This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...) species of causation. (shrink)
This paper defends a realist account of the composition of Newtonian forces, dubbed ‘residualism’. According to residualism, the resultant force acting on a body is identical to the component forces acting on it that do not prevent each other from bringing about its acceleration. Several reasons to favor residualism over alternative accounts of the composition of forces are advanced. (i) Residualism reconciles realism about component forces with realism about resultant forces while avoiding any threat of causal overdetermination. (ii) Residualism provides (...) a systematic semantics for the term ‘force’ within Newtonian mechanics. (iii) Residualism allows us to precisely apportion the causal responsibility of each component force in the ensuing acceleration. (iv) Residualism handles special cases such as null forces, single forces, and antagonistic forces in a natural way. (v) Residualism provides a neat picture of the causal powers of forces: each force essentially has two causal powers⎯the power to bring about accelerations (sometimes together with other co-directionnal forces) and the power to prevent other forces from doing so⎯exactly one of which is manifested at a time. (vi) Residualism avoids commitment to unobservable effects of forces: forces cause either stresses (tensile or compressive) or accelerations. (shrink)
This chapter defends an axiological theory of pain according to which pains are bodily episodes that are bad in some way. Section 1 introduces two standard assumptions about pain that the axiological theory constitutively rejects: (i) that pains are essentially tied to consciousness and (ii) that pains are not essentially tied to badness. Section 2 presents the axiological theory by contrast to these and provides a preliminary defense of it. Section 3 introduces the paradox of pain and argues that since (...) the axiological theory takes the location of pain at face value, it needs to grapple with the privacy, self-intimacy and incorrigibility of pain. Sections 4, 5 and 6 explain how the axiological theory may deal with each of these. (shrink)
The thesis defended, the “guise of the ought”, is that the formal objects of desires are norms (oughts to be or oughts to do) rather than values (as the “guise of the good” thesis has it). It is impossible, in virtue of the nature of desire, to desire something without it being presented as something that ought to be or that one ought to do. This view is defended by pointing to a key distinction between values and norms: positive and (...) negative norms (obligation and interdiction) are interdefinable through negation; positive and negative values aren’t. This contrast between the norms and values, it is argued, is mirrored, within the psychological realm, by the contrast between the desires and emotions. Positive and negative desires are interdefinable through negation, but positive and negative emotions aren’t. The overall, Meinongian picture suggested is that norms are to desires what values are to emotions. (shrink)
Since Aristotle, touch has been found especially hard to define. One of the few unchallenged intuitions about touch, however, is that tactile awareness entertains some close relationship with bodily awareness. This chapter considers the relation between touch and bodily awareness from two different perspectives: the body template theory and the body map theory. According to the former, touch is defined by the fact that tactile content matches proprioceptive content. We raise some objections against such a bodily definition of touch and (...) suggest, as an alternative, reviving the proposal according to which touch is essentially a sense of pressure. According to the body map theory, tactile sensations are localized within the frame of reference provided by the mental representation of the space of the body. We argue that this approach to the location of bodily sensations fares better that the Local Sign theory that denies intrinsic spatiality to touch. (shrink)
What is the contrary of pleasure? “Pain” is one common answer. This paper argues that pleasure instead has two natural contraries: unpleasure and hedonic indifference. This view is defended by drawing attention to two often-neglected concepts: the formal relation of polar opposition and the psychological state of hedonic indifference. The existence of mixed feelings, it is argued, does not threaten the contrariety of pleasure and unpleasure.
This paper defends hedonic intentionalism, the view that all pleasures, including bodily pleasures, are directed towards objects distinct from themselves. Brentano is the leading proponent of this view. My goal here is to disentangle his significant proposals from the more disputable ones so as to arrive at a hopefully promising version of hedonic intentionalism. I mainly focus on bodily pleasures, which constitute the main troublemakers for hedonic intentionalism. Section 1 introduces the problem raised by bodily pleasures for hedonic intentionalism and (...) some of the main reactions to it. Sections 2 and 3 rebut two main approaches equating bodily pleasures with non- intentional episodes. More precisely, section 2 argues that bodily pleasures cannot be purely non-intentional self-conscious feelings, by relying on Brentano’s objection to Hamilton’s theory of pleasure. Section 3 argues that bodily pleasures cannot be non-intentional sensory qualities by relying on Brentano’s objections to Stumpf’s theory of pleasure. Section 4 develops a brentanian view of the intentionality of bodily pleasures by claiming bodily pleasures are directed at a sui generis class of sensory qualities. Section 5 presents an objection to Brentano’s later theory of pleasure according to which all sensory pleasures are directed at sensing acts. (shrink)
Ingvar Johansson has argued that there are not only determinate universals, but also determinable ones. I here argue that this view is misguided by reviving a line of argument to the following effect: what makes determinates falling under a same determinable similar cannot be distinct from what makes them different. If true, some similarities — imperfect similarities between simple determinate properties — are not grounded in any kind of property-sharing. I suggest that determinables are better understood as maximal disjunctions of (...) brutely and imperfectly similar determinates. Such brute similarities have been thought to clash with realism about universals. I argue that this worry stems from the mistaken assumption that perfect and imperfect similarities are relations of a same kind. If exact and inexact resemblances are distinct and heterogeneous explananda, the realist about universals might explain the first thanks to property-sharing, while happily leaving imperfect similarities between properties unexplained. (shrink)
Since Aristotle, touch has been found especially hard to define. One of the few unchallenged intuition about touch, however, is that tactile awareness entertains some especially close relationship with bodily awareness. This article considers the relation between touch and bodily awareness from two different perspectives: the body template theory and the body map theory. According to the former, touch is defined by the fact that tactile content matches proprioceptive content. We raise some objections against such a bodily definition of touch (...) and suggest, as an alternative, to revive the proposal according to which touch is essentially a sense of pressure. According to the body map theory, tactile sensations are localized within the frame of reference provided by the mental representation of the space of the body. We argue that this approach of the location of bodily sensations fares better that the Local Sign theory that denies intrinsic spatiality to touch. (shrink)
Although widely used across psychology, economics, and philosophy, the concept ofeffort is rarely ever defined. This article argues that the time is ripe to look for anexplicit general definition of effort, makes some proposals about how to arrive at thisdefinition, and suggests that a force-based approach is the most promising. Section 1presents an interdisciplinary overview of some chief research axes on effort, and arguesthat few, if any, general definitions have been proposed so far. Section 2 argues thatsuch a definition is (...) now needed and proposes a basic methodology to arrive at it, whosefirst step is to make explicit the various tacit assumptions about effort made acrosssciences and ordinary thinking. Section 3 unearths 4 different conceptions of effortfrom research on effort so far:primitive-feelings accounts,comparator-based accounts,resource-based accountsandforce-based accounts. It is then argued that the first 2kinds of accounts, although interesting in their own right, are not strictly speaking abouteffort. Section 4 considers the 2 most promising general approaches to efforts: re-source-based and force-based accounts. It argues that these accounts are not only compatible but actually extensionally equivalent. This notwithstanding, it explains why force-based accounts should be regarded as more fundamental than resource-basedaccounts -/- . (shrink)
This thesis vindicates the common-sense intuition that touch is more objective than the other senses. The reason why it is so, it is argued, is that touch is the only sense essential of the experience of physical effort, and that this experience constitutes our only acquaintance with the mind-independence of the physical world. The thesis is divided in tree parts. Part I argues that sensory modalities are individuated by they proper objects, realistically construed. Part II argues that the proper objects (...) of touch are pressures and tensions, defined as pairs of real and antagonist forces. Part III argues that experiences of pressures are an essential part of the experience of physical effort and that the experience of physical effort (which amounts to the experience of resistance to our will), constitutes our only immediate access to the mind-independence of the physical world. (shrink)
Brentano’s theory of continuity is based on his account of boundaries. The core idea of the theory is that boundaries and coincidences thereof belong to the essence of continua. Brentano is confident that he developed a full-fledged, boundary-based, theory of continuity1; and scholars often concur: whether or not they accept Brentano’s take on continua they consider it a clear contender. My impression, on the contrary, is that, although it is infused with invaluable insights, several aspects of Brentano’s account of continuity (...) remain inchoate. To be clear, the theory of boundaries on which it relies, as well as the account of ontological dependence that Brentano develops alongside his theory of boundaries, constitute splendid achievements. However, the passage from the theory of boundaries to the account of continuity is rather sketchy. This paper pinpoints some chief problems raised by this transition, and proposes some solutions to them which, if not always faithful to the letter of Brentano’s account of continua, are I believe faithful to its spirit. §1 presents Brentano’s critique of the mathematical account of the continuous. §2 introduces Brentano’s positive account of continua. §3 raises three worries about Brentano’s account of continuity. §4 proposes a Neo-Brentanian approach to continua that handles these worries. (shrink)
This paper argues (i) that the possibility of experiencing at once pleasures and unpleasures does not threaten the contrariety of pleasure and unpleasure. (ii) That the hedonic balance calculated by adding all pleasures and displeasures of a subject at a time yields an abstract result that does not correspond to any new psychological reality. There are no resultant feelings. (iii) That there are nevertheless, in some cases, sentimental fusions: when the co-occurent pleasures and unpleasures do not have any bodily location, (...) and that their intentional object vanishes, they truly fuse with each other, giving rise to sentimental mixtures in which the initial pleasures and unpleasures are no longer discernible. (shrink)
Can we maintain that purple seems composed of red and blue without giving up the impenetrability of the red and blue parts that compose it? Brentano thinks we can. Purple, according to him, is a chessboard of red and blue tiles which, although individually too small to be perceived, are together indistinctly perceived within the purple. After a presentation of Brentano’s solution, we raise two objections to it. First, Brentano’s solution commits him to unperceivable intentional objects (the chessboard’s tiles). Second, (...) his chessboard account fails in the end to explain the phenomenal spatial continuity of compound colours. We then sketch an alternative account, which, while holding fast to the phenomenal compoundedness of the purple and to the impenetrability of component colours, avoids introducing inaccessible intentional objects and compromising on the continuity of the purple. According to our proposal, instead of being indistinctly perceived spatial parts of the purple, red and blue are distinctly perceived non- spatial parts of it. (shrink)
A quick, but inconclusive, way to defend generous realism is to rely on the reciprocal conceptual dependency between component and resultant forces. Conceptually, there cannot be component without compounds, nor compounds, or resultants, without components. If there are only component forces, then they are not really component ; and if there are only resultant forces then there are not really resultant.
We sometimes experience pleasures and displeasures simultaneously: whenever we eat sfogliatelle while having a headache, whenever we feel pain fading away, whenever we feel guilty pleasure while enjoying listening to Barbara Streisand, whenever we are savouring a particularly hot curry, whenever we enjoy physical endurance in sport, whenever we are touched upon receiving a hideous gift, whenever we are proud of withstanding acute pain, etc. These are examples of what we call " mixed feelings ". Mixed feelings are cases in (...) which one and the same person experiences pleasure and displeasure at the same time. Mixed feelings raise two questions: If pleasure and displeasure are contraries, how can mixed feelings be possible? Does the excess of pleasure that we feel when experiencing mixed feelings itself constitute a new feeling, that results from the co-occurrence of the first two? I will argue that mixed feelings are possible and that their existence does not threaten the contrariety of pleasure and displeasure, and that there are no resultant feelings: having a lot of pleasure and a little displeasure does not result in having additional mild pleasure. Finally, I will suggest that although both false, scepticism towards the existence of mixed feelings, as well as the idea according to which resultant feelings exist, are inspired from a single and correct idea: that pleasure and displeasure do fuse in some cases. (shrink)
I present and defend Reinach's theory of ownership according to which, prior to the positive law, one finds a distinction between possession, ownership and property rights. Ownership is not a bundle of positive rights, but a primitive natural relation that grounds the absolute right to behave as one wishes towards the thing one owns. In reply to some objections raised against it, I argue that Reinach's theory of property is morally and politically non-committal; and that it in fact has the (...) ressources for dealing with the vexing issue of the origin of ownership. (shrink)
Adolf Reinach belongs to the Brentanian lineage of Austrian Aristotelianism. His theory of social acts is well known, but his account of ownership has been mostly overlooked. This paper introduces and defends Reinach’s account of ownership. Ownership, for Reinach, is not a bundle of property rights. On the contrary, he argues that ownership is a primitive and indivisible relation between a person and a thing that grounds property rights. Most importantly, Reinach asserts that the nature ownership is not determined by (...) positive law but presupposed by it. Some have objected that such realism raises insuperable difficulties as to the origin of ownership, difficulties that could only be dealt with under a more conventionalist approach. I argue that the independence of the nature ownership from positive law is, in fact, compatible with the claim that its existence is dependent on human conventions. (shrink)
This thesis introduces and defends the Axiological Theory of Pleasure (ATP), according to which all pleasures are mental episodes which exemplify an hedonic value. According to the version of the ATP defended, hedonic goodness is not a primitive kind of value, but amounts to the final and personal value of mental episodes. Beside, it is argued that all mental episodes –and then all pleasures– are intentional. The definition of pleasures I arrived at is the following : -/- x is a (...) pleasure of a person P =df x is an intentional episode of P which is finally good for P. (shrink)
This paper defends the action-theory of the Will, according to which willing G is doing F (F≠G) in order to make G happen. In a nutshell, willing something is doing something else in order to bring about what we want. -/- I argue that only the action-theory can reconcile two essential features of the Will. (i) its EFFECTIVITY: willing is closer to acting than desiring. (ii) its FALLIBILITY: one might want something in vain. The action-theory of the will explains EFFECTIVITY (...) by claiming that each time one wants G, one accomplishes the action of doing F ( it is argued following Von Wright that every action has a result as a proper part, here F). And the action-theory explains FALLIBILITY by claiming that although willing G entails making some F happen –the result of the action of willing–, it does not entail that G –the intended consequence of our willing– will happen. -/- By contrast, behaviorist accounts of the will (which merely equate willing with an action) captures its EFFECTIVITY but loose its FALLIBILITY. And volitionist accounts (which introduce naked volitions lacking any essential results) capture the FALLIBILITY of the will, but loose its EFFECTIVITY. -/- I consider disjunctivist accounts of trying (such as O'Shaughnessy and Hornsby's ones) as an alternative way to reconcile EFFECTIVITY and FALLIBILITY. I argue that though the view manages to reconcile these two constraints, it does so only at the price of gerrymandering the concept of willing (or trying): failed tryings end up having nothing in common with successful ones. -/- I then address three objections to the action-theory of the will, to the effect (i) that not all actions have a result (ii) that total failures are possible (iii) that willing is more fundamental than acting. I argue in answer (i) that all actions have results (results which can be irrelevant to the production of the goal, or which can be merely mental images), (ii) that total failures do not correspond to acts of will, but to mere desires or wishes, and (iii) that given the possibility of basic actions, acting has to be more fundamental than willing (and trying). (shrink)
Some colors are compound colors, in the sense that they look complex: orange, violet, green..., by contrast to elemental colors like yellow or blue. In the chapter 3 of his Unterschungen zur Sinnespsychologie, Brentano purports to reconcile the claim that some colors are indeed intrinsically composed of others, with the claim that colors are impenetrable with respect to each other. His solution: phenomenal green is like a chessboard of blue and yellow squares. Only, such squares are so small that we (...) cannot discriminate between their location in perception. Consequently we get the impression of an homogeneous green extent. After having presented Brentano's solution, we argued that it is hardly compatible with Brentano's own conception of descriptive psychology, to the extent that it introduces in-existent objects (small yellow and blue squares), which cannot be perceived. We propose another solution to Brentano's puzzle, more in tune with his own assumptions, or so we argue. According to it, the yellow and the blue are in the green without being spatially in the green. A green extent has yellow and blue components, but these are not spatial components. This solution reconciles impenetrability (since the component colors are not localized) with the reality of compounds color. Besides, it has the advantage of taking the phenomenology of compounds colors, as Brentano's describes it, to the letter. Compound colors are what they seem: complex but not spatially complex. (shrink)
I defend the view that the experience of resistance gives us a direct phenomenal access to the mind-independence of perceptual objects. In the first part, I address a humean objection against the very possibility of experiencing existential mind-independence. The possibility of an experience of mind-independence being secured, I argue in the second part that the experience of resistance is the only kind of experience by which we directly access existential mind-independence.
Our thesis is that proprioception is not a sixth sense distinct from the sense of touch, but a part of that tactile (or haptic) sense. The tactile sense is defined as the sense whose direct intentional objects are macroscopic mechanical properties. We first argue (against D. Armstrong, 1962; B. O'Shaughnessy 1989, 1995, 1998 and M. Martin, 1992, 1993,1995) that the two following claims are incompatible : (i) proprioception is a sense distinct from touch; (ii) touch is a bipolar modality, that (...) intrinsically has both a subjective-bodily pole and objective pole. We then argue that the bipolarity of touch should be preferred over the introduction of a sui generis sense of the body. We try to revive Aristotle suggestion according to which the body is the tactile medium (like the air for sight). Since this medium is constantly changing its shape, we need some specific channel of information about its state : proprioception, functionally defined, is that part of touch which informs us about the state of this changing tactile medium. Though muscular and articular receptors are usually dedicated to inform us about the mechanical properties of the tactile media, and the skin receptors about the mechanical properties of the tactile objects, this is not essentially so. In weighting or wielding experiments we access the weight of external objects even when skin sensitivity is absent; in prosthetic touch, the skin receptors play the role usually assigned to muscle and articular receptors, namely to inform us about the mechanical state of the tactile medium. So proprioception, anatomically defined, can play both the role of informing us about the tactile medium, or about the tactile objects. That other sensory modalities also rely on proprioceptive information should be understood in terms of cross-modal dependencies: of sight, hearing, smell, taste...on touch. (shrink)
We review the history of the philosophy of fondue since Aristotle so as to arrive at the formulation of the paradox of Swiss fondue. Either the wine and the cheese cease to exist (Buridan), but then the fondue is not really a mixture of wine and cheese. Or the wine and the cheese continue to exist. If they do, then either they continue to exist in different places (the chemists), but then a fondue can never be perfectly homogenous (it is (...) a French fondue). Or the wine and the cheese continue to exist in the same place (the Stoïcs), but then wine and cheese have to be, oddly, penetrable and spatially expansible. Aristote attempted to solve this paradox by arguing that the cheese and wine continue to exist, but only potentially in the fondue. We sketch an alternative answer. The wine and the cheese continue to exist, but only non-spatially in the fondue. Wine and cheese, once mixed, become non-spatial constituents of the fondue, a bit like character traits are non-spatial constituents of persons. The wine and the cheese are in the fondue, but only the fondue is there in the fondue pot. (shrink)
À l’origine de la philosophie comme des sciences, il y a, selon Aristote, « l’étonnement de ce que les choses sont ce qu’elles sont ». Nul doute qu’Aristote aurait trouvé en Suisse maints sujets d’étonnement. Qu’est-ce qu’une vache ? Qu’est-ce qu’une montagne ? Qu’est-ce que le Röstigraben ? Qu’est-ce qu’une fondue ? Qu’est-ce qu’un trou dans l’emmental ? Qu’est-ce que l’argent ? Qu’est-ce qu’une banque ? Qu’est-ce qu’une confédération ? Qu’est-ce qu’une horloge ? Qui est Roger Federer ? Qu’est-ce qu’est (...) Anton Marty ? Qu’est-ce que le plaisir de manger du chocolat ? -/- Chaque chapitre de cet ouvrage a été écrit par un spécialiste de renommée internationale et défend une solution claire à l’une de ces questions. Le tout constitue une introduction à la fois accessible et plaisante à un domaine de recherche philosophique aujourd’hui en effervescence : la métaphysique. (shrink)
• Thesis to be defended: there are no tropes. • General argument: there are no good way to account for the particularity of tropes (which is essential to tropes). • Six views to be rejected: 1. Tropes particularized by their locations in formal spaces 2. Tropes as scattered particulars 3. Tropes particularized by their bearers 4. Tropes particularised by their constituents 5. Tropes particularized by their individual dependence to their bearers 6. Tropes as primitely particular .
Rom Harré thinks that the Emergence–Reduction debate, conceived as a vertical problem, is partly ill posed. Even if he doesn’t wholly reject the traditional definition of an emergent property as a property of a collection but not of its components, his point is that this definition doesn’t exhaust all the dimensions of emergence. According to Harré there is another kind (or dimension) of emergence, which we may call—somewhat paradoxically—“horizontal emergence”: two properties of a substance are horizontally emergent relative to each (...) other if they cannot be displayed in the same conditions. Contrary to vertical emergence, horizontal emergence is a symmetrical relation. Harré endorses horizontal emergentism. I argue that this position faces a principled difficulty: it makes it impossible to bind different horizontally emergent discourses in an interesting way. Physics and biology for example become “island” discourses, each speaking of a distinct kind of entities. The only way to ensure that two different discourses can relate to the same entity is to reintroduce verticality into the picture. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real symmetrical and non-causal relations. In the first part, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; in the second part, that they are relations; in the third part, that they are symmetrical relations; in the fourth part, that they are not causal relations, (but causal relata) by which I mean that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces, (...) irreducible to spatio-temporal relations, but is still compatible with humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are species of causation. (shrink)
It is often said that impenetrability is the mark of the material, and that whatever is real is material. This naive materialism however faces many putative counterexamples: 1. a tree and the molecules that compose it (Wiggins, 1968): they are distinct (the tree can survive the loss of some molecules, the molecules can survive the death of the tree) and both are at the same place at the same time. 2. Tibbles-minus-tail and Tib (Wiggins, 1968): At t1, Tibbles is a (...) cat and Tib a proper part of it which corresponds to Tibbles without its tail. Tibbles and Tib are distinct. At t2, Tibble loses its tail. Then at t2, both Tibbles and Tib are in the same place at the same time. (shrink)
Mixed feelings occur when a same subject experience both pleasure and displeasure at the same time. I argued that mixed feelings are not only possible, but that they constitute a widespread phenomenon. In the first part, I answer to three objections against the possibility of mixed feelings, the most important one being that mixed feelings contradict the view that pleasure and displeasure are contraries. In the second part, I argue that pleasure in effort, the pleasure we take in doing things, (...) is a widespread phenomenon that constitutes a case of mixed feeling of a special sort: a case where the displeasure grounds or explains the pleasure. I argue that none of the usual strategies of the enemies of mixed feelings for dealing with putative cases of mixed feelings (oscillation between pleasure and displeasure, rejection of one of the two feelings) achieves to deal with pleasure in effort. (shrink)
Nous défendons la thèse selon laquelle les images sont phénoménalement transparentes : nous ne voyons (quasiment) jamais leur surface mais seulement ce que les images dépeignent, ce qui implique que notre expérience des images est fondamentalement une illusion. Cette thèse s’oppose à celle de R. Wollheim, qui fait aujourd’hui figure de position standard, selon laquelle nous percevons la surface et le depictum. Une même expérience perceptive, selon nous, ne peut avoir deux objets ou deux aspects. En ce sens, nous sommes (...) plus proche de la position de E.H. Gombrich : nous percevons soit la surface, soit le depictum, mais jamais les deux. Nous cherchons toutefois à la radicaliser en soutenant qu’il est finalement très rare de percevoir la surface de l’image. (shrink)
La question à laquelle je veux tenter de répondre est la suivante : Quelle est la nature ontologique de ce que nous percevons lorsque nous sommes sujets à une illusion ou à une hallucination ? (Cette question n’est pas directement liée au thème de ce séminaire, mais la réponse que je veux lui apporter l’est.) La réponse proposée est la suivante : Ce que nous voyons en cas d’illusion est une propriété physique du milieu perceptif attribuée à l’objet perçu.
La question que nous allons aborder dans ce cours est la suivante : peut-on réduire une société une simple agrégation d’individus, ou est-elle plus que cela ? Cette question introduit le débat qui oppose, en sciences sociales, les tenants de l’individualisme à ceux du holisme. En première approximation, les individualistes sociaux pensent qu’une société n’est rien de plus qu’une somme ou une agrégation d’individus. Les holistes sociaux pensent au contraire qu’une société n’est pas réductible à une simple agrégation d’individus. C’est (...) là une question fondamentale aussi bien pour les sociologues que pour les philosophes. Mais en tant que futurs ingénieurs, vous vous dites peut-être que cela ne va pas vous empêcher de dormir. Pour vous convaincre qu’il y a là certaines raisons sinon de faire des nuits blanches, du moins d’avoir quelques discussions animées, nous allons rapprocher cette question, que l’on traitera dans la première partie du cours, de deux autres dont l’enjeu vous semblera certainement plus immédiat. Nous les traiterons respectivement dans les deuxième et troisième parties du cours. (shrink)
Il est courant de diviser le champ d’investigation de l’éthique entre trois sous- domaines : la méta-éthique, l’éthique normative et l’éthique appliquée. L’éthique appliquée est le domaine le plus concret : on y traite par exemple des questions de savoir s’il faut autoriser l’avortement, l’euthanasie, la peine de mort... L’éthique normative traite de ces questions à un niveau plus abstrait : elle se demande ce qui fait qu’une action ou un type d’action est moralement bonne ou mauvaise. La relation entre (...) l’éthique normative et l’éthique appliquée est un peu comme la relation entre la science pure, comme la physique, et l’ingénierie (Timmons : 17). Le domaine le plus abstrait de l’éthique est la méta-ethique : elle ne s’occupe par de la question de savoir ce qui fait qu’une action est bonne ou mauvaise (éthique normative) et encore moins de la question de savoir si le suicide est moralement bon ou mauvais. Elle s’intéresse à trois types de questions. Les premières sont métaphysiques : qu’est-ce qu’une valeur, qu’une norme (sont-ce des propriétés naturelles comme la masse, des propriétés non naturelles ? Des choses qui n’existent pas ?) ? Existe-t-il des valeurs objectives ? Les secondes sont épistémologiques : comment connaissons-nous les valeurs et les normes ? Par la raison ? L’intuition ? Les émotions ? Dans la mesure où la méta-éthique semble être le domaine le plus abstrait de l’éthique, la prudence pédagogique voudrait qu’on l’étudie en dernier : commencer par un cas concret, puis remonter petit à petit vers des questions plus abstraites. Pour des raisons qui vous apparaîtront j’espère au fur et à mesure, j’ai choisi de commencer néanmoins par des questions qui relève de la méta-éthique. Nous aborderons l’éthique normative et l’éthique appliquée dans la deuxième partie du cours. (shrink)
Faced with the conflict between our intuition that no two things ever share a place at a time and these counterexamples to it, philosophers usually try to find a happy medium between sticking with the original intuition and rejecting all of its counterexamples or giving up the whole intuition and accepting all the counterexamples. Some counterexamples might be rejected on conceptual grounds : one may deny for instance that absolute space is in the same place that the entities located therein (...) on the ground that absolute space is not itself located. One may also reject the distinct existence of some of the entities put forward in the examples : determinable properties might be nothing else than boolean combinations of determinate ones, spots on a screen may be just four dimensional worms whose passing through each other is a matter of part sharing rather than compenetration, etc. But as long as the conceivability of at least one counterexample is granted, the impenetrability intuition has to be weake- ned. To this end, one can weaken either the modal force of the impenetrability intuition or its scope. One may claim for instance that things are impenetrable in our world, but grant that the remaining counterexample refers to genuine metaphysical possibilities (although not natural ones). On the other hand, on may claim that the impenetrability intuition does not bear on every entity in the outside world, but only on some of them. Locke, famously, did not want to give up the metaphysical necessity of impenetrability, but agreed to restrict it to entities of the same kind.4 One other way to restrict the scope of the intuition of impenetrability is to claim that only independent entities (substances, or things proper) are impenetrable , or that only material entities are. (shrink)
L’idée générale défendue ici est qu’une telle intuition doit être nuancée car (i) elle surestime la place de l’expérience du corps dans l’expérience tactile. (ii) elle sous- estime la place de l’expérience du corps dans les autres modalités sensorielles et (iii) elle repose sur une définition floue du sens tactile qui la conduit à identifier toute expérience du corps à une expérience tactile.
Nous distinguons ordinairement le corps de l’esprit : nous parvenons aisément à concevoir (même si nous n’y croyons pas forcément) que notre esprit survive à notre corps, ou qu’il aille se loger dans un autre corps. Il y a là, pensons-nous, une véritable différence de nature. Mais bien que cette distinction nous soit très intuitive, dès lors que nous cherchons à spécifier le critère sur lequel elle repose, elle se dérobe. Tout se passe comme si nous n’avions aucun mal à (...) classer les choses d’un côté ou de l’autre de la frontière qui sépare le corps de l’esprit, mais que nous ne parvenions pas à la définir précisément. A quel critère obéissons- nous en effet lorsque nous opérons une bipartition entre phénomènes mentaux et phénomènes physiques dans un ensemble tel que : une croyance, le téléphone du salon, un aimant, l’envie d’un florentin, le Mont Blanc, la vue du Mont Blanc, un claquement de porte, un regret, le bruit d’un moulin, la connaissance du théorème de Thalès, la jalousie, la couleur de la neige, le souvenir d’un citronnier à Menton ? Nous serions probablement tous d’accord pour ranger du côté des phénomènes physiques le téléphone du salon, le claquement de porte, la couleur de la neige, l’aimant, le Mont Blanc et le bruit du moulin ; et du côté des phénomènes mentaux la croyance, l’envie d’un florentin, le regret, la vue du Mont Blanc, la connaissance du théorème de Thalès, la jalousie et le souvenir d’un citronnier de Menton. Mais nous divergerions probablement si nous avions à formuler le critère d’après lequel nous avons opéré cette bipartition. La première chose à faire est donc de tenter d’examiner les critères qui peuvent nous permettre d’établir la distinction entre le corps et l’esprit afin de retenir le plus pertinent. Dans la mesure du possible, celui-ci devra être à la fois informatif (ne pas nous renvoyer simplement à la distinction intuitive que nous pratiquons quotidiennement) et neutre (par exemple être acceptable aussi bien par un dualiste que par un matérialiste). Une fois cette distinction établie, nous serons en mesure de poser trois problèmes. (shrink)
Nous avons montré en première partie que la question du corps et de l’esprit posait trois problèmes distincts : le problème de la corrélation (comment expliquer la corrélation du corps et de l’esprit sans renoncer à leur différence de nature ?), le problème du corps propre (notre corps est-il un simple objet pour notre esprit ?), et le problème de la prévention de l’esprit à l’égard des corps (pourquoi considérons-nous plus volontiers que le monde se compose de corps que d’évènements (...) ou de processus ?). Il ne faut donc pas réduire la question du corps et de l’esprit au seul problème de la corrélation. Cela dit, il faut maintenant souligner que le problème de la corrélation est de loin de plus important des trois, qu’il est en substance celui qui, des présocratiques à nos jours, a fait l’objet de l’attention philosophique la plus grande. La deuxième partie de ce cours lui sera donc consacrée. (shrink)
Le sens commun distingue le corps de l’esprit. Il considère par exemple que les désirs et les souvenirs sont des phénomènes mentaux alors que les sons et les courants d’air sont des phénomènes physiques. Au sein de l’esprit, il distingue diverses facultés mentales : il considère par exemple que l’imagination est distincte de la volonté, qui est elle-même distincte de la perception. Au sein de la faculté perceptive, il distingue cinq sens : l’odorat, le goût, la vue, le toucher et (...) l’ouïe. Cette distinction entre différentes modalités perceptives s’avère tout à fait opératoire : nous n’avons le plus souvent aucun mal à répondre à la question « comment avez- vous perçu X : l’avez-vous vu, entendu, touché, ... ? ». En outre, cette distinction semble robuste : elle résiste par exemple à la co-occurrence d’expériences de modalités distinctes. Ainsi pouvons-nous voir et entendre un planeur à la fois. Enfin, nous semblons convaincus, en ce qui concerne les humains, du caractère exhaustif de cette distinction : il nous arrive certes de parler de l’intuition comme d’un sixième sens, ou de parler du sens de l’humour ou des affaires, mais ces expressions sont entendues en un sens figuré. (shrink)
The proper sensible criterion of sensory individuation holds that senses are individuated by the special kind of sensibles on which they exclusively bear about (colors for sight, sounds for hearing, etc.). H. P. Grice objected to the proper sensibles criterion that it cannot account for the phenomenal difference between feeling and seeing shapes or other common sensibles. That paper advances a novel answer to Grice's objection. Admittedly, the upholder of the proper sensible criterion must bind the proper sensibles –i.e. colors– (...) to the common sensibles –i.e. shapes– so as to account for the visual phenomenal character of shapes. But, as Grice rightly objected, neither association, nor ontological dependence will do –I spend some time isolating why dependence is a bad answer here, basically because the dependence of shape on colors is generic, and that genericity is arguably not part of the phenomenal content of perception. -/- Grice is wrong, however, to think that once association and dependence have been rebutted, there is no other way to attach color to extension. The right way to connect proper and common sensibles is rather trivial, although it seems to have been widely neglected: proper sensibles FILL common ones. To see a shape, by contrast to feeling it, is to perceived as filled by some color. To feel a shape, is to perceive it as, say, filled by pressure. Filling in is the phenomenal connection between proper and common sensibles. -/- One important corollary of that proposal is that proper sensibles –color, pressure, noise, taste...– have to belong to the category of stuffs, in the sense of uncountable entities. Against the widespread view that colors are properties, which have countable instances, the last part of the paper argues that colors are phenomenal stuffs, which fill some visual area. One commits a category mistake in asking: "How many tropes/instances of this determinate redness is there on that ladybird". One should rather ask "How much of this determinate redness is there on that ladybird". (shrink)
The thesis defended is that ordinary perception does not present us with the existential independence of its objects from itself. The phenomenology of ordinary perception is mute with respect to the subject-object distinction. I call this view "phenomenal neutral monism" : though neutral monists are wrong about the metaphysics of perception (in every perceptual episode, there is a distinction between the perceptual act and its perceptual objet), they are right about its phenomenology. I first argue that this view is not (...) as counter-intuitive as it might initially seem, by stressing (i) that the lack of presentation of the mind-independence of perceptual objects does not entail their being presented as mind-dependent. (ii) That phenomenal neutral monism is true of ordinary perception in the thin sense, but not in the thick sense (that includes expectations, guesses, feelings etc. grounded on thin perception). (iii) That the concept of a perceptual perspective or point of view should not be confused with the concept of the subject or intentional act of perception. Second, I propose three positive arguments in favor of phenomenal neutral monism. (i) It does justice to the recurring idea that only resistance to our will presents us with the world qua independent from us. (ii) It does justice to the recurring idea that the most natural attitude towards the perceptual world is that of being absorbed in it. (iii) It is entailed by the view that intentional acts are phenomenally transparent (a view held by Russell and Moore, and most contemporary representationalists) together with the view that in order to be presented with a relation (here the act-object distinction) one has to be presented with its relata. (shrink)
Deux choses sont en contact s'il n'y a rien entre elles (ni volume, ni ligne, ni point) et qu'elles ne se chevauchent pas (en un volume, un ligne ou un point). Le contact est la limite de proximité des choses : si deux choses sont en contact, deux autres choses ne peuvent être pas être plus près l'une de l'autre sans se pénétrer.
The thesis defended is that at a certain arbitrary level of granularity, mountains have sharp, bona fide boundaries. In reply to arguments advanced by Varzi (2001), Smith & Mark (2001, 2003) I argue that the lower limit of a mountain is neither vague nor fiat. Relying on early works by Cayley (1859), Maxwell (1870) and Jordan (1872), this lower limit consists in the lines of watercourse which are defined as the lines of slope starting at passes. Such lines are metaphysically (...) sharply delineated although they are not always easy to get at when facing a mountain. Hence, the indetermination is only epistemic. In the second part of the paper, I try to combine this claim about the lower limit of a mountain with more recent claims advanced by alpinists on the right way to measure the height of a mountain, so as to capture its topographic prominence. I argue following them that the proper height of a mountain is the difference of altitude between its summit and its key-saddle, defined as the highest saddle one needs to cross in order to reach the closest higher summit. Combining this two plausible views about the lower limit and height of a mountain leads to the surprising result that the key-saddle needed to measure the height of a mountain is not necessarily located on the lower-boundary of that mountain. (shrink)
Ainslie argues there are two main kinds of willpower: suppression, which is necessarily effortful, and resolve, which is not. We agree with the distinction but argue that all resolve is effortful. Alleged cases of effortless resolve are indeed cases of what Ainslie calls habits, namely stable results of prior uses of resolve.
On entend par survenance moral la thèse selon laquelle, nécessairement, si deux entités sont parfaitement similaires en ce qui concerne toutes leurs propriétés non-morales, elles sont parfaitement similaires en ce qui concerne leurs propriétés morales. En dépit de son apparente simplicité, cette définition pose de nombreux problèmes. Ainsi, alors que la survenance morale est souvent présentée comme l’une des rares thèses faisant consensus en philosophie, il s’avère à y regarder de près que son interprétation varie grandement selon les philosophes. Trois (...) questions, en particulier, demandent à être éclaircies, sur lesquelles nous nous concentrerons ici : 1. On fait souvent appel à la survenance dans le but d’expliquer les propriétés morales. Mais à strictement parler, la survenance ne revêt par elle-même aucun caractère explicatif : quelle relation la survenance morale entretient-elle avec la relation de fondation ou d’explication morale ? 2. On tient la survenance morale pour une thèse consensuelle, mais on s’accorde peu sur la base de survenance des valeurs morales6. D’aucuns la restreignent à des propriétés naturelles ; d’autres y incluent des propriétés non-naturelles, pour peu qu’elles ne soient pas normatives ; d’autres encore y incluent des propriétés normatives, pour peu qu’elles ne soient pas morales ; d’autres enfin y incluent les principes moraux eux-mêmes. Que recouvre exactement la base de survenance des propriétés morales ? La survenance est une thèse modale (« nécessairement... »). Mais quelle modalité entre-t-elle ici en jeu ? La nécessité qui sous-tend la survenance morale est-elle métaphysique, conceptuelle, normative...? (shrink)
The paper aims at clarifying the distinctions and relations between pain and suffering. Three negative theses are defended: 1. Pain and suffering are not identical. 2. Pain is not a species of suffering, nor is suffering a species of pain, nor are pain and suffering of a common (proximate) genus. 3. Suffering cannot be defined as the perception of a pain’s badness, nor can pain be defined as a suffered bodily sensation. Three positive theses are endorsed: 4. Pain and suffering (...) are categorically distinct: pain is a localised bodily episode, suffering is a non-localised affective attitude. 5. Suffering can be expressed, pains cannot. As a consequence, we can have compassion for the suffering of others, not for their pains. 6. The relation between pain and suffering is akin to the relation between danger and fear, injustice and indignation, wrongdoing and guilt: suffering is the correct reaction to pain. One upshot is that both the influential view that the experience of pain is incorrigible and the influential view that the ordinary conception of pain is paradoxical are false. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to give a description of the objects of the sense of touch. Those objects, it is argued, are forces, rather than flesh deformation, solidity or weight. Tangible forces, basically tensions and pressures, are construed as symmetric and non-spatially reducible causal relations. Two consequences are drawn: first, the perception of heat and cold falls outside the sense of touch; second, muscular sense (together with a large part of proprioception) falls inside the sense of touch.
Our thesis is that there is a notion of justification, corresponding to the active exercise of a competence in order to attain truth, whose value is explained neither by reliabilism, nor by the usual versions of credit theory.