Topoi

http://link.springer.com/journal/11245

List of Papers (Total 69)

Rational Preferences and Reindividuation of Relevant Alternatives in Decision Theory: Towards a Theory of Representation

In this essay, I will examine Broome’s argument in Weighing Goods (1991; sections 5.4 and 5.5) that aims to show that moderate Humeanism, according to which any coherent sets of preferences should be rationally acceptable, is not a sustainable view of decision theory. I will focus more specifically on the argument Broome uses to support his claim, and show that although it may get ...

The Occasion-Sensitivity of Thought

On the most common interpretation of occasion-sensitivity what varies cross-contextually is the truth-conditional content of representations. Jerry Fodor argues that when extended to mental representation this view has some problematic consequences. In this paper I outline an approach to occasion-sensitivity which circumvents Fodor’s objections but still maintains that the aspect ...

Content Pragmatism Defended

In the literature on the nature and role of cognitive representation, three positions are taken across the conceptual landscape: robust realism, primitivism, and eliminativism. Recently, a fourth alternative that tries to avoid the shortcomings of traditional views has been proposed: content pragmatism. My aim is to defend pragmatism about content against some recent objections ...

The Invention of Consciousness

In English we use the word “invention” in two ways. First, to mean a new device or process developed by experimentation, and designed to fulfill a practical goal. Second, to mean a mental fabrication, especially a falsehood, designed to please or persuade. In this paper I argue that human consciousness is an invention in both respects. First, it is a cognitive faculty, evolved by ...

Thought Experiments, Formalization, and Disagreement

In the last decade, philosophers have offered a number of proposals concerning the logical form of hypothetical cases, or thought experiments, as these are used for purposes of testing philosophical claims. In this paper, I discuss what the desiderata for a formal proposal are. Employing a comparison with general philosophy of science, I suggest that one important desideratum is to ...

How (not) to Argue For Moral Enhancement: Reflections on a Decade of Debate

The controversy over moral bioenhancement has fallen into a stalemate between advocates and critics. We wish to overcome this stalemate by addressing some of the key challenges any moral enhancement project has to meet. In particular, we shall argue that current proposals are unpersuasive as they, first, fail to diagnose the often complex causes of contemporary moral maladies and, ...

Two Types of Choice-Functional Indefinites: Evidence from Ga (Kwa)

There is a longstanding discussion whether wide-scope indefinites denote choice functions that are existentially bound (Matthewson 1999; Reinhart 1997; Winter 1997) or remain free (Kratzer 1998). Data from Ga, an under-researched language spoken in Ghana, show that there are (i) wide-scope indefinites denoting existentially bound skolemized choice functions whose parameter is bound ...

Goal Slippage: A Mechanism for Spontaneous Instrumental Helping in Infancy?

In recent years, developmental psychologists have increasingly been interested in various forms of prosocial behavior observed in infants and young children—in particular comforting, sharing, pointing to provide information, and spontaneous instrumental helping. We briefly review several models that have been proposed to explain the psychological mechanisms underpinning these ...

The Duty to be Morally Enhanced

We have a duty to try to develop and apply safe and cost-effective means to increase the probability that we shall do what we morally ought to do. It is here argued that this includes biomedical means of moral enhancement, that is, pharmaceutical, neurological or genetic means of strengthening the central moral drives of altruism and a sense of justice. Such a strengthening of ...

Moral Bio-enhancement, Freedom, Value and the Parity Principle

A prominent objection to non-cognitive moral bio-enhancements (NCMBEs) is that they would compromise the recipient’s ‘freedom to fall’. I begin by discussing some ambiguities in this objection, before outlining an Aristotelian reading of it. I suggest that this reading may help to forestall Persson and Savulescu’s ‘God-Machine’ criticism; however, I suggest that the objection still ...

Normative Objectivity Without Ontological Commitments?

Several non-naturalist philosophers look for ways to maintain the objectivity of morals without making any (robust) ontological commitments. Recently Derek Parfit proposed an account of non-ontologically existing irreducible moral properties. My first aim in this paper is to outline that such an account is doomed to fail. My second aim in this paper is to argue that irreducible ...

Contractualism as Restricted Constructivism

Metaethics is often dominated by both realist views according to which moral claims are made true by either non-natural or natural properties and by non-cognitivist views according to which these claims express desire-like attitudes. It is sometimes suggested that constructivism is a fourth alternative, but it has remained opaque just how it differs from the other views. To solve ...

Between the Supernatural and the Natural: Ockham on Evident Judgements

Ockham defines intuition as the kind of cognition on the basis of which it is not only possible to evidently judge that a thing exists when it exists, but also that a thing does not exist when it does not exist. He makes a further distinction between natural intuition and supernatural intuition. The aim of this paper is to determine what, according to Ockham, can be judged ...

An Ontological Sketch for Robust Non-Reductive Realists

The aim of this article is to draw a sketch of an ontology for Realist Non-Naturalist Cognitivists. A distinction is made between moral property-universals and moral property-particulars. It is argued, first, that moral property-universals have the same ontological status as non-moral property-universals; second, that moral property-universals have many instances in the ...

Defining Pantomime for Language Evolution Research

Although pantomimic scenarios recur in the most important historical as well as current accounts of language origins, a serious problem is the lack of a commonly accepted definition of “pantomime”. We scrutinise several areas of study, from theatre studies to semiotics to primatology, pointing to the differences in use that may give rise to misunderstandings, and working towards a ...