The publication of Frege’s Begriffsschrift in 1879 forever altered the landscape for many Western philosophers. Here, Sebastian Rödl traces how the Fregean influence, written all over the development and present state of analytic philosophy, led into an unholy alliance of an empiricist conception of sensibility with an inferentialist conception of thought. -/- According to Rödl, Wittgenstein responded to the implosion of Frege’s principle that the nature of thought consists in its inferential order, but his Philosophical Investigations shied away from offering (...) an alternative. Rödl takes up the challenge by turning to Kant and Aristotle as ancestors of this tradition, and in doing so identifies its unacknowledged question: the relation of judgment and truth to time. Rödl finds in the thought of these two men the answer he urges us to consider: the temporal and the sensible, and the atemporal and the intelligible, are aspects of one reality and cannot be understood independently of one another. In demonstrating that an investigation into the categories of the temporal can be undertaken as a contribution to logic, Rödl seeks to transform simultaneously our philosophical understanding of both logic and time. (shrink)
The essay argues that there is no such thing as the epistemology of testimony as it is currently conceived: a subfield of epistemology that concerns itself with a special form of acquiring knowledge, a special kind of justification, a special sort of reason for belief. Rather, the concept of knowledge contains an account of the possibility of knowing from others. We cannot find ourselves in this predicament: we comprehend what knowledge is all right, and yet have difficulty seeing how one (...) may, from the words of another, come to acquire that: knowledge. And if we cannot find ourselves in this predicament, then there can be no need to introduce, in response to it, concepts that currently attract much interest—trust, authority, sincerity, etc. (shrink)
In a series of essays, Bratman defines a concept, which we may call the concept of Bratmanian action by many. Our discussion of this concept, in section 1, reveals that it is not the one called to mind by the usual examples of joint action. Section 2 lays alongside it a different concept of doing something together. According to it, many are doing A together if and only if the principle of the actions in which they are doing A is (...) a joint intention to do A, an act of intending that is theirs. It seems fitting to call this joint intentional action. In distinction to Bratmanian action by many, joint intentional action is ubiquitous in human life. This raises the question what may be the interest of Bratman's concept. Its interest can reside only in a relation it bears to the concept of joint intentional action. Section 3 discusses the suggestion that Bratmanian action by many is a precursor of joint action in human phylogenesis. This is wrong because subjects are capable of Bratmanian action only in virtue of being subjects of joint action. (shrink)
Fregean predicates applied to Fregean objects are merely defined by a `timeless' deductive order of sentences. They cannot provide sufficient structure in order to explain how names can refer to objects of intuition and how predicates can express properties of substances that change in time. Therefore, the accounts of Wilson and Quine, Prior and Brandom for temporal judgments fail — and a new reconstruction of Kant's transcendental logic, especially of the analogies of experience, is needed.
The first part of this essay develops the idea of logic as the science of thought, articulating, and thus being, the self-consciousness of thought. It explains that logic, so understood, is nothing other than metaphysics, the science of what is in so far as it is. Self-consciousness, then, thought itself, is not empty, but the source of all content. The second part of the essay discusses the opening paragraphs of Hegel’sScience of Logic; it shows how, in these paragraphs, thought is (...) revealed to be the source of its own content in virtue of its original negativity. Thus the second part begins to make concrete the idea of logic provided by the first. (shrink)
Kant asserts that the formula of the schools “nihil appetimus, nisi sub ratione boni” is undoubtedly certain when clearly expressed. Conversely, doubt reflects a failure clearly to express it. Once we comprehend the concepts of the formula, of the good and of desire, there is no doubting it. In recent times, the formula has fallen into doubt. If Kant is right, then this shows a lack of clarity with respect to the concepts the formula conjoins. I want to suggest that (...) Kant is right: the formula of the schools is undoubtedly certain. I first explain in Kant’s own terms why there is no such thing as doubting the formula. Then I approach it from a different angle, provided by what I take to be the unclarity that affects current thought on the topic. (shrink)
In Barry Stroud’s book Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction, the eponymous dissatisfaction is said to be due to our inability to obtain certainty about the correspondence between the world and our ways of thinking it. In Stroud’s terms, this dissatisfaction is caused by the failure of the metaphysical enterprise. Beginning with Aristotle’s metaphysics, this paper discusses Stroud’s misunderstanding which stems from his particular construal of the object of metaphysics: There is no metaphysical enterprise and thus, there can be no metaphysical dissatisfaction.
The essay develops a disjunctive account of perception, showing that it needs to be renamed 'self-conscious power account'. For it is by reference to a self-conscious power of sensory knowledge that, on the one hand, the unity of perception and illusion and, on the other hand, the priority of perception over illusion, specifically, its priority in knowledge, is understood. The concept of a self-conscious power thus transpires as lying at the basis of a sound epistemology and response to sceptical arguments (...) such as the argument from illusion. (shrink)
It is widely believed that we might be able produce life out of nonliving substances if we possessed the relevant knowledge. Thus synthetic biology is said to be on the way towards artificial life. But this is nonsense: “artificial life” cannot be thought. The idea that biological organisms could be produced reflects a misunderstandig of the concept “life”. Life is formally characterized by the fact that that which in the case of artifacts is three distinct activities - being something, producing (...) it, and using it - is one. For a living being, to be is to be the source of its own activity through its own activity. Hence, if there is an activity of producing distinct from being what is produced - as would have to be the case in artificial life - what is thus produced is not life. (shrink)
Before and in the Groundwork, Kant argues as follows for the validity of the moral law: we want to be free. Following the moral law is the only way to be free. So we should follow the moral law.1The first premise of this syllogism is treated differently before and in the Groundwork. First Kant thought it an empirical fact that men want to be free and want it more than anything else.2 Later he sought an a priori argument showing that (...) we ought to want to be free and are right in thinking it good.3 The former justification of the moral law is superior. When we look to “salvage the normative core of Kantian moral philosophy” , we should turn to it. – So far Paul Guyer.It is evident that Guyer fails to describe Kant's thought in the Groundwork. It is equally clear that Kant never held the position Guyer claims he held before the Groundwork. Therefore I shall not discuss Guyer's interpretation of Kant. Instead I shall consider the philosophical merits of the position he ascribes to the pre‐critical Kant, and which he recommends as superior. We shall see that that position makes no sense. This indirectly addresses the interpretive question, as it is a reason against ascribing it to Kant. (shrink)