Synthese

http://link.springer.com/journal/11229

List of Papers (Total 443)

Sensorimotor expectations and the visual field

Sensorimotor expectations concern how visual experience covaries with bodily movement. Sensorimotor theorists argue from such expectations to the conclusion that the phenomenology of vision is constitutively embodied: objects within the visual field are experienced as 3-D because sensorimotor expectations partially constitute our experience of such objects. Critics argue that...

Action models in inquisitive logic

Information exchange can be viewed as a process of asking questions and answering them. While dynamic epistemic logic traditionally focuses on statements, recent developments have been concerned with ways of incorporating questions. One approach, based on the framework of inquisitive semantics, is inquisitive dynamic epistemic logic (\(\textsf {IDEL}\)). In this system, agents...

Knowing how things might have been

I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as...

Structured propositions and trivial composition

Structured propositions are often invoked to explain why intensionally equivalent sentences do not substitute salva veritate into attitude ascriptions. As the semantics is standardly developed—for example, in Salmon (Frege’s puzzle. Ridgeview, Atascadero, CA, 1986), Soames (Philos Top 15(1):47–87, 1987) and King (Noûs 29(4):516–535, 1995), the semantic value of a complex...

The epistemology of modality and the problem of modal epistemic friction

There are three theories in the epistemology of modality that have received sustained attention over the past 20 years (1998–2018): conceivability-theory, counterfactual-theory, and deduction-theory. In this paper we argue that all three face what we call the problem of modal epistemic friction (PMEF). One consequence of the problem is that for any of the three accounts to yield...

Choosing the right model for policy decision-making: the case of smallpox epidemiology

Policymakers increasingly draw on scientific methods, including simulation modeling, to justify their decisions. For these purposes, scientists and policymakers face an extensive choice of modeling strategies. Discussing the example of smallpox epidemiology, this paper distinguishes three types of strategies: Massive Simulation Models (MSMs), Abstract Simulation Models (ASMs) and...

The function of modal judgment and the Kantian gap

What is the function of modal judgment? Why do we (need to be able to) make judgments of possibility and necessity? Or are such judgments, in fact, dispensable? This paper introduces and develops an answer to these questions based on Kant’s remarks in section 76 of the Critique of Judgment. Here, Kant appears to argue the following: that a capacity to make modal judgments using...

Back to the actual future

The purpose of the paper is to rethink the role of actuality in the branching model of possibilities. We investigate the idea that the model should be enriched with an additional factor—the so-called Thin Red Line—which is supposed to represent the single possible course of events that gets actualized in time. We believe that this idea was often misconceived which prompted some...

Persistence and modality

It seems plausible to say that what changes an entity can or cannot survive depends on its persistence conditions, and that these depend, in turn, on its sortal kind. It might seem to follow that an entity cannot belong to two sortal kinds with potentially conflicting persistence conditions. Notoriously, though, this conclusion is denied by ‘contingent identity’ theorists, who...

What does it take to be a brain disorder?

In this paper, I address the question whether mental disorders should be understood to be brain disorders and what conditions need to be met for a disorder to be rightly described as a brain disorder. I defend the view that mental disorders are autonomous and that a condition can be a mental disorder without at the same time being a brain disorder. I then show the consequences of...

Self-ascription and the de se

This paper defends Lewis’ (Philos Rev 88:513–543, 1979a) influential treatment of de se attitudes from recent criticism to the effect that a key explanatory notion—self-ascription—goes unexplained (Cappelen and Dever in The inessential indexical, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013; Holton, in: Loewer, Schaffer (eds) The Blackwell companion to David Lewis, Blackwell, Oxford, pp...

Medical knowledge in a social world: Introduction to the special issue

Philosophy of medicine has traditionally examined two issues: the scientific ontology for medicine and the epistemic significance of the types of evidence used in medical research. In answering each question, philosophers have typically brought to bear tools from traditional analytic philosophy. In contrast, this volume explores medical knowledge from the perspective offered by...

The C account of assertion: a negative result

According to what Williamson labels ‘the C account of assertion’, there is one and only one rule that is constitutive of assertion. This rule, the so-called ‘C Rule’, states that one must assert p only if p has property C. This paper argues that the C account of assertion is incompatible with any live proposal for C in the literature.

Agents necessitating effects in newtonian time and space: from power and opportunity to effectivity

We extend stit logic by adding a spatial dimension. This enables us to distinguish between powers and opportunities of agents. Powers are agent-specific and do not depend on an agent’s location. Opportunities do depend on locations, and are the same for every agent. The central idea is to define the real possibility to see to the truth of a condition in space and time as the...

Predictive coding and thought

Predictive processing has recently been advanced as a global cognitive architecture for the brain. I argue that its commitments concerning the nature and format of cognitive representation are inadequate to account for two basic characteristics of conceptual thought: first, its generality—the fact that we can think and flexibly reason about phenomena at any level of spatial and...

Situationism, virtue epistemology, and self-determination theory

Situationists (e.g., Doris in Lack of character: personality and moral behavior, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002; Harman in Proc Aristot Soc 99:315–331, 1999.  https://doi.org/10.2307/4545312), with reference to empirical work in psychology, have called into question the predictive and explanatory power of character traits and on this basis have criticized the...

Causal powers and social ontology

Over the last few decades, philosophers and social scientists have applied the so-called powers ontology to the social domain. I argue that this application is highly problematic: many of the alleged powers in the social realm violate the intrinsicality condition, and those that can be coherently taken to be intrinsic to their bearers are arguably causally redundant. I end the...

Refined nomic truth approximation by revising models and postulates

Assuming that the target of theory oriented empirical science in general and of nomic truth approximation in particular is to characterize the boundary or demarcation between nomic possibilities and nomic impossibilities, I have presented, in my article entitled “Models, postulates, and generalized nomic truth approximation” (Kuipers in Synthese 193(10):3057–3077, 2016.  https...

Genuine Modal Realism, the Humean thesis and advanced modalizing

The paper argues that Lewis’ Genuine Modal Realism, in taking the plurality of worlds to be necessarily the way it is, implies the existence of necessary connections of the sort that contradicts the Humean thesis that Lewis endorses. By endorsing, pace Divers, a non-redundancy interpretation of advanced modalizing, we gain the means to exactly state what these connections amount to.

Philosophical expertise under the microscope

Recent experimental studies indicate that epistemically irrelevant factors can skew our intuitions, and that some degree of scepticism about appealing to intuition in philosophy is warranted. In response, some have claimed that philosophers are experts in such a way as to vindicate their reliance on intuitions—this has become known as the ‘expertise defence’. This paper explores...