Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

A Skeptical Approach to the Audibility of Semantic Properties

Issue: • Author/s: Elvira Di Bona
Topics: Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind

The issue of whether we can auditorily perceive meanings (or semantic properties) expressed in a language we understand has been approached through arguments based either on theoretical reasoning or the discussion of psychological effects. I am skeptical about the use of either type of argument. In this paper, I will first explain the limitations of the standard theoretical argument: the phenomenal contrast method. As for psychological phenomena, I will discuss semantic satiation and the Stroop effect. I will summarize why semantic satiation has already been dismissed and, based on said…

The Debate on the Problem of For-Me-Ness: A Proposed Taxonomy

Issue: • Author/s: Alberto Barbieri
Topics: Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind

Several philosophers claim that a mental state is phenomenally conscious only if it exhibits so-called for-me-ness, or subjective character, i.e., the fact that there is something it is like to be in a conscious state not just for everyone but only for the subject who undergoes it. Consequently, they stress, a proper explanation of consciousness requires to address the question of what the nature of for-me-ness is. This question forms what I call the problem of for-me-ness. Although the debate on the problem of for-me-ness has assumed a centre stage…

Happiness, Luck and Satisfaction

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Kevin Mulligan
Topics: Philosophy of mind

In some of its many forms, happiness is no emotion. But there is also an emotion of happiness which, like other emotions, has correctness conditions. The correctness conditions of happiness differ in several respects, formal and non-formal, from those of emotions such as admiration, fear and indignation. The account given here of the correctness conditions of happiness suggests an account of happiness as a species of satisfaction and an account of the relation between happiness and affective rationality or reason.

Pragmatics, modularity and epistemic vigilance [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Diana Mazzarella
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

The cognitive revolution, which from the early ’60s shaped the domains of linguistics, anthropology, psychology and related disciplines, manifested its effect in the field of pragmatics with the seminal work of Sperber and Wilson (1986/1995). Among many other issues, Sperber and Wilson brought to the attention of the pragmatics community the question of the place of pragmatic abilities in the overall architecture of the mind. At that time, Fodor had already suggested that human cognitive architecture is partly modular (Fodor 1983) by introducing the functional and architectural distinction between modular…

Enactivism, Representations and Canonical Neurons [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Gabriele Ferretti, Mario Alai
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

Enactivists often claim that since perception is one with action, it does not involve representations, hence perception is direct. Here we argue that empirical evidence on neural activity in the ventral premotor cortex confirms the enactivist intuitions about the unity of action and perception. But this very unity requires the detection of the action possibilities offered by the objects in the environment, which in turn involves certain representational processes at the neural level. Hence, the enactivist claim that perception is direct is wrong, or at least ambiguous and potentially misleading:…

Naïve Realism and the Explanatory Role of Visual Phenomenology [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Takuya Niikawa
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

This paper argues that naïve realism has an epistemic advantage over other rival views. The argument consists of two steps. First, I argue that the phenomenology of veridical visual experience plays an indispensable role in explaining how we can refer to the experience as a justificatory reason for a demonstrative judgment. Second, I argue that only naïve realism can coherently allow a veridical visual experience to be used as a factive reason.

Externalist Thought Experiments and Directions of Fit

Issue: Issue 03 • Author/s: Casey Woodling
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

The classic thought experiments for Content Externalism have been motivated by consideration of intentional states with a mind-to-world direction of fit. In this paper, I argue that when these experiments are run on intentional states with a world-to-mind direction of fit, the thought experiments actually support Content Internalism. Because of this, I argue that the classic thought experiments alone cannot properly motivate Content Externalism. I do not show that Content Externalism is false in this paper, just that it cannot be motivated by the classic thought experiments alone. I discuss…

Davidson: Decision and Interpretation [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Pol-Vincent Harnay, Pétronille Rème
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Decision theory plays a central role in Davidson’s work. Based on the experimentations led in Stanford during the 1950s, it is possible to track down the origins and the foundations of the unified theory of thought, meaning and action. The‘wording effect’ and the omission of meanings undermine decision theory as a whole, hence the need to enlarge the basis of decision theory by integrating an interpretation theory that reflects mental holism more accurately.

Norm and Failure in Mind and Meaning [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Akeel Bilgrami
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

The paper first gives an argument for the Davidsonian thesis that norms constitute the human mind. Then it shows that that thesis is better formulated by Wittgenstein rather than by Davidson himself. And finally, it uses the Wittgensteinian formulation of the thesis to establish why Davidson was right to further claim that linguistic meaning was not normative despite the human mind being normatively constituted. Through this entire dialectic of the paper, the concept of failure is made central to the argument.

Language’s Dreamwork Reconsidered [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 05 • Author/s: Andreas Heise
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind

This paper offers both exegetical and systematic reconsiderations of Donald Davidson’s view on metaphor. In his essay What Metaphors Mean, Davidson argued against the idea that metaphors have any kind of propositional content beyond the literal meaning of the relevant sentence. Apart from this negative claim, Davidson also made a constructive proposal by suggesting that metaphor’s distinctive effect is to prompt a mental state of seeing-as. These two points seem connected insofar as Davidson makes the following assumptions. First, metaphors cause their distinctive effects in an a-rational way. Second, seeing-as…
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