Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Bracketing concerns about a notion of indeterminacy whose source is not semantic (nor epistemic) and about the notion of indeterminate truth, we devoted part of the discussion to Cameron’s contention that insatisfaction with “Lucretian” properties like being such as to have been a child motivates restriction to difference-making properties as candidates for truthmaking, understood as properties “the instantiation of which at a time makes a difference to the intrinsic nature of the bearer at that time”.
If I understood them correctly, both Marta Campdelacreu (in attendance) and Pablo Rychter (virtually) independently worried that some properties that would count as difference-making for Cameron seemed insatisfactory for truthmaking in just the same way than “Lucretian” properties were. Take an intrinsic property Ross presently instantiates, say being currently sitting. It would seem as unsatisfactory as before that the presentist used the property of being such as to have been a child and currently sitting in the truthmaker for the truth that Ross was a child. But the property is difference-making for him, given that
(*) Ross has the intrinsic nature at the present that he has partly in virtue of instantiating being such as to have been a child and currently sitting at the present.(Notice that it won’t do, it seems to me, to reject (*) on the basis of:
(#) Ross has the intrinsic nature at the present that he has partly in virtue of instantiating being currently sitting at the present.For, arguably, if (#) is true then (*) is also true. See the axiom of subsumption in Fine’s (1995) logic of essence, and the discussion of the conjunction thesis for truthmaking in López de Sa (2009).)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
In particular, those in attendance did not object to the following constituting a proof of the existence of numbers (p. 357):
- There are prime numbers.
- Therefore there are numbers.
different ways. As I understand it, there are two crucial features of the system
just outlined which make this term appropriate. First, sentences may vary in
truth value without a corresponding variation in content. Second, this variation
depends on some parameter whose value is not fixed by the situation in which a
sentence is used. (pg. 315)
And then he continues, relating his view with MacFarlane's:
These criteria are equivalent, as far as I can tell, to the claim that sentences
may be assigned contents whose truth values depend not just on the “context
of use” but also on the “context of assessment” (MacFarlane 2003, 2005a). We
treat the context of use as fully determined by the situation in which the sentence
is used; if truth values vary independently of this situation, we regard them as
at least partly dependent on a separate context determined by the situation in
which the sentence is assessed for truth or falsity.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
If you find this too confusing or stupid, please ignore it. :-)
Friday, October 09, 2009
The UN are sending in a hastily assembled squadron of epistemologists to keep the situation from escalating.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
something that overlaps all and only those things that overlap some of the Xsvs
something that has the Xs as parts and no part disjoint from the Xs.
We also resumed a discussion we had last year about who should count as anti-extensionalist, allowing that there be two non-atomic things sharing all proper parts. Varzi mentions Wiggins 1980, but as Marta Campdelacreu pointed out, for a Wigginsian arguably the head of the cat is part of it, but not of a ‘mere’ fusion of its body cells, right? Any other candidates?
Friday, October 02, 2009
Following more or less the Austinian terminology that Gergö was using, and more or less the interpretation of Davidsonian views he was assuming, on a Davidsonian view the only illocution made with an utterance of a metaphorical sentence such as 'Juliet is the Sun' is the one whose content is the literal necessary falsehood that Juliet is identical with our star. It is true that the utterance conveys to audiences other, more sensible ideas, such as the claim that Juliet gives warm and light to the speaker; but this is no illocution, it is only a causal effect of the literal illocution on which the latter has as little rational influence as if that idea had been produced in the audience by "a bump in the head" (Davidson, sic). On a Davidsonian account, then, grasping that Juliet gives warm and light to the speaker is merely a perlocutionary effect.
Anti-Davidsonians like Elizabeth Camp argue instead that the more sensible idea is also an illocution (in addition perhaps to the illocution of the literal meaning) of the utterance, perhaps conveyed in the indirect way that indirect speech acts or conversational implicatures are conveyed, or perhaps more in the way that context-dependent meanings are conveyed. Now, the problem that Gergö raised for these views (as Genoveva helped me to appreciate) goes as follows: writers like Camp accept that an essential part of the mechanism through which the alleged metaphorical illocution is conveyed to audiences has audiences "noticing resemblances, seeing things, entertaining pictures"; but all of these are perlocutionary effects; how can an illocution be conveyed by essential perlocutionary means?
My initial resistance to this way of setting the problem was as follows: if perlocutions are defined the way Gergö proposed (intention-irrelevant causal effects of utterances), then it is not clear that the categories illocution/perlocution are incompatible. For understanding the literal semantic content of a context-dependent utterance, such as Kaplan's 'That is a picture of the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century.', might well be an intention-irrelevant (in the sense indicated by Gergö) causal effect of an utterance. But then the anti-Davidsonian is safe, because "noticing resemblances, seeing things, entertaining pictures" might be perlocutions but also illocutions, and there is no problem with the view. This would be clearer if we used a less question-begging description of the way we interpret metaphors, such as, in our example, "thinking of the target-domain of persons in terms of the commonly believed properties of the source-domain of stars", instead of speaking of "noticing, seeing, picturing".
Alternatively, we can define "perlocution" in such a way that the categories of illocutions and perlocutions are really incompatible, as on the Strawsonian definition that what is distinctive of perlocutions is that they cannot be produced by Gricean communicative intentions. But then it is question-begging to say that the way we interpret metaphors, through "noticing resemblances, seeing things, entertaining pictures", is a perlocution. The anti-Davidsonian would say that this is no perlocution, in the Strawsonian sense, but rather something that can indeed be achieved by means of communicative intentions, what, again, would be clearer if we described it in less question-begging terms such as "thinking of the target-domain of persons in terms of the commonly believed properties of the source-domain of stars".
In the course of the discussion (particularly the exchange with Josep), I came to think that this is also what Gergö wants to suggest, and that his point was rather that defending it requires a better clarification of what is usually meant by perlocution, so that we can see that effects that in some sense can be called 'perlocutionary' can contribute to properly illocutionary effects. With this I agree, in fact Gergö's characterization of a perlocution as an intentionally-irrelevant causal effect of an utterance is what many writers on these topics seem to have in mind (see for instance chapter 2 of Alston's Illocutionary Acts and Sentence-Meaning).
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Sobre la distinción entre concebibilidad positiva y negativa en Chalmers:
Según Chalmers, la concebibilidad positiva tiene las siguientes ventajas epistemológicas sobre la negativa:
- “se corresponde con el tipo de intuición modal clara y distinta invocada por Descartes y que refleja la práctica en el método de concebibilidad como es usado en los experimentos mentales filosóficos contemporáneos” (155)
- la concebibilidad positiva es mejor guía para la posibilidad que la negativa (160)
Ambas resultan de su concepción de la misma más o menos en los términos de Yablo (1993):
- concebir positivamente consiste en “imaginar (en algún sentido) una configuración específica de objetos y propiedades” (150)
- se diferencia de suponer o “entertaining” porque (al igual que la imaginación perceptiva) el acto de imaginar que S tiene un carácter objetual mediado: consiste en tener “una intuición de (o como de) un mundo en el que S, o por lo menos de (o como de) una situación en la que S, donde una situación es (a grandes rasgos) una configuración de objetos y propiedades dentro de un mundo” (151)
A diferencia de Yablo, imposibilidades manifiestas pueden ser imaginadas en este sentido según Chalmers y por ello agrega que la imaginación debe ser coherente (152-3).
La pregunta a hacer es ¿en qué consiste esa “intuición” de un mundo/situación en el caso de la imaginación modal? Está claro que en el caso perceptivo sería algo que podemos llamar una “imagen mental” de la misma. Lo único que se me ocurre es que en el caso modal en lugar de visualizar/construir una imagen, lo que hacemos es captar/construir una descripción del mundo/situación en cuestión. Siguiendo a Chalmers, imaginar modalmente (visualmente no se puede) que Alemania gana la II Guerra Mundial consiste en "imaginar un mundo donde Alemania gana ciertas batallas y procede a abrumar a las fuerzas aliadas dentro de Europa! (151). Esto es, uno debe describir el mundo imaginado en algunos aspectos adicionales pero relevantes a la verdad de la proposición involucrada. Por ejemplo, Si deseo imaginar un mundo donde los cerdos vuelan debo imaginar algunos rasgos biológicos de los seres voladores que me permitan afirmar que son cerdos (¿rasgos morfológicos tal vez? ¿genéticos?) y algún detalle acerca de cómo animales así logran volar. Cuanto más detallada la descripción del mundo (cuanta más información contenga), más "positiva" habrá sido la concepción. De este modo el requisito de coherencia puede ser también más fácilmente comprendido: la descripción debe ser consistente.
Si esta reconstrucción está encaminada, la diferencia entre concebibilidad negativa y positiva de una oración S consiste en la diferencia entre que S no sea falsa a priori y que una descripción D relevante de un mundo-S sea consistente.
Aquí surge una segunda pregunta: ¿qué tipo de información relevante para la verdad de S debemos considerar? Supongamos un conjunto de tales oraciones O1...On que son condiciones necesarias de S. Ahora bien, para toda Oi el condicional Oi entonces S es verdadero, pero en algunos casos es conocido a priori y en otros a posteriori. Cuando caracteriza la concebibilidad primaria (1-concebibilidad) afirma que "es siempre un asunto a priori" e involucra suspender todo conocimiento a posteriori (158). ¿Significa esto que las únicas Oi relevantes para 1-concebir positivamente un mundo-S son aquellas en las que el condicional es a priori? No entiendo muy bien en ese caso cómo podríamos 1-concebir positivamente que algunos cerdos vuelan. Tal parece que tenemos que examinar qué es lo que sabemos a priori de los cerdos, por ejemplo, que son animales de cuatro patas, tal vez. Pero parece que hay poco que sepamos de este modo y no alcanza para construir una descripción que determine un mundo-S. Si este diagnóstico es correcto resultará que a estos efectos es tan difícil concebir positivamente que algunos cerdos vuelan como un enunciado matemático complejo. En otras palabras, se repite contra la concebibilidad positiva de Chalmers la objeción de van Inwagen a la concebibilidad a la Yablo. ¿Qué opinan?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Furthermore experiences RED35, RED36 and RED2 seem to be more similar that an experience of GREEN21. In general we distinguish between red experiences and green experiences. The phenomenal properties that characterize red experiences are in a sense different from those which characterize green experiences.
Do you think that it is controversial to suppose that red experiences have something phenomenological in common?
The former four experiences are in a sense similar, they are color experiences. They differ in a sense from visual experiences of forms, like a visual experience of a square. But again this experience and an experience of a red object have something in common: they are visual experiences, and in a sense the way they feel is similar.
Do you agree that visual experiences feel somehow similar and that the way that they feel is different from, say, auditory experiences?
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
In the discussion with Sònia Roca, however, it seemed to me that he would agree with this but contend that, in a given range of cases in the discussion, one of the candidates was indeed more natural than the alternatives. So reconstructed, the paper will advance a particular elaboration on the relevant notion of naturalness via HPCs as to substantiate the contention. Is this a fair reconstruction?
Some philosophers have argued that a mental state M of a subject S can instantiate a phenomenal property P without S realizing (or even being able to realize) that she is feeling anything (phenomenal consciousness without access consciousness in Block's terminology).
I disagree. There is a sense of feeling, that is the sense I am interested in, in which it makes no sense to talk about feeling anything if one does not realize it. In that sense, phenomenal consciousness entails access consciousness.
If we are interested in phenomenal properties and in its naturalization, the discussion is relevant. For imagine that one is interested in a neural correlate of a conscious mental state, or in some empirical evidences relevant for certain theories of consciousness. Is the epistemic access a constitutive part of the phenomenal property?
For instance, blindsighters have been sometimes presented as an objection to representational theories of consciousness. In order to deal with this, representational theorists introduce some further condition for instantiating a phenomenal property besides the representational character (for instance Tye introduces the condition of being available for reasoning and believes -being "poised" in Tye's terminology). But if we accept the distinction between the phenomenal property and the epistemic access, we can say that what is missing in the case of the blidsighter is the epistemic access (poised would not be a necessary condition for consciousness). In that case, I see no pre-theoretical way to decide whether or not a phenomenal property is instantiated.
A further problem would be that, if the process responsible for the instantiation of the phenomenal property and the epistemic access are different, one could fail. Imagine that S is instantiating phenomenal property A, the epistemic access machinery fails (certain neurons misfire) and indicates phenomenal property B. What does S feel? Trilemma:
- S feels anything. But this seems to be an ad hoc answer
- S feels B. In this case the phenomenal property instantiated plays no role in what S is feeling.
- S feels A. In this case S feels A but if she has a believe about what she is feeling this is going to be false. This option seems to go against the widespread intuition that we do have direct access and knowledge of what we are feeling
It seems to me that in virtue of instantiating a phenomenal property I thereby come to know what it is like to undergo the corresponding experience (maybe I cannot remember it 1 msec. later). If this is true, the epistemic access is an intrinsic element of the phenomenal property and there cannot be phenomenal consciousness without access consciouness.
What do you think about the relation between phenomenal properties and the epistemic access?