Peter Ludlow shows how word meanings are much more dynamic than we might have supposed, and explores how they are modulated even during everyday conversation. The resulting view is radical, and has far-reaching consequences for our political and legal discourse, and for enduring puzzles in the foundations of semantics, epistemology, and logic.
The author argues that the standard view about language, seen as fairly stable abstract system of communication, is a myth. Standard view is badly mistaken and the alternative picture is offered in which there is a core part of our linguistic competence that is fixed by biology and this provides a basic skeleton which is fleshed out in different ways on a conversion-by-conversation basis. Why certain people communicate with each other? The answer to this question is not because they speak (...) the same language. We cannot see how communication can emerge from the standard picture of language if we do not start investigating the nature of our linguistic coordination strategies, since there is not a thing there -- a language -- that helps us to communicate. (shrink)
Part of what makes working with modals such a tricky business is that apparent modal forms are deployed in all sorts of ways in language. In this paper I explore an interesting example of an apparent modal—the Blofeld case—which was introduced by Gilles and von Fintel as part of their argument against context of assessment accounts of epistemic modals. I argue that the example is subtle, and that the apparent modal may not be an epistemic modal at all—it could be (...) a scalar modifier that merges or “incorporates” with the matrix verb, weakening the meaning of the matrix verb. If apparent modals are used as scalar modifiers and are subject to movement and incorporation, then the surface language of modality may be throwing us some crafty head fakes. Caution is advised. (shrink)
One of the most gripping intuitions that people have about time is that it, in some sense “flows.” This sense of flow has been articulated in a number of ways, ranging from us moving into the future or the future rushing towards us, and there has been no shortage of metaphors and descriptions to characterize this sense of passage. Despite the many forms of the metaphor and its widespread occurrence, it has been argued that there is a deep conceptual problem (...) in any assumption that time “passes” or “flows.” The idea expressed by the metaphor is supposed to be incoherent. But is the idea expressed by this metaphor really incoherent? In this essay I will argue that, on one understanding of the metaphor, it is not. I’ll argue that the metaphor can be unpacked as representing three features of temporal experience, and while these features together appear to lead to paradox, I will argue that correctly handled they do not. (shrink)
'Knowledge' doesn't correctly describe our relation to linguistic rules. It is too thick a notion . On the other hand, 'cognize', without further elaboration, is too thin a notion, which is to say that it is too thin to play a role in a competence theory. One advantage of the term 'knowledge'-and presumably Chomsky's original motivation for using it-is that knowledge would play the right kind of role in a competence theory: Our competence would consist in a body of knowledge (...) which we have and which we may or may not act upon-our performance need not conform to the linguistic rules that we know.Is there a way out of the dilemma? I'm going to make the case that the best way to talk about grammatical rules is simply to say that we have them. That doesn't sound very deep, I know, but saying that we have individual rules leaves room for individual norm guidance in a way that 'cognize' does not. Saying we have a rule like subjacency is also thicker than merely saying we cognize it. Saying I have such a rule invites the interpretation that it is a rule for me-that I am normatively guided by it. The competence theory thus becomes a theory of the rules that we have. Whether we follow those rules is another matter entirely. (shrink)
_The Philosophy of Mind_ remains the only sourcebook of primary readings offering in-depth coverage of both historical works and contemporary controversies in philosophy of mind. This second edition provides expanded treatment of classical as well as current topics, with many additional readings and a new section on mental content. The writers included range from Aristotle, Descartes, and William James to such leading contemporary thinkers as Noam Chomsky, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and Jaegwon Kim. The 83 selections provide a thorough survey (...) of five areas of enduring controversy: the mind-body problem, mental causation, mental content, innatism and modularity, and associationism and connectionism. Each section includes an introductory overview of the topic by the editors as well as suggestions for further reading. The selections added for the second edition serve both to enhance historical coverage and to update contemporary issues, especially in areas of current empirical research such as connectionism and innatism. Changes to historical coverage include a wider array of readings on classic positions as well as neglected precursors to views often considered recent innovations. The section on the mind-body problem in particular has been greatly expanded, including numerous selections on consciousness and phenomenal qualities. The book is ideal for both undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy and the history of psychology and will be useful both as a reference for researchers and a self-contained survey for the general reader. (shrink)
This latest volume of _The Philosopher's Annual_ presents the ten best articles published in the field during 2001. No limitations are placed on the articles' sources, subject matter or mode of treatment, providing for a diverse collection of engaging, high-caliber work that stands as a valuable sample of contemporary philosophy. This year's volume includes papers by Robert Bernasconi, Hans Halvorson, Christopher Hitchcock, Ignacio Jane, Brian Leiter, Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, Joel Pust, Alison Simmons, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson, and (...) Crispin Wright. (shrink)
Each year, _The Philosopher's Annual_ presents the ten best articles published in the field of philosophy during the previous twelve months—with the absence of limits on the articles' sources, subject matter, or modes of treatment making for a very diverse collection of engaging, high-caliber work. This year's volume includes papers by Katalin Balog, Tyler Burge, Cheshire Calhoun, Sally Haslanger, Thomas Hofweber, Philip Kitcher, Charles G. Morgan, Thomas W. Pogge, James Pryor, and Elliott Sober.