How and why does a metaphor work? What happens to us when we hear or read one? My guess is that a metaphor, because it is an erroneous statement, conflicts with our expectations. It releases, triggers, and stimulates our predisposition to detect error and to take corrective action. We do not dismiss or reject a metaphor as simply a false statement for we recognize it as a metaphor and know as [Donald] Davidson suggests that it alludes to something else that (...) we might wish to notice. It preempts our attention and propels us on a quest for the underlying truth. We are launched into a creative, inventive, pleasurable act. To turn Piaget around, to invent is to understand. For the hearer or reader of a metaphor to detect, by himself, the nature of the error and to invent his own version of the truth entails understanding and achievement and thus pleasure. Such pleasure perhaps owes its origin to, and is enhanced by an echo from, the metaphoric playfulness of childhood. A metaphor is a peremptory invitation to discovery. What is discoverable are the various allusive ties, or common attributes, between the metaphor and the underlying truth to which it points. It is plausible to guess that the pleasure, and hence power, of the metaphor depends on two factors. It is the more powerful and effective the greater the number of allusive ties discovered and the greater the speed or suddenness with which the discoveries are made. A metaphor that packs all of its allusions into one or a few words should be more effective than a metaphor on which the same allusions are scattered throughout a long chain of words or sentences. The number of allusive ties in some sense reflects how close the metaphor approaches the truth—how near it is to being on target. Perhaps the closer it is, the more compelling the urge to correct the error—like the pull of a magnet. Don R. Swanson is professor and dean of the graduate library school at the University of Chicago. (shrink)
This paper develops a compositional, type-driven constraint semantic theory for a fragment of the language of subjective uncertainty. In the particular application explored here, the interpretation function of constraint semantics yields not propositions but constraints on credal states as the semantic values of declarative sentences. Constraints are richer than propositions in that constraints can straightforwardly represent assessments of the probability that the world is one way rather than another. The richness of constraints helps us model communicative acts in essentially the (...) same way that we model agents’ credences. Moreover, supplementing familiar truth-conditional theories of epistemic modals with constraint semantics helps capture contrasts between strong necessity and possibility modals, on the one hand, and weak necessity modals, on the other. (shrink)
My dissertation asks how we affect conversational context and how it affects us when we participate in any conversation—including philosophical conversations. Chapter 1 argues that speakers make pragmatic presuppositions when they use proper names. I appeal to these presuppositions in giving a treatment of Frege’s puzzle that is consistent with the claim that coreferential proper names have the same semantic value. I outline an explanation of the way presupposition carrying expressions in general behave in belief ascriptions, and suggest that substitutivity (...) failure is a special case of this behavior. Chapter 2 develops a compositional probabilistic semantics for the language of subjective uncertainty, including epistemic adjectives scoped under quantiﬁers. I argue that we should distinguish sharply between the effects that epistemically hedged statements have on conversational context, and the effects that they have on belief states. I also suggest that epistemically hedged statements are a kind of doxastic advice, and explain how this hypothesis illuminates some otherwise puzzling phenomena. Chapter 3 argues that ordinary causal talk is deeply sensitive to conversational context. The principle that I formulate to characterize that context sensitivity explains at least some of the oddness of ‘systematic causal overdetermination,’ and explains why some putative overgenerated causes are never felicitously counted, in conversation, as causes. But the principle also makes metaphysical theorizing about causation rather indirectly constrained by ordinary language judgments. (shrink)
A successful theory of the language of subjective uncertainty would meet several important constraints. First, it would explain how use of the language of subjective uncertainty aﬀects addressees’ states of subjective uncertainty. Second, it would explain how such use affects what possibilities are treated as live for purposes of conversation. Third, it would accommodate 'quantifying in' to the scope of epistemic modals. Fourth, it would explain the norms governing the language of subjective uncertainty, and the diﬀerences between them and the (...) norms governing the language of subjective certainty. Neither truth conditional nor traditional force modfier theories of the language of subjective uncertainty look adequate to the task of satisfying all four of these constraints. (shrink)
This paper presents and discusses a range of counterexamples to the common view that quantifiers cannot take scope over epistemic modals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for ‘force modifier’ theories of epistemic modals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for Robert Stalnaker’s theory of counterfactuals, according to which a special kind of epistemic modal must be able to scope over a whole counterfactual. Finally, some of the counterexamples suggest that David Lewis must countenance ‘would’ counterfactuals in which a covert (...) ‘would’ scopes over the whole consequent of the counterfactual, including an overt ‘might.’. (shrink)
This article discusses some of the ways in which natural language can express modal information – information which is, to a first approximation, about what could be or must be the case, as opposed to being about what actually is the case. It motivates, explains, and raises problems for Angelika Kratzer's influential theory of modal auxiliaries, and introduces a new approach to one important debate about the relationships between modality, evidentiality, context change, and imperative force.
Jill North argues that Hamiltonian mechanics provides the most spare -- and hence most accurate -- account of the structure of a classical world. We point out some difficulties for her argument, and raise some general points about attempts to minimize structural commitments.
In his original semantics for counterfactuals, David Lewis presupposed that the ordering of worlds relevant to the evaluation of a counterfactual admitted no incomparability between worlds. He later came to abandon this assumption. But the approach to incomparability he endorsed makes counterintuitive predictions about a class of examples circumscribed in this paper. The same underlying problem is present in the theories of modals and conditionals developed by Bas van Fraassen, Frank Veltman, and Angelika Kratzer. I show how to reformulate all (...) these theories in terms of lower bounds on partial preorders, conceived of as maximal antichains, and I show that treating lower bounds as cutsets does strictly better at capturing our intuitions about the semantics of modals, counterfactuals, and deontic conditionals. (shrink)
Given the groundswell of corporate misconduct, the need for better business ethics education seems obvious. Yet many business schools continue to sidestep this responsibility, a policy tacitly approved by their accrediting agency, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Some schools have even gone so far as to cut ethics courses in the wake of corporate scandals. In this essay I discuss some reasons for this failure of business school responsibility and argue that top university officials must go (...) beyond weak accrediting standards to insist that ethics courses be required in business school curriculum. Otherwise, students will continue to get the message that practicing managers have little or no legal and ethical responsibilities to society. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom has it that many intriguing features of indicative conditionals aren’t shared by subjunctive conditionals. Subjunctive morphology is common in discussions of wishes and wants, however, and conditionals are commonly used in such discussions as well. As a result such discussions are a good place to look for subjunctive conditionals that exhibit features usually associated with indicatives alone. Here I offer subjunctive versions of J. L. Austin’s ‘biscuit’ conditionals—e.g., “There are biscuits on the sideboard if you want them”—and subjunctive (...) versions of Allan Gibbard’s ‘stand-off’ or ‘Sly Pete’ conditionals, in which speakers with no relevant false beliefs can in the same context felicitously assert conditionals with the same antecedents and contradictory consequents. My cases undercut views according to which the indicative/subjunctive divide marks a great difference in the meaning of conditionals. They also make trouble for treatments of indicative conditionals that cannot readily be generalized to subjunctives. (shrink)
Many philosophical theories make comparisons between objects, events, states of affairs, worlds, or systems, and many such theories deliver plausible verdicts only if some of the elements they compare are ranked as ‘best.’ When the relevant ordering does not have such ‘best’ or ‘tied for best’ elements the theory wrongly falls silent or gives badly counterintuitive results. This paper develops ordering supervaluationism---a very general technique that allows any such theory to handle these problematic cases. Just as ordinary supervaluation helps us (...) save and generalize ‘uniqueness assuming’ theories, ordering supervaluationism helps us save and generalize ‘limit assuming’ theories. With so many otherwise attractive limit assuming theories, this is a sensible, methodologically conservative approach. (shrink)
In his recent paper on the symmetry problem Roni Katzir argues that the only relevant factor for the calculation of any Quantity implicature is syntactic structure. I first refute Katzir’s thesis with three examples that show that structural complexity is irrelevant to the calculation of some Quantity implicatures. I then argue that it is inadvisable to assume—as Katzir and others do—that exactly one factor is relevant to the calculation of any Quantity implicature.
This article analyzes the comparative history of the law and practice of abortion and assisted reproduction in the United States to consider the interplay between medical paternalism and legal paternalism. It supplements existing critiques of paternalism as harmful to women's equality with the medical perspective, as revealed through the writings of Alan F. Guttmacher, to consider when legal regulation might be warranted.
Fictional literature has been used as a pedagogical tool to elevate student awareness and moral reasoning, ultimately helping them to develop sound decision-making skills when they are confronted with ethical situations. However, the use of fiction for teaching ethics is still uncommon, leaving considerable potential for advancement. This particular study develops theoretical guidelines for using fictional stories with ethical content as a suitable method for teaching ethics. The FSEC guidelines include a working definition and 5 supporting principles that collectively differentiate (...) FSECs from other forms of fiction that can be used for teaching ethics. (shrink)
Nancy Fraser has elaborated a framework for analyzing different forms of oppression using the categories of redistribution and recognition. This framework has come under criticism from Iris Marion Young and Judith Butler, despite the fact that all three theorists similarly insist that justice is not reducible solely to economic justice and that struggles against ‘cultural’ forms of oppression are equally important. Drawing on the debate between these theorists, in this article I examine the ways in which their respective theoretical frameworks (...) are potentially problematic or do not go far enough in theorizing the complex interconnections among economics, politics and culture. For example, Fraser’s binary economy/culture and Young’s distinction between culture and structure are overly broad and potentially misleading. Butler and Fraser also appear to adopt undertheorized and economistic conceptualizations of ‘the economy’ and capitalism. In the course of my critique, I propose a somewhat different approach to analyzing the causes of various forms of oppression and the relation between different emancipatory struggles. Among other things, I argue that social relationships need to be disaggregated further, into more than just two categories, and that the economic and the cultural should be analyzed as always complexly overdetermining each other. (shrink)
Until recently it was standard to think that all demonstratives are directly referential. This assumption has played important roles in work on perception, reference, mental content, and the nature of propositions. But Jeff King claims that demonstratives with a nominal complement (like ‘that dog’) are quantifiers, largely because there are cases in which the semantic value of such a “complex demonstrative” is not simply an object (2001). Although I agree with King that such cases preclude a directly referential, Kaplanian semantics (...) for complex demonstratives, I will argue that without contentious further assumptions they do not vindicate King’s claim that they are quantifiers. This is because familiar pronouns act like King’s examples of complex demonstratives. Indeed, pronouns and complex demonstratives share behavior that even King overlooks. None of this pronoun behavior shows that pronouns are quantifiers, and similarly none of the analogous demonstrative behavior shows that complex demonstratives are quantifiers. (shrink)
_Promissary Notes on the Treasury of Merits_ offers an important selection of work on a neglected topic of medieval European religious history. The contributions clearly demonstrate the vibrant, multi-faceted, and at times contested, role which indulgences played in many aspects of medieval catholic life.
Given the pervasive influence of neoclassical economic theory on the field of business, the opposition of the standard economists to the inclusion of moral factors in economic decisions provides an intellectual resistance to the ideas of many business ethicists. Etzioni (1988) offers a theoretical alternative to the neoclassical model, an alternative that includes a moral dimension. This article: (1) highlights the differences between Etzioni''s proposed model and the neoclassical economic paradigm; (2) describes and critically evaluates Etzioni''s proposed theory in view (...) of his objective of synthesizing the neoclassical paradigm with a duty-based morality; and (3) discusses the implications of Etzioni''s proposed paradigm for the field of business ethics. (shrink)
We can think of ordinary truth-conditional semantics as giving us constraints on cognitive states. But constraints on cognitive states can be more complicated than simply believing a proposition. And we communicate more complicated constraints on cognitive states. We also communicate constraints that seem to bear on affective and conative states.
While contractualism seems to solve some of the more pressing concerns of other moral theories, it does not conclusively address the moral status of non-human animals. Peter Carruthers claims that contractualism excludes animals from having full moral status. I argue that Carruthers’ arguments are fatally flawed due to his reliance on contradictory claims, unlikely assumptions, and flagrant violations of the contractualist method. However, Carruthers also claims that we can treat animals wrongly and that it deserves moral criticism. This claim is (...) based in indirect moral significance. However, this position makes it impossible for Carruthers to avoid endorsing two extremely counter-intuitive claims. The work of C. Tucker and C. MacDonald allows us to demonstrate that contractualism does give animals full moral standing. They ground the criteria for a contracting agent in three characteristics that animals possess. A look at some possible objections reveals nothing devastating to their proposal. (shrink)