This book is a major attempt to reconcile the empirical basis of linguistic science with the a priori nature of philosophical reasoning. Its purpose is to show how the methods and findings of linguistic science, especially of transformational grammar, can be used to cast light upon central problems of analytic philosophy. After dealing with recent objections to the use of linguistic techniques in philosophy, the author shows, with great force and clarity, how these techniques can be applied to such problems (...) as the analysis of singular terms, the concepts of fact, event, and causality, and the meaning of the word "good.". (shrink)
The influence of St. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises on Descartes’ work, including the Meditations, has been recognized and discussed by many historians. I just mention a few fairly recent and easily accessible instances. In The Metaphysics of Descartes, J. L. Beck suggests that the literary form of the Meditations is most likely due to the Ignatian meditations to which Descartes had been exposed during his training at the Jesuit college of LaFlèche. Arthur Thomson in ‘Ignace de Loyola et Descartes’ (...) traces some elements in Descartes’ method and psychology to Ignatian sources, mainly focusing on the Discourse. (shrink)
The notion of possible worlds — once an abstruse offspring of Leibnizian theology — seems to enjoy a new lease on life in the hands of contemporary modal logicians and semanticists. The phrase “possible world” crops up with increasing frequency, and, as it is the case with many philosophical catchwords, its very familarity creates a presumption of understanding. Yet, although some related problems, particularly the one concerning cross-world identification of individuals, have received some critical scrutiny, the very idea of possible (...) worlds has been borrowed from Leibniz, and its intelligibility taken for granted even without its theological roots.My misgivings about this notion are not due to a prejudice against the concept of the possible itself: far from “passing” away, it remains a fundamental and irreplaceable element of human thought. (shrink)
Those who disturb the hornets’ nest better be thick skinned. Keeping that in mind, thus far I kept my silence in the face of the adverse reactions my essay “On What One Knows” has provoked in the literature. As to the merits of the various objections, moreover, I trusted the judgement of the philosophical community to sort them out, and either recognize their futility, or make the necessary adjustments in my arguments without the need to reject the conclusions.In the case (...) of Dunn and Suter, however, I decided to make an exception. The reason is that they indeed succeeded in pointing out certain difficulties in my position, which are not due to misunderstandings, conflicting linguistic intuitions, or other superficial sources. And, second, meeting their objections gives me the opportunity of proposing a significant refinement of my theory, the need for which I increasingly felt in the meanwhile myself. (shrink)
1. Goethe, the greatest poet of his age, has spent a great deal of effort in composing a treatise on color. He was in his fifties, and Napoleon was roaming about Germany. It was a time when, as he puts it, “a quiet, collected state of mind was out of the question”. Yet he persisted, inspired by the importance of the topic ), and goaded on by what he perceived to be glaring inadequacies in the prevailing theories offered by Newton (...) and his successors. (shrink)
If a speaker says something in a language and one of the listeners knows L but another does not, then, normally, A will understand what S said but B will not. What is it, exactly, that A , but not B , succeeds in doing in this case, and how to account for the difference? This is a fundamental problem, which the philosophy of language should be able to solve, yet, to my knowledge, has not done so to date.
After a brief outline of the book, Criticism is offered on the following points. 1) whether or not the verb 'say' is a general performative? 2) can belief-Objects be represented adverbially? 3) does ziff succeed in refuting grice's theory of meaning? 4) ziff's omission of the illocutionary domain.
Contemporary readers of Descartes can hardly fail to notice that the author uses the word pensée, or cogitatio, in a much broader sense than French speakers use pensée nowadays, or we use the closest English word, thought. He consistently maintains that feelings, sensations, as well as the products of one's fancy, are one and all modes of thought.Yet, clearly, according to the normal use of the word, sensations of light, of sound, of hunger, and so forth, are not regarded as (...) part of one's thinking, nor do we so regard the spontaneous flight of the imagination one might experience in daydreams or real dreams, or while thinking about unrelated matters. Some of these sensations, notably aches, pains, pangs of hunger, blinding light, and strong noise, are not only not counted among our thoughts, but they are apt to interfere with our thinking, and, in extreme cases, might stop it altogether. In a similar way, the lascivious play of St. Antony's imagination did not embellish his meditations on the holy mysteries; he had to overcome or ignore it to be able to pursue the train of his thought. (shrink)