Peter Ludlow shows how word meanings are much more dynamic than we might have supposed, and explores how they are modulated even during everyday conversation. The resulting view is radical, and has far-reaching consequences for our political and legal discourse, and for enduring puzzles in the foundations of semantics, epistemology, and logic.
One of the most provocative projects in recent analytic philosophy has been the development of the doctrine of externalism, or, as it is often called, anti-individualism. While there is no agreement as to whether externalism is true or not, a number of recent investigations have begun to explore the question of what follows if it is true. One of the most interesting of these investigations thus far has been the question of whether externalism has consequences for the doctrine that we (...) have authoritative, a priori self-knowledge of our mental states. The selected works presented in this volume, some previously published, some new, are representative of this debate and open up new questions and issues for philosophical investigation, including the connection between externalism, self-knowledge, epistemic warrant, and memory. (shrink)
We often find ourselves communicating from radically different perspectives on the world. In this new book Ludlow explains how we successfully communicate across some radically diverse perspectival positions, including diverse temporal, spatial and personal positions, through our use of cognitive dynamics.
David Chalmers argues that virtual objects exist in the form of data structures that have causal powers. I argue that there is a large class of virtual objects that are social objects and that do not depend upon data structures for their existence. I also argue that data structures are themselves fundamentally social objects. Thus, virtual objects are fundamentally social objects.
The author argues that the standard view about language, seen as fairly stable abstract system of communication, is a myth. Standard view is badly mistaken and the alternative picture is offered in which there is a core part of our linguistic competence that is fixed by biology and this provides a basic skeleton which is fleshed out in different ways on a conversion-by-conversation basis. Why certain people communicate with each other? The answer to this question is not because they speak (...) the same language. We cannot see how communication can emerge from the standard picture of language if we do not start investigating the nature of our linguistic coordination strategies, since there is not a thing there -- a language -- that helps us to communicate. (shrink)
While most approaches to the semantics of tense have attempted to regiment tense away in a tenseless metalanguage, a good case can be made that this is not without cost. On the other hand, it is pretty clear that attempts to treat tense in a tensed metalanguage introduce serious complications. It is probably not so important which of these positions is correct at this point, as it is that we understand the costs of the respective positions. Perhaps, by having a (...) firm enough grasp on both approaches we afford ourselves a deeper insight into the nature of tense itself. (shrink)
_The Philosophy of Mind_ remains the only sourcebook of primary readings offering in-depth coverage of both historical works and contemporary controversies in philosophy of mind. This second edition provides expanded treatment of classical as well as current topics, with many additional readings and a new section on mental content. The writers included range from Aristotle, Descartes, and William James to such leading contemporary thinkers as Noam Chomsky, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and Jaegwon Kim. The 83 selections provide a thorough survey (...) of five areas of enduring controversy: the mind-body problem, mental causation, mental content, innatism and modularity, and associationism and connectionism. Each section includes an introductory overview of the topic by the editors as well as suggestions for further reading. The selections added for the second edition serve both to enhance historical coverage and to update contemporary issues, especially in areas of current empirical research such as connectionism and innatism. Changes to historical coverage include a wider array of readings on classic positions as well as neglected precursors to views often considered recent innovations. The section on the mind-body problem in particular has been greatly expanded, including numerous selections on consciousness and phenomenal qualities. The book is ideal for both undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy and the history of psychology and will be useful both as a reference for researchers and a self-contained survey for the general reader. (shrink)
In this paper I examine cases in which we attach different meanings to words and in which we litigate or argue about the best way of defining the term in dispute. I reject the idea that this is just a matter of imposing our will on our interlocutors – I think that the process of litigation is normative. To some extent recent work in the theory of argumentation has shed considerable light on this process, but we will need to retrofit (...) that work for the kinds of considerations we are engaged with here. I’ll begin in Section 1, with some important terminological preliminaries. Then in Section 2, I will offer a general description of how we come to notice that there are disputes about meaning and how we engage the meaning variance once it is recognized. In section 3 I’ll then take up a case that is relatively less controversial – the definition of ‘planet’ – and use it to construct a model for our meaning litigation works. Finally, in section 4 I’ll then turn to more contentious and substantial issues – the definition of ‘rape’ and the definition of ‘person’ and begin exploring how disputes about the meanings of those terms can be normative and fail to be normative. (shrink)
One of the most gripping intuitions that people have about time is that it, in some sense “flows.” This sense of flow has been articulated in a number of ways, ranging from us moving into the future or the future rushing towards us, and there has been no shortage of metaphors and descriptions to characterize this sense of passage. Despite the many forms of the metaphor and its widespread occurrence, it has been argued that there is a deep conceptual problem (...) in any assumption that time “passes” or “flows.” The idea expressed by the metaphor is supposed to be incoherent. But is the idea expressed by this metaphor really incoherent? In this essay I will argue that, on one understanding of the metaphor, it is not. I’ll argue that the metaphor can be unpacked as representing three features of temporal experience, and while these features together appear to lead to paradox, I will argue that correctly handled they do not. (shrink)
Part of what makes working with modals such a tricky business is that apparent modal forms are deployed in all sorts of ways in language. In this paper I explore an interesting example of an apparent modal—the Blofeld case—which was introduced by Gilles and von Fintel as part of their argument against context of assessment accounts of epistemic modals. I argue that the example is subtle, and that the apparent modal may not be an epistemic modal at all—it could be (...) a scalar modifier that merges or “incorporates” with the matrix verb, weakening the meaning of the matrix verb. If apparent modals are used as scalar modifiers and are subject to movement and incorporation, then the surface language of modality may be throwing us some crafty head fakes. Caution is advised. (shrink)
'Knowledge' doesn't correctly describe our relation to linguistic rules. It is too thick a notion. On the other hand, 'cognize', without further elaboration, is too thin a notion, which is to say that it is too thin to play a role in a competence theory. One advantage of the term 'knowledge'-and presumably Chomsky's original motivation for using it-is that knowledge would play the right kind of role in a competence theory: Our competence would consist in a body of knowledge which (...) we have and which we may or may not act upon-our performance need not conform to the linguistic rules that we know. Is there a way out of the dilemma? I'm going to make the case that the best way to talk about grammatical rules is simply to say that we have them. That doesn't sound very deep, I know, but saying that we have individual rules leaves room for individual norm guidance in a way that 'cognize' does not. Saying we have a rule like subjacency is also thicker than merely saying we cognize it. Saying I have such a rule invites the interpretation that it is a rule for me-that I am normatively guided by it. The competence theory thus becomes a theory of the rules that we have. Whether we follow those rules is another matter entirely. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Tensism is the view that tense is not merely a property of language and the mind, but of the world itself. Perspectivalism extends this idea to all perspectival properties be they person or locational. One challenge that perspectivalism faces is the problem of expressing the contents of the beliefs and utterances of persons that are in other perspectival positions. One proposed solution to this problem is to allow for semantic theories that "realign" the expression of contents so that the (...) contents expressed by persons in other perspectival positions can be re-expressed from one's own perspectival position. In this paper I argue that a similar semantic realignment strategy could be deployed in helping perspectivalists generally come to grips with a puzzle raised by the Special Theory of Relativity. In short, the strategy is to realign the expression of contents in another inertial frame so that they are expressed from within your inertial frame. As we will see, the strategy is not puzzle free. (shrink)