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Volume 8/9, 1996
Rationality II & III

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Displaying: 1-10 of 30 documents

interpretation, intentions and propositional attitudes
1. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
David K. Henderson Epistemic Rationality, Epistemic Motivation, and Interpretive Charity
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On what has become the received view of the principle of charity, it is a fundamental methodological constraint on interpretation that we find peoples’ intentional states patterned in ways that are characterized by norms of rationality. This recommended use of normative principles of rationality to inform intentional description is epistemically unmotivated. To say that the received view lacks epistemic motivation is to say that to interpret as it recommends would be epistemically irresponsible ans, in important respects irrational. On the alternative that I recommend, descriptive psychological generalization are what properly inform interpretation. One can readily understand the epistemic motivations for so interpreting, for they are the familiar reasons for informing description with background descriptive information. No parallel motivations for the received view seems possible.
2. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Roger F. Gibson Stich on Intentionality and Rationality
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In chapter 2 of The Fragmentation of Reason, Stephen Stich argues that certain passages of Quine’s Word and Object are the source of what he calls the conceptual argument. That argument claims there is a conceptual connection between intentionality and rationality: intentionality requires rationality. Stich rejects the idea that intentionality requires either perfect or fixed bridgehead rationality, but he concedes that it requires minimal rationality. After explaining Stich’s position and a criticism of it offered by John Biro and Kirk Ludwig, I sketch an alternative to the conceptual argument. This alternative claims that rationality requires psychological plausibility and/or smoothness of communication, not rationality.
3. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Alfred Mele Rational Intentions and the Toxin Puzzle
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Gregory Kavka’s toxin puzzle has spawned a lively literature about the nature of intention and of rational intention in particular. This paper is largely a critique of a pair of recent responses to the puzzle that focus on the connection between rationally forming an intention to A and rationally A-ing, one by David Gauthier and the other by Edward McClennen. It also critically assesses the two main morals Kavka takes reflection on the puzzle to support, morals about the nature of intention and the consequences of a divergence between “reasons for intending and reasons for acting.”
4. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
John Heil The Propositional Attitudes
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Traditionally conceived, rational action is action founded on reasons. Reasons involve the propositional attitudes — beliefs, desires, intentions, and the like. What are we to make of the propositional attitudes? One possibility, a possibility endorsed by Donald Davidson, is that an agent’s possession of propositional attitudes is a matter of that agent’s being interpretable in a particular way. Such a view accounts for the propositional content of the attitudes, but threatens to undercut their causal and explanatory roles. I examine Davidson’s view and the suggestion that the explanatory value of appeals to propositional attitudes is best understood on analogy with measurement systems, and argue that, appearances to the contrary, this conception of the propositional attitudes can be reconciled with the idea that reasons are causes.
5. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Volkmar Taube Exemplifikatorische Darstellung: Zu den Grundlagen einer kognitiven Ästhetik
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After having introduced Goodman’s concept of exemplification I discuss his general argument that exemplification would be the best for comprehensible the expressive phenomena of art. But there will arise problems when making differences between features of works of art which are exemplified and which are not, and when reconstructing the variable forms of autoreflexive expressions. I try to demonstrate that Goodman’s concept of exemplification therefore ist too limited: 1. Goodman doesn’t take into account that the caracteristics of works such as colours, form etc. also can be interpreted as materials of artistic expressions. 2. He doesn’t give any idea to solve the question what would make an exemplification work effectively. Therefore I suggest to reformulate the concept of exemplification.
naturalized epistemology, rationality and normativity
6. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Paul K. Moser, David Yandell Against Naturalizing Rationality
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Recent obituaries for traditional non-naturalistic approaches to rationality are not just premature but demonstrably self-defeating. One such prominent obituary appears in the writings of W. V. Quine, whose pessimism about traditional epistemology stems from his scientism, the view that the natural sciences have a monopoly on legitimate theoretical explanation. Quine also offers an obituary for the a priori constraints on rationality found in “first philosophy”, resting on his rejection of the “pernicious mentalism” of semantic theories of meaning. Quine’s pronouncements of the death of traditional conceptions of rationality in epistemology and in the theory of meaning are, we contend, but misguided wishes for their death, wishes that face severe problems of self-defeat. In addition, Quine’s naturalistic epistemology is subject to damaging skeptical worries, the force of which one cannot escape by ignoring them. A non-naturalistic approach to rationality is here to stay, whether friends of Quine’s naturalism like it or not. Any sweeping claim that non-naturalistic accounts of rationality are dead will face insurmountable obstacles from unavoidable questions about its own rational justification. Such questions will keep non-naturalistic epistemology and first philosophy alive forever, or at least as long as philosophers endure.
7. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Harvey Siegel Naturalism, Instrumental Rationality and the Normativity of Epistemology
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Advocates of naturalized epistemology who wish to secure epistemology’s normativity want that normativity to be restricted to instrumental concerns, because these can be understood naturalistically. But epistemic normativity cannot be so limited; a ‘categorical’ sort of normativity must be acknowledged. Naturalism can neither account for nor do away with this sort of normativity. Hence naturalism is at best a seriously incomplete and therefore inadequate meta-epistemological position.
8. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Ralf Naumann Internal Realism, Rationality and Dynamic Semantics
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Putnam’s internal realism implies a form of conceptual relativity with respect to ontology. There can be different descriptions of the world which are based on distinct ontologies. It has been argued that this relativity forecloses any possibility of unifying our knowledge and can even lead to inconsistency. If this is true, internal realism should be abandoned because it is compatible with non-rational positions. We will argue that these objections can be dismissed if truth as idealized warranted assertibility is understood as stability of a belief state under new evidence. This view of truth is still compatible with the existence of distinct belief states expressing different views on the world. This understanding of the notion of truth is a consequence of interpreting both our cognitive activities and the notion of meaning dynamically. The meaning of a sentence is no longer given in terms of (static) truth conditions but as a relation between belief sets, that is, as a kind of information change potential.
9. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Axel Wüstehube Noch einmal: Rationalität und Normativität
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The ongoing discussion about a notion of pragmatic rationality has evolved in a variety of different approaches, mainly because every author tries to combine his genuine philosophical point of view with the interpretation of “rationality”. Nevertheless there is an agreement of sorts that rationality cannot proceed mereley descriptively but has also normative implications.The paper investigates the proposals of Nicholas Rescher and Herbert Schnädelbach concerning the question of a normativity of rationality. Moreover it deals with the problem of “unity of reason” and its interconnectedness with the inherent normativity of rationality.
rational explanation, reasoning and justification
10. ProtoSociology: Volume > 8/9
Philip Pettit Three Aspects of Rational Explanation
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Rational explanation, as I understand it here, is the sort of explanation we practise when we try to make intentional sense of a person’s attitudes and actions. We may postulate various obstacles to rationality in the course of offering such explanations but the point of the exercise is generally to present the individual as a more or less rational subject: as a subject who, within the constraints of the obstacles postulated - and they can be quite severe - displays a rational pattern of attitude - formation and decision-making.In this paper I want to draw attention to three distinct, and progressively more specific, aspects of such rational explanation. I do so, because I believe that they are not always prised apart sufficiently. The first aspect of rational explanation is that it is a programming variety of explanation, in a phrase that Frank Jackson and I introduced some years ago (Jackson and Pettit 1988). The second is, in another neologism (Pettit 1986), that it is a normalising kind of explanation. And the third is that it is a variety of interpretation: if you like, it is a hermeneutic form of explanation.