One of the features of John Locke’s moral philosophy is the idea that morality is based on our beliefs concerning the future good. In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding II, xxi, §70, Locke argues that we have to decide between the probability of afterlife and our present temptations. In itself, this kind of decision model is not rare in Early Modern philosophy. Blaise Pascal’s Wager is a famous example of a similar idea of balancing between available options which (...) class='Hi'>Marcelo Dascal has discussed in his important 2005 article “The Balance of Reason”. -/- Leibniz, however, was not always satisfied with this kind of simple balancing. In his commentary to Locke’s Essay, Nouveaux essais sur l’entendement humain, II, xxi, §66, he presented an alternative model which is based on an idea of plural, mutually conflicting inclinations. This kind of model, called as vectorial theory of rational decision by Simo Knuuttila, fits well with Leibniz’s theory of the soul where volitions are formed as a kind of compromise between different inclinations to different goods. -/- I will present these two models and show how they illustrate the practical rationality of Locke and Leibniz and how their moral philosophies differ, although being similar in certain respects. The topics include Leibniz’s criticism of Lockean hedonism and the discussion of akratic behaviour in II, xxi of Essay and Nouveaux essais. (shrink)
Livres  P. Engel, Identité et référence, la théorie des noms propres chez Frege et Kripke, Paris : Presses de l’École normale supérieure.  P. Engel, La Norme du vrai, philosophie de la logique, Paris : Gallimard, 3e éd.  P. Engel, The Norm of Truth, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Logic, New York : Harvester Wheatsheaf. Traduction en anglais de  par P. Engel & M. Kochan.  P. Engel, États d’esprit, questions de philosophie de l’esprit, Aix-en-Pro...
This assignment is to be worked alongside other homework and is due at the class period following the midterm exam. Though you should do reading and start thinking about the issues right away, details will make most sense after we have made some progress with other assignments.
People outside France have always wondered why analytical philosophy has had so little influence in this country, while it has gained currency in many other European countries, such as Germany and Italy, not to speak of Northern Europe, where the analytical tradition is strongly established. This can be explained only by a particular conjunction of historical, cultural, sociological and maybe economical factors, which it would be too long to detail here. If there are natural characters of nations, there is no (...) reason to believe that there are no philosophical characters of nations. As Hume said, the characters of nations can have physical as well as moral causes. As for the physical causes, everybody in Britain knows how insular the Continent can be. So if there is such a thing as French analytical philosophy, nobody will be surprised to learn that it is very insular. Before presenting some of the work done by French philosophers related to the analytical tradition, let me try to give what I take to be some of the moral causes of their insularity. (shrink)
"I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time."—T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Pensees Intended to prove that religion is not contrary to reason, Pascal's Pensees rank among the liveliest and most eloquent defenses of Christianity. Motivated by the seventeenth-century view of the supremacy of human reason, Pascal (1623–1662) had intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity in which he argued the inability of reason to address metaphysical problems. His untimely death prevented the work's completion, (...) but the fragments published posthumously in 1670 as Pensees remain a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. W. F. Trotter translation. Introduction by T. S. Eliot. (shrink)
Au cours de cet entretien, Emmanuel Renault nous offre un aperçu de la manière dont la thématique de la reconnaissance est traitée en France aujourd’hui, notamment à travers le renouveau des études sur Hegel et Marx. Il explique la façon dont la reconnaissance a pu s’ériger en paradigme (en dépit de ses usages multiples et variés en France comme ailleurs), au cours de la dernière décennie et le rôle joué par Axel Honneth dans ce procès. Finalement, il explicite sa manière (...) d’envisager la pratique de la philosophie politique et son projet d’une critique du capitalisme. Emmanuel Renault nous livre également un commentaire critique mais constructif sur la manière dont Paul Ricœur envisage la reconnaissance et suggère quelques pistes concernant les possibles développements futurs des usages de la reconnaissance. (shrink)
Multialgebras have been much studied in mathematics and in computer science. In 2016 Carnielli and Coniglio introduced a class of multialgebras called swap structures, as a semantic framework for dealing with several Logics of Formal Inconsistency that cannot be semantically characterized by a single finite matrix. In particular, these LFIs are not algebraizable by the standard tools of abstract algebraic logic. In this paper, the first steps towards a theory of non-deterministic algebraization of logics by swap structures are given. Specifically, (...) a formal study of swap structures for LFIs is developed, by adapting concepts of universal algebra to multialgebras in a suitable way. A decomposition theorem similar to Birkhoff’s representation theorem is obtained for each class of swap structures. Moreover, when applied to the 3-valued algebraizable logics J3 and Ciore, their classes of algebraic models are retrieved, and the swap structures semantics become twist structures semantics. This fact, together with the existence of a functor from the category of Boolean algebras to the category of swap structures for each LFI, suggests that swap structures can be seen as non-deterministic twist structures. This opens new avenues for dealing with non-algebraizable logics by the more general methodology of multialgebraic semantics. (shrink)
In this interview, conducted by Gonçalo Marcelo, Richard Kearney recaps his intellectual trajectory, commenting on his early works on imagination and his own narrative style of doing philosophy in order then to make explicit the deep connection between the more recent developments of Carnal Hermeneutics, Reimagining the Sacred and the work done with others in the context of the Guestbook Project. Drawing on some lesser-known aspects of his work, he emphasizes the carnal dimension of recognition and discusses the pitfalls (...) of the Age of Excarnation. Finally, and as part of his ongoing role as a public intellectual, he also comments on Europe’s social and political situation and the dangers it faces arguing for a pedagogy of narrative exchange as a means to foster hospitality and inclusion. (shrink)
Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us (...) a reason to pay special attention to the infinite consequences of our actions. (shrink)
PREFACE When in the year 1940 I ventured a small volume under the title The Secret of Pascal, I honestly did not expect to write further on the topic. But circumstances ordered otherwise. The needs of Cambridge students and the difficulty, ...
The logics of formal inconsistency (LFIs, for short) are paraconsistent logics (that is, logics containing contradictory but non-trivial theories) having a consistency connective which allows to recover the ex falso quodlibet principle in a controlled way. The aim of this paper is considering a novel semantical approach to first-order LFIs based on Tarskian structures defined over swap structures, a special class of multialgebras. The proposed semantical framework generalizes previous aproaches to quantified LFIs presented in the literature. The case of QmbC, (...) the simpler quantified LFI expanding classical logic, will be analyzed in detail. An axiomatic extension of QmbC called QLFI1o is also studied, which is equivalent to the quantified version of da Costa and D'Ottaviano 3-valued logic J3. The semantical structures for this logic turn out to be Tarkian structures based on twist structures. The expansion of QmbC and QLFI1o with a standard equality predicate is also considered. (shrink)
People have disagreed on the significance of Libet-style experiments for discussions about free will. In what specifically concerns free will in a libertarian sense, some argue that Libet-style experiments pose a threat to its existence by providing support to the claim that decisions are determined by unconscious brain events. Others disagree by claiming that determinism, in a sense that conflicts with libertarian free will, cannot be established by sciences other than fundamental physics. This paper rejects both positions. First, it is (...) argued that neuroscience and psychology could in principle provide support for milder deterministic claims that would also conflict with libertarian free will. Second, it is argued that Libet-style experiments—due to some of their peculiar features, ones that need not be shared by neuroscience as a whole—currently do not support such less demanding deterministic claims. The general result is that neuroscience and psychology could in principle... (shrink)
Suszko's Thesis maintains that many-valued logics do not exist at all. In order to support it, R. Suszko offered a method for providing any structural abstract logic with a complete set of bivaluations. G. Malinowski challenged Suszko's Thesis by constructing a new class of logics (called q-logics by him) for which Suszko's method fails. He argued that the key for logical two-valuedness was the "bivalent" partition of the Lindenbaum bundle associated with all structural abstract logics, while his q-logics were generated (...) by "trivalent" matrices. This paper will show that contrary to these intuitions, logical two-valuedness has more to do with the geometrical properties of the deduction relation of a logical structure than with the algebraic properties embedded on it. (shrink)
In 1986, Mikenberg et al. introduced the semantic notion of quasi-truth defined by means of partial structures. In such structures, the predicates are seen as triples of pairwise disjoint sets: the set of tuples which satisfies, does not satisfy and can satisfy or not the predicate, respectively. The syntactical counterpart of the logic of partial truth is a rather complicated first-order modal logic. In the present article, the notion of predicates as triples is recursively extended, in a natural way, to (...) any complex formula of the first-order object language. From this, a new definition of quasi-truth is obtained. The proof-theoretic counterpart of the new semantics is a first-order paraconsistent logic whose propositional base is a 3-valued logic belonging to hierarchy of paraconsistent logics known as Logics of Formal Inconsistency, which was proposed by Carnielli and Marcos in 2002. (shrink)
We introduce a methodology whereby an arbitrary logic system L can be enriched with temporal features to create a new system T(L). The new system is constructed by combining L with a pure propositional temporal logic T (such as linear temporal logic with Since and Until) in a special way. We refer to this method as adding a temporal dimension to L or just temporalising L. We show that the logic system T(L) preserves several properties of the original temporal logic (...) like soundness, completeness, decidability, conservativeness and separation over linear flows of time. We then focus on the temporalisation of first-order logic, and a comparison is make with other first-order approaches to the handling of time. (shrink)
Is it reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of strong evidence that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to support belief even if one lacks evidence that theism is more likely than not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there is a sound version of the most well-known argument of this kind, Pascal's Wager, and explores the issues involved - in epistemology, the ethics of belief, decision theory, and theology.
For much of his life Pascal (1623-62) worked on a magnum opus which was never published in its intended form. Instead, he left a mass of fragments, some of them meant as notes for the Apologie. These were to become known as the Pensées, and they occupy a crucial place in Western philosophy and religious writing. Pascal's general intention was to confound scepticism about metaphysical questions. Some of the Pensées are fully developed literary reflections on the human condition,, (...) some contradict others, and some remain jottings whose meaning will never be clear. The most important are among the most powerful aphorisms about human experience and behaviour ever written in any language. This translation is the only one based on the Pensées as Pascal left them. It includes the principal dossiers classified by Pascal, as well as the essential portion of the important Writings on Grace. A detailed thematic index gives access to Pascal's areas of concern, while the selection of texts and the introduction help to show why Pascal changed the plan of his projected work before abandoning the book he might have written. (shrink)
blandior ratio : C, 34). I will first survey how extensive, albeit usually overlooked, is Leibniz’s concern with these “weaker” forms of reasoning, and how crucial they are for many of his practical and theoretical endeavors. I will then trace back this acute need of Leibniz´s brand of rationalism to the peculiar nature of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), as opposed to the other basic principle of his philosophy, the Principle of Contradiction (PC). I will present here only the (...) bare bones of the argument, in a sort of extended summary, omitting the textual support as well the references to the relevant secondary literature. (shrink)
In this critical introduction to contemporary philosophical issues in the theory of truth Pascal Engel provides clear and authoritative exposition of recent and current ideas while providing original perspectives that advances discussion of the key issues. This book begins with a presentation of the classical conceptions of truth - the correspondence theory, the coherence theory and verificationist and pragmatist accounts - before examining so-called minimalist and deflationist conceptions that deny truth can be anything more than a thin concept holding (...) no metaphysical weight. The debates between those who favour substantive conceptions of the classical kind and those who advocate minimalist and deflationist conceptions are explored. Engel argues that, although the minimalist conception of truth is basically right, it does not follow that truth can be eliminated from our philosophical thinking as some upholders of radical deflationist views have claimed. Questions about truth and realism are examined and the author shows how the realism/anti-realism debate remains a genuine, meaningful issue for a theory of truth and has not been undermined by deflationist views. Even if a metaphysical substantive theory of truth has little chance to succeed, Engel concludes, truth can keep a central role within our thinking, as a norm or guiding value of our rational inquiries and practices, in the philosophy of knowledge and in ethics. (shrink)
Dichotomies are ubiquitous in deliberative thinking, in decision making and in arguing in all spheres of life.[i] Sticking uncompromisingly to a dichotomy may lead to sharp disagreement and paradox, but it can also sharpen the issues at stake and help to find a solution. Dichotomies are particularly in evidence in debates, i.e., in argumentative dialogical exchanges characterized by their agonistic nature. The protagonists in a debate worth its name hold positions that are or that they take to be opposed; they (...) argue against each other’s positions; and they defend their positions from the adversary’s attacks. In some cases, this may lead to a polarization of the debate through treating it as grounded on one or more dichotomies. In others, the contenders may construe the opposition as non-dichotomous and therefore less irreconcilable. Whereas the former attitude, which leads to ‘dichotomization’, is likely to radicalize a debate, rendering it difficult – sometimes impossible – to resolve, the latter, which leads to ‘de-dichotomization’, opens possibilities of solution of the debate other than all out victory of one side and defeat of the other. In addition to its effect on the outcome of a debate, the contenders’ attitude towards dichotomies in the debate’s management has further, important implications. It is intrinsically connected with the typology of debates and their typical argumentative moves. For the appropriateness of one or the other of these attitudes for best capturing the nature of the antagonism that underlies a debate is in fact an indicator of the kind of debate it actually is or is perceived by the contenders to be. Furthermore, such ‘attitudes’ are expressed by the contenders’ preferred choices of argumentative moves; and these, in turn, can be recognized, in a given debate context, as subservient either to a dichotomizing or to a de-dichotomizing strategy vis-à-vis a dichotomy taken to be at the root of the divergence. (shrink)
In 1988, J. Ivlev proposed some (non-normal) modal systems which are semantically characterized by four-valued non-deterministic matrices in the sense of A. Avron and I. Lev. Swap structures are multialgebras (a.k.a. hyperalgebras) of a special kind, which were introduced in 2016 by W. Carnielli and M. Coniglio in order to give a non-deterministic semantical account for several paraconsistent logics known as logics of formal inconsistency, which are not algebraizable by means of the standard techniques. Each swap structure induces naturally a (...) non-deterministic matrix. The aim of this paper is to obtain a swap structures semantics for some Ivlev-like modal systems proposed in 2015 by M. Coniglio, L. Fariñas del Cerro and N. Peron. Completeness results will be stated by means of the notion of Lindenbaum–Tarski swap structures, which constitute a natural generalization to multialgebras of the concept of Lindenbaum–Tarski algebras. (shrink)
If we had a balance of reasons, where the arguments presented in favor and against the case were weighed precisely and the verdict could be pronounced in favor of the most inclined scale ... [we would have] a more valuable art than that miraculous science of producing gold.
Although the controversy between Malthus and Ricardo has long been considered to be an important source for the history of economic thought, it has hardly been the object of a careful study qua controversy, i.e. as a polemical dialogical exchange. We have undertaken to fill this gap, within the framework of a more ambitious project that places controversies at the center of an account of the history of ideas, in science and elsewhere. It is our contention that the dialogical co-text (...) is essential for reconstructing the meaning and the evolution of science. In the present paper we try to substantiate this contention by means of a pragma-rhetorical study of this particular controversy. First, we reconstruct, through an analysis of a chunk of the correspondence, a micro-level of specific moves and countermoves which constitute a sequential structure within which also meta-scientific and meta-controversial considerations play a role. We then move to a macro-level of analysis, looking for recurrent patterns of argumentation. Finally, we draw epistemological conclusions on the nature of rationality and progress as manifested in actual scientific controversies. (shrink)
Engel argues that, although the minimalist conception of truth is basically right, it does not follow that truth can be eliminated from our philosophical thinking, as is claimed by some radical deflationists. In particular, he shows that some deflationist views have a definitively relativist and "postmodernist" ring and should be rejected. Even if a metaphysically substantive theory of truth has little chance to succeed, he argues, truth plays a central role as a norm or guiding value of our rational inquiries (...) and practices in the philosophy of knowledge and in ethics. (shrink)
In a previous paper, I argued that neuroscience and psychology could in principle undermine libertarian free will by providing support for a subset of what I called “statements of local determination.” I also argued that Libet-style experiments have not so far supported statements of that sort. In a commentary to the paper, Adina Roskies and Eddy Nahmias accept the claim about Libet-style experiments, but reject the claim about the possibilities of neuroscience. Here, I explain why I still disagree with their (...) conclusion, despite being sympathetic to a lot of what they say in support of it. (shrink)
In dialogue with his interlocutor, Axel Honneth summarizes the way his work on recognition has unfolded over the past two decades. While he has retained his principal insights, some important parts of his theory have changed. He comments that if he were to rewrite The Struggle for Recognition today, he would focus more on institutions and the historicization of recognition patterns. He clarifies his stance on some contemporary controversial issues, including the crisis of capitalism, gay marriage, and his quarrel with (...) Peter Sloterdijk. Finally, he sheds some light on topics much discussed within Critical Theory, such as the relation between theory and praxis and the possibility of politicizing recognition, and on lesser-known aspects of his theory, namely, the relationship between his work and literature. (shrink)
The man who is seeking to convert another in the proper manner should do so in a dialectical and not in a contentious way ... he who asks questions in a contentious spirit and he who in replying refuses to admit what is apparent ... are both of them bad dialecticians.
Belief is not a unified phenomenon. In this paper I argue, as a number of other riters argue, that one should distinguish a variety of belief-like attitudes: believing proper - a dispositional state which can have degrees - holding true - which can occur without understanding what one believes - and accepting - a practical and contextual attitude that has a role in deliberation and in practical reasoning. Acceptance itself is not a unified attitude. I explore the various relationships and (...) differences between these doxastic attitudes, and claim that although acceptance is distinct from belief, it rests upon it, and is therefore a species of belief. (shrink)
“Pascal's Wager” is the name given to an argument due to Blaise Pascal for believing, or for at least taking steps to believe, in God. The name is somewhat misleading, for in a single paragraph of his Pensées, Pascal apparently presents at least three such arguments, each of which might be called a ‘wager’ — it is only the final of these that is traditionally referred to as “Pascal's Wager”. We find in it the extraordinary confluence (...) of several important strands of thought: the justification of theism; probability theory and decision theory, used here for almost the first time in history; pragmatism; voluntarism (the thesis that belief is a matter of the will); and the use of the concept of infinity. (shrink)
In this article we explore multiple change operators, i.e., operators in which the epistemic input is a set of sentences instead of a single sentence. We propose two types of change: prioritized change, in which the input set is fully accepted, and symmetric change, where both the epistemic state and the epistemic input are equally treated. In both kinds of operators we propose a set of postulates and we present different constructions: kernel changes and partial meet changes.
Trying to overcome Dugundji’s result on uncharacterisability of modal logics by finite logical matrices, Kearns and Ivlev proposed, independently, a characterisation of some modal systems by means of four-valued multivalued truth-functions , as an alternative to Kripke semantics. This constitutes an antecedent of the non-deterministic matrices introduced by Avron and Lev . In this paper we propose a reconstruction of Kearns’s and Ivlev’s results in a uniform way, obtaining an extension to another modal systems. The first part of the paper (...) is devoted to four-valued Nmatrices, including Kearns’s and Ivlev’s. Besides proving with full details Kearns’s results for T, S4 and S5, we also obtain a characterisation of the system B by four-valued Nmatrices with level valuations. Concerning Ivlev’s results, two new modal systems are introduced and char.. (shrink)