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101. ProtoSociology: Volume > 15
Konrad Thomas Ein anderes Verständnis von Gewalt: Der gesellschaftsanalytische Beitrag des Literaturwissenschaftlers René Girard
102. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Alvin I. Goldman The Mentalizing Folk
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Three major questions should be answered by any theory of “folk psychology”, or mentalizing. The first question concerns the contents of mental concepts; the second concerns the processes of mental-state attribution (both first- and third-person attribution); and the third concerns the development or acquisition of mentalizing skills. Some major problems are presented for different variants of the “theory-theory” approach, namely, philosophical functionalism, the child-scientist approach, and the modularist approach. The approach favored here is an “introspection-simulation” approach: introspection as an account of first-person mental-state attribution, and simulation as an account of third-person mental-state attribution. The simulationist part of the story is clarified and defended in some detail, including a discussion of the relation between knowledge and simulation. Special attention is given to empirical findings that support the notion that pretend states could really be “facsimiles” of their genuine counterparts, a relationship that seems to be required if simulation is to produce successful mental-state attributions.
103. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Margaret Gilbert Belief and Acceptance as Features of Groups
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In everyday discourse groups or collectives are often said to believe this or that. The author has previously developed an account of the phenomenon to which such collective belief statements refer. According to this account, in terms that are explained, a group believes that p if its members are jointly committed to believe that p as a body. Those who fulfill these conditions are referred to here as collectively believing* that p. Some philosophers – here labeled rejectionists – have argued that collective belief* is not belief but rather acceptance. This paper presents several arguments against rejectionism. One has to do with the proper methodology for arriving at an account of belief. Two address rejectionist claims to the effect that collective beliefs* lack key features of belief in general, the features in question being “aiming at truth” and having a particular relation to the will. A fourth notes that there is a phenomenon more apt for the label of “collective acceptance” than is the phenomenon of collective belief*.
104. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Anthonie Meijers Collective Agents and Cognitive Attitudes
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Propositional attitudes, such as beliefs, desires, and intentions, can be attributed to collective agents. In my paper I focus on cognitive attitudes, and I explore the various types of collective beliefs. I argue that there is a whole spectrum of collective beliefs, and I distinguish between two extremes: the weak opinion poll conception and the strong agreement-based conception. Strong collective beliefs should be understood in terms of the acceptance of a proposition rather than of belief proper. They are not purely epistemic and involve practical considerations. To believe that p collectively in the strong sense is to adopt a policy to use that proposition in the group’s deliberations about future actions.
105. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Deborah Perron Tollefsen Challenging Epistemic Individualism
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Contemporary analytic epistemology exhibits an individualistic bias. The standard analyses of knowledge found in current epistemological discussions assume that the only epistemic agents worthy of philosophical consideration are individual cognizers. The idea that collectives could be genuine knowers has received little, if any, serious consideration. This individualistic bias seems to be motivated by the view that epistemology is about things that go on inside the head. In this paper I challenge this type of epistemic individualism by arguing that certain groups are intentional agents and that cognition occurs at the level of groups. In section I, I extend a plausible and well-defended account of individual intentionality to organizations. In section II, I appeal to research on distributed cognition in order to challenge the view that cognition occurs exclusively in the individual mind-brain. Having established that groups can be believers and cognizers, I turn to the issue of the justification of group belief. In section III, consider whether a reliabilist account of justification can be extended to groups.
106. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Frank A. Hindriks Orcid-ID Institutional Facts and the Naturalistic Fallacy: Confronting Searle (1964) with Searle (1995)
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In 1964 Searle argued against the naturalistic fallacy thesis that an ought-statement can in fact be derived from is-statements. From an analysis of this argument and of Searle’s social ontology of 1995 – which includes a full-blown theory of institutional facts – I conclude that this argument is unsound on his own (later) terms. The conclusion that can now be drawn from Searle’s argument is that social or institutional obligations are epistemically objective even though they are observer-dependent. I go on to argue that the strength of such obligations depends on the strength of the underlying collective acceptance, which is a kind of collective intentionality. I also point out that all normativity in Searle’s framework can be traced back to either individual or collective intentionality. This bars him from providing an account of intention-independent moral facts.
107. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Gerhard Preyer From an Externalistic Point of View: Understanding the Social
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The circle between belief and meaning has revolutionized our understanding of communication. In this article I will sketch from the triangulation model of radical interpretation an answer to the question: “How does semantics take effect in social science?”, that is, it is to show “How do we link the mental, language, and the social?” I resystemize the principle of charity by the principle of natural epistemic justice and complete triangulation with the social frame of reference. Therefore, to break into the circle between belief and meaning leads us to the structure of elementary systems of communication as the framework within which we ascribe attitudes and actions. In this framework, together with the reformulation of the task of RI, we find an answer of the Burge-problem that the intelligible redescription and explanation of behavior take also effects on social considerations. In the procedure of RI also the problem of background theories emerges, and we border on the epistemic capacity of speakers that limits our understanding in general. In the last step it is shown – looking back to the controversy between individualism and holism (collectivism) in social science – that group-predicates can not instantiate ontologically to individual entities.
108. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Steven Miller Are “Contexts and Events” Equivalent?: Possibilities for an Ontological Symbiosis
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The article is an attempt to analyze the central but troublesome term “context.” While the concept has important empirical implications for the special sciences (indeed, they may not be possible without it), the focus here is to identify and assess its meta physical and ,especially, ontological status. After reviewing a number of perspectives directed to understanding the origins of the term’s ambiguity and vagueness, it is suggested that the metaphysical domain of “events-theory” may have interesting parallels with what constitutes a “context.” However, although some aspects of context may be assimilated by the events-theory perspective, others are more resistent to such an interpretation. Implications for further investigation are suggested.
109. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Lambèr Royakkers, Vincent Buskens Orcid-ID Collective Commitment: A Theoretical Understanding of Human Cooperation
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Organizations can be seen as a collection of interacting agents to achieve a certain task: a collective task. Since such a task is beyond the capacity of an individual agent, the agents have to communicate, cooperate, coordinate, and negotiate with each other, to achieve the collective task. In distributed artificial intelligence (DAI) theories of organizations, it is emphasized that ‘commitment’ is a crucial notion to analyze a collective activity or the structure of an organization. In this paper, we analyze the notion of commitment to gain more insight in the social interactions between the agents in an organization. Many social interactions between agents demand the use of commitments to reach socially efficient or avoid socially inefficient outcomes. Commitments express the desires, goals, or intentions of the agents in an interaction. Using a game-theoretic model, we will show that, depending on the incentive structure, different interactions require different types of commitments to reach socially efficient outcomes. Based on these results, we discuss whether existing (or slightly adapted) logical formalizations are adequate for the description of certain types of commitments and which formalization is suitable for reaching a socially efficient outcome in a specific interaction.
110. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Pekka Mäkelä, Raimo Tuomela Group Action and Group Responsibility
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In this paper a social group’s (retrospective) responsibility for its actions and their consequences are investigated from a philosophical point of view. Building on Tuomela’s theory of group action, the paper argues that group responsibility can be analyzed in terms of what its members (jointly) think and do qua group members. When a group is held responsible for some action, its members, acting qua members of the group, can collectively be regarded as praiseworthy or blameworthy, in the light of some normative standard, for what the group has done. The paper gives a necessary and sufficient conditions analysis of a group’s responsibility for its actions and their outcomes, and the conditions can be cashed out in terms of the group members’ joint (and other) actions.
111. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Frederick F. Schmitt Justification and Consensus: The Peircean Approach
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It is commonly recognized that the justified beliefs of an individual subject can be supported or undermined by a consensus on the proposition in the subject’s community. A more controversial view is that justified belief turns on consensus in a deeper respect: justified beliefs are correlated with consensual beliefs in a way to which we must attend when we evaluate or theoretically describe justified belief. Call this a consensus account of justified belief. C. S. Peirce proposed such an account, deriving from a more basic fixation theory of justified belief. I regard Peirce’s proposal as the most plausible consensus account now available, and his fixation basis for the account as the strongest available basis for a consensus account. In this paper, I describe Peirce’s fixation account in detail, and I elaborate his argument for the account. I defend the argument up to a point. In the end, however, the argument rests on an implausible empirical psychological assumption about belief-fixation. I list reasons for rejecting this assumption. The result should discourage enthusiasm about a consensus account of justified belief.
112. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Roger F. Gibson How I Came to Know Quine: A Reminiscence
113. ProtoSociology: Volume > 16
Hans Lenk, Matthias Maring Responsibility and Globalization
114. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
Jonathan Sutton The Things People Say
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It appears that the objects of belief and the objects of assertion are, often, one and the same. The objects of assertion must be communicable – if an assertion leads to successful communication, the audience grasps what the speaker said. There are good reasons for thinking that beliefs are relations to very fine-grained contents, however, which appear to be unsuitable for reliable transmission from speaker to audience. I consider two accounts of the apparent intersection of the objects of belief and the objects of assertion, and find them unable to embrace both of these claims. I defend the view that beliefs have multiple, truth-conditionally equivalent contents on the grounds that it is able to reconcile the apparently conflicting claims.
115. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
Cara Spencer Representing What Others Say
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The semantics of belief reports has recently received a great deal of attention. Speech reports have largely been left behind in this discussion. Here I extend a familiar recent account of attitude reports, the Russellian theory, to the special case of speech reports. I then consider how it compares to Davidson’s paratactic theory with respect to a few examples that raise special problems about speech reports. Neither theory accounts for everything we want to say about these cases. I suggest that the problem lies in an assumption common to both theories, that in reporting what others say, we aim to represent what was said exactly as the original speaker represented it, in so far as this is possible.
116. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
Emma Borg The Semantic Significance of What is Said
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It is often held that a correct semantic theory should assign a semantic content, p, to a given sentence, s, just in case a speaker who utters s says that p – thus ‘what is said’ is taken to be a semantically significant notion. This paper explores what exactly such a claim amounts to and offers five versions of the relationship between a semantic theory and judgements of what is said. The first three of these versions embody the central claim of semantic significance; however, I argue that none of these versions are feasible. Thus, contrary to the initial proposal, I claim that ‘what is said’ is not a semantically significant notion. Assignments of semantic content do not turn on evaluations of what a speaker uttering a sentence says.
117. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
Eros Corazza Reports and Imagination
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The following thesis will be discussed and defended:An attitude ascription is an empathetic exercise resting on our, more general, imaginative faculty. Sentences of natural language are the best medium we have to classify someone’s mental life.The sentence used to classify one’s mental state is the one the reporter would use to express the attributee’s mental state if the reporter were in the attributee’s situation. A report of the form “A believes/desires/wishes/… that p” captures the attributee’s (A) mental life inasmuch as it conveys the sentence the reporter would use to express her mental state if the latter were in A’s situation.
118. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
Sanford C. Goldberg Reported Speech and the Epistemology of Testimony
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Speech reports of the form ‘A said that p’ are sometimes used by a speaker S as a reason in support of S’s own claim to know that p – in particular, when S’s claim to know is made on the basis of A’s testimony. In this paper I appeal to intuitions regarding the epistemology of testimony to argue that such ‘testimonial’ uses of speech reports ought to be ascribed their strict de dicto truth conditions. This result is then used as the basis for the claim that, no matter how they are used, all speech reports of this form ought to be ascribed their strict de dicto truth conditions. I conclude by offering a characterization of the content of the notions of saying and what is said, and by making some programmatic remarks regarding the role of these notions in semantic theory.
119. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
David Hunter On Representing Content
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I consider whether the content of a speech act is best represented by a set of possible worlds or by an ordered set containing the individual and properties the speech act is about. I argue that there is nothing in such contents that an ordered set can represent that a set of worlds cannot. In particular, both can be used to capture what is distinctive about singular propositions. But a set of worlds better represents content in cases where the content concerns individuals that no longer exist. It is also better at representing how content can be expressed in different ways, and how assertion relates to the pursuit of truth. Finally, representing content by a set of worlds allows for a clearer view of the puzzle about logical omniscience, even though it is often taken to founder on that puzzle.
120. ProtoSociology: Volume > 17
Corey Washington Content Partialism and Davidson’s Dilemma
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Hartry Field, Jerry Fodor and others differ with Donald Davidson over the question of how a theory of content should be structured. Field and Fodor maintain that a theory should begin by following the compositional structure of a sentence in reducing the semantic properties of complex expressions to the semantic properties of their simplest parts and complete the job by reducing the semantic properties of the parts to non-semantic ones. Davidson describes this approach as the ‘Building-Block method’ and maintains that it cannot possibly succeed. He holds that a theory of content should ‘give up reference’ by treating the semantic properties of basic expressions as a purely technical devices with no direct relation to non-semantic phenomenon. In this essay, I examine what I call “Davidson’s Dilemma”, the conflict between the apparent soundness the arguments for the view that a theory must treat reference as a point where linguistic and non-linguistic reality meet and the equally apparent soundness his argument that reference cannot possibly play this role. I propose a resolution to the dilemma that grants the validity of Davidson’s arguments against the building-block theories but is, I believe, more palatable to mainstream semanticists than Davidson’s solution. This solution, which I call ‘content partialism’ treats the reference of terms as regularities across propositional contents. I show how content partialism is consistent with a Kripkean theory of reference fixing, the touchstone of those who advocate building-block theories.