Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
Marcus argues that moral dilemmas are real, but that they are not the result of inconsistent moral principles. Moral principles are consistent just in case there is some world where all principles are 'obeyable.' They are inconsistent just in case there is no world where all are 'obeyable.' What this logical point is meant to show is that moral dilemmas do not make moral codes inconsistent. She also discusses guilt, and argues that guilt is still appropriate even in cases (...) of conflict, even when the agent thinks the right thing to do is clear. (shrink)
This book challenges the conventional wisdom that improving democratic politics requires keeping emotion out of it. Marcus advances the provocative claim that the tradition in democratic theory of treating emotion and reason as hostile opposites is misguided and leads contemporary theorists to misdiagnose the current state of American democracy. Instead of viewing the presence of emotion in politics as a failure of rationality and therefore as a failure of citizenship, Marcus argues, democratic theorists need to understand that emotions (...) are in fact a prerequisite for the exercise of reason and thus essential for rational democratic deliberation and political judgment. Attempts to purge emotion from public life not only are destined to fail, but ultimately would rob democracies of a key source of revitalization and change. Drawing on recent research in neuroscience, Marcus shows how emotion functions generally and what role it plays in politics. In contrast to the traditional view of emotion as a form of agitation associated with belief, neuroscience reveals it to be generated by brain systems that operate largely outside of awareness. Two of these systems, "disposition" and "surveillance," are especially important in enabling emotions to produce habits, which often serve a positive function in democratic societies. But anxiety, also a preconscious emotion, is crucial to democratic politics as well because it can inhibit or disable habits and thus clear a space for the conscious use of reason and deliberation. If we acknowledge how emotion facilitates reason and is "cooperatively entangled" with it, Marcus concludes, then we should recognize sentimental citizens as the only citizens really capable of exercising political judgment and of putting their decisions into action. (shrink)
Originally published in 1984, this book broke new ground in assessing Freud as both an exemplary late-Victorian and as a pivotal figure in the creation of modern thought and culture. In his close reading of various of Freud’s theoretical and clinical texts, including two of the most famous case histories, Steven Marcus uncovers the steps in the development of Freud’s thought, the dynamics and contradictions and ‘the intellectual and emotional urgings, forces and conflicts that were at work… as the (...) first original insights and discoveries that constituted the inception of psychoanalysis as a theory, discipline of inquiry, and new kind of therapy, came suddenly, often unexpectedly and without being bidden, upon Freud’. Central to Professor Marcus’ inquiry is the relationship of Freud’s work to cultural change and to the very process of disclosure, formation and construction in the transition to modernity. Freud’s writings, and the psychoanalytic discipline of which they are the foundations, are placed in the context of their contribution to modern modes of thought, and of their influence on our notions of the centres of significance of each existence as a whole. Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis is a major contribution to our understanding of how ideas and theories become internalized into the intellectual framework of our lives and affect the way we think about the world. By moving backward and forward from pre-Freudian to post-Freudian thinkers, Professor Marcus takes us on a journey through cultural transition that is also an exploration of how the individual interacts with his own moment in history to forge new modes of consciousness. (shrink)
Laura Marcus is one of the leading literary critics of modernist literature and culture. Dreams of Modernity: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Cinema covers the period from around 1880 to 1930, when modernity as a form of social and cultural life fed into the beginnings of modernism as a cultural form. Railways, cinema, psychoanalysis and the literature of detection - and their impact on modern sensibility - are four of the chief subjects explored. Marcus also stresses the creativity of modernist women (...) writers, including H. D., Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf. The overriding themes of this work bear on the understanding of the early twentieth century as a transitional age, thus raising the question of how 'the moderns' understood the conditions of their own modernity. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch (...) on consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
Based on her earlier ground-breaking axiomatization of quantified modal logic, the papers collected here by the distinguished philosopher Ruth Barcan Marcus cover much ground in the development of her thought, spanning from 1961 to 1990. The first essay here introduces themes initially viewed as iconoclastic, such as the necessity of identity, the directly referential role of proper names as "tags", the Barcan Formula about the interplay of possibility and existence, and alternative interpretations of quantification. Marcus also addresses the (...) putative puzzles about substitutivity and about essentialism. The collection also includes influential essays on moral conflict, on belief and rationality, and on some historical figures. Many of her views have been incorporated into current theories, while others remain part of a continuing debate. (shrink)
This collection of Marcus's non-technical essays include her earlier ground-breaking axiomatizations of quantified modal logic, and explore such topics as the necessity of identity, the directly referential role of proper names as "tags", the interplay of possibility and existence, and others viewed as iconoclastic when Marcus first addressed them, but now long incorporated into current discussion.
Introduction -- Rational explanation of belief -- Rational explanation of action -- (Non-human) animals and their reasons -- Rational explanation and rational causation -- Events and states -- Physicalism.
I argue that zombies are inconceivable. More precisely, I argue that the conceivability-intuition that is used to demonstrate their possibility has been misconstrued. Thought experiments alleged to feature zombies founder on the fact that, on the one hand, they _must_ involve first-person imagining, and yet, on the other hand, _cannot_. Philosophers who take themselves to have imagined zombies have unwittingly conflated imagining a creature who lacks consciousness with imagining a creature without also imagining the consciousness it may or may not (...) possess. (shrink)
If a woman in the audience at a presentation raises her hand, we would take this as evidence that she intends to ask a question. In normal circumstances, we would be right to say that she raises her hand because she intends to ask a question. We also expect that there could, in principle, be a causal explanation of her hand’s rising in purely physiological terms. Ordinarily, we take the existence and compatibility of both kinds of causes for granted. But (...) this can come to seem strange. When we imagine tracking the physiological process that culminates in her hand’s rising, it is hard to find a purchase for her intention. The physiological process seems not to need assistance from her intention in order to get where it’s going, chugging along as it does according to principles that appear to have very little in common with ordinary psychological ones. The presumed self-sufficiency of physiological processes can, in a similar fashion, appear to muscle psychological states quite generally out of the causal picture. (shrink)
<b> </b>Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness and Closure, but (...) hold that Completeness, together with certain plausible assumptions, _entails_ Closure. I refute the most fully worked-out version of such an argument. Finally, some find Completeness all by itself threatening to mental causation. I argue that one will only find Completeness threatening if one operates with a philosophically distorted conception of mental causation. I thereby defend what I call naïve realism about mental causation. (shrink)
In recent decades, a view of identity I call Sortalism has gained popularity. According to this view, if a is identical to b, then there is some sortal S such that a is the same S as b. Sortalism has typically been discussed with respect to the identity of objects. I argue that the motivations for Sortalism about object-identity apply equally well to event-identity. But Sortalism about event-identity poses a serious threat to the view that mental events are token identical (...) to physical events: A particular mental event m is identical with a particular physical event p only if there is a sortal S such that m and p are both Ss. If there is no such sortal, the doctrine of token-identity is not true. I argue here that we have no good reason for thinking that there is any such sortal. (shrink)
Two principles are central to Rational Causation. Causalism: Believing and acting for a reason are causal phenomena in the sense that there is in both domains a causal connection between ground and grounded. Equivalence: There is a necessary connection between something's being the reason why I believe or act and my taking it to favour the belief or action. Kieran Setiya argues that Causalism is false in the theoretical case and that Equivalence is false in the practical case. I reply (...) to these and other arguments. (shrink)
The thesis that mental states are physical states enjoys widespread popularity. After the abandonment of typeidentity theories, however, this thesis has typically been framed in terms of state tokens. I argue that token states are a philosopher’s fiction, and that debates about the identity of mental and physical state tokens thus rest on a mistake.
There has been much written in recent years about whether a pair of subjects could have visual experiences that represented the colors of objects in their environment in precisely the same way, despite differing significantly in what it was like to undergo them, differing that is, in their qualitative character. The possibility of spectrum inversion has been so much debated1 in large part because of the threat that it would pose to the more general doctrine of Intentionalism, according to which (...) the representational content of an experience fixes what it. (shrink)
Alternative readings of quantification are considered. The absence of an unequivocal translation into ordinary speech is noted. Some examples are cited which, in the opinion of the author, are a result of equivocal readings of quantification, or unnecessarily restrictive readings which obscure its primary function.
The access problem for mathematics arises from the supposition that the referents of mathematical terms inhabit a realm separate from us. Quine’s approach in the philosophy of mathematics dissolves the access problem, though his solution sometimes goes unrecognized, even by those who rely on his framework. This paper highlights both Quine’s position and its neglect. I argue that Michael Resnik’s structuralist, for example, has no access problem for the so-called mathematical objects he posits, despite recent criticism, since he relies on (...) an indispensability argument. Still, Resnik’s structuralist does not provide an account of our access to traditional mathematical objects, and this may be seen as a problem. (shrink)
Although regular polysemy [e.g. producer for product (John read Dickens) or container for contents (John drank the bottle)] has been extensively studied, there has been little work on why certain polysemy patterns are more acceptable than others. We take an empirical approach to the question, in particular evaluating an account based on rules against a gradient account of polysemy that is based on various radical pragmatic theories (Fauconnier 1985; Nunberg 1995). Under the gradient approach, possible senses become more acceptable as (...) they become more closely related to a word’s default meaning, and the apparent regularity of polysemy is an artefact of having many similarly structured concepts. Using methods for measuring conceptual structure drawn from cognitive psychology, Study 1 demonstrates that a variety of metrics along which possible senses can be related to a default meaning, including conceptual centrality, cue validity and similarity, are surprisingly poor predictors of whether shifts to those senses are acceptable. Instead, sense acceptability was better explained by rule-based approaches to polysemy (e.g. Copestake & Briscoe 1995). Study 2 replicated this finding using novel word meanings in which the relatedness of possible senses was varied. However, while individual word senses were better predicted by polysemy rules than conceptual metrics, our data suggested that rules (like producer for product) had themselves arisen to mark senses that, aggregated over many similar words, were particularly closely related. (shrink)
Rogers & McClelland's (R&M's) précis represents an important effort to address key issues in concepts and categorization, but few of the simulations deliver what is promised. We argue that the models are seriously underconstrained, importantly incomplete, and psychologically implausible; more broadly, R&M dwell too heavily on the apparent successes without comparable concern for limitations already noted in the literature.
This chapter examines an apparent tension created by recent research on neurological development and genetics on the one hand and cognitive development on the other. It considers what it might mean for intrinsic signals to guide the initial establishment of functional architecture. It argues that an understanding of the mechanisms by which the body develops can inform our understanding of the mechanisms by which the brain develops. It cites the view of developmental neurobiologists Fukuchi-Shimogori and Grove, that the patterning of (...) the part of the brain responsible for our higher functions is coordinated by the same basic mechanisms and signaling protein families used to generate patterning in other embryonic organs. Thus, what's good enough for the body, is good enough for the brain. (shrink)
Common sense explanations of human action are often framed in terms of an agent's beliefs and desires. Recent widely received views also take believing and desiring as attitudes of an agent to linguistic or quasi‐linguistic entities. It is here claimed that such a narrow view of cognitive attitudes is not supportable, since even among lingual non‐verbal responses are often overriding evidence for belief and desire, even where they run counter to sincere verbal assents. The view is also curiously non naturalistic (...) in that it disallows ascribing beliefs and desires altogether to non‐lingual and pre‐lingual. In the present paper a “common sense” explanation of action in accordance with the triad Desire, Belief, Action, is seen as a useful phenomenological “theory” provided that language centrality is not taken as essential. (shrink)