A popular view has it that the mental representations underlying human pretense are not beliefs, but are “belief-like” in important ways. This view typically posits a distinctive cognitive attitude (a “DCA”) called “imagination” that is taken toward the propositions entertained during pretense, along with correspondingly distinct elements of cognitive architecture. This paper argues that the characteristics of pretense motivating such views of imagination can be explained without positing a DCA, or other cognitive architectural features beyond those regulating (...) normal belief and desire. On the present “Single Attitude” account of imagination, propositional imagining just is a form of believing. The Single Attitude account is also distinguished from “metarepresentational” accounts of pretense, which hold that both pretending and recognizing pretense in others require one to have concepts of mental states. It is argued, to the contrary, that pretending and recognizing pretense require neither a DCA nor possession of mental state concepts. (shrink)
Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines' research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing (...)pretense and of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming. (shrink)
Several philosophers advance substantive theories of propositions, to deal with several issues they raise in connection with a concern with a long pedigree in philosophy, the problem of the unity of propositions. The qualification ‘substantive’ is meant to contrast with ‘minimal’ or ‘deflationary’ – roughly, views that reject that propositions have a hidden nature, worth investigating. Substantive views appear to create spurious problems by characterizing propositions in ways that make them unfit to perform their theoretical jobs. I will present in (...) this light some critical points against Hanks’ (2015, 2019) act-theoretic view, and Recanati’s (2019) recent elaboration of Hanks’ notion of cancellation. Both Hanks and Recanati, I’ll argue, rely on problematic conceptions of fiction and pretense. (shrink)
In this book, Bradley Armour-Garb and James A. Woodbridge distinguish various species of fictionalism, locating and defending their own version of philosophical fictionalism. Addressing semantic and philosophical puzzles that arise from ordinary language, they consider such issues as the problem of non-being, plural identity claims, mental-attitude ascriptions, meaning attributions, and truth-talk. They consider 'deflationism about truth', explaining why deflationists should be fictionalists, and show how their philosophical fictionalist account of truth-talk underwrites a dissolution of the Liar Paradox and its kin. (...) They further explore the semantic notions of reference and predicate-satisfaction, showing how philosophical fictionalism can also resolve puzzles that these notions appear to present. Their critical examination of fictionalist approaches in philosophy, together with the development and application of their own brand of philosophical fictionalism, will be of great interest to scholars and upper-level students of philosophy of language, metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and linguistics. (shrink)
In this text, we will introduce the reader to the special issue on Pretense and Imagination from the Perspective of 4E Cognitive Science. To do so, we will introduce the concept of 4E cognition and showcase what the available 4E approaches to pretense and imagination look like, in particular if they are contrasted with current cognitivist accounts. Against this background, we provide an overview of the articles included in this special issue.
Idioms – expressions like kick the bucket and let the cat out of the bag – are strange. They behave in ways that ordinary multi-word expressions do not. One distinctive and troublesome feature of idioms is their unpredictability: The meanings of sentences in which idiomatic phrases occur are not the ones that we would get by applying the usual compositional rules to the usual meanings of their (apparent) constituents. This sort of behavior requires an explanation. I will argue that the (...) right explanation is that the sentences are being interpreted through a pretense. (What this means, exactly, will be explained in what follows.) This is a surprising claim, for two reasons. On the one hand, it seems that adopting a pretense account is overkill—it’s a far more radical move than is required to account for the phenomena. On the other hand, it seems that a pretense account is hopeless—that there is a fatal overgeneration problem for pretense accounts of idiom that causes them to fail, as Jason Stanley charges, “as badly as it is possible for an account of idiom to fail.” So I will have some work to do. (shrink)
Thought about fictional characters is special, and needs to be distinguished from ordinary world-directed thought. On my interpretation, Kendall Walton and Gareth Evans have tried to show how this serious fiction-directed thought can arise from engagement with a kind of pretending. Many criticisms of their account have focused on the methodological presupposition, that fiction-directed thought is the appropriate explanandum. In the first part of this paper, I defend the methodological claim, and thus the existence of the problem to which (...) class='Hi'>pretense is supposed to be a solution. In the second part, I elaborate and defend the pretense theory as a solution to this problem. (shrink)
Traditional theories of sarcasm treat it as a case of a speaker's meaning the opposite of what she says. Recently, 'expressivists' have argued that sarcasm is not a type of speaker meaning at all, but merely the expression of a dissociative attitude toward an evoked thought or perspective. I argue that we should analyze sarcasm in terms of meaning inversion, as the traditional theory does; but that we need to construe 'meaning' more broadly, to include illocutionary force and evaluative attitudes (...) as well as propositional content. I distinguish four subclasses of sarcasm, individuated in terms of the target of inversion. Three of these classes raise serious challenges for a standard implicature analysis. (shrink)
Truth-talk exhibits certain features that render it philosophically suspect and motivate a deflationary account. I offer a new formulation of deflationism that explains truth-talk in terms of semantic pretense. This amounts to a fictionalist account of truth-talk but avoids an error-theoretic interpretation and its resulting incoherence. The pretense analysis fits especially well with deflationism’s central commitment, and it handles truth-talk’s unusual features effectively. In particular, this approach suggests an interesting strategy for dealing with the Liar paradox. This version (...) of deflationism has advantages over the formulations currently available in the literature, mainly because it offers a more satisfying account of the generalizing role deflationary views take as truth-talk’s central function. Explaining the notion of truth in terms of pretense generates some special concerns, but none we cannot address through careful consideration of how pretense operates in truth-talk and of the attitudes instances of pretending involve. (shrink)
The project of this paper is to synthesize enactivist cognitive science and practice theory in order to develop a new account of pretend play. Pretend play is usually conceived of as a representationalist phenomenon where a pretender projects a fictional mental representation onto reality. It thus seems that pretense can only be explained in representationalist terms. In this paper, we oppose this usual approach. We instead propose not only new explanatory tools for pretend play, but also a fundamental reconceptualization (...) of the phenomena of pretend play, that is, of the very explanandum of theories of pretense. To do so, we suggest combining the turn to action and embodiment in the cognitive sciences with the practice turn in the humanities. From our point of view, pretend play has to be seen in its role in human life as a whole, which is to help children to learn to master the complex sociocultural contingencies of the manifold social practices that make up social reality. Pretend play should therefore be conceived as alternative sense-making that is always related, in varying ways, to ordinary social practices. Pretenders do not need to project mental representations onto reality, but make sense of their surroundings in different ways than encultured adults in ordinary practices. In the paper, we spell out this view and show how it enables an enactivist reconceptualization of imagination, intentions and knowledge, which are usually thought of as being available only to representationalist accounts of pretense. (shrink)
Young children spend a large portion of their time pretending about non-real situations. Why? We answer this question by using the framework of Bayesian causal models to argue that pretending and counterfactual reasoning engage the same component cognitive abilities: disengaging with current reality, making inferences about an alternative representation of reality, and keeping this representation separate from reality. In turn, according to causal models accounts, counterfactual reasoning is a crucial tool that children need to plan for the future and learn (...) about the world. Both planning with causal models and learning about them require the ability to create false premises and generate conclusions from these premises. We argue that pretending allows children to practice these important cognitive skills. We also consider the prevalence of unrealistic scenarios in children's play and explain how they can be useful in learning, despite appearances to the contrary. (shrink)
Recent accounts of pretense have been underdescribed in a number of ways. In this paper, we present a much more explicit cognitive account of pretense. We begin by describing a number of real examples of pretense in children and adults. These examples bring out several features of pretense that any adequate theory of pretense must accommodate, and we use these features to develop our theory of pretense. On our theory, pretense representations are contained (...) in a separate mental workspace, a Possible World Box which is part of the basic architecture of the human mind. The representations in the Possible World Box can have the same content as beliefs. Indeed, we suggest that pretense representations are in the same representational ``code'' as beliefs and that the representations in the Possible World Box are processed by the same inference and UpDating mechanisms that operate over real beliefs. Our model also posits a Script Elaborator which is implicated in the embellishment that occurs in pretense. Finally, we claim that the behavior that is seen in pretend play is motivated not from a ``pretend desire'', but from a real desire to act in a way that ®ts the description being constructed in the Possible World Box. We maintain that this account can accommodate the central features of pretense exhibited in the examples of pretense, and we argue that the alternative accounts either can't accommodate or fail to address entirely some of the central features of pretense. q 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Contrary to frequent declarations that descriptivism as a theory of how names refer is dead and gone, such a descriptivism is, to all appearances, alive and well. Or rather, a descendent of that doctrine is alive and well. This new version—neo-descriptivism, for short—is supposedly immune from the usual arguments against descriptivism, in large part because it avoids classical descriptivism’s emphasis on salient, first-come-to-mind properties and holds instead that a name’s reference-fixing content is typically given by egocentric properties specified in terms (...) of broadly causal relationships between a speaker and his environment: properties like being the actual individual called ‘Aristotle’ referred to by my informants’ use of the name, being the actual individual called ‘George Bush’ whom I have seen/heard described as the U.S. President who started the second Gulf War, and so on. names is not in contention.) What these neo-descriptivists claim is that the usual modal, semantical, and epistemological arguments against classical descriptivism don’t get much of a foothold against this new version, especially if we don’t insist that speakers be able to state these properties on demand. It is enough that these are properties implicit in the semantic judgments of speakers. Recent attacks notwithstanding, such a neo-descriptivism has struck many philosophers as a credible and worthy successor to classical descriptivism. (shrink)
A pretense theory of a given discourse is a theory that claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we token (speak, write, and so on) when taking part in that discourse. Instead, according to pretense theory, we are speaking from within a pretense. According to pretense theories of mathematics, we engage with mathematics as we do a pretense. We do not use mathematical language to make claims that express (...) propositions and, thus, we do not use mathematical discourse to make claims that are either true or false. In this paper I make use of recent findings from cognitive neuroscience and developmental science to suggest that pretense theories of mathematics fail. 1 Introduction 2 The Autism Objection 2.1 Autism and pretense 2.2 Autistic engagement with mathematics 2.2.1 Cortical folding 2.2.2 The language of mathematics 3 The Onset of the Number Sense and the Recognition of Pretense 3.1 A difference in neurology 3.2 Young and no numbers 3.2.1 When and where is the difference? 3.2.2 Damaged HIPS without impairment to engagement with fiction 4 Concluding Remarks. (shrink)
In this paper we explain our pretense account of truth-talk and apply it in a diagnosis and treatment of the Liar Paradox. We begin by assuming that some form of deflationism is the correct approach to the topic of truth. We then briefly motivate the idea that all T-deflationists should endorse a fictionalist view of truth-talk, and, after distinguishing pretense-involving fictionalism (PIF) from error- theoretic fictionalism (ETF), explain the merits of the former over the latter. After presenting the (...) basic framework of our PIF account of truth-talk, we demonstrate a few advantages it offers over T-deflationist accounts that do not explicitly acknowledge pretense at work in the discourse. In turning to the Liar Paradox, we explain how the quasi-anaphoric functioning that our account attributes to truth-talk provides a diagnosis of the Liar Paradox (and other instances of semantic pathology) as having no content—in the sense of not specifying any of what we call M-conditions. At the same time, however, we vindicate the intuition that we can understand liar sentences, thereby avoiding one standard objection to “meaningless strategy” responses to the Liar Paradox. With this diagnosis in place, we then, by way of treatment, introduce a new predicate, ‘semantically defective’, and show how the explanation we give for its application allows for a consistent, yet revenge-immune, (dis)solution of the Liar Paradox, and semantic pathology generally. (shrink)
There has recently been considerable interest in accounts of fiction which treat fictional characters as abstract objects. In this paper I argue against this view. More precisely I argue that such accounts are unable to accommodate our intuitions that fictional negative existentials such as “Raskolnikov doesn’t exist” are true. I offer a general argument to this effect and then consider, but reject, some of the accounts of fictional negative existentials offered by abstract object theorists. I then note that some of (...) the sort of data invoked by the abstract object theorist in fact cuts against her position. I concludle that we should not regard fictional characters as abstract objects but rather should adopt a make-believe theoretic account of fictional characters along the lines of those developed by Ken Walton and others. (shrink)
In its approach to fiction and fictional discourse, pretense theory focuses on the behaviors that we engage in once we pretend that something is true. These may include pretending to name, pretending to refer, pretending to admire, and various other kinds of make-believe. Ordinary discourse about fictions is analyzed as a kind of institutionalized manner of speaking. Pretense, make-believe, and manners of speaking are all accepted as complex patterns of behavior that prove to be systematic in various ways. (...) In this paper, I attempt to show: (1) that this systematicity is captured in the basic distinctions and representations that are central to the formal theory of abstract objects, and (2) that this formal theory need not be interpreted platonistically, but may instead have an interpretation on which the `objects' of the theory are things that pretense theorists already accept, namely, complex patterns of linguistic behavior. The surprising conclusion, then, is that a certain Wittgensteinian approach to meaning (e.g., the meaning of a term like `Holmes' is constituted by its pattern of use) bears an interesting relationship to a formal metaphysical theory and the semantic analyses of discourse constructed in terms of that theory---the former offers a naturalized interpretation of the latter, yet the latter makes the former more precise. (shrink)
I propose that paradigmatic cases of self-deception satisfy the following conditions: (a) the person who is self-deceived about not-P pretends (in the sense of makes-believe or imagines or fantasizes) that not-P is the case, often while believing that P is the case and not believing that not-P is the case; (b) the pretense that not-P largely plays the role normally played by belief in terms of (i) introspective vivacity and (ii) motivation of action in a wide range of circumstances. (...) Understanding self-deception in this way is highly natural. And it provides a non-paradoxical characterization of the phenomenon that explains both its distinctive patterns of instability and its ordinary association with irrationality. Why, then, has this diagnosis been overlooked? I suggest that the oversight is due to a failure to recognize the philosophical significance of a crucial fact about the human mind, namely, the degree to which attitudes other than belief often play a central role in our mental and practical lives, both by "influenc[ing our]... passions and imagination," and by "governing.. .our actions.". (shrink)
We propose a logic of imagination, based on simulated belief revision, that intends to uncover the logical patterns governing the development of imagination in pretense. Our system complements the currently prominent logics of imagination in that ours in particular formalises the algorithm that specifies what goes on in between receiving a certain input for an imaginative episode and what is imagined in the resulting imagination, as well as the goal-orientedness of imagination, by allowing the context to determine, what we (...) call, the overall topic of the imaginative episode. To achieve this, we employ well-developed tools and techniques from dynamic epistemic logic and belief revision theory, enriched with a topicality component which has been exploited in the recent literature. As a result, our logic models a great number of cognitive theories of pretense and imagination [cf. Currie and Ravenscroft ; Nichols and Stich ; Byrne ; Williamson ; Langland-Hassan Knowledge through imaginaion, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016]. (shrink)
Kendall Walton’s pretense theory, like its rivals, says that what’s true in a fiction F depends in part on the importation of background propositions into F. The aim of this paper is to present, explain, and defend a brief yet straightforward argument–one which exploits the specific mechanism by which the pretense theory says propositions are imported into fictions–for the falsity of the pretense theory.
The ability to engage in and recognize pretend play begins around 18 months. A major challenge for theories of pretense is explaining how children are able to engage in pretense, and how they are able to recognize pretense in others. According to one major account, the metarepresentational theory, young children possess both production and recognition abilities because they possess the mental state concept, PRETEND. According to a more recent rival account, the Behavioral theory, young children are behaviorists (...) about pretense, and only produce and recognize pretense as a sort of behavior--namely, behaving 'as-if'. We review both the metarepresentational and Behavioral accounts and argue that the Behavioral theory fails to characterize very young children's abilities to produce and to recognize pretense. Among other problems, the Behavioral theory implies that children should frequently mis-recognize regular behavior as pretense, while certain regular forms of pretend play should neither be produced nor recognized. Like other mental states, pretense eludes purely behavioral description. The metarepresentational theory does not suffer these problems and provides a better account of children's pretense. 2016 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Imaginative and creative capacities seem to be at the heart of both games of make-believe and figurative uses of language. But how exactly might cases of metaphor or idiom involve make-believe? In this paper, I argue against the pretense-based accounts of Walton (1990, 1993), Hills (1997), and Egan (this journal, 2008) that pretense plays no role in the interpretation of metaphor or idiom; instead, more general capacities for manipulating concepts (which are also called on within the use of (...)pretense) do the real explanatory work. This result has consequences for both our understanding of metaphor and idiom as well as for the use of figurative language by fictionalists in ontology. (shrink)
By the age of two, children are able to engage in highly elaborate games of symbolic pretense, in which objects and actions in the actual world are taken to stand for objects and actions in a realm of make-believe. These games of pretense are marked by the presence of two central features, which I will call quarantining and mirroring (see also Leslie 1987; Perner 1991). Quarantining is manifest to the extent that events within the pretense-episode are taken (...) to have effects only within that pretense-episode (e.g. the child does not expect that ‘spilling’ ( pretend) ‘tea’1 will result in the table really being wet), or more generally, to the extent that proto-beliefs and proto-attitudes concerning the pretended state of affairs are not treated as beliefs and attitudes relevant to guiding action in the actual world. Mirroring is manifest to the extent that features of the imaginary situation that have not been explicitly stipulated are derivable via features of their real-world analogues (e.g. the child does expect that if she up-ends the teapot above the table, then the table will become wet in the pretense), or, more generally to the extent that imaginative content is taken to be governed by the same sorts of restrictions that govern believed content. (shrink)
In this paper, we do two things. First, we clarify the notion of deflationism, with special attention to deflationary accounts of truth. Second, we argue that one who endorses a deflationary account of truth (or of semantic notions, generally) should be, or perhaps already is, a pretense theorist regarding truth-talk. In §1 we discuss mathematical fictionalism, where we focus on Yablo’s pretense account of mathematical discourse. §2 briefly introduces the key elements of deflationism and explains deflationism about truth (...) in particular. §3 discusses why deflationary accounts of truth should be construed as pretense accounts and gives a preliminary sketch of a particular pretense account of truth-talk. §4 addresses a main objection to a pretense account, and §5 concludes. (shrink)
Our claim in this paper is that a theory of “pretense” (in all its crucial uses in human society and cognition) can be built only if it is grounded on the general theory of “behavioral implicit communication” (BIC), which is not to be confused with non-verbal communication (with distinct notions being frequently conflated, such as “signs” vs. “messages”, or goal as “intention” vs. goal as “function”). Pretense presupposes some BIC-based human interaction, where a normal, practical behavior is used (...) for signifying something, based on a sign that is not a conventional one. In light of BIC interaction theory, one can exploit this sign or message in a deceptive way in order to induce the other to believe that he/she is performing a given behavior or has a given mental state. -/- . (shrink)
In “On Sense and Reference,” surrounding his discussion of how we describe what people say and think, identity is Frege’s first stop and his last. We will follow Frege’s plan here, but we will stop also in the land of make-believe.
I assess Tamar Gendler's (2007) account of self-deception according to which its characteristic state is not belief, but imaginative pretense. After giving an overview of the literature and presenting the conceptual puzzles engendered by the notion of self-deception, I introduce Gendler's account, which emerges as a rival to practically all extant accounts of self-deception. I object to it by first arguing that her argument for abandoning belief as the characteristic state of self-deception conflates the state of belief and the (...) process of belief-formation when interpreting David Velleman's (2000) thesis that belief is an essentially truth-directed attitude. I then call attention to the fact that Velleman's argument for the identity of motivational role between belief and imagining, on which Gendler's argument for self-deception as pretense depends, conflates two senses of 'motivational role'-a stronger but implausible sense and a weaker but explanatorily irrelevant sense. Finally, I introduce Neil Van Leeuwen's (2009) argument to the effect that belief is the practical ground of all non-belief cognitive attitudes in circumstances wherein the latter prompt action. I apply this framework to Gendler's account to ultimately show that imaginative pretense fails to explain the existence of voluntary actions which result from self-deception. (shrink)
Whether a person is pretending, or not, is a function of their beliefs and intentions. This poses a challenge to 4E accounts of pretense, which typically seek to exclude such cognitive states from their explanations of psychological phenomena. Resulting tensions are explored within three recent accounts of imagination and pretense offered by theorists working in the 4E tradition. A path forward is then charted, through considering ways in which explanations can invoke beliefs and intentions while remaining true to (...) 4E precepts. To make real progress in explaining pretense, 4E theorists will need to grow comfortable with the idea that two agents whose outward behaviors and environments are, in the short term, the same, may be guided by quite different beliefs and intentions, in virtue of which only one is pretending. In this way, the scientific project of explaining pretense remains inseparable from the more general project of determining which beliefs and intentions are appropriate to ascribe to which kinds of entities, given which kinds of behaviors. (shrink)
Early modern philosophers after Ren? Descartes are commonly distinguished as either rationalists or empiricists: rationalists are understood to agree with Descartes that reason is the source of knowledge, while empiricists are seen to emphasize the role of the senses within processes of knowledge acquisition. In recent years, this classic distinction has increasingly come under scrutiny. It is objected that, in its simplicity, the distinction tends to conceal the various cross-categorial influences thinkers of the early modern era had on each other.1 (...) In "The History of Scepticism,"2 Richard Popkin provided an alternative approach to early modern philosophy: instead of focusing on the opposition between the two rival camps of empiricists and rationalists, he tells us to concentrate on "la crisepyrrhonienne,"3 for it is this crisis that lay at the heart of early modern philosophy and preoccupied rationalists as much as empiricists. (shrink)
Rationalization in the sense of biased self-justification is very familiar. It's not cheating because everyone else is doing it too. I didn't report the abuse because it wasn't my place. I understated my income this year because I paid too much in tax last year. I'm only a social smoker, so I won't get cancer. The mental mechanisms subserving rationalization have been studied closely by psychologists. However, when viewed against the backdrop of philosophical accounts of the regulative role of truth (...) in doxastic deliberation , rationalization can look very puzzling. Almost all contemporary philosophers endorse a version of the thesis of deliberative exclusivity—a thinker cannot in full consciousness decide whether to believe that p in a way that issues directly in forming a belief by adducing anything other than considerations that he or she regards as relevant to the truth of p. But, as I argue, rationalization involves the weighing of considerations that the thinker kn.. (shrink)
A survey of and a comparison of the relative strengths of two favored views of what theatrical performers do: pretend or engage in a variety of self-display. The behavioral version of the pretense theory is shown to be relatively weak as an instrument for understanding the variety of performance styles available in world theater. Whether pretense works as a theory of the mental capacities that underly theatrical performance is a separate question.
In this paper, we deal with the issue of how it is possible for pretending children to engage in exploratory performances and entertain alternative states of affairs. We question the approach according to which pretenders must be capable of counterfactual reasoning. Instead, we follow an alternative action-based framework on cognition and thus pretense, which argues for a much more profound role of the context of play than the questioned Counterfactual Thinking Approach to Pretense. First, we motivate this shift (...) in theoretical perspective by critiquing CTAP and providing arguments in favor of the action-based alternative we endorse. Then, we demonstrate that the action-based framework allows for a fruitful analysis of pretense in terms of its context rather than mind-internal processes. This paper proposes that thematic play-frames enable unusual manipulations with objects and words, and invite dynamic interactions between players who can discover new possibilities for action and communication, as well as that pretense contexts understood generally as opposed to non-pretense contexts have selected features—specifically the adults’ approval of playing with cultural norms, the looseness of constraints, and the lack of particular goals leading to children’s positive feelings—that are genuinely conducive to play explorations. Finally, we discuss other contexts of possibilities, as well as the educational prospects of particular context-to-context transmissions. (shrink)
Anna Pautz has recently argued that the pretense theory of thought about fiction cannot explain how two people can count as thinking about the same fictional character. This is based on conflating pretending and the serious thought that can be based on pretend. With this distinction in place, her objections are groundless.
Our linguistic and inferential practices are said to implicate a kind of abstract object playing various roles traditionally attributed to propositions, and our predictive and explanatory success with this ‘‘proposition-talk’’ is held to underwrite a realistic interpretation of it. However, these very same practices pull us in different directions regarding the nature of propositions, frustrating the development of an adequate unified theory of them. I explain how one could retain proposition-talk, and the advantages of interpreting it as being purportedly about (...) propositions, even if problems about the identity conditions for propositions motivated a Quinean rejection of them. The non-error-theoretic solution is to understand proposition-talk in terms of semantic pretense. On this approach, talking as if there were propositions lets us put readily available logical and linguistic devices to new expressive purposes, providing a way to make indirectly certain complicated, genuinely true assertions we cannot make directly. Proposition-talk thus extends the expressive capacity of a language in a logico-syntactically conservative way. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize Alvin Goldman's simulation theory of mindreading which involves the claim that the basic method of folk psychologically predicting behaviour is to form pretend beliefs and desires that reproduce the transitions between the mental states of others, in that way enabling to predict what the others are going to do. I argue that when it comes to simulating propositional attitudes it isn't clear whether pretend beliefs need to be invoked in order to explain relevant experimental results, (...) and whether pretend desires can be distinguished from 'real' ones as forming a separate kind of mental states. Since belief-desire model underlies the conception of pretend states in higher-level mindreading, dropping pretend attitudes from the picture isn't possible and, due to that, this model may be incoherent. Nevertheless, Goldman's theory could still survive because it includes an additional model of mindreading, but simulation is given much lesser role there. (shrink)
Imaginative pretend play is often thought of as the domain of young children, yet adults regularly engage in elaborated, fantastical, social-mediated pretend play. We describe imaginative play in adults via the term “pretensive shared reality;” Shared Pretensive Reality describes the ability of a group of individuals to employ a range of higher-order cognitive functions to explicitly and implicitly share representations of a bounded fictional reality in predictable and coherent ways, such that this constructed reality may be explored and invented/embellished with (...) shared intentionality in an ad hoc manner. Pretensive Shared Reality facilitates multiple individual and social outcomes, including generating personal and group-level enjoyment or mirth, the creation or maintenance of social groups, or the safe exploration of individual self-concepts. Importantly, Pretensive Shared Reality are primarily co-operative and co-creative. We draw on multiple examples, and focus on Table-Top Role Playing games – and specifically, the most popular and enduring table-top role-playing games, Dungeons & Dragons – as a primary example of such play. Our conception of “pretensive shared reality” links the widespread existence and forms of adult imaginative play to childhood pretense, places it within a developmental and evolutionary context, and argues that pretensive shared realities – which underpin many forms of imaginative culture – are an important topic of study unto themselves, and may be utilized to provide methodological insight into a variety of psychological domains. (shrink)
La questione sulla verità del cristianesimo è fondamentale e ineludibile. In essa si trova uno dei filoni fondamentali del pensiero di Joseph Ratzinger – Benedetto XVI. In fondo si trovano coinvolti una serie di argomenti che si possono riassumere nel rapporto tra fede e ragione, tra il Dio della fede e il Dio dei filosofi. Nella visione cristiana ambedue non si contrappongono, ma s’incontrano. La “distinzione mosaica” s’incontra con la “distinzione socratica” . La pretesa di verità del cristianesimo conduce a (...) delle conseguenze sia nell’ambito della religione, sia in quello della filosofia e della morale. Per superare la crisi del cristianesimo abbiamo bisogno di recuperare la fiducia nela ragione e tornare alla ricerca della verità. (shrink)
Many philosophers argue that the face-value of moral practice provides presumptive support to moral realism. This paper analyses such arguments into three steps. Moral practice has a certain face-value, only realism can vindicate this face value, and the face-value needs vindicating. Two potential problems with such arguments are discussed. The first is taking the relevant face-value to involve explicitly realist commitments; the second is underestimating the power of non-realist strategies to vindicate that face-value. Case studies of each of these errors (...) are presented, drawn from the writings of Shafer-Landau, Brink and McNaughton, and from recent work in experimental metaethics. The paper then considers weak presumptive arguments, according to which both realist and non-realist vindications of moral practice are possible, but the realist vindications are more natural. It is argued that there is no sense of ‘natural’ available that can make these arguments work. The conclusion is that all extant presumptive arguments for moral realism fail. (shrink)
In the last section of “Modern Moral Philosophy,” Elizabeth Anscombe puts on display three possible problematic relations to what may be thought of as three different kinds of necessity. The first relation is to pretend not to recognize the necessity that binds description to description in a paradigm case. The second relation is to fail to respond to a more primitive kind of necessity, thereby showing what Anscombe infamously calls “a corrupt mind.” The third relation is sometimes consciously to act, (...) because of a non-virtuous character, against a third kind of necessity, discovered by Aristotle, namely, the necessity of that on whichgood hangs. While the last section of “Modern Moral Philosophy” does not discuss in detail these relations or kinds of necessity, it foreshadows Anscombe’s latertreatment of them. (shrink)