Quine is one of the most influential of contemporary philosophers, whose work has ranged broadly across a great number of topics and issues in a career spanning some fifty years. In this collection a group of distinguished philosophers offer a sustained critical evaluation of the full range of Quine's writings. Amongst the topics addressed are interpretation, epistemology, ontology, modality, and mathematical truth. This collection will certainly influence all future discussion of Quine. The contributors include: George Boolos, H-N. Castaneda, Donald Davidson, (...) Umberto Eco, Dagfinn Follesdal, James Higginbotham, Charles Parsons, Hilary Putnam, Barry Stroud, and Bas van Fraassen. However, Quine is given the last word, responding to the essays in the final contribution. (shrink)
According to neo-Russellianism, in a sentence such as John believes that Mont Blanc is 4000 m high, any other proper name co-referring with Mont Blanc can be substituted for it without any change in the proposition expressed. Prima facie, our practice of translation shows that this cannot be correct. We will then show that neo-Russellians have a way out of this problem, which consists in holding that actual translations are not a matter of semantics, but also make an attempt at (...) preserving some pragmatic features of the sentences to be translated. We then turn to translations that only preserve the semantic characteristics of the sentences and we argue that, although these translations are unable to show that neo-Russellianism is incorrect, they still show that it relies on some theses that seem to have no justification, apart from saving neo-Russellianism itself. (shrink)
"... an excellent collection... " —Journal of Language & Social Psychology An important collection of original essays by well-known scholars debating the questions of logical versus psychologically-based interpretations of language.
A rational subject who believes that a = b, and also believes that j, cannot at the same time disbelieve that j, i.e. believe that not-j. John Searle points out that no such constraint holds for desire and some other propositional attitudes. Which ones, exactly? Where is the divide located and what determines it? These are no minor questions, as they directly bear on the larger issue of how far rationality reaches and the extent to which practical reasoning obeys logical (...) rules. It will be argued that there is no reason for despairing that deductive logic will find a way of dealing with practical reasoning, contrary to Searle’s pessimistic attitude. (shrink)
Esseri umani, paesi, paesaggi, sono alcuni dei maggiori oggetti del nostro amore. Lo stesso si può dire di certi ideali, per esempio dell’ideale di giustizia. Harry Frankfurt ha dedicato parte della sua riflessione alla fenomenologia dell’amore, ma dice relativamente poco riguardo alla possibilità che sorgano conflitti tra i nostri oggetti d’amore – specialmente quando è in gioco la giustizia. Questo saggio prende spunto, ancora una volta, dal caso dell’uomo su una barca troppo piccola per trasportare tre persone, che si trova (...) a dover decidere chi salvare tra le due che sono con lui, una delle quali è sua moglie. Il problema è più arduo di quanto pensi Frankfurt.Human beings, countries, landscapes, are among the things most of us love. So are some ideals, such as that of justice. Harry Frankfurt has some arresting thoughts about the phenomenology of love. He says comparatively little about the possibility that conflicts arise between the objects of our love – especially when justice is involved. In this paper, the case will be taken up once again of the man on a boat too small to take three, who has to decide whom to rescue of two persons – one being his wife. The case is harder than Frankfurt thinks it is. (shrink)
Many philosophers who thought about democracy in the Twentieth century haverejected the notion of absolute truth and even that of truth as such. Hans Kelsendraws a parallel between, on the one hand, philosophical absolutism and autocracy and, on the other, relativism and democracy. For the very same reasons, Hannah Arendt directly infers from her democratic conception of politics that truth is to be rejected. It seems that such views are closely reminiscent of some statements by John Rawls about the notion (...) of truth. I claim that the similarity is only superficial. Joshua Cohen’s interpretation of some passages of Political Liberalism concerning truth will be discussed, in an attempt at showing that Rawls’ view is not the No Concept View, which Cohen ascribes to him. Rawls endorses no particular conception of truth, but he freely uses the notion with its ordinary meaning. The arguments of public reason should start not just from agreed premises, but from true ones, if that is possible. This is quite consistent with the view that the conclusions of those arguments are put forward as being only reasonable – not as being true.Relativism about truth, on the other hand, is definitely inconsistent with Rawls’conception of public reason and, in particular, cannot jibe with his notion of over-lapping consensus. (shrink)
In order to know what a belief is, we need to know when it is appropriate to say that two subjects (or the same subject at two different times) believe(s) the same or entertain the same thought. This is not entirely straightforward. Consider for instance1. Tom thinks that he himself is the smartest and Tim believes the same2. In 2001, Bill believed that some action had to be taken to save the rain forest and today he believes the same.What does (...) Tim think? That he, Tim, is the smartest, or that Tom is? And what does Bill believe today? That action had to be taken in 2001 or that it has to be taken now? Both answers are intuitively acceptable. This has to be accounted for somehow.Building on Mark Richard's work on tense, Scott Soames 1 claims that the substitutional interpretation of the quantifiers is unable to account for the intended meaning of such statements as (2) and the validity of some inferences involving them. I will show that his argument is not convincing. Not only does the substitutional interpretation fare no worse than the objectual one, but it seems to be able to avoid a problem which could be seriously damaging for any account of the sameness of thoughts based on the notion of structured proposition. In the first section, I state the problem allegedly raised by tensed belief ascriptions to the substitutional interpretation of the quantifiers. In the second, Soames's argument is shown to be flawed. I also show that the content of the that-clause in (2) is not faithfully represented by any kind of structured proposition. Finally, I show how the substitutional interpretation can handle all such statements as (1) and (2) and the inferences involving them. (shrink)
Esseri umani, paesi, paesaggi, sono alcuni dei maggiori oggetti del nostro amore. Lo stesso si puň dire di certi ideali, per esempio dell'ideale di giustizia. Harry Frankfurt ha dedicato parte della sua riflessione alla fenomenologia dell'amore, ma dice relativamente poco riguardo alla possibilitÀ che sorgano conflitti tra i nostri oggetti d'amore - specialmente quando č in gioco la giustizia. Questo saggio prende spunto, ancora una volta, dal caso dell'uomo su una barca troppo piccola per trasportare tre persone, che si trova (...) a dover decidere chi salvare tra le due che sono con lui, una delle quali č sua moglie. Il problema č piů arduo di quanto pensi Frankfurt. (shrink)