Based on a crowdsourced truth value judgment experiment, we provide empirical evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and we develop a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, we show that two truth-conditionally equivalent clauses can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the meaning of these clauses is not fully determined by their truth conditions. This finding has a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: (...) truth-conditionally equivalent clauses may be associated with different propositional alternatives, each of which counts as a separate counterfactual assumption. Second, we show that our results contradict the common idea that the interpretation of a counterfactual involves minimizing change with respect to the actual state of affairs. We propose to replace the idea of minimal change by a distinction between foreground and background for a given counterfactual assumption: the background is held fixed in the counterfactual situation, while the foreground can be varied without any minimality constraint. (shrink)
The main goal of this paper is to investigate the relation between the meaning of a sentence and its truth conditions. We report on a comprehension experiment on counterfactual conditionals, based on a context in which a light is controlled by two switches. Our main finding is that the truth-conditionally equivalent clauses (i) "switch A or switch B is down" and (ii) "switch A and switch B are not both up" make different semantic contributions when embedded in a conditional antecedent. (...) Assuming compositionality, this means that (i) and (ii) differ in meaning, which implies that the meaning of a sentential clause cannot be identified with its truth conditions. We show that our data have a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: in a conditional antecedent, (i) introduces two distinct assumptions, while (ii) introduces only one. Independently of the complications stemming from disjunctive antecedents, our results also challenge analyses of counterfactuals in terms of minimal change from the actual state of affairs: we show that such analyses cannot account for our findings, regardless of what changes are considered minimal. (shrink)
Sandra Field, Jeffrey Flynn, Stephen Macedo, Longxi Zhang, and Martin Powers discussed Powers’ book China and England: The Preindustrial Struggle for Social Justice in Word and Image at the American Philosophical Association’s 2020 Eastern Division meeting in Philadelphia. The panel was sponsored by the APA’s “Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies” and organized by Brian Bruya.
Scientists normally earn less money than many other professions which require a similar amount of training and qualification. The economic theory of marginal utility and cost-benefit analysis can be applied to explain this phenomenon. Although scientists make less money than entertainment stars, the scientists do research work out of their interest and they also enjoy a much higher reputation and social status in some countries.
This essay seeks to demonstrate the following: 1. the value of metaphysical cosmology to our relationship with nature, and to making policy about the environment; 2. the mistaken nature and harmful consequences of the hegemonic cosmology of anthropocentrism; and, 3. the possibility of Zhang Zai's Qi/qi Great Harmony cosmology as both the refutation of and replacement for anthropocentrism. The essay concludes that ultimate moral progress of expanding the self from the narrow and exclusionary views of anthropocentrism consists in cosmocentrism, (...) or the transformation of thought to a cosmological perspective as exemplified by Zhang Zai's Great Harmony continual cyclical process of Qi/qi. It is argued that positive metaphysical visions such as Zhang Zai's can negate anthropocentric cosmology and inspire us to view our relationship with the environment in a fundamentally enlightened and more respectful way, which is not arrogantly self-centred, disconnected and supremacist. (shrink)
The unification of grounding and causation has been proposed in the literature. Also, it has encountered many objections. In this paper, I argue that there is a strategy that enables us to reply to many of the objections to the unification. That is the ‘blame the relata strategy’ which claims that all the differences between grounding and causation come from relata rather than relation. I clarify this strategy by appealing to positionalism about relations, and present three arguments for this strategy. (...) Also, I argue that the difference between causal relata and grounding relata is that the former are distinct entities, while the latter are non-distinct. I suggest the ‘essential connections criterion’ to define ‘distinct’ and ‘non-distinct’, showing that grounding is partly grounded in essence in an indirect manner. Given the above strategy and criterion, we can see that there is no real objection to the unification of grounding and causation. (shrink)
Abstract:Both Zhang Taiyan and Heidegger oppose the idea of unilinear teleological progress by unveiling the dimensions of decline embedded in modern (Western) civilization. In terms of the theory of dual "evolution," Zhang points out that accompanying the increase of good and happiness is the inevitable aggravation of evil and suffering. Critically appropriating Spengler, Heidegger diagnoses the current era as one of gigantic decline and speaks of Europe as the actualization of the decline of the West. Zhang attributes (...) the meontological source of evil and suffering to the abiding affective imprint and self-conceit, while Heidegger's thematization of decline is intimately bound up with his abiding concern with the history of Being. Confronted with the world of decline, Zhang puts forward a Zhuangzian proposal of "harmonizing between shi 是 and fei 非." In contrast, for Heidegger this decline at the same time offers the transition into the other inception of Western tradition. (shrink)
Modern socialist economic reforms which center on the establishment of a commodity based economic system, demand a reconsideration of human nature. Marxism and human sociobiology give different answers to questions about human nature, but neither is complete in itself. It seems timely, therefore, to suggest that a combination of biological understanding with a Marxist-based social understanding would produce a more adequate notion of human nature, thereby helping us to resolve a number of problems posed by reforms currently taking place in (...) socialist countries. We might also hope to face new challenges posed in the future. (shrink)