Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Cardinal/Hayward/Jones, Stephen Houlgate and Cappelen,H/Dever,J

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26 ideas

2. Reason / E. Argument / 1. Argument
A 'teepee' argument has several mutually supporting planks to it [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: In a 'teepee' argument, a number of argumentative planks intersupport each other. No plank is sufficiently strong to establish the position, but each lends credibility to the others because there is the appearance of a unified phenomenon.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.5)
     A reaction: To attack it, they say, you have to identify the separate planks of the argument. It is a moot point whether the teepee might be so imprecise that it is better described as 'coherence'. There is a background support, as well as the planks.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism
The phenomenalist says that to be is to be perceivable [Cardinal/Hayward/Jones]
     Full Idea: Where the idealist says that to be (i.e. to exist) is to be perceived, the phenomenalist says that to be is to be perceivable.
     From: Cardinal/Hayward/Jones (Epistemology [2004], Ch.4)
     A reaction: This is a nice phenomenalist slogan to add to Mill's well known one (Idea 3583). Expressed in this form, it looks false to me. What about neutrinoes? They weren't at all perceivable until recently. Maybe some physical stuff can never be perceived.
Linguistic phenomenalism says we can eliminate talk of physical objects [Cardinal/Hayward/Jones]
     Full Idea: Linguistic phenomenalism argues that it is possible to remove all talk of physical objects from our speech with no loss of meaning.
     From: Cardinal/Hayward/Jones (Epistemology [2004], Ch.4)
     A reaction: I find this proposal unappealing. My basic objection is that I cannot understand why anyone would refuse to even contemplate the question of WHY I am having a given group of consistent experiences, of (say) a table kind.
If we lack enough sense-data, are we to say that parts of reality are 'indeterminate'? [Cardinal/Hayward/Jones]
     Full Idea: The problem with taking sense-data as basic is that some data can appear indeterminate. If we can't discern the colour of someone's eyes, or the number of sides of a complex figure, are we to say that there is no fact about those things?
     From: Cardinal/Hayward/Jones (Epistemology [2004], Ch.4)
     A reaction: I like that. How many electrons are there in the sun? Such things cannot just be reduced to talk of sense-data, as there is obviously a vast gap between the data and the facts. As usual, ontology and epistemology must be kept separate.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / c. Primary qualities
Primary qualities can be described mathematically, unlike secondary qualities [Cardinal/Hayward/Jones]
     Full Idea: All the primary qualities lend themselves readily to mathematical or geometric description. ...but it seems that secondary qualities are less amenable to being represented mathematically.
     From: Cardinal/Hayward/Jones (Epistemology [2004], Ch.4)
     A reaction: As a believer in the primary/secondary distinction, I welcome this point. This is either evidence for the external reality of primary qualities, or an interesting observation about maths. Do we make the primary/secondary distinction because we do maths?
An object cannot remain an object without its primary qualities [Cardinal/Hayward/Jones]
     Full Idea: An object cannot lack shape, size, position or motion and remain an object.
     From: Cardinal/Hayward/Jones (Epistemology [2004], Ch.4)
     A reaction: This points towards the essentialist view (see Idea 5453). This does raise the question of whether an object could lose its colour with impugnity, or the quality of sound that it makes when struck.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / c. Coherentism critique
My justifications might be very coherent, but totally unconnected to the world [Cardinal/Hayward/Jones]
     Full Idea: My beliefs could be well justified in coherentist terms, while not accurately representing the world, and my system of beliefs could be completely free-floating.
     From: Cardinal/Hayward/Jones (Epistemology [2004], Ch.3)
     A reaction: This nicely encapsulates to correspondence objection to coherence theory. One thing missing from the coherence account is that beliefs aren't chosen for their coherence, but are mostly unthinkingly triggered by experiences.
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Knowing the Self
Prioprioception focuses on your body parts, not on your self, or indexicality [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Proprioception is not focused single-mindedly on the self, but is focused on a number of objects - the component bodily parts that belong to the self. There is no obvious need for a concept of the self, or of indexicality.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 07.2)
Proprioception is only immune from error if you are certain that it represents the agent [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: The guarantee of immunity from error in prioprioception is only as strong as the guarantee that proprioception only ever represents the proprioceiving agent.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 07.1)
     A reaction: This is part of an interesting and sustained attack on the idea that self-knowledge is immune from error. They are thinking of science-fictiony situations where I am wired up to experience your leg movement. My experiences usually track me, that's all.
We can acquire self-knowledge with mirrors, not just with proprioception and introspection [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Imagine a being that learns everything about itself by watching itself in mirrors, rather than by proprioception and introspection. Surely it can get wet in a storm, even though allegedly distinctive routes of self-knowledge are not available to it?
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 09.3)
     A reaction: [compressed]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism
Folk Functionalism is a Ramsification of our folk psychology [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: According to Folk Functionalism, mental states are theoretically defined by Ramsifying on our folk-psychological theory.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 06.2)
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 9. Indexical Thought
It is assumed that indexical content is needed to represent the perspective of perception [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Because our perceptual states typically represent the world as seen from a perspective, it is sometimes thought that some distinctively indexical kind of content is needed to characterise those states.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.4)
     A reaction: They are summarising this view precisely so that they can oppose it, and I think they are right.
Indexicality is not significantly connected to agency [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: There are no interesting or distinctive explanatory connections between indexicality and agency.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.8)
All information is objective, and purely indexical information is not much use [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Fundamentally, all information is objective information. ...[176] What we want is fully portable information, and information that co-ordinates on the world, rather than on us, is best suited for the task.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
     A reaction: I agree entirely with their thesis. We just pick up information about ourselves, such as who and where we are, which is just like equivalent information about other people. It is isn't a special type of information.
You don't remember your house interior just from an experienced viewpoint [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: When you recall the look of the inside of your house ....where things are relative to one another is what persists in memory, not where they were relative to you when seen.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
     A reaction: This seems to be a very telling example, though you could postulate some system which converts perspectival input into objective information. But why bother? We seek objective information, not perspectives.
Our beliefs and desires are not organised around ourselves, but around the world [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Our view on the world is not primarily a view from a perspective. Our beliefs and desires are not organized around us. They are instead organized around the world itself. Our view is a view from everywhere.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
     A reaction: Slipping in the claim that our desires are also organised around the world is not quite as persuasive as the claim about beliefs. If you want to draw a freehand straight line, focus on the far end of it. The world will guide your hand.
If some of our thought is tied to its context, it will be hard to communicate it [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: It is bad news if some of our contents are essentially tied to particular contexts. ...If information needs to be assessed relative to some ur-context, later recipients won't know what to do with it.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 5. Fregean Semantics
Fregeans can't agree on what 'senses' are [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: There is little agreement among Fregeans about what senses are.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 04.5)
     A reaction: I don't take this to be sufficient grounds for dismissing Fregean senses. When we look into the workings of the linguistic mind, there seems little prospect of clarity or agreement.
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 8. Possible Worlds Semantics
Possible worlds accounts of content are notoriously coarse-grained [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Possible worlds accounts of content are notoriously coarse-grained. They fail to distinguish between logical or mathematical truths, ..between metaphysical equivalences, ..between coreferentials, ..and between indexicals and non-indexicals.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 05.5)
     A reaction: [A nice summary, very compressed]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 9. Indexical Semantics
Indexicals are just non-constant in meaning, and don't involve any special concepts [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Once the non-constant characters of expressions has been characterised, there is no further need for additional devices like 'first-person concepts' or 'demonstrative concepts'.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.7)
     A reaction: This seems to me to be a wonderfully liberating attack on this issue. There is a kind of creepy mysticism that has been allowed to accrue around indexicals, and it's nonsense.
Fregeans say 'I' differs in reference, so it must also differ in sense [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Fregeans tend to treat as a fundamental tenet that sense determines reference; same sense, same reference. From that it follow trivially that indexicals don't have the same sense: different uses of 'I' have different referents, so sense must differ.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 04.6)
     A reaction: Interesting. Since it seems implausible that 'I' is profoundly different when two people use it, this seems to be a strong argument against Frege's distinction. But I rather like Frege's distinction, while being sceptical about 'I', so I'm baffled....
All indexicals can be expressed non-indexically [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Whatever can be expressed indexically could be expressed by non-indexical means.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 08.1)
     A reaction: This is the best summary of the thesis of their book. Indexicality in non-essential.
19. Language / F. Communication / 5. Pragmatics / a. Contextual meaning
The basic Kaplan view is that there is truth-conditional content, and contextual character [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: In what we label 'Basic Kaplanianism', each of the sentences 'Smith is happy' and 'I am happy', as uttered by Smith, has two levels of meaning. The 'content' is a truth-conditional representation. The 'character' is a function from contexts to contents.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.6)
     A reaction: They give this as a minimal and plausible account of the situation, without reading huge significance into the indexical. I'm inclined to see the situation in terms of the underlying proposition containing both ingredients.
It is proposed that a huge range of linguistic items are context-sensitive [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: An enormous amount has been written about whether 'all', 'know', 'might', 'delicious', 'good', 'if, then', 'and', 'red', 'just', 'justified', 'probable', 'local', 'ready', and 'left-right' are context-sensitive.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 02.3)
     A reaction: The clearest way to approach these things is ask what the (informal) domain of quantification is for that particular context. The domain can shift in the course of a sentence.
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 2. Acting on Beliefs / b. Action cognitivism
We deny that action involves some special class of beliefs [Cappelen/Dever]
     Full Idea: Maybe there is a class of beliefs that plays a special role in the explanation of action. We have argued against the existence of such a class (or at least any interesting such class).
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 06.2)
     A reaction: The main class which has been proposed is the one that involves indexical beliefs. I agree with this idea.
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / b. Defining ethics
The moral will is self-determining, but the ethical will is met in society [Houlgate]
     Full Idea: Whereas the moral will understands the good to be something which it can recognise or determine by itself, the ethical will acknowledges the good to be something actual which it encounters in the world about it.
     From: Stephen Houlgate (An Introduction to Hegel [1991], 08 'Freedom')
     A reaction: I think these two terms have become blurred - or at least I have thoroughly lost track of them. I'm not sure whether it is good to have distinct terms for (Kantian) personal choice and for social expectations. Ethics is what Nietzsche attacks.