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1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Dunja Jutronić Introduction
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2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Nenad Miščević Intuitions: Epistemology and Metaphysics of Language
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The paper addresses the issues about grammatical intuitions in a programmatic sketch. The first part deals with epistemology of such intuitions and defends a moderate Voice-of-competence view in discussion with Michael Devitt, the ordinarist, who sees them as products of general intelligence or Central Processing Unit. The second part deals with the problem for their validity and offers a compromise solution: linguistic intuitions are valid because their object the standard linguistic entities, are production- and response-dependent. Competence does dictate what is correct, and what is not, the order of determination goes from the internal to the external, or external-seeming language items. An external token string has linguistic properties because it would be interpreted as having them by the normal language-hearer and would be produced by a process that would form it respecting the nature of these properties. The solution is briefly situated on the map of general response-dependentism.
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Michael Devitt Intuitions: Rijeka Response to Nenad Miščević
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This paper is a response to Nenad Miščević’s “Reply to Michael Devitt”, the latest in an exchange on the source of linguistic intuitions. Miščević defends a modified version (“MoVoC”) of the received view that these intuitions are the product of a linguistic competence. I have earlier rejected all versions of the received view urging instead that intuitions are, like perceptual judgments, empirical theory-laden central-processor responses to phenomena. (1) I emphasize here, against Miščević, that this claim about a speaker’s intuitions about strings is not to be conflated with a claim about her understanding of strings. (2) I develop my claim, addressed by Miščević, that MoVoC is implausible in three ways. But these are not the main problems for MoVoC. For further discussion of those, see Jutronić’s paper in this volume.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Dunja Jutronić Intuitions Once Again! Object-level vs. Meta-level
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Firstly, I present some of my most important answers to Miščević’s objections to my 2014 paper which I fully disagree with. Secondly and more importantly, I point out that there is a possible confusion or misunderstanding about the distinction between the object-level (sentence produced) and meta-level (sentence judged). I argue that competentionalist actually conflates object and meta levels and show the final consequences of such a conflation. The ordinarist firmly believes that there should be a separation between the object-level and meta-level and provides the explanation for this. Finally, I briefly comment on the so-called ‘Route Question’, the path from the underlying competence to the central processor and argue that competentionalist cannot provide an explanation for it. The hope is that this discussion brings us closer to understanding the difference between the two opposing views.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Zdenka Brzović Devitt’s Promiscuous Essentialism
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In this paper I examine Michael Devitt’s version of essentialism, a view that stirred a lot of debate amongst philosophers of biology by going against the mainstream view of “death of essentialism” in evolutionary biology. So far, much more attention was directed to refuting Devitt’s view then to analyzing what his essentialism consists in. I go through the main tenets of the essentialist view, examine the relation between Devitt’s view and the so-called traditional essentialism, and the cluster approaches to natural kinds. I conclude that Devitt holds a very flexible variety of pluralistic essentialism, that I term promiscuous essentialism. The benefit of holding such a view is that it can encompass a wide range of categories, but its downside is that knowing the essence of a kind can be minimally explanatory. For this reason, the criterion for privileging certain kinds cannot follow from identifying their essence, which was originally one of the main motivations for holding an essentialist view.
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Urška Martinc Devitt’s ‘Intrinsic Biological Essentialism’
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This article is about the problem of essentialism of natural and biological kinds, especially species. We will primarily focus on Michael Devitt’s work “Resurrecting Biological Essentialism” (2008). We will try to prove what a good candidate for the essence of the species could be. This article puts the problem of essentialism into the context of biology and, through the usage of examples, attempts to answer that problem. We are going to try to define essentialism and determine what meaning essentialism holds in biology. We will cross-check the definitions of essentialism and compare the essence of various sciences with the suggestions of essences of species. We are going to analyse what Hilary Putnam states about natural kinds, about the so-called ‘hidden structures’, and what the essence of species could be. Using examples from biology, we are going to create a difference between ‘underlying’ and ‘exterior’ characteristics of organisms. We are going to analyse Devitt’s ‘Intrinsic Biological Essentialism’ (2008) and check its advantages and disadvantages. Using examples from biology and using the analogy of examples from chemistry and biology, we will show whether Devitt’s ‘intrinsic biological essentialism’ is valid or not.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Octavian Ion Structured Propositions, Unity, and the Sense-Nonsense Distinction
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Back in the Good Old Days of Logical Positivism, theories of meaning were part of a normative project that sought not merely to describe the features of language and its use, but so to speak to separate the wheat from the chaff. In this paper, I side with Herman Cappelen (2013) in thinking that we need to rethink and reintroduce the important distinction between sense and nonsense that was ditched along with other normative aspirations during Logical Positivism’s spectacular demise. Despite this, my delineation of the bounds of sense is different from Cappelen’s. One of my goals in the present paper is to argue that category mistakes are paradigmatic examples of nonsensical sentences. To this end I describe one candidate for what it might be that makes category mistakes nonsensical.
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Martina Blečić Do Conversational Implicatures Express Arguments?
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I suggest that the idea that conversational implicatures express argument can be significant for the notion of communicational responsibility. This underlying argument should be included in the reconstruction of conversational implicatures as a justification for the belief formed by the hearer on the basis of indirect communication. What makes this argument specific is the fact that its only explicit element is the speaker’s utterance taken as its initial premise. In order to reconstruct all the other elements, the hearer has to take into consideration factors such as the context and general knowledge of the shared language and the world. As the reconstruction of conversational implicatures in general, the reconstruction of implicatures as arguments is only potential. It is proposed that we should consider conversational implicatures as reason-giving arguments in which the speaker (arguer) addresses a hearer who does not need to reply. In those cases, the speaker is not trying to convince the hearer to accept his position but is explicitly stating a reason in support of his intended message. I believe that this approach can strengthen the idea of the speaker’s communicational responsibility for an implicated message even in the case when he wants to distance himself from it.
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Daniel Cohnitz On the Rationality of Conspiracy Theories
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Conspiracy theories seem to play an increasing role in public political discourse. This development is problematic for a variety of reasons, most importantly because widespread belief in conspiracy theories will undermine the institutions of open societies. One of the central questions that will need to be answered here if we hope to fi nd out why conspirational thought is recently gaining such support and to find out how to respond to it, is the following: what mindset leads to the belief in conspiracy theories? People who believe in conspiracy theories are often ridiculed as nutcases, tinfoil hats, and paranoid crackpots, while they portray themselves as particularly critical, better informed and enlightened responsible citizens. Finding out which of these characterizations is correct is crucial for coming up with the appropriate response to the rise of conspirational thought. In this article, I want to discuss this question and the phenomenon of conspirational thought in two respects. First, I want to explain how philosophy, and epistemology in particular, is essential for understanding the phenomenon and for developing a strategy to deal with the harmful kind of conspirational thought. Secondly, I want to show how epistemology in turn can learn from studying this phenomenon.
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Andrei Mărăşoiu Wisdom and Reason
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On Ryan’s (2012) theory of wisdom as deep rationality, to believe or act wisely is to believe or act in a justified way, informed by a body of other justified beliefs about the good life. Ryan (2017) elaborates the view along evidentialist lines: one’s belief or act is justified when it is based on the best available evidence. The resulting package faces counterexamples. Transformative experiences are rational ‘leaps of faith’ (Paul 2014), so the agent’s decision to undergo one is not best supported by the evidence available. Many transformative experiences (such as deciding to become a mother, or choosing a career path) often endow lives with meaning, and agents with a sense of purpose (Wolf 2010). Because so much is at stake, it is sometimes rational for agents to take on the risk involved in transforming themselves. Deciding to undergo such experiences may be wise—even if the evidence available at the time doesn’t positively support that decision. In reply to this challenge, I argue that, instead of evidentialism, Ryan’s view should include virtue theory, which helps explain the seeming counterexamples. I focus on the virtues of openness to experience, and of steadfastness in the face of experience.