The eliminativist gambit runs something like this: E claims that there is no mental content either in the sense of being "trivial" or not being "productive" or even perhaps, which is the extreme, of not existing, e.g., of being an illusion, in the sense in which it has been argued that the world is an illusion, even though it is there. Since the non-eliminativist cannot refute the claim of the eliminativist as stated above, then eliminativism stands.
Empiricism is the post-Cartesian doctrine that all knowledge comes from the senses and that we have no innate faculties as such. Empiricism carries the body/mind duality to a paroxysm, for if it is assumed that experience is the source of cognition, then mind, being devoid of everything, becomes a total unsolvable mystery. Faced with this problem, Berkeley invoked God's sanction for empiricism. At least Descartes assumed that we have some inherited faculties.
Locke starts from the Cartesian emphasis-on-representation duality, which he does not make problematical but rather uses for a theory of cognition in which res extensa seems to predominate over res cogitans, or put another way: natural law creeps further into awareness, or at least, experience of the external world becomes more significant for knowledge and for analysis than speculation on the nature of awareness and intuition, hence empiricism. The 18th century French philosophes and encyclopedists are the representatives of French empiricism.
They showed no particular emphasis on or concern with duality but with materialism and natural laws, hence of Lockean souche, and likewise
a social and political orientation, which was not on the Cartesian agenda.
By encapsulation in the literature is meant an objective, theory-neutral, usually modular cognitive process.
The partisans of modularity then use un-encapsulation to mean penetrable, hence tainted.
Entailment is necessary implication. When something is entailed it usually involves a necessary deduction. According to Webster's entail is "to imply with strict logical necessity". This dictionary distinguishes the different connotations of "include, subsume, comprehend, imply, involve, and implicate". It does the same thing for "imply, suggest, hint, intimate, and insinuate". Other cognates are "license, lead to, give rise to".
An enthymeme is an inference in which one of the premises is implicit. In Aristotle it is a probable rather than an apodictic or a necessary inference. In Aristotelian terms, enthymeme is virtually the same as abduction or apagoge. However, abduction strictu sensu is an inference in which the major premise is valid and the minor premise only probable.
If consciousness is but the awareness of awareness, which is only a consequence, consciousness can be described as epiphenomenal.
The first duality is cognition and reality, deriving from being/knowing. The third of our epistemic dualities is between propositional bases and propositional content. With this duality we expand cognition to include the self in relation to propositions, i.e., we make the self explicit in cognition. This self is the
"object-self". Since propositional bases are constituted in part by basic-cog's, this third duality derives directly from the second duality, i.e., the distinction between basic-cog's and all other propositions.
Philosophizing necessarily implies
epistemology. Epistemology, or the question of knowledge, is philosophy becoming aware of itself. Another way of approaching epistemology would be to say that it becomes necessary when the going gets rough. We do not speculate and then submit our speculation to epistemological scrutiny We usually discover the need for epistemology as we think. Since philosophy is the discipline of thought that deals mainly with itself, epistemology could be considered the fundamental manifestation of philosophy. Logic, as per Wittgenstein, is a tautology.
Historically, the knowledge of what is comes before the study of how we know what is, but the knowledge of what is implies epistemology in three senses (at least).
As we "do" ontology, we make assumptions about knowledge. we cannot do ontology without actually using the means of knowledge,
and and ontology includes the question of knowledge. Therefore, "philosophical duty" requires that we start with epistemology. Yet doing epistemology is doing an aspect of ontology. Herein, then, lies the foundational choice. We assume rationally that we must first do the part of ontology that pertains to knowledge.
David Papineau on Alvin I. Goldman, Epistemology and Cognition (Harvard University Press), in TLS, March 20 1987, p. 294
"As is well known, however, epistemology of the twentieth century took an antipsychologistic turn. Influenced by Gottlob Frege, positivism, and ordinary-language philosophy, `psychologism' became suspect in all branches of philosophy. Frege opposed psychologism in logic and the philosophy of mathematics. Positivism viewed all legitimate philosophy as the `logic' of the sciences. Ordinary-language philosophy stressed the study of natural language, and often (like positivism) favored a behaviorism that denied the relevance (or existence!) of interior mental operations." (Goldman)
"Cognitive science tries to delineate the architecture of the human mind-brain, and an understanding of this architecture is essential for primary epistemology. Social epistemology needs help from various of the social sciences and humanities, which jointly provide models, facts, and insights into social systems of science, learning, and culture."
"First, although epistemology is interested in inference, it is not (primarily) interested in inferences as argument forms. Rather, it is interested in inferences as processes of belief formation or belief revision, as sequences of psychological states. So psychological processes are certainly a point of concern, even in the matter of inference. Furthermore, additional psychological processes are of equal epistemic significance: processes of perception, memory, problem-solving, and the like.
"Why is epistemology interested in these processes? One reason is its interest in epistemic justification. The notion of justification is directed, principally, at beliefs. But evaluations of beliefs, I contend, derive from evaluations of belief-forming processes. Which processes are suitable cannot be certified by logic alone. Ultimately, justificational status depends (at least in part) on properties of our basic cognitive equipment. Hence, epistemology needs to examine this equipment, to see whether it satisfies standards of justifiedness.
"The architecture of cognition does not constitute the focus of all epistemology, not even all individual epistemology. But it does constitute the focus of what I call primary (individual) epistemology."
"Within primary epistemology, then, the objects of epistemic evaluation are cognitive processes, structures, and mechanisms. But this only touches individual epistemology. What are the objects of evaluation in social epistemology?
"Social epistemology is concerned with the truth-getting impact of different patterns and arrangements of social intercourse...Interwoven in such structures and acts of communication, various positions and patterns are found. There are positions of power and authority, and patterns of cooperation and conflict. The task of social epistemology, as I conceive it, is to evaluate the truth-conducive or truth-inhibiting properties of such relationships, patterns, and structures."
"When correct accounts are given of knowledge, justification, and other pertinent epistemic concepts, it emerges that the empirical study of belief genesis becomes most relevant to epistemology...While I endorse (a form of) of psychologism in epistemology, I do not endorse it in logic...Truths of model theory, proof theory, and recursive function theory--the main branches of logic--do not depend on psychological truths."
secondary epistemology = "special problems of particular sciences"
"Since the choice of psychological method depends on epistemology, and epistemology depends on psychology, there is (in Quine's phrase) `reciprocal containment' between the disciplines."
[This is another foundational proposition in Goldman, like his reference to the Neurath ship metaphor, in that both seek to put a stop to circularity.]
Paul K. Moser and Arnold vander Nat, eds.,
Human knowledge: classical and contemporary approaches (1995)
(1) The belief condition
"Knowledge and belief are related to one another strightforwardly: Knowledge requires belief, but belief does not require knowledge."
Knowledge does not require belief.
We can ignore knowledge.
In fact, to say that belief does not require knowledge means that knowledge does not require belief, because for belief not to require knowledge means that it can ignore knowledge and if it can ignore knowledge then knowledge does not require belief.
"...[P]ropositional knowledge is knowing that something is the case ...Philosophers often distinguish occurent belief from standing, or non-occurrent, belief. Occurent belief...require's one current assent to the proposition believed...Not all our beliefs are occurent. EWE believe, for example, that the Earth is round and that 2 + 2 = 4...[They] are typically standing beliefs..."
But current assent requires standing belief: unless I believe in logic I will not consent to anything, and this is so even when I am not necessarily thinking that I believe in logic. I believe in logic by simply living.
"What exactly are beliefs? There are two noteworthy views on this matter: a dispositional view and a state-object view. The dispositional view is that beliefs are just dispositions to behave in a certain way...The second noteworthy view...consists of a special relation between a person and an object of belief...The objects of belief, according to a prominent view stemming from Gottlob Frege, are abstract propositions...nonphysical entities that exist independently of anyone's thinking of them...They are [like Platonist]...numbers and other mathematical objects...The special relation of believing, according to a prominent view, is a certain propositional attitude involving some degree of confidence towards the relevant propositional object of belief. Leading proponents of such a variation on the state-object view include Frege, Bertrand Russell, and G.E.Moore...An alternative view is that objects of belief are sentences. Proponents of this view are Rudolf Carnap, Israel Scheffler, and W.V.Quine...Let us turn to a traditional view on the objects of belief, a view suggested by Aristotle, certain medieval scholastics, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Noam Chomsky, and Jerry Fodor. This view takes the objects of belief to be mental propositions that are different from abstract propositions...Mental propositions are private objects in that they belong to the mental life of an individual and have no existence apart from it."
(2) The truth condition
"Problems concerning the nature of correspondence have led J.L.Mackie and others to endorse the following `simple' view of truth: To say that a statement is true is to say that whatever in the making of the statement is stated to obtain does obtain...Mackie opposes F.P.Ramsey's influential `redundancy' view of truth, the view that the `is true' is eliminable because it adds nothing to the statements to which it is applied...Tarski introduced the following principle not as a definition of truth but as an adequacy condition that must be met by any acceptable definition of truth: X is true if and only if P (where `P' stands for a declarative sentence, and `X' stands for the name of that sentence)."
Tarski actually said that "snow is white" if snow is white.
All these definitions are circular, question-begging non-definitions.
Truth is validity.
Validity is what human beings are agreed to believe is valid.
This means that knowledge is consensual.
Among the things that human beings agree to be valid are factual and logical propositions.
How did this consensus emerge?
From eons ago during the evolutionary process up the emergence of homo sapiens sapiens.
"Since the time of Aristotle, philosophers have distinguished between necessary and contingent truths, and since Kant's time, philosophers have distinguished between analytic and synthetic truths...Contingently true propositions...are true propositions that are possibly false. Leibniz characterized these as propositions true in the actual world but not in all possible worlds. The truths of the natural sciences, according to many philosophers, are paradigm instances of contingent truths."
Analytic truths, according to Quine, are reducible to synonyms. Since as he argues synonymy is impossible--somehow for him the dictionary does not suffice to establish it, which is true up to a point--then there are no analytic truths. Quine is as usual searching for absolutes. I would tend to believe that analytic truths are indeed tautologies. But I also rely on a typology of propositions rather than on a classification of truths. Propositions are valid and invalid. Valid propositions are either apodictic or necessary. All other propositions are probabilistic. There may be a category of circular or self-validating propositions. Since all propositions are inferences, I am inclined to dismiss the latter category, except as it refers to basic-cog's.
(3) The justification condition
Justification is the use of basic-cog's. Justification is knowledge in itself. In the case of certain propositions--necessary and apodictic inferences--there is no distinction to be made between justification and validation.
(4) The fourth condition
Gettier cases are those in which belief seems justified yet is not knowledge. It is the case of someone who sees another person driving a new car and has reason to believe that he just bought it whereas he only borrowed it from a friend. Another case: Two candidates for a job have ten coins in their pockets and one knows that the other has ten coins in his pocket. The candidate who gets the job has ten coins in his pocket so the one who knows it believes the other got whereas it was he who got it. "After three decades of vigorous research epistemologists have still not come up with a widely accepted solution to the Gettier problem. Many epistemologists take the main lesson to be that propositional knowledge requires a fourth condition, beyond the justification, belief, and truth conditions." In fact, the inferences in all Gettier cases are probabilistic. None of the misled subjects had a right to infer what they did. Only time in their cases would tell.
Epistemology and psychology
The attempts to reduce epistemology to behavioural or cognitive psychology or to neural models are either inconsistent with its "nature" or they are so far not very promising.
Epistemology and semantics
Let us consider these ideas concerning epistemology. Prima facie, it is the definition of knowledge. Since awareness is knowledge and awareness is also meaning, then knowledge must be meaning. In this sense the link between epistemology and semantics is strong. However, we can have false ideas, so meaning is not necessarily knowledge and epistemology cannot be exhausted by semantics. Individual experience is, then, imbued with meaning, but meaning is not necessarily knowledge.
In Husserl's abstruse terminology, epochê is the act of bracketing mental contents for their philosophical and logical analysis. It is a highfaluting term for introspection. Compare to Dennett's heterophenomenology.
"Equivalence relation. Any transitive,
symmetric, and reflexive relation. Whenever two things a and b are
equivalent, or identical in some respect P, the relation expressed by `x
is the same as y in respect of P' will be an equivalence relation...One
important characteristic of equivalence relations is that they divide up,
or partition, the class over which they are defined into non-overlapping
subclasses. Thus `has the same length as' divides the class of material
rods into sub-classes according to length, so that two rods will belong to
the same sub-class only if they have the same length, and all rods with
that length will be in the same subclass." (Flew)
"Equivalence relation. Any transitive,
symmetric, and reflexive relation. Whenever two things a and b are
equivalent, or identical in some respect P, the relation expressed by `x is
the same as y in respect of P' will be an equivalence relation...One
important characteristic of equivalence relations is that they divide up, or
partition, the class over which they are defined into non-overlapping
subclasses. Thus `has the same length as' divides the class of material rods
into sub-classes according to length, so that two rods will belong to the
same sub-class only if they have the same length, and all rods with that
length will be in the same subclass." (Flew)
The problem of error is closely related to the paradox of awareness. It was perhaps Brentano who first raised both in the sense of something that mind does by itself. In the Cartesian tradition, error is a possibility that God prevents. Kant doesn't even bother to give much thought to erroneous judgements, although he does analyze misleadingly logical moves. But were these actually errors or simply limitations of thought?
Bretano defined mind as intentionality. The intentionality of mind is a relation between the self and the contents of mind as existents. This relation implies belief. However, mind can have non-existent contents. And this means that it
can believe in what does not exist. Mind ceases to be relational. Meaning becomes arbitrary. Basically, the reference has to be to error, or as in the paradox of awareness, to the contradiction between a knowledge which is not knowledge at all.
Alexius von Meinong (1853-1920) grasped Brentano's dilemma. His solution starts with the distinction between objects and objectives. The world contains objects. Mind has contents but it cannot
"have" the objectives of perception or of thought. The objectives need not necessarily correspond to the objects. In Meinong's opinion Brentano was confusing psychology with ontology.
Husserl took another tack. He distinguished between noesis and noema. Noesis is the cog-process. Noema is the principle of recognition. In mind noemata are related to noesis. Hence the mental relation between thought and its objective cannot mean that falsehoods are objects. Furthermore, since the relation does not fall because we have errors, meaning is not arbitrary.
The problem of error probably was what inspired analytical philosophy from the precursor work of Frege onwards.
Perspectives on morality can be: social, theological, existential, functional, utilitarian.
Kant assumes freedom. He actually assumes something hardly less conceivable than freedom. He assumes that reason can act unfettered by its possessor. I argue for determinism. I realize that freedom/determinism is a principled issue. Therefore, what I am really arguing for is an identification between social law and morality. I must argue against the existence of morality per se, including Kant's immaculately rational morality. But in doing this, since we live under the law but we only occasionally actually have commerce with the law, I must expand the concept of social law to include mores, and since there exist transmissible quirks from families to individuals, I must also have to accept the law-like character of such quirks. Such a concept of morality, so imbrued with imperfections, would seem to be unfulfilling in many ways. So I must argue for its rational justification, which is its inevitability: things are not as I would like them to be but as they are. And finally the only redemption for such a restricted moral universe, where there is no freedom and where even quirks have the imperativeness of law, must be history.
There is an individual existential model for this construction.
Let us suppose a flawed biography: an individual with all the vices of the senses and of reason, who has never let moral niceties stand in the way of his passions, who on the other hand is not endowed with ruthlessness or driving material ambition, who can easily be the prey of pity and sentiment, etc. To make sense of this pastiche would require some incredibly overwhelming force, and that can only be a combination of hope and interpretation: the individual in question must feel that, despite everything, his life has a purpose, is for something other than all the inconsistencies and depravities it contains. But memory constantly intrudes and he is not mad enough to feel some kind of divine afflatus: he cannot sustain his interpretation unless he can make it part of an overarching reality in which some kind of divine intervention would not be incongruous. That reality can only be history.
Determinism would seem to contradict the possibility of ethics. On a linguistic level there is no problem. The language of ethics can be retained: this is compatibilism. On a social level, determinism does not justify a denial of legal and social responsibilities. All actions are imputable or attributable. The killer is taken out of circulation because he is a danger to his fellow men whether he is determined or not. But ethics is not just moral talk. We feel we are responsible whether we are or not. What is it to be ethical? If it were just obeying the law, then it is nothing. The Kantian argument about our being moral because we can be moral is nonsense and he knew it when he admitted the powerlessness of reason.
There are tons of moral issues in these lines.
To bring them out we have to consider the world-historical diversity of ethical doctrines:
--Eastern (ritual and social norm)
--Socratic (reason and knowledge)
--Aristotelian (reason and social norm)
--Judeo-Christian (norms and will)
--Spinozistic (Pantheistic determinism)
--Kantian (a distilation of Judeo-Christian and Socratic)
--Utilitarian (a version of Socratic)
--Contemporary deterministic (Honderich).
Morality in our view comes down to glimpses of perfection: realizing that things are as they are and that they cannot be any other way. This is compatible with philosophy of history and vox historiæ. It is like saying that knowing that one is determined is the highest sense of ethics. Ethics then is knowledge. You can say that the chain of arguments that led to this conclusion was free or determined. It's all a matter of words. The issues cannot be decided rationally. Determinism meshes in beautifully, more, pleasurably, with the rest of this philosophical edifice. But there is a big problem here. Affects are a fact reflected in language and behavior. It is possible to argue for something from affects, e.g., from affects to the unity of self. But you cannot take a specific affect and build "universal" propositions on it It may be possible from specific affects to elaborate private-philosophy arguments. But this takes us beyond the threshold of the conclusion, which is mainly about the private-philosophy implications of the public philosophy we have been outlining.
Ethics either offers a code of behaviour above or different from that which a society instills, or it seeks to rationalize (and perhaps to modify) the social code. In so far as ethics is normative or prescriptive, it self-evidently involves belief. Evidently as well, ethical norms become valid to the extent that society adopts them, but this only serves to illustrate the marginality of ethical thought, for social norms are very seldom begotten in moral treatises. In relation to society, ethics tries to give a faithful account of social norms. But at most this can lead to belief, which contrasts with the norms themselves as they are known and especially as they are constantly becoming manifest in behaviour.
Moral commandments, conventional morality, and moral behaviour can be explained strictly in social terms: they fulfill social goals which the individual must admit in an impersonal manner. What the individual can do in the way of moral understanding is to adopt an attitude of deliberateness. Deliberateness involves rational acceptance, and rational acceptance is only possible when the individual achieves a coherent view of existence, i.e. how and why he can trust his own thought, why he is aware of such issues, and why it matters that he should be able to trust his own thought. In addition, acceptance implies not just the individual's existence, but as well the world around him, and the highest form of acceptance is the aesthetic enjoyment of things. This in turn means that beauty can be defined and understood in terms of the quotidian.
The fundamental principles on ethics are these.
Society takes care of itself: it puts the fear of authority in the individual.
There can be no morality without an emotional foundation. The initiation of ethical understanding is deliberateness.
Belief in the MOH (mode of historical awareness) contributes to ethical understanding.
The ultimate ethical reward is contained in glimpses of perfection.
I have gone beyond the ethical, but only to posit a link between ethics and aesthetics.
It may be more productive to search for ethical meaning in the social context of guilt in the sense of the legal norms that constrain social behaviour and that in part at least receive reiterative sanction from religious commandments. However, despite its powerful claim on the right to apportion blame, the legal system cannot determine the sense of guilt. In awareness, guilt results from the overt or implicit belief in evil, and legality or the rule of law, which can itself be turned into an instrument of evil, operates on the notion of wrongdoing and can only go as far as the attribution of responsibility for wrongdoing. Moral and legal responsibility is merely the social necessity of attribution. It may of course reveal the operation of evil, but it does not necessarily do so. Under the rule of law, acquittal can be as accidental as the social attribution of blame. The rule of law, therefore, sheds only a dim and superficial illumination on the issue of ethical meaning.
The psychological effects of both religious norms and the rule of law ultimately depend on the process of social learning and conditioning to which every individual is subject from birth. The intended deterrence effect behind both the commandment "thou shalt not kill" and the idea of the criminality of homicide, is practically operative by the time that these injunctions are made explicit in individual awareness as at least minimally comprehensible. It is more than likely, therefore, that the sense of guilt stems from the educational process through which norms such as those eventually acquire meaning and validity. However, as a means for establishing the possibility of ethical meaning, this elucidation does not answer the question of moral choice, i.e. self-determination towards what? If the acceptance of religious norms and the fear of the law originate in social training and conditioning, which is also the ultimate source of guilt, how then is it possible to speak of moral choice and, consequently, of ethical meaning? Since society at any time is the most palpable and meaningful concretion of history, it is history that ultimately engenders the sense of guilt and our so far unexplained intuition of the possibility of moral choice. In other words, then, how can we finally accede to an understanding of the possibility of ethical meaning from our historically determined sense of guilt?
Glimpses of perfection (glops) are given to us from the acquiescence in determinism. But if determinism determines the acquiescence in determinism, we are in a circle from which we cannot confer an ethical significance on glimpses of perfection. Like everything else, they happen without our acquiescence or anything resembling choice. Another view of glops is that they are the introduction of art into life. Movies are seemingly the most life-like art, although this is an illusion. Nevertheless, it would not be surprising if one actually tried to transpose certain qualities of films into behaviour and found that this was the most concrete form of
glops. But does this have ethical implications? It would be an aesthetic approach to morality. To be moral is to be as close to art, specifically films, as possible. This is hard to argue but not impossible. After all, one of the objectives of films is the uniqueness and "elegance" of gesture, what I have called elsewhere perfection, a perfect un-improvable gesture or movement, although it has nothing to do with some Platonic ideal. A very flawed character is as capable as the most virtuous of this perfection. One gets this feeling occasionally in literature also. If we can feel that our actions are unique and elegant, then we are being as moral as we can be. This leaves open a huge gap in that we do not all see movies in the same way and we do not all have the same sympathies for human models or types. This could be a matter of purely private philosophy, and can we cannot leave morality in in this area.
M. Dummett, The Origins of
Analytical Philosophy (1993)
After Frege, Dummett believes that it was
Gareth Evans, in his posthumous 1982 book, The varieties of reference,
who launched the idea of exploring thought independently of language. He mentions Peacocke as Evans' disciple. This is what Dummett means strictly by
philosophy of thought. By philosophy of mind he adverts to what
he also calls, though no less inaccurately, philosophical psychology. Let me just point out that long before
Evans, but also long after Wittgenstein, there was talk of representation
and there were theories of mind independent of philosophy of language.
"Some recent work in the analytical
tradition has reversed this priority, in the order of explanation, of
language over thought, holding that language can be explained only in terms
of antecedently given notions of different types of thought, considered
independently of their linguistic expression. A good example of this new
trend is Gareth Even's posthumous book, which essays an account, independent
of language, of what it is to think about an object in each of various ways,
and then seeks to explain the different verbal means of effecting reference
to an object in terms of these ways of thinking about it."
"The phrase `philosophy of thought' is an
unfamiliar one, although it is becoming more common through the work of
Evans and of his followers such as Peacocke, philosophers in the analytical
tradition who have rejected the fundamental axiom. From the present point of
view, they have not retreated very far, because, although they no longer
give the same fundamental place to language, they still treat the philosophy
of thought as the foundation of philosophy, so that the general architecture
of the subject remains essentially the same for them as for those who still
adhere to the fundamental axiom...The philosophy of thought is that part of
philosophy to which, apart from the philosophy of mathematics, Frege devoted
his principal attention...The philosophy of thought concerns itself with the
question what it is to have a thought, and with the structure of thoughts
and their components: what it is for a thought to be about an object of one
or another kind, what it is to grasp a concept and how a concept can be a
component of thought...the philosophy of thought could not emerge as a
distinguishable sector of the subject until it had been disentangled from
the general philosophy of mind...that could happen only after the step had
been taken of extruding thoughts from the mind, which was the step taken by
Frege and Husserl."
"Now Evans's programme involves a danger
of sliding into just such an ilegitimate conception, contradicting the
communicability of thought. For when the meanings of words are explained in
terms of the kind of thought expressed by the speaker, and the kind of
thought which is required of the hearer if he is to understand what the
speaker says, there is an inevitable concentration upon what goes on within
the minds of the individual concerned. The meaning of an expression of the
common language is objective because it is embodied in the use that a
competent speaker is required to make of that expression; but when its
meaning is described in terms of the thoughts that speaker and hearer need to
have in oder to be using it, or understanding it, correctly, the connections
with publicly observable use is broken unless public criteria are supplied
for someone to have a thought of the required kind."
"Excluded middle, principle (or law) of. The principle or law the acceptance of which commits one to holding that for any statement `p', the statement `p or not-p' is true as a matter of logical necessity."
All cars are
black and no cars are white is an example of excluded middle. This
formal-logic principle is related to identity and non-contradiction.
Quine, "Excluded Middle"
"In recent writings Michael Dummett extends the intuitionist constraints beyond mathematics to science in general. Statements do not qualify as true or false unless observations are describable that might reasonably be reckoned as direct evidence for or against them.
"Such doctrines are sparked by congenial empiricist sentiments, but they obstruct the no less congenial clarity and simplicity at which science aims. Intuitionist standards are obscure, especially when projected beyond mathematics. The deviant logic aggravates matter, complicating and muddying up the crystalline simplicity of classical predicate logic. Two is the smallest and simplest number that gets off the ground, and two-valued logic, embodiment of the law of excluded middle, is minimal, streamlined logic stripped for action.
"We who are unpersuaded of intuitionism accordingly remain unmoved, protesting that warranted assertability is one thing, truth another. Insofar as a statement deserves a place in scientific language at all, calling it true deserves one too; for, to quote Tarski, `snow is white' is true if and only if snow is white. Dissociating truth from warrant, we become free to recognize that some truths are discoverable and some not; and we become free to call the rest of the statements false...The law of excluded middle lapses for everyday discourse where empty names are concerned, but we can sustain it for purposes of logical analysis when we are prepared to regiment scientific language along economical lines...Let us just recognize rather that the law of excluded middle is not a fact of life, but a norm governing efficient logical regimentation."
Existence and predication
The old ontological argument is that the idea of God necessarily includes the existence predicate, i.e., God exists. Kant denied that existence is a predicate to rebut the ontological argument. What is a predicate? Anything that creates a class or a type of things. Hence, nouns are predicates and verbs are predicates also and obviously adjectives and modifiers. Since existence is a noun, then it is a predicate and Kant was wrong.
But hold on! Existence applies to all concepts, even to non-existence. Hence, existence is the class of all classes. But Russell said that this is nonsense and he suggested using types instead of classes because you cannot have the type of all types. A type singularizes and the type of all types does not make sense because it does not singularize. Be that as it may, there is no class of all classes. Existence is not a predicate. It is one of a group of verbal entities which do not create classes. Kant was right.
But the real refutation of the ontological argument is that it is a "concept instantiation".
Having a concept does not necessarily mean that it has a counterpart outside of mind.
Kierkegaard's philosophical outlook is usually contrasted to Hegel's, but his greater significance lies in the personal, introspective, highly emotive and subjective turn he took towards faith and its relevance to existence.
Hence, he is considered an existentialist avant la lèttre , or even as the founder of existentialism. Husserl laid the epistemological foundations of existentialism through his definition of the phenomenological method, which is in essence a lengthy and complex exposition of introspection. Husserl's influence has been immense, including principally Heidegger, Sartre, and Ricoeur, but in general as the justification, direct or indirect, of all modern thought that is not specifically analytical. Beyond Husserl existentialism was not oriented towards the specific epistemological study of rational processes, and it is for this reason that, even though phenomenology is paradigmatically a philosophy about mind, it is not considered a part of contemporary philosophy of mind.
The following propositions are relevant
to any understanding of existentialism. It deals with the problems of human
existence, i.e., not the problems of cognition. Existentialism assumes folk psychology,
mental contents, consciousness and all the rest of the mentalist beliefs. It consists in the psychological
application of the ontological concepts of being, non-being, and time,
specifically to consciousness. It is basic to existentialist thought
about propositional attitudes to distinguish between is and ought, hence
ethics at the heart of human preoccupations. In both its concern with ethics and time
and its acceptance of mentalist beliefs, existentialism is different from
contemporary philosophy of mind. From its mentalism alone it is
antagonistic to analyticity. But we can get carried away here, for
Derrida's philosophy and semiology are mostly about language, which is
central to analytic philosophy. It can be argued that the existentialist
concern with existential meaning, its unequivocal commitment to the is/ought
distinciotn, and its intuitive belief that mind and reason cannot be
separated, existentialism can actually be traced back to Hegel. Insofar as Kierkegaard's thought is quite
nonchalant about the reliability of mental contents and that it is about the
problems of existence, it is the source of all subsequent existentialist
thought. The motivation behind Heidegger's main
work, Sein und Zeit, is the angst produced by the prospect of
death. It is in fact an ethical treatise, but it
sets aside all religious and social considerations. Dasein as being in the world is a denial
of the Cartesian framework.Existentialism is not particularly
concerned with the problem of dualism. If we can speak of cycles then
existentialism is in a cycle different from that of Cartesianism. It is not hard to envision how Heidegger
might have been seduced by Hitlerian histrionics if he chose to see in them
truly heroic attitudes, specifically a valiant attitude towards death. Sartre's basic gambit was the intuition
of freedom which he then justifies with the concept of nihilation.
According to F.H.Heineman, in Existentialism and the modern predicament, the central question
of existentialism is alienation. Hegel recognized the alienation of mind
from its creations. Marx "materialized" this view as the
alienation of the worker from the process of production. The modern predicament is that of man
swamped by technology, man alienated from his technological productions. In Sartre it is man alienated from
Like Kafka's mole, awareness can never really be certain that it has built a safe shelter for itself. No sooner does it build a gallery, than it finds that it is vulnerable and must build another one. It does not have any sanction outside of itself for whatever it believes or does not believe. This is evident from what awareness knows about itself, which is that "meaning" is a powerless and fragmentary mental event and that "knowing" about itself is merely the "decision" to stop somewhere. Its self-understanding can only be a uselessly self-validating intuitive statement about itself. The crying need for meaning cannot be answered by knowledge and the assumption that knowing is better than ignoring turns out to be an egregious igniis fatuus. Awareness is self-defeating, hence superfluous, because it does not contribute to survival or to well-being. And if meaning is not possible, then philosophy too is superfluous. Philosophy, which is superfluous, allows us to discover the superfluity of awareness. Philosophy leads to the knowledge of the superfluity of awareness, where philosophy itself arises. It can hardly be adduced that the philosophical discovery of the superfluity of awareness means that philosophy is not superfluous, because even if these ideas were valid, the discovery, including the means of discovery, of superfluous structures is itself superfluous. However, it is at the heart of the superfluity of awareness that the question of a transcendental absolute arises. The superfluity of awareness is complementary to the superfluity of philosophy, and since both are inevitable, we glimpse the possibility of a superior reality that would justify both. In one place and through the same means, the self-justification of being is both denied and affirmed.
Existential meaning is the absence of pain.
Meaninglessness is the pervasiveness of pain.
The common definition is that expressions belong to public, communicative languages. There are of course non-verbal expressions, even apparently non-symbolic expressions, such as making faces. Yet is this true? A facial expression is not linguistic, but it is understood symbolically. It is understood only if it can be represented symbolically in mind. But if we were to define expression in terms of symbols, then all of reality could be characterized as expression. If on the other hand we cannot restrict expressions to public, communicative languages, then expressions must be thought of as the unit of communication common to all possible means of communication. Expressions cannot be defined solely in terms of the grasp of expressions, but in terms of communication between symbol-manipulating organisms.
Extension and intension
Numbers are discrete. It is possible to cut a string anywhere and still make sense of it. But language is not discrete. Linguistic propositions connote, imply, etc., so that it can be inferred that, even though logic applies equally to numbers and to language, it applies in different ways.
Extrusion of thought
Frege was bent on freeing mind from its own subjectivity. The only way he thought that this could be done was to assume that language is the mirror of mind. This is what Dummett calls the extrusion of thought. However, Frege did not actually reduce thought to language, although Dummett argues that Frege was not being consistent and that he really meant to say what Dummett thinks he should have said. In any event, Dummett has to agree that the reduction of thought to language, i.e., the linguistic turn, was the fundamental philosophical démarche that Wittgenstein undertook. Of course, very few nowadays really believe that the linguistic turn was a flawless maneuver. But very few would also argue with the intent behind the linguistic turn, because talk of mind and of thought can easily turn into blather. So what is the answer? How can thought be extruded without actually eliminating thought, which is absurd, for what the linguistic turn ultimately amounts to is saying that talk is mind except talk about mind?
The propositionality of mind is the theory, not in itself terribly original, whereby thought can extrude itself without denying itself. It claims that all thought is propositional. If thought is propositional then it can be expressed linguistically, although language need not exhaust the propositionality of mind. Nevertheless, since we have nothing of thought other than our linguistic descriptions of it, then we can legitimately argue that thought is what we express linguistically about thought. Is this a validation of introspection? Well, it is certainly a claim for awareness. And even if it were, is Dummett's anti-realism not crucially based on a logic of mind rather than the formal logic of language and is Wittgenstein's linguistic turn not an arbitrary denial of the edifice of mind that can be built from words that are ultimately derived from introspection?