It is a curious thing about the philosophy of mind, that it includes surprisingly little about minds. In an average anthology on the subject, or a book like Ryle's, one finds discussions of thinking, imagining, believing, willing, remembering, and so on, but not of minds. It seems to be assumed that investigating these topics is investigating minds; but whether that is true is not itself made a topic for investigation.
The following are not among the least puzzling remarks in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : 572. Expectation is, grammatically, a state; like: being of an opinion, hoping for something, knowing something, being able to do something. But in order to understand the grammar of these states it is necessary to ask: ‘What counts as a criterion for anyone's being in such a state?’ 573.… What, in particular cases, do we regard as criteria for someone's being of such and such an opinion? (...) When do we say: he reached this opinion at that time? When he has altered his opinion? And so on. The picture which the answers to these questions give us shews what gets treated grammatically as a state here. (shrink)
Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories secure rigidity for indexicals by positing special contexts and semantic mechanisms reserved only for indexicals. The result is a deep and unexplained chasm between expressions that depend on the extra-linguistic context and expressions that depend on the discourse context. Theories that treat indexicals as anaphoric, presuppositional expressions (e.g., Zeevat 1999; Roberts 2002; Hunter & Asher 2005; Maier 2006, 2009) have the potential to be more minimal and general than Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories—the mechanism of presupposition, unlike that (...) of Kaplanian character, is useful for the semantics of a great many expressions. Maier (2006, 2009), however, has argued that presuppositional theories of indexicals must be supplemented with a two-dimensional semantics in order to secure rigidity for indexicals. If this is right, then presuppositional theories of indexicals will suffer from the limitations of Kaplan's system. This article argues that Maier is not right on this point: presuppositions can completely replace Kaplanian characters. A presuppositional theory can secure rigidity for indexicals without positing two independent dimensions of meaning that can never interact; in particular, it can do so without positing that indexicals have a special kind of meaning that by its nature can never interact with the kind of meaning that Kaplan called ‘content’. The result is a more general, minimal and flexible theory that better handles the data on indexicals. (shrink)
Rival Enlightenments, first published in 2001, is a major reinterpretation of early modern German intellectual history. Ian Hunter approaches philosophical doctrines as ways of fashioning personae for envisaged historical circumstances, here of confessional conflict and political desacralization. He treats the civil philosophy of Pufendorf and Thomasius and the metaphysical philosophy of Leibniz and Kant as rival intellectual cultures or paideiai, thereby challenging all histories premised on Kant's supposed reconciliation and transcendence of the field. This study reveals the extraordinary historical (...) self-consciousness of the civil philosophers, who repudiated university metaphysics as inimical to the intellectual formation of those administering desacralized territorial states. The book argues that the marginalization of civil philosophy in post-Kantian philosophical history may itself be seen as a continuation of the struggle between the rival enlightenments. Combining careful and well-documented scholarship with vivid polemic, Hunter presents penetrating insights for philosophers and historians alike. (shrink)
Authorship has proven a magnetic topic for literary studies and is now identified as an index of the current state of literary history and theory. The significance of this topic stems from a characteristic that literary criticism shared with the other human sciences: its drive to adopt a reflexive and self-critical posture towards its own central objects and concepts. By reflecting on authorship, criticism aspires not just to describe a literary phenomenon; it also wishes to bring to light the conditions (...) that make this phenomenon possible and thinkable.At the heart of recent studies of authorship, no matter how historical their aspiration, we find a certain quasi-philosophical dialectic or play between authorship and its material conditions, between the author as an exemplary consciousness and the unconscious determinations that bring this consciousness into being and speak through it. The thematic name for this play is the ‘formation of the subject.’. Our purpose is to provide a historical and theoretical argument against this conception of authorship and to outline an alternative approach. David Saunders and Ian Hunter teach in the Division of the Humanities, Griffith University, in Brisbane, Australia. Saunders is the author of Law and Authorship , and is coauthor with Hunter and Dugald Williamson of Book Sex: Obscenity Law and the Policing of Pornography . Hunter is the author of Culture and Government: The Emergence of Literary Education . His current project is a study of aesthetics as an ethos or way of life. (shrink)
The novel represents a formal attempt to come to terms with innovation and originality and to accept the limitations of tradition; it reflects the larger cultural embracing of the present moment as a legitimate subject not only for passing conversation but for serious discourse. For at least a half century before the novel emerged, the world of print had experimented in assuming, absorbing, and exploiting that new cultural consciousness based on human curiosity—on the one hand “preparing” readers for novels and (...) on the other offering later writers of novels some sense of potential subject matter and potential form, a sense of how the present could be won over to serious literature. The process was a curious and unstructured one; in its early manifestations it hardly seemed destined to lead to a significant new literary form. Even in retrospect, the print novelties of the turn of the century hardly seem part of a teleology of form or thought, but the broad ferment that authenticated the new, together with the apparent permanence that print seemed to bestow on accounts of the temporary and passing, ultimately led to a mind and art that transcended occasions and individuals even though it engaged them first of all—energetically, enthusiastically, evangelically. The first fruits of the modern moment-centered consciousness were not very promising, but the emergence of that consciousness enabled, when other cultural contexts were right, an altogether new aesthetic and a wholly different relation between life and literature. J. Paul Hunter, professor of English at the University of Chicago, is the author of The Reluctant Pilgrim, Occasional Form, and of a forthcoming book on literacy, readership, and the contexts of early English fiction, Before Novels. (shrink)
Critiques of Knowing explores what happens to science and computing when we think of them as texts. Lynette Hunter elegantly weaves together such vast areas of thought as rhetoric, politics, AI, computing, feminism, science studies, aesthetics and epistemology. This book shows us that what we need is a radical shake-up of approaches to the arts if the critiques of science and computing are to come to any fruition.
_Critiques of Knowing_ explores what happens to science and computing when we think of them as texts. Lynette Hunter elegantly weaves together vast areas of thought: rhetoric, politics, AI, computing, feminism, science studies, aesthetics and epistemology. _Critiques of Knowing_ shows us that what we need is a radical shake-up of approaches to the arts if the critiques of science and computing are to come to any fruition.
_Why efforts to create a scientific basis of morality are doomed to fail_ In this illuminating book, James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky recount the centuries-long, passionate quest to discover a scientific foundation for morality. The "new moral science" led by such figures as E.O. Wilson, Patricia Churchland and Joshua Greene is only the newest manifestation of an effort that has failed repeatedly. Though claims for its accomplishments are often wildly exaggerated, this new iteration has been no more successful (...) than its predecessors. Hunter and Nedelisky argue that in the end, science cannot tell us how we should live or why we should be good and not evil, and this is for both philosophical and scientific reasons. In the face of this failure, the new moral science has taken a surprising turn. Whereas earlier efforts sought to demonstrate what is right and wrong, the new moral scientists have concluded that right and wrong, because they are not amenable to scientific study, don’t actually exist. Their moral nihilism turns the science of morality into a social engineering project. If there is nothing moral for science to discover, the science of morality becomes, at best, a program to achieve arbitrary societal goals. Concise and rigorously argued, _Science and the Good _is a major critique of a would-be science that has gained too much influence in today’s public discourse, and an exposé of that project’s darker turn. (shrink)
Do the results of scientific study of the physical world give us any inkling about the value of doing metaphysics? Or is the construction of a philosophy of everything upon the insights of science building on sinking sand? With Matt Hunter, Natasha Kyburg, and Farzad Mahootian.
A natural view is that linguistic understanding is a source of justification or evidence: that beliefs about the meaning of a text or speech act are prima facie justified when based on states of understanding. Neglect of this view is largely due to the widely held assumption that understanding a text or speech act consists in knowledge or belief. It is argued that this assumption rests, in part, on confusing occurrent states of understanding and dispositions to understand. It is then (...) argued that occurrent states of understanding are not states of belief of knowledge since a subject may fail to believe that a text or speech act means what she understands it to mean if she doubts the reliability or truth- fulness of that understanding. States of understanding, it is maintained, belong in the same epistemic category as states of perception and memory. (shrink)
Widescopism, as I call it, holds that names are synonymous with descriptions that are required to take wide scope over modal adverbs. Scott Soames has recently argued that Widescopism is false. He identifies an argument that is valid but which, he claims, a defender of Widescopism must say has true premises and a false conclusion. I argue, first, that a defender of Widescopism need not in fact say that the target arguments conclusion is false. Soames argument that she must confuses, (...) I claim, modal adverbs and modal predicates. I then argue that even if she did reject the conclusion, she could nonetheless hold that the target arguments first premise is ambiguous as between a true reading, on which the argument is invalid, and a false reading, on which the argument is valid. I conclude that Soames argument against Widescopism fails. (shrink)
A prolonged confrontation between Yahoo! Inc. and French activists who demand the removal of Nazi items from auction sites as well as restricted access to neo-Nazis sites is described and analyzed. We present the case up to the decision of Yahoo! Inc. to remove the items from yahoo.com following a French court's verdict against the firm. Using a business ethics approach, we distinguish legal, technical, philosophical and managerial issues involved in the case and their management by Yahoo! We conclude on (...) the difficulty of governing relations with society from corporate and legal affairs departments at the headquarters level, and on the clash of two visions over the regulation of social freedom. (shrink)
In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are (...) right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice. (shrink)
I argue that entertaining a proposition is not an action. Such events do not have intentional explanations and cannot be evaluated as rational or not. In these respects they contrast with assertions and compare well with perceptual events. One can control what one thinks by doing something, most familiarly by reciting a sentence. But even then the event of entertaining the proposition is not an action, though it is an event one has caused to happen, much as one might cause (...) oneself to see a book by looking at it. I also discuss how this may support the view that thinking about the world is a source of information about it. (shrink)
Some philosophical proposals seem to die hard. In a recent paper, Jason Stanley has worked to resurrect the description theory of reference, at least as it might apply to natural kind terms like ‘elm’ (Stanley, 1999). The theory’s founding idea is that to understand ‘elm’ one must know a uniquely identifying truth about elms. Famously, Hilary Putnam showed that ordinary users of ‘elm’ may understand it while lacking such knowledge, and may even be unable to distinguish elms from beeches (Putnam, (...) 1975). In response, Stanley claims that linguistic understanding in the case of natural kind terms comes in levels, and that only those at the top level need have the knowledge in question. The description theory, in Stanley’s hands, applies only to those with top level understanding and it is their understanding that ﬁxes the term’s reference. To use the term successfully, those with inferior understanding need only be defer- ential to those at the top. However, Stanley’s appeal to expert knowledge fails to revive the description theory. (shrink)
This paper is about what is distinctive about first-person beliefs. I discuss several sets of puzzling cases of first-person belief. The first focus on the relation between belief and action, while the second focus on the relation of belief to subjectivity. I argue that in the absence of an explanation of the dispositional difference, individuating such beliefs more finely than truth conditions merely marks the difference. I argue that the puzzles reveal a difference in the ways that I am disposed (...) to revise my beliefs about myself. This point develops the insight that Anscombe and others had that those of an agent's beliefs about himself that manifest that special self-consciousness are not based on observation, testimony or inference. The puzzles show that this kind of self-consciousness involves, not a special kind of belief or even a special kind of self-reference, but a special kind of belief revision policy. (shrink)
Coordination problems, problems in which each agent's expected utility depends upon what other agents do, pose a problem for act utilitarianism. When the agents are act utilitarians and know of each other that they are so, they seem unable to achieve optimal outcomes in certain coordination problems. I examine various ways the act utilitarian might attempt to solve this problem, where act utilitarianism is interpreted within the framework of subjective expected utility theory. In particular, a new method for computing expected (...) utility,dynamic deliberation, deserves examination as a possible act utilitarian solution to coordination problems. I argue that even dynamic deliberation fails to give the act utilitarian what he needs in coordination problems, and that the failure of act utilitarianism for such problems suggests the need for an alternative theory of moral choice along rule utilitarian lines. (shrink)
What I wish to consider here is how understanding something is related to the justiﬁcation of beliefs about what it means. Suppose, for instance, that S understands the name “Clinton” and has a justiﬁed belief that it names Clinton. How is S’s understanding related to that belief’s justiﬁcation? Or suppose that S understands the sentence “Clinton is President”, or Jones’ assertive utterance of it, and has a justiﬁed belief that that sentence expresses the proposition that Clinton is President, or that (...) Jones said that Clinton is President. How is S’s understanding related to the justiﬁcations of these beliefs? (shrink)
Spinoza is supposed to have denied the existence of miracles. I argue that instead of denying them he offers his readers a way of understanding miracles within his own metaphysical system in which God and nature are identified. I then offer some historical conjectures as to why his view has been misunderstood so often and for so long.
One of the curious things about this challenging book is that its ostensible subject— the Saxon medical and political scientist Hermann Conring (1606–1681)— is not mentioned in the title. Constantin Fasolt argues that we cannot know what Conring really thought or meant in his writings, which means that his topic cannot be Conring as such and must instead be that which occludes our knowledge of him, the titular limits of history. Given that we do in fact learn a good deal (...) about Conring from Fasolt’s book, we can only hope that the decapitation of its subject will be rectified in a subsequent edition, or perhaps by the restorative work of librarians putting together subject headings. And yet Fasolt’s decision is understandable, for Conring is indeed a stalking-horse for a much bigger quarry: historiography and the historical consciousness. By “history” Fasolt understands a way of imposing intelligibility on the world, which is founded on the twin assumptions that the past is gone and unchangeable, and that the meaning of texts can be determined by placing them in their historical contexts (ix). In challenging this mode of intelligibility, Fasolt is not attempting to improve professiona history—it’s already as good as it can be—but to displace it. He regards his work as a declaration of “independence from historical consciousness” (32). At the same time, Fasolt insists that he is not simply jumping from historiography to philosophy, or attempting to preempt history with ontology (37-39). That has been tried by Nietzsche and Heidegger, who have been tainted by Nazism (Fasolt thinks unfairly). It has also been attempted by modern philosophers from Gadamer to Foucault and Charles Taylor who, in failing to address the “violence” that its mode of intelligibility does to the world, have not succeeded in outflanking history. Perhaps, Fasolt wonders, it is only the personal experience of those who have been subject to this violence—the experience of those who have been subject to historical examination—that can break the spell of history. Fasolt’s disclaimer notwithstanding, in the course of these remarks I shall argue that he is indeed jumping from history to philosophy, or attempting to outflank history by subjecting it to a particular metaphysical understanding. I shall do so in part by sketching the recent intellectual history of this move—a historical examination that I hope inflicts as little violence as possible on Fasolt’s argument. (shrink)
In attempting to build intelligent litigation support tools, we have moved beyond first generation, production rule legal expert systems. Our work integrates rule based and case based reasoning with intelligent information retrieval.When using the case based reasoning methodology, or in our case the specialisation of case based retrieval, we need to be aware of how to retrieve relevant experience. Our research, in the legal domain, specifies an approach to the retrieval problem which relies heavily on an extended object oriented/rule based (...) system architecture that is supplemented with causal background information. We use a distributed agent architecture to help support the reasoning process of lawyers. (shrink)
This paper examines the use of connectionism (neural networks) in modelling legal reasoning. I discuss how the implementations of neural networks have failed to account for legal theoretical perspectives on adjudication. I criticise the use of neural networks in law, not because connectionism is inherently unsuitable in law, but rather because it has been done so poorly to date. The paper reviews a number of legal theories which provide a grounding for the use of neural networks in law. It then (...) examines some implementations undertaken in law and criticises their legal theoretical naïvete. It then presents a lessons from the implementations which researchers must bear in mind if they wish to build neural networks which are justified by legal theories. (shrink)
The article is an interpretation of about the first half of chapter xi of part ii of "philosophical investigations". Wittgenstein is treated as having the single aim of arguing down the massive temptation to suppose that the expression 'to see...As...', And such similar expressions as 'to recognize', Record the occurrence of an experience distinct from the experience of simply seeing the object seen as or recognized. Ways are suggested of making a kind of sense of most of the very perplexing (...) remarks in this stretch of the "investigations". (shrink)
This paper demolishes the Churchlands' arguments for their Eliminative Materialism and casts doubt on the logical possibility of their thesis. In passing, the paper draws attention to a mistake in history of science made in one of the arguments.