Eli Alshanetsky considers how we make our thoughts clear to ourselves in the process of putting them into words and examines the paradox of those difficult cases where we do not already know what we are struggling to articulate.
The paper introduces a new puzzle about reflection—albeit one that is reminiscent of the famous paradox about inquiry in Plato’s Meno. We often make our thoughts clear to ourselves in the process of putting them into words. Our puzzle is that, on the one hand, coming to know what we are thinking seems to require finding words that would express our thought; yet, on the other hand, finding the words seems to require already knowing what we are thinking. I argue (...) that the puzzle cannot be solved by accounting for the knowledge that we gain in such cases on the models of self-interpretation and self-constitution. The primary purpose of introducing the puzzle is to provide a tool for systematically investigating this category of non-interpretive and non-constitutive self-knowledge, and I conclude with some words about the scope of the category and the value of finding a solution. (shrink)
We often get clear on our thoughts in the process of putting them into words. I investigate the nature of this process by posing the question, “Do you know which thought you are trying to articulate, before successfully articulating it?” and rejecting two answers to the dilemma it yields. The first is that the answer is yes, and that articulation is either the recollection of prior knowledge or the mere acquisition of a skill or ability rather than of propositional knowledge. (...) The second is that the answer is no, and that your thought is unknown in that it is not yet fully realized. Clarity, according to this response, is a metaphysical property of the thought rather than the thinker’s epistemic relation to it. I offer a third solution: you start out with implicit knowledge of your thought but lack explicit knowledge of it. The process of articulation moves you from implicit to explicit knowledge. (shrink)
In 1986, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his victory over “the powers of death and degradation, and to support the struggle of good against evil in the world.” Soon after, he and his wife, Marion, created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. A project at the heart of the Foundation’s mission is its Ethics Prize—a remarkable essay-writing contest through which thousands of students from colleges across the country are encouraged to confront ethical issues of personal (...) significance. The Ethics Prize has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. “Of all the projects our Foundation has been involved in, none has been more exciting than this opportunity to inspire young students to examine the ethical aspect of what they have learned in their personal lives and from their teachers in the classroom,” writes Elie Wiesel. Readers will find essays on Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, sweatshops and globalization, and the political obligations of the mothers of Argentina’s Disappeared. Other essays tell of a white student who joins a black gospel choir, a young woman who learns to share in Ladakh, and the outsize implications of reporting on something as small as a cracked windshield. Readers will be fascinated by the ways in which essays on conflict, conscience, memory, illness, and God overlap and resonate with one another. These essays reflect those who are “sensitive to the sufferings and defects that confront a society yearning for guidance and eager to hear ethical voices,” writes Elie Wiesel. “And they are a beacon for what our schools must realize as an essential component of a true education.”. (shrink)
Quantifier variance is a well-known view in contemporary metaontology, but it remains very widely misunderstood by critics. Here we briefly and clearly explain the metasemantics of quantifier variance and distinguish between modest and strong forms of variance (Section I), explain some key applications (Section II), clear up some misunderstandings and address objections (Section III), and point the way toward future directions of quantifier-variance-related research (Section IV).
Structural Realism (SSR), as embodied in the Ramsey-sentence H* of a theory H, is defended against the view that H* reduces to a trivial statement about the cardinality of the domain of H, a view which arises from ignoring the central role of observation within science. Putnam’s theses are examined and shown to support rather than undermine SSR. Finally: in view of its synthetic character, applied mathematics must enter into the formulation of H* and hence be shown to be finitely (...) axiomatisable; this is done in the Appendix, which is the most important part of the paper. (shrink)
Scientists often diverge widely when choosing between research programs. This can seem to be rooted in disagreements about which of several theories, competing to address shared questions or phenomena, is currently the most epistemically or explanatorily valuable—i.e. most successful. But many such cases are actually more directly rooted in differing judgments of pursuit-worthiness, concerning which theory will be best down the line, or which addresses the most significant data or questions. Using case studies from 16th-century astronomy and 20th-century geology and (...) biology, I argue that divergent theory choice is thus often driven by considerations of scientific process, even where direct epistemic or explanatory evaluation of its final products appears more relevant. Broadly following Kuhn’s analysis of theoretical virtues, I suggest that widely shared criteria for pursuit-worthiness function as imprecise, mutually-conflicting values. However, even Kuhn and others sensitive to pragmatic dimensions of theory ‘acceptance’, including the virtue of fruitfulness, still commonly understate the role of pursuit-worthiness—especially by exaggerating the impact of more present-oriented virtues, or failing to stress how ‘competing’ theories excel at addressing different questions or data. This framework clarifies the nature of the choice and competition involved in theory choice, and the role of alternative theoretical virtues. (shrink)
A sense of unity -- Basic objects : a reply to Xu -- Objectivity without objects -- The vagueness of identity -- Quantifier variance and realism -- Against revisionary ontology -- Comments on Theodore Sider's four dimensionalism -- Sosa's existential relativism -- Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes, and common sense -- Ontological arguments : interpretive charity and quantifier variance -- Language, ontology, and structure -- Ontology and alternative languages.
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm's mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis's four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
Mark Eli Kalderon presents an original study of perception, taking as its starting point a puzzle in Empedocles' theory of vision: if perception is a mode of material assimilation, how can we perceive colors at a distance? Kalderon argues that the theory of perception offered by Aristotle in answer to the puzzle is both attractive and defensible.
The Ramsey-sentence H* of any hypothesis H is shown to be a synthetic proposition containing mathematics as a finite component. Far from being quasi-tautological, H* proves to have as much physical content as H itself.
While the idea of art as self-expression can sound old-fashioned, it remains widespread—especially if the relevant ‘selves’ can be social collectives, not just individual artists. But self-expression can collapse into individualistic or anthropocentric self-involvement. And compelling successor ideals for artists are not obvious. In this light, I develop a counter-ideal of creative receptivity to basic features of the external world, or artistic objectivity. Objective artists are not trying to express themselves or reach collective self-knowledge. However, they are also not disinterested (...) or emotionless. They can be unmoved by personal feelings and human concerns, but they are still receptive—just attuned to the more elemental forces that creatively inspire them. I elaborate this ideal in dialogue with John Ruskin’s influential critique of the pathetic fallacy. By contextualizing Ruskin’s view vis-à-vis Romantic and Modernist poetics, post-Kantian aesthetics, modern environmental art, and contemporary theories of expressiveness, I show how it indirectly motivates my account. (shrink)
How do radical religious sects run such deadly terrorist organizations? Hezbollah, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Taliban all began as religious groups dedicated to piety and charity. Yet once they turned to violence, they became horribly potent, executing campaigns of terrorism deadlier than those of their secular rivals. In [title], Eli Berman approaches the question using the economics of organizations. He first dispels some myths: radical religious terrorists are not generally motivated by the promise of rewards in the afterlife or even (...) by religious ideas in general. He argues that these terrorists are best understood as rational altruists seeking to help their own communities. Yet despite the vast pool of potential recruits--young altruists who feel their communities are repressed or endangered--there are less than a dozen highly lethal terrorist organizations in the world capable of sustained and coordinated violence that threatens governments and makes hundreds of millions of civilians hesitate before boarding an airplane. What's special about these organizations, and why are most of their followers religious radicals?Drawing on parallel research on radical religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Berman shows that the most lethal terrorist groups have a common characteristic: their leaders have found a way to control defection. Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban, for example, built loyalty and cohesion by means of mutual aid, weeding out "free riders" and producing a cadre of members they could rely on. The secret of their deadly effectiveness lies in their resilience and cohesion when incentives to defect are strong.These insights suggest that provision of basic social services by competent governments adds a critical, nonviolent component to counterterrorism strategies. It undermines the violent potential of radical religious organizations without disturbing free religious practice, being drawn into theological debates with Jihadists, or endangering civilians. (shrink)
The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable for the words of our language to divide up the world in ordinary ways rather than other imaginable ways. Hirsch calls this the division problem. His book aims to bring this problem into sharp focus, to distinguish it from various related problems, and to consider the best prospects for solving it. In exploring various possible responses to the division problem, Hirsch examines series of "division principles" which purport to express (...) rational constraints on how our words ought to classify and individuate. The ensuing discussion deals with a wide range of metaphysical and epistemological topics, including projectibility and similarity, alternative analyses of natural properties and things, the inscrutability of reference, and the relevance of such pragmatic notions as salience and economy. The final chapters of the book develop what Hirsch contends is the most promising response to the division problem: a theory in which constraints on classification and individuation are seen to derive from the necessary structure of "fine-grained" propositions and the necessary dependence of some concepts on others. (shrink)
Some argue that time’s causal arrow is grounded in an underlying thermodynamic asymmetry. Often, this is tied to Humean skepticism that causes produce their effects, in any robust sense of ‘produce’. Conversely, those who advocate stronger notions of natural necessity often reject thermodynamic reductions of time’s causal arrow. Against these traditional pairings, I argue that ‘reduction-plus-production’ is coherent. Reductionists looking to invoke robust production can insist that there are metaphysical constraints on the signs of objects’ velocities in any state, given (...) other—including far later—states’ properties. The Past Hypothesis may thus be a metaphysical condition, not a physical law. (shrink)
Nietzsche sometimes praises the drive to order—to simplify, organize, and draw clear boundaries—as expressive of a vital "classical" style, or an Apollonian artistic drive to calmly contemplate forms displaying "epic definiteness and clarity." But he also sometimes harshly criticizes order, as in the pathological dialectics or "logical schematism" that he associates paradigmatically with Socrates. I challenge a tradition that interprets Socratism as an especially one-sided expression of, or restricted form of attention to, the Apollonian: they are more radically disparate. Beyond (...) strengthening the case for this basic point, I develop a distinctive account of what, exactly, distinguishes the Apollonian-classical and Socratic forms of order. To this end, I advance interrelated interpretations of Apollonian-classical simplicity and the "cold" calm that it elicits, by contrast to superficially similar Socratic phenomena. This illuminates Nietzsche's broader ambivalence toward science, in part by clarifying the nature and value of an idealized Apollonian science. (shrink)
Mark Eli Kalderon argues that morality is a fiction by means of which our emotional attitudes are conveyed. This is an improvement on the standard noncognitivist view, which denies that moral judgement is belief but claims instead that it is the expression of an emotional attitude. Noncognitivists tend to deny that moral sentences even purport to represent moral reality, and so they have developed non-standard semantics for moral discourse. Kalderon's fictionalism shows that noncognitivism can manage without such controversial semantics. His (...) book will be essential reading for anyone working in moral philosophy, and for many others working on meaning and knowledge. (shrink)
The author applies the methodology of scientific research programmes to the origins of relativity, showing how Eddington, Lorentz, Poincare, Planck and Weyl were driven by mathematical heuristics to make their various contributions to Einstein's programme.
In the work of both Matti Eklund and John Hawthorne there is an influential semantic argument for a maximally expansive ontology that is thought to undermine even modest forms of quantifier variance. The crucial premise of the argument holds that it is impossible for an ontologically "smaller" language to give a Tarskian semantics for an ontologically "bigger" language. After explaining the Eklund-Hawthorne argument (in section I), we show this crucial premise to be mistaken (in section II) by developing a Tarskian (...) semantics for a mereological universalist language within a mereological nihilist language (a case which we, and Eklund and Hawthorne, take as representative). After developing this semantics we step back (in section III) to discuss the philosophical motivations behind the Eklund- Hawthorne argument’s demand for a semantics. We ultimately conclude that quantifier variantists can meet any demand for a semantics that might reasonably be imposed upon them. (shrink)
This article reconstructs and defends Theodor Adorno’s social theory by motivating the central role of abstract domination within it. Whereas critics such as Axel Honneth have charged Adorno with adhering to a reductive model of personal domination, I argue that the latter rather understands domination as a structural and de-individualized feature of capitalist society. If Adorno’s social theory is to be explanatory, however, it must account for the source of the abstractions that dominate modern individuals and, in particular, that of (...) value. While such an account remains undeveloped in Adorno, Marx provides resources for its development, in positing the constitution of value neither in production nor exchange alone, but in the social totality. This article argues that Marx’s account is compatible with Adorno’s, and that it may be used to render Adorno’s theory of domination more credible on explanatory grounds. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm’s mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis’s four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
La conviction d’Elie Zahar est que le matérialisme et le platonisme sont non seulement compatibles, mais même nécessairement liés : pour un anti-idéaliste au moins, la matière n’est pas un pur chaos informe, elle est informée, et ces formes sont intrinsèquement mathématiques, ou « mathématisables ». Tout est matière, mais la matière est écrite en langage mathématique.Ce n’est donc pas simplement d’une « introduction à la philosophie des sciences » qu’il s’agit dans ce qui suit, mais d’une philosophie de la (...) connaissance ouvrant sur une théorie du sens, une théorie du sujet et une ontologie. (shrink)
Eli Maor examines the role of infinity in mathematics and geometry and its cultural impact on the arts and sciences. He evokes the profound intellectual impact the infinite has exercised on the human mind--from the "horror infiniti" of the Greeks to the works of M. C. Escher from the ornamental designs of the Moslems, to the sage Giordano Bruno, whose belief in an infinite universe led to his death at the hands of the Inquisition. But above all, the book describes (...) the mathematician's fascination with infinity--a fascination mingled with puzzlement. "Maor explores the idea of infinity in mathematics and in art and argues that this is the point of contact between the two, best exemplified by the work of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, six of whose works are shown here in beautiful color plates."--Los Angeles Times "[Eli Maor's] enthusiasm for the topic carries the reader through a rich panorama."--Choice "Fascinating and enjoyable.... places the ideas of infinity in a cultural context and shows how they have been espoused and molded by mathematics."--Science. (shrink)
This study develops a pedagogy for the teaching of ethical principles in information systems (IS) classes, and reports on an empirical study that supports the efficacy of the approach. The proposed pedagogy involves having management information systems professors lead questioning and discussion on a list of ethical issues as part of their existing IS courses. The rationale for this pedagogy involves (1) the maturational aspects of ethics, and (2) the importance of repetition, challenge, and practice in developing a personal set (...) of ethics. A study of IS ethics using a pre-post test design found that classes receiving such treatment significantly improved their performance on an IS ethics questionnaire. (shrink)
Foucault's governmentality lectures at the Collège de France analyze the history of the state through the lens of governmental reason. However, these lectures largely omit consideration of the relationship between discipline and the state, prioritizing instead raison d'État and liberalism as dominant state technologies. To remedy this omission, I turn to Foucault's early studies of discipline and argue that they provide materials for the reconstruction of a genealogy of the "disciplinary state." In reconstructing this genealogy, I demonstrate that the disciplinary (...) state marks the "dark side" of the liberal state, a dark side which is, moreover, largely obscured in the governmentality lectures. I further construe the difference between this early genealogy of the state and the later governmental studies in methodological terms. At stake in this difference is the historiographic status of capitalism and social conflict. Foucault's governmentality lectures employ what I term an "idealist disavowal," thereby treating capitalism and social conflict as irrelevant to the history of the state. The early disciplinary studies, on the other hand, enact a "materialist avowal," by which these objects are avowed as central to the explanation of how and why the state develops. Finally, I argue that Foucault's governmental genealogy of the liberal state is explanatorily and analytically incomplete, while the genealogy of the disciplinary state contributes to its completion on both fronts. (shrink)
According to the Counterfactual Comparative Account of harm and benefit, an event is overall harmful for a subject to the extent that this subject would have been better off if it had not occurred. In this paper we present a challenge for the Counterfactual Comparative Account. We argue that if physical processes are chancy in the manner suggested by our best physical theories, then CCA faces a dilemma: If it is developed in line with the standard approach to counterfactuals, then (...) it delivers that the value of any event for a subject is indeterminate to the extreme, ranging from terribly harmful to highly beneficial. This problem can only be avoided by developing CCA in line with theories of counterfactuals that allow us to ignore a-typical scenarios. Doing this generates a different problem: when the actual world is itself a-typical we will sometimes get the result that the counterfactual nonoccurrence of an actual benefit is itself a benefit. An account of overall harm bearing either of these two implications is deficient. Given the general aspiration to account for deprivational harms and the dominance of the Counterfactual Comparative Account in this respect, theorists of harm and benefit face a deadlock. (shrink)
Epistemology and Inference was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Henry Kyburg has developed an original and important perspective on probabilistic and statistical inference. Unlike much contemporary writing by philosophers on these topics, Kyburg's work is informed by issues that have arisen in statistical theory and practice as well as issues familiar to professional philosophers. In two major (...) books and many articles, Kyberg has elaborated his technical proposals and explained their ramifications for epistemology, decision-making, and scientific inquiry. In this collection of published and unpublished essays, Kyburg presents his novel ideas and their applications in a manner that makes them accessible to philosophers and provides specialists in probability and induction with a concise exposition of his system. (shrink)
En 1936, Hubert Élie, ancien élève de l’École des Chartes, qui avait commencé quinze ans plus tôt une carrière diplomatique, publiait chez Vrin une thèse remarquable, récemment soutenue, sous le titre assez curieux : Le complexe significabile.Hors du cercle des médiévistes, Hubert Élie est certainement plus connu pour avoir initié la traduction française des Recherches Logiques de Husserl, en 1959 les Prolégomènes à la logique pure, puis, avec la collaboration de plus jeunes chercheurs l’ensemble des six Recherches . On ne (...) verra là ni rupture, ni hasard.Ce parcours, assez atypique en apparence, témoigne pourtant d’une culture assez rare et d’une curiosité philosophique aujourd’hui encore peu commune : sous le terme technique, assez opaque, de complexe significabile, se trouve en effet abordée la question du « signifiable par complexe », autrement dit du signifié de la proposition et de son statut objectif, alors même que les termes de celle-ci sont dépourvus de toute référence ontologique. (shrink)
What makes our utterances mean what they do? In this work I formulate and justify a structural constraint on possible answers to this key question in the philosophy of language, and I show that accepting this constraint leads naturally to the adoption of an algebraic formalization of truth-theoretic semantics. I develop such a formalization, and show that applying algebraic methodology to the theory of meaning yields important insights into the nature of language. ;The constraint I propose is, roughly, this: the (...) meaning of an utterance of a natural language sentence is derived from the place of that sentence within a system that includes other sentences, and is structured in virtue of primitive semantic facts about complete sentences. This constraint calls for a formal semantics program where the meaning of natural language sentences is represented by an appropriate assignment of the elements of an algebraic structure to sentences, an assignment that represents facts concerning complete sentences. I call the above constraint 'The Algebraic Thesis', and the corresponding formal semantics program 'Algebraic Semantics.' ;I introduce AT by carving it out of the holistic views of language of Quine and Davidson, and I show that it is independent of other important features of these philosophers' views. I then argue for AT, taking into account recent work by Brandom, Dummett, Fodor and Lepore, Gaifman and Perry. In developing Algebraic Semantics I present structures of two basic types: Boolean algebras and cylindric algebras; these structures are construed in the context of AT in a novel way: they are treated as applying to classes of sentences as numbers apply to physical objects in measurement. Applying algebraic methodology to formal semantics and to the theory of meaning, I develop these results: ; An account of the semantics of necessity and possibility that avoids both Quine's dismissal of these notions and their reduction by David Lewis to quantification over possible worlds; ; The application of the model-theoretic notion of expansion to capture the process of our learning progressively more of the meaning of expressions in our first languages. (shrink)
Stoffregen & Bardy's target article is based on the assumption that our senses' ultimate purpose is to provide us with perfect information about the outside world. We argue that it is often more important that information be available quickly than that it be perfect. Consequently our nervous system processes different aspects of information about our surrounding as separately as possible. The separation is not between the senses, but between separate aspects of our surrounding. This results in inconsistencies between judgments: sometimes (...) because different frames of reference are used. Such inconsistencies are fundamental to the way the information is picked up, however, and hence cannot be avoided with clearer instructions to the subjects. (shrink)