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41. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Crawford L. Elder The Alleged Supervenience of Everything on Microphysics
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Here is a view at least much like Lewis’s “Humean supervenience,” and in any case highly influential—in that some endorse it, and many more worry that it is true. All truths about the world are fixed by the pattern of instantiation, by individual points in space-time, of the “perfectly natural properties” posited by end-of-inquiry physics. In part, this view denies independent variability: the world could not have been different from how it actually is, in the ways depicted by common sense and the special sciences, without differing in the punctiform instantiation of fundamental physical properties. In part, it makes an ontological claim: what it is for one of the objects recognized by common sense or special sciences to be there in the world, bearing the properties attributed by a true description, is “nothing over and above” the obtaining of fundamental physical properties at points, and fundamental physical relations among points. I argue that this view is untenable. I concede that for every true claim in familiar discourses, there is a state of affairs at the level of fundamental microphysics that is the truth-maker—some state of affairs sufficient for truth in the familiar claim. The problem is that the view needs to posit not just truth-makers at the level of microphysics, but truth-conditions—states of affairs the obtaining of which is required for truth in any familiar claim, and the failure of which renders the familiar claim false. That is, the view must posit necessary conditions, at the level of microparticles, for truth in familiar claims. This it cannot plausibly do.
42. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Terry Horgan, Matjaž Potrč Attention, Morphological Content and Epistemic Justification
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In the formation of epistemically justified beliefs, what is the role of attention, and what is the role (if any) of non-attentional aspects of cognition? We will here argue that there is an essential role for certain nonattentional aspects. These involve epistemically relevant background information that is implicit in the standing structure of an epistemic agent’s cognitive architecture and that does not get explicitly represented during belief-forming cognitive processing. Since such “morphological content” (as we call it) does not become explicit during belief formation, it cannot be information that is within the scope of attention. Nevertheless,it does exert a subtle influence on the character of conscious experience, rather than operating in a purely unconscious way.
43. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Michael Glanzberg Meaning, Concepts, and the Lexicon
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This paper explores how words relate to concepts. It argues that in many cases, words get their meanings in part by associating with concepts, but only in conjunction with substantial input from language. Language packages concepts in grammatically determined ways. This structures the meanings of words, and determines which sorts of concepts map to words. The results are linguistically modulated meanings, and the extralinguistic concepts associated with words are often not what intuitively would be expected. The paper concludes by discussing implications of this thesis for the relation of word to sentence meaning, and for issues of linguistic determinism.
44. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Janet Levin Reconstruing Modal Intuitions
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In Naming and Necessity, Kripke argues that clearly conceived (or imagined) scenarios that seem to be counterexamples to a posteriori identity theses can indeed count as evidence against them—but only if, after reflection on our understanding of their constituent terms and the relevant empirical facts, we find that they cannot be acceptably reconstrued as intuitions about something else. This makes trouble for phenomenalphysical identity statements such as ‘pain is C-fiber stimulation’, since most agree that such statements cannot be so reconstrued—and thus some materialists reject Kripke’s account of the link between conceivability and possibility entirely. In my view, however, this is a mistake, since it impoverishes our resources for evaluating a posteriori modal claims;the better strategy for materialists is to show that phenomenal-physical identity statements comprise a special class of statements to which Kripke’s general strategy does not apply. In this paper I contribute to this project by examining, and challenging, Stephen Yablo’s (2005) general objections to Kripke’s strategy, and sketch a principled way to draw a distinction between phenomenal-physical identity statements and other a posteriori modal claims.
45. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
David Pereplyotchik Psychological and Computational Models of Language Comprehension: In Defense of the Psychological Reality of Syntax
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In this paper, I argue for a modified version of what Devitt (2006) calls the Representational Thesis (RT). According to RT, syntactic rules or principles are psychologically real, in the sense that they are represented in the mind/brain of every linguistically competent speaker/hearer. I present a range of behavioral and neurophysiological evidence for the claim that the human sentence processing mechanism constructs mental representations of the syntactic properties of linguistic stimuli. I then survey a range of psychologically plausible computational models of comprehension and show that they are all committed to RT. I go on to sketch a framework for thinking about the nature of the representations involved in sentence processing. My claim is that these are best characterized not as propositional attitudes but, rather, as subpersonal states. Moreover, the representational properties of these states are determined by their functionalrole, not solely by their causal or nomological relations to mind-independent objects and properties. Finally, I distinguish between explicit and implicit representations and argue, contra Devitt (2006), that the latter can be drawn on “as data” by the algorithms that constitute our sentence processing routines. I conclude that Devitt’s skepticism concerning the psychological reality of grammars cannot be sustained.
46. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Mark Richard Reply to Lynch, Miščević, and Stojanović
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This paper responds to discussions of my book When Truth Gives Out by Michael Lynch, Nenad Miščević, and Isidora Stojanović. Among the topics discussed are: whether relativism is incoherent (because it requires one to think that certain of one’s views are and are not epistemically superior to views one denies); whether and when sentences in which one slurs an individual or group are truth valued; whether relativism about matters of taste gives an account of “faultless disagreement” superior to certain “absolutist” accounts of the matter.
47. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Marko Jurjako Parfit’s Chellenges
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In his long-awaited book On What Matters Parfit develops a normative theory that covers a whole range of normative concepts, from reasons and rationality to questions of moral progress and meaning of life. This paper focuses on Parfit*s view on reasons and rationality, and especially concentrates on three theses that are implicitly or explicitly endorsed by Parfit. The theses are: 1) the concept of a normative reason cannot be explicated in a non-circular way, 2) rationality of non-normative beliefs never influences the rationality of desires and actions, and 3) there are no desire-based reasons. The main aim of the paper is to critically evaluate the plausibility of the latter three theses.
48. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Mark Richard Precis of When Truth Gives Out
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When Truth Gives Out discusses some of the relations between performative and expressive aspects of language and those aspects of language that determine truth conditions. Among the topics it takes up are slurring speech, the ‘Frege-Geach’ objection to expressivism, vagueness, and relativism. It develops an alternative to standard truth conditional semantics, one based on the notion of a commitment.
49. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Nenad Miščević Slurs & Thick Concepts-is the New Expressivism Tenable?
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Mark Richard in his book offers a new and challenging expressivist theory of the use and semantics of slurs (pejoratives). The paper argues that in contrast, the central and standard uses of slurs are cognitive. It does so from the role of stereotypes in slurring, from fi gurative slurs and from the need for cognitive effort (or simple of knowledge of relevant presumed properties of the target). Since cognition has to do with truth and falsity, and since the cognitive task is a good indicator of semantic structure, it seems that the ascription of negative properties etc. indicates that they belong to the meaning of the slur, and that this meaning therefore confers truth-aptness. The (nasty) richness of meaning might vary with pejoratives: all of them involve “contemptible because G” at the very least. The most typical once carry more information. Some of it is given in the form of conceptual links roughly delineating the core stereotype associated with the pejorative, some in the form of fi gurative transfer of properties from some vehicle to the target member of G. So, slurs are not purely performative and expressive, but semantic in thetraditional, truth-directed sense. The truth-gap that might characterize the resulting sentences does not point to pejoratives not having ambition to say true and nasty things, but only to their failure in the attempt. The ambition defi nes the true-directed meanings of the assumptions, the failure just records that these assumptions are false about their targets. The paper leaves it open how central the truth-directed meanings are. The argument suggests that they are pretty central, either part of the core meaning, or of conventional implicature.
50. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
David Davies Assessing Robinson’s “Revised Causal Argument” for Sense-Data
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Howard Robinson’s “revised causal argument” for the sense-datum theory of perception combines elements from two other arguments, the “original” causal argument and the argument from hallucination. Mark Johnston, however, has argued that, once the nature of the object of hallucinatory experience is properly addressed, the errors in hallucination-based arguments for conjunctivist views of perception like the sense-datum theory become apparent. I outline Robinson’s views and then consider the implications of Johnston’s challenge for the revised causal argument.
51. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Julia Tanner The Argument from Marginal Cases: is Species a Relevant Difference
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Marginal humans are not rational yet we still think they are morally considerable. This is inconsistent with denying animals moral status on the basis of their irrationality. Therefore, either marginal humans and animals are both morally considerable or neither are. In this paper I consider a major objection to this argument: that species is a relevant difference between humans animals.
52. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Nenad Miščević Debating Expressivism
53. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Michael P. Lynch Truth Pluralism, Truth Relativism and Truth-aptness
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In this paper, I make two points about Richard’s truth relativism. First, I argue his truth relativism is at odds with his account of truth-aptness. Second, I argue that his truth relativism commits him to a form of pluralism about truth.
54. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Isidora Stojanović When (True) Disagreement Gives Out
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In this paper, I take issue with the proposal put forward by Mark Richard in When Truth Gives Out (2008) concerning disputes over issues such as who is rich, what is cool, and other issues of similar ilk. Richard holds that the parties in the dispute can truly disagree on whether a given person is rich, but can be both right, if we assume that they have different standards of wealth. Disputes over what is cool are, according to Richard, trickier, since they can give rise to cases of faultless disagreement in which the two parties disagree, and neither party is wrong, but neither party is right either! My fi rst goal in this paper will be to showthat the distinction between the two types of disagreement, as drawn by Richard, is not well motivated. I will also argue that if he were right about the stronger case (disagreement in which both parties are right), his own account would fail to capture it. He can capture either the idea that they truly disagree, or the idea that they are both right; but he cannot both have his cake and eat it, too.My second goal will be to bring to the foreground some constructive aspects of Richard’s proposal, and in particular the idea that such disagreements involve concepts whose application is not fully determined and whose usage is open to accommodation and negotiation (to use Lewis’s terms, as used by Richard). If we accept that on some occasions, whether a concept applies to a given instance or doesn’t is not yet settled, then arguably there are cases in which neither party is wrong—at least at the time of the dispute. I argue that their disagreement can be genuine only to the extent that it will eventually be settled whether the concept isto apply to a given instance or not, hence the way in which the concept gets shaped up and extended through its future uses makes it possible to determine, retrospectively, which of the two parties got it right. If this is correct, then the putative cases of faultless disagreement really turn upon the openness of the future: what makes them “faultless” is, simply, that there isn’t any matter of fact yet whether the one or the other party is right.
55. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Noriaki Iwasa Sentimentalism and the Is-Ought Problem
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Examining the moral sense theories of Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith from the perspective of the is-ought problem, this essay shows that the moral sense or moral sentiments in those theories alone cannot identify appropriate morals. According to one interpretation, Hume’s or Smith’s theory is just a description of human nature. In this case, it does not answer the question of how we ought to live. According to another interpretation, it has some normative implications. In this case, it draws normative claims from human nature. Anyway, the sentiments of anger, resentment, vengeance, superiority, sympathy, and benevolence show that drawing norms from human nature is sometimes morally problematic. The changeability of the moral sense and moral sentiments in Hume’s and Smith’s theories supports this idea. Hutcheson’s theory is morally more appropriate because it bases morality on disinterested benevolence. Yetdisinterested benevolence is not enough for morality. There are no sentiments the presence of which alone makes any action moral.
56. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Martin Stokhof The Quest for Purity: Another Look at the New Wittgenstein
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This short note takes another look at the ideas proposed by the ‘New Wittgen steinians’, focusing on a feature of the discussion these ideas have generated that hitherto seems to have received comparatively little attention, viz., certain assumptions about the conception of philosophy as an intellectual enterprise, including its relation to the sciences, that seem to be adopted by both the New Wittgensteinians and (many of) their critics.
57. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Hilan Bensusan, Manuel De Pinedo Epistemic virtues and transparency
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Transparency is commonly held to be a property of one’s beliefs: it is enough for me to examine an issue to establish my beliefs about it. Recent challenges to first-person authority over the content of one’s beliefs potentially undermine transparency. We start considering some consequences in terms of variations of Moore’s paradox. Then we study cases where, in the process of acquiring and managing beliefs, one pays excessive attention to how reliable, empirically adequate, coherent, or widely accepted they are from a third-personal point of view. We show that beliefs formed in a way that is insufficiently first-personal may not be transparently accessible to those holding them.
58. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Darren Bradley Justified Concepts and the Limits of the Conceptual Approach to the A Priori
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Jenkins has developed a theory of the a priori that she claims solves the problem of how justification regarding our concepts can give us justification regarding the world. She claims that concepts themselves can be justified, and that beliefs formed by examining such concepts can be justified a priori. I object that we can have a priori justified beliefs with unjustified concepts if those beliefs have no existential import. I then argue that only beliefs without existential import can be justified a priori on the widely held conceptual approach. This limits the scope of the a priori and undermines arguments for essentialism.
59. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
William J. Melanson Reassessing the Epistemological Challenge to Mathematical Platonism
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In his Realism, Mathematics, and Modality, Hartry Field attempted to revitalize the epistemological case against mathematical platontism by challenging mathematical platonists to explain how we could be epistemically reliable with regard to the abstract objects of mathematics. Field suggested that the seeming impossibility of providing such an explanation tends to undermine belief in the existence of abstract mathematical objects regardless of whatever reason we have for believing in their existence. After more than two decades, Field’s explanatory challenge remains among the best available motivations for mathematical nominalism. This paper argues that Field’s explanatory challenge misidentifies the central epistemological problem facing mathematical platonism. Contrary to Field’s suggestion, inexplicability of epistemic reliability does not act as an epistemic defeater. The failure to explain our epistemic reliability with respect to the existence and properties of abstract mathematical objects is simply one aspect of a broader failure to establish that we are epistemically reliable with respect to abstract mathematical objects in the first place. Ultimately, it is this broader failure that is the source of mathematical platonism’s real epistemological problems.
60. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Murat Baç, Nurbay Irmak Knowing Wrongly: An Obvious Oxymoron, or a Threat for the Alleged Universality of Epistemological Analyses?
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The traditional tripartite and tetrapartite analyses describe the conceptual components of propositional knowledge from a universal epistemic point of view. According to the classical analysis, since truth is a necessary condition of knowledge, it does not make sense to talk about “false knowledge” or “knowing wrongly.” There are nonetheless some natural languages in which speakers ordinarily make statements about a person’s knowing a given subject matter wrongly. In this paper, we first provide a brief analysis of “knowing wrongly” in Turkish. Then, taking Allan Hazlett’s recent account of the gap between traditional analyses of knowledge and actual epistemic practices of real cognitive agents as a point of departure, we spell out a non-universalist and non-extensionalistperspective on the value of “knowing wrongly.”