This paper sought to state in a concise and comparatively informal, unsystematic, and more accessible form the more technical approach the author developed during a research fellowship in 1974-75 at the Max-Planck-Institut in Starnberg, Germany. The ideas presented in this paper are more fully developed in later publications by the author which are listed in the two-page addendum to this paper.
From the Editor’s Introduction: -/- THE INTERNAL LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING -/- We carry, unavoidably, the limits of our understanding with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and mist of speculation. -/- (...) The limitations in view here are not due to the mere finitude of our understanding of ourselves and of the world in which we live. They are limitations that come automatically and necessarily with any form of understanding. They are, as we shall see, part and parcel of any organization or ordering of data that we call information. -/- The consequences of these limitations are varied: As a result of them, hermeneutics cannot help but be hermetic; scientific theories of necessity are circumscribed by the boundaries of the ideas that define them; formal systems must choose between consistency and comprehensiveness; philosophical study, because it includes itself within its own proper subject matter, is forced to be reflexive in its self-enclosure. The fundamental dynamic shared by all forms of understanding testifies to an internal limitative keystone. (shrink)
PLEASE NOTE: This is the corrected 2nd eBook edition, 2021.¶¶ _Critique of Impure Reason_ has now also been published in a printed edition. To reduce the otherwise high price of this scholarly, technical book of nearly 900 pages and make it more widely available beyond university libraries to individual readers, the non-profit publisher and the author have agreed to issue the printed edition at cost.¶¶ The printed edition was released on September 1, 2021 and is now available through all booksellers, (...) including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and brick-and-mortar bookstores under ISBN 978-0-578-88646-6.¶¶ -/- COMMENDATIONS OF THIS WORK, from the back cover of the published edition: ¶¶ -/- “I admire its range of philosophical vision.” – Nicholas Rescher, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, author of more than 100 books. ¶¶ -/- “Bartlett’s _Critique of Impure Reason_ is an impressive, bold, and ambitious work. Careful scholarship is balanced by original analyses that lead the reader to recognize the limits of meaning, knowledge, and conceptual possibility. The work addresses a host of traditional philosophical problems, among them the nature of space, time, causality, consciousness, the self, other minds, ontology, free will and determinism, and others. The book culminates in a fascinating and profound new understanding of relativity physics and quantum theory.” – Gerhard Preyer, Professor of Philosophy, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, author of many books including _Concepts of Meaning_, _Beyond Semantics and Pragmatics_, _Intention and Practical Thought_, and _Contextualism in Philosophy_. ¶¶ -/- “[This work’s] goal is of a unique and difficult species: Dr. Bartlett seeks to develop a formal logical calculus on the basis of transcendental philosophical arguments; in fact, he hopes that this calculus will be the formal expression of the transcendental foundation of knowledge.... I consider Dr. Bartlett’s work soundly conceived and executed with great skill.” – C. F. von Weizsäcker, philosopher and physicist, former Director, Max-Planck-Institute, Starnberg, Germany. ¶¶ -/- “Bartlett has written an American “Prolegomena to All Future Metaphysics.” He aims rigorously to eliminate meaningless assertions, reach bedrock, and place philosophy on a firm foundation that will enable it, like science and mathematics, to produce lasting results that generations to come can build on. This is a great book, the fruit of a lifetime of research and reflection, and it deserves serious attention.” — Martin X. Moleski, former Professor, Canisius College, Buffalo, NY, studies of scientific method, the presuppositions of thought, and the self-referential nature of epistemology. ¶¶ -/- “Bartlett has written a book on what might be called the underpinnings of philosophy. It has fascinating depth and breadth, and is all the more striking due to its unifying perspective based on the concepts of reference and self-reference.” – Don Perlis, Professor of Computer Science, University of Maryland, author of numerous publications on self-adjusting autonomous systems and philosophical issues concerning self-reference, mind, and consciousness. ¶¶ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ The _Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning_ comprises a major and important contribution to philosophy. Thanks to the generosity of its publisher, this massive 885-page volume has been published as a free open access eBook (3.75MB) as well as an open access printed edition. It inaugurates a revolutionary paradigm shift in philosophical thought by providing compelling and long-sought-for solutions to a wide range of philosophical problems. In the process, the work fundamentally transforms the way in which the concepts of reference, meaning, and possibility are understood. The book includes a Foreword by the celebrated German philosopher and physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker.¶¶ -/- In Kant’s _Critique of Pure Reason_ we find an analysis of the preconditions of experience and of knowledge. In contrast, but yet in parallel, the new _Critique_ focuses upon the ways—unfortunately very widespread and often unselfconsciously habitual—in which many of the concepts that we employ _conflict_ with the very preconditions of meaning and of knowledge.¶¶ -/- This is a book about the boundaries of frameworks and about the unrecognized conceptual confusions in which we become entangled when we attempt to transgress beyond the limits of the possible and meaningful. We tend either not to recognize or not to accept that we all-too-often attempt to trespass beyond the boundaries of the frameworks that make knowledge possible and the world meaningful.¶¶ -/- The _Critique of Impure Reason_ proposes a bold, ground-breaking, and startling thesis: that a great many of the major philosophical problems of the past can be solved through the recognition of a viciously deceptive form of thinking to which philosophers as well as non-philosophers commonly fall victim. For the first time, the book advances and justifies the criticism that a substantial number of the questions that have occupied philosophers fall into the category of “impure reason,” violating the very conditions of their possible meaningfulness.¶¶ -/- The purpose of the study is twofold: first, to enable us to recognize the boundaries of what is referentially forbidden—the limits beyond which reference becomes meaningless—and second, to avoid falling victims to a certain broad class of conceptual confusions that lie at the heart of many major philosophical problems. As a consequence, the boundaries of _possible meaning_ are determined.¶¶ -/- Bartlett, the author or editor of more than 20 books, is responsible for identifying this widespread and delusion-inducing variety of error, _metalogical projection_. It is a previously unrecognized and insidious form of erroneous thinking that undermines its own possibility of meaning. It comes about as a result of the pervasive human compulsion to seek to transcend the limits of possible reference and meaning.¶¶ -/- Based on original research and rigorous analysis combined with extensive scholarship, the _Critique of Impure Reason_ develops a self-validating method that makes it possible to recognize, correct, and eliminate this major and pervasive form of fallacious thinking. In so doing, the book provides at last provable and constructive solutions to a wide range of major philosophical problems.¶¶ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ -/- CONTENTS AT A GLANCE¶ ¶ Preface¶ Foreword by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker¶ Acknowledgments¶ Avant-propos: A philosopher’s rallying call¶ Introduction¶ A note to the reader¶ A note on conventions¶ ¶ PART I ¶ WHY PHILOSOPHY HAS MADE NO PROGRESS AND HOW IT CAN ¶ 1 Philosophical-psychological prelude¶ 2 Putting belief in its place: Its psychology and a needed polemic¶ 3 Turning away from the linguistic turn: From theory of reference to metalogic of reference¶ 4 The stepladder to maximum theoretical generality¶ ¶ PART II ¶ THE METALOGIC OF REFERENCE ¶ A New Approach to Deductive, Transcendental Philosophy¶ ¶ 5 Reference, identity, and identification¶ 6 Self-referential argument and the metalogic of reference¶ 7 Possibility theory¶ 8 Presupposition logic, reference, and identification¶ 9 Transcendental argumentation and the metalogic of reference¶ 10 Framework relativity¶ 11 The metalogic of meaning¶ 12 The problem of putative meaning and the logic of meaninglessness¶ 13 Projection¶ 14 Horizons¶ 15 De-projection¶ 16 Self-validation¶ 17 Rationality: Rules of admissibility¶ ¶ PART III ¶ PHILOSOPHICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE METALOGIC OF REFERENCE ¶ Major Problems and Questions of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Science ¶ 18 Ontology and the metalogic of reference¶ 19 Discovery or invention in general problem-solving, mathematics, and physics¶ 20 The conceptually unreachable: “The far side”¶ 21 The projections of the external world, things-in-themselves, other minds, realism, and idealism¶ 22 The projections of time, space, and space-time¶ 23 The projections of causality, determinism, and free will¶ 24 Projections of the self and of solipsism¶ 25 Non-relational, agentless reference and referential fields¶ 26 Relativity physics as seen through the lens of the metalogic of reference¶ 27 Quantum theory as seen through the lens of the metalogic of reference¶ 28 Epistemological lessons learned from and applicable to relativity physics and quantum theory ¶¶ PART IV ¶ HORIZONS ¶ 29 Beyond belief¶ 30 _Critique of Impure Reason_: Its results in retrospect¶ ¶ SUPPLEMENT¶ The Formal Structure of the Metalogic of Reference ¶ APPENDIX I¶ The Concept of Horizon in the Work of Other Philosophers ¶ APPENDIX II¶ Epistemological Intelligence ¶ References¶ Index¶ About the author . 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NOTE TO THE READER - October, 2020¶¶ After a long period of time devoted to research in other areas, the author has returned to the subject of this paper in a book-length study, CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning, which has been published as an open access eBook by Studies in Theory and Behavior in August, 2020. In this book (Chapter 11, “The Metalogic of Meaning”), the position developed in the 1982 paper that follows is substantively (...) revised and several important corrections made. ¶¶ The complete volume of CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning can now be freely downloaded from a variety of sources including: ¶¶ PhilPapers, PhilSci, Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe’s HAL, and CERN’s Zenodo¶¶ __________________________ This paper describes a logically compelling criterion of meaning — that is, a necessary condition of meaning, one which is non-arbitrary and compelling. One cannot _not_ accept the proposed criterion without self-referential inconsistency. This “metalogical” variety of self-referential inconsistency is new, opening a third category beyond semantical and pragmatical forms of self-referential inconsistency. ¶¶ It is argued that such a criterion of meaning can serve as an instrument of internal criticism for any theoretical framework that permits reference to a class of objects. The paper combines the concern of the logical empiricists to formulate a rigorous meaning criterion, with the analytical interest in identifying and eliminating self-defeating statements through an analysis of the referential structure of theories. ¶¶ The paper is followed by a list of other publications by the author that further develop and extend the ideas presented here.¶¶ . (shrink)
This paper marks a juncture between the author’s studies in phenomenology and the transition he made to a study of what he has called a “metalogic of reference.” Published in 1974 in Polish translation, followed by its publication in English in 1975, “Phenomenology of the Implicit” describes the author’s “translation schema” that permits certain of the central goals of Husserlian transcendental philosophy to be transposed to a framework that studies the preconditions of valid reference. The result of (...) this translation was the development of the author’s “de-projective” approach to phenomenology, which he later dissociated from phenomenology in the form of a pure metalogic of reference. -/- The paper examines the phenomenological understanding of pre‐reflective awareness, of reflection, and of their interrelation. To this end, attention is paid to preconditions of reference that are entailed by the phenomenological distinction between implicit experience and explicit reflection. (shrink)
In this paper I shall attempt to outline a nominalistic theory of mathematical truth. I call my theory nominalistic because it avoids a real (see ) ontological commitment to abstract entities. Traditionally, nominalists have found it difficult to justify any reference to infinite collections in mathematics. Even those who have tried to do so have typically restricted themselves to predicative and, thus, denumerable realms. I Indeed, many have linked impredicative definitions to platonism; nominalists have tended to agree with Weyl (...) that impredicative analysis is "a house built on sand" in a "logician's paradise."2 As a result, they have either worried about how much of mathematics empirical science requires (e.g., ) or renounced mathematical truth altogether (e.g., , ). My theory, in contrast, seeks a nominalistic interpretation of the entire body of classical mathematics. It tries to secure for the nominalist not merely the natural numbers but the reals, the ordinals, and inaccessible cardinals as well. If I am right, then nominalists can declare, with Goodman and Quine, that "any system that countenances abstract entities we deem unsatisfactory as a final philosophy" (,105), and, at the same time, with Hilbert, that "no one shall drive us out of the paradise which Cantor has created for us" (, 141). I cannot hope to convince you, in this small space, that my goal is fully achievable. Here I shall try to justify a smaller contention: that if we can explain our knowledge of logic (and of language generally), we can also explain our knowledge of mathematics. Given a nominalistic theory of logic, therefore, we can construct a nominalistic theory of mathematical truth. I shall thus argue for an epistemological thesis of logicism: any epistemology that suffices for our knowledge of logic also suffices for mathematics. (shrink)
From the Editor’s Introduction: "The Internal Limitations of Human Understanding." We carry, unavoidably, the limits of our understanding with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and mist of speculation. -/- The limitations (...) in view here are not due to the mere finitude of our understanding of ourselves and of the world in which we live. They are limitations that come automatically and necessarily with any form of understanding. They are, as we shall see, part and parcel of any organization or ordering of data that we call information. -/- The consequences of these limitations are varied: As a result of them, hermeneutics cannot help but be hermetic; scientific theories of necessity are circumscribed by the boundaries of the ideas that define them; formal systems must choose between consistency and comprehensiveness; philosophical study, because it includes itself within its own proper subject matter, is forced to be reflexive in its self-enclosure. The fundamental dynamic shared by all forms of understanding testifies to an internal limitative keystone. (shrink)
The challenge of intercultural relations has become an important issue in many societies. In spite of the claimed value of intercultural diversity, successful outcomes as predicted by the contact hypothesis are but one possibility; on occasions intercultural contact leads to intolerance and hostility. Research has documented that one key mediator of contact is perspective taking. Differences in perspective are significant in shaping perceptions of contact and reactions to it. The ability to take the perspective of the other and to understand (...) it in its own terms is a necessary condition for successful intergroup outcomes. This paper sheds light on the processes involved in intercultural perspective taking by elaborating the notion of the point of view based on social representations theory. The point of view provides a theory of social positioning that can analyse cultural encounters between social actors, and identify the conditions for positive relations. Insights are drawn from a study of public views on the relative merits of science and religion, following a documentary by Richard Dawkins in which it was suggested that religion is a source of evil. The findings demonstrate that the point of view may be categorised according to a three-way taxonomy according to the extent to which it is open to another perspective. A point of view may be monological—closed to another's perspective entirely, dialogical—open to the possibility of another perspective while maintaining some percepts as unchallengeable, or metalogical—open to another's perspective based on the other's frame of reference. (shrink)
The new theory of reference has won popularity. However, a number of noted philosophers have also attempted to reply to the critical arguments of Kripke and others, and aimed to vindicate the description theory of reference. Such responses are often based on ingenious novel kinds of descriptions, such as rigidified descriptions, causal descriptions, and metalinguistic descriptions. This prolonged debate raises the doubt whether different parties really have any shared understanding of what the central question of the philosophical theory (...) of reference is: what is the main question to which descriptivism and the causal-historical theory have presented competing answers. One aim of the paper is to clarify this issue. The most influential objections to the new theory of reference are critically reviewed. Special attention is also paid to certain important later advances in the new theory of reference, due to Devitt and others. (shrink)
Covering the work of Frege, Russell, and more recent work on singular reference, this important book examines the concepts of perceptually-based demonstrative identification, thought about oneself, and recognition-based demonstrative identification.
The logic of quantum physical propositions can be established by means of dialogs which take account of the general incommensurability of these propositions. Investigated first are meta-propositions which state the formal truth of object-propositions. It turns out that the logic of these meta-propositions is equivalent to ordinary logic. A special class of meta-propositions which state the material truth of object-propositions may be considered as quantum logical modalities. It is found that the logic of these modalities contains all the quantum logical (...) restrictions and thus differs essentially from the modal calculi of ordinary logic. (shrink)
With each superintuitionistic propositional logic L with a disjunction property we associate a set of modal logics the assertoric fragment of which is L . Each formula of these modal logics is interdeducible with a formula representing a set of rules admissible in L . The smallest of these logics contains only formulas representing derivable in L rules while the greatest one contains formulas corresponding to all admissible in L rules. The algebraic semantic for these logics is described.
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong (...) claims about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
The paper defends the philosophical method of "regimentation" by example, especially in relation to the theory of mind. The starting point is the Place-Smart after-image argument: A green after-image will not be located outside the skull, but if we cracked open your skull, we won't find anything green in there either. (If we did, you'd have some disturbing medical news.) So the after-image seems not to be in physical space, suggesting that it is non-physical. In response, I argue that the (...) green blob is a fictional object, while assuming a weak sort of realism about fictional objects (where they exist as mind-dependent objects). This view can look like dualism, however, but I try to interpret it not as implying metaphysical dualism, but rather as reflecting a dualism of theory. Roughly, there can be a theory of mind-independent objects, and a theory of mind-dependent objects. Yet there are principled reasons why we cannot integrate the two into a consistent whole, for reasons related to Russell's vicious circle principle. Most of the paper motivates this by an analogy between the physicalist's theory of the world, and drawing a map with a complete representation of the map itself. Regimentation unearths the inconsistencies that arise, when trying to represent as part of a model the very representations used to define the model. (shrink)
It is a fundamental feature of language that words refer to things. Much attention has been devoted to the nature of reference, both in philosophy and in linguistics. Puzzles of Reference is the first book to give a comprehensive accessible survey of the fascinating work on this topic from the 1970s to the present day. -/- Written by two eminent philosophers of language, Puzzles of Reference offers an up-to-date introduction to reference in philosophy and linguistics, summarizing (...) ideas such as Kripke's revolutionary theory and presenting the various challenges in a clear and accessible manner. As the text does not assume prior training in philosophy or linguistics, it is ideal for use as part of a philosophy of language course for philosophy students or for linguistics students. -/- Puzzles of Reference belongs to the series Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy of Language, in which each book provides an introduction to an important area of the philosophy of language, suitable for students at any level. (shrink)
Our only channel of information about the world is the impact of external forces on our sensory surfaces. So says science itself. There is no clairvoyance. How, then, can we have parlayed this meager sensory input into a full-blown scientific theory of the world? This is itself a scientific question. The pursuit of it, with free use of scientific theory, is what I call naturalized epistemology. The Roots of Reference falls within that domain. Its more specific concern, within that (...) domain, is reference to concrete and abstract objects: what such reference consists in, and how we achieve it. (shrink)
A substantial amount of recent work in natural language generation has focused on the generation of ‘‘one-shot’’ referring expressions whose only aim is to identify a target referent. Dale and Reiter's Incremental Algorithm (IA) is often thought to be the best algorithm for maximizing the similarity to referring expressions produced by people. We test this hypothesis by eliciting referring expressions from human subjects and computing the similarity between the expressions elicited and the ones generated by algorithms. It turns out that (...) the success of the IA depends substantially on the ‘‘preference order’’ (PO) employed by the IA, particularly in complex domains. While some POs cause the IA to produce referring expressions that are very similar to expressions produced by human subjects, others cause the IA to perform worse than its main competitors; moreover, it turns out to be difficult to predict the success of a PO on the basis of existing psycholinguistic findings or frequencies in corpora. We also examine the computational complexity of the algorithms in question and argue that there are no compelling reasons for preferring the IA over some of its main competitors on these grounds. We conclude that future research on the generation of referring expressions should explore alternatives to the IA, focusing on algorithms, inspired by the Greedy Algorithm, which do not work with a fixed PO. (shrink)
[A Polish translation of Steven James Bartlett, “Phenomenology of the Implicit,” Dialectica: Revue international de philosophie de la connaissance, Vol. 29, Nos. 2-3, 1975, pp. 173-188.] -/- This paper marks a juncture between the author’s studies in phenomenology and the transition he made to a study of what he has called a “metalogic of reference.” Published in 1974 in Polish translation, followed by its publication in English in 1975, “Phenomenology of the Implicit” describes the author’s “translation schema” that (...) permits certain of the central goals of Husserlian transcendental philosophy to be transposed to a framework that studies the preconditions of valid reference. The result of this translation was the development of the author’s “de-projective” approach to phenomenology, which he later dissociated from phenomenology in the form of a pure metalogic of reference. (shrink)
This paper proposes an extensionalist analysis of computer simulations (CSs). It puts the emphasis not on languages nor on models, but on symbols, on their extensions, and on their various ways of referring. It shows that chains of reference of symbols in CSs are multiple and of different kinds. As they are distinct and diverse, these chains enable different kinds of remoteness of reference and different kinds of validation for CSs. Although some methodological papers have already underlined the (...) role of these various relationships of reference in CSs and of cross-validations, this diversity is still overlooked in the epistemological literature on CSs. As a consequence, a particular outcome of this analytical view is an ability to classify existing epistemological theses on CSs according to what their authors choose to select and put at the forefront: either the extensions of symbols, or the symbol-types, or the symbol-tokens, or the internal denotational hierarchies of the CS or the reference of these hierarchies to external denotational hierarchies. Through the adoption of this extensionalist view, it also becomes possible to explain more precisely the reasons why some complete reduction of CSs to classical epistemic paradigms such as “experiment” or “theoretical argument” remains doubtful. On this last point, in particular, this paper is in agreement with what many epistemologists already have acknowledged. (shrink)
I argue for a theory of the optimal function of the speech act of referring, called the edenic theory. First, the act of singular reference is defined directly in terms of Gricean communicative intentions. Second, I propose a doxastic constraint on the optimal performance of such acts, stating, roughly, that the speaker must not have any relevant false beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the intended object. In uttering a singular term on an occasion, on this theory, one (...) represents oneself as not having any confused beliefs about the object to which one intends to refer. This paves the way for an intentionalist theory of reference that circumvents well-known problems, which have not been adequately addressed before in the literature. (shrink)
It has sometimes been suggested that the so-called new theory of reference (NTR) would provide an alternative picture of meaning and reference which avoids the unwelcome consequences of the meaning-variance thesis and incommesurability. However, numerous philosophers of science have been quite critical towards the idea and NTR in general. It is argued that many of them have an over-simplified and, in part, mistaken understanding of what NTR amounts to. It is submitted that NTR, when correctly understood, can be (...) an important ingredient in the realist toolkit for defending the rationality of science. (shrink)
In “Violence and Metaphysics” Jacques Derrida suggests that “the only effective position to take in order not to be enveloped by Hegel would seem to be…to consider false-infinity…irreducible.” Inversely, refuting the charge of logocentrism associated with Hegelian true infinity ( wahrhafte Unendlichkeit ) would involve showing that Hegel’s speculative logic does not establish the infinity of being exempt from the negativity of the finite. This paper takes up Derrida’s challenge, and argues that true infinity is crucial to Hegel’s understanding of (...) ideality as a question of normative authority, which does not fall prey to logocentrism. Through an exposition of the dialectic of the finite and the infinite in Hegel’s Science of Logic , I argue that true infinity is not an ontological category that eliminates division, but rather refers to the metalogical standpoint involved in a philosophical account of determinacy. Although fully achieved at the end of the Logic , the metalogical standpoint that Hegel elaborates in the Seinslogik under the banner of the true infinite already clarifies that determinacy is a product of normative authority that is itself precarious. (shrink)
IT cannot be denied that metaphysics is an unpopular subject among many contemporary professional philosophers. Historically speaking, the reasons for this present-day phenomenon can be traced back to the rise and spread of philosophical Idealism over the past several hundred years. What is common to all Idealistic philosophers is the orientation adopted at the beginnings of their philosophical investigations: they attempt to unravel the mysteries of being by viewing being through ideas. Their prime concern becomes the analyses of terms and (...) propositions. Indeed, this approach is so commonplace that many thinkers cannot imagine doing things in any other way. In our age this approach shows up very clearly in the way many thinkers are perfectly willing to talk about propositions but possess a deep aversion to talking about what a thing is in itself. It is sometimes said that we currently live in a philosophical era dominated by materialism. It would seem, however, that the situation is the other way around; discussions of intramental entities take up most of the time of many philosophers, at least of non-scholastic philosophers. Most scholastic philosophers still want to talk about things i.e. extramental entities. Most of their contemporary philosophers, on the other hand, are perfectly content talking about propositions. If the latter is ever to move closer to the former group, it would seem that what is required is a more materialistic attitude on their part, in the sense of a greater concentration on things as opposed to ideas. (shrink)
This article introduces the topic ‘‘Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the Gap between Computational and Empirical Approaches to Reference’’ of the journal Topics in Cognitive Science. We argue that computational and psycholinguistic approaches to reference production can benefit from closer interaction, and that this is likely to result in the construction of algorithms that differ markedly from the ones currently known in the computational literature. We focus particularly on determinism, the feature of existing algorithms that is perhaps most (...) clearly at odds with psycholinguistic results, discussing how future algorithms might include non-determinism, and how new psycholinguistic experiments could inform the development of such algorithms. (shrink)
The article first rehearses three deflationary theories of reference, (1) disquotationalism, (2) propositionalism (Horwich), and (3) the anaphoric theory (Brandom), and raises a number of objections against them. It turns out that each corresponds to a closely related theory of truth, and that these are subject to analogous criticisms to a surprisingly high extent. I then present a theory of my own, according to which the schema “That S(t) is about t” and the biconditional “S refers to x iff (...) S says something about x” are exhaustive of the notions of aboutness and reference. An account of the usefulness of “about” is then given, which, I argue, is superior to that of Horwich. I close with a few considerations about how the advertised theory relates to well-known issues of reference, the conclusions of which is (1) that the issues concern reference and aboutness only insofar as the words “about” and “refer” serve to generalise over the claims that are really at issue, (2) that the theory of reference will not settle the issues, and (3) that it follows from (2) that the issues do not concern the nature of aboutness or reference. (shrink)
The paper investigates the ethical decisions of Millennials, who are not only part of an expanding cohort of the workforce, but also represent potential future managers with a growing influence on work practices and employment relationships. In the conceptual model, we propose that three ethical frames of reference, represented by perceived organisational ethics, perceived employee ethics and reflective moral attentiveness, antecede ethical judgements, which further influence the ethical intentions of Millennials. Using structural equation modelling, we test the model for (...) three different business ethics scenarios: paying a consulting fee, dumping hazardous waste, and running an offensive advertising campaign. The findings confirm the link between ethical judgements and intentions across the board, while the influence of the ethical frames of reference varies among the scenarios. We propose that the differences in the predictive ability of the ethical frames of reference depend on the nature of the ethical issue, which holds important implications for today's managers in their attempts to encourage ethical behaviour of Millennial employees. (shrink)
Establishing and maintaining reference is a crucial part of discourse. In spoken languages, differential linguistic devices mark referents occurring in different referential contexts, that is, introduction, maintenance, and re-introduction contexts. Speakers using gestures as well as users of sign languages have also been shown to mark referents differentially depending on the referential context. This article investigates the modality-specific contribution of the visual modality in marking referential context by providing a direct comparison between sign language and co-speech gesture with speech (...) in elicited narratives. Across all forms of expression, we find that referents in subject position are referred to with more marking material in re-introduction contexts compared to maintenance contexts. Furthermore, we find that spatial modification is used as a modality-specific strategy in both DGS and German co-speech gesture, and that the configuration of referent locations in sign space and gesture space corresponds in an iconic and consistent way to the locations of referents in the narrated event. However, we find that spatial modification is used in different ways for marking re-introduction and maintenance contexts in DGS and German co-speech gesture. The findings are discussed in relation to the unique contribution of the visual modality to reference tracking in discourse when it is used in a unimodal system with full linguistic structure versus in a bimodal system that is a composite of speech and gesture. (shrink)
The authors demonstrate that ethical judgments can be biased when previous judgments serve as a point of reference against which a current situation is judged. Scenarios describing ethical or unethical sales practices were used in an experiment to prime subjects who subsequently rated the ethics of an ethically ambiguous target scenario. The target tended to be rated as more ethical by subjects primed with unethical scenarios, and less ethical by subjects primed with ethical scenarios. This "contrast effect," however, is (...) contingent upon individual differences. Specifically, subjects with high (versus low) needs for cognition are more likely to process and use the information presented in the priming scenarios as a point of reference against which to judge the target situation, and hence more prone to the contrastive bias. Implications for avoiding unintentional moral relativism in business decision-making are discussed. (shrink)
This paper attempts to confine the preconceptions that prevented Frege from appreciating Hilbert?s Grundlagen der Geometrie to two: (i) Frege?s reliance on what, following Wilfrid Hodges, I call a Frege?Peano language, and (ii) Frege?s view that the sense of an expression wholly determines its reference.I argue that these two preconceptions prevented Frege from achieving the conceptual structure of model theory, whereas Hilbert, at least in his practice, was quite close to the model?theoretic point of view.Moreover, the issues that divided (...) Frege and Hilbert did not revolve around whether one or the other allowed metalogical notions.Frege, e.g., succeeded in formulating the notion of logical consequence, at least to the extent that Bolzano did; the point is rather that even though Frege had certain semantic concepts, he did not articulate them model?theoretically, whereas, in some limited sense, Hilbert did. (shrink)
In this work we examine critically how two competing approaches to meaning account for disagreements. We will argue that Hart's conventionalist stance does not commit him to descriptivism. That non-descriptivist theories of reference, properly understood, can account for a vast array of cases of interpretive disagreement and that and that an account of different kinds of disagreement can be provided from a conventionalist perspective within the framework of non-descriptivist theories of reference.
Yet while all features of reality are dependent upon discourse, are there perhaps some features of discourse that are independent of reality the differences, for example, between the ways two discourses may say exactly the same thing? The old and ugly notion of synonomy rattles a warning here: Can there ever be two different discourses that say exactly the same thing in different ways, or does every difference between discourses make a difference in what is said? Luckily, we can pass (...) over that general question here. We are concerned only with the specific question whether organization into referential chains and levels is purely conventional, independent of everything beyond discourse. And the plain answer is that such organization of discourse participates notably in the organization of a reality. A label in any nonnull application, literal or metaphorical, marks off entities of a certain kind, and even where the denotation is null, the label marks off labels of a certain kind that apply to that label. Just such marking off or selection of entities and relevant kinds makes them such as distinguished from the results of alternative organizations.Nelson Goodman, emeritus professor of philosophy at Harvard University and the author of, among other works, The Structure of Appearance, Ways of Worldmaking, and Problems and Projects, is currently working on projects in the performing arts and on a new collection of essays. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are "The Status of Style' , "Metaphor as Moonlighting" , "Twisted Tales; or, Story, Study, and Symphony" , and "The Telling and the Told". (shrink)
This paper presents two cognitive models that simulate the production of referring expressions in the iMAP task—a task-oriented dialog. One general model is based on Dale and Reiter’s (1995)incremental algorithm, and the other is a simple template model that has a higher correlation with the data but is specifically geared toward the properties of the iMAP task. The property of the iMAP task environment that is modeled here is that the color feature is unreliable for identifying referents while other features (...) are reliable. The low computational cost of the incremental algorithm for generating referring expressions makes it an interesting starting point for a cognitive model. However, its explanatory power is limited, because it generates uniquely distinguishing referring expressions and because it considers features for inclusion in the referring expression in a fixed order. The first model extends the original incremental algorithm by an ability to adapt to feedback of whether a referring expression was used successfully, but it seems to overpredict the frequency with which distinguishing expressions are made and underpredict the frequency of overspecified referring expressions. The second model produces features for referring expressions purely based on its current estimate of a feature’s utility. Both models predict the observed human behavior of decreasing use of color terms and increasing use of useful feature terms. (shrink)
This article offers a survey of computational research on referring expressions generation (REG). It introduces the REG problem and describes early work in this area, discussing what basic assumptions lie behind it, and showing how its remit has widened in recent years. We discuss computational frameworks underlying REG, and demonstrate a recent trend that seeks to link up REG algorithms with well-established Knowledge Representation traditions. Considerable attention is given to recent efforts at evaluating REG algorithms and the lessons that they (...) allow us to learn. The article concludes with a discussion of the way forward in REG, focussing on references in larger and more realistic settings. (shrink)
This article surveys recent literature by Parsons, McGee, Shapiro and others on the significance of categoricity arguments in the philosophy of mathematics. After discussing whether categoricity arguments are sufficient to secure reference to mathematical structures up to isomorphism, we assess what exactly is achieved by recent ‘internal’ renditions of the famous categoricity arguments for arithmetic and set theory.
A. Meinong’s views are usually associated with an highly inflated ontology including various kinds of nonexistent objects, incomplete and impossible ones among others. Around the turn of the century B. Russell strongly criticised this ontology accusing it of inconsistency. And perhaps because of this criticism Meinong’s views have been forgotten for a long time. Only recently some philosophers have created theories of objects which are formalisations of Meinong’s ontology or which are directly inspired by the ontology 1 . However there (...) still remains a need to discuss the problem of ways of reference to Meinongian objects regarding their specific structure of predication, and the interrelated problem of ontological commitment of those theories. Meinong’s ontological theory seems to be not so bizzare if we interpret it as a theory of possible intentional objects, i.e. possible objects of consciousness. And this interpretation perfectly agrees with phenomenological tradition from Brentano to Husserl and with the contemporary philosophy of mind. Needless to say reference is a special form of intentional relation so semantical investigations into these objects are of great relevance for general theory of intentionality. (shrink)
The paper shows how ideas that explain the sense of an expression as a method or algorithm for finding its reference, preshadowed in Frege’s dictum that sense is the way in which a referent is given, can be formalized on the basis of the ideas in Thomason (1980). To this end, the function that sends propositions to truth values or sets of possible worlds in Thomason (1980) must be replaced by a relation and the meaning postulates governing the behaviour (...) of this relation must be given in the form of a logic program. The resulting system does not only throw light on the properties of sense and their relation to computation, but also shows circular behaviour if some ingredients of the Liar Paradox are added. The connection is natural, as algorithms can be inherently circular and the Liar is explained as expressing one of those. Many ideas in the present paper are closely related to those in Moschovakis (1994), but receive a considerably lighter formalization. (shrink)
We argue that many recent philosophical discussions about the reference of everyday concepts of intentional states have implicitly been predicated on descriptive theories of reference. To rectify this, we attempt to demonstrate how a causal theory can be applied to intentional concepts. Specifically, we argue that some phenomena in early social de- velopment ðe.g., mimicry, gaze following, and emotional contagionÞ can serve as refer- ence fixers that enable children to track others’ intentional states and, thus, to refer to (...) those states. This allows intentional concepts to be anchored to their referents, even if folk psy- chological descriptions turn out to be false. (shrink)
A book review of _Free Choice: A Self-referential Argument_ by J. M. Boyle, Jr., G. Grisez, and O. Tollefsen. The review concerns the pragmatical self-referential argument employed in the book, and points to the fact that the argument is itself self-referentially inconsistent, but on the level of metalogical self-reference.