To be optimistic, it is standardly assumed, is to have positive expectations. I here argue that this definition is correct but captures only one variety of optimism – here called factual optimism. It leaves out two other important varieties of optimism. The first – focal optimism – corresponds to the idea of seeing the glass half full. The second – axiological optimism – consists in the view that good is stronger than bad. Those three varieties of optimism are irreducible to (...) each other and do not belong to a common kind. I define each of these, characterize their respective correctness conditions, and contrast hope with optimism. (shrink)
Can one refute Berkeleyan phenomenalism by arguing that sensory objects seem mind-independent, and that, according to Berkeley, experience is to be taken at face value? Relying on Mackie’s recent discussion of the issue, I argue, first, that phenomenalism cannot be straightforwardly refuted by relying on perceptual or bodily experience of mind-independence together with the truthfulness of experience. However, I maintain, second that phenomenalism can be indirectly refuted by appealing to the bodily experience of resistance. Such experience presents us with the (...) causal activity of the resisting physical object. If experience is truthful, as the phenomenalist has it, physical objects are causally active. But then their effects no longer depend on our perceiving them, on pain of overdetermination. (shrink)
Samuel Johnson claimed to have refuted Berkeley by kicking a stone. It is generally thought that Johnson misses the point of Berkeley's immaterialism for a rather obvious reason: Berkeley never denied that the stone feels solid, but only that the stone could exist independently of any mind. I argue that Johnson was on the right track. On my interpretation, Johnson’s idea is that because the stone feels to resist our effort, the stone seems to have causal powers. But if appearances (...) are to be taken at face value, as Berkeley insists, then the stone has causal powers. I argue that such causal powers threaten not only Berkeley’s view that only minds are active, but also, and more fundamentally, his central claim that sensible things depend on perception. (shrink)
What are economic exchanges? The received view has it that exchanges are mutual transfers of goods motivated by inverse valuations thereof. As a corollary, the standard approach treats exchanges of services as a subspecies of exchanges of goods. We raise two objections against this standard approach. First, it is incomplete, as it fails to take into account, among other things, the offers and acceptances that lie at the core of even the simplest cases of exchanges. Second, it ultimately fails to (...) generalize to exchanges of services, in which neither inverse preferences nor mutual transfers hold true. We propose an alternative definition of exchanges, which treats exchanges of goods as a special case of exchanges of services and which builds in offers and acceptances. According to this theory: (i) The valuations motivating exchanges are propositional and convergent rather than objectual and inverse; (ii) All exchanges of goods involve exchanges of services/actions, but not the reverse; (iii) Offers and acceptances, together with the contractual obligations and claims they bring about, lie at the heart of all cases of exchange. (shrink)
This chapter has three sections. The first introduces Brentano’s view of sensations by presenting the intentional features of sensations irreducible to features of the sensory objects. The second presents Brentano’s view of sensory objects —which include sensory qualities— and the features of sensations that such objects allow to explain, such as their intensity. The third section presents Brentano’s approach to sensory pleasures and pains, which combines both appeal to specific modes of reference and to specific sensory qualities.
Touch seems to enjoy some epistemic advantage over the other senses when it comes to attest to the reality of external objects. The question is not whether only what appears in tactile experiences is real. It is that only whether appears in tactile experiences feels real to the subject. In this chapter we first clarify how exactly the rather vague idea of an epistemic advantage of touch over the other senses should be interpreted. We then defend a “muscular thesis”, to (...) the effect that only the experience of resistance to our motor efforts, as it arises in effortful touch, presents us with the independent existence of some causally empowered object. We finally consider whether this muscular thesis applies to the perception of our own body. (shrink)
L'enseignement viennois de Brentano a faconne les philosophies exactes du XXe siecle, au travers de ses eleves Husserl, Meinong, Twardowski, Stumpf, Ehrenfels ou Marty. Si la theorie de l'intentionnalite, l'ontologie et la logique de Brentano ont fait l'objet de discussions approfondies, son anatomie d'une grande variete d'actes mentaux - choisir, hair, juger, percevoir, preferer, remarquer, savoir, sentir, souffrir, toucher, voir - demeure encore trop ignoree. Ce livre est consacre a cette analyse descriptive minutieuse et foisonnante. Outre son interet historique, celle-ci (...) permet de renouveler bon nombre de debats contemporains en philosophie des emotions, en epistemologie, en philosophie du langage, ainsi qu'en philosophie de l'esprit. (shrink)