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101. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Mirela Fuš Bach’s Constraint on Extending Acquaintance: Some Questions and a Modest Proposal
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My aim in this paper is to examine how Kent Bach’s theory of singular thought about material objects meets the requirements of transmitting de re thought. I identify a certain possible paradox haunting Bach’s move of extending acquaintance in order to widen the scope of singular thought and I attempt to answer this possible paradox. First, I briefly present the manner in which Bach motivates extended acquaintance and which constraints he puts on it. I then address the problem of the sorites paradox which might lead not only to Bach’s communication-based de re thoughts, but perception-based de re thoughts in general, thus defined. Finally, I offer my tentative solution to the problem of extended acquaintance which consists in introducing two constraints on singular thought, namely (i) the (external) acquaintance constraint and (ii) the (internal) cognitive significance constraint, and two types of representations, namely indexical-iconic representations and indexical-discursive representations which are together crucial for having a singular thought.
102. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Andrei Nasta A Guide to Binding Economy
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This is an introduction to the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of binding, with a special focus on the so-called principles of linguistic economy. I shall first look at the (syntactic) Binding Principles, and stress some of their limitations. Consequently, additional constraints are needed to complement the robust syntactic generalisations already ensured by the Binding Principles and thus to overcome their limitations. Subsequently, we shall explore the basic mechanisms underlying the reconstruction of Binding Theory under the new set of constraints introduced by the economy principles. It is this variety of principles of economy that is the main theme of the present paper. I spell out the idea of linguistic economy, its ramifications as well as its explanatory uses.
103. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey C. King Kent Bach on Speaker Intentions and Context
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It is generally believed that natural languages have lots of contextually sensitive expressions. In addition to familiar examples like ‘I’, ‘here’, ‘today’, ‘he’, ‘that’ and so on that everyone takes to be contextually sensitive, examples of expressions that many would take to be contextually sensitive include tense, modals, gradable adjectives, relational terms (‘local’; ‘enemy’), possessives (‘Annie’s book’) and quantifi ers (via quantifier domains). With the exception of contextually sensitive expressions discussed by Kaplan [1977], there has not been a lot of discussion as to the mechanism whereby contextually sensitive expressions get their values in context, aside from vague references to speakers’ intentions. In a recent paper, I proposed a candidate for being this mechanism and defended the claim that it is such. Because, as I suggested, these issues have been most extensively discussed in the case of demonstratives, I focused on these expressions by way of contrasting the mechanism I proposed with others in the literature. In the present work, I simply state what I claim is the mechanism by means of which demonstratives secure semantic values in contexts without defending the claim that it is so. I then consider some claims made by Kent Bach, and arguments for those claims, which would undermine the account I propose of how demonstratives secure semantic values in context.
104. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kent Bach Replies to My Critics
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I thank my critics for time, thought, and effort put into their commentaries. Since obviously I can’t respond to everything, I will try to address what strike me as the most important questions they ask and objections they raise. I think I have decent answers to some questions and decent responses to some objections, in other cases it seems enough to clarify the relevant view, and in still others I need to modify the view in question. One complication, which I won’t elaborate on, is that the views under consideration have evolved, or at least changed, over the years, so that my critics are aiming at a moving target, albeit a slowly moving one. Before responding, I will sketch some of the main ideas behind my view, including their unifying motivation, and mention a few key distinctions that are particularly relevant to topics addressed by my critics.
105. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Esther Romero, Belén Soria Challenges to Bach’s Pragmatics
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In this paper, we will revise Bach’s classification of contents in what is directly meant. That catalogue was introduced to reach an exhaustive characterization of the contents that may appear in what the speaker means; something that cannot be done just with Grice’s division between what is said and what is implied. However, Bach’s distinction among different types of direct inexplicit contents (explicit, implicit, and figurative) presents some theoretical problems which we think can be avoided if at least the following is considered. First, within what he calls “local completion”, a more fine grained distinction between lexical specializationand local completion proper should be established. We suggest that this can be done by resorting to different senses in which a mandatory demand of pragmatic information may be triggered. Cases of lexical specialization will depend on context-sensitive expressions and will require a new notion for explicit contents: expliciture. Second, we argue that metonymy should be considered as an impliciture rather than as a case of figurative content, taking into account that supplementation rather than transfer is the pragmatic strategy involved in the interpretation of metonymic utterances. Third, we defend that in metonymic utterances, the impliciture is based on completion rather than expansion and this entails a refi nement of the notion of propositional radical. In this way, our reform leads to a more exhaustive classification, and provides the criteria underlying this catalogue of the ways in which what is directly communicated in an utterance can go beyond sentence meaning.
106. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Tamara Dobler Ever the Twain shall Meet? Chomsky and Wittgenstein on Linguistic Competence
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It is a dominant view in the philosophical literature on the later Wittgenstein that Chomsky’s approach to the investigation of natural language stands in stark contrast to Wittgenstein’s, and that their respective conceptions of language and linguistic understanding are irreconcilable. The aim in this paper is to show that this view is largely incorrect and that the two approaches to language and its use are indeed compatible, notwithstanding their distinctive foci of interest. The author argues that there is a signifi cant correspondence in at least five different areas of their work, and that once we pay attention to these there will be lesstemptation to see Wittgenstein and Chomsky as enemies.
107. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Maria Serban Structural Representations and the Explanatory Constraint
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My aim in this paper is to investigate what epistemic role, if any, do appeals to representations play in cognitive neuroscience. I suggest that while at present they seem to play something in between a minimal and a substantive explanatory role, there is reason to believe that representations have a substantial contribution to the construction of neuroscientic explanations of cognitive phenomena.
108. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Michael Devitt Good and Bad Bach
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This paper is concerned with Bach’s stand on the “semantics-pragmatics” issue. A bit of Good Bach is his skepticism about the evidential role of intuitions. Another bit is his firm stand against the widespread confusion of what constitutes the meanings of utterances with how hearers interpret utterances. The paper argues at length against two bits of Bad Bach. (1) There is no sound theoretical motivation for his excluding the reference fixing of demonstratives, pronouns and names from “what-is-said”. (2) His methodology for deciding what is “semantic” is flawed in three respects: first, in its commitment to the mistaken Modified Occam’s Razor; second, in its placing inappropriate syntactic constraints on conventional meanings; and, third, in explaining many regularities in usage as standardizations rather than conventionalizations. This flawed methodology has the conservative effect of ruling out new meanings.
109. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Tian-Qun Pan The Logical Structure of Hope
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When a person hopes something, this means that he or she hopes some proposition will be true. Thus, hope is a type of modality on propositions. Hope logic is the study of the logical structure among propositions with hope modalities. Rational hope is deductively enclosed, consistent, self-affirmed, etc. These properties can be regarded as axioms of hope logic. An important property of hope is that hope is not necessarily true, but it is hoped that that hope is true. This is a property particular to hope, and it can be regarded as ‘the hope axiom’. Using possible world semantics, different hope logic systems, which are sound and complete with respect to their frames, can be obtained by selecting different hope axioms.
110. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Michael Devitt Unresponsive Bach
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My paper, “Good and Bad Bach”, describes Bach’s position on the semantics-pragmatics issue and then makes four objections. The first objection is to Bach’s austere notion of what-is-said. The other three are to Bach’s conservative methodology for deciding what is “semantic”. I object to his “Modified Occam’s Razor”; to his “correspondence” principle that I describe as “the tyranny of syntax”; and to his application of his notion of standardization. Bach’s “Reply to Michael Devitt on Meaning and Reference” is very disappointing. He fails even to mention my objections to his positions on what-is-said and standardization. And he makes hardly any serious attempt to address my objections to his Modified Occam’s Razor and the tyranny of syntax. All my objections still stand.
111. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Chen Bo Kripke’s Semantic Argument against Descriptivism Reconsidered
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There are two problematic assumptions in Kripke’s semantic argument against descriptivism. Assumption 1 is that the referential relation of a name to an object is only an objective or metaphysical relation between language and the world; it has nothing to do with the understanding of the name by our linguistic community. Assumption 2 is that descriptivism has to hold that, if name a has its meaning and the meaning is given by one description or a cluster of descriptions, the description(s) should supply a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for determining what a designates; and that it is possible for us to find out such a setof conditions. Emphasizing the sociality, intentionality, conventionality and historicity of language and meaning, this paper rejects Assumption 1, and argues that Assumption 2 is an unfair interpretation of descriptivism, and it is not necessary for descriptivists to hold Assumption 2. This paper finally concludes that Kripke’s semantic argument against descriptivism fails.
112. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Vasilis Tsompanidis The Structure of Propositions and Cross-linguistic Syntactic Variability
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In Jeffrey King’s theory of structured propositions, propositional structure mirrors the syntactic structure of natural language sentences that express it. I provide cases where this claim individuates propositions too finely across languages. Crucially, King’s paradigmatic proposition-fact ^that Dara swims^ cannot be believed by a monolingual Greek speaker, due to Greek syntax requiring an obligatory article in front of proper names. King’s two possible replies are: (i) to try to streamline the syntax of Greek and English; or (ii) to insist that English speakers can believe propositions inexpressible in Greek. I argue that the former option entails giving up a neo-Russelian framework, and the latter makes King’s account arbitrary or trivial. I conclude that the mirroring claim is untenable.
113. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Marco Maestrello An Argument for a Quasi-Dretskian Approach to Causal Explanation
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In this paper I will present Jaegwon Kim’s causal explanatory exclusion principle as described in Explanatory Exclusion and the Problem of Mental Causation (1995) and Fred Dretske’s version of the two explananda strategy as depicted in Mental Events as Structuring Causes of Behaviour (1993). I will attempt to demonstrate that Dretske’s theory is not flawless in its assumptions but that it nevertheless demands a close look in so far as it provides us with a valuable theory for explaining certain events.
114. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Dan Zeman Experiencer Phrases, Predicates of Personal Taste and Relativism: On Cappelen and Hawthorne’s Critique of the Operator Argument
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In the debate between relativism and contextualism about various expressions, the Operator Argument, initially proposed by Kaplan (1989), has been taken to support relativism. However, one widespread reaction against the argument has taken the form of arguing against one assumption made by Kaplan: namely, that certain natural language expressions are best treated as sentential operators. Focusing on the only extant version of the Operator Argument proposed in connection to predicates of personal taste such as “tasty” and experiencer phrases such as “for Anna” (that of Kölbel (2009)), in this paper I investigate whetherthe reasons offered by Cappelen and Hawthorne (2009) against various assumptions of the argument failing in the case of modal, temporal, locationaland precisional expressions transfer to the case of experiencer phrases to undercut support for relativism about predicates of personal taste. My aim is to show that they don’t. Thus, I first show that their considerations against experiencer phrases such as “for Anna” being sentential operators are not decisive. Second, I show that even if granting that such experiencer phrases are not sentential operators, a suitably modified version of the Operator Argument can be defended from the objections they raise.
115. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Georg Spielthenner On Practical Reasoning under Ignorance
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The purpose of this paper is to present an account of practical reasoning under ignorance—i.e., reasoning under conditions where the available information is so uninformative that we cannot assign probabilities to the outcomes of our options. The account shows that such reasoning need not rely on implausible principles (e.g. the maximin principle), but can nevertheless be logically valid. Put differently, I attempt to show that we can reason in a logically correct manner even if we do not know what the outcomes of our options are or how likely these outcomes are. The proposed approach is applicable to unidimensional and multidimensionalpractical reasoning, and it is therefore useful for analysing real-life decision problems found in a wide variety of choice situations. Its application requires only that an agent has some basic knowledge of propositional logic. To achieve the aim of the article, I first outline when practical reasoning can be said to be logically valid. Section 2 applies the approach to unidimensional reasoning and Section 3 shows how an agent can build up n-dimensional reasoning under ignorance in a logically correct way.
116. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Jörgen Sjögren, Christian Bennet The Viability of Social Constructivism as a Philosophy of Mathematics
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Attempts have been made to analyse features in mathematics within a social constructivist context. In this paper we critically examine some of those attempts recently made with focus on problems of the objectivity, ontology, necessity, and atemporality of mathematics. Our conclusion is that these attempts fare no better than traditional alternatives, and that they, furthermore, create new problems of their own.
117. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Heimir Geirsson Moral Twin Earth, Intuitions, and Kind Terms
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Horgan and Timmons, with their Moral Twin Earth arguments, argue that the new moral realism falls prey to either objectionable relativism or referential indeterminacy. The Moral Twin Earth thought experiment on which the arguments are based relies in crucial ways on the use of intuitions. First, it builds on Putnam’s well-known Twin Earth example and the conclusions drawn from that about the meaning of kind names. Further, it relies on the intuition that were Earthers and Twin Earthers to meet, they would be able to have genuine moral disagreements. I will argue that the similarities with Putnam’s thought experiment are questionable and so the reliance on Putnam-like intuitions is questionable. I will then further argue that even if we accept the intuitions that Horgan and Timmons rely on, the anti-realist conclusion is not warranted due to there being more to the meaning of kind terms than the argument assumes. Once we develop the meaning of kind terms further we can acknowledge both that Earthers and Twin Earthers refer to different properties with their moral terms, and that in spite of that they can have a substantive disagreement due to a shared meaning component.
118. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Matt Sleat A Defence of the Radical Version of the Asymmetry Objection to Political Liberalism
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This article seeks to make two significant contributions to the debate surrounding the asymmetry objection to political liberalism. The first is to distinguish between and explicate moderate and radical versions of the asymmetry objection as two discrete forms that this criticism can take. The second contribution is to defend the radical version of the asymmetry objection as a serious challenge to political liberalism. It does this by arguing that the commitment to reciprocity that underpins the principle of legitimacy can be the subject of reasonable disagreement, which therefore undermines the asymmetry central to political liberalism between the legitimacy of being able to coerce compliance with principles of right but not principles of the good on the grounds that the latter can be the subject of reasonable disagreement whereas the former cannot.
119. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Timothy J. Nulty Hubert Dreyfus and the Last Myth of the Mental
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This paper critically evaluates the arguments advanced by Hubert Dreyfus in his debate with John McDowell regarding the nature of skilled coping. The paper argues that there are significant methodological shortcomings in Dreyfus’ position. The paper examines these methodological limitations and attempts to clarify the problems by re-framing the issues in terms of intentionality, and the specific intentional structures that may or may not be present in skilled coping. The paper attempts to show that the difficulties facing Dreyfus arise from his implicit adherence to a final myth of the mental. The last myth of the mental is the belief thatmental coping is fundamentally different than embodied coping because the former is characterized by mindedness while the latter is not. Dreyfus characterizes the mental as constituted by a kind of interiority while everyday expertise or embodied coping is characterized by exteriority to the exclusion of any type of interiority. I undermine this Cartesian assumption in Dreyfus’ position by showing that the criteria and phenomenological descriptions he uses to characterize embodied coping apply equally to mental coping.
120. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Ben Blumson A Never-Ending Story
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Take a strip of paper with ‘once upon a time there’ written on one side and ‘was a story that began’ on the other. Twisting the paper and joining the ends produces John Barth’s story Frame-Tale, which prefixes ‘once upon a time there was a story that began’ to itself. In this paper, I argue that the possibility of understanding Frame-Tale cannot be explained by tacit knowledge of a recursive theory of truth in English.