David Lewis argues that centeredworlds give us a way to capture de se, or self-locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centeredworlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. In this paper, I raise a problem for centeredworlds and discuss the costs and benefits of different solutions. My investigation into the nature of centeredworlds brings out potentially (...) problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ them. In addition, my investigation shows that the conception of centeredworlds widely attributed to David Lewis is not only problematic, but in fact not his. (shrink)
Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...) the de se have primarily focused on de se thoughts of individuals. This paper looks at where these two lines of investigations intersect: collective de se thoughts, such as bands' and teams' beliefs and desires that are essentially about themselves. There is a surprising problem at this intersection: the most prominent framework for modeling de se thoughts, the framework of centeredworlds, cannot model a special class of collective de se thoughts. A brief survey of this problem's solution space shows that collective de se thoughts pose a new challenge for modeling mental content. (shrink)
Counterfactual attitudes like imagining, dreaming, and wishing create a problem for the standard formal semantic theory of de re attitude ascriptions. I show how the problem can be avoided if we represent an agent's attitudinal possibilities using "multi-centeredworlds", possible worlds with multiple distinguished individuals, each of which represents an individual with whom the agent is acquainted. I then present a compositional semantics for de re ascriptions according to which singular terms are "assignment-sensitive" expressions and attitude verbs (...) are "assignment shifters". (shrink)
This paper extends the framework of Lasersohn (2005) to give an updated semantic approach to control. On the view proposed here, all clausal constituents express (have as their semantic intensions) sets of centred worlds. In control constructions, the subject of the lower clause (‘PRO’) is identified with the ‘centre’ of a centred world. This view allows for a uniform semantic analysis of clauses, including those with and without null subjects, and for propositional attitude predicates.
David Lewis argues that centeredworlds give us a way to capture de se, or self‐locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centeredworlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. This paper raises a problem for centeredworlds and discusses the costs and benefits of different solutions. The present investigation into the nature of centeredworlds helps to explicate potentially (...) problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ them. In addition, this investigation reveals that the conception of centeredworlds widely attributed to David Lewis is not only problematic, but in fact not his. (shrink)
0. Relativistic Content In standard semantics, propositional content, whether it be the content of utterances or mental states, has a truth-value relative only to a possible world. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is sitting now’ is true just in case Jim is sitting at the time of utterance in the actual world, and the content of my belief that Alice will give a talk tomorrow is true just in case Alice will give a talk on the (...) day following the occurrence of my belief state in the actual world. Let us call propositional content which has a truth-value relative only to a possible world ‘non-relativistic content’. Non-relativistic content can be treated as either structured or unstructured. On the unstructured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set of possible worlds and bears the truth-value true just in case the actual world is a member of that set. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is working now’ at time t is the set of worlds in which Jim is working at t, and this content is true just in case the actual world is among those worlds. On the structured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set or conglomeration of properties and/or objects, where properties are features which objects possess regardless of who considers or observes them and regardless of when they are being considered or observed. Such properties are said to be (or represent) functions from possible worlds to extensions. Relative to a possible world they determine a set of objects instantiating the property. For example, relative to the actual world the property of being human determines the set of actual humans. Not all content is non-relativistic. Let us say that propositional content is relativistic just in case it possesses a truth-value only relative to a centered world. A centered world is a possible world in which an individual and a time are marked, where the marked individual.. (shrink)
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-centeredworlds. 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)
I argue that strong representationalism, the view that for a perceptual experience to have a certain phenomenal character just is for it to have a certain representational content (perhaps represented in the right sort of way), encounters two problems: the dual looks problem and the duplication problem. The dual looks problem is this: strong representationalism predicts that how things phenomenally look to the subject reflects the content of the experience. But some objects phenomenally look to both have and not have (...) certain properties, for example, my bracelet may phenomenally look to be circular-shaped and oval-shaped (and hence non-circularshaped). So, if strong representationalism is true, then the content of my experience ought to represent my bracelet as being both circular-shaped and non-circular-shaped. Yet, intuitively, the content of my experience does not represent my bracelet as being both circular-shaped and non-circular-shaped. The duplication problem is this. On a standard conception of content, spatio-temporally distinct experiences and experiences had by distinct subjects may differ in content despite the fact that they are phenomenally indistinguishable. But this undermines the thesis that phenomenal character determines content. I argue that the two problems can be solved by applying a version of an idea from David Chalmers, which is to recognize the existence of genuinely centered properties in the content of perceptual experience. (shrink)
When one considers one's own persistence over time from the first-person perspective, it seems as if facts about one's persistence are "further facts," over and above facts about physical and psychological continuity. But the idea that facts about one's persistence are further facts is objectionable on independent theoretical grounds: it conflicts with physicalism and requires us to posit hidden facts about our persistence. This essay shows how to resolve this conflict using the idea that imagining from the first-person point of (...) view is a guide to centered possibility , a type of possibility analyzed in terms of centeredworlds. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
This paper argues for a possible worlds theory of the content of pictures, with three complications: depictive content is centred, two-dimensional and structured. The paper argues that this theory supports a strong analogy between depictive and other kinds of representation and the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance.
The essential premise of the human-centered technology paradigm was clearly formulated by Howard Rosenbrock in the 1970s: technology should enrich rather than impoverish people’s work and life conditions. The increasing influence of technology in modern societies has been seen by some as offering great promise for the future, but by others as creating the electronic surveillance and/or manipulation of human genes, minds and beliefs. This paper approaches technological worlds as cultural visions in order to discuss and reflect the (...) paradoxical process of viewing technology as part of a hope for a more sustainable and human-centered future as well as part of an apocalypse of surveillance, violence and catastrophes. (shrink)
t f I hear the patter of little feet around the house, I expect Bruce. What I expect is a cat, a particular cat. If I heard such a patter in another house, I might expect a cat but no particular cat. What I expect then seems to be a Meinongian incomplete cat. I expect winter, expect stormy weather, expect to shovel snow, expect fatigue Ã¢â¬â a season, a phenomenon, an activity, a state. I expect that someday mankind will inhabit (...) at least five planets. This time what I expect is a state of affairs. If we let surface grammar be our guide, the objects of expectation seem quite a miscellany. The same goes for belief, since expectation is one kind of belief. The same goes for desire: I could want Bruce, want a cat but no particular cat, want winter, want stormy weather, want to shovel snow, want fatigue, or want that someday mankind will inhabit at least five planets. The same goes for other attitudes to the extent that they consist partly of beliefs or desires or lacks thereof. But the seeming diversity of objects might be an illusion. Perhaps the objects of attitudes are uniform in category, and it is our ways of speaking elliptically about these uniform objects that are diverse. That indeed is our consensus. We mostly think that the attitudes uniformly have propositions as their objects. That is why we speak habitually of "propositional attitudes.". (shrink)
In addition to being uncertain about what the world is like, one can also be uncertain about one’s own spatial or temporal location in the world. My aim is to pose a problem arising from the interaction between these two sorts of uncertainty, solve the problem, and draw two lessons from the solution.
I defend a general rule for updating beliefs that takes into account both the impact of new evidence and changes in the subject’s location. The rule combines standard conditioning with a shifting operation that moves the center of each doxastic possibility forward to the next point where information arrives. I show that well-known arguments for conditioning lead to this combination when centered information is taken into account. I also discuss how my proposal relates to other recent proposals, what results (...) it delivers for puzzles like the Sleeping Beauty problem, and whether there are diachronic constraints on rational belief at all. (shrink)
The Property Theory of attitudes holds that the contents of mental states --- especially de se states --- are properties. The "nonexistence problem" for the Property Theory holds that the theory gives the wrong consequences as to which worlds "fit" which mental states: which worlds satisfy desires, make beliefs true, and so on. If I desire to not exist, since there is no world where I have the property of not existing, my desire is satisfied in no (...) class='Hi'>worlds. In this paper I argue that the problem can be solved with a suitable account of how properties as mental states fit worlds. The solution relies on a distinction between to kinds of property-instantiation at worlds inspired by Fine's distinction between "inner" and "outer" truth. (shrink)
Dr. Evil learns that a duplicate of Dr. Evil has been created. Upon learning this, how seriously should he take the hypothesis that he himself is that duplicate? I answer: very seriously. I defend a principle of indifference for self-locating belief which entails that after Dr. Evil learns that a duplicate has been created, he ought to have exactly the same degree of belief that he is Dr. Evil as that he is the duplicate. More generally, the principle shows that (...) there is a sharp distinction between ordinary skeptical hypotheses, and self-locating skeptical hypotheses. (shrink)
This paper defends Lewis’ (1979a) influential treatment of de se attitudes from recent criticism (Cappelen and Dever, 2013; Holton, 2015) to the effect that a key explanatory notion—self-ascription—goes unexplained. It is shown that Lewis’ treatment can be reconstructed in a way which provides clear responses. This sheds light on the explanatory ambitions of those engaged in Lewis’ project.
Colors aren't as real as shapes. Shapes are full?fledged qualities of things in themselves, independent of how they're perceived and by whom. Colors aren't. Colors are merely qualities of things as they are for us, and the colors of things depend on who is perceiving them. When we take the fully objective view of the world, things keep their shapes, but the colors fall away, revealed as the mere artifacts of our own subjective, parochial perspective on the world that they (...) are. (shrink)
Relativism offers an ingenious way of accommodating most of our intuitions about 'know': the truth-value of sentences containing 'know' is a function of parameters determined by a context of use and a context of assessment. This sort of double-indexing provides a more adequate account of the linguistic data involving 'know' than does standard contextualism. However, relativism has come under recent attack: it supposedly cannot account for the factivity of 'know', and it entails, counterintuitively, that circumstances of evaluation have features that (...) cannot be shifted by any intensional operator. I offer replies to these objections on behalf of the relativist. I then argue that a version of contextualism can account for the same data as relativism without relativizing sentence truth to contexts of assessment. This version of contextualism is thus preferable to relativism on methodological grounds. (shrink)
There has recently been a wave of attempts to make sense of the role of de se thoughts in linguistic communication. A majority of the attempts assume a Perryan or a Lewisian view of de se thought. Views with these assumptions, I suggest, come in four varieties: uncentering (Egan 2007, Kölbel 2013, Moss 2012), recentering (Heim 2004, Weber 2012), multicentering (Kindermann 2014, Ninan 2010, Torre 2009), and no centering (Kaplan 1989, Perry 1979). I argue first that all four varieties of (...) centering are committed to what I call a shifting operation on the hearer's part. I argue second that, against common assumption, there is no real choice to make between the views. By showing that attempts to establish an advantage for some view over the others fail across the board, I make the case for neutralism regarding the varieties of centering – the claim that coverage of the empirical data is exactly the same for each view, and that the views are broadly equal in simplicity and elegance. (shrink)
It has recently been proposed that the framework of semantic relativism be put to use to describe mental content, as deployed in some of the fundamental operations of the mind. This programme has inspired in particular a novel strategy of accounting for the essential egocentricity of first-personal or de se thoughts in relativist terms, with the advantage of dispensing with a notion of self-representation. This paper is a critical discussion of this strategy. While it is based on a plausible appeal (...) to cognitive economy, the relativist theory does not fully account for the epistemic profile that distinguishes de se thinking, as some of its proponents hope to do. A deeper worry concerns the reliance of the theory on a primitive notion of “centre” that hasn’t yet received enough critical attention, and is ambiguous between a thin and a rich reading. I argue that while the rich reading is required if the relativist analysis of the de se is to achieve its most ambitious aims, it also deprives the theory of much of its explanatory power. (shrink)
This paper argues that expected utility theory for actions in chancy environments should be formulated in terms of centered chances. The subjective expected utility of an option A may be seen as a weighted sum of the utilities of A in different possible worlds, with weights being the credences that the agent assigns to these worlds. The utility of A in a given world is then definable as a weighted sum of the values of A’s different possible (...) outcomes, with weights being the conditional chances (in that world) of these outcomes if A were performed. On the centered-chance view, the chances to be used as weights in the definition of utility are centered. Unlike ordinary chances, centered chances depend not only on what happens prior to the agent’s choice but also on the events that occur after the choice. Thus, to give an example, suppose that the action under consideration results in a bad outcome due to some event whose ordinary (i.e. non-centered) chance of occurring was very low at the time of choice. Then the utility of that action in the actual world could be high on the non-centered view, but on the centered view that utility is negative (as distinct from its expected utility), since the centered chance of the event in question given the action was one, given that it did actually take place. A precise definition of centered chances is not easy to frame, but the concept can be made intuitively clear. The resulting decision theory is, in my opinion, philosophically more satisfactory than the extant proposals, even though it doesn’t differ much in its practical recommendations, with the exception of some rather peculiar cases. (shrink)
Evidence based medicine (EBM) is under critical debate, and person centered healthcare (PCH) has been proposed as an improvement. But is PCH offered as a supplement or as a replacement of EBM? Prima facie PCH only concerns the practice of medicine, while the contended features of EBM also include methods and medical model. I here argue that there are good philosophical reasons to see PCH as a radical alternative to the existing medical paradigm of EBM, since the two seem (...) committed to conflicting ontologies. This paper aims to make explicit some of the most fundamental assumptions that motivate EBM and PCH, respectively, in order to show that the choice between them ultimately comes down to ontological preference. While EBM has a solid foundation in positivism, or what I here call Humeanism, PCH is more consistent with causal dispositionalism. I conclude that if there is a paradigmatic revolution on the way in medicine, it is first of all one of ontology. (shrink)
This book is a defense of modal realism; the thesis that our world is but one of a plurality of worlds, and that the individuals that inhabit our world are only a few out of all the inhabitants of all the worlds. Lewis argues that the philosophical utility of modal realism is a good reason for believing that it is true.
According to one tradition in the philosophy of language and mind, the content of a psychological attitude can be characterized by a set of possibilities. On the classic version of this account, advocated by Hintikka (1962) and Stalnaker (1984) among others, the possibilities in question are possible worlds, ways the universe might be. Lewis (1979, 1983a) proposed an alternative to this account, according to which the possibilities in question are possible individuals or centeredworlds, ways an individual (...) might be. The motivation for the centeredworlds theory has primarily to do with self-locating – or de se – attitudes. The focus of this paper is on the less-discussed question of how other-locating – or de re – attitudes ought to be treated within this framework. Most advocates of what we might call the modal approach to attitudes, Stalnaker and Lewis included, offer some kind of descriptivist solution to the well-known problems that other-locating attitudes raise. There are intramural differences between Stalnaker, Lewis, and other modal theorists (e.g. two-dimensionalists) on a number of issues: on the precise nature of the descriptivism involved, how attitude content relates to the asserted content of the sentences we utter, and on the proper semantic treatment of attitude reports. I pass over these differences to focus on a problem common to these various approaches: all face a problem when it comes to characterizing the contents of counterfactual attitudes like imagining, dreaming, and wishing. (shrink)
Manley and Wasserman (2008) have provided a convincing case against analyses of dispositions in terms of one conditional, and a very interesting positive proposal that links any disposition to a ‘suitable proportion’ of a particular set of precise conditionals. I focus on their positive proposal and ask just how precise those conditionals are to be. I argue that, contrary to what Manley and Wasserman imply in their paper, they must be maximally specific, describing in their antecedents complete centred worlds. (...) This suggests a natural semantics for dispositional expressions, which I briefly explore to argue that it lacks uniformity. I end by suggesting a variation on Manley and Wasserman's view which would preserve uniformity, though at the cost of some new puzzling questions. (shrink)
Epistemic modal predicate logic raises conceptual problems not faced in the case of alethic modal predicate logic : Frege’s “Hesperus-Phosphorus” problem—how to make sense of ascribing to agents ignorance of necessarily true identity statements—and the related “Hintikka-Kripke” problem—how to set up a logical system combining epistemic and alethic modalities, as well as others problems, such as Quine’s “Double Vision” problem and problems of self-knowledge. In this paper, we lay out a philosophical approach to epistemic predicate logic, implemented formally in Melvin (...) Fitting’s First-Order Intensional Logic, that we argue solves these and other conceptual problems. Topics covered include: Quine on the “collapse” of modal distinctions; the rigidity of names; belief reports and unarticulated constituents; epistemic roles; counterfactual attitudes; representational vs. interpretational semantics; ignorance of co-reference vs. ignorance of identity; two-dimensional epistemic models; quantification into epistemic contexts; and an approach to multi-agent epistemic logic based on centeredworlds and hybrid logic. (shrink)
In his book Mental Files , Francois Recanati develops a theory of mind and language based on the idea that Fregean senses should be identified with ‘mental files’, mental representations whose primary function is to store information about objects. I discuss three aspects of Recanati’s book. The first concerns his use of acquaintance relations in individuating mental files, and what this means for ‘file dynamics’. The second concerns his comments on a theory that I have elsewhere advocated, the ‘sequenced (...) class='Hi'>worlds’ or ‘multi-centeredworlds’ theory. The third concerns how the mental file approach handles non-doxastic attitudes like imagining. (shrink)
Partee (1973) noted anaphoric parallels between English tenses and pronouns. Since then these parallels have been analyzed in terms of type-neutral principles of discourse anaphora. Recently, Stone (1997) extended the anaphoric parallel to English modals. In this paper I extend the story to languages of other types. This evidence also shows that centering parallels are even more detailed than previously recognized. Based on this evidence, I propose a semantic representation language (Logic of Change with CenteredWorlds), in which (...) the observed parallels can be formally analyzed. (shrink)
There are two parts to Lewis's account of the de se. First there is the idea that the objects of de se thought (and, by extension of de dicto thought too) are properties, not propositions. This is the idea that is center-stage in Lewis's discussion. Second there is the idea that the relation that thinkers bear to these properties is that of self-ascription. It is crucial to LewisÕs account that this is understood as a fundamental, unanalyzable, notion: self-ascription of a (...) property is not ascription of a property to the self, on a par with ascription to someone else. This has been overlooked in much recent discussion, especially when Lewis's account is understood in terms of centeredworlds. When it is back in focus it brings problems. An almost Cartesian starting point is required; and first-person plural ascriptions, and those with first person pronouns other than in subject position, become unmanageably complex. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWe present a theory of truth in fiction that improves on Lewis's  ‘Analysis 2’ in two ways. First, we expand Lewis's possible worlds apparatus by adding non-normal or impossible worlds. Second, we model truth in fiction as belief revision via ideas from dynamic epistemic logic. We explain the major objections raised against Lewis's original view and show that our theory overcomes them.
The standard view of clauses embedded under attitude verbs or modal predicates is that they act as terms standing for propositions, a view that faces a range of philosophical and linguistic difficulties. Recently an alternative has been explored according to which embedded clauses act semantically as predicates of content-bearing objects. This paper argues that this approach faces serious problems when it is based on possible worlds-semantics. It outlines a development of the approach in terms of truthmaker theory instead.
I want to model a finite, fallible cognitive agent who imagines that p in the sense of mentally representing a scenario—a configuration of objects and properties—correctly described by p. I propose to capture imagination, so understood, via variably strict world quantifiers, in a modal framework including both possible and so-called impossible worlds. The latter secure lack of classical logical closure for the relevant mental states, while the variability of strictness captures how the agent imports information from actuality in the (...) imagined non-actual scenarios. Imagination turns out to be highly hyperintensional, but not logically anarchic. Section 1 sets the stage and impossible worlds are quickly introduced in Sect. 2. Section 3 proposes to model imagination via variably strict world quantifiers. Section 4 introduces the formal semantics. Section 5 argues that imagination has a minimal mereological structure validating some logical inferences. Section 6 deals with how imagination under-determines the represented contents. Section 7 proposes additional constraints on the semantics, validating further inferences. Section 8 describes some welcome invalidities. Section 9 examines the effects of importing false beliefs into the imagined scenarios. Finally, Sect. 10 hints at possible developments of the theory in the direction of two-dimensional semantics. (shrink)
A powerful challenge to some highly influential theories, this book offers a thorough critical exposition of modal realism, the philosophical doctrine that many possible worlds exist of which our own universe is just one. Chihara challenges this claim and offers a new argument for modality without worlds.
Impossible worlds are representations of impossible things and impossible happenings. They earn their keep in a semantic or metaphysical theory if they do the right theoretical work for us. As it happens, a worlds-based account provides the best philosophical story about semantic content, knowledge and belief states, cognitive significance and cognitive information, and informative deductive reasoning. A worlds-based story may also provide the best semantics for counterfactuals. But to function well, all these accounts need use of impossible (...) and as well as possible worlds. So what are impossible worlds? Graham Priest claims that any of the usual stories about possible worlds can be told about impossible worlds, too. But far from it. I'll argue that impossible worlds cannot be genuine worlds, of the kind proposed by Lewis, McDaniel or Yagisawa. Nor can they be ersatz worlds on the model proposed by Melia or Sider. Constructing impossible worlds, it turns out, requires novel metaphysical resources. (shrink)
Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities (...) are represented as set-theoretic constructions out of them. This hybrid account (1) distinguishes many intuitively distinct impossible propositions; (2) identifies impossible propositions with extensional constructions; (3) avoids resorting to primitive modality, at least so far as Lewisian modal realism does. (shrink)
Die im Reader versammelten Beiträge verstehen sich als Versuche zu einer Soziologie des Visuellen. Sie untersuchen am Beispiel des Mediums Stadtfilm, welche Rolle die dorterzeugten Bilder großer Städte bei der Produktion urbanistischer Repräsentanten spielen. Aus diesem Grund werden insbesondere Übergänge analysiert, die Spielfilme einerseits und urbanistische Diskurse andererseits miteinander verknüpfen. Gemeinsamer Ausgangspunkt ist die These, daß es vor allem Bilder sind, die solche Verknüpfungen gewährleisten. Es wird unterstellt, daß es das Medium Film erlaubt, gerade über den Einsatz von Bildern "näher" (...) an soziale Wirklichkeiten heranzukommen, als dies textzentrierter Praxis empirischer Sozialforschung möglich ist. Stadtfilme erzeugen wirkmächtige Bilder, auf die dann unter bestimmten Bedingungen in urbanistischen Kontexten zurückgegriffen wird. Die Autoren präsentieren konzeptionelle Überlegungen und Filminterpretationen zu Moebius (1991, Regie: Matti Geschonneck), Der Himmel über Berlin (1987, Regie: Wim Wenders), In weiter Ferne, so nah! (1993, Regie: Wim Wenders), Der Bauch des Architekten (1987, Regie: Peter Greenaway) und Hass (1995, Regie: Mathieu Kassovitz). Sie bedienen sich dabei sehr unterschiedlicher Verfahren. Gemeinsam sind ihnen allerdings die Anliegen, die größere Nähe der Filme zu sozialen Welten hervorzuheben und die Übergänge zwischen Stadtfilmen und Urbanistik herauszuarbeiten. -/- City and Film. Attempts at a 'Visual Sociology' Summary The contributions collected in this reader present attempts at a Visual sociology'. Based on a study on the medium 'city film' the author s determine which role the images of big cities evoked in such films can play for urbanistic representations. Therefore the analysis is, in particular, focussed on points of transition marking a connection of movies, on the one hand, and urbanistic discourse, on the othe r. The common point of departure is the hypothesis that images, more than anything else, do guarantee such connections. The authors assume that the medium film may lead 'closer' to social realities than the text- centered practices of empirical social research. City films produce powerful images which, under certain cond itions, can be utilized in urbanistic contexts. The authors present conceptual considerations and interpretations of the following films: Moebius (1991, director: Matti Geschonneck); Der Himmel über Berlin (1987, director: Wim Wenders); In weiter Ferne, so nah! (1993, director: Wim Wenders); The Belly of the Architect (1987, director: Peter Greenaway); and quite different methods they aim at the same goals: emphasizing the greater closeness of films to social worlds and bringing out the points of transition between city films and urbanistics. (shrink)
Modal realism -- Time, space, world -- Existence -- Actuality -- Modal realism and modal tense -- Transworld individuals and their identity -- Existensionalism -- Impossibility -- Proposition and relief -- Fictional worlds -- Epistemology.
According to an attractive account of belief, our beliefs have centered content. According to an attractive account of communication, we utter sentences to express our beliefs and share them with each other. However, the two accounts are in conflict. In this paper I explore the consequences of holding on to the claim that beliefs have centered content. If we do in fact express the centered content of our beliefs, the content of the belief the hearer acquires cannot (...) in general be identical to the content the speaker expresses. I sketch an alternative account of communication, the Recentering model, that accepts this consequence and explains how expressed and acquired content are related. (shrink)
In this paper, I investigate whether we can use a world-involving framework to model the epistemic states of non-ideal agents. The standard possible-world framework falters in this respect because of a commitment to logical omniscience. A familiar attempt to overcome this problem centers around the use of impossible worlds where the truths of logic can be false. As we shall see, if we admit impossible worlds where “anything goes” in modal space, it is easy to model extremely non-ideal (...) agents that are incapable of performing even the most elementary logical deductions. A much harder, and considerably less investigated challenge is to ensure that the resulting modal space can also be used to model moderately ideal agents that are not logically omniscient but nevertheless logically competent. Intuitively, while such agents may fail to rule out subtly impossible worlds that verify complex logical falsehoods, they are nevertheless able to rule out blatantly impossible worlds that verify obvious logical falsehoods. To model moderately ideal agents, I argue, the job is to construct a modal space that contains only possible and non-trivially impossible worlds where it is not the case that “anything goes”. But I prove that it is impossible to develop an impossible-world framework that can do this job and that satisfies certain standard conditions. Effectively, I show that attempts to model moderately ideal agents in a world-involving framework collapse to modeling either logical omniscient agents, or extremely non-ideal agents. (shrink)
You and I can differ in what we say, or believe, even though the things we say, or believe, are logically equivalent. Discussing what is said, or believed, requires notions of content which are finer-grained than sets of (metaphysically or logically) possible worlds. In this paper, I develop the approach to fine-grained content in terms of a space of possible and impossible worlds. I give a method for constructing ersatz worlds based on theory of substantial facts. I (...) show how this theory overcomes an objection to actualist constructions of ersatz worlds and argue that it naturally gives rise to useful notions of fine-grained content. (shrink)
Theories of content are at the centre of philosophical semantics. The most successful general theory of content takes contents to be sets of possible worlds. But such contents are very coarse-grained, for they cannot distinguish between logically equivalent contents. They draw intensional but not hyperintensional distinctions. This is often remedied by including impossible as well as possible worlds in the theory of content. Yet it is often claimed that impossible worlds are metaphysically obscure; and it is sometimes (...) claimed that their use results in a trivial theory of content. In this paper, I set out the need for impossible worlds in a theory of content; I briefly sketch a metaphysical account of their nature; I argue that worlds in general must be very fine-grained entities; and, finally, I argue that the resulting conception of impossible worlds is not a trivial one. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for a particular conception of impossible worlds. Possible worlds, as traditionally understood, can be used in the analysis of propositions, the content of belief, the truth of counterfactuals, and so on. Yet possible worlds are not capable of differentiating propositions that are necessarily equivalent, making sense of the beliefs of agents who are not ideally rational, or giving truth values to counterfactuals with necessarily false antecedents. The addition of impossible worlds addresses (...) these issues. The kinds of impossible worlds capable of performing this task are not mysterious sui generis entities, but sets of structured propositions that are themselves constructed out of possible worlds and relations. I also respond to a worry that these impossible worlds are unable to represent claims about the shape of modal space itself. (shrink)