At the end of Being and Nothingness Sartre made the curious claim that his ethical views follow from his ontology and are based on it. YiweiZheng argues that there are unbridgeable gaps between Sartre's ontology and ethics that cannot be filled in, and in the process provides a careful study of some notoriously murky notions in Sartre's early philosophy.
It is well known to Sartre scholars that Sartre claimed his ethical theory follows from his ontology in his early philosophy. However, this claim had not been examined as closely as it deserved. Some scholars accepted it, but none of them has given a plausible explanation of how ethics is supposed to follow from ontology. Others rejected it, without taking trouble to explore the possible connections between ontology and ethics. ;I think this claim should be taken seriously. For Sartre himself (...) took it seriously; he spent much time and energy developing ethical views that can be based on his ontology. Through a detailed study of two critically important notions in Sartre's early philosophy, "bad faith" and "pure reflection," I give a close and in-depth examination of this claim. On the basis of the examination, I conclude that Sartre's early ethical theory is a "failure." ;The first two chapters are preparatory. In the first chapter I clarify some of Sartre's basic terminologies in his early philosophy. In the second chapter I explicate Sartre's basic ontological project in Being and Nothingness. ;In the third chapter, I study the ontological characters of "pure reflection" that Sartre presented in Being and Nothingness, which prepares the ground for a study of the ethical characters of "pure reflection" in the fifth chapter. ;In the fourth chapter, I study the ethical implication of the ontological characters of bad faith. Through a detailed examination of the notion of "bad faith" in Being and Nothingness, I show that bad faith as Sartre presented it in Being and Nothingness has only trivial and non-salient ethical implication. ;In the fifth and last chapter, I study the ethical characters of pure reflection that Sartre presented in Notebooks for an Ethics, on the basis of which I show that the ethical characters of pure reflection do not exactly follow from its ontological characters. As a result of these studies, I conclude that in Sartre's early philosophy his ethics does not really follow from his ontology. (shrink)
The importance of the connotation theory in Ockham’s semantics and metaphysics can hardly be overstated---it is the main mechanism that brings forth Ockham’s famous ontological elimination. Yet none of the extant interpretations can satisfactorily accommodate three widely accepted theses: (1) there is no synonym in mental language; (2) a connotative term has a semantically equivalent nominal definition; and (3) there are simple connotative terms in Ockham’s mental language. In this paper I offer an interpretation that I argue can accommodate all.
The importance of the connotation theory in Ockham’s semantics and metaphysics can hardly be overstated---it is the main mechanism that brings forth Ockham’s famous ontological elimination. Yet none of the extant interpretations can satisfactorily accommodate three widely accepted theses: there is no synonym in mental language; a connotative term has a semantically equivalent nominal definition; and there are simple connotative terms in Ockham’s mental language. In this paper I offer an interpretation that I argue can accommodate all.
Ockham’s connotation theory is essential to his ontological program. To carry out and justify his ontological project of eliminating alleged entities falling under eight Aristotelian categories, Ockham needs and in effect uses a connotation theory which provides him a recursive semantics for the mental language. Another important thesis about Ockham’s connotation theory, pointed out recently by Claude Panaccio and now widely accepted, is that Ockham allowed simple connotative terms in the mental language. However, among current interpretations of Ockham’s connotation theory, (...) none is able to accommodate both theses. In this paper, I offer a new interpretation, based upon a distinction between metaphysical simplicity and semantic complexity of connotative terms, which I argue can accommodate both. (shrink)
In these comments I am going to argue that YiweiZheng's paper, by postulating an imaginary mental language in a proposed new interpretation of Ockham's conception of mental language, provides us with an imaginary solution to what turns out to be an imaginary problem. Having said this, however, I hasten to add that the paper has undeniable merits in pointing us in the right direction for revealing the imaginary character of the problem.
Once Zheng Xuan, a man of Han dynasty, made notations of “Yiwei”, he said: “The word ‘change’ contains three meanings: the first is simplifying, the second is transformation, and the third is unchanging ”, thus called to “three changes”. The wording “three changes” is able to be the different explanations of “Zhouyi”, and also can be understand to three meanings of the word “change” in “Zhouyi”. Everywhere in the nature, and in nature science, there are incalculable examples about (...) “three changes”. The process of “simplifying”, it is that nature science obtains the principles by means of summing up the multitudinous complex spontaneous phenomena. There is “the fundamental of thinking economy”, and “Aucum razor” in the west, then they emphasize to wipe off the miscellaneous and keep up the simple, and to eliminate the false and retain the true. Therefore, it can say where there is no “simplifying”, there is no nature science. “Transformation” means movement and change. This is the essentiality of the nature. From the biggest such as the universe to the smallest such as cells, all these are the outcomes of evolution, and are changing continueously. Physics researching from static objects to dynamic objects, and mathematics calculation from the constant to the variable, all of these studies are closing up to the essentiality of the natural “transformation” nearer and nearer. If there is no “transformation”, nature science world stop, and the nature world be deathly stillness. “Unchanging” means that the static state exists in the dynamic state, and the constant exists in the variation. The various theorems and laws, such as the theorem of constant of light velocity and the law of conservation of energy, are the summation and accumulation of the regularities of which the relative stabilization is kept in changeable movement. Various kinds of equation are all linked by equal-sign, and based on the condition recognizing which the two sides is equal constantly. Therefore the calculation of the relations between matter characteristics can be set up. Otherwise, not only the nature world be disorder and unsystematic, but also the science world have no laws to go by. (shrink)
In this paper it is my intention to do the following: first, to make some general observations on the ‘Third Way’ of St Thomas Aquinas as set out in Summa Theologica , Pt. I Quaest. ii Art. 3; secondly, to offer interpretation of, comment on, and present an account of, the first premiss of the ‘Third Way’; and finally to offer a provisional account of what someone who advocates the ‘Third Way’ might be conceived of as doing in the light (...) of the account offered of the first premiss of that ‘Way’. I do not suggest thai the account I offer of the first premiss under consideration or the account of the argument as a whole which I shall offer, is one which St Thomas would have accepted. My claim is only that for reasons to be offered, it is a possible and plausible account I also want to make it clear from the outset that I shall not be discussing the validity of the ‘Third Way’; this is an independent question to my inquiry. (shrink)
This paper is exploratory. I shall raise the following questions: How is it possible that that which is of its nature transcendent should become immanent or incarnate? In the context of Christian Theology: how is it possible for God to become man? How is it possible for one and the same individual, Jesus of Nazareth, to be both fully God and fully man? In relation to I shall attempt to give an account of how it is so possible for the (...) transcendent to become fully immanent and yet remain full transcendent by appealing to Professor Geach's account of Aquinas's doctrine of ‘Form’. I do not deny that there are difficulties for my attempted account. Some of these difficulties will be embraced in this paper, but clearly not all. Such would be imposible in an exploratory study. (shrink)
In his recent work Professor Morris writes: ‘I am suggesting that, armed with a couple of fairly simple metaphysical distinctions we can begin to see how the doctrine of the Incarnation can possibly be true.’ What are these ‘metaphysical distinctions’ and do they stand up to critical examination? My answer to the latter part of this question in regard to the first distinction is a reserved ‘Yes’; in regard to the second distinction a definite ‘No’. If my criticism of the (...) second distinction holds good, then Morris's defence of the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation fails, for his defence crucially relies on the validity of that distinction. (shrink)
In this paper I shall be examining the following claims: that ‘God’ has no meaning, in the sense of ‘sense’; that it is a proper name analogous to a Russellian proper name in that it has reference only. More crudely, that we cannot describe God in any way but only name Him and refer to Him by name; that ‘God’ has no meaning, in the sense of ‘sense’ in that the nature of God is fundamentally inexpressible. That God is, as (...) some have said, ‘wholly other’ or even ‘the wholly other’. (shrink)
This comprehensive new book introduces the core history of phenomenology and assesses its relevance to contemporary psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. From critiques of artificial intelligence research programs to ongoing work on embodiment and enactivism, the authors trace how phenomenology has produced a valuable framework for analyzing cognition and perception, whose impact on contemporary psychological and scientific research, and philosophical debates continues to grow. The first part of _An Introduction to Phenomenology_ is an extended overview of the history (...) and development of phenomenology, looking at its key thinkers, focusing particularly on Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, as well as its cultural and intellectual precursors. In the second half Chemero and Käufer turn their attention to the contemporary interpretations and uses of phenomenology in cognitive science, showing that phenomenology is a living source of inspiration in contemporary interdisciplinary studies of the mind. Käufer and Chemero have written a clear, jargon-free account of phenomenology, providing abundant examples and anecdotes to illustrate and to entertain. This book is an ideal introduction to phenomenology and cognitive science for the uninitiated, as well as for philosophy and psychology students keen to deepen their knowledge. (shrink)
Metaphysical grounding is standardly taken to be irreflexive: nothing grounds itself. Kit Fine has presented some puzzles that appear to contradict this principle. I construct a particularly simple variant of those puzzles that is independent of several of the assumptions required by Fine, instead employing quantification into sentence position. Various possible responses to Fine's puzzles thus turn out to apply only in a restricted range of cases.
I suggest a way of extending Stalnaker’s account of assertion to allow for centered content. In formulating his account, Stalnaker takes the content of assertion to be uncentered propositions: entities that are evaluated for truth at a possible world. I argue that the content of assertion is sometimes centered: the content is evaluated for truth at something within a possible world. I consider Andy Egan’s proposal for extending Stalnaker’s account to allow for assertions with centered content. I argue that Egan’s (...) account does not succeed. Instead, I propose an account on which the contents of assertion are identified with sets of multi-centered worlds. I argue that such a view not only provides a plausible account of how assertions can have centered content, but also preserves Stalnaker’s original insight that successful assertion involves the reduction of shared possibilities. (shrink)
The view known as animalism asserts that we are human animals—that each of us is an instance of the Homo sapiens species. The standard argument for this view is known as the thinking animal argument . But this argument has recently come under attack. So, here, a new argument for animalism is introduced. The animal ancestors argument illustrates how the case for animalism can be seen to piggyback on the credibility of evolutionary theory. Two objections are then considered and answered.
Sally Haslanger has recently argued that philosophical focus on implicit bias is overly individualist, since social inequalities are best explained in terms of social structures rather than the actions and attitudes of individuals. I argue that questions of individual responsibility and implicit bias, properly understood, do constitute an important part of addressing structural injustice, and I propose an alternative conception of social structure according to which implicit biases are themselves best understood as a special type of structure.
In recent times evolutionary psychologists have offered adaptation explanations for a wide range of human psychological characteristics. Critics, however, have argued that such endeavors are problematic because the appropriate evidence required to demonstrate adaptation is unlikely to be forthcoming, therefore severely limiting the role of the adaptationist program in psychology. More specifically, doubts have been raised over both the methodology employed by evolutionary psychologists for studying adaptations and about the possibility of ever developing acceptably rigorous evolutionary explanations of human psychological (...) phenomena. We argue that by employing a wide range of methods for inferring adaptation and by adopting an inference to the best explanation strategy for evaluating adaptation explanations, these two doubts can be adequately addressed. We illustrate how this approach can be fruitfully employed in evaluating claims about the evolutionary origins of language, and conclude with a brief discussion of the future of evolutionary psychology. (shrink)
Quantum cognition research applies abstract, mathematical principles of quantum theory to inquiries in cognitive science. It differs fundamentally from alternative speculations about quantum brain processes. This topic presents new developments within this research program. In the introduction to this topic, we try to answer three questions: Why apply quantum concepts to human cognition? How is quantum cognitive modeling different from traditional cognitive modeling? What cognitive processes have been modeled using a quantum account? In addition, a brief introduction to quantum probability (...) theory and a concrete example is provided to illustrate how a quantum cognitive model can be developed to explain paradoxical empirical findings in psychological literature. (shrink)
Fundamental theories are hard to come by. But even if we had them, they would be too complicated to apply. Quantum chromodynamics is a case in point. This theory is supposed to govern all strong interactions, but it is extremely hard to apply and test at energies where protons, neutrons and ions are the effective degrees of freedom. Instead, scientists typically use highly idealized models such as the MIT Bag Model or the Nambu Jona-Lasinio Model to account for phenomena in (...) this domain, to explain them and to gain nderstanding. Based on these models, which typically isolate a single feature of QCD and disregard many others, scientists attempt to get a better understanding of the physics of strong interactions. But does this practice make sense? Is it justified to use these models for the purposes at hand? Interestingly, these models do not even provide an accurate description of the mass spectrum of protons, neutrons and pions and their lowest lying excitations well - despite several adjustable parameters. And yet, the models are heavily used. I'll argue that a qualitative story, which establishes an explanatory link between the fundamental theory and a model, plays an important role in model acceptance in these cases. (shrink)
There is currently disagreement about whether the phenomenon of first-person, or de se, thought motivates a move towards special kinds of contents. Some take the conclusion that traditional propositions are unable to serve as the content of de se belief to be old news, successfully argued for in a number of influential works several decades ago.1 Recently, some philosophers have challenged the view that there exist uniquely de se contents, claiming that most of the philosophical community has been under the (...) grip of an attractive but unmotivated myth.2 At the very least, this latter group has brought into question the arguments in favor of positing special kinds of content for de se belief; I think they have successfully shown that these arguments are not as conclusive, or fully articulated, as many have taken them to be. In this paper I will address these challenges directly and I will present and defend an argument for the conclusion that the phenomenon of de se thought does indeed motivate the move to a special kind of content, content that is uniquely de se. First, I characterize a notion of de se belief that is neutral with respect to friends and foes of uniquely de se content. I then argue for a determination thesis relating de se belief to belief content: that there is no difference in de se belief without a difference in belief content. I argue that various proposals for rejecting this determination thesis are unsuccessful. In the last part of the paper, I employ this determination thesis to argue for the existence of a type of belief content that is uniquely de se. (shrink)
What responsibility do individuals bear for structural injustice? Iris Marion Young has offered the most fully developed account to date, the Social Connections Model. She argues that we all bear responsibility because we each causally contribute to structural processes that produce injustice. My aim in this article is to motivate and defend an alternative account that improves on Young’s model by addressing five fundamental challenges faced by any such theory. The core idea of what I call the “Role-Ideal Model” is (...) that we are each responsible for structural injustice through and in virtue of our social roles, i.e. our roles as parents, colleagues, employers, citizens, etc., because roles are the site where structure meets agency. In short, the Role-Ideal Model explains how individual action contributes to structural change, justifies demands for action from each particular agent, specifies what kinds of acts should be undertaken, moderates between demanding too much and too little of individual agents, and provides an account of the critical responses appropriate for holding individuals accountable for structural injustice. (shrink)
Question order effects are commonly observed in self-report measures of judgment and attitude. This article develops a quantum question order model (the QQ model) to account for four types of question order effects observed in literature. First, the postulates of the QQ model are presented. Second, an a priori, parameter-free, and precise prediction, called the QQ equality, is derived from these mathematical principles, and six empirical data sets are used to test the prediction. Third, a new index is derived from (...) the model to measure similarity between questions. Fourth, we show that in contrast to the QQ model, Bayesian and Markov models do not generally satisfy the QQ equality and thus cannot account for the reported empirical data that support this equality. Finally, we describe the conditions under which order effects are predicted to occur, and we review a broader range of findings that are encompassed by these very same quantum principles. We conclude that quantum probability theory, initially invented to explain order effects on measurements in physics, appears to be a powerful natural explanation for order effects of self-report measures in social and behavioral sciences, too. (shrink)
The elucidations and regimentations of grounding offered in the literature standardly take it to be a necessary connection. In particular, authors often assert, or at least assume, that if some facts ground another fact, then the obtaining of the former necessitates the latter; and moreover, that grounding is an internal relation, in the sense of being necessitated by the existence of the relata. In this article, I challenge the necessitarian orthodoxy about grounding by offering two prima facie counterexamples. First, some (...) physical facts may ground a certain phenomenal fact without necessitating it; and they may co-exist with the latter without grounding it. Second, some instantiations of categorical properties may ground the instantiation of a dispositional one without necessitating it; and they may co-exist without grounding it. After arguing that these may be genuine counterexamples, I ask whether there are modal constraints on grounding that are not threatened by them. I propose two: that grounding supervenes on what facts there are, and that every grounded fact supervenes on what grounds there are. Finally, I attempt to provide a rigorous formulation of the latter supervenience claim and discuss some technical questions that arise if we allow descending grounding chains of transfinite length. (shrink)
This entry sketches the theory of personal identity that has come to be known as animalism. Animalism’s hallmark claim is that each of us is identical with a human animal. Moreover, animalists typically claim that we could not exist except as animals, and that the (biological) conditions of our persistence derive from our status as animals. Prominent advocates of this view include Michael Ayers, Eric Olson, Paul Snowdon, Peter van Inwagen, and David Wiggins.
Sleep enhances integration across multiple stimuli, abstraction of general rules, insight into hidden solutions and false memory formation. Newly learned information is better assimilated if compatible with an existing cognitive framework or schema. This article proposes a mechanism by which the reactivation of newly learned memories during sleep could actively underpin both schema formation and the addition of new knowledge to existing schemata. Under this model, the overlapping replay of related memories selectively strengthens shared elements. Repeated reactivation of memories in (...) different combinations progressively builds schematic representations of the relationships between stimuli. We argue that this selective strengthening forms the basis of cognitive abstraction, and explain how it facilitates insight and false memory formation. (shrink)
Iris Marion Young’s influential Social Connections Model of responsibility offers a compelling approach to theorizing structural injustice. However, the precise nature of the kind of responsibility modelled by the SCM, along with its relationship to the liability model, has remained unclear. I offer a reading of Young that takes the difference between the liability model and the SCM to be an instance of a more longstanding distinction in the literature on moral responsibility: attributability vs. accountability. I show that interpreting the (...) SCM as a conception of accountability resolves a number of objections, while also highlighting the SCM’s distinctive stance on the relationship between ethics and politics. (shrink)
Causal queries about singular cases are ubiquitous, yet the question of how we assess whether a particular outcome was actually caused by a specific potential cause turns out to be difficult to answer. Relying on the causal power framework, Cheng and Novick () proposed a model of causal attribution intended to help answer this question. We challenge this model, both conceptually and empirically. We argue that the central problem of this model is that it treats causal powers that are probabilistically (...) sufficient to generate the effect on a particular occasion as actual causes of the effect, and thus neglects that sufficient causal powers can be preempted in their efficacy. Also, the model does not take into account that reasoners incorporate uncertainty about the underlying general causal structure and strength of causes when making causal inferences. We propose a new measure of causal attribution and embed it into the structure induction model of singular causation. Two experiments support the model. (shrink)