Mark Eli Kalderon argues that morality is a fiction by means of which our emotional attitudes are conveyed. This is an improvement on the standard noncognitivist view, which denies that moral judgement is belief but claims instead that it is the expression of an emotional attitude. Noncognitivists tend to deny that moral sentences even purport to represent moral reality, and so they have developed non-standard semantics for moral discourse. Kalderon's fictionalism shows that noncognitivism can manage without such controversial semantics. His (...) book will be essential reading for anyone working in moral philosophy, and for many others working on meaning and knowledge. (shrink)
Colors are sensible qualities. They are qualities that objects are perceived to have. Thus, when Norm, a normal perceiver, perceives a blue bead, the bead is perceived have a certain quality, perceived blueness. `Quality', here, is no mere synonym for property; rather, a quality is a kind of property a qualitative, as opposed to quan• titative, property. (The quantitative is a way of contrasting with the qualitative perhaps not the only way.).
As standardly conceived, an illusion is an experience of an object o appearing F where o is not in fact F. Paradigm examples of color illusion, however, do not fit this pattern. A diagnosis of this uncovers different sense of appearance talk that is the basis of a dilemma for the standard conception. The dilemma is only a challenge. But if the challenge cannot be met, then any conception of experience, such as representationalism, that is committed to the standard conception (...) is false. Perhaps surprisingly, naïve realism provides a better account of color illusion.An apparence ymaad by som Magyk. Chaucer. (shrink)
Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.”—Franz Kafka..
Mark Eli Kalderon presents an original study of perception, taking as its starting point a puzzle in Empedocles' theory of vision: if perception is a mode of material assimilation, how can we perceive colors at a distance? Kalderon argues that the theory of perception offered by Aristotle in answer to the puzzle is both attractive and defensible.
If you trained someone to emit a particular sound at the sight of something red, another at the sight of something yellow, and so on for other colors, still he would not yet be describing objects by their colors. Though he might be a help to us in giving a description. A description is a representation of a distribution in a space (in that of time, for instance).
Shoemaker argues that one could not hold both that the qualitative character of colour experience is inherited from the qualitative character of the experienced colour and that there are faultless forms of variation in colour perception. In this paper, I explain what is meant by inheritance and discuss in detail the problematic cases of perceptual variation. In so doing I argue that these claims are in fact consistent, and that the appearance to the contrary is due to an optional and (...) controversial conception of experience that should be rejected. (shrink)
We begin with a puzzle about how to intelligibly combine the active and passive elements of perception. For counsel, we turn to Augustine’s account of perception in De Trinitate. Augustine’s trinitarian account of perception offers an attractive resolution of our puzzle. Augustine’s resolution of our puzzle, however, cannot be straightforwardly adopted. It must be adapted. We end with speculation about how this might be done.
This is a book about the metaphysics of perception and discusses touch, audition, and vision. Though primarily concerned with the nature of perception, it draws heavily from the history of philosophy of perception, and connects the concerns of analytical and continental philosophers.
Producing language that other people will be able to understand involves not just having a picture in your mind of the scenario…You have to deploy a shared linguistic system, according to established rules, using lexemes of known meaning, to present that picture to others in a way that will work for them. You have to consider whether there are other ways of viewing the situation at hand. You have to examine the wording you have chosen to see if it has (...) ambiguities or unclarities. You have to put yourself in the place of a person who did not [develop the picture], and you have to ask yourself whether they would understand.. (shrink)
Very often, objects in the scene before us are somehow perceived to be constant or uniform or unchanging in color, shape, size, or position, even while their appearance with respect to these features somehow changes. This is a familiar and pervasive fact about perception, even if it is notoriously difficult to describe accurately let alone adequately account for. These difficulties are not unrelated—how we are inclined to describ the phenomenology of perceptual constancy will affect how we are inclined to accoun (...) for it. (shrink)
CHANGE SLIDE Go through outline of talk CHANGE SLIDE It is my sincerest hope that if there is one thing that people take away from Moral Fictionalism, it is the recognition that standard noncognitivism involves a syndrome of three, logically distinct claims. Standard noncognitivists claim that moral judgment is not belief or any other cognitive attitude but is, rather, a noncognitive attitude more akin to desire; that this noncognitive attitude is expressed by our public moral utterances; and, hence, that our (...) public moral utterances lack a distinctively moral subject matter and so are not answerable to the moral facts. Notice, however, that these are logically distinct claimsthe rst is a psychological claim, the second and third, positive and negative semantic claims, respectively. We can regiment the familiar technical vocabulary as follow: CHANGE.. (shrink)
I argue that logical understanding is not propositional knowledgebut is rather a species of practical knowledge. I further arguethat given the best explanation of logical understanding someversion or another of inferential role semantics must be the correct account of the determinants of logical content.
The essay argues that, on their usual metalinguistic reconstructions, the open question argument and Frege’s puzzle are variants of the same argument. Each are arguments to a conclusion about a difference in meaning; each deploy compositionality as a premise; and each deploy a premise linking epistemic features of sentences with their meaning (which, given certain meaning-platonist assumptions, can be interpreted as a universal instantiation of Leibniz’s law). Given these parallels, each is sound just in case the other is. They are, (...) in fact, unsound. The essay first argues that reformulations of these arguments directly in terms of Leibniz’s law are unsound and then that subarguments of the metalinguistic versions are unsound for structurally similar reasons. Finally, given how the theory/observation distinction is deployed in linguistic practice, the meaning-platonist assumptions are shown to be optional. (shrink)
Sight is a capacity, and seeing is its exercise. Reflection on the sense in which sight is for the sake of seeing reveals distinct relations of dependence between sight and seeing, the capacity and its exercise. Moreover, these relations of dependence in turn reveal the nature of our perceptual capacities and their exercise. Specifically, if sight is for the sake of seeing, then sight will depend, in a certain sense, upon seeing, in a manner inconsistent with experiential monism. Thus reflection (...) on the power of perception forms the basis of an argument for experiential pluralism. (shrink)
I defend and develop a traditional view in the metaphysics of sound, The Wave Theory of Sound. According The Wave Theory, as developed herein, sounds are not patterned disturbances so much as their propagation. And the propagation of a patterned disturbance is not a form of travel, but a dynamic in-formation, the wave-form successively inhering in diferently located parts of the dense and elastic medium. This conception, along with the assumption that we hear not only sounds but their sources, has (...) the resources to address many of the most recent criticisms of this traditional view. (shrink)
A critical review of Paul Boghossian's Fear of Knowledge. I argue that the central argument against epistemic relativism fails and that even if the arguments of Fear of Knowledge worked perfectly on their own terms, Fear of Knowledge would fail to persuade the relativistically inclined.
An aporia posed by Theophrastus prompts Priscian to describe the process by which perception formally assimilates to its object as a progressive perfection. I present an interpretation of Priscian’s account of perception’s progressive perfection. And I consider a dilemma for the general class of accounts to which Priscian’s belongs based on related problems raised by Plotinus and Aquinas.
Augustine is commonly interpreted as endorsing an extramission theory of perception in De quantitate animae. A close examination of the text shows, instead, that he is committed to its rejection. I end with some remarks about what it takes for an account of perception to be an extramission theory and with a review of the strength of evidence for attributing the extramission the- ory to Augustine on the basis of his other works.
This essay explores the commitments of modal structuralism. The precise nature of the modal-structuralist analysis obscures an unclarity of its import. As usually presented, modal structuralism is a form of anti-platonism. I defend an interpretation of modal structuralism that, far from being a form of anti-platonism, is itself a platonist analysis: The metaphysically significant distinction between (i) primitive modality and (ii) the natural numbers (objectually understood) is genuine, but the arithmetic facts just are facts about possible progressions. If correct, modal (...) structuralism is best understood not as an alternative to, but as a species of, platonism. (shrink)
This is an essay on perfection and its objects in the Timaeus. Two features of this work are noteworthy. First, the emphasis throughout is on Timaeus' views and not Plato's. Second, I show how broader aspects of Timaeus' cosmology are directly relevant to his philosophy of perception.
Unless you are a Frege scholar, or a philosopher of mathematics, if you are familiar at all with Frege’s work, you are most likely familiar with his groundbreaking work in the philosophy of language. You might know that Frege was a mathematician who sought to establish the covertly logical subject matter of arithmetic, a project whose demands drove Frege to his logical investigations and reflections on language. But most likely the connection between Frege’s mathematical research and his philosophy of language (...) remains elusive for you. (shrink)
One cannot give too many or too frequent warnings against this laxity, or even mean cast of mind, which seeks its principle among empirical motives and laws; for, human reason in its weariness gladly rests on this pillow and in a dream of sweet illusions (which allow it to embrace a cloud instead of Juno) it substitutes for a morality a bastard patched up from limbs of quite diverse ancestry, which looks like whatever one wants to see in it but (...) not like virtue for him who has once seen virtue in her true form. (shrink)
This is the third and final section of a paper, "Oxford Realism", co-written with Charles Travis. -/- A concern for realism motivates a fundamental strand of Oxford reflection on perception. Begin with the realist conception of knowledge. The question then will be: What must perception be like if we can know something about an object without the mind by seeing it? What must perception be if it can, on occasion, afford us with proof concerning a subject matter independent of the (...) mind? (shrink)
In his 1904 letter to G.F. Stout, Cook Wilson distinguishes objective and sub- jective conceptions of appearance, and provides a diagnosis for the modern acceptance of the subjective conception in terms of a confused misdescrip- tion of the objective appearances that perceptual experience affords. More- over, Cook Wilson links subjective appearances with idealism, the suggestion being that perceptual appearances must be objective if they are to afford us with something akin to proof of a world without the mind.
Philosophy of mathematics is in an alienated state. While regarded by the profession as a serious and legitimate subdiscipline, a passing knowledge of its subject matter is considered something of a luxury—or at least not required of a conscientious philosopher the way a passing knowledge of logic is. Philosophy of mathematics is thus regarded with a benign neglect: best left to the experts, whose opinions should be deferred to, but mostly irrelevant to the central concerns of the working philosopher. Its (...) practitioners, however, often display a strikingly different attitude. Much of the enthusiasm for the subject matter derives from the recognition that undertaking and evaluating a position in the philosophy of mathematics involves undertaking and evaluating substantive commitments of general philosophical interest. Indeed many practitioners, though by no means blind to the intrinsic interest of their discipline, regard philosophy of mathematics also as a means of addressing more general issues in philosophy. Unfortunately the significance of philosophy of mathematics to the work of the nonspecialist has for the most part been under appreciated. (shrink)
A reply to Todd Ganson’s “Was Aristotle a Naïve Realist”, a talk for a conference in Gothenburg Sweden 12-14 June 2015 entitled The Mechanisms of Sense Perception in Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition.
This conference is, in part, an expression of respect for Joseph Raz and his work from which we have all learned much. I thought it apt, then, to talk about Raz's (2001) views about respect as developed in chapter four of Value, Respect, and Attachment. Raz describes his views as having a Kantian origin. This might raise the eyebrow of some neo•Kantians or anyone inclined to interpret Kant as a formalist or as a constructivist. Nevertheless, I believe that Raz's views (...) and Kant's, properly interpreted and developed, have more in common than even Raz suspects. To bring this out, I will take up three questions that Raz raises concerning Kant's doctrine. (shrink)
We hear sounds, and their sources, and their audible qualities. Sounds and their sources are essentially dynamic entities, not wholly present at any given moment, but unfolding through their temporal interval. Sounds and their sources, essentially dynamic entities, are the bearers or susbtrata of audible qualities. Audible qualities are qualities essentially sustained by activity. The only bearers of audible qualities present in auditory experience are essentially dynamic entities. Bodies are not, in this sense, essentially dynamic entities and so are not (...) present in our auditory experience. Though absent in auditory experience, we may, nonetheless, attend to bodies in audition, when an audible sound-generating event in which they participate presents a dynamic aural image of them. (shrink)
The present essay examines and critically discusses Paul Benacerraf's antiplatonist argument of "What Numbers Could Not Be." In the course of defending platonism against Benacerraf's semantic skepticism, I develop a novel platonist analysis of the content of arithmetic on the basis of which the necessary existence of the natural numbers and the nature of numerical reference are explained.
The presence of the fiery substance illuminates the transparent medium. White (leukon) corresponds to the presence of this determinant of what is actually transparent. Conversely, black (melaton) corresponds to its absence. The absence of the fiery substance darkens the transparent medium. White and black are thus associated with a fundamental condition on the visibility of remote external particulars. No doubt in part because of this Aristotle attempts to explain the other hues in terms of the ratio of white and black. (...) He considers three such accounts, in terms of (1) juxtaposition, (2) overlap, and (3) mixture, advocating the third. On all three accounts chromatic hues are determined by white and black in various ratios, the accounts differing only in how these ratios are implemented. (shrink)
Now with extra footnotes, by editorial demand! -/- This essay consists in a trick and a potential insight. The trick consists in a minimalist interpretation of color mixture. The account of color mixture is minimalist in the sense that, given certain background assumptions, there is no more to Timaeus’ account of color mixture than the list of the chromatic pathēmata and the list of how these combine to elicit perceptions of all the colors. The only potential controversial elements of the (...) minimalist interpretation are the relevant background assumptions and the interpretation of the chromatic pathēmata. The potential insight concerns a motive that Plato, in the guise of Timaeus, may have for presenting an account of color mixture. Specifically, I shall argue that on the minimalist interpretation, Plato may be read as reconciling the Democritrean four color scheme with an older tradi- tion where white and black are the fundamental chromatic opposition. As we shall see, this bears on the interpretation of the chromatic pathēmata. (shrink)