Herman Cappelen investigates how language and other representational devices can go wrong, and how to fix them. We use language to understand and talk about the world, but what if our language has deficiencies that prevent it from playing that role? How can we revise our concepts, and what are the limits on revision?
The standard view of philosophical methodology is that philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence. Herman Cappelen argues that this claim is false: it is not true that philosophers rely extensively on intuitions as evidence. At worst, analytic philosophers are guilty of engaging in somewhat irresponsible use of 'intuition'-vocabulary. While this irresponsibility has had little effect on first order philosophy, it has fundamentally misled meta-philosophers: it has encouraged meta-philosophical pseudo-problems and misleading pictures of what philosophy is.
This volume unites various contributions reflecting the intellectual interests exhibited by Professor Herman Parret, who has continued to observe, and often critically assess, ongoing developments in pragmatics throughout his career. In fact, Parret's contributions to philosophical and empirical/linguistic pragmatics present substantive proposals in the epistemics of communication, while simultaneously offering meta-comments on the ideological premises of extant pragmatic analyses. In a lengthy introduction, an overview is provided of his achievements in promoting an integrated, "maximalist" pragmatics, as well as of (...) the links between his own work in philosophy of language and in semiotics and aesthetics. The remaining 12 essays address relevant pragmatic themes or look into the relation between pragmatics and neighboring disciplines. They deal with grammatical deixis and mood, performativity, speech-act types and their praxeological dimensions, Wittgensteinian language games, cultural and intercultural identities, and the visual arts. (shrink)
Cappelen and Hawthorne present a powerful critique of fashionable relativist accounts of truth, and the foundational ideas in semantics on which the new relativism draws. They argue compellingly that the contents of thought and talk are propositions that instantiate the fundamental monadic properties of truth and falsity.
_Insensitive Semantics_ is an overview of and contribution to the debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one. Provides detailed and wide-ranging overviews of the central positions and arguments surrounding contextualism Addresses broad and varied aspects of the distinction between the semantic and non-semantic content of language Defends a distinctive (...) and explanatorily powerful combination of semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism Confronts core problems which not only run to the heart of philosophy of language and linguistics, but which arise in epistemology, metaphysics, and moral philosophy as well. (shrink)
God in the Age of Science? is a critical examination of strategies for the philosophical defence of religious belief. Herman Philipse argues that the most promising for believers who want to be justified in accepting their creed in our scientific age is the Bayesian cumulative case strategy developed by Richard Swinburne, and goes on to present an in-depth analysis of this case for theism. Using a 'strategy of subsidiary arguments', Philipse concludes that theism cannot be stated meaningfully; that if (...) theism were meaningful, it would have no predictive power concerning existing evidence, so that Bayesian arguments cannot get started; and that if the Bayesian cumulative case strategy did work, one should conclude that atheism is more probable than theism. Philipse provides a careful, rigorous, and original critique of atheism in the world today. (shrink)
Conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics are branches of philosophy concerned with questions about how to assess and ameliorate our representational devices (such as concepts and words). It's a part of philosophy concerned with questions about which concepts we should use (and why), how concepts can be improved, when concepts should be abandoned, and how proposals for amelioration can be implemented. Central parts of the history of philosophy have engaged with these issues, but the focus of this volume is on applications (...) to work in contemporary philosophy of language and mind, epistemology, gender and race theory, ethics, philosophy of science, and philosophical logic. This is the first volume devoted entirely to conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics. The volume explores the possibilities, benefits, problems, and applications of conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics. It consists of twenty chapters written by leading philosophers. (shrink)
Cappelen and Dever present a forceful challenge to the standard view that perspective, and in particular the perspective of the first person, is a philosophically deep aspect of the world. Their goal is not to show that we need to explain indexical and other perspectival phenomena in different ways, but to show that the entire topic is an illusion.
Can humans and artificial intelligences share concepts and communicate? Making AI Intelligible shows that philosophical work on the metaphysics of meaning can help answer these questions. Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever use the externalist tradition in philosophy to create models of how AIs and humans can understand each other. In doing so, they illustrate ways in which that philosophical tradition can be improved. The questions addressed in the book are not only theoretically interesting, but the answers have pressing practical (...) implications. Many important decisions about human life are now influenced by AI. In giving that power to AI, we presuppose that AIs can track features of the world that we care about (for example, creditworthiness, recidivism, cancer, and combatants). If AIs can share our concepts, that will go some way towards justifying this reliance on AI. This ground-breaking study offers insight into how to take some first steps towards achieving Interpretable AI. (shrink)
Language Turned on Itself examines what happens when language becomes self-reflexive; when language is used to talk about language. Those who think, talk, and write about language are habitual users of various metalinguistic devices, but reliance on these devices begins early: kids are told, 'That's called a "rabbit"'. It's not implausible that a primitive capacity for the meta-linguistic kicks in at the beginning stages of language acquisition. But no matter when or how frequently these devices are invoked, one thing is (...) clear: they present theorists of language with a complex data pattern. Herman Cappelen and Ernest Lepore show that the study of these devices and patterns not only represents an interesting and neglected project in the philosophy of language, but also carries important consequences for other parts of philosophy. Part I is devoted to presenting data about various aspects of our metalinguistic practices. In Part II, the authors examine and reject the four leading metalinguistic theories, and offer a new account of our use of quotation in a variety of different contexts. But the primary goal of this book is not to promote one theory over another. Rather, it is to present a deeply puzzling set of problems and explain their significance. (shrink)
Bad Language is the first textbook on an emerging area in the study of language: non-idealized language use, the linguistic behaviour of people who exploit language for malign purposes. This lively, accessible introduction offers theoretical frameworks for thinking about such topics as lies and bullshit, slurs and insults, coercion and silencing.
Making room for character -- Pluralism and the community of moral judgment -- A cosmopolitan kingdom of ends --Responsibility and moral competence --Can virtue be taught?: the problem of new moral facts -- Training to autonomy: Kant and the question of moral education -- Bootstrapping -- Rethinking Kant's hedonism -- The scope of moral requirement -- The will and its objects -- Obligatory ends -- Moral improvisation -- Contingency in obligation.
This is the first book devoted to the question of how language can be used to talk about language. Cappelen and Lepore examine the semantics, the pragmatics, and the syntax of linguistic devices that can be used in this way, and present a new account of our use of quotation in a variety of different contexts.
This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...) and neighbouring fields, including those of mathematics, psychology, literature and film, and neuroscience. (shrink)
In the quest for identity and healing, what belongs to the humanities and what to clinical psychology? Ginette Paris uses cogent and passionate argument as well as stories from patients to teach us to accept that the human psyche seeks to destroy relationships and lives as well as to sustain them. This is very hard to accept which is why, so often, the body has the painful and dispiriting job of showing us what our psyche refuses to see. In (...) jargon-free language, the author describes her own story of taking a turn downwards and inwards in the search for a metaphorical personal 'death'. If this kind of mortality is not attended to, then more literal bodily ailments and actual death itself can result. Paris engages with one of the main dilemmas of contemporary psychology and psychotherapy: how to integrate findings and insights from neuroscience and medicine into an approach to healing founded upon activation of the imagination. At present, she demonstrates, what is happening is damaging to both science and imagination. (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)
How do we define religious experiences? And what would be the relationship with spiritual experiences? The author claims that the cognitive turn in science gives us new opportunities to map the territory of religion and spirituality. In line with other authors, he proposes a building block approach of cognitive mechanisms that can deal with questions regarding the specificity, origin, and complexity of religious experiences. Two concepts are presented that bridge the great divide which is presumed to exist between sciences that (...) study the brain and humanities, namely the encultured brain and predictive minds. In section three, six building blocks of the structure of religious experience are formulated. New in his approach is the unexpected possible as distinctive ground between normal experiences and what we consider spiritual and religious experiences. Finally, the author presents a critical reflection on his proposal and challenges for the road ahead. (shrink)
Philosophers of history in the past few decades have been predominantly interested in issues of explanation and narrative discourse. Consequently, they have focused consistently and almost exclusively on the historian’s output, thereby ignoring that historical scholarship is a practice of reading, thinking, discussing, and writing, in which successful performance requires active cultivation of certain skills, attitudes, and virtues. This paper, then, suggests a new agenda for philosophy of history. Inspired by a “performative turn” in the history and philosophy of science, (...) it focuses on the historian’s “doings” and proposes to analyze these performances in terms of epistemic virtue. It argues that historical scholarship is embedded in “practices” or “epistemic cultures,” in which knowledge is created and warranted by means of such virtues as honesty, carefulness, accuracy, and balance. These epistemic virtues, however, are not etched in stone: historians may highlight some of them, exchange one for another, or reinterpret their meaning. On the one hand, this suggests a rich area of research for historians of historiography. To what extent can consensus, conflict, continuity, and change in historical scholarship be explained in terms of epistemic virtue? On the other hand, the proposal outlined in this article raises a couple of philosophical questions. For example, on what grounds can historians choose among epistemic virtues? And what concept of the self comes with the notion of virtue? In addressing these questions, philosophy of history may expand its current scope so as to encompass not only “writings” but also “doings,” that is, the virtuous performances historians recognize as professional conduct. (shrink)
I call the activity of assessing and developing improvements of our representational devices ‘conceptual engineering’.¹ The aim of this chapter is to present an argument for why conceptual engineering is important for all parts of philosophy (and, more generally, all inquiry). Section I of the chapter provides some background and defines key terms. Section II presents the argument. Section III responds to seven objections. The replies also serve to develop the argument and clarify what conceptual engineering is.
This paper has been translated from the French by Cosmin Toma. It focuses on Jacques Derrida's very last lecture, given in Rio de Janeiro, on the 16th of August 2004, which Derrida drew from his ‘Le parjure et le pardon’ seminar held at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris, from 1997 to 1999. In reference to this final lecture in which Derrida deals with ‘forgiveness,’ ‘truth’, ‘reconciliation’, ‘testimony’ and ‘genre’, the paper also takes up the question (...) of justice as well as of what he calls the ‘worst violence’ via testimonial writings by Sarah Kofman and Antjie Krog so as to rethink forgiveness. (shrink)
The beginning of the twenty-first century saw something of a comeback for relativism within analytical philosophy. Relativism and Monadic Truth has three main goals. First, we wished to clarify what we take to be the key moving parts in the intellectual machinations of self-described relativists. Secondly, we aimed to expose fundamental flaws in those argumentative strategies that drive the pro-relativist movement and precursors from which they draw inspiration. Thirdly, we hoped that our polemic would serve as an indirect defence of (...) a traditional and natural picture concerning truth. According to this picture, what we call ‘Simplicity’, the fundamental structure of semantic reality is best revealed by construing truth as a simple monadic property of propositions that serve as the objects of belief, assertion, meaning and agreement. Our project was not a straightforward one. So-called relativists are not uniform in their key ideology, are often sloppy, casual, obscure or confused in their self-characterization, and differ in their argumentative emphasis among themselves and over time, thereby presenting a target that is both amorphous and shifty. This is an area where parties will frequently claim not to understand each other and where certain parties will sometimes accuse others of failing to make any sense at all. In such a situation, any effort to impose order will inevitably strike some parties as tendentious and unfair. That said, we felt that we had enough of …. (shrink)
The twentieth-century Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd left behind an impressive canon of philosophical works and has continued to influence a scholarly community in Europe and North America, which has extended, critiqued, and applied his thought in many academic fields. Jonathan Chaplin introduces Dooyeweerd for the first time to many English readers by critically expounding Dooyeweerd's social and political thought and by exhibiting its pertinence to contemporary civil society debates. Chaplin begins by contextualizing Dooyeweerd's thought, first in relation to present-day (...) debates and then in relation to the work of the Dutch philosopher Abraham Kuyper. Chaplin outlines the distinctive theory of historical and cultural development that serves as an essential backdrop to Dooyeweerd's substantive social philosophy; examines Dooyeweerd's notion of societal structural principles; and sets forth his complex classification of particular types of social structure and their various interrelationships. Chaplin provides a detailed examination of Dooyeweerd's theory of the state, its definitive nature, and its proper role vis-a-vis other elements of society. Dooyeweerd's contributions, Chaplin concludes, assist us in mapping the ways in which state and civil society should be related to achieve justice and the public good. "This superb study simultaneously introduces and critically engages the work of one of the most important and neglected Christian thinkers of the twentieth century, while showing its connection to the pluralist tradition and bringing it to bear on the contemporary debate about civil society. More than just providing an overview of Dooyeweerd's thought, it seeks to advance his intellectual project and show its contemporary relevance. It is essential reading not only for those interested in the neo-Calvinist tradition, but for anyone interested in Christian social thought, structural pluralism, or the nature and fate of civil society." --_Kenneth L. Grasso, Texas State University _ "The subtlety, scope, and insightfulness of Dooyeweerd's social philosophy were unparalleled among Protestant thinkers in the past century. Yet his contributions are not well known. Jonathan Chaplin promises to remedy this neglect. His lucid and masterful study brings a new and transformative voice to contemporary debates about the future of a democratic society." --_Lambert Zuidervaart, Institute for Christian Studies and University of Toronto_ "Finally, an authoritative book that brings to brilliant light and life Herman Dooyeweerd's Christian philosophy of law, politics, and society. For the past half century, the profound and original teachings of this prolific Dutch sage have been lost on most readers. Jonathan Chaplin has rescued Dooyeweerd from his own obscure prose, poor translations, and cultic mystique to reveal his astonishing and engaging insights into our lives as persons and peoples, rulers and citizens, preachers and parishioners, parents and children. This will be the go-to book on Dooyeweerd for many years to come." --_John Witte, Jr., Emory University_ "Herman Dooyeweerd was both deep and original. Much of his writing is an articulation of rather undeveloped lines of thought in his Dutch predecessor, Abraham Kuyper. In the course of his exposition, Chaplin effectively highlights Dooyeweerd's significance for a theory of civil society and for present-day social theory in general." --_Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University and the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Virginia_. (shrink)
Society in the Self: A Theory of Identity in Democracy shows how society is working in the deeper regions of self and identity. This book is an exploration of the democratic potentials of self and identity in a globalizing and localizing society.
ABSTRACTWhat did “historical distance” mean to historians in the Rankean tradition? Although historical distance is often equated with temporal distance, an analysis of Ernst Bernheim's Lehrbuch der historischen Methode reveals that for German historians around 1900 distance did not primarily refer to a passage of time that would enable scholars to study remote pasts from retrospective points of view. If Bernheim's manual presents historical distance as a prerequisite for historical interpretation, the metaphor rather conveys a need for self‐distanciation. Self‐distanciation is (...) not a Romantic desire to “extinguish” oneself, but a virtuous attempt to put one's own ideas and intuitions about the working of the world between brackets in the study of people who might have understood the world in different terms. Although Bernheim did not explicitly talk about virtue, the article shows that his Lehrbuch nonetheless considers self‐distanciation a matter of virtuous behavior, targeted at an aim that may not be fully realizable, but ought to be pursued with all possible vigor. For Bernheim, then, distance requires epistemological virtue, which in turn calls for intellectual character, or what Bernheim's generation considered scholarly selfhood . Not a mapping of time onto space, but a strenuous effort to mold “scholarly characters,” truly able to recognize the otherness of the past, appears to be characteristic of Bernheim's view of historical distance. (shrink)
This book emphasizes the affinity between Foucault's and Nietzsche's thought. Both philosophers tried to give clarity to modernity's arbitrary nature. Following on from Foucault's diagnostic enquiries into a "History of Sexuality" and Nietzsche's appreciation of ancient culture, Nilson's study shows a practical consequence: the self-stylization of the individual. This esthetical attitude replaces a belief in metaphysical and even scientific meaning, thus leading to a philosophy of life.
Herman Philipse puts forward a powerful new critique of belief in God. He examines the strategies that have been used for the philosophical defence of religious belief, and by careful reasoning casts doubt on the legitimacy of relying on faith instead of evidence, and on probabilistic arguments for the existence of God.
Religion is relevant to all of us, whether we are believers or not. This book concerns two interrelated topics. First, how probable is God's existence? Should we not conclude that all divinities are human inventions? Second, what are the mental and social functions of endorsing religious beliefs? The answers to these questions are interdependent. If a religious belief were true, the fact that humans hold it might be explained by describing how its truth was discovered. If all religious beliefs are (...) false, a different explanation is required. In this provocative book Herman Philipse combines philosophical investigations concerning the truth of religious convictions with empirical research on the origins and functions of religious beliefs. Numerous topics are discussed, such as the historical genesis of monotheisms out of polytheisms, how to explain Saul's conversion to Jesus, and whether any apologetic strategy of Christian philosophers is convincing. Universal atheism is the final conclusion. (shrink)
A penetrating and illuminating exchange of views between Richard Rorty, a highly influential and sometimes controversial philosopher, and seven of his most thoughtful critics, providing new insights into the impact of his work on contemporary American philosophy.
Context and Communication offers an introduction to a central theme in the study of language: the various ways in which what we say depends on the context of speech and thought. The period since 1970 has produced a vast literature on this topic, both by philosophers and by linguists. This book explores key data, questions, concepts, and theories of context sensitivity. It is written to be accessible to someone with no prior knowledge of the material or, indeed, any prior knowledge (...) of philosophy, and is ideal for use as part of a philosophy of language course by students of philosophy or linguistics. (shrink)
Metasemantic inferentialism has gained popularity in the last few decades. Traditionally, inferentialism is combined with a deflationary attitude towards semantic terms such as truth and reference, i.e., many inferentialists hold that when we use these semantic terms we do not purport to refer to substantive properties. This combination makes inferentialism attractive for philosophers who see themselves as antirealists. Although the attractions of combining inferentialism and deflationism are easy to see, deflationism is also a controversial position. For one, deflationists maintain that (...) truth is an insubstantive property, but it is not altogether clear what an insubstantive property is. Secondly, as deflationists maintain that truth does not play an explanatory role, it is incompatible with the position that truth can explain the normativity of truth talk. Given that deflationism faces these objections, it would be preferable if the success of inferentialism did not depend on the deflationist’s ability to respond to these objections. I argue that someone attracted to inferentialism for its ability to accommodate antirealist intuitions about a domain is not committed to deflationism about truth. More specifically, I will show that inferentialism combined with a straightforward account of inferentialist truth-conditions is compatible with a version of truth pluralism. I call this position Inferentialist Truth Pluralism. (shrink)
This volume brings together two series of papers: one began with Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore's 1997 paper 'On an Alleged Connection Between the Theory of Meaning and Indirect Speech'. The other series started with their 1997 paper 'Varieties of Quotation'. The central theme throughout is that only when communicative content is liberated from semantic content will we make progress in understanding language, communication, contexts, and their interconnection. These are the papers in which Cappelen and Lepore introduced speech act (...) pluralism and semantic minimalism, and they provide the foundation for one of the most powerful attacks on contextualism in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)