Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Francois-Marie Voltaire, John Searle and Barbara Vetter

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160 ideas

2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason
Entailment and validity are relations, but inference is a human activity [Searle]
     Full Idea: We must distinguish between entailment and validity as logical relations on the one hand, and inferring as a voluntary human activity on the other.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
Theory involves accepting conclusions, and so is a special case of practical reason [Searle]
     Full Idea: Theoretical reason is typically a matter of accepting a conclusion or hypothesis on the basis of argument or evidence, and is thus a special case of practical reason.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.VII)
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 8. Naturalising Reason
Rationality is the way we coordinate our intentionality [Searle]
     Full Idea: The constraints of rationality ought to be thought of adverbially; they are a matter of the way in which we coordinate our intentionality.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
Rationality is built into the intentionality of the mind, and its means of expression [Searle]
     Full Idea: Constraints of rationality are built into the structure of mind and language, specifically into the structure of intentionality and speech acts.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Int xiv)
2. Reason / E. Argument / 1. Argument
Slippery slope arguments are challenges to show where a non-arbitrary boundary lies [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Slippery slope arguments are not intended as demonstrative arguments, but rather as a challenge to show where a boundary is, and to show that the boundary is not arbitrary.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 5.3.3)
     A reaction: [extracted from details of its context] You could respond by saying that a slippery slope levels off, rather than hitting a wall or plunging to perdition.
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 1. Correspondence Truth
Correspondence to the facts HAS to be the aim of enquiry [Searle]
     Full Idea: It does not matter whether "true" does mean corresponds to the facts, because "corresponds to the facts" does mean corresponds to the facts, and any discipline that aims to describe how the world is aims for this correspondence.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.V)
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 3. Modal Logic Systems / c. System D
Deontic modalities are 'ought-to-be', for sentences, and 'ought-to-do' for predicates [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Deontic modality can be divided into sentence-modifying 'ought-to-be' modals, and predicate-modifying 'ought-to-do' modals.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 6.9.2)
     A reaction: [She cites Brennan 1993] These two seem to correspond to what is 'good' (ought to be), and what is 'right' (ought to do). Since I like that distinction, I also like this one.
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 3. Modal Logic Systems / h. System S5
S5 is undesirable, as it prevents necessities from having contingent grounds [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Wedgwood (2007:220) argues that S5 is undesirable because it excludes that necessary truths may have contingent grounds.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 6.4 n5)
     A reaction: Cameron defends the possibility of necessity grounded in contingency, against Blackburn's denial of it. It's interesting that we choose the logic on the basis of the metaphysics. Shouldn't there be internal reasons for a logic's correctness?
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 7. Barcan Formula
The Barcan formula endorses either merely possible things, or makes the unactualised impossible [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Subscribers to the Barcan formula must either be committed to the existence of mere possibilia (such as possible unicorns), or deny many unactualised possibilities of existence.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.5)
     A reaction: It increasingly strikes me that the implications of the Barcan formula are ridiculous. Williamson is its champion, but I'm blowed if I can see why. What could a possible unicorn be like? Without them, must we say unicorns are impossible?
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 1. Overview of Logic
If complex logic requires rules, then so does basic logic [Searle]
     Full Idea: If you think you need a rule to infer q from 'p and (if p then q)', then you would also need a rule to infer p from p.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / b. Names as descriptive
We don't normally think of names as having senses (e.g. we don't give definitions of them) [Searle]
     Full Idea: If Tully=Cicero is synthetic, the names must have different senses, which seems implausible, for we don't normally think of proper names as having senses in the way that predicates do (we do not, e.g., give definitions of proper names).
     From: John Searle (Proper Names [1958], p.89)
     A reaction: It is probably necessary to prize apart the question of whether Tully 'has' (intrinsically) a sense, from whether we think of Tully in that way. Stacks of books have appeared about this one, since Kripke.
How can a proper name be correlated with its object if it hasn't got a sense? [Searle]
     Full Idea: It seems that a proper name could not have a reference unless it did have a sense, for how, unless the name has a sense, is it to be correlated with the object?
     From: John Searle (Proper Names [1958], p.91)
     A reaction: This might (just) be the most important question ever asked in modern philosophy, since it provoked Kripke into answering it, by giving a social, causal, externalist account of how names (and hence lots of language) actually work. But Searle has a point.
'Aristotle' means more than just 'an object that was christened "Aristotle"' [Searle]
     Full Idea: Aristotle being identical with an object that was originally christened will not suffice, for the force of "Aristotle" is greater than the force of 'identical with an object named "Aristotle"', for not just any object named "Aristotle" will do.
     From: John Searle (Proper Names [1958], p.93)
     A reaction: This anticipates Kripke's proposal to base reference on baptism. I remain unsure about how rigid a designation of Aristotle could be, in a possible world where his father died young, and he became an illiterate soldier who hates philosophy.
Reference for proper names presupposes a set of uniquely referring descriptions [Searle]
     Full Idea: To use a proper name referringly is to presuppose the truth of certain uniquely referring descriptive statements. ...Names are pegs on which to hang descriptions.
     From: John Searle (Proper Names [1958], p.94)
     A reaction: This 'cluster' view of Searle's has become notorious, but I think one could at least try to mount a defence. The objection to Searle is that none of the descriptions are necessary, unlike just being the named object.
Proper names are logically connected with their characteristics, in a loose way [Searle]
     Full Idea: If asked whether or not proper names are logically connected with characteristics of the object to which they refer, the answer is 'yes, in a loose sort of way'.
     From: John Searle (Proper Names [1958], p.96)
     A reaction: It seems to be inviting trouble to assert that a connection is both 'logical' and 'loose'. Clearly Searle has been reading too much later Wittgenstein. This is probably the weakest point in Searle's proposal, which brought a landslide of criticism.
5. Theory of Logic / I. Semantics of Logic / 1. Semantics of Logic
In real reasoning semantics gives validity, not syntax [Searle]
     Full Idea: In real-life reasoning it is the semantic content that guarantees the validity of the inference, not the syntactical rule.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 1. Nature of Existence
The world is either a whole made of its parts, or a container which contains its parts [Vetter]
     Full Idea: We can think of the world as a 'whole' that has everything as its parts, like raisins in a cake, or we can think of the world as a 'container', which is disjoint from everything there is, like a bottle containing water.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.3)
     A reaction: [compressed] Space and time seem to have a special role here, and it is hard to think of any other candidates for being the 'container'. I think I will apply my 'what's it made of' test to ontology, and opt for the world as a 'whole'.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 1. Grounding / b. Relata of grounding
Grounding can be between objects ('relational'), or between sentences ('operational') [Vetter]
     Full Idea: 'Relational' grounding is between entities, best expressed by the two-place predicate 'x grounds y'. 'Operational' grounding is between sentences, best expressed by the two-place sentence operator read as 'because of' or 'in virtue of'.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.6)
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 2. Reduction
Reduction can be of things, properties, ideas or causes [Searle]
     Full Idea: I find at least five different senses of "reduction" in the literature - ontological (genes/DNA), property ontological (heat/mean molecular energy), theoretical (gas laws/statistics), logical/definitional (average plumber), and causal (solids/molecules).
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.II)
     A reaction: A useful pointer towards some much needed clearer thought about reduction. It is necessary to cross reference this list against reductions which are either ontological or epistemological or linguistic.
Reduction is either by elimination, or by explanation [Searle]
     Full Idea: One sense of 'reduction' is eliminative, in getting rid of a phenomenon by showing that it is really something else (as the earth's rotation eliminates 'sunsets'), but another sense does not get rid of it (as in the explanation of solidity by molecules).
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.2)
     A reaction: These are bad analogies. You can't 'eliminate' a sunset - you just accept that the event is relative to a viewpoint. If we are discussing ontology, we will not admit the existence of sunsets, but we won't have an ontological category of 'solidity' either.
Eliminative reduction needs a gap between appearance and reality, as in sunsets [Searle]
     Full Idea: Eliminative reductions require a distinction between reality and appearance; for example, the sun appears to set but the reality is that the earth rotates.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Concl 2.10)
     A reaction: A bad analogy. You don't 'eliminate' sunsets. It is just 'Galilean' relativity - you thought it was your train moving, then you discover it was the other one. You don't eliminate hallucinations when you show that they don't correspond to reality.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / b. Types of supervenience
Users of 'supervenience' blur its causal and constitutive meanings [Searle]
     Full Idea: I am no fan of the concept of supervenience. Its uncritical use is a sign of philosophical confusion, because the concept oscillates between causal supervenience and constitutive supervenience.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.9 n5)
     A reaction: I don't see why you shouldn't assert the supervenience of one thing on another, while saying that you are not sure whether it is causal or constitutive. The confusion seems to me to be in understandings of the causal version.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / c. Significance of supervenience
Solidity in a piston is integral to its structure, not supervenient [Maslin on Searle]
     Full Idea: Searle's defence of causally efficacious supervenient mind won't work, because, unlike the mind, the solidity of a piston is not a distinct and separate phenomenon from its microstructure.
     From: comment on John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.V) by Keith T. Maslin - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind 7.6
     A reaction: Searle struggles to find analogies for his position - and that, in my view, is highly significant in the philosophy of mind. If there is nothing else like your proposed theory, it is probably just human vainglory.
Is supervenience just causality? [Searle, by Maslin]
     Full Idea: For Searle the supervenience relation is just causality.
     From: report of John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.V) by Keith T. Maslin - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind 7.6
     A reaction: 'Supervenience' seems, in that case, to be an irrelevant word, which was only used when the mind-body connection was a bit loose and mysterious. Mind is identical to brain, or a property of the brain. I like 'process of the brain'.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / d. Humean supervenience
The Humean supervenience base entirely excludes modality [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Humean supervenience excludes modality - the whole modal package - from the supervenience base. The Humean world is, at root, thoroughly non-modal.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.2)
     A reaction: This sums up my problem with David Lewis with perfect clarity. He is just excessively empirical. Hume himself also excluded modality from the basic impressions. Locke allows powerful essences (even if they are well hidden).
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 6. Physicalism
Reality is entirely particles in force fields [Searle]
     Full Idea: One can accept the obvious facts of physics, that the world consists entirely of physical particles in fields of force.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Intro)
     A reaction: I agree with this proposal, with the cautious proviso that physics may discover further basic aspects to reality. The only obstacles to this view are possible divine and mental substances, neither of which is supported by adequate evidence.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
A property is 'emergent' if it is caused by elements of a system, when the elements lack the property [Searle]
     Full Idea: An emergent property of a system is causally explained by elements of the system, but it is not a property of the elements, and cannot be explained by a summation of their properties. The behaviour of H2O explains liquidity, but molecules aren't liquid.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.1)
     A reaction: The genie is 'emergent' from the lamp, and so (in Searle's meaning) is the lamp's solidity. I agree that the mind is 'emergent' in Searle's very weak sense, if that only means that one neuron can't be conscious, but lots together can.
A determinate property must be a unique instance of the determinable class [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The crucial feature of the determinates / determinables relation is that to possess the determinable property, an object must possess exactly one of the determinate properties.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 5.7.2)
     A reaction: This sounds like a determinable being a function, and the determinate being its output. If 'scarlet' is a determinate of the determinables 'red' or 'coloured', it is not obvious that there is only one possible shade of scarlet. This schema oversimplifies.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 7. Emergent Properties
Some properties depend on components, others on their relations [Searle]
     Full Idea: Some system features cannot be figured out just from the composition of the elements of the system and environmental relations; they have to be explained in terms of causal relations among the elements.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.I)
     A reaction: One must explain at the molecular level why an apple skin is both red and smooth. In the brain one must explain the movement of glucose and the contents of thoughts by their causal relations (I say).
Fully 'emergent' properties contradict our whole theory of causation [Searle]
     Full Idea: The existence of any fully 'emergent' properties (that have a life of their own) violates even the weakest principle of the transitivity of causation.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.I)
     A reaction: When Searle talks like this, he sounds like a thoroughgoing reductive physicalist (but is he really?). Any philosopher of mind who uses the word 'emergence' must say EXACTLY what they mean by it.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 4. Powers as Essence
Essence is a thing's necessities, but what about its possibilities (which may not be realised)? [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Essence is, as it were, necessity rooted in things, ...but how about possibility rooted in things? ...Having the potential to Φ, unlike being essentially Φ, does not entail being actually Φ.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §2)
     A reaction: To me this invites the question 'what is it about the entity which endows it with its rooted possibilities?' A thing has possibilities because it has a certain nature (at a given time).
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
I have an 'iterated ability' to learn the violin - that is, the ability to acquire that ability [Vetter]
     Full Idea: I do not have the ability to play the violin. Nor does my desk. Unlike my desk, however, I possess the ability to learn to play the violin - the ability, that is, to acquire the ability to play the violin. I have an 'iterated ability' to play the violin.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 4.6)
     A reaction: An important idea, though the examples are more likely to come from human behaviour than from the non-human physical world.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / c. Dispositions as conditional
We should think of dispositions as 'to do' something, not as 'to do something, if ....' [Vetter]
     Full Idea: We should think in terms of dispositions in terms of the manifestation alone - not as a disposition to ...if..., but as a disposition to ..., full stop.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.7)
     A reaction: This way of individuating dispositions seems plausible. Some dispositions only have one trigger, but others have many. All sorts of things are inclined to trigger a human smile, but we are just disposed to smile. Some people smile at disasters.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
Nomological dispositions (unlike ordinary ones) have to be continually realised [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Nomological dispositions such as electric charge seem different from ordinary dispositions. A particle's being electrically charged is not just a possibility of exerting a certain force. Rather, the particle has to exert a force in certain circumstances.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 2.7)
     A reaction: I can only pull when there is something to pull, but a magnet seems to have a 'field' of attraction which is pullish in character. Does it detect something to pull (like a monad)? Can there be a force which has no object?
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers
How can spatiotemporal relations be understood in dispositional terms? [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Spatiotemporal relations are a prime example of properties that are difficult to understand in dispositional terms.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.6)
     A reaction: [Vetter refers to A.Bird 2007 Ch.8 for an attempt] One approach would be to question whether they are 'properties'. I don't think of relations as properties, even if they are predicates. Is space a property of something?
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 4. Essence as Definition
Real definition fits abstracta, but not individual concrete objects like Socrates [Vetter]
     Full Idea: I can understand the notion of real definition as applying to (some) abstact entities, but I have no idea how to apply it to a concrete object such as Socrates or myself.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §1)
     A reaction: She is objecting to Kit Fine's account of essence, which is meant to be clearer than the normal account of essences based on necessities. Aristotle implies that definitions get fuzzy when you reach the level of the individual.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / a. Essence as necessary properties
Modal accounts make essence less mysterious, by basing them on the clearer necessity [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The modal account was meant, I take it, to make the notion of essence less mysterious by basing it on the supposedly better understood notion of necessity.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §1)
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 12. Origin as Essential
Why does origin matter more than development; why are some features of origin more important? [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Not every feature of an individual's origin is plausibly considered necessary, so we can distinguish two questions: 'why origin, rather than development?', and 'why these particular features of origin?'.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 6.2)
     A reaction: [she cites P. Mackie 1998] The point is that exactly where someone was born doesn't seem vital. If it is nothing more than that every contingent object must have an origin, that is not very exciting.
We take origin to be necessary because we see possibilities as branches from actuality [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The plausibility of the necessity of origin is a symptom of our general tendency to think of possibility in terms of the 'branching model' - that unactualised possibilities must branch off from actuality, at some point.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.9)
     A reaction: [she cites P. Mackie 1998] It is hard to see how we could flatly deny some possibilities which had absolutely no connection with actuality, and were probably quite unimaginable for us.
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
The modern revival of necessity and possibility treated them as special cases of quantification [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Necessity and possibility had a revival with the development of modal logic, treating them as special cases of the existential and universal quantifiers, ranging over an infinity of possible worlds.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.1)
     A reaction: The problem seems to be that possible worlds offer a very useful and interesting 'model' of modality, but say nothing at all about its nature. Any more than a weather map will show you what weather is.
It is necessary that p means that nothing has the potentiality for not-p [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Necessities mark the limits of the potentialities that objects have. More precisely, it is necessary that p just in case nothing has, or had, or will have a potentiality to be such that not-p.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 6.2)
     A reaction: [See Vetter's other ideas for her potentiality account of modality] If we wish to build a naturalistic account of modality (and if you don't want that then your untethered metaphysics will drift away in logical space) then this is the way to go.
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 5. Metaphysical Necessity
Metaphysical necessity is even more deeply empirical than Kripke has argued [Vetter]
     Full Idea: We support the views of metaphysical modality on which metaphysical necessity is an even more deeply empirical matter than Kripke has argued.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], p.2)
     A reaction: [co-author E. Viebahn] This seems to pinpoint the spirit of scientific essentialism. She cites Bird and Shoemaker. If it is empirical, doesn't that make it a matter of epistemology, and hence further from absolute necessity?
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
Maybe possibility is constituted by potentiality [Vetter]
     Full Idea: We should look at the claim that possibility is constituted by potentiality.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §4)
     A reaction: A problem that comes to mind is possibilities arising from coincidence. The whole of reality must be described, to capture all the possibilities for a particular thing. So potentialities of what? Nice thought, though.
Possibilities are potentialities of actual things, but abstracted from their location [Vetter]
     Full Idea: When we speak of possibility, we speak of potentiality in abstraction from its possessor; a possibility is a potentiality somewhere or other in the world, no matter where.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 6.1)
     A reaction: I note that, as so often, this is psychological abstraction, which is usually sneered at by modern philosophers (e.g. Geach), and yet is employed all the time. This is Vetter's key thesis, which I like.
Possible worlds allow us to talk about degrees of possibility [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The apparatus of possible worlds affords greater expressive power than mere talk of possibility and necessity. In particular, possible worlds talk allows us to introduce degrees of possibility.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §3)
     A reaction: A nice feature, but I'm not sure that either the proportion of possible worlds or the closeness of possible worlds captures what we actually mean by a certain degree of possibility. There is 'accidental closeness', or absence of contingency. See Vetter.
All possibility is anchored in the potentiality of individual objects [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Potentiality is, metaphorically speaking, possibility anchored in individual objects; I claim that all possibility is thus anchored in some individual object(s) or other.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.1)
     A reaction: This will be fine for specific physical possibilities, but may become tricky for possibilities that are increasingly abstract, or universal, or idealised. I agree with the general approach. Anchor modality in reality (which is physical!).
Possibility is a generalised abstraction from the potentiality of its bearer [Vetter]
     Full Idea: We should think of possibility as potentiality in abstraction from its bearer. So 'it is possible that p' is defined as 'something has an iterated potentiality for it to be the case that p'.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.4)
     A reaction: If possibilities are abstractions from potentialities, I am inclined the treat potentialities as abstractions from dispositions, and dispositions (and properties) as abstractions from powers. Powers are not abstractions - they are the reality.
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 4. Potentiality
There are potentialities 'to ...', but possibilities are 'that ....'. [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Potentialities are 'potentialities to ....', while possibilities are 'possibilities that ....'.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 6.4)
     A reaction: This feels a bit like a stipulation, rather than a precise description of normal usage. That said, it is quite a nice distinction. It sounds as if an event follows a potentiality, and a state of affairs follows a possibility. Active and passive?
A potentiality may not be a disposition, but dispositions are strong potentialities [Vetter, by Friend/Kimpton-Nye]
     Full Idea: Although not all potentialities are dispositions, Vetter claims that all dispositions are potentialities which are had to a sufficiently high degree.
     From: report of Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015]) by Friend/Kimpton-Nye - Dispositions and Powers 2.4.2
     A reaction: This sounds plausible. A potentiality could be faint or negligible, but once it is a serious possibility it becomes a 'disposition'. ...I suppose. But if the meteor is probably going to hit my house, it doesn't mean it has a disposition to do so.
Potentiality does the explaining in metaphysics; we don't explain it away or reduce it [Vetter]
     Full Idea: This book is a plea for recognising potentiality as an explanans in the metaphysics of modality, rather than as something in need of explanation or reduction.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.1)
     A reaction: Something has to do the explaining, and it is obviously much better to have some aspect of the real world do the job, rather than remote abstractions such as laws, possible worlds or Forms. Personally I like the potentiality of 'powers'.
Potentiality is the common genus of dispositions, abilities, and similar properties [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Potentiality can now be recognised as the common genus of dispositions and such related properties as abilities.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 4.1)
     A reaction: This is the reason why Vetter defends a metaphysics of modality based on potentialities, rather than on narrower concepts such as dispositions, powers or essences. She can evade the problems which those narrower concepts raise.
Potentiality logic is modal system T. Stronger systems collapse iterations, and necessitate potentials [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The logic for potentiality corresponds to modal system T, the minimum for metaphysics. The S4 axiom ◊◊φ → ◊φ says iterated potentialities collapse, and the S5 ◊φ → □◊φ says potentialities can't be lost.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 5.9)
     A reaction: [compressed] This seems persuasive. I nice example of modern analytic metaphysics, that you have to find a logic that suits your theory. N.Salmon defends system T for all of metaphysics, though most people favour S5.
Water has a potentiality to acquire a potentiality to break (by freezing) [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Water has no potentiality to break. But water has a potentiality to be frozen and turn into ice, which does have a potentiality to break. So water has a potentiality to acquire a potentiality to break.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 4.6)
     A reaction: Thus potentially has an 'iterated' character to it, and an appropriate modal logic for it will have to allow for those iterations. She suggests a version of System T modal logic.
Potentialities may be too weak to count as 'dispositions' [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Potentialities may get exercised despite having a degree that is too low for them to qualify as dispositions.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 5.7.4)
     A reaction: The key reason why her book is called 'Potentialities', rather than 'Dispositions'. She still wants to offer a naturalistic picture which ties potentialities to individual objects, but I am wondering whether potentialities are too abstract for the job.
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / c. Possible but inconceivable
The apparently metaphysically possible may only be epistemically possible [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Some of what metaphysicians take to be metaphysically possible turns out to be only epistemically possible.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §4)
     A reaction: A nice clear expression of the increasingly common view that conceivability may be a limited way to grasp possibility.
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / a. Possible worlds
Closeness of worlds should be determined by the intrinsic nature of relevant objects [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The closeness of possible worlds should be determined by similarity in the intrinsic constitution of whatever object it is whose potentialities are at issue.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Essence and Potentiality [2010], §3)
     A reaction: Nice thought. This seems to be the essentialist approach to possible worlds, but it makes the natures of the objects more fundamental than the framework of the worlds. She demurs because there are also extrinsic potentialities.
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 2. Nature of Possible Worlds / c. Worlds as propositions
If worlds are sets of propositions, how do we know which propositions are genuinely possible? [Vetter]
     Full Idea: If possible worlds are sets of propositions, we need some way to distinguish those sets of propositions that do from those that do not correspond to genuine possibilities.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 1.2)
     A reaction: The idea of a 'genuine' possibility does not seem to play a role in the conceptual scheme of those who treat possibility entirely in terms of possible worlds. If possibility is primitive, or is a set of worlds, there can be no criterion for 'genuine'.
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / e. Possible Objects
Are there possible objects which nothing has ever had the potentiality to produce? [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Is it not possible that there be objects with (natural) properties that no actual thing ever had the potentiality to have, to produce, or constitute? (Call such properties 'super-alien properties').
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.5)
     A reaction: This is a problem for her potentiality account of possibility. Her solution is (roughly) to either deny the super-aliens, or have chains of iterated possibility which take this case back to actuality. That sounds OK to me.
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / c. Aim of beliefs
Our beliefs are about things, not propositions (which are the content of the belief) [Searle]
     Full Idea: The terminology of "propositional attitudes" is confused, because it suggests that a belief is an attitude towards a propositions, …but the proposition is the content, not the object, of my belief.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.2)
We can't understand something as a lie if beliefs aren't commitment to truth [Searle]
     Full Idea: If I lie and say "It is raining", my utterance is intelligible to me as a lie precisely because I understand that the utterance commits me to the truth of a proposition I do not believe to be true.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.6.II)
A belief is a commitment to truth [Searle]
     Full Idea: A belief is a commitment to truth.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.4.III)
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / e. Belief holism
Beliefs only make sense as part of a network of other beliefs [Searle]
     Full Idea: To have one belief or desire, I have to have a whole network of other beliefs and desires.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.I)
Beliefs are part of a network, and also exist against a background [Searle]
     Full Idea: We need to postulate a network of beliefs, and also a background of capacities that are not themselves part of the network.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.I)
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 4. The Cogito
Thinking must involve a self, not just an "it" [Searle]
     Full Idea: We should not say "It thinks" in preference to "I think". If thinking is an active, voluntary process, there must be a self who thinks.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.IX)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 5. Interpretation
Perception is a function of expectation [Searle]
     Full Idea: Psychologists have a lot of evidence to show that perception is a function of expectation.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 6.I.7)
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 4. Memory
Memory is mainly a guide for current performance [Searle]
     Full Idea: We should think of memory as a mechanism for generating current performance, including conscious thoughts and actions, on the basis of past experience.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.III)
     A reaction: This seems to be falling into the fallacy of causal and functional theories, which Searle normally dislikes. If memory serves to aid current performance, that doesn't say what memory IS, any more than a foot is defined by walking.
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / a. Justification issues
Reasons can either be facts in the world, or intentional states [Searle]
     Full Idea: Both reasons and the things they are reasons for can be either facts in the world or intentional states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.4.I)
     A reaction: One might point out that beliefs, desires and intentions are facts in the world too. Implicit dualism. One can ask, what turns a fact into a reason?
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 1. External Justification
In the past people had a reason not to smoke, but didn't realise it [Searle]
     Full Idea: For a long time people had a reason not to smoke cigarettes, without knowing that they had such a reason.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.4)
     A reaction: What does 'had' a reason mean here? If I wish you dead, there is a reason why you should be dead, but you don't 'have' the reason, and never will have. There's probably a reason why I should never have been born.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 2. Causal Justification
Causes (usually events) are not the same as reasons (which are never events) [Searle]
     Full Idea: Causes are typically events, reasons are never events. You can give a reason by stating a cause, but it does not follow that the reason and the cause are the same thing.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.4.I)
     A reaction: This is against Davidson. I'm with Searle here; my having a reason to do something is not the cause of my doing it. I don't, unlike Searle, believe in free will, but doing something for a reason is not just the operation of the reason.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Explanations by disposition are more stable and reliable than those be external circumstances [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Patterns of behaviour may be explained by circumstances external to the individual, but dispositional explanations, based on the instrinsic make-up of individuals are typically more reliable and stable.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 3.5)
     A reaction: [compressed] This is very nice support for the view I have been defending. She doesn't deal in essences, and prefers 'potentialities' (as broader) to 'dispositions'. The point is to explain events by the natures of the ingredients.
Grounding is a kind of explanation, suited to metaphysics [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Grounding is a kind of explanation - and specifically, the kind of metaphysical explanation that metaphysicians are after.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 4.5)
     A reaction: Depending on how you interpret 'grounding', it is plausible that it is the sort of explanation that physicists and economists are after as well. If the aim is to understand the structure of everything, the target is to know what grounds what.
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 4. Other Minds / c. Knowing other minds
We don't have a "theory" that other people have minds [Searle]
     Full Idea: Except when doing philosophy there is no "problem" of other minds, because we do not hold a "hypothesis" or "belief" or "supposition" that other people are conscious.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 3.IV)
     A reaction: Our commitment to other minds is so deep-ingrained that it is a candidate for one of Hume's 'natural beliefs', or even (a step further) for an innate idea. Babies have an innate recognition of faces, so why can't an expectation of a mind be hard-wired?
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 4. Other Minds / d. Other minds by analogy
Other minds are not inferred by analogy, but are our best explanation [Searle]
     Full Idea: If we inferred other minds simply from behaviour, we would conclude that radios are conscious; it is rather the combination of behaviour with knowledge of the causal underpinnings of behaviour.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 1.V.4)
     A reaction: Personally I am inclined to think that Searle has said the last word on the fairly uninteresting problem of other minds. Dualism generates a deep privacy problem, and analogy is a flawed argument, but best explanation is exactly what we rely on.
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 5. Unity of Mind
We experience unity at an instant and across time [Searle]
     Full Idea: We experience 'horizontal unity' in the organisation of conscious experiences through short stretches of time, and 'vertical unity' in simultaneous awareness of diverse features of our experience.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 6.I.2)
     A reaction: See Betjeman's poem "On the Ninth Green at St Enedoc". The brain is an information-unification machine, and 'I' am located at the crossroads where these unifications meet. Analysis of mind is good for us, but so is reunification afterwards.
Explanation of how we unify our mental stimuli into a single experience is the 'binding problem' [Searle]
     Full Idea: The 'binding problem' is how to explain how the brain binds all our different stimuli into a single unified experience of an object.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.2)
     A reaction: This may be the best way of expressing what philosophers call (after Chalmers) the 'Hard Question'. Large objects are held together by gravity, and small objects by electro-magnetism. We don't see a 'binding problem' in the function of a leaf.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness
A system is either conscious or it isn't, though the intensity varies a lot [Searle]
     Full Idea: A system is either conscious or it isn't, but within the field of consciousness there are states of intensity ranging from drowsiness to full awareness.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.1)
     A reaction: I think this all-or-nothing view is the last vestiges of Cartesian dualism, and is quite wrong. Heaps of neuroscience (about blindsight, subliminal awareness, neurosis etc.) says we will never understand the mind if we think it is only the conscious part.
Consciousness has a first-person ontology, which only exists from a subjective viewpoint [Searle]
     Full Idea: Consciousness has a first-person or subjective ontology, by which I mean that conscious states only exist when experienced by a subject and they exist only from the first-person point of view of that subject.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.5 App)
     A reaction: I think this is nonsense, and I don't think Searle believes it. He ruthlessly attacks so-called 'eliminativists', but the definition he gives here would make him an eliminativist about other minds. There is no such thing as 'first-person' ontology.
There isn't one consciousness (information-processing) which can be investigated, and another (phenomenal) which can't [Searle]
     Full Idea: There are not two kinds of consciousness, an information-processing consciousness that is amenable to scientific investigation and a phenomenal, what-it-subjectively-feels-like form of consciousness that will forever remain mysterious.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Concl.1)
     A reaction: Fodor appears to be the main target of this remark. The view that we can explain intentionality but not qualia is currently very fashionable. I am sympathetic to Searle here. Consciousness isn't an epiphenomenon, it is essential to all thought.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / b. Essence of consciousness
The mind experiences space, but it is not experienced as spatial [Searle]
     Full Idea: Although we experience objects both spatially and temporally, our consciousness itself is not experienced as spatial, though it is experienced as temporally extended.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 6)
     A reaction: This observation was made by Descartes. This seems to require that I experience objects spatially, AND experience my consciousness. Do I experience the time passing, as well as the river moving? Einstein says if it is in time, it must be in space.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / d. Purpose of consciousness
Conscious creatures seem able to discriminate better [Searle]
     Full Idea: Apparently it is just a fact of biology that organisms that have consciousness have, in general, much greater powers of discrimination than those that do not.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.III)
     A reaction: This presupposes knowledge of which creatures are conscious. Clearly colour vision gives more information than monochrome vision. But presumably a computer could process more visual information than I could see. It doesn't have a fovea centralis.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
Unconscious thoughts are those capable of causing conscious ones [Searle]
     Full Idea: The ontology of the unconscious consists in objective features of the brain capable of causing subjective conscious thoughts.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 7.II.7)
     A reaction: As it stands, this definition would fit a brain tumour. I think Searle is wrong. There is no sharp line between conscious and non-conscious brain events. Research has surely made it clear that dim brain events directly intrude into my conscious states.
Consciousness results directly from brain processes, not from some intermediary like information [Searle]
     Full Idea: There are brain processes and consciousness, but nothing in between; no rule following, information processing, unconscious inferences, mental models, language of thought or universal grammar.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.II)
     A reaction: The core of Searle's view. He likes to call consciousness a 'property' of brains. Edelman says consciousness IS a brain process. Essentially I agree with Searle. An unusual physical object can produce consciousness, but mere 'rules' etc. cannot.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / a. Nature of intentionality
Either there is intrinsic intentionality, or everything has it [Searle]
     Full Idea: If you deny the distinction between intrinsic and derived ('as-if') intentionality, then it follows that everything in the universe has intentionality (for example, stones seem to want to fall).
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 3.IV)
     A reaction: Searle makes this claim because he always takes mental phenomena like intentionality or consciousness to be all-or-nothing - and he's wrong. He refuses to acknowledge non-conscious intentional states - and he's wrong again.
Water flowing downhill can be described as if it had intentionality [Searle]
     Full Idea: Water flowing downhill can be described AS IF it had intentionality: it tries to get to the bottom by seeking the line of least resistance through information processing and calculation…
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 7.II.1)
     A reaction: John Searle could be described as if he had intentionality, as his neurons chart their way through the information and desires that flood them. I am wary of his all-or-nothing approach to intentionality.
Intentional phenomena only make sense within a background [Searle]
     Full Idea: Intentional phenomena such as meanings, understandings, interpretations, beliefs, desires, and experiences only function within a set of Background capacities that are not themselves intentional.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.I)
     A reaction: Why would the background not be intentional? Presumably the background is a set of beliefs about, or images of, how the world is taken to be.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / b. Intentionality theories
Intentionality is defined in terms of representation [Searle]
     Full Idea: Intentionality is defined in terms of representation.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.III)
     A reaction: Sounds okay, but representation of a tree (say) can be understood in imagistic terms, whereas extremely abstract concepts are a bit baffling. Then we realise that we conceive trees in that way as well, not as images.
Consciousness is essential and basic to intentionality [Searle]
     Full Idea: I claim that only a being that could have conscious intentional states could have intentional states at all, and every unconscious intentional state is at least potentially conscious.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 6.I.5)
     A reaction: The alternative to this is that robots and lower animals might have non-conscious states which are about something, because they process useful information but are unaware of it. If so, parts of the human mind might do the same, as in blindsight.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / a. Nature of qualia
The use of 'qualia' seems to imply that consciousness and qualia are separate [Searle]
     Full Idea: I am hesitant to use the word 'quale/qualia', because it gives the impression that there are two separate phenomena, consciousness and qualia.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.1)
     A reaction: He is trying to resist going back to 'sense-data', sitting uneasily between reality and our experience of it. Personally I am quite happy with qualia as an aspect of consciousness - just as I am happy with consciousness as an 'aspect' of brain.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / b. Qualia and intentionality
Pain is not intentional, because it does not represent anything beyond itself [Searle]
     Full Idea: If I am conscious of a pain, the pain is not intentional, because it does not represent anything beyond itself.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.1)
     A reaction: Crane quotes this to challenge it. Pain may be about apparent damage to the body. Pains are certainly informative.
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 2. Persons as Responsible
Being held responsible for past actions makes no sense without personal identity [Searle]
     Full Idea: I am held responsible now for things that I did in the distant past. But that only makes sense if there is some entity that is both the agent of the action in the past and me now.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.VII)
     A reaction: A possible response, of course, is that you are held responsible for your past deeds, but you shouldn't be. The idea that you are the same as when you committed the crime is a convenient fiction for people who desire revenge. Responsibility fades.
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 3. Persons as Reasoners
Giving reasons for action requires reference to a self [Searle]
     Full Idea: The requirement that I state reasons that I acted on requires a reference to the self. …Only for a self can something be a reason for an action.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.VII)
     A reaction: Why can't we just say that this reason, given this desire and this belief, led to this action, and never mention the self? Admittedly leaving out 'I' is an odd circumlocution, but I don't find this particular argument very convincing.
A 'self' must be capable of conscious reasonings about action [Searle]
     Full Idea: In order to be a self the entity that acts as an agent must also be capable of conscious reasoning about its actions.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.VIII)
     A reaction: I can't accept this all-or-nothing account. A chimpanzee is some sort of 'agent', and there are bad chimpanzees you wouldn't want in your colony. Why does Searle want to cut us off in some special compound where our actions are totally different?
An intentional, acting, rational being must have a self [Searle]
     Full Idea: Selfhood in my sense comes for free once you have a conscious intentional being capable of engaging in free actions on the basis of reasons.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.5.II)
     A reaction: The concept of an 'action' is probably the thing that most clearly needs a self, because it implies co-ordination and purpose, and there must be some item which benefits. Personally I think you can drop 'free actions' and still have a self.
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 4. Persons as Agents
Action requires a self, even though perception doesn't [Searle]
     Full Idea: It is a formal requirement on rational action that there must be a self who acts, in a way that it is not a formal requirement on perception that there be an agent or a self who perceives.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.IX)
     A reaction: I don't find this persuasive. I don't see how we can rule out a priori the possibility of a set of desires and reasons within an organism which generate an action, without any intervening 'self' to add something. Ockham's Razor.
16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 1. Self and Consciousness
Selfs are conscious, enduring, reasonable, active, free, and responsible [Searle]
     Full Idea: A self is conscious, persists through time, operates with reasons, carries out free actions, and is responsible.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.X)
     A reaction: Personally I would substitute 'makes decisions' for 'carries out free actions', but otherwise I agree, though he seems to miss a key aspect, which is that the self is in charge of the mind, and directs its focus and co-ordinates its inputs and outputs.
A self must at least be capable of consciousness [Searle]
     Full Idea: The first condition on the self is that it should be capable of consciousness.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.IX)
     A reaction: This strikes me as a stipulative definition. It raises the question of whether it is possible that a lizard (say) is not actually conscious, but has some sort of propriotreptic awareness, and a 'central controller' for its decision-making.
16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 4. Presupposition of Self
The self is neither an experience nor a thing experienced [Searle]
     Full Idea: The self is not an experience, nor is it an object that is experienced.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.IX)
     A reaction: A nice dichotomy, that draws attention to the unique position of the self. Thanks to Descartes for focusing our attention on it. Personally I would say that the self is an object, which cannot be experienced by itself, but can be inferred by others.
16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 5. Self as Associations
The bundle must also have agency in order to act, and a self to act rationally [Searle]
     Full Idea: Agency must be added to the bundle to account for how embodied bundles engage in free actions, and selfhood must be added to account for how agents can act rationally.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.VII)
     A reaction: I don't buy much of this, but I am inclined to say that a will must be added to the bundle to explain why it acts consistently and coherently. It is certainly ridiculous to rest with the picture of a person as a completely unstructured bundle.
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 1. Introspection
Neither introspection nor privileged access makes sense [Searle]
     Full Idea: We have the visual metaphor of introspection, and the spatial metaphor of privileged access, but neither one works because I am the thing being viewed, and I am the space being entered.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.II)
     A reaction: This is quite a good warning against reliance on analogies when dealing with the unique problem of self-knowledge, though the phrase 'hall-of-mirrors' draws assent from most people concerning that topic.
Introspection is just thinking about mental states, not a special sort of vision [Searle]
     Full Idea: If by "introspection" we mean simply thinking about our own mental states, then there is no objection to introspection, but if we mean a special capacity like vision of looking inwards, there is no such capacity.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 6.II.2)
     A reaction: This seems to beg the question of how we can be aware of our mental states in order to think about them. One might image that some animals have mental states, but are quite unaware that they have them, because they are totally focused on content.
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 3. Limits of Introspection
I cannot observe my own subjectivity [Searle]
     Full Idea: I cannot observe my own subjectivity.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.II)
     A reaction: I'm not quite clear what Searle is complaining about. He knows very clearly that there is a subjective aspect to his life - so how does he know that fact? There must be something supporting this widely held belief.
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 4. For Free Will
Free will is most obvious when we choose between several reasons for an action [Searle]
     Full Idea: The most dramatic manifestation of the free will gap is that when one has several reasons for performing an action, one may act on only one of them; one may select which reason one acts on.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.II)
Rational decision making presupposes free will [Searle]
     Full Idea: In order to engage in rational decision making we have to presuppose free will.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
We freely decide whether to make a reason for action effective [Searle]
     Full Idea: Where free rational action is concerned, all effective reasons are made effective by the agent.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.3.II)
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 2. Interactionism
Mind and brain don't interact if they are the same [Searle]
     Full Idea: There is no "link" between consciousness and the brain, any more than there is a link between the liquidity of water and the H2O molecules.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.III)
     A reaction: We say of some properties that 'x is F', and of others that 'x has F', and of others that 'x is F because of y' (as in a knife having sharpness because it is thin and hard). Consciousness might fit the third case just as well as the first.
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 7. Zombies
Without internal content, a zombie's full behaviour couldn't be explained [Searle]
     Full Idea: There could be no intentional zombie, because (unlike with a conscious agent) there simply is no fact of the matter as to exactly which aspectual shapes its alleged intentional states have. Is it seeking water or H2O?
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 7.III)
     A reaction: The obvious response to this is behaviourist talk of 'dispositions'. The dispositions of scientist when seeking water and when seeking H2O are different. Zombies behave identically to us, so their intentional states have whatever is needed to do the job.
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique
Mental states only relate to behaviour contingently, not necessarily [Searle]
     Full Idea: I believe that the relation of mental states to behaviour is purely contingent.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 1.V.5)
     A reaction: I don't think I agree, though it will depend on where you draw the line between mental states and behaviour. Since there have never been two identical states since the beginning of time, it is a little hard to test this one.
Wanting H2O only differs from wanting water in its mental component [Searle]
     Full Idea: If a person exhibits water-seeking behaviour, they also exhibit H2O-seeking behaviour, so there is no way the behaviour itself, without reference to a mental component, can constitute wanting water rather than H2O.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 7.II.4)
     A reaction: What about the behaviour of responding to the discovery that this stuff isn't actually H2O? Or the disposition to choose the real thing rather than ersatz water? An interesting comment, though.
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism
Functionalists like the externalist causal theory of reference [Searle]
     Full Idea: Functionalism has been rejuvenated by being joined to externalist causal theories of reference.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 2.VIII)
     A reaction: This, however, seems to be roughly the reason why Putnam gave up his functionalist theory. See Ideas 2332 and 2071. However the causal network of mind can incorporate environmental features.
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 7. Chinese Room
Maybe understanding doesn't need consciousness, despite what Searle seems to think [Searle, by Chalmers]
     Full Idea: Searle originally directed the Chinese Room against machine intentionality rather than consciousness, arguing that it is "understanding" that the room lacks,….but on Searle's view intentionality requires consciousness.
     From: report of John Searle (Minds, Brains and Science [1984]) by David J.Chalmers - The Conscious Mind 4.9.4
     A reaction: I doubt whether 'understanding' is a sufficiently clear and distinct concept to support Searle's claim. Understanding comes in degrees, and we often think and act with minimal understanding.
A program won't contain understanding if it is small enough to imagine [Dennett on Searle]
     Full Idea: There is nothing remotely like genuine understanding in any hunk of programming small enough to imagine readily.
     From: comment on John Searle (Minds, Brains and Science [1984]) by Daniel C. Dennett - Consciousness Explained 14.1
     A reaction: We mustn't hide behind 'complexity', but I think Dennett is right. It is important to think of speed as well as complexity. Searle gives the impression that he knows exactly what 'understanding' is, but I doubt if anyone else does.
If bigger and bigger brain parts can't understand, how can a whole brain? [Dennett on Searle]
     Full Idea: The argument that begins "this little bit of brain activity doesn't understand Chinese, and neither does this bigger bit..." is headed for the unwanted conclusion that even the activity of the whole brain won't account for understanding Chinese.
     From: comment on John Searle (Minds, Brains and Science [1984]) by Daniel C. Dennett - Consciousness Explained 14.1
     A reaction: In other words, Searle is guilty of a fallacy of composition (in negative form - parts don't have it, so whole can't have it). Dennett is right. The whole shebang of the full brain will obviously do wonderful (and commonplace) things brain bits can't.
A program for Chinese translation doesn't need to understand Chinese [Searle]
     Full Idea: A computer, me for example, could run the steps in the program for some mental capacity, such as understanding Chinese, without understanding a word of Chinese.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 9.II)
     A reaction: I don't think this is true. I could recite a bit of Chinese without comprehension, but giving flexible answers to complex questions isn't plausible just by gormlessly implementing a procedure.
I now think syntax is not in the physics, but in the eye of the beholder [Searle]
     Full Idea: It seems to me now that syntax is not intrinsic to the physics of the system, but is in the eye of the beholder.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.1)
     A reaction: This seems right, in that whether strung beads are a toy or an abacus depends on the user. It doesn't follow that the 'beholder' stands outside the physics. A beholder is another physical system, of a particular type of high complexity.
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 8. Functionalism critique
Computation presupposes consciousness [Searle]
     Full Idea: Most of the works I have seen in the computational theory of the mind commit some variation on the homunculus fallacy.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 9.VI)
     A reaction: This will be because there is an unspoken user for the inner computer. But see Fodor's view (Idea 2506). The key idea here is Dennett's: that not all regresses are vicious. My mind controller isn't like all of me.
If we are computers, who is the user? [Searle]
     Full Idea: If the brain is a digital computer, we are still faced with the question 'Who is the user?'
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 9.VI)
     A reaction: A very nice question. Our whole current concept of a computer involves the unmentioned user. We don't have to go all mystical about persons, though. Robots aren't logically impossible.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 1. Reductionism critique
Consciousness has a first-person ontology, so it cannot be reduced without omitting something [Searle]
     Full Idea: Consciousness has a first-person or subjective ontology and so cannot be reduced to anything that has third-person or objective ontology. If you try to reduce or eliminate one in favour of the other you leave something out.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Concl 2.10)
     A reaction: Misconceived. There is no such thing as 'first-person' ontology, though there are subjective viewpoints, but then a camera has a viewpoint which is lost if you eliminate it. If consciousness is physical events, that leaves viewpoints untouched.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 3. Property Dualism
Property dualism is the reappearance of Cartesianism [Searle]
     Full Idea: Opponents of materialism tend to embrace "property dualism", thus accepting the Cartesian apparatus that I had thought long discredited.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Intro)
     A reaction: This seems to be precisely the current situation. Cartesian dualism is thoroughly marginalised (but still whimpering in the corner), and the real battle is between physicalism and property dualism. The latter is daft.
Property dualism denies reductionism [Searle]
     Full Idea: What is property dualism but the view that there are irreducible mental properties?
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.III)
     A reaction: Being red and being square are separate, but they are both entailed by the material basis, and hence are reducible. Properties may not link directly, but they must link indirectly.
Property dualists tend to find the mind-body problem baffling [Searle]
     Full Idea: Property dualists (e.g. Nagel and McGinn) think that the mind-body problem is frightfully difficult, perhaps altogether insoluble.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 1.I)
     A reaction: Nagel's problem is that our concepts aren't up to it; McGinn's is that the very structure of our minds isn't up to it. My view is that the difficulty is the complexity we are up against, not the ontology.
Consciousness is a brain property as liquidity is a water property [Searle]
     Full Idea: Consciousness is a higher-level or emergent property of the brain, but only in the sense that solidity is an emergent property of water when it is ice, and liquidity when it melts.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 1.IV)
     A reaction: It is hard to know which side Searle is on. These examples are highly reductive, and make him a thoroughgoing reductive physicalist (with which I agree).
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 4. Emergentism
There is non-event causation between mind and brain, as between a table and its solidity [Searle]
     Full Idea: The solidity of a table is explained causally by the behaviour of the molecules of which it is composed, but the solidity is not an extra event, it is just a feature of the table. This non-event causation models the relationship of mind and brain.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Ch.1)
     A reaction: He calls it 'non-event' causation, while referring to the 'behaviour of molecules'. Ask a physicist what a 'feature' is. Better to think of it as one process 'emerging' as another process at the macro-level.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 5. Supervenience of mind
If mind-brain supervenience isn't causal, this implies epiphenomenalism [Searle]
     Full Idea: There are constitutive and causal notions of supervenience. Kim claims that mental events have no causal role, and merely supervene on brain events which do (which implies epiphenomenalism). But it seems obvious that mind is caused by brain.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.V)
     A reaction: Personally I think the whole discussion is doomed to confusion because it is riddled with a priori dualism. There is no all-or-nothing boundary between 'mind' and 'brain'. Kim's views have changed.
Upwards mental causation makes 'supervenience' irrelevant [Searle]
     Full Idea: Once you recognise the existence of bottom-up, micro to macro forms of causation, the notion of supervenience no longer does any work in philosophy.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.V)
     A reaction: I'm not sure if the notion of supervenience ever did any work. Davidson only fished up the word because none of the normal relationships between things seemed to apply (and he was wrong about that).
Mental events can cause even though supervenient, like the solidity of a piston [Searle]
     Full Idea: That mental features supervene on neuronal features in no way diminishes their causal efficacy. The solidity of the piston is supervenient on its molecular structure, but this does not make solidity epiphenomenal.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.V)
     A reaction: Searle's examples never seem to quite fit what he is saying. Molecules and solidity are supervenient because they are identical (solidity is the presence of certain molecules). Solidity doesn't have causal powers that molecules lack.
Mind and brain are supervenient in respect of cause and effect [Searle]
     Full Idea: Mind is supervenient on brain in the following respect: type-identical neurophysiological causes have type-identical mentalistic effects.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.V)
     A reaction: An interesting statement of what might be meant by 'supervenience'. Searle's version implies necessity in the link (but not identity). I take him to imply that a zombie is impossible.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism
Consciousness seems indefinable by conditions or categories [Searle]
     Full Idea: We can't define "consciousness" by necessary and sufficient conditions, or by the Aristotelian method of genus and differentia.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.I)
     A reaction: We may not be able to 'define' it, but we can 'characterise' it. The third approach to definition is a catalogue of essential properties, which might tail off rather vaguely.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 1. Physical Mind
The pattern of molecules in the sea is much more complex than the complexity of brain neurons [Searle]
     Full Idea: The pattern of molecules in the ocean is vastly more complex than any pattern of neurons in my brain.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Concl 2.6)
     A reaction: A nice warning for anyone foolish enough to pin their explanatory hopes simply on 'complexity', but we would not be so foolish. A subtler account of complexity (e.g. by Edelman and Tononi) might make brains much more complex than oceans.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 2. Reduction of Mind
Can the homunculus fallacy be beaten by recursive decomposition? [Searle]
     Full Idea: The idea (of Dennett and others) is that recursive decomposition will eliminate the homunculi.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 9.VI)
     A reaction: Lycan is the best exponent of this view, which I like. My brain clearly has a substantial homunculus which I call my PA; it regularly reminds of what I have to do in an hour's time. I am sure it is composed of smaller brain components working as a team.
Searle argues that biology explains consciousness, but physics won't explain biology [Searle, by Kriegel/Williford]
     Full Idea: Searle appears to argue that phenomenal consciousness is explained in biological terms, but that biological properties are irreducible to purely (micro)physical ones.
     From: report of John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992]) by U Kriegel / K Williford - Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness' n1
     A reaction: Searle is very hard to pin down, and this account suggests the reason very clearly - because he is proposing something which is bizarrely implausible. The reduction of biology-to-physics looks much more likely than consciousness-to-biology.
If mind is caused by brain, does this mean mind IS brain? [Searle]
     Full Idea: I hold a view of mind/brain relations that is a form of causal reduction (mental features are caused by biological processes), but does this imply ontological reduction? (…No!)
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 5.II.5)
     A reaction: What exactly is his claim? Presumably 'causal reduction' implies identity of (philosophical) substance. This seems to imply 'emergence' in a rather old-fashioned and dramatic way, though elsewhere Searle denies this.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / a. Physicalism critique
If tree rings contain information about age, then age contains information about rings [Searle]
     Full Idea: You could say that tree-rings contain information about the age of a tree, but you could as well say that the age of a tree in years contains information about the number of rings in a tree stump. ..'Information' is not a real causal feature of the world.
     From: John Searle (The Mystery of Consciousness [1997], Concl 2.5)
     A reaction: A nice point for fans of 'information' to ponder. However, you cannot deny the causal connection between the age and the rings. Information has a subjective aspect, but you cannot, for example, eliminate the role of DNA in making organisms.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
If mind is multiply realisable, it is possible that anything could realise it [Searle]
     Full Idea: The same principle that implies multiple realisability would seem to imply universal realisability. …Any object whatever could have syntactical ascriptions made to it.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 9.V)
     A reaction: This leads to rather weak reductio objections to functionalism. Logically there may be no restriction on how to implement a mind, but naturally there are very tight restrictions. Stick to neurons seems the best strategy.
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 4. Folk Psychology
We don't postulate folk psychology, we experience it [Searle]
     Full Idea: We do not postulate beliefs and desires to account for anything; we simply experience conscious beliefs and desires.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 2 App)
     A reaction: Searle is too fond of reporting what we 'simply' know. Beliefs and desires are pushed forward by a cultural tradition. What I actually experience is a confusion, always laced with emotion.
18. Thought / B. Mechanics of Thought / 6. Artificial Thought / b. Turing Machines
Computation isn't a natural phenomenon, it is a way of seeing phenomena [Searle]
     Full Idea: Computational states are not discovered within the physics, they are assigned to the physics.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 9.V)
     A reaction: The key idea in Searle's later thinking, with which I have some sympathy. There always seems to be a sneaky dualism buried deep in Searle's physicalism. Computation is very high-level physics.
18. Thought / C. Content / 1. Content
Content is much more than just sentence meaning [Searle]
     Full Idea: Sentence meaning radically underdetermines the content of what is said.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.II)
     A reaction: We have body language, and we have tone, and we have context, and we have speaker's and listener's meanings. I take sentence meaning to be the basis which makes the rest possible.
18. Thought / C. Content / 6. Broad Content
There is no such thing as 'wide content' [Searle]
     Full Idea: I don't believe in the existence of 'wide content'.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 3.IV)
     A reaction: I sort of agree, but if I accept the rulings of experts (e.g. that water is really H2O), I am admitting that what I mean may not be in my head.
18. Thought / C. Content / 7. Narrow Content
We explain behaviour in terms of actual internal representations in the agent [Searle]
     Full Idea: In intentional explanations of behaviour patterns in the behaviour are explained by the fact that the agent has a representation of that very pattern in its intentional apparatus, which functions causally in the production of the behaviour.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.IV)
     A reaction: Problem cases would be where someone's behaviour doesn't come out quite as planned (e.g. the sentence spoken failed to match the proposition intended), and panic behaviour.
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 1. Meaning
Meaning is derived intentionality [Searle]
     Full Idea: Meaning is derived intentionality.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Intro)
     A reaction: That still leaves something very difficult to explain - how the intentionality of mental events can be 'transferred' to symbolic forms which can exist outside the mind.
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 2. Meaning as Mental
Philosophy of language is a branch of philosophy of mind [Searle]
     Full Idea: On my view, the philosophy of language is a branch of the philosophy of mind.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Intro)
     A reaction: Inclined to agree with this. Intentionality and meaning are virtually the same thing. The role of language in thought has been grossly overrated in modern philosophy.
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 1. Syntax
Universal grammar doesn't help us explain anything [Searle]
     Full Idea: No further predictive or explanatory power is added by saying that there is in addition a level of deep unconscious rules of universal grammar.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.IV)
     A reaction: I would have thought that neuroscientists would be very interested in this prediction, if it were convincing enough. Nothing to stop us from trying to infer the nature of something which is beyond our reach.
19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / b. Indeterminate translation
Shared Background makes translation possible, though variation makes it hard [Searle]
     Full Idea: Difference in local Backgrounds make translation from one language to another difficult; the commonality of deep Background makes it possible at all.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 8.V)
     A reaction: That is a very good observation about what is normally swept under the one umbrella of the 'principle of charity'. Quine exaggerated the local, and Davidson exaggerated the deep.
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 1. Acting on Desires
Preferences can result from deliberation, not just precede it [Searle]
     Full Idea: A well-ordered set of preferences is typically the result of successful deliberation, and is not its precondition.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
We don't accept practical reasoning if the conclusion is unpalatable [Searle]
     Full Idea: If I desire to get rid of my flu symptoms, and believe the only way to do it is death, I am committed to desiring my death. …there is no plausible logic of practical reason.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.8.II)
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism
The essence of humanity is desire-independent reasons for action [Searle]
     Full Idea: The single greatest difference between humans and other animals as far as rationality is concerned is our ability to create, recognise and act on desire-independent reasons for action.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
Only an internal reason can actually motivate the agent to act [Searle]
     Full Idea: Only an internal reason can actually motivate the agent to act.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.6 App)
22. Metaethics / B. Value / 1. Nature of Value / b. Fact and value
If it is true, you ought to believe it [Searle]
     Full Idea: To say that something is true is already to say that you ought to believe it.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.5.II)
If this is a man, you ought to accept similar things as men [Searle]
     Full Idea: From the fact that an object is truly described as "a man", it follows that you ought to accept relevantly similar objects as men.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.5.IV)
22. Metaethics / B. Value / 2. Values / b. Successful function
The function of a heart depends on what we want it to do [Searle]
     Full Idea: If the only thing that interested us about the heart was that it made a thumping noise, we would have a completely different conception of its "functioning", and correspondingly of heart disease.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.III)
     A reaction: Ditto if we were only interested in ears as support for earrings, but that would seriously miss the point of ears. The intrinsic function is the reason for its existence.
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 2. Golden Rule
The Golden Rule is accepted everywhere, and gives a fixed target for morality [Voltaire]
     Full Idea: Pascal asks where we can find a fixed point in morality. The answer is in that single maxim accepted by all nations: "Do not do to others what you would not like to have done to you".
     From: Francois-Marie Voltaire (Philosophical Letters from England [1733], 25)
     A reaction: Should I only offer to my guests foods which I myself like? If I don't mind a bit of pain, is it all right to inflict it? It is a sensible rule, but not precise enough for philosophy.
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 3. Promise Keeping
Promises hold because I give myself a reason, not because it is an institution [Searle]
     Full Idea: The obligation to keep a promise does not derive from the institution of promising, ..but from the fact that in promising I freely and voluntarily create a reason for myself.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.6.IV)
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty
'Ought' implies that there is a reason to do something [Searle]
     Full Idea: To say that someone 'ought' to do something is to imply that there is a reason for him to do it.
     From: John Searle (Rationality in Action [2001], Ch.1.II)
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / c. Purpose denied
Chemistry entirely explains plant behaviour [Searle]
     Full Idea: Variable secretions of auxin account for a plant's behaviour in following the sun, without any extra hypothesis of purpose, teleology, or intentionality.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.II)
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
The view that laws are grounded in substance plus external necessity doesn't suit dispositionalism [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The Armstrong/Tooley/Dretske view, which takes laws to be substantial but grounded in a relation of nomic necessitation external to the properties themselves, is not an attractive option for the dispositionalist.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.8)
     A reaction: The point is that the dispositionalist sees laws as grounded in the properties. I prefer her other option, of dispositionalism plus a 'shallow' view of laws (which she attributes to Mumford). The laws are as Lewis says, but powers explain them.
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Dispositional essentialism allows laws to be different, but only if the supporting properties differ [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Even on the dispositional essentialist view the world might have been governed by different laws, if those laws involved different properties. What is excluded is the possibility of different laws involving the same properties as our actual laws.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.8)
     A reaction: Important. Critics of dispositional essentialism accuse it of promoting the idea that the laws of nature are necessary, a claim for which we obviously have no evidence. I prefer to say they are necessary given that 'stuff', rather than those properties.
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / c. Essence and laws
Laws are relations of kinds, quantities and qualities, supervening on the essences of a domain [Vetter]
     Full Idea: The laws of a domain are the fundamental, general explanatory relationships between kinds, quantities, and qualities of that domain, that supervene upon the essential natures of those things.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Dispositional Essentialism and the Laws of Nature [2012], 9.3)
     A reaction: Hm. How small can the domain be? Can it embrace the multiverse? Supervenience is a rather weak relationship. How about 'are necessitated/entailed by'? Are the relationships supposed to do the explaining? I would have thought the natures did that.
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / f. Eternalism
If time is symmetrical between past and future, why do they look so different? [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Any defender of the symmetry of time will have to provide some explanation of the obstinate appearance that the future is very different from the past.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 5.8)
     A reaction: Presumably you have to say that it is all there, but only one end of the time spectrum is revealed to us, namely the past. But how do we get this uniquely lopsided view? Being an ominiscient god is more obvious than being a lopsided human.
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / h. Presentism
Presentists explain cross-temporal relations using surrogate descriptions [Vetter]
     Full Idea: Presentists usually deal with the lack of cross-temporal relations by the construction of a surrogate, by way of paraphrasing the objectionable relation ascriptions. 'I admire Socrates' becomes 'I admire the Socrates properties'.
     From: Barbara Vetter (Potentiality [2015], 7.9)
     A reaction: [compressed. The cites Markosian 2004:63] Why can't I just say 'I admire Socrates, who no longer exists'? The present includes tensed facts, and memories and evidence-based theories. Admiring is not a direct relation between objects.
27. Natural Reality / G. Biology / 3. Evolution
Mind involves fighting, fleeing, feeding and fornicating [Searle]
     Full Idea: Our conscious life involves the famous "four f's", fighting, fleeing, feeding and fornicating.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch.10.I)
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 4. Divine Contradictions
You can only know the limits of knowledge if you know the other side of the limit [Searle]
     Full Idea: To know the limits of knowledge, we would have to know both sides of the limit.
     From: John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 1.V.6)