Will it rain tomorrow? Will there be a sea battle tomorrow? Will my death be painful? Wondering about the future plays a central role in our cognitive lives. It is integral to our inquiries, our planning, our hopes, and our fears. The aim of this paper is to consider various accounts of future contingents and the implications that they have for wondering about the future. I will argue that reflecting on the nature of wondering about the future supports an Ockhamist account of future contingents according to which many of them are true. Alternative accounts which maintain that no future contingents are true, either by claiming that they are all false or by claiming that they are neither true nor false, face diculties concerning why it is appropriate to wonder about them. Reflecting on wondering in general, and wondering about the future in particular, suggests that in wondering how the future will go, we implicitly assume that there is a determinate fact of the matter. Oftentimes, alternatives to the Ockhamist account of future contingents are motivated by appeal to an asymmetry in our mental attitudes about the past and the future: the future is open and unknown in a way in which the past is not. I will argue that reflecting on wondering pulls in the opposite direction. Wondering about the future is much like wondering about the past or the present. Just as when we wonder whether it is presently raining in Glasgow, when we wonder whether it will rain tomorrow, we assume there is a true, yet unknown answer to the question that serves as the content of our wondering, and this is what makes our wondering about the future appropriate.
Many issues in metaphysics and philosophy of science concern the status, significance, or theoretical role of properties such as charge and mass. This paper is about the surprising differences in metaphysical character between mass and charge properties. It develops a novel, three-fold analysis of color charge, and it shows that the same analysis for electric charge is degenerate. Additionally, the formalism for mass raises a different set of considerations for its metaphysical status. Since mass, color charge, and electric charge have these differences, metaphysicians and philosophers of science must reevaluate the ways in which they are accustomed to appealing to these properties.
We present an empirically supported theoretical and methodological framework for quantifying the system-level properties of person-plus-tool interactions in order to answer the question: “Are person-plus-tool-systems extended cognitive systems?” Nineteen participants provided perceptual judgments regarding their ability to pass through apertures of various widths while using visual information, blindfolded wielding a rod, or blindfolded wielding an Enactive Torch—a vibrotactile sensory-substitution device for detecting distance. Monofractal, multifractal, and recurrence quantification analyses were conducted to assess features of person-plus-tool movement dynamics. Trials where people utilized the rod or Enactive Torch demonstrated stable “self-similarity,” or indices of healthy and adaptive single systems, regardless of aperture width, trial order, features of the participants’ judgments, and participant characteristics. Enactive Torch trials exhibited a somewhat greater range of dynamic fluctuations than the rod trials, as well as less movement recurrence, suggesting that the Enactive Torch allowed for more exploratory movements. Findings provide support for the notion that person-plus-tool systems can be classified as extended cognitive systems and a framework for quantifying system-level properties of these systems. Implications concerning future research on extended cognition are discussed.
A wide range of problems of the relationship between consciousness and matter are discussed. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the structure and properties of consciousness in the framework of information evolution. The role of specific (non-computational) properties of consciousness in the procedure of classical and quantum measurements is analyzed. In particular, the issue of "cloning" of consciousness (the possibility of copying its properties onto a new material carrier) is discussed in detail. We hope that the generalized principle of complementarity formulated by us will open up new ways for studying the problems of consciousness within the framework of the fundamental physical picture of the world.
In this paper, we investigate the semantics and logic of choice-driven counterfactuals, that is, of counterfactuals whose evaluation relies on auxiliary premises about how agents are expected to act, i.e., about their default choice behavior. To do this, we merge one of the most prominent logics of agency in the philosophical literature, namely stit logic (Belnap et al. 2001; Horty 2001), with the well-known logic of counterfactuals due to Stalnaker (1968) and Lewis (1973). A key component of our semantics for counterfactuals is to distinguish between deviant and non-deviant actions at a moment, where an action available to an agent at a moment is deviant when its performance does not agree with the agent’s default choice behavior at that moment. After developing and axiomatizing a stit logic with action types, instants, and deviant actions, we study the philosophical implications and logical properties of two candidate semantics for choice-driven counterfactuals, one called rewind models inspired by Lewis (Nous 13(4), 455–476 1979) and the other called independence models motivated by well-known counterexamples to Lewis’s proposal Slote (Philos. Rev. 87(1), 3–27 1978). In the last part of the paper we consider how to evaluate choice-driven counterfactuals at moments arrived at by some agents performing a deviant action.
It is widely agreed that conditionals of the form ‘if p, q’ come with one of two types of marking: they are either subjunctive or indicative. What does this difference tell us about the conditionals’ semantics (broadly construed)? Many agree with the following negative answer: the difference between subjunctive and indicative conditionals matches neither the distinction between counterfactual and noncounterfactual conditionals nor the distinction between nonfactual and factual conditionals. Both subjunctive and indicative conditionals can suggest that the antecedent is false; they can leave it open what the truth value of the antecedent is; and they can suggest that the antecedent is true. Typically, subjunctive conditionals do suggest something about their antecedent — they typically convey counterfactuality —, while, typically, indicative conditionals leave the truth value of the antecedent open, but since there are exceptions to this rule neither a conditional’s subjunctive marking nor its indicative marking indefeasibly conveys anything about the antecedent’s truth value. In other words, neither kind of marking entails, or semantically presupposes, or conventionally implicates anything about the antecedent’s truth value. But what then does the difference between subjunctive and indicative conditionals tell us about the conditionals’ semantics?
Some expressions, such as ‘generous’ and ‘stingy’, are used to not only describe the world around us. They are used to also evaluate the things they are applied to. In this paper, I suggest a novel account of how this evaluation is conveyed: the conventional triggering view. It partly agrees and partly disagrees both with the standard semantic view and its popular pragmatic contender. Like the former and unlike the latter, it has it that the evaluation is conveyed due to the conventional meaning of the sentences in question. Unlike the former and much like the latter, it suggests that the evaluation is a secondary rather than a primary content.
Capgras delusion is generally defined as the belief that close relatives have been replaced by strangers. But such replacement beliefs have also been reported to occur in response to encountering an acquaintance, or the voice of a familiar person, or a pet, or some personal possession. All five scenarios involve believing something familiar has been replaced by something unfamiliar. So should these five kinds of delusional belief all count as subtypes of the same delusion – that is, should all be referred to as Capgras delusion? We argue in favour of this position.
Nominalism in formal ontology is still the thesis that the only acceptable domain of quantification is the first-order domain of particulars. Nominalists may assert that second-order well-formed formulas can be fully and completely interpreted within the first-order domain, thereby avoiding any ontological commitment to second-order entities, by means of an appropriate semantics called “substitutional”. In this paper I argue that the success of this strategy depends on the ability of Nominalists to maintain that identity, and equivalence relations more in general, is first-order and invariant. Firstly, I explain why Nominalists are formally bound to this first-order concept of identity. Secondly, I show that the resources needed to justify identity, a certain conception of identity invariance, are out of the nominalist’s reach.
The contemporary view of the relationship between conscious and unconscious intentionality consists in two claims: (i) unconscious propositional attitudes represent the world the same way conscious ones do, and (ii) both sets of attitudes represent by having determinate propositional content. Crane (2017) has challenged both claims, proposing instead that unconscious propositional attitudes differ from conscious ones in being less determinate in nature. This paper aims to evaluate Crane’s proposal. In particular, I make explicit and critique certain assumptions Crane makes in support of his asymmetry, and argue for a conditional claim: if Crane is right that unconscious intentional states are (relatively) indeterminate, this suggests that conscious intentional states are indeterminate in a similar fashion as well.
Koreans have been key players in Asian intellectual history and have
historically been great propagators of intercultural adaptation. The
“Three Teachings” of China, in the form of Buddhism,
Confucianism, and Daoism (sometimes written “Taoism”), had
all made their way into Korea by the fifth century CE, blending with
the pre-existing institutions and culture there. Korean Confucians had
used Confucian ideas, especially those advocating hierarchy and moral
leadership, to bolster a powerful state bureaucracy in order to
provide society with a rigidly structured and organised modus
A central tension shaping metaethical inquiry is that normativity appears to be subjective yet real, where it’s difficult to reconcile these aspects. On the one hand, normativity pertains to our actions and attitudes. On the other, normativity appears to be real in a way that precludes it from being a mere figment of those actions and attitudes. In this paper, I argue that normativity is indeed both subjective and real. I do so by way of treating it as a special sort of artifact, where artifacts are mind-dependent yet nevertheless can carve at the joints of reality. In particular, I argue that the properties of being a reason and being valuable for are grounded in attitudes yet are still absolutely structural.
The notion of credit plays a central role in virtue epistemology and in the literature on moral worth. While virtue epistemologists and ethicists have devoted a significant amount of work to provide an account of creditable success, a unified theory of credit applicable to both epistemology and ethics, as well as a discussion of the general form it should take, are largely missing from the literature. Our goal is to lay out a theory of credit that seems to underlie much of the discussion in virtue epistemology, which we dub the Cake Theory. We argue that given the goals that virtue epistemologists and ethicists who discuss moral worth have, this theory is problematic, for it makes credit depend on the wrong facts.
In recent years, theories of social understanding have moved away from arguing that just one epistemic strategy, such as theory-based inference or simulation constitutes our ability of social understanding. Empirical observations speak against any monistic view and have given rise to pluralistic accounts arguing that humans rely on a large variety of epistemic strategies in social understanding. We agree with this promising pluralist approach, but highlight two open questions: what is the residual role of mindreading, i.e. the indirect attribution of mental states to others within this framework, and how do different strategies of social understanding relate to each other? In a first step, we aim to clarify the arguments that might be considered in evaluating the role that epistemic strategies play in a pluralistic framework. On this basis, we argue that mindreading constitutes a core epiststrategy in human social life that opens new central spheres of social understanding. In a second step, we provide an account of the relation between different epistemic strategies which integrates and demarks the important role of mindreading for social understanding.
The following bare-bones story introduces the idea of a cumulative hierarchy of pure sets: ‘Sets are arranged in stages. Every set is found at some stage. At any stage S: for any sets found before S, we find a set whose members are exactly those sets.We find nothing else at S’. Surprisingly, this story already guarantees that the sets are arranged in well-ordered levels, and suffices for quasi-categoricity. I show this by presenting Level Theory, a simplification of set theories due to Scott, Montague, Derrick, and Potter.
“The poorest he that is in England has a life to live as the greatest he” (ThomasRainsborough, spokesman for the Levellers at the Putnam Debates)What does it mean to say that everyone is equal? It does not mean that everyone has (or should have) the same amount of nice things, money, or happiness. …
Reasonable people may disagree about the justifiability of early-pandemic lockdowns (while awaiting the availability of vaccines), but this is just nuts:Austrian officials’ decision to impose a lockdown that will last at least 10 days and as many as 20 came after months of struggling attempts to halt the contagion through widespread testing and partial restrictions. …
An important question confronting feminist philosophers is why women are sometimes complicit in their own subordination. The dominant view holds that complicity is best understood in terms of adaptive preferences. This view assumes that agents will naturally gravitate away from subordination and towards flourishing as long as they do not have things imposed on them that disrupt this trajectory. However, there is reason to believe that ‘impositions’ do not explain all of the ways in which complicity can arise. This paper defends a phenomenological account of complicity, which offers an alternative explanation.
Mackay on counterfactual epistemic scenarios
Posted on Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021. An interesting new paper by David Mackay, Mackay (2022), raises a challenge to popular ideas about the semantics of modals. …
The law of contracts, at least in its orthodox expression, concerns
voluntary, or chosen, legal obligations. When Brody accepts
Susan’s offer to sell him a canoe for a set price, the
parties’ choices alter their legal rights and duties. Their
success at changing the legal landscape depends on a background system
of rules that specify when and how contractual acts have legal
effects, rules that give the offer and acceptance of a
bargain-exchange a central role in generating obligations. Contract
law conceived as a body of rules empowering individuals to shape their
own rights and responsibilities presents an object of philosophical
The new mechanists and the autonomy approach both aim to account for how biological phenomena are explained. One identifies appeals to how components of a mechanism are organized so that their activities produce a phenomenon. The other directs attention towards the whole organism and focuses on how it achieves self-maintenance. This paper discusses challenges each confronts and how each could benefit from collaboration with the other: the new mechanistic framework can gain by taking into account what happens outside individual mechanisms, while the autonomy approach can ground itself in biological research into how the actual components constituting an autonomous system interact and contribute in different ways to realize and maintain the system. To press the case that these two traditions should be constructively integrated we describe how three recent developments in the autonomy tradition together provide a bridge between the two traditions: (1) a framework of work and constraints, (2) a conception of function grounded in the organization of an autonomous system, and (3) a focus on control.
Farbod Akhlaghi (2021) presents an original argument against both noncognitivism and naturalism in metaethics. The argument revolves around the idea that wholesale moral error is at least epistemically possible. Akhlaghi thinks that neither noncognitivists nor naturalists are able to explain this on the assumption that their theories are true. He takes this to show that noncognitivism and naturalism are false. In this reply, I argue that metaethical theories should at most allow for the epistemic possibility of wholesale moral error on one particular conception of epistemic possibility, and that neither noncognitivists nor naturalists have trouble doing so. In section 2, I argue that metaethical theories should allow for the epistemic possibility of wholesale moral error only if epistemic possibility consists in having a non-zero probability given our evidence. In section 3, I reconstruct Akhlaghi’s argument against noncognitivism and naturalism. In section 4, I argue that it fails. Section 5 concludes.
I define two metaphysical positions that anti-physicalists can take in response to Jonathan Schaffer’s ground functionalism. Ground functionalism is a version of physicalism where explanatory gaps are everywhere. If ground functionalism is true, arguments against physicalism based on the explanatory gap between the physical and experiential facts fail. In response, first, I argue that some anti-physicalists are already safe from Schaffer’s challenge. These anti-physicalists reject an underlying assumption of ground functionalism: the assumption that macrophysical entities are something over and above the fundamental entities. I call their position “lightweight anti-physicalism.” Second, I go on to argue that even if anti-physicalists accept Schaffer’s underlying assumption, they can still argue that the consciousness explanatory gap is especially mysterious and thus requires a special explanation. I call the resulting position “heavyweight anti-physicalism.” In both cases, the consciousness explanatory gap is a good way to argue against physicalism.
I think we ought to make [the following assumption about fundamentality]—what I call “purity”: fundamental truths involve only fundamental notions. When God was creating the world, she was not required to think in terms of nonfundamental notions like city, smile, or candy….Suppose someone claimed that even though cityhood is a nonfundamental notion, in order to tell the complete story of the world there is no way to avoid bringing in the notion of a city—certain facts involving cityhood are rock-bottom. This is the sort of view that purity says we should reject.
Here’s a tempting principle:
If x and y ground z, then the fusion of x and y grounds z. In other words, we don’t need proper pluralities for grounding—their fusions do the job just as well. But the principle is false. …
Start with the concept of “narrowly physical” for facts about the arrangement of physical entities and first-order physical properties such as “charge” and “mass”. Here are two observations I have not seen made:
On Lewis-Ramsey accounts of laws, laws of nature concerning narrowly physical facts do not supervene on narrowly physical facts. …
Mainstream epistemology has typically taken for granted a traditional picture of the metaphysics of mind, according to which cognitive processes (e.g. memory storage and retrieval) play out entirely within the bounds of the skull and skin. But this simple ‘intracranial’ picture is falling increasingly out of step with contemporary thinking in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Likewise, though, proponents of active externalist approaches to the mind—e.g. the hypothesis of extended cognitition (HEC)—have proceeded by and large without asking what epistemological ramifications should arise once cognition is understood as criss-crossing the bounds of brain and world. This paper aims to motivate a puzzle that arises only once these two strands of thinking are brought in contact with one another. In particular, we want to first highlight a kind of condition of epistemological adequacy that should be accepted by proponents of extended cognition; once this condition is motivated, the remainder of the paper demonstrates how attempts to satisfy this condition seem to inevitably devolve into a novel kind of epistemic circularity. At the end of the day, proponents of extended cognition have a novel epistemological puzzle on their hands.
“Al-Fârâbî’s metaphysics”, as
understood here, means not just his views, and arguments for those
views, on a series of metaphysical topics, but his project of
reconstructing and reviving metaphysics as a science. This is part of
his larger project of reconstructing and reviving “the sciences
of the ancients”: his scientific project in metaphysics is
inseparable from his interpretation and assimilation of
Aristotle’s Metaphysics. We start with some motivation
for Fârâbî’s larger project of reconstructing
“the sciences of the ancients”, then turn to what he says
about metaphysics as one such science and about Aristotle’s
Metaphysics, and then to details of his reconstruction of
metaphysics as a science, both in his account of maximally universal
concepts such as being and unity, and in his account of God as the
first cause of existence.
It is a common thought that authoritative law is necessary because we disagree about justice. This idea often rests on law’s purported instrumental value, on its ability to get us, imperfect and biased agents, closest to a just society: we do best, from the perspective of justice independently defined, by having clear legal rules to follow and rights to respect. In The Doctrine of Right, Kant rejects such an instrumental conception of law and instead defends the more controversial claim that, absent authoritative law, there will often be no answer to be had about what justice (or, for Kant, right) requires of us in our interactions with one another. On this view, in a situation without authoritative law—in a state of nature—a person is unable coherently to pursue the aim of acting rightly. Authoritative law is required for Kant, then, not because a person, in obeying the law, is thereby more likely to do what right demands; rather, it is required because without it, there will often be no sense to be made of this question of what right demands.
When and how do children develop an understanding of the subjectivity of intentions? Intentions are subjective mental states in many ways. One way concerns their aspectuality: Whether or not a given behavior constitutes an intentional action depends on how, under which aspect, the agent represents it. Oedipus, for example, intended to marry Yocasta, but did not intend to marry his mother (even though in fact, but unbeknownst to him, Yocasta was his mother). In the present study, we investigated the trajectories and determinants of children’s developing understanding of (less dramatic forms of) the aspectuality of intentions. In two studies, children aged 3–9 observed an agent who acted intentionally but based on some mis-representation regarding the target of her action. The agent grasped a box that contained A and B while believing that it only contained A but not B. Children were asked about the aspectuality of the agent’s intention (in particular, whether she intended to grasp B). When asked to do so spontaneously, children younger than 8 failed (falsely claiming that the agent intended to grasp B). In contrast, in a simplified format in which children were scaffolded through the required inferential chains, children from age 6 succeeded. Children’s general capacity for meta-representation appeared to be necessary but not sufficient by itself for understanding the aspectuality of intentions. The present findings suggest that the appreciation of the aspectuality of intentions is part of an advanced theory of mind that develops in much more protracted ways than basic theory of mind.