Can mind be modeled as a Turing machine? If you find such questions irrelevant, e.g. because the subject is already exhausted, then you need not read the book Mind versus Computer (Gams et al., 1991). If, on the other hand, you do find such questions relevant, then perhaps you need not read Dunlop's review of the book (Dunlop, 2000). (...).
In the formation of epistemically justified beliefs, what is the role of attention, and what is the role (if any) of non-attentional aspects of cognition? We will here argue that there is an essential role for certain nonattentional aspects. These involve epistemically relevant background information that is implicit in the standing structure of an epistemic agent’s cognitive architecture and that does not get explicitly represented during belief-forming cognitive processing. Since such “morphological content” (as we call it) does not become explicit (...) during belief formation, it cannot be information that is within the scope of attention. Nevertheless,it does exert a subtle influence on the character of conscious experience, rather than operating in a purely unconscious way. (shrink)
The authors of Austere Realism describe and defend a provocative ontological-cum-semantic position, asserting that the right ontology is minimal or austere, in that it excludes numerous common-sense posits, and that statements employing such posits are nonetheless true, when truth is understood to be semantic correctness under contextually operative semantic standards. Terence Horgan and Matjaz [hacek over z] Potrc [hacek over c] argue that austere realism emerges naturally from consideration of the deep problems within the naive common-sense approach to truth (...) and ontology. They offer an account of truth that confronts these deep internal problems and is independently plausible: contextual semantics, which asserts that truth is semantically correct affirmability. Under contextual semantics, much ordinary and scientific thought and discourse is true because its truth is indirect correspondence to the world. After offering further arguments for austere realism and addressing objections to it, Horgan and Potrc [hacek over c] consider various alternative austere ontologies. They advance a specific version they call "blobjectivism"--the view that the right ontology includes only one concrete particular, the entire cosmos, which, although it has enormous local spatiotemporal variability, does not have any proper parts. The arguments in Austere Realism are powerfully made and concisely and lucidly set out. The authors' contentions and their methodological approach--products of a decade-long collaboration--will generate lively debate among scholars in metaphysics, ontology, and philosophy. Terence E. Horgan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona. Matjaz [hacek over z] Potrc [hacek over c] is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. (shrink)
Morphological content is information that is implicitly embodied in the standing structure of a cognitive system and is automatically accommodated during cognitive processing without first becoming explicit in consciousness. We maintain that much belief-formation in human cognition is essentially morphological : i.e., it draws heavily on large amounts of morphological content, and must do so in order to tractably accommodate the holistic evidential relevance of background information possessed by the cognitive agent. We also advocate a form of experiential evidentialism concerning (...) epistemic justification—roughly, the view that the justification-status of an agent’s beliefs is fully determined by the character of the agent’s conscious experience. We have previously defended both the thesis that much belief-formation is essentially morphological, and also a version of evidentialism. Here we explain how experiential evidentialism can be smoothly and plausibly combined with the thesis that much of the cognitive processing that generates justified beliefs is essentially morphological. The leading idea is this: even though epistemically relevant morphological content does not become explicit in consciousness during the process of belief-generation, nevertheless such content does affect the overall character of conscious experience in an epistemically significant way: it is implicit in conscious experience, and is implicitly appreciated by the experiencing agent. (shrink)
We propose an approach to epistemic justification that incorporates elements of both reliabilism and evidentialism, while also transforming these elements in significant ways. After briefly describing and motivating the non-standard version of reliabilism that Henderson and Horgan call “transglobal” reliabilism, we harness some of Henderson and Horgan’s conceptual machinery to provide a non-reliabilist account of propositional justification (i.e., evidential support). We then invoke this account, together with the notion of a transglobally reliable belief-forming process, to give an account of doxastic (...) justification. (shrink)
Existence monism is defended against priority monism. Schaffer's arguments for priority monism and against pluralism are reviewed, such as the argument from gunk. The whole does not require parts. Ontological vagueness is impossible. If ordinary objects are in the right ontology then they are vague. So ordinary objects are not included in the right ontology; and hence thought and talk about them cannot be accommodated via fully ontological vindication. Partially ontological vindication is not viable. Semantical theorizing outside the ontology room (...) and semantical theorizing in the doorway. Existence monism is theoretically preferable to priority monism. (shrink)
The authors argue in favor of the “nonconciliation” (or “steadfast”) position concerning the problem of peer disagreement. Throughout the paper they place heavy emphasis on matters of phenomenology—on how things seem epistemically with respect to the net import of one’s available evidence vis-à-vis the disputed claim p, and on how such phenomenology is affected by the awareness that an interlocutor whom one initially regards as an epistemic peer disagrees with oneself about p. Central to the argument is a nested goal/sub-goal (...) hierarchy that the authors claim is inherent to the structure of epistemically responsible belief-formation: pursuing true beliefs by pursuing beliefs that are objectively likely given one’s total available evidence; pursuing this sub-goal by pursuing beliefs that are likely true (given that evidence) relative to one’s own deep epistemic sensibility; and pursuing this sub-sub-goal by forming beliefs in accordance with one’s own all-in, ultima facie, epistemic seemings. (shrink)
Particularism is a justly popular ‘cutting-edge’ topic in contemporary ethics across the world. Many moral philosophers do not, in fact, support particularism, but nearly all would take it to be a position that continues to offer serious lessons and challenges that cannot be safely ignored. Given the high standard of the contributions, and that this is a subject where lively debate continues to flourish, _Challenging Moral Particularism_ will become required reading for professionals and advanced students working in the area.
Recently, Terry Horgan and Matjaž Potrč have defended the thesis of ‘existence monism’, according to which the whole cosmos is the only concrete object. Their arguments appeal largely to considerations concerning vagueness. Crucially, they claim that ontological vagueness is impossible, and one key assumption in their defence of this claim is that vagueness always involves ‘sorites-susceptibility’. I aim to challenge both the claim and this assumption. As a consequence, I seek to undermine their defence of existence monism and support a (...) common-sense pluralist ontology of ‘ordinary objects’ as being fully consistent with a thoroughgoing metaphysical realism. (shrink)
We argue, primarily by appeal to phenomenological considerations related to the experiential aspects of agency, that belief fixation is broadly agentive; although it is rarely voluntary, nonetheless, it is phenomenologically agentive because of its significant phenomenological similarities to voluntary-agency experience. An important consequence is that epistemic rationality, as a central feature of belief fixation, is an agentive notion. This enables us to introduce and develop a distinction between core and ancillary epistemic virtues. Core epistemic virtues involve several inter-related kinds of (...) epistemic rationality in belief fixation. Other “habits of mind” pertinent to belief fixation constitute ancillary epistemic virtues. Finally, we discuss the relationship between both kinds of virtues, offering a unified account of epistemic virtuousness. (shrink)
What is real? Less than you might think. We advocate austere metaphysical realism---a form of metaphysical realism claiming that a correct ontological theory will repudiate numerous putative entities and properties that are posited in everyday thought and discourse, and also will even repudiate numerous putative objects and properties that are posited by well confirmed scientific theories. We have lately defended a specific version of austere metaphysical realism which asserts that there is really only one concrete particular, viz., the entire cosmos (...) (see Horgan and Potr (2000, 2002), Potr (2003)). But there are various potential versions of the generic position we are here calling austere metaphysical realism; and it is the generic view that constitutes the ontological part of the overall approach to realism and truth that we will describe here. What is true? More than you might think, given our austere metaphysical realism. We maintain that truth is semantically correct affirmability, under contextually operative semantic standards. We also maintain that most of the time, the contextually operative semantic standards work in such a way that semantic correctness (i.e., truth) is a matter of indirect correspondence rather than direct correspondence between thought or language on the one hand, and the world on the other.1 When correspondence is indirect rather than direct, a given statement (or thought) can be true even if the correct ontology does not include items answering to all the referential commitments (as we will here call them) of the statement. 2 This means that even if a putative object is repudiated by a correct ontological theory, ordinary statements that are putatively about that object may still be true. For instance, the statement “The University of St. Andrews is in Scotland” can be semantically correct (i.e., true) even if the right ontology does not include any entity answering to the referring term ‘The University of St. Andrews’, or any entity... (shrink)
The problem of reconciling the philosophical denial of ontological vagueness with common-sense beliefs positing vague objects, properties and relations is addressed. This project arises for any view denying ontological vagueness but is especially pressing for transvaluationism, which claims that ontological vagueness is impossible. The idea that truth, for vague discourse and vague thought-content, is an indirect form of language-thought correspondence is invoked and applied. It is pointed out that supervaluationism provides one way, but not necessarily the only way, of implementing (...) the idea of indirect correspondence. (shrink)
We sketch the view we call contextual semantics. It asserts that truth is semantically correct affirmability under contextually variable semantic standards, that truth is frequently an indirect form of correspondence between thought/language and the world, and that many Quinean commitments are not genuine ontological commitments. We argue that contextualist semantics fits very naturally with the view that the pertinent semantic standards are particularist rather than being systematizable as exceptionless general principles.
The general drive in epistemology is to deliver necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge with the use of exceptionless general epistemic principles. There is another way, however, to approach the phenomenon of knowledge – by particularistic beautiful patterns. David Lewis in his paper „Elusive Knowledge” provides a nice contextual epistemology. We also think that contextualism is the right way to go and that the epistemic context plays an important role in our endeavors to gain knowledge. But, we disagree with Lewis (...) on two points of his account, namely that we can talk of knowledge without justification and that a set of exceptionless rules determines relevant alternatives. We retain the overall notion of knowledge as justified true belief and try to work out a contextualist account of knowledge within this notion, at the same time pointing to an alternative, particularistic view on relevance and relevant alternatives. We briefly sketch our proposal building upon the distinction between the local and global justification and we put forward some suggestions how this approach tackles skeptical scenarios, the lottery problem and Gettier cases. (shrink)
In this paper we point out some interesting structural similarities between vagueness and moral dilemmas as well as between some of the proposed solutions to both problems. Moral dilemma involves a situation with opposed obligations that cannot all be satisfied. Transvaluationism as an approach to vagueness makes three claims concerning the nature of vagueness: (1) it involves incompatibility between mutually unsatisfiable requirements, (2) the underlying requirements retain their normative power even when they happen to be overruled, and (3) this incompatibility (...) turns out to be rather benign in practice. Given that transvaluationism is inspired by moral dilemmas, these claims are assessed in respect to them. Transvaluationism provides a smooth account of the mentioned claims concerning vagueness. Following a brief discussion of Sorensen’s views on moral dilemmas and conflict vagueness, we offer a model of moral pluralism accommodating structurally similar claims about the nature of moral conflict and moral dilemmas. (shrink)
The semantic blindness objection to contextualism challenges the view that there is no incompatibility between (i) denials of external-world knowledge in contexts where radical-deception scenarios are salient, and (ii) affirmations of external-world knowledge in contexts where such scenarios are not salient. Contextualism allegedly attributes a gross and implausible form of semantic incompetence in the use of the concept of knowledge to people who are otherwise quite competent in its use; this blindness supposedly consists in wrongly judging that there is genuine (...) conflict between claims of type (i) and type (ii). We distinguish two broad versions of contextualism: relativistic-content contextualism and categorical-content contextualism. We argue that although the semantic blindness objection evidently is applicable to the former, it does not apply to the latter. We describe a subtle form of conflict between claims of types (i) and (ii), which we call différance-based affirmatory conflict. We argue that people confronted with radical-deception scenarios are prone to experience a form of semantic myopia (as we call it): a failure to distinguish between différance-based affirmatory conflict and outright inconsistency. Attributing such semantic myopia to people who are otherwise competent with the concept of knowledge explains the bafflement about knowledge-claims that so often arises when radical-deception scenarios are made salient. Such myopia is not some crude form of semantic blindness at all; rather, it is an understandable mistake grounded in semantic competence itself: what we call a competence-based performance error. (shrink)
Phenomenology is intrinsically intentional for Brentano. Qualitative conscious experiences are individuated by their phenomenal space. Examples concerning the phenomenal take account of both experiential and physical spaces. As directedness at an object and reflexive directedness of the act at itself come interwoven, there is the intrinsic phenomenology of intentionality. Both intentionality of phenomenology and phenomenology of intentionality present the wholes with mutually pervading and only logically distinguishable parts. The above theses establish balance between phenomenology and intentionality, a balance disrupted in (...) both analytical and continental traditions to which Brentano was a precursor. (shrink)