A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
Thinking about space is thinking about spatial things. The table is on the carpet; hence the carpet is under the table. The vase is in the box; hence the box is not in the vase. But what does it mean for an object to be somewhere? How are objects tied to the space they occupy? This book is concerned with these and other fundamental issues in the philosophy of spatial representation. Our starting point is an analysis of the interplay between (...) mereology (the study of part/whole relations), topology (the study of spatial continuity and compactness), and the theory of spatial location proper. This leads to a unified framework for spatial representation understood quite broadly as a theory of the representation of spatial entities. The framework is then tested against some classical metaphysical questions such as: Are parts essential to their wholes? Is spatial colocation a sufficient criterion of identity? What (if anything) distinguishes material objects from events and other spatial entities? The concluding chapters deal with applications to topics as diverse as the logical analysis of movement and the semantics of maps. (shrink)
Holes are a good example of the sort of entity that down-to-earth philosophers would be inclined to expel from their ontological inventory. In this work we argue instead in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this liberality—odd as they might appear. We examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity and their causal role, the ways we perceive them. We distinguish three basic kinds of holes: blind hollows, perforating tunnels, and internal cavities, treating (...) these uniformly as immaterial bodies. We develop a morphology of holes, focusing on the way a hole can be filled, and then look at the main properties of the resulting conceptual framework: holes are parasitic upon the surfaces of their hosts; holes can move, fuse into each other, split; they can be born, develop, and die. Finally, we examine how some morphological features of holes are represented in perception, including the conditions whereby we have the impression that we see, feel, or even hear a hole. The book has over 150 pictures and is completed by a formal appendix, a section with puzzles and exercises, and a extensive annotated bibliography. (shrink)
We discuss the distinction between the sensory modalities; the metaphysics of sounds; and the structure of sound space. We defend a physicalist conception of sounds, without accepting the identification of sounds with sound-waves in the medium. Sounds, we hold, are events in resonating objects. We evaluate the two main accounts of orientation in perceptual space: relationism and absolutism. We then address Strawson's problem of whether the logical space of sounds could be spatial in the full sense of the term. In (...) the Appendix, we discuss the logic of perceptual auditory reports, and show their compatibility with our theory of sounds. (shrink)
What are the relationships between an entity and the space at which it is located? And between a region of space and the events that take place there? What is the metaphysical structure of localization? What its modal status? This paper addresses some of these questions in an attempt to work out at least the main coordinates of the logical structure of localization. Our task is mostly taxonomic. But we also highlight some of the underlying structural features and we single (...) out the interactions between the notion of localization and nearby notions, such as the notions of part and whole, or of necessity and possibility. A theory of localization—we argue—is needed in order to account for the basic relations between objects and space, and runs afoul a pure part-whole theory. We also provide an axiomatization of the relation of localization and examine cases of localization involving entities different from material objects. (shrink)
The project of a 'naive physics' has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as K hler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit from (...) a knowledge of these historical roots of their discipline, which are shown to imply above alla critique of the set-theory-based models of reality typically presupposed by contemporary work in common-sense ontology . (shrink)
We provide some meta-theoretical constraints for the evaluation of a-spatial theories of sounds and auditory perception. We point out some forms of spatial content auditory experience can have. If auditory experience does not necessarily have a rich egocentric spatial content, it must have some spatial content for the relevant mode of perception to be recognizably auditory. An auditory experience devoid of any spatial content, if the notion makes sense at all, would be very different from the auditory experiences we actually (...) enjoy. This is enough to dismiss current a-spatial theories of auditory perception. As a consequence, our initial taxonomy of proximal, medial, and distal theories, as well as our phenomenological argument in favor of distal theories, are still topical. (shrink)
This chapter analyzes the concept of an event and of event representation as an umbrella notion. It provides an overview of different ways events have been dealt with in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. This variety of positions has been construed in part as the result of different descriptive and explanatory projects. It is argued that various types of notions — common-sense, theoretically revised, scientific, and internalist psychological — be kept apart.
This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also consider (...) the idea of non-standard geographies, which may be associated with geography under a classical conception in the same sense in which non-standard logics are associated with classical logic. (shrink)
Ordinary reasoning about space—we argue—is first and foremost reasoning about things or events located in space. Accordingly, any theory concerned with the construction of a general model of our spatial competence must be grounded on a general account of the sort of entities that may enter into the scope of the theory. Moreover, on the methodological side the emphasis on spatial entities (as opposed to purely geometrical items such as points or regions) calls for a reexamination of the conceptual categories (...) required for this task. Building on material presented in an earlier paper, in this work we offer some examples of what this amounts to, of the difficulties involved, and of the main directions along which spatial theories should be developed so as to combine formal sophistication with some affinity with common sense. (shrink)
Argle claimed that holes supervene on their material hosts, and that every truth about holes boils down to a truth about perforated things. This may well be right, assuming holes are perforations. But we still need an explicit theory of holes to do justice to the ordinary way of counting holes--or so says Cargle.
The purpose of Parts and Places, say Casati and Varzi in their introduction, is to construct “a theory of our spatial competence,” a theory that will lay bare how we conceive of space and the things that lie within it. Its purpose, then, is psychological, not metaphysical. Its object of study is not space. It is not the things that lie within it. Rather its object of study is us. In this regard, Parts and Places is at best a mixed (...) success. (shrink)
This review article explores several senses in which it can be held that the (actual, psychological) concept of an object is a formal concept, as opposed, here, to being a sortal concept. Some recent positions both from the philosophical and psychological literature are analyzed: Object-sortalism (Xu), quasi-sortalist reductive strategies (Bloom), qualified sortalism (Wiggins), demonstrative theories (Fodor), and anti-sortalism (Ayers).
Hallucinatory pictures are yet to be found picture-like artifacts that induce a hallucination of their content that cannot be intuitively explained by a look at the structure of the pictorial vehicle. Different accounts of depiction make different predictions about the possibility that such artifacts be considered as pictures. Some cases are presented that point towards the intuitive acceptability of hallucinatory pictures.
Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naïve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over (...) another. The notion of representational advantage is investigated and some scepticism is expressed as to its appropriateness for use in descriptive metaphysics. (shrink)
The project of a naive physics has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as Kohler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit from a (...) knowledge of these historical roots of their discipline, which are shown to imply above all a critique of the set-theory-based models of reality typically presupposed by contemporary work in common-sense ontology. (shrink)
Surprise has been characterized has an emotional reaction to an upset belief having a heuristic role and playing a criterial role for belief ascription. The discussion of cases of diachronic and synchronic violations of coherence suggests that surprise plays an epistemic role and provides subjects with some sort of phenomenological access to their subpersonal doxastic states. Lack of surprise seems not to have the same epistemic power. A distinction between belief and expectation is introduced in order to account for some (...) aspects of surprise: expectations are construed as volatile representations that tie belief to action. In the cases in which action is not involved, general, “ideological,” expectations are generate in strict connection with the context and with the possibilities of action. (shrink)
The relationships between art and cognition constitute a very wide set of largely unexplored and at times undefined or much too speculative problems. The field is narrowed down by imposing some constraints. It is proposed that the depiction of cast shadows, in its early history, could provide an ideal case study which conforms to the constraints. This paper addresses some methodological problems of the study of this case. A sample of relevant Renaissance images is discussed. A typology of depicted cast (...) shadows is proposed upon which further empirical research could be built. (shrink)
This paper deals with recent work on the role of objects in cognition and the methodological problems created by findings and theories in various strands of the cognitive sciences. The term ‘object’ is here mean to refer to spatially extended items that persist over time. The main theses of this paper are as follows. First, we should ideally consider the various notions and representations of objects and objecthood that emerge from the literature as components of something akin to the notion (...) of internalized language that is at the core of mainstream linguistics. There appear to be as many different I-representations of objects as there are fields of investigation, and this creates some interesting methodological problems. Second, it is important to assess whether these different notions may be traced back to a common ground of underlying principles. Existing unification attempts either underestimate the differences between the I-representations or pave the way to an eliminative position that would dispose of the variety of I-notions altogether. The paper builds on these previous attempts and proposes to use again an analogy from linguistics in order to show how commonalities and differences between the various I-notions can be accounted for. Third, this framework can allow us to make sense of some so far piecemeal analyses of the commonsense notion of an object. (shrink)
This major bibliography offers a comprehensive overview of the recent literature on the nature of events and the place they occupy in our conceptual scheme. The subject has received extensive consideration in the philosophical debate over the last few decades, with ramifications reaching far into the domains of allied disciplines such as linguistics and the cognitive sciences. The starting point for this work is Hans Reichenbach's pioneering contribution on the logical form of action sentences, and the broad scope includes entries (...) from the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of space, time, and causation, and situation theory. Approximately 1,850 entries from more than 900 authors are listed in alphabetical/chronological order by author, and most entries are annotated . This excellent work also includes Subject, Name, and Second and Subsequent Authors indexes. (shrink)
Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of structural essentialism, (...) such as morphological essentialism (an object cannot change shape) and locative essentialism (an object cannot change position) are also examined. (shrink)
Consider the following argument If panpsychism is true, then the hard problem of consciousness is solved Physicalism is true Physicalism entails panpsychism. We conclude that The hard problem of consciousness is solved. This is a valid argument, and one whose conclusion has a certain appeal. What about the premisses? How exactly is panpsychism a solution to the problem of phenomenal consciousness? Who can take panpsychism seriously, and how can panpsychism be entailed by physicalism? A little forcing is assumed in suggesting (...) to consider a philosophical argument whose conclusion is panpsychism. But I think the exercise is worthwhile, provided we spell out all the consequences of forcing. (shrink)
I discuss the social significance of publication in the life of a scientific knowledge object . The importance of publication is made evident by the complex issue of unpublication . Unpublication is a tempting option in the electronic world. I argue against the viability of unpublication, both on practical and on principled grounds related to the cascading entitlements of published paper.
Classically, truth and falsehood are opposite, and so are logical truth and logical falsehood. In this paper we imagine a situation in which the opposition is so pervasive in the language we use as to threaten the very possibility of telling truth from falsehood. The example exploits a suggestion of Ramsey’s to the effect that negation can be expressed simply by writing the negated sentence upside down. The difference between ‘p’ and ‘~~p’ disappears, the principle of double negation becomes trivial, (...) and the truth/falsehood opposition is up for grabs. Our moral is that this indeterminacy undermines the idea of inferential role semantics. (shrink)
This paper proposes a methodological strategy to investigate the question of the individuation of the senses both from a commonsensical and a scientific point of view. We start by discussing some traditional and recent criteria for distinguishing the senses and argue that none of them taken in isolation seems to be able to handle both points of views. We then pay close attention to the faculty of hearing which offers promising examples of the strategy we pursue of combining commonsense and (...) science. In particular, we argue in favour of a distinction between two kinds of modes of presentation associated with sound perception: a mechanical mode of presentation that makes sounds perceptible by other modalities than audition such as touch and a tonal mode of presentation that makes people conceive of sounds as the proper objects of auditory perception. (shrink)
Naive physics beliefs can be systematically mistaken. They provide a useful test-bed because they are common, and also because their existence must rely on some adaptive advantage, within a given context. In the second part of the commentary we also ask questions about when a whole family of misbeliefs should be considered together as a single phenomenon.
W dziełach Arystotelesa, lub z medievals, jak również w pismach późniejszych zdroworozsądkowe filozofów, takich jak Thomas Reid czy GE Moore’a, możemy znaleźć rodzinę różnych prób uporania się ze strukturami rozsądku i wspólnego -sense świat, który jest nam dany w normalnym, doświadczenie pre-teoretycznym. Będziemy argumentować, co wynika, że teoria takich struktur stanowi ważny i dotychczas niedoceniany związek między wczesnym psychologii Gestalt z jednej strony, oraz współczesnych osiągnięć w filozofii i sztucznej inteligencji badań na innych.
A philosophical dialogue on the functioning, the limits, and the paradoxes of our electoral practices, dealing with such basic questions as: What is a vote? How do we count votes? And do votes really count?
This issue of The Monist is devoted to the metaphysics of lesser kinds, which is to say those kinds of entity that are not generally recognized as occupying a prominent position in the categorial structure of the world. Why bother? We offer two sorts of reason. The first is methodological. In mathematics, it is common practice to study certain functions (for instance) by considering limit cases: What if x = 0? What if x is larger than any assigned value? Physics, (...) too, often studies the (idealized) initial and boundary conditions of a given system: What would happen in the case of a perfect sphere, or a perfectly black body? In the cognitive sciences, research often thrives on the analysis of cognitive errors, perceptual illusions, brain pathologies. Also in logic one can learn a lot by studying special, anomalous scenarios such as those exhibited by the paradoxes: it is unlikely that we actually find ourselves in a soritical context, or in a liar-like situation, but the fact that we might—or simply the fact that we can conceive of such a possibility—is important enough to deserve careful consideration. In short, the odd, the unfamiliar, the extra-ordinary, the limit cases are perfectly at home in scientific and more broadly intellectual discourse at various levels, where they can be fruitfully engaged in a sophisticated way (witness the existence of specific confining and managing strategies for dealing with them); and they are important precisely because they instruct us concerning the normal, the obvious, and the paradigmatic. The same goes for metaphysics, we submit. Although its major concern is, naturally, with such core entities as substances, properties, or hunks of solid matter, a lot may be learned by paying attention to those limit cases where we find ourselves dealing with entities of much lesser kinds, whether real or putative. (shrink)
This is a position article summarizing our approach to the philosophy of space and spatial representation. Our concern is mostly methodological: above all, we argue that a number of philosophical puzzles that arise in this field—puzzles concerning the nature of spatial entities, their material and mereological constitution, their relationship with the space that they occupy—stem from a confusion between semantic issues and true metaphysical concerns.
Minor entities provide an interesting testbed for metaphysical theories, but also for investigating the structure of concepts, as their concepts appear to be tributary of different representational systems.
The methodological anarchy that characterizes much recent research in artificial intelligence and other cognitive sciences has brought into existence (sometimes resumed) a large variety of entities from a correspondingly large variety of (sometimes dubious) ontological categories. Recent work in spatial representation and reasoning is particularly indicative of this trend. Our aim in this paper is to suggest some ways of reconciling such a luxurious proliferation of entities with the sheer sobriety of good philosophy.
Descriptive metaphysics investigates our na?ve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over another. The notion of (...) representational advantage is investigated and some scepticism is expressed as to its appropriateness for use in descriptive metaphysics. (shrink)
A new type of impossible picture is presented and described. The picture involves an object along with its reflection in a plane mirror, delivering two apparently irreconcilable views of the object itself when seen simultaneously in its flesh and in the mirror. Contrary to other, more familiar impossible pictures, its interpretation requires explicit reasoning about the represented reality. It is a slow impossible picture.