An International Electronic Magazine of Analytical Philosophy
Indexed and Abstracted in THE PHILOSOPHER'S INDEX
ISSN 1135-1349
Legal Deposit Registration: M 14867-1995

Editor: Lorenzo Peña

Quick thinking? Not so fast!
by V. Alan White

Hud Hudson has argued that with a few assumptions one can prove that superluminal objects exist. I argue that even if the assumptions are true that his argument, if sound, leads to a proliferation of movers packing given spaces. I further argue that his argument as it stands cannot in fact entail that objects moving at any speed exist.

Homonymous Mistakes with Ontological Aspirations. The Persisting Problem with the Word `Consciousness'
by Rodrigo Becerra

In order to understand consciousness one would benefit from developing a more eclectic intellectual style. Consciousness is, as proposed by almost everyone except the stubborn reductionists, a truly mysterious concept. Its study and dissection merits a multidisciplinary approach. Waving this multidisciplinary flag has positively enlarged the discussion and neurologists, psychiatrists, mathematicians, and so on, have moved to the philosophy of mind arena, first with caution and now with a more powerful voice. Identifying what we mean by consciousness is a first step even when we want to deny its existence. The link between consciousness and some other mental activity (e.g., awareness, memory, executive functioning, etc.) is a logical next step and there is abundant literature doing this, but not all of them differentiate among associated yet different phenomena.

Memetics: An Evolutionary Theory of Cultural Transmission
by Asunción Álvarez

In this essay, we introduce memetics, a new theory of cultural transmission based on Darwinian evolutionary theory. A brief account of the two man methodological trends within current memetics -- «epidemiological» and «evolutionary» memetics -- is given. Memetics differs from other evolutionary accounts of human behaviour in two main points: first, it posits replication as the mechanism for the transmission of «memes», or cultural units; and second, it claims that imitation is the only learning process by which the replication of memes takes place. These premises are discussed, as well as some of the main objections raised against them.

Ontic Vagueness in Microphysics
by Silvio Seno Chibeni

This article aims to examine the import of science to the contemporary philosophical debate on ontic vagueness. It is shown, first, that our best theory on the structure of mater, quantum mechanics, clearly ascribes vague properties to objects. This point is explained by both a general theoretical analysis and by some simple examples. The advantage of these examples over that which has been hotly discussed in the literature (Lowe 1994) is underlined. Secondly, it is pointed out that stronger evidence for the existence of vague objects is available through a series of theoretical and experimental results in microphysics, imposing severe constraints on any theory purporting to restore sharpness in the properties of quantum objects.

Roman Suszko and Situational Identity
by Charles Sayward

This paper gives a semantical account for the (i)ordinary propositional calculus, enriched with quantifiers binding variables standing for sentences, and with an identity-function with sentences as arguments; (ii)the ordinary theory of quantification applied to the special quantifiers; and (iii)ordinary laws of identity applied to the special function. The account includes some thoughts of Roman Suszko as well as some thoughts of Wittgenstein's Tractatus.

David Miller's Defence of Bartley's Pan Critical Rationalism
by Armando Cíntora

W. W. Bartley argued that Popper's original theory of rationality (1945) opened itself to a tu quoque argument from the irrationalist and to avoid this Bartley proposed an alternative theory of rationality: pancritical rationalism (PCR). Bartley's characterization of PCR leads, however, to self-referential paradox.
David Miller (1994) outlaws self-reference (and in this way he avoids PCR's paradoxical nature) by distinguishing between positions and statements, Miller's distinction looks, however, suspiciously like an ad hoc manoeuvre or as a stipulation that has to be accepted dogmatically.
Furthermore, Miller's move is inadequate because it is a second world answer (i. e., it involves attitudes or thoughts) to a third world problem, that is, to logical paradox.
It is then argued that given the paradoxical nature of PCR, Popper's old justificationist critical rationalism with its minimum of dogmatism and irrationalism is malgré tout a better option.

On Quine's Arguments Concerning Analyticity
by Shaun Baker

In a detailed examination of Quine's Two Dogmas of Empiricism, I argue that Quine fails to make the case that there are no analytical truths in ordinary language. Drawing on admissions he makes with regard to definitions and languages' relationship to pragmatic considerations, and an examination of his arguments concerning the interdefinability of the terms `synonymous', and `analytic', I argue that analytic truths exist as deducible consequences of the various uses to which language or sub-languages are put.

Against Compatibilism: Compulsion, Free Agency and Moral Responsibility
by William Ferraiolo

Free agency and moral responsibility are incompatible with causal determinism because causal determinism, properly understood, entails that originating conditions beyond the agent's control ultimately compel all human choices and actions. If causal determinism is true, then causal antecedents and laws of nature nomologically necessitate all deliberation, choice and action. If conditions beyond the agent's control ultimately compel the agent's behaviors, then the agent is not free and is not morally responsible. Compatibilists claim that externally compelled acts are not free, but fail to recognize that causally determined acts are, ultimately, externally compelled.

Mad, Martian, but not Mad Martian Pain
by Peter Alward

David Lewis attempts to accommodate the possibility of both mad pain and Martian pain by giving a functionalist account of pain for a population, and an identity theoretical account of pain for individual members of a population. I argue that Lewis's fails because no satisfactory account of the conditions under which a given individual is a member of a given population can be provided.

The Veil of Perception and Contextual Relativism
by Dimitris Platchias

In this paper I point out main shortfalls of the three main families of theories of perception and I propose a sort of inferential realism. In addition, I argue that there cannot be a scientific variant of direct realism and illustrate this point with reference to P.F.Strawson's attempt to reconcile, not naïve realism and the scientific variant as he amounts to, but rather, direct and indirect realism. I draw the distinction between four cases of illusion, and I refer to one of these, namely to the case of veridical illusion, to show that Strawson's view, put in terms of the Fregean sense-reference distinction, fails. As regards indirect realism, I argue against the representationalist account and the Lockean picture of primary and secondary qualities. Phenomenalism is rejected in terms of the impossibility to identify an object throughout different contexts and I suggest that what is for x to be that x in different contexts can be given only by a realist analysis of a material object. Finally, I provide an account of what it is for A to perceive that x with respect to different contexts and I conclude with what conditions should veridical perception meet and therefore propose the framework of a new theory of perception.

Johnston on Fission
by Brian Garrett

In this discussion paper, I evaluate some arguments of Mark Johnston's which appear in his articles «Fission and the Facts» (1989) and «Reasons and Reductionism» (1992). My primary concern is with his description of fission cases, and his assessment of the implications of such cases for value theory. In particular, Johnston advances the following three claims:

  1. Rejecting the intrinsicness of identity is an arbitrary response to the paradox of fission;
  2. Fission cases involve indeterminate identity;
  3. Contra Parfit, fission cases have no implications for value theory in the actual world.

I argue that (1) and (2) are false, and that (3), if true, is not true for any reason that Johnston gives.

maintained by:
Lorenzo Peña
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