Author: phil

RuleFollowing, Dispositionalism, and Functionalism
In “Kripke and Functionalism” (Episode 61), Buechner describes how Kripke’s criticism of the dispositionalist response to the ‘rulefollowing paradox,’ found in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations,can be generalized as a criticism of functionalist accounts of mental states, the thesis that mental states are abstract computational states realized in physical objects, like a brain. Here, I’d like to…

On the Probabilistic Problem for A SingleMeaning Account of ‘Ought’
A central distinction in “Thoughts About Oughts” (Episode 60) is that between epistemic and deontic uses of ‘ought.’ As a quick review, here’s an example of an epistemic use of ‘ought.’ Imagine that you open the window in the morning, feel a strong breeze and suffocating humidity, and see a massive, dark wall of clouds…

Conditional Questions: A Problem for a ‘Classical’ Semantic Approach
In Elucidations Episode 51, Groenendijk and Roelofsen sketch out some of the merits of the inquisitive semantics approach to questions in contrast to the ‘classical’ semantic approach. One stark area of contrast is with respect to conditional questions—questions like: “If Matt drinks coffee, does Phil drink coffee?” Groenedijk and Roelofsen observe that the classic semantic…

Instruments, Constituents, and the Holistic View on Life
In this post, I would like to propose an elaboration of Salmieri’s (Episode 50) discussion of instrumental and constitutive means, and his suggestion of a holistic approach to the evaluation of activities (the ‘holistic view of life’). In particular, I will suggest one way in which we can see a blurring of the distinction of…

Aquinas’ Method of Philosophy
In our latest episode, Frey sketches out Aquinas’ “exemplary method of philosophy,” the ‘quaestio format.’ With this format, Aquinas models a core pedagogical technique of the universities of his time—quaestiones disputatae (lit: questions debated). For this technique, students would take up sides of an issue, articulated as a question, and offer arguments for each side.…

Knowing that One Knows
In Episode 47, Baltag and Matt briefly discuss what they call the ‘KK principle,’ or the ‘principle of positive introspection.’ The basic formulation of this principle is: (KK): If I know that p, then I know that I know that p. (Where ‘p’ is some proposition.) For example, if I know that 2+2=4, then I…

No True Scotsman Fallacy
In the Veltman episode on normality (46), Matt mentions the “No True Scotsman Fallacy,” in its relationship to statements of normality. I’d like to sketch out what the fallacy is just a bit more fully, and further highlight how it brings out the problem of how we falsify normality claims.

Bayes’ Theorem
In the first part of this post, we talked about the motivations behind the epistemic interpretation of probability. Now, let’s take a look at one of the core mathematical theorems employed by those who subscribe to such an interpretation: Bayes’ Theorem (which is mentioned by Fitleson in Ep. 31).

Epistemic Interpretations of Probability
Two recent episodes (Fitleson, Ep. 31; Vasudevan, Ep. 45) have mentioned ‘epistemic interpretations’ of probability and Bayes’ Theorem. For Fitleson, Bayes’ Theorem provides a model for inductive reasoning, and he is concerned with deviations from this model (as in the ‘base rate fallacy’ and ‘Linda cases’). Vasudevan takes epistemic interpretations of probability as the historical…