Thinking about space is thinking about spatial things. The table is on the carpet; hence the carpet is under the table. The vase is in the box; hence the box is not in the vase. But what does it mean for an object to be somewhere? How are objects tied to the space they occupy? This book is concerned with these and other fundamental issues in the philosophy of spatial representation. Our starting point is an analysis of the interplay between (...) mereology (the study of part/whole relations), topology (the study of spatial continuity and compactness), and the theory of spatial location proper. This leads to a unified framework for spatial representation understood quite broadly as a theory of the representation of spatial entities. The framework is then tested against some classical metaphysical questions such as: Are parts essential to their wholes? Is spatial colocation a sufficient criterion of identity? What (if anything) distinguishes material objects from events and other spatial entities? The concluding chapters deal with applications to topics as diverse as the logical analysis of movement and the semantics of maps. (shrink)
Holes are a good example of the sort of entity that down-to-earth philosophers would be inclined to expel from their ontological inventory. In this work we argue instead in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this liberality—odd as they might appear. We examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity and their causal role, the ways we perceive them. We distinguish three basic kinds of holes: blind hollows, perforating tunnels, and internal cavities, treating (...) these uniformly as immaterial bodies. We develop a morphology of holes, focusing on the way a hole can be filled, and then look at the main properties of the resulting conceptual framework: holes are parasitic upon the surfaces of their hosts; holes can move, fuse into each other, split; they can be born, develop, and die. Finally, we examine how some morphological features of holes are represented in perception, including the conditions whereby we have the impression that we see, feel, or even hear a hole. The book has over 150 pictures and is completed by a formal appendix, a section with puzzles and exercises, and a extensive annotated bibliography. (shrink)
A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
We discuss the distinction between the sensory modalities; the metaphysics of sounds; and the structure of sound space. We defend a physicalist conception of sounds, without accepting the identification of sounds with sound-waves in the medium. Sounds, we hold, are events in resonating objects. We evaluate the two main accounts of orientation in perceptual space: relationism and absolutism. We then address Strawson's problem of whether the logical space of sounds could be spatial in the full sense of the term. In (...) the Appendix, we discuss the logic of perceptual auditory reports, and show their compatibility with our theory of sounds. (shrink)
What are the relationships between an entity and the space at which it is located? And between a region of space and the events that take place there? What is the metaphysical structure of localization? What its modal status? This paper addresses some of these questions in an attempt to work out at least the main coordinates of the logical structure of localization. Our task is mostly taxonomic. But we also highlight some of the underlying structural features and we single (...) out the interactions between the notion of localization and nearby notions, such as the notions of part and whole, or of necessity and possibility. A theory of localization—we argue—is needed in order to account for the basic relations between objects and space, and runs afoul a pure part-whole theory. We also provide an axiomatization of the relation of localization and examine cases of localization involving entities different from material objects. (shrink)
The project of a 'naive physics' has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as K hler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit from (...) a knowledge of these historical roots of their discipline, which are shown to imply above alla critique of the set-theory-based models of reality typically presupposed by contemporary work in common-sense ontology . (shrink)
This chapter analyzes the concept of an event and of event representation as an umbrella notion. It provides an overview of different ways events have been dealt with in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. This variety of positions has been construed in part as the result of different descriptive and explanatory projects. It is argued that various types of notions — common-sense, theoretically revised, scientific, and internalist psychological — be kept apart.
We provide some meta-theoretical constraints for the evaluation of a-spatial theories of sounds and auditory perception. We point out some forms of spatial content auditory experience can have. If auditory experience does not necessarily have a rich egocentric spatial content, it must have some spatial content for the relevant mode of perception to be recognizably auditory. An auditory experience devoid of any spatial content, if the notion makes sense at all, would be very different from the auditory experiences we actually (...) enjoy. This is enough to dismiss current a-spatial theories of auditory perception. As a consequence, our initial taxonomy of proximal, medial, and distal theories, as well as our phenomenological argument in favor of distal theories, are still topical. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also consider (...) the idea of non-standard geographies, which may be associated with geography under a classical conception in the same sense in which non-standard logics are associated with classical logic. (shrink)
Ordinary reasoning about space—we argue—is first and foremost reasoning about things or events located in space. Accordingly, any theory concerned with the construction of a general model of our spatial competence must be grounded on a general account of the sort of entities that may enter into the scope of the theory. Moreover, on the methodological side the emphasis on spatial entities (as opposed to purely geometrical items such as points or regions) calls for a reexamination of the conceptual categories (...) required for this task. Building on material presented in an earlier paper, in this work we offer some examples of what this amounts to, of the difficulties involved, and of the main directions along which spatial theories should be developed so as to combine formal sophistication with some affinity with common sense. (shrink)
Argle claimed that holes supervene on their material hosts, and that every truth about holes boils down to a truth about perforated things. This may well be right, assuming holes are perforations. But we still need an explicit theory of holes to do justice to the ordinary way of counting holes--or so says Cargle.
The purpose of Parts and Places, say Casati and Varzi in their introduction, is to construct “a theory of our spatial competence,” a theory that will lay bare how we conceive of space and the things that lie within it. Its purpose, then, is psychological, not metaphysical. Its object of study is not space. It is not the things that lie within it. Rather its object of study is us. In this regard, Parts and Places is at best a mixed (...) success. (shrink)
Hallucinatory pictures are yet to be found picture-like artifacts that induce a hallucination of their content that cannot be intuitively explained by a look at the structure of the pictorial vehicle. Different accounts of depiction make different predictions about the possibility that such artifacts be considered as pictures. Some cases are presented that point towards the intuitive acceptability of hallucinatory pictures.
This review article explores several senses in which it can be held that the (actual, psychological) concept of an object is a formal concept, as opposed, here, to being a sortal concept. Some recent positions both from the philosophical and psychological literature are analyzed: Object-sortalism (Xu), quasi-sortalist reductive strategies (Bloom), qualified sortalism (Wiggins), demonstrative theories (Fodor), and anti-sortalism (Ayers).
Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naïve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over (...) another. The notion of representational advantage is investigated and some scepticism is expressed as to its appropriateness for use in descriptive metaphysics. (shrink)
The relationships between art and cognition constitute a very wide set of largely unexplored and at times undefined or much too speculative problems. The field is narrowed down by imposing some constraints. It is proposed that the depiction of cast shadows, in its early history, could provide an ideal case study which conforms to the constraints. This paper addresses some methodological problems of the study of this case. A sample of relevant Renaissance images is discussed. A typology of depicted cast (...) shadows is proposed upon which further empirical research could be built. (shrink)
This paper deals with recent work on the role of objects in cognition and the methodological problems created by findings and theories in various strands of the cognitive sciences. The term ‘object’ is here mean to refer to spatially extended items that persist over time. The main theses of this paper are as follows. First, we should ideally consider the various notions and representations of objects and objecthood that emerge from the literature as components of something akin to the notion (...) of internalized language that is at the core of mainstream linguistics. There appear to be as many different I-representations of objects as there are fields of investigation, and this creates some interesting methodological problems. Second, it is important to assess whether these different notions may be traced back to a common ground of underlying principles. Existing unification attempts either underestimate the differences between the I-representations or pave the way to an eliminative position that would dispose of the variety of I-notions altogether. The paper builds on these previous attempts and proposes to use again an analogy from linguistics in order to show how commonalities and differences between the various I-notions can be accounted for. Third, this framework can allow us to make sense of some so far piecemeal analyses of the commonsense notion of an object. (shrink)
Surprise has been characterized has an emotional reaction to an upset belief having a heuristic role and playing a criterial role for belief ascription. The discussion of cases of diachronic and synchronic violations of coherence suggests that surprise plays an epistemic role and provides subjects with some sort of phenomenological access to their subpersonal doxastic states. Lack of surprise seems not to have the same epistemic power. A distinction between belief and expectation is introduced in order to account for some (...) aspects of surprise: expectations are construed as volatile representations that tie belief to action. In the cases in which action is not involved, general, “ideological,” expectations are generate in strict connection with the context and with the possibilities of action. (shrink)
This major bibliography offers a comprehensive overview of the recent literature on the nature of events and the place they occupy in our conceptual scheme. The subject has received extensive consideration in the philosophical debate over the last few decades, with ramifications reaching far into the domains of allied disciplines such as linguistics and the cognitive sciences. The starting point for this work is Hans Reichenbach's pioneering contribution on the logical form of action sentences, and the broad scope includes entries (...) from the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of space, time, and causation, and situation theory. Approximately 1,850 entries from more than 900 authors are listed in alphabetical/chronological order by author, and most entries are annotated . This excellent work also includes Subject, Name, and Second and Subsequent Authors indexes. (shrink)
Preface: The Review of Philosophy and Psychology Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s13164-010-0024-1 Authors Dario Taraborelli, University of Surrey Centre for Research in Social Simulation Guilford GU2 7XH United Kingdom Roberto Casati, Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure 29 rue d’Ulm 75005 Paris France Paul Egré, Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure 29 rue d’Ulm 75005 Paris France Christophe Heintz, Central European University Budapest Hungary Journal Review of Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158 Journal Volume (...) Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 1. (shrink)
In this article I assess some results that purport to show the existence of a type of 'topological perception', i.e., perceptually based classification of topological features. Striking findings about perception in insects appear to imply that (1) configural, global properties can be considered as primitive perceptual features, and (2) topological features in particular are interesting as they are amenable to formal treatment. I discuss four interrelated questions that bear on any interpretation of findings about the perception of topological properties: what (...) exactly are topological properties, what makes them global , in what sense the quoted findings makes them primitive, and what are the hopes of a formal theory of perception based upon them. I suggest that mathematical topology is not the correct model for cognition topological properties, hence that some other formalism ought to be used—a form of “internalized topology.” However, once the principles of this type of topology are spelled out, they may not be as globalistic as one may have expected. (shrink)
Descriptive metaphysics investigates our na?ve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over another. The notion of (...) representational advantage is investigated and some scepticism is expressed as to its appropriateness for use in descriptive metaphysics. (shrink)
The project of a naive physics has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as Kohler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit from a (...) knowledge of these historical roots of their discipline, which are shown to imply above all a critique of the set-theory-based models of reality typically presupposed by contemporary work in common-sense ontology. (shrink)
I discuss the social significance of publication in the life of a scientific knowledge object . The importance of publication is made evident by the complex issue of unpublication . Unpublication is a tempting option in the electronic world. I argue against the viability of unpublication, both on practical and on principled grounds related to the cascading entitlements of published paper.
Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of structural essentialism, (...) such as morphological essentialism (an object cannot change shape) and locative essentialism (an object cannot change position) are also examined. (shrink)
If, as it is assumed here, philosophy is pervasive and continuous with non-philosophical disciplines, if consequently this dialogue is above all highly interdisciplinary, tends to align itself with the standards of scientific disciplines, and generates strongly contextualised and localised philosophical problems, and if a certain social role is part of the nature of philosophy, then we can expect in decades to come increasingly articulated and interesting interactions between philosophers and non-philosophers that will be manifested in new professional figures.
"Perhaps not all the stories that follow are true. They could, however, be true, and the Reader is invited to ponder this." So begins _Insurmountable Simplicities_, Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi's colorful incarnation of the many philosophical conundrums that hide in the wrinkles of everyday life. Why do mirrors seem to invert left and right but not up and down? How do we know whether strawberries taste the same for everyone? Where is it written that we must observe the law, (...) and if it is not written, why should we observe it? What if we could swap brains-or the rest of our bodies? _Insurmountable Simplicities_ is filled with stories, dialogues, and epistolary exchanges that cover a range of themes-such as personal identity, causality and responsibility, fortune, the nature of things, the paradoxes of time and space, the interface between logic and language-in captivating and inventive ways. Clear, concise, and intellectually engaging, this internationally acclaimed book brilliantly demonstrates that the beauty of philosophy resides in its thorough engagement with the simplicities of the world, insurmountable as they might initially appear. (shrink)
Classically, truth and falsehood are opposite, and so are logical truth and logical falsehood. In this paper we imagine a situation in which the opposition is so pervasive in the language we use as to threaten the very possibility of telling truth from falsehood. The example exploits a suggestion of Ramsey’s to the effect that negation can be expressed simply by writing the negated sentence upside down. The difference between ‘p’ and ‘~~p’ disappears, the principle of double negation becomes trivial, (...) and the truth/falsehood opposition is up for grabs. Our moral is that this indeterminacy undermines the idea of inferential role semantics. (shrink)
Some concepts, such as colour concepts or value concepts, seem to bear traces of the mind's own make-up. For instance, the character of perceptually-determined colour concepts seems in some sense derivative from the character of the visual system. Thus, it has seemed plausible to claim that the corresponding colour properties are dispositions to elicit certain visual experiences in normal observers under suitable conditions. Much the same has been suggested for value concepts. An extreme position would be that colours and values (...) therefore are not in the world at all, they instead are mere projections that tell us more about the users of response-dependent concepts than about the world they inhabit. But even setting aside such extreme views, a number of important philosophical and psychological questions remain open. What exactly is response-dependence, and does any concept have this feature? What is the appropriate metaphysics for properties represented by response-dependent concepts, and for these concepts themselves? What determines the extension of such properties? How are we to account for knowledge expressed in terms of response-dependent concepts? What mechanisms correctly explain the origins of response-dependent concepts, and their role in representation? This volume brings together a wide range of views on these questions. (shrink)
Size-from-shadow arguments requires tinkering in many a case as the geometry of the situation is often not determinate. I then make a remark about the availability of indications about size in perceptual content.
Some philosochical and cognitive aspects of political gerrymandering are investigated. The basic assumption of gerrymandering practices is that regions be connected. This assumption is questioned, as it seems to result for a cognitive bias for connectedness (a preference for unitary objects).
This paper investigates a the cognitive foundations of a pragmatic account of line drawings. It sets to highlight those features of line drawings that make them, as opposed to other types of visual representations, particularly conducive to communication. It is argued that representational and artifactual properties of drawings must be investigated together in order to understand the peculiarities of drawings as communicative tools.
This paper proposes a methodological strategy to investigate the question of the individuation of the senses both from a commonsensical and a scientific point of view. We start by discussing some traditional and recent criteria for distinguishing the senses and argue that none of them taken in isolation seems to be able to handle both points of views. We then pay close attention to the faculty of hearing which offers promising examples of the strategy we pursue of combining commonsense and (...) science. In particular, we argue in favour of a distinction between two kinds of modes of presentation associated with sound perception: a mechanical mode of presentation that makes sounds perceptible by other modalities than audition such as touch and a tonal mode of presentation that makes people conceive of sounds as the proper objects of auditory perception. (shrink)