively penetrable mechanisms which enable moral judgment in thelight of the agent's general fund of knowledge. This view is contrastedwith rival architectures of social/moral cognition, such as Cosmidesand Tooby's view that the mind is wholly modular, and it is argued thata two-tiered architecture is more plausible.
This paper defends a cognitive theory of those emotional reactions which motivate and constrain moral judgment. On this theory, moral emotions result from mental faculties specialized for automatically producing feelings of approval or disapproval in response to mental representations of various social situations and actions. These faculties are modules in Fodor's sense, since they are informationally encapsulated, specialized, and contain innate information about social situations. The paper also tries to shed light on which moral modules there are, which of these (...) modules we share with non-human primates, and on the (pre-)history and development of this modular system from pre-humans through gatherer-hunters and on to modern (i.e. arablist) humans. The theory is not, however, meant to explain all moral reasoning. It is plausible that a non-modular intelligence at least sometimes play a role in conscious moral thought. However, even non-modular moral reasoning is initiated and constrained by moral emotions having modular sources. (shrink)
Broadly speaking, phenomenalism is the position that physical facts depend upon sensory facts. Many have thought it to imply that physical statements are translatable into sensory statements. Not surprisingly, the impossibility of such translations led many to abandon phenomenalism in favor of materialism. But this was rash, for if phenomenalism is reformulated as the claim that physical facts supervene upon sensory facts, then translatability is no longer required. Given materialism's failure to account for subjective experience, there has been a revival (...) of property dualism. But property dualism implies indirect realism with its threat of scepticism. Given difficulties with materialism and dualism, philosophers should reconsider phenomenalism. (shrink)
John Searle dismisses the attempt to understand thought as a form of computation, on the grounds that it is not scientific. Science is concerned with intrinsic properties, i.e. those features which are not observer relative, e.g. science is concerned with mass but not with beauty. Computation, according to Searle, presupposes the property of following an algorithm, but algorithmicity is normative, by reason of appealing to function, and hence not intrinsic. I argue that Searle's critique presupposes the folk notion of function, (...) which is indeed normative. But this folk notion can be replaced by a purely descriptive analogue, thereby showing that algorithmicity can be construed as intrinsic after all. (shrink)
This book argues that relational cognition, a form of social cognition, exhibits digital infinity as does language. Copies of elementary models are combined and recursively nested to form a potentially infinite number of complex models. Just as one posits proof-theoretic grammars in order to account for the digital infinity of language, one also should posit proof-theoretic grammars to account for the digital infinity of relational cognition. Objections to a proof-theoretic approach, often equally applicable both to language and to relational cognition, (...) are considered and criticized. Such objections either posit overly complex alternatives or overlook the role of idealization in science. (shrink)
Advances in cognitive science are relevant to the debate between moral pluralism and absolutism. Parametric structure, which plausibly underlies syntax, gives some idea of how pluralism might be true. The cognitive mechanisms underlying mathematical intelligence give some idea of how far absolutism is right. Advances in cognitive science should help us better understand the extent to which we are divided and how far we are potentially harmonious in our values.
Em linguística gerativa, distinguem-se várias propriedades formais dos sistemas representacionais: a infinidade discreta, a finitude discreta e a infinidade do contínuo. Não é frequente filósofos aplicarem essas distinções ao estudo da forma lógica. O fato de essas distinções serem raramente aplicadas resultou em os filósofos pressuporem, geralmente sem discutir, que todas as formas lógicas apresentam una infinidade discreta, como o faz a linguagem natural. Este artigo defende a existência de outros tipos de forma lógica, além daquela que apresenta infinidade discreta. (...) Na representação mental é possível encontrar formar apresentando infinidade contínua e finitude discreta, além da infinidade discreta. Além disso, tais representações mantêm relações lógicas entre si, parcialmente em virtude dessas formas. Isso equivale à alegação de que o estudo da lógica natural precisa ir além da faculdade de linguagem, abrangendo formas lógicas pertinentes a representações mentais que não se assemelham a sentenças. Isso incluiria formas lógicas pictóricas. O ponto final é que, no estudo da lógica natural, é preciso considerar as formas lógicas representadas a sistemas mentais que antecedem a evolução da linguagem. (shrink)
Resumo: Ludwig Wittgenstein tentou desenvolver, desde 1929, uma abordagem à filosofia da lógica em termos de escalas de medição. Embora mostrasse grande sensibilidade a diversos tipos de escalas, Wittgenstein não estava bem posicionado para fazer seu projeto render frutos, porque a teoria das medidas não começou a fazer avanços significativos antes do final da década de 1940, e continuou desfrutando de um progresso relevante, até os anos 80. Não obstante, nas suas obras e palestras dos anos 30, Wittgenstein fez diversas (...) tentativas de entender a lógica, ou a “gramática” da linguagem religiosa e ética relativa à medição. Este artigo é uma tentativa de desenvolver algumas dessas ideias que ocorreram a Wittgenstein, na sua fase intermediária, dentro do contexto da evolução posterior da teoria da medição. Especificamente, defende-se que as linguagens religiosa e ética são formas extremas de medição, não empíricas nem fatuais. Elas representam o caso-limite da medição.: Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to develop an approach to the philosophy of logic in terms of measurement scales. While he showed great sensitivity to different kinds of scaling, Wittgenstein was not in a good position to bring this project to fruition; measurement theory did not begin to develop significantly until the late 1940s, and only made pertinent advances as late as the 1980s. However, in writings and lectures from the 1930s, Wittgenstein made a number of attempts to understand the logic, or “grammar”, of religious and ethical language in relation to measurement. This article is an attempt to develop some of these nascent ideas in intermediate Wittgenstein in terms of later developments in measurement theory. Specifically, it is argued that religious and ethical language are extreme forms of non-empirical and non-factual forms of measurement; they represent the limit-case of measurement. (shrink)
É surpreendente que o ser humano possa formar representações mentais de objetos e propriedades que os seus órgãos dos sentidos não foram projetados pela seleção natural para registrar. Isto não é apenas referência deslocada, uma capacidade partilhada com algumas outras espécies. Afinal, referência deslocada pode ser referência para observáveis. Defendo a plausibilidade de desenvolver um programa de pesquisa para explorar como essa capacidade se refere o conhecimento por descrição em um sentido mais ou menos russelliano. Como tal, é um desdobramento (...) acidental da faculdade de linguagem, especificamente a capacidade de construir descrições. Ainda mais especificamente, ele requer a capacidade para formar frases quantificadas, como por variantes da teoria das descrições. Os linguistas têm apresentado evidências de uma operação computacional própria para a faculdade de linguagem, Confluir Interno, que liga variáveis. Defendo a razoabilidade de um programa para explorar a forma como a singularidade humana de Confluir Interno contribui para a nossa capacidade de conhecimento por descrição. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim attempts to pose a dilemma for anyone who would deny mind/body reductionism, namely that one must either advocate the wholesale reduction of psychology to physical science or the sundering of psychology into distinct fields each one of which is reducible to physical science. Supposedly, the denial of mind/body reduction is not an option. My aim is to show that this is not a genuine dilemma, and that antireductionism is an option, if one recognizes that natural-kind individuation is not (...) wholly a matter of metaphysics but is, at least to some degree, a matter of convention as well. The central point is that physical sciences and mental sciences have somewhat different criteria for individuating kinds. (shrink)
After Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein realized that elementary propositions may logically conflict with each other, due to the fact that the most elementary measurements may contradict each other. This led to the view that logic consists of various calculi. A calculus consists of measurement scales, each scale being a rule for the application of numbers. These scales determine logical relationships between elementary propositions by reason of arithmetical relations. Attempts to reject Wittgenstein's change in viewpoint, which ignore the relevance of measurement and (...) arithmetic, are remiss. In this light, I discuss Sarah Moss’s criticism of intermediate Wittgenstein. (shrink)
At the moment, this compiled interview finds a home at Jump Arts Journal, but it will be an ongoing matter at the for-fee section of Zmag.org. Many would-be champions of Chomsky find themselves of similar political outlook, but find the professor a wee on the didactic side, as well as a media machine unto himself. I am one of these, but donâ€™t find this to be a necessarily bad thing, believe the discussion worthy and significant, and, asJAJ deals will all (...) media, Chomskyâ€™s DVD Distorted Morality (Epitaph Records) is floating around for less than the price of two GetHappy Meals. As I encourage you with our writing on the Arts, listen to everything, but make up you own mind; so do I implore you here regarding political issues. Feel free to respond in our own Jump Arts Journal Forum section. (shrink)