Ideas of William Lycan, by Theme

[American, b.1945, Professor at the University of North Carolina.]

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2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Maybe Ockham's Razor is a purely aesthetic principle
The Razor seems irrelevant for Meinongians, who allow absolutely everything to exist
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 8. Critique of Set Theory
Physicalism requires the naturalisation or rejection of set theory
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / d. Singular terms
Singular terms refer, using proper names, definite descriptions, singular personal pronouns, demonstratives, etc.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / d. Non-being
Maybe non-existent objects are sets of properties
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 2. Reduction
Institutions are not reducible as types, but they are as tokens
Types cannot be reduced, but levels of reduction are varied groupings of the same tokens
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 3. Levels of Reality
One location may contain molecules, a metal strip, a key, an opener of doors, and a human tragedy
Biologists see many organic levels, 'abstract' if seen from below, 'structural' if seen from above
7. Existence / E. Categories / 3. Proposed Categories
I see the 'role'/'occupant' distinction as fundamental to metaphysics
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 6. Identity between Objects
'Lightning is electric discharge' and 'Phosphorus is Venus' are synthetic a posteriori identities
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 2. Nature of Possible Worlds / a. Nature of possible worlds
Treating possible worlds as mental needs more actual mental events
Possible worlds must be made of intensional objects like propositions or properties
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 2. Nature of Possible Worlds / c. Worlds as propositions
If 'worlds' are sentences, and possibility their consistency, consistency may rely on possibility
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 1. Perceptual Realism / b. Direct realism
I think greenness is a complex microphysical property of green objects
15. Nature of Minds / B. Properties of Minds / 4. Intentionality / a. Nature of intentionality
Intentionality comes in degrees
15. Nature of Minds / B. Properties of Minds / 4. Intentionality / b. Intentionality theories
Teleological views allow for false intentional content, unlike causal and nomological theories
15. Nature of Minds / B. Properties of Minds / 5. Qualia / c. Explaining qualia
Pain is composed of urges, desires, impulses etc, at different levels of abstraction
The right 'level' for qualia is uncertain, though top (behaviourism) and bottom (particles) are false
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 8. Dualism of Mind Critique
If energy in the brain disappears into thin air, this breaches physical conservation laws
In lower animals, psychology is continuous with chemistry, and humans are continuous with animals
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique
Two behaviourists meet. The first says,"You're fine; how am I?"
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism
If functionalism focuses on folk psychology, it ignores lower levels of function
Functionalism must not be too abstract to allow inverted spectrum, or so structural that it becomes chauvinistic
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 2. Machine Functionalism
The distinction between software and hardware is not clear in computing
Functionalism has three linked levels: physical, functional, and mental
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 5. Teleological Functionalism
Mental types are a subclass of teleological types at a high level of functional abstraction
Teleological characterisations shade off smoothly into brutely physical ones
A mental state is a functional realisation of a brain state when it serves the purpose of the organism
17. Mind and Body / E. Physicalism / 1. Physicalism
Identity theory is functionalism, but located at the lowest level of abstraction
17. Mind and Body / E. Physicalism / 2. Reduction of Mind
We reduce the mind through homuncular groups, described abstractly by purpose
Teleological functionalism helps us to understand psycho-biological laws
17. Mind and Body / E. Physicalism / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
A Martian may exhibit human-like behaviour while having very different sensations
19. Language / B. Meaning / 3. Meaning as Verification
Meaning must be known before we can consider verification
19. Language / B. Meaning / 4. Meaning as Use
It is hard to state a rule of use for a proper name
Could I successfully use an expression, without actually understanding it?
19. Language / B. Meaning / 6. Meaning as Truth-Conditions
The truth conditions theory sees meaning as representation
19. Language / C. Semantics / 4. Truth-Conditions Semantics
Truth conditions will come out the same for sentences with 'renate' or 'cordate'
19. Language / C. Semantics / 5. Possible Worlds Semantics
A sentence's truth conditions is the set of possible worlds in which the sentence is true
Possible worlds explain aspects of meaning neatly - entailment, for example, is the subset relation
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 2. Natural Purpose
We need a notion of teleology that comes in degrees
People are trying to explain biological teleology in naturalistic causal terms
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 1. Basis of Nature
'Physical' means either figuring in physics descriptions, or just located in space-time