I propose to reconsider Gilbert Ryle’s thesis in 1956 in his introduction to The Revolution of Philosophy that “the story of twentieth-century philosophy is very largely the story of this notion of sense or meaning” and, as he writes elsewhere, the “preoccupation with the theory of meaning is the occupational disease of twentieth-century Anglo-Saxon and Austrian philoso- phy.” Ryle maintains that this preoccupation demar- cates analytic philosophy from its predecessors and that it gave philosophy a set of academic credentials as (...) a rigorous discipline with its own domain and method. I will maintain that Ryle, with some minor qualifica- tions, was correct in his assessment of the nature of analytic philosophy at that time, and I will argue that the next 50 years continued to be, very largely, the story of meaning, exemplified by the groundbreaking work of Rawls and Kripke. However, I argue that this work also contains the seeds that contributed to the emergence of philosophies that represent a significant departure from analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Although Mele's four sufficient conditions for self-deception are on track insofar as they avoid the requirement that self-deception involves contradictory beliefs, they are too weak, because they are broad enough to include cases of bias or prejudice that are not typical cases of self-deception. I discuss what distinguishes self-deception from other forms of bias.
The dispute between individualism and anti-individualism is about the individuation of psychological states, and individualism, on some accounts, is committed to the claim that psychological subjects together with their environments do not constitute integrated computational systems. Hence on this view the computational states that explain psychological states in computational accounts of mind will not involve the subject''s natural and social environment. Moreover, the explanation of a system''s interaction with the environment is, on this view, not the primary goal of computational (...) theorizing. Recent work in computational developmental psychology (by A. Karmiloff-Smith and J. Rutkowska) as well as artificial agents or embedded artificial systems (by L.P. Kaelbling, among others) casts doubt on these claims. In these computational models, the environment does not just trigger and sustain input for computational operations, but some computational operations actually involve environmental structures. (shrink)
In Book II, Chapter 1 of the Physics Aristotle attempts to distinguish natural objects from artifacts. He begins by stating that a natural object ‘has in itself a source of change and staying unchanged, whether in respect of place, or growth and decay, or alteration’. But this is not sufficient to distinguish natural objects from artifacts. As he points out later, a wooden bed, for example, can rot or burn, and this is surely a change whose source is, in part, (...) internal to the bed. To make his distinction, Aristotle writes that in a natural object the internal ‘source of change and remaining unchanged’ belongs to it ‘primarily and of itself, that is, not by virtue of concurrence’. The bed rots because it happens to be made of wood: the change is due to its material, not due to its essence, namely that it is a bed. A natural object, however, changes because of its essence, that is, because it is the natural object that it is. (shrink)
Plantinga grants that there are possible worlds with freedom and no moral evil, but he argues that it is possible that although God is omnipotent, it is not within God’s power to actualize a world containing freedom and no moral evil. Plantinga believes that the atheologian assumes that it is necessary that it is within an omnipotent God’s power to actualize these better worlds, but in fact, Plantinga argues, this is demonstrably not the case. Since so many philosophers have regarded (...) Plantinga’s Free Will Defense to be a definitive solution to the logical problem of evil, the focus of the debate of the problem of evil has changed from the logical problem of evil to the evidential problem of evil. But we believe that the atheist tossed in the towel too early, and the theist celebrated victory too early. We will argue that Plantinga’s argument does not succeed. Mackie, incidentally, thought the same. He wrote “But how could there be logically contingent states of affairs, prior to the creation and existence of any created beings with free will, which an omnipotent god would have to accept and put up with? This suggestion is simply incoherent.” In this essay we argue that Plantinga fails to demonstrate that it is possible that God is omnipotent, and it is not within God’s power to actualize a world containing freedom but lacking moral evil. Thus Plantinga does not refute Mackie’s response to the Free Will Defense, and the point of Mackie’s question “Why could God not have made men such that they always freely choose the good?” still stands unrefuted. (shrink)
It has been suggested that distinct individuals can have exactly the same properties; thus individuals cannot be individuated by their properties, And so the bundle theory appears to be false. One way to shore up the bundle theory is to introduce impure properties, And I defend this move against some objections by d m armstrong, M loux, And j van cleve.
According to a computational view of mind, thinking is identified with the manipulation of internal mental representations and intelligent behavior is the output of these computations. Although Thomas Hobbes's philosophy of mind is taken by many to be a precursor of this brand of cognitivism, this is not the case. For Hobbes, not all thinking is the manipulation of language-like symbols, and intelligent behavior is partly constitutive of cognition. Cognition requires a 'passionate thought', and this Hobbsian synthesis of inner thought (...) and outer behavior suggests a resolution to the contemporary conflict between cognitive theories of mind that make KNOWING THAT primary and pragmatic theories that make KNOWING HOW primary. (shrink)
In the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke maintains that ?Reason must be our last Judge and Guide in every Thing,? including matters of religious faith, and this commitment to the primacy of reason is not abandoned in his later religious writings. This essay argues that with regard to the relation between reason and religious faith, Locke is primarily concerned not with evidence, but with consistency, meaning, and how human beings ought to respond to their inclinations, including their inclinations to believe. (...) Leibniz, on the other hand, stakes out an alternative conception of the relationship between faith and reason that assigns to faith the role of a primary truth. For Leibniz, some religious propositions can be believed immediately and without an additional examination and evaluation by reason. The essay maintains that the differences between the two regarding faith and reason are tied to a broader disagreement about how much of the human understanding is due, in Locke's words, to ?Labour, Attention and Industry? (shrink)
Michael Losonsky - Locke: A Biography - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46:1 Journal of the History of Philosophy 46.1 175-176 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Michael Losonsky Colorado State University Roger Woolhouse. Locke: A Biography. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. xviii + 528. Cloth, $39.99. "A man of versatile mind"—a remark from a letter to Locke by a life-long friend—is the subtitle of the first chapter of this biography. It could also be the (...) book's subtitle. Relying on Locke's correspondence, manuscripts, and mostly unpublished journals, Woolhouse pieces together a detailed quilt that exhibits the tremendous variety of Locke's interests and activities. Locke, who admitted to wandering interests , wrote about medicine, horticulture, religion, education, economics, government, and human understanding, as well as occasional poetry and a play. He even.. (shrink)
I argue for modal realism from the following principles:(R1) p just in case there are truth-makers for the proposition that p.(R2) If there are truth-makers for the proposition that p and the proposition that p relevantly entails the proposition that q, then there are truthrmakers for the proposition that q.(M) The proposition that p relevantly entails the proposition that possibly p.(R3) I f there are truth-makers for the proposition that q, then necessarily, if q, there are truth-makers for the proposition (...) that q.All of the above principles are to be read as necessary truths. Also, the propositional variable 'p' is restricted to propositions that necessarily satisfy R1. 'q' is not so restricted.The argument is ontological because I argue that the possibility of modal reaUsm together with R3 entails that modal realism is true. The possibility of modal realism follows from R1, R2 and M. (shrink)
This is an anthology of landmark essays in the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and cognitive science since 1950. It includes essays that aim to reflect the fact that philosophy and the science of mind and language have close historical and conceptual ties. Each section begins with a brief and simple overview highlighting the issues and recommending other readings. The combination of this editorial material with a selection of classic essays makes this anthology a very flexible tool for introductory (...) courses in cognitive science, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology as well as courses devoted to contemporary analytic philosophy. However, the book also contains significant advanced and recent material, making it suitable for more advanced stud, including beginning graduate courses. (shrink)
According to an idealist theory of reference for proper names the reference of proper names is fixed by what name users express in their beliefs, intentions, thoughts, and so forth. My task is to show that an idealist can defend himself against the proponent of the causal theory of reference, who claims that reference cannot be fixed solely by what is expressed in name users' minds. An idealist can handle certain facts of reference the causal theorist believes idealists cannot handle. (...) Moreover, there are possible tales that undermine the causal theory and motivate an idealist one. The idealist can also gather the material he needs for his defense--essences--from the distinction between a theory of reference and a theory of meaning that causal theorists like to draw. Finally, unlike the causal theorist, the idealist does not leave ontology in the lurch. (shrink)
Kant believed that true enlightenment is the use of reason freely in public. This book systematicaaly traces the philosophical origins and development of the idea that the improvement of human understanding requires public activity. Michael Losonsky focuses on seventeenth-century discussions of the problem of irresolution and the closely connected theme of the role of volition in human belief formation. This involves a discussion of the work of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza and Leibniz. Challenging the traditional views of seventeenth-century philosophy and (...) written in a lucid, non-technical language, this book will be eagerly sought out by historians of philosophy and students of the history of ideas. (shrink)
This book traces the linguistic turns in the history of modern philosophy and the development of the philosophy of language from Locke to Wittgenstein. It examines the contributions of canonical figures such as Leibniz, Mill, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Austin, Quine, and Davidson, as well as those of Condillac, Humboldt, Chomsky, and Derrida. Michael Losonsky argues that the philosophy of language begins with Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. He shows how the history of the philosophy of language in the modern period (...) is marked by a dichotomy between formal and pragmatic perspectives on language and that modern philosophy has not been able to integrate these two aspects of human language. Language as a human activity and language as a syntactic and semantic system remain distinct and competing focal points, although the interplay between these points of view has driven the development of the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Wilhelm von Humboldt's classic study of human language was first published in 1836, as a general introduction to his three-volume treatise on the Kawi language of Java. It is the final statement of his lifelong study of the nature of language, exploring its universal structures and its relation to mind and culture. Empirically wide-ranging - Humboldt goes far beyond the Indo-European family of languages - it remains one of the most interesting and important attempts to draw philosophical conclusions from comparative (...) linguistics. This 1999 volume presents a translation by Peter Heath, together with an introduction by Michael Losonsky that places Humboldt's work in its historical context and discusses its relevance to contemporary work in philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science, and psychology. (shrink)