This anthology of essays on the work of David Kaplan, a leading contemporary philosopher of language, sprang from a conference, "Themes from Kaplan," organized by the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.
This collection deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." He includes such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," and "The Prince and the Phone Booth.".
Following his recently expanded _The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays,_ John Perry develops a reflexive-referential' account of indexicals, demonstratives and proper names. On these issues the philosophy of language in the twentieth century was shaped by two competing traditions, descriptivist and referentialist. Oddly, the classic referentialist texts of the 1970s by Kripke, Donnellan, Kaplan and others were seemingly refuted almost a century earlier by co-reference and no-reference problems raised by Russell and Frege. Perry's theory, borrowing ideas from (...) both traditions as well as from Burks and Reichenbach, diagnoses the problems as stemming from a fixation on a certain kind of content, coined referential or fully incremental. Referentialist tradition is portrayed as holding that indexicals contribute content that involves individuals without identifying conditions on them; descriptivist tradition is portrayed as holding that referential content does not explain all of the identifying conditions conveyed by names and indexicals. Perry reveals a coherent and structured family of contents — from reflexive contents that place conditions on their actual utterance to fully incremental contents that place conditions only on the objects of reference — reconciling the legitimate insights of both traditions. (shrink)
Beliefs are concrete particulars containing ideas of properties and notions of things, which also are concrete. The claim made in a belief report is that the agent has a belief (i) whose content is a specific singular proposition, and (ii) which involves certain of the agent's notions and ideas in a certain way. No words in the report stand for the notions and ideas, so they are unarticulated constituents of the report's content (like the relevant place in "it's raining"). The (...) belief puzzles (Hesperus, Cicero, Pierre) involve reports about two different notions. So the analysis gets the puzzling truth values right. (shrink)
A collection of twelve essays by John Perry and two essays he co-authored, this book deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." Postscripts have been added to a number of the essays discussing criticisms by authors such as Gareth Evans and Robert Stalnaker. Included with such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," "From Worlds to Situations," and "The Prince and (...) the Phone Booth" are a number of important essays that have been less accessible and that discuss important aspects of Perry's views, referred to as "Critical Referentialism," on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This volume collects a number of Perry's classic works on personal identity as well as four new pieces, The Two Faces of Identity,Persons and Information,Self-Notions and The Self, and The Sense of Identity. Perry’s Introduction puts his own work and that of others on the issues of identity and personal identity in the context of philosophical studies of mind and language over the past thirty years.
Critical Pragmatics develops three ideas: language is a way of doing things with words; meanings of phrases and contents of utterances derive ultimately from human intentions; and language combines with other factors to allow humans to achieve communicative goals. In this book, Kepa Korta and John Perry explain why critical pragmatics provides a coherent picture of how parts of language study fit together within the broader picture of human thought and action. They focus on issues about singular reference, that is, (...) talk about particular things, places or people, which have played a central role in the philosophy of language for more than a century. They argue that attention to the 'reflexive' or 'utterance-bound' contents of utterances sheds new light on these old problems. Their important study proposes a new approach to pragmatics and should be of wide interest to philosophers of language and linguists. (shrink)
The main topic of Jerry Fodor’s The Elm and the Expert,1, and the title of the ﬁrst chapter, is “If Psychological processes are computational, how can psychological laws be intentional?” I focus on the ﬁrst and second chapters; The ﬁrst is devoted to setting up the question, the second to answering it.
When you use the word “I” it designates you; when I use the same word, it designates me. If you use “you” talking to me, it designates me; when I use it talking to you, it designates you. “I” and “you” are indexicals. The designation of an indexical shifts from speaker to speaker, time to time, place to place. Different utterances of the same indexical designate different things, because what is designated depends not only on the meaning associated with the (...) expression, but also on facts about the utterance. An utterance of “I” designates the person who utters it; an utterance of “you” designates the person to whom it is addressed, an utterance of “here” designates the place at which the utterance is made, and so forth. Because indexicals shift their designation in this way, sentences containing indexicals can be used to say different things on different occasions. Suppose you say to me, “You are wrong and I am right about reference,” and I reply with the same sentence. We have used the same sentence, with the same meaning, but said quite different and incompatible things. (shrink)
Epistemic modal predicate logic raises conceptual problems not faced in the case of alethic modal predicate logic : Frege’s “Hesperus-Phosphorus” problem—how to make sense of ascribing to agents ignorance of necessarily true identity statements—and the related “Hintikka-Kripke” problem—how to set up a logical system combining epistemic and alethic modalities, as well as others problems, such as Quine’s “Double Vision” problem and problems of self-knowledge. In this paper, we lay out a philosophical approach to epistemic predicate logic, implemented formally in Melvin (...) Fitting’s First-Order Intensional Logic, that we argue solves these and other conceptual problems. Topics covered include: Quine on the “collapse” of modal distinctions; the rigidity of names; belief reports and unarticulated constituents; epistemic roles; counterfactual attitudes; representational vs. interpretational semantics; ignorance of co-reference vs. ignorance of identity; two-dimensional epistemic models; quantification into epistemic contexts; and an approach to multi-agent epistemic logic based on centered worlds and hybrid logic. (shrink)
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My aim in this study is not to praise Fischer's fine theory of moral responsibility, but to bury the "semi" in "semicompatibilism". I think Fischer gives the Consequence Argument too much credit, and gives himself too little credit. In his book, The Metaphysics of Free Will, Fischer gave the CA as good a statement as it will ever get, and put his finger on what is wrong with it. Then he declared stalemate rather than victory. In my view, Fischer's view (...) amounts to sophisticated compatibilism. It would be nice to be able to call it by its right name. In The Metaphysics of Free Will, Fischer develops his own version of Consequence Argument, which turns on two principles, one of which is the fixity of the past. FP: For any action K, agent S and time i, if it is true that is S were to do Y at t, some fact about that past relative to t would not have been a fact, then S cannot at t do Fat 1. 1 argue that the equipment needed to reject FP is needed to deal with the problem of fatalism. In addition, I argue that the rejection of FP is compatible with Fischer's approach to Frankfurt cases and with his account of transfer principles. (shrink)
…those who accept that responsibility for a situation implies an ability to bring it about and, perhaps, an ability to prevent it, must explain how agents are able to do other than they are caused to do. Without it, they can give no defense of their counterexamples. With it, they can be confident that.
Classical Gricean pragmatics is usually conceived as dealing with far-side pragmatics, aimed at computing implicatures. It involves reasoning about why what was said, was said. Near-side pragmatics, on the other hand, is pragmatics in the service of determining, together with the semantical properties of the words used, what was said. But this raises the specter of ‘the pragmatic circle.’ If Gricean pragmatics seeks explanations for why someone said what they did, how can there be Gricean pragmatics on the near-side? Gricean (...) reasoning seems to require what is said to get started. But then if Gricean reasoning is needed to get to what is said, we have a circle. (shrink)
Singular terms without referents are called empty or vacuous terms. But not all of them are equally empty. In particular, not all proper names that fail to name an existing object fail in the same way: although they are all empty, they are not all equally vacuous. “Vulcan,” “Jacob Horn,” “Odysseus,” and “Sherlock Holmes,” for instance, are all empty. They have no referents. But they are not entirely vacuous or useless. Sometimes they are used in statements that are true or (...) false. We are basically referentialists about proper names. The ordinary semantic function of a proper name is to refer to an object, and to do it directly, that is, without semantically providing any identifying condition that the object should meet to be the referent. To put it differently, we agree that statements containing proper names express singular propositions, i.e., that their truth-conditions involve the referent of the proper name, if it exists, and not any identifying condition of it. Now, since empty names lack a referent, and therefore would not express such a singular proposition, how do we explain that many, if not all, statements containing them have a truth-value? Answering this question for the case of fictional names, in particular, is the aim of this paper. (shrink)
It has been persuasively argued by David Kaplan and others that the proposition expressed by statements like (1) is a singular proposition, true in just those worlds in which a certain person, David Israel, is a computer scientist. Call this proposition P . The truth of this proposition does not require that the utterance (1) occur, or even that Israel has ever said anything at all. Marcus, Donnellan, Kripke and others have persuasively argued for a view of proper names that, (...) put in Kaplan’s terms and applied to this example, implies that the proposition expressed by (2) is also simply P .1 The thesis that expressions of a certain category (names, indexicals, demonstratives, pronouns, descriptions, etc.) are referential 2holds that these expressions contribute the object to which they refer, rather than a mode of presentation of that object, to the propositions expressed by statements containing them. The thesis that indexicals and names are referential creates the challenge of explaining the difference in cognitive signiﬁcance between statements like (1) and (2), that express the same proposition[Wettstein, 1986]. The problem has two parts, which.. (shrink)
This paper examines the argument that moral approval of homosexuality is analogous to the early church's inclusion of gentiles. The analogy has a long but often overlooked history, dating back to the start of the modern gay-rights movement. It has recently gained greater prominence because of its importance to the Episcopal Church's debate with the wider Anglican Communion. Beginning with the Episcopal Church argument, we see that there are five specific areas most in need of further clarification. In this essay (...) I examine significant uses of the analogy from the prior 25 years to see how effectively they address these five areas. I conclude that the conversation surrounding the Gentile Analogy is the current, best hope for mutual understanding among Christians about homosexuality. However, if the analogy is to advance the Christian conversation, much greater care and precision is needed in its application from traditionalists and revisionists alike. (shrink)
Philosophers and logicians use the term “indexical” for words such as “I”, “you” and “tomorrow”. Demonstratives such as “this” and “that” and demonstratives phrases such as “this man” and “that computer” are usually reckoned as a subcategory of indexicals. (Following [Kaplan, 1989a].) The “context-dependence” of indexicals is often taken as a defining feature: what an indexical designates shifts from context to context. But there are many kinds of shiftiness, with corresponding conceptions of context. Until we clarify what we mean by (...) “context”, this defining feature remains unclear. In sections 1–3, which are largely drawn from [Perry, forthcoming(a)], I try to clarify the sense in which indexicals are context-dependent and make some distinctions among the ways indexicals depend on context. In sections 3–6, I contrast indexicality with another phenomenon that I call “unarticulated constituents.”. (shrink)
Self, person, and identity are among the concepts most central to the way humans think about themselves and others. It is often natural in biology to use such concepts; it seems sensible to say, for example, that the job of the immune system is to attack the non-self, but sometimes it attacks the self. But does it make sense to borrow these concepts? Don’t they only pertain to persons, beings with sophisticated minds, and perhaps even souls? I argue that if (...) we focus on the every-day concepts of self and identity, and set aside loftier concepts found in religion, philosophy, and psychology that are applicable, at most, to humans, we can see that self and identity can be sensibly applied widely in biology. (shrink)
The topic of this essay is “the slingshot,” a short argument that purports to show that sentences1 designate (stand for, refer to) truth values. Versions of this argument have been used by Frege 2, Church 3, Quine4 and Davidson5; thus it is historically important, even if it immediately strikes one as ﬁshy. The argument turns on two principles, which I call substitution and redistribution. In “Semantic Innocence and Uncompromising Situations,”6 Jon Barwise and I rejected both principles, as part of our (...) attempt.. (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously noted that saying 'I went to the movies, but I don't believe it' is absurd, while saying 'I went to the movies, but he doesn't believe it' is not in the least absurd. The problem is to explain this fact without supposing that the semantic contribution of 'believes' changes across first-person and third-person uses, and without making the absurdity out to be merely pragmatic. We offer a new solution to the paradox. Our solution is that the (...) truth conditions of any moorean utterance contradict its accuracy conditions. Thus we diagnose a contradiction in how the moorean utterance represents things as being; so we can do justice to the intuition that a Moore-paradoxical utterance is in some way senseless, even if we know what proposition it expresses. (shrink)