Every body cell of an animal or human being contains the same complete set of genes. In theory any of these cells can be used to start a new embryo. The technique has been employed in the case of frogs. The nucleus is taken out of a body cell of a frog and implanted in an enucleated frog's egg. The resulting egg cell is stimulated to develop into a normal frog, and will be an exact copy of that frog which (...) provided the nucleus with all the genetic information. In normal sexual reproduction, two parents each contribute half their genes, but in the case of cloning, one parent passes on all his or her genes. (shrink)
Sainsbury and Tye (2011) propose that, in the case of names and other simple extensional terms, we should substitute for Frege's second level of content—for his senses—a second level of meaning vehicle—words in the language of thought. I agree. They also offer a theory of atomic concept reference—their ‘originalist’ theory—which implies that people knowing the same word have the ‘same concept’. This I reject, arguing for a symmetrical rather than an originalist theory of concept reference, claiming that individual concepts are (...) possessed only by individual people. Concepts are classified rather than identified across different people. (shrink)
Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
In this paper I argue for the "incompleteness thesis" of Kant's General Metaphysics before completing a full analysis of the power of judgment which only occurred in the Critique of Judgment-Power. Kant scholars have argued that Kant's General Metaphysics was completed with the Critique of Pure Reason and the Third Critique added nothing significant to this quest. One of the issues in this paper is to understand Kant's various "transition problems" and their solution to unify knowledge under a metaphysics, all (...) of which has implications for the natural and cognitive sciences even today. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan is well known for having developed a strikingly original way for philosophers to seek understanding of mind and language, which she sees as biological phenomena. She now draws together a series of groundbreaking essays which set out her approach to language. Guiding the work of most linguists and philosophers of language today is the assumption that language is governed by prescriptive normative rules. Millikan offers a fundamentally different way of viewing the partial regularities that language displays, comparing (...) them to biological norms that emerge from natural selection. This yields novel and quite radical consequences for our understanding of the nature of public linguistic meaning, the process of language understanding, how children learn language, and the semantics/pragmatics distinction. (shrink)
Written by one of today's most creative and innovative philosophers, Ruth Garrett Millikan, this book examines basic empirical concepts; how they are acquired, how they function, and how they have been misrepresented in the traditional philosophical literature. Millikan places cognitive psychology in an evolutionary context where human cognition is assumed to be an outgrowth of primitive forms of mentality, and assumed to have 'functions' in the biological sense. Of particular interest are her discussions of the nature of abilities as (...) different from dispositions, her detailed analysis of the psychological act of reidentifying substances, and her critique of the language of thought for mental representation. In a radical departure from current philosophical and psychological theories of concepts, this book provides the first in-depth discussion on the psychological act of reidentification. (shrink)
Ruth Garrett Millikan presents a strikingly original account of how we get to grips with the world in thought. Her question is Kant's 'How is knowledge possible?', answered from a contemporary naturalist standpoint. We begin with an understanding of what the world is like prior to cognition, then develop a theory of cognition within that world.
Kant's theory of judgment establishes the conceptual framework for understanding the subtle relationships between the experimental scientist, the modern instrument, and nature's atomic particles. The principle of purposiveness which governs judgment has also a role in implicitly guiding modern experimental science. In Part 1 we explore Kant's philosophy of science as he shows how knowledge of material nature and unobservable entities is possible. In Part 2 we examine the way in which Kant's treatment of judgment, with its operating principle of (...) purposiveness, enters into his critical project and underlies the possibility of rational science. In Part 3 we show that the centrality given to judgment in Kant's conception of science provides philosophical insight into the investigation of atomic substances in modern chemistry. (shrink)
I defend the historical definition of "function" originally given in my Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories (1984a). The definition was not offered in the spirit of conceptual analysis but is more akin to a theoretical definition of "function". A major theme is that nonhistorical analyses of "function" fail to deal adequately with items that are not capable of performing their functions.
" Biosemantics " was the title of a paper on mental representation originally printed in The Journal of Philosophy in 1989. It contained a much abbreviated version of the work on mental representation in Language Thought and Other Biological Categories. There I had presented a naturalist theory of intentional signs generally, including linguistic representations, graphs, charts and diagrams, road sign symbols, animal communications, the "chemical signals" that regulate the function of glands, and so forth. But the term " biosemantics " (...) has usually been applied only to the theory of mental representation. Let me first characterize a more general class of theories called "teleological theories of mental content" of which biosemantics is an example. Then I will discuss the details that distinguish biosemantics from other naturalistic teleological theories. (shrink)
Janine Langan's Hegel and Mallarmé represents an analysis of Stéphane Mallarmé's pervasive, if "mysterious" Hegelianism which underlies, by the French symbolist's own admission, his total work. The author attempts to demystify the Hegelian substructure in Mallarmé by a careful examination and step-by-step description of the salient Hegelian elements. The latter task is accomplished by de voting a good part of the work to Mallarmé's longest poem "Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard," which has at times been considered the (...) "quintessence of unintelligibility," but which exemplifies a sustained, if covert, Hegelian-like structure and science-like system. Langan combines an instinct for comparative literature with an astuteness at recognizing philosophical implications to demonstrate the unmistakable affinity between the poet and the philosopher. In light of the reluctance of contemporary philosophers in general to venture into uncharted "foreign" territory of diverse disciplines, Langan's foray is particularly noteworthy. (shrink)
This essay deals with a particularly recalcitrant problem in the history of ideas, that of irrationalism. It emerged to full consciousness in mid-eighteenth century thought. Irrationalism was a logical consequence of individualism which in turn was a direct outcome of the Cartesian self-reflective subject. In time these tendencies produced the "critical" Zeitgeist and the "epoch of taste" during which Kant began thinking about such matters. Like Alfred Bäumler, I argue that irrationalism could not have arisen in ancient or medieval philosophical (...) discourse, as they both lacked a certain type of rationalism required as its conceptual antipode. Only after the Lisbon earthquake (1755), and the ensuing reason vs. passion debate acknowledging for the first time both human powers as equal contenders, did the specter of irrationalism arise and become a focus. Kant's revolution in thought produced "transcendental psychology" reconciling "pure" sensibility and "pure" reason and provided, I argue, the conceptual wherewithal to grant aesthetic feeling and irrationalism a philosophical niche. (shrink)
This essay deals with a particularly recalcitrant problem in the history of ideas, that of irrationalism. It emerged to full consciousness in mid-eighteenth century thought. Irrationalism was a logical consequence of individualism which in turn was a direct outcome of the Cartesian self-reflective subject. In time these tendencies produced the "critical" Zeitgeist and the "epoch of taste" during which Kant began thinking about such matters. Like Alfred Bäumler, I argue that irrationalism could not have arisen in ancient or medieval philosophical (...) discourse, as they both lacked a certain type of rationalism required as its conceptual antipode. Only after the Lisbon earthquake, and the ensuing reason vs. passion debate acknowledging for the first time both human powers as equal contenders, did the specter of irrationalism arise and become a focus. Kant's revolution in thought produced "transcendental psychology" reconciling "pure" sensibility and "pure" reason and provided, I argue, the conceptual wherewithal to grant aesthetic feeling and irrationalism a philosophical niche. (shrink)
Robert Greenberg offers an intricate, highly original reading of Kant’s first Critique on what constitutes the possibility of a priori knowledge. One of the book’s main features, ambitious in scope, is the author’s extensive polemic against mainstream Anglophone approaches to Kant’s position on a priori knowledge. Many of them have, according to Greenberg, fundamentally misunderstood Kant’s theory of transcendental idealism. In particular, Greenberg sees Peter Strawson’s epochmaking classic, The Bounds of Sense—An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason as a (...) leitfaden for other similarly misguided interpretations. Most Anglo-American accounts hold that for Kant’s critical project to have any viability at all it cannot be taken as an attempt to show the possibility of a priori knowledge as such, but rather to spell out the conditions for empirical knowledge. Greenberg gives examples: Strawson believes that Kant’s transcendental idealism is unsustainable because the central “principle of significance” perishes from its own internal contradictions. Likewise, Henry Allison’s interpretations replace the dualism of transcendental idealism by a monism built around the empirical object. Greenberg faults other “ Customary Interpretations of Kant’s Ontology”, those of Karl Ameriks, Richard Aquila, Paul Guyer, Patricia Kitcher, among others, on grounds of having misread Kant’s ontology vis à vis his transcendental epistemology. (shrink)
I argue that once one holds (as Kant does) that the mind is equipped with innate, pre-existing, i.e. a priori structures, one can ask (as materialists or empiricists would), Is there an identifiable source of such structures and what does it imply? Already Schopenhauer, Moses Mendelssohn and others have taken that route of argument, without fully drawing the implications. In this paper I attempt to do so, posing the query: Is Kant's very explicit separation of the transcendent from the transcendental (...) necessary in his critical system? I try to answer from various perspectives. (shrink)
KANT AND HEGEL FIND THEMSELVES ON SIMILAR PATHS toward their respective goals to give a total account of reality. They share a deep commitment to science, Wissenschaftlichkeit, and raise the question: Where does science begin? Similarly, they answer: It begins with sense knowledge yet it is not founded in the senses. This essay attempts to reflect on, with the aim of cautiously reassessing, the nonsensible, universal features of sense experience from an idealist perspective. A study of the “science of sensibility,” (...) raised to new levels of interest in recent debates of how the mind works, seems to have lost nothing of its fascination, indeed urgency in contemporary discussions, in the Kant-Hegel scholarship, in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science as well as the natural and cognitive sciences in general. (shrink)
In liberal political theory, meaningful work is conceptualised as a preference in the market. Although this strategy avoids transgressing liberal neutrality, the subsequent constraint upon state intervention aimed at promoting the social and economic conditions for widespread meaningful work is normatively unsatisfactory. Instead, meaningful work can be understood to be a fundamental human need, which all persons require in order to satisfy their inescapable interests in freedom, autonomy, and dignity. To overcome the inadequate treatment of meaningful work by liberal political (...) theory, I situate the good of meaningful work within a liberal perfectionist framework, from which standpoint I develop a normative justification for making meaningful work the object of political action. To understand the content of meaningful work, I make use of Susan Wolf’s distinct value of meaningfulness, in which she brings together the dimensions of objectivity and subjectivity into the ‘bipartite value’ of meaningfulness (BVM) (Wolf, Meaning in life and why it matters, 2010). However, in order to be able to incorporate the BVM into our lives, we must become valuers, that is, co-creators of values and meanings. This demands that we acquire the relevant capabilities and status as co-authorities in the realm of value. I conclude that meaningful work is of first importance because it is a fundamental human need, and that society ought to be arranged to allow as many people as possible to experience their work as meaningful through the development of the relevant capabilities. (shrink)
Charles Taylor is one of the most influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. The breadth of his writings is unique, ranging from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies. This thought-provoking introduction to Taylor's work outlines his ideas in a coherent and accessible way without reducing their richness and depth. His contribution to many of the enduring debates within Western philosophy is examined and the arguments of his critics assessed. Taylor's reflections on the topics (...) of moral theory, selfhood, political theory and epistemology form the core chapters within the book. Ruth Abbey engages with the secondary literature on Taylor's work and suggests that some criticisms by contemporaries have been based on misinterpretations and suggests ways in which a better understanding of Taylor's work leads to different criticisms of it. The book serves as an ideal companion to Taylor's ideas for students of philosophy and political theory, and will be welcomed by the non-specialist looking for an authoritative guide to Taylor's large and challenging body of work. (shrink)
This paper presents an argument against the widespread view that ‘hard choices’ are hard because of the incomparability of the alternatives. The argument has two parts. First, I argue that any plausible theory of practical reason must be ‘comparativist’ in form, that is, it must hold that a comparative relation between the alternatives with respect to what matters in the choice determines a justified choice in that situation. If comparativist views of practical reason are correct, however, the incomparabilist view of (...) hard choices should be rejected. Incomparabilism about hard choices leads us to an implausible error theory about the phenomenology of hard choices, threatens an unattractive view of human agency, and leaves us in perplexity about what we are doing when we choose in hard choices. The second part of the argument explores the main competitor to comparativist views of practical reason, noncomparativist view, according tow which a choice is justified so long as it is not worse than any of the alternatives. This view is often assumed by rational choice theorists but has its best philosophical defense in work by Joseph Raz. On Raz’s view, incomparabilism about hard choices avoids the problems faced if comparativism is correct, but it faces different difficulties. I argue that Raz’s noncomparativist view mistakenly assimilates practical reason to more restricted normative domains such as the law. (shrink)
A list of groceries, Professor Anscombe once suggested, might be used as a shopping list, telling what to buy, or it might be used as an inventory list, telling what has been bought (Anscombe 1957). If used as a shopping list, the world is supposed to conform to the representation: if the list does not match what is in the grocery bag, it is what is in the bag that is at fault. But if used as an inventory list, the (...) representation is supposed to conform to the world: if the list does not match what is in the bag, it is the list that is at fault. The first kind of representation, where the world is supposed to conform to the list, can be called "directive"; it represents or directs what is to be done. The second, where the list is supposed to conform to the world, can be called "descriptive"; it represents or describes what is the case. I wish to propose that there exist representations that face both these ways at once. With apologies to Dr. Doolittle, I call them pushmi-pullyu representations or PPRs. (shrink)
Marcus argues that moral dilemmas are real, but that they are not the result of inconsistent moral principles. Moral principles are consistent just in case there is some world where all principles are 'obeyable.' They are inconsistent just in case there is no world where all are 'obeyable.' What this logical point is meant to show is that moral dilemmas do not make moral codes inconsistent. She also discusses guilt, and argues that guilt is still appropriate even in cases of (...) conflict, even when the agent thinks the right thing to do is clear. (shrink)
There are no "special sciences" in Fodor's sense. There is a large group of sciences, "historical sciences," that differ fundamentally from the physical sciences because they quantify over a different kind of natural or real kind, nor are the generalizations supported by these kinds exceptionless. Heterogeneity, however, is not characteristic of these kinds. That there could be an univocal empirical science that ranged over multiple realizations of a functional property is quite problematic. If psychological predicates name multiply realized functionalist properties, (...) then there is no single science dealing with these: human psychology, ape psychology, Martian psychology and robot psychology are necessarily different sciences. (shrink)
This paper is the introduction to the volume. It gives an argumentative view of the philosophical landscape concerning incommensurability and incomparability. It argues that incomparability, not incommensurability, is the important phenomenon on which philosophers should be focusing and that the arguments for the existence of incomparability are so far not compelling.
I defend the suggestion that the rational probability in the Sleeping Beauty paradox is one third. The reasoning in its favour is familiar: for every heads-waking, there are two tails-wakings. To complete the defense, I rebut the reasoning which purports to justify the competing suggestion – that the correct probability is half – by undermining its premise, that no new information has been received.