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Mind: vol. 126, no. 503, 2017.

Objectivity and Bias, GORDON BELOT

The twin goals of this essay are: (1) to investigate a family of cases in which the goal of guaranteed convergence to the truth is beyond our reach; and (2) to argue that each of three strands prominent in contemporary epistemological thought has undesirable consequences when confronted with the existence of such problems. Approaches that follow Reichenbach in taking guaranteed convergence to the truth to be the characteristic virtue of good methods face a vicious closure problem. Approaches on which there is a unique rational doxastic response to any given body of evidence can avoid incoherence only by rendering epistemology a curiously limited enterprise. Bayesian approaches rule out humility about one's prospects of success in certain situations in which failure is typical.

De Ray: On the Boundaries of the Davidsonian Semantic Programme, CAMERON DOMENICO KIRK-GIANNINI and ERNIE LEPORE

Greg Ray believes he has discovered a crucial oversight in Donald Davidson's semantic program, recognition of which paves the way for a novel approach to Davidsonian semantics. The authors disagree and argue that Ray's novel approach involves a tacit appeal to preexisting semantic knowledge that vitiates its interest as a development of the Davidsonian program.

Type-Ambiguous Names, ANDERS J. SCHOUBYE

The orthodox view of proper names, Millianism, provides a very simple and elegant explanation of the semantic contribution (and semantic properties) of referential uses of names--names that occur as bare singulars and as the argument of a predicate. However, one problem for Millianism is that it cannot explain the semantic contribution of predicative uses of names (as in "There are two Alberts in my class"). In recent years, an alternative view, so-called the-predicativism, has become increasingly popular. According to the-predicativists, names are uniformly count nouns. This straightforwardly explains why names can be used predicatively, but is prima facie less congenial to an analysis of referential uses. To address this issue, the-predicativists argue that referential names are in fact complex determiner phrases consisting of a covert definite determiner and a count noun--and so, a referential name is a (covert) definite description. In this paper, the author argues that despite the appearance of increased theoretical complexity, the view that names are ambiguous between predicative and referential types is in fact superior to the unitary the-predicativist view. However, he also argues that to see why this (type) ambiguity view is better, we need to give up the standard Millian analysis. Consequently, he first proposes an alternative analysis of referential names that (1) retains the virtues of Millianism, but (2) provides an important explanatory connection to the predicative uses. Once this analysis of names is adopted, the explanation for why names are systematically ambiguous between referential and predicative types is both simple and elegant. Second, he argues that the-predicativism has the appearance of being simpler than an ambiguity view, but is in fact unable to account for certain key properties of referential names without making ad hoc stipulations.

Why We Should Still Take It Easy, AMIE L. THOMASSON

In an earlier paper the author argued that deflationism is preferable to fictionalism as an alternative to both traditional realism and eliminativism. Gabriele Contessa questions this conclusion, denying that fictionalist arguments beg the question against easy ontological arguments, presenting a new argument against easy ontology, and suggesting a response to the challenge the author raises for fictionalists. This article responds to these points in turn. In so doing, the author hopes to clarify the broader theoretic orientation of easy ontology--in particular, its rejection of a Quinean criterion of ontological commitment and its commitment to a form of functional pluralism about language.

Frankfurt's Unwilling and Willing Addicts, CHANDRA SRIPADA

Harry Frankfurt's Unwilling Addict and Willing Addict cases accomplish something fairly unique: they pull apart the predictions of control-based views of moral responsibility and competing self-expression views (a type of deep self view). The addicts both lack control over their actions but differ in terms of expression of their respective selves. Frankfurt's own view is that--in line with the predictions of self-expression views--the unwilling addict is not morally responsible for his drug-directed actions while the willing addict is. But is Frankfurt right? In this essay, the author puts together a systematic defense of Frankfurt's position.

Thinking about You, LEA SALJE

This paper brings into focus the idea that just as no third-personal way of thinking could capture the self-consciousness of first-person thought, no first-or third-personal way of thinking (or combination of the two) could capture the especially intimate way we have of relating to each other canonically expressed with our uses of "you." It proposes, motivates, and defends the view that second-person speech is canonically expressive of a distinctive way we have of thinking of each other, under a concept that refers de jure to its addressee and whose availability depends on standing in a relation of interpersonal self-consciousness with another.

Backtracking Counterfactuals Revisited, JUSTIN KHOO

The author discusses three observations about backtracking counterfactuals not predicted by existing theories, and then motivates a theory of counterfactuals that does predict them. On his theory, counterfactuals quantify over a suitably restricted set of historical possibilities from some contextually relevant past time. He motivates each feature of the theory relevant to predicting our three observations about backtracking counterfactuals. The paper concludes with replies to three potential objections.
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Title Annotation:CURRENT PERIODICAL ARTICLES: PHILOSOPHICAL ABSTRACT
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Abstract
Date:Sep 1, 2017
Words:879
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