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  1. Functionalism and The Independence Problems.Darren Bradley - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):545-557.
    The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
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  2. Extended Cognition and the Metaphysics of Mind.Zoe Drayson - 2010 - Cognitive Systems Research 11 (4):367-377.
    This paper explores the relationship between several ideas about the mind and cognition. The hypothesis of extended cognition claims that cognitive processes can and do extend outside the head, that elements of the world around us can actually become parts of our cognitive systems. It has recently been suggested that the hypothesis of extended cognition is entailed by one of the foremost philosophical positions on the nature of the mind: functionalism, the thesis that mental states are defined by their functional (...)
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  3. Some Puzzles Concerning Relations Between Minds, Brains, and Bodies.Rick Grush - 2016
    In this article I explore a number of questions that have not been adequately investigated in philosophy of mind circles: are minds located in the same place as the brains (or other computing machinery) supporting them? Must they exist at the same location as the body? Must they exist at the same time? Could a single mind be implemented in multiple brains, or multiple minds in a single brain? Under what conditions might a single mind persist despite being implemented successively (...)
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  4. Pathways to Pluralism About Biological Individuality.Beckett Sterner - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):609-628.
    What are the prospects for a monistic view of biological individuality given the multiple epistemic roles the concept must satisfy? In this paper, I examine the epistemic adequacy of two recent accounts based on the capacity to undergo natural selection. One is from Ellen Clarke, and the other is by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Clarke’s position reflects a strong monism, in that she aims to characterize individuality in purely functional terms and refrains from privileging any specific material properties as important in their (...)
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  5. Hume's Functionalism About Mental Kinds.Jason Zarri - manuscript
    A very common view of Hume’s distinction between impressions and ideas is that it is based on their intrinsic properties; specifically, their force and vivacity. Some interpreters have challenged this,one being David Landy (Landy 2006). He argues that for Hume the difference lies instead in the fact that impressions are not copies of anything, while ideas are copies of impressions. I regard this view as unsatisfactory, not because it is fundamentally mistaken but because (to put it in Humean terms) it (...)
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  6. Thoughts About a Solution to the Mind-Body Problem.Arnold Zuboff - 2008 - Think 6 (17-18):159-171.
    This challenging paper presents an ingenious argument for a functionalist theory of mind. Part of the argument: My visual cortex at the back of my brain processes the stimulation to my eyes and then causes other parts of the brain - like the speech centre and the areas involved in thought and movement - to be properly responsive to vision. According to functionalism the whole mental character of vision - the whole of how things look - is fixed purely in (...)
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Causal Role Functionalism
  1. Toward a Well-Innervated Philosophy of Mind (Chapter 4 of The Peripheral Mind).István Aranyosi - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    The “brain in a vat” thought experiment is presented and refuted by appeal to the intuitiveness of what the author informally calls “the eye for an eye principle”, namely: Conscious mental states typically involved in sensory processes can conceivably successfully be brought about by direct stimulation of the brain, and in all such cases the utilized stimulus field will be in the relevant sense equivalent to the actual PNS or part of it thereof. In the second section, four classic problems (...)
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  2. Against the Necessity of Functional Roles for Conscious Experience: Reviving and Revising a Neglected Argument.Gary Bartlett - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (1-2):33-53.
    While the claim that certain functional states are sufficient for conscious experience has received substantial critical attention, the claim that functional states are necessary is rarely addressed. Yet the latter claim is perhaps now more common than the former. I aim to revive and revise a neglected argument against the necessity claim, by Michael Antony. The argument involves manipulating a conscious subject's brain so as to cancel a disposition which is supposedly crucial to the realization of an experience that the (...)
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  3. Functionalist Response-Dependence Avoids Missing Explanations.D. J. Bradley - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):297-300.
    I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument (1993, 1998). Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
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  4. Functionalism, Superduperfunctionalism, and Physicalism: Lessons From Supervenience.Ronald P. Endicott - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2205-2235.
    Philosophers almost universally believe that concepts of supervenience fail to satisfy the standards for physicalism because they offer mere property correlations that are left unexplained. They are thus compatible with non-physicalist accounts of those relations. Moreover, many philosophers not only prefer some kind of functional-role theory as a physically acceptable account of mind-body and other inter-level relations, but they use it as a form of “superdupervenience” to explain supervenience in a physically acceptable way. But I reject a central part of (...)
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  5. Flat Versus Dimensioned: The What and the How of Functional Realization.Ronald P. Endicott - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:191-208.
    I resolve an argument over “flat” versus “dimensioned” theories of realization. The theories concern, in part, whether realized and realizing properties are instantiated by the same individual (the flat theory) or different individuals in a part-whole relationship (the dimensioned theory). Carl Gillett has argued that the two views conflict, and that flat theories should be rejected on grounds that they fail to capture scientific cases involving a dimensioned relation between individuals and their constituent parts. I argue on the contrary that (...)
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  6. Identifying Mental States: A Celebrated Hypothesis Refuted.Irwin Goldstein - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):46-62.
    Functionalists think an event's causes and effects, its 'causal role', determines whether it is a mental state and, if so, which kind. Functionalists see this causal role principle as supporting their orthodox materialism, their commitment to the neuroscientist's ontology. I examine and refute the functionalist's causal principle and the orthodox materialism that attends that principle.
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  7. Computation and Multiple Realizability.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - In V. C. Mueller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 29-41.
    Multiple realizability (MR) is traditionally conceived of as the feature of computational systems, and has been used to argue for irreducibility of higher-level theories. I will show that there are several ways a computational system may be seen to display MR. These ways correspond to (at least) five ways one can conceive of the function of the physical computational system. However, they do not match common intuitions about MR. I show that MR is deeply interest-related, and for this reason, difficult (...)
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  8. Metaphysics of Pain; Semantics of ‘Pain’.Alik Pelman - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):302-317.
    Functionalism is often used to identify mental states with physical states. A particularly powerful case is Lewis's analytical functionalism. Kripke's view seriously challenges any such identification. The dispute between Kripke and Lewis's views boils down to whether the term ‘pain’ is rigid or nonrigid. It is a strong intuition of ours that if it feels like pain it is pain, and vice versa, so that ‘pain’ should designate, with respect to every possible world, all and only states felt as pain. (...)
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  9. Life and Consciousness – The Vedāntic View.Bhakti Niskama Shanta - 2015 - Communicative and Integrative Biology 8 (5):e1085138.
    In the past, philosophers, scientists, and even the general opinion, had no problem in accepting the existence of consciousness in the same way as the existence of the physical world. After the advent of Newtonian mechanics, science embraced a complete materialistic conception about reality. Scientists started proposing hypotheses like abiogenesis (origin of first life from accumulation of atoms and molecules) and the Big Bang theory (the explosion theory for explaining the origin of universe). How the universe came to be what (...)
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  10. The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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  11. Functionalism and the Metaphysics of Causal Exclusion.David Yates - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-25.
    Given their physical realization, what causal work is left for functional properties to do? Humean solutions to the exclusion problem (e.g. overdetermination and difference-making) typically appeal to counterfactual and/or nomic relations between functional property-instances and behavioural effects, tacitly assuming that such relations suffice for causal work. Clarification of the notion of causal work, I argue, shows not only that such solutions don't work, but also reveals a novel solution to the exclusion problem based on the relations between dispositional properties at (...)
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  12. What is a Mind?Arnold Zuboff - 1994 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 19 (1):183-205.
    My visual cortex at the back of my brain processes the stimulation to my eyes and then causes other parts of the brain - like the speech centre and the areas involved in thought and movement - to be properly responsive to vision. According to functionalism the whole mental character of vision - the whole of how things look - is fixed purely in the pattern of responses to vision and not in any of the initial processing of vision in (...)
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Machine Functionalism
  1. Hilary Putnam (1926-2016): A Lifetime Quest to Understand the Relationship Between Mind, Language, and Reality.David Leech Anderson - 2016 - Mind and Matter 14 (1):87-95.
    This is an extended intellectual obituary for Hilary Putnam.
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  2. Toward a Well-Innervated Philosophy of Mind (Chapter 4 of The Peripheral Mind).István Aranyosi - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    The “brain in a vat” thought experiment is presented and refuted by appeal to the intuitiveness of what the author informally calls “the eye for an eye principle”, namely: Conscious mental states typically involved in sensory processes can conceivably successfully be brought about by direct stimulation of the brain, and in all such cases the utilized stimulus field will be in the relevant sense equivalent to the actual PNS or part of it thereof. In the second section, four classic problems (...)
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  3. The Extended Self, Functional Constancy, and Personal Identity.Joshua Fost - 2013 - Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 12:47-66.
    Personal indexicals are often taken to refer to the agent of an expression’s context, but deviant uses (e.g. ‘I’m parked out back’) complicate matters. I argue that personal indexicals refer to the extended self of the agent, where the extended self is a mereological chimera incorporating whatever determines our behavioral capacities. To ascertain the persistence conditions of personal identity, I propose a method for selecting a level of description and a set of functional properties at that level that remain constant (...)
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  4. El Entendimiento Lingüístico En la Inteligencia Artificial: Una Relación Ambivalente Con Descartes.R. González - 2016 - IF Sophia 2 (7):1-32.
    En este artículo se examina de qué forma los investigadores de la Inteligencia Artificial han asumido un desafío propuesto por Descartes: la imposibilidad de construir máquinas programadas que, al entender lenguaje, evidencien que son pensantes. Tal desafío, que se enmarca en la filosofía metafísica cartesiana, distingue entre cosa pensante y extensa, siendo imposible la existencia de pensamiento en esta última. El lenguaje evidencia la imposibilidad de la inteligencia de máquina, de hecho. Como se examina, al enfrentar el desafío cartesiano, dichos (...)
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  5. Pancomputationalism: Theory or Metaphor?Vincent C. Müller - 2014 - In Ruth Hagengruber & Uwe Riss (eds.), Philosophy, computing and information science. Pickering & Chattoo. pp. 213-221.
    The theory that all processes in the universe are computational is attractive in its promise to provide an understandable theory of everything. I want to suggest here that this pancomputationalism is not sufficiently clear on which problem it is trying to solve, and how. I propose two interpretations of pancomputationalism as a theory: I) the world is a computer and II) the world can be described as a computer. The first implies a thesis of supervenience of the physical over computation (...)
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  6. Bibliographie der Schriften von Hilary Putnam [Bibliography of Hilary Putnam's Writings].Vincent C. Müller - 1993 - In Hilary Putnam: Von einem realistischen Standpunkt, Schriften zu Sprache und Wirklichkeit. pp. 278-294.
    Bibliography of the writings by Hilary Putnam: 16 books, 198 articles, 10 translations into German (up to 1994).
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  7. Minds and Machines.Hilary Putnam - 1960 - In Sidney Hook (ed.), Journal of Symbolic Logic. New York University Press. pp. 57-80.
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  8. Life and Consciousness – The Vedāntic View.Bhakti Niskama Shanta - 2015 - Communicative and Integrative Biology 8 (5):e1085138.
    In the past, philosophers, scientists, and even the general opinion, had no problem in accepting the existence of consciousness in the same way as the existence of the physical world. After the advent of Newtonian mechanics, science embraced a complete materialistic conception about reality. Scientists started proposing hypotheses like abiogenesis (origin of first life from accumulation of atoms and molecules) and the Big Bang theory (the explosion theory for explaining the origin of universe). How the universe came to be what (...)
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Functionalism, Misc
  1. Superfunctionalizing the Mind. [REVIEW]Saray Ayala - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (1).
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  2. Self-Consciousness and Reductive Functionalism.Arvid Båve - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):1-21.
    It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of (...)
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  3. The Self-Consciousness Argument: Why Tooley's Criticisms Fail.George Bealer - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 105 (3):281-307.
    Ontological functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties can be defined wholly in terms of the general pattern of interaction of ontologically prior realizations. Ideological functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties can only be defined nonreductively, in terms of the general pattern of their interaction with one another. My Self-consciousness Argument establishes: ontological functionalism is mistaken because its proposed definitions wrongly admit realizations into the contents of self-consciousness; ideological functionalism is the only viable alternative for functionalists. Michael Tooley's critique (...)
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  4. Fregean Equivocation and Ramsification on Sparse Theories: Response to McCullagh.George Bealer - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (5):500-510.
    This paper begins with a brief summary of the Self-consciousness Argument, developed in the author’s paper “Self-consciousness.” (This argument is designed to refute the extant versions of functionalism -- American functionalism, Australian functionalism, and language-of-thought functionalism.) After this summary is given, two thesis are defended. The first is that the Self-consciousness Argument is not guilty of a Fregean equivocation regarding embedded occurrences of mental predicates, as has been suggested by many commentators, including Mark McCullagh. The second thesis is that the (...)
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  5. Self-Consciousness.George Bealer - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (1):69-117.
    Self-consciousness constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to functionalism. Either the standard functional definitions of mental relations wrongly require the contents of self-consciousness to be propositions involving “realizations” rather than mental properties and relations themselves. Or else these definitions are circular. The only way to save functional definitions is to expunge the standard functionalist requirement that mental properties be second-order and to accept that they are first-order. But even the resulting “ideological” functionalism, which aims only at conceptual clarification, fails unless it incorporates (...)
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  6. Mind and Anti-Mind: Why Thinking has No Functional Definition.George Bealer - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):283-328.
    Functionalism would be mistaken if there existed a system of deviant relations (an “anti-mind”) that had the same functional roles as the standard mental relations. In this paper such a system is constructed, using “Quinean transformations” of the sort associated with Quine’s thesis of the indeterminacy of translation. For example, a mapping m from particularistic propositions (e.g., that there exists a rabbit) to universalistic propositions (that rabbithood is manifested). Using m, a deviant relation thinking* is defined: x thinks* p iff (...)
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  7. An Inconsistency in Functionalism.George Bealer - 1978 - Synthese 38 (July):333-372.
    This paper demonstrates that there is an inconsistency in functionalism in psychology and philosophy of mind. Analogous inconsistencies can be expected in functionalisms in biology and social theory. (edited).
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  8. What is Functionalism?Ned Block - 1996 - In Donald M. Borchert (ed.), [Book Chapter]. MacMillan.
    What is Functionalism? Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/body problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental? At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in common in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain? (...)
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  9. Flat Versus Dimensioned: The What and the How of Functional Realization.Ronald P. Endicott - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:191-208.
    I resolve an argument over “flat” versus “dimensioned” theories of realization. The theories concern, in part, whether realized and realizing properties are instantiated by the same individual (the flat theory) or different individuals in a part-whole relationship (the dimensioned theory). Carl Gillett has argued that the two views conflict, and that flat theories should be rejected on grounds that they fail to capture scientific cases involving a dimensioned relation between individuals and their constituent parts. I argue on the contrary that (...)
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  10. What is a Hand? What is a Mind?Mohan Matthen - 2000 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie (214):653-672.
    Argues that biological organs, including mental capacities, should be identified by homology (not function).
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  11. The Causal Role Argument Against Doxasticism About Delusions.Kengo Miyazono & Lisa Bortolotti - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (3):30-50.
    In this paper we consider an argument that is very influential in the philosophical literature, the argument from causal role against the view that delusions are beliefs. The argument has two premises, that many delusions fail to play belief-roles and that playing belief-roles is necessary for a mental state to be a belief. We assess both premises and suggest that they can be resisted.
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  12. Responsibility and Vigilance.Samuel Murray - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):507-527.
    My primary target in this paper is a puzzle that emerges from the conjunction of several seemingly innocent assumptions in action theory and the metaphysics of moral responsibility. The puzzle I have in mind is this. On one widely held account of moral responsibility, an agent is morally responsible only for those actions or outcomes over which that agent exercises control. Recently, however, some have cited cases where agents appear to be morally responsible without exercising any control. This leads some (...)
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  13. Embodied Functionalism and Inner Complexity: Simon’s 21st-Century Mind.Robert D. Rupert - manuscript
    This chapter argues that Simon anticipated what has emerged as the consensus view about human cognition: embodied functionalism. According to embodied functionalism, cognitive processes appear at a distinctively cognitive level; types of cognitive processes (such as proving a theorem) are not identical to kinds of neural processes, because the former can take various physical forms in various individual thinkers. Nevertheless, the distinctive characteristics of such processes — their causal structures — are determined by fine-grained properties shared by various, often especially (...)
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  14. The Functionalist's Body.Robert D. Rupert - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 5 (2):258-268.
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  15. The Swapping Constraint.Henry Ian Schiller - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (3):605-622.
    Triviality arguments against the computational theory of mind claim that computational implementation is trivial and thus does not serve as an adequate metaphysical basis for mental states. It is common to take computational implementation to consist in a mapping from physical states to abstract computational states. In this paper, I propose a novel constraint on the kinds of physical states that can implement computational states, which helps to specify what it is for two physical states to non-trivially implement the same (...)
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  16. From Aristotle’s Teleology to Darwin’s Genealogy: The Stamp of Inutility, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (Pdf: Contents, Introduction).Marco Solinas - 2015 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Starting with Aristotle and moving on to Darwin, Marco Solinas outlines the basic steps from the birth, establishment and later rebirth of the traditional view of living beings, and its overturning by evolutionary revolution. The classic framework devised by Aristotle was still dominant in the 17th Century world of Galileo, Harvey and Ray, and remained hegemonic until the time of Lamarck and Cuvier in the 19th Century. Darwin's breakthrough thus takes on the dimensions of an abandonment of the traditional finalistic (...)
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  17. The Tale of Bella and Creda.Scott Sturgeon - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    Some philosophers defend the view that epistemic agents believe by lending credence. Others defend the view that such agents lend credence by believing. It can strongly appear that the disagreement between them is notational, that nothing of substance turns on whether we are agents of one sort or the other. But that is demonstrably not so. Only one of these types of epistemic agent, at most, could manifest a human-like configuration of attitudes; and it turns out that not both types (...)
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  18. Truth, Ramsification, and the Pluralist's Revenge.Cory Wright - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):265-283.
    Functionalists about truth employ Ramsification to produce an implicit definition of the theoretical term _true_, but doing so requires determining that the theory introducing that term is itself true. A variety of putative dissolutions to this problem of epistemic circularity are shown to be unsatisfactory. One solution is offered on functionalists' behalf, though it has the upshot that they must tread on their anti-pluralist commitments.
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  19. On the Functionalization of Pluralist Approaches to Truth.Cory Wright - 2005 - Synthese 145 (1):1-28.
    Traditional inflationary approaches that specify the nature of truth are attractive in certain ways; yet, while many of these theories successfully explain why propositions in certain domains of discourse are true, they fail to adequately specify the nature of truth because they run up against counterexamples when attempting to generalize across all domains. One popular consequence is skepticism about the efficaciousness of inflationary approaches altogether. Yet, by recognizing that the failure to explain the truth of disparate propositions often stems from (...)
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