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The logical form of action sentences

In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press (1967)

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  1. Multistable Figures: On the Critical Potentials of Ir/Reversible Aspect-Seeing.Christoph Holzhey (ed.) - 2014 - Vienna: Turia + Kant.
    Multistable figures offer an intriguing model for arbitrating conflicting positions. Moving back and forth between the different aspects under which something can be seen, one recognizes that mutually contradictory descriptions can be equally valid and that disputes over the correct account can be resolved without dissolving differences or establishing a higher synthesis. Yet, the experience of a gestalt switch also offers a model for radical conversions and revolutions – that is, for irreversible leaps to incommensurable alternatives foiling ideals of rational (...)
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  • Why Davidson is Not a Property Epiphenomenalist.Sophie Gibb - 2006 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):407 – 422.
    Despite the fact that Davidson's theory of the causal relata is crucial to his response to the problem of mental causation - that of anomalous monism - it is commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson's understanding of the causal relata, such accusations are wholly misguided. There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The first understands the term 'property' in an ontological sense, the second in a (...)
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  • Donald Davidson.Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2004 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 28 (1):309–333.
    This chapter reviews the major contributions of Donald Davidson to philosophy in the 20th century.
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  • Heavy Hands, Magic, and Scene-Reading Traps.Stephen Neale - 2007 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):77-132.
    This is one of a series of articles in which I examine errors that philosophers of language may be led to make if already prone to exaggerating the rôle compositional semantics can play in explaining how we communicate, whether by expressing propositions with our words or by merely implying them. In the present article, I am concerned less with “pragmatic contributions” to the propositions we express—contributions some philosophers seem rather desperate to deny the existence or ubiquity of—than I am with (...)
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  • Comment on Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne, Narrow Content.Alex Byrne - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    This comment concentrates on Y&H’s preferred framework for discussing the issue of broad vs. narrow content, arguing that it is not well-suited to the task; once a more traditional framework is adopted, Y&H’s case against internalism is strengthened. The comment ends by briefly mentioning an appealing internalist picture that their otherwise comprehensive critique does not address.
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  • Individuating Actions: The Fine—Grained Approach.Hugh J. McCann - 1983 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 13 (4):493 - 512.
    When Booth moved his finger, thereby firing a gun, thereby killing Lincoln, did he perform three discrete actions, or were there relations of identity or inclusion among them? Most treatments of this problem have tended to assume there is but one sort of entity properly to be called an action, and hence that one answer to this question must be established to the exclusion of all others. And the favored answer has been that Booth's actions are not discrete, or indeed (...)
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  • Objects and Events: an Investigation into their Identification.Riccardo Baratella - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1363-1380.
    John goes out for a walk. If John endures and his walk perdures, they are different entities. However, what if both John and his walk perdure? Is John’s walk identical to his relevant temporal part? Some philosophers answer in the affirmative. Their motivations rest on ontological parsimony and the quest for clear-cut identity criteria for existing things. By contrast, one of the most widely accepted theories of events – the theory of events as property-exemplifications – allows us to formulate an (...)
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  • Evidence for Single-Type Semantics—An Alternative To $E$/$T$-Based Dual-Type Semantics.Kristina Liefke & Markus Werning - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    Partee (2009) conjectures a formal semantics for natural language (hereafter, single-type semantics) that interprets CPs and referential DPs in the same semantic type: properties of situations. Partee’s semantics contrasts with Montague semantics and its recent contenders (dubbed dual- or multi-type semantics) which assume distinct basic types for the semantic values of referential DPs (i.e. individuals) and CPs (i.e. propositions, truth-values, or sets of assignment functions). Partee’s conjecture is motivated by results in event semantics and discourse representation theory, which support the (...)
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  • Indeterminate Identities, Supervaluationism, and Quantifiers.Achille C. Varzi - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):218-235.
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  • Origins of weak crossover: when dynamic semantics meets event semantics.Gennaro Chierchia - 2020 - Natural Language Semantics 28 (1):23-76.
    Approaches to anaphora generally seek to explain the potential for a DP to covary with a pronoun in terms of a combination of factors, such as the inherent semantics of the antecedent DP, its scope properties, and its structural position. A case in point is Reinhart’s classic condition on bound anaphora, paraphrasable as A DP can antecede a pronoun pro only if the DP c-commands pro at S-structure, supplemented with some extra machinery to allow indefinites to covary with pronouns beyond (...)
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  • The Logical Form of Negative Action Sentences.Jonathan D. Payton - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):855-876.
    It is typically assumed that actions are events, but there is a growing consensus that negative actions, like omissions and refrainments, are not events, but absences thereof. If so, then we must either deny the obvious, that we can exercise our agency by omitting and refrainment, or give up on event-based theories of agency. I trace the consensus to the assumption that negative action sentences are negative-existentials, and argue that this is false. The best analysis of negative action sentences treats (...)
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  • The Artistic Expression of Feeling.Gary Kemp - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-18.
    In the past 60 years or so, the philosophical subject of artistic expression has generally been handled as an inquiry into the artistic expression of emotion. In my view this has led to a distortion of the relevant territory, to the artistic expression of feeling’s too often being overlooked. I explicate the emotion-feeling distinction in modern terms, and urge that the expression of feeling is too central to be waived off as outside the proper philosophical subject of artistic expression. Restricting (...)
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  • Capturing Consequence.Alexander Paseau - 2019 - Review of Symbolic Logic 12 (2):271-295.
    First-order formalisations are often preferred to propositional ones because they are thought to underwrite the validity of more arguments. We compare and contrast the ability of some well-known logics—these two in particular—to formally capture valid and invalid arguments. We show that there is a precise and important sense in which first-order logic does not improve on propositional logic in this respect. We also prove some generalisations and related results of philosophical interest. The rest of the article investigates the results’ philosophical (...)
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  • No Longer True.Luca Barlassina & Fabio Del Prete - manuscript
    There are sentences that express the same temporally fully specified proposition at all contexts--call them 'context-insensitive, temporally specific sentences.' Sentence (1) 'Obama was born in 1961' is a case in point: at all contexts, it expresses the proposition ascribing to the year 1961 the property of being a time in which Obama was born. Suppose that someone uttered (1) in a context located on Christmas 2000 in our world. In this context, (1) is a true sentence about the past. Moreover, (...)
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  • Modals, Contextual Parameters, and the Modal Uniformity Hypothesis.Daniel Skibra - manuscript
    There is a common assumption in the semantics of modal auxiliaries in natural language; in utterances of MOD φ , where MOD is a modal and φ is the prejacent, context determines the particular flavor of modality expressed by the modal. Such is the standard contextualist semantics of Kratzer and related proposals. This winds up being a problem, because there is a significant class of modals which have constraints on the admissible modal flavor that are not traceable to context. For (...)
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  • Trying in Some Way.David-Hillel Ruben - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):719-733.
    Does 'Person P tried to A' entail that there is some particular, whether a mental act or a brain state or whatever, that is a trying? Most discussions of trying assume that this entailment holds. There is no good reason for holding that this is a valid inference. In particular, I examine one 'Davidsonian' argument that might be used to justify the validity of such an inference and argue that the argument is not sound. See: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/IxsuPqt7rvdzqMxpFiTv/full.
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  • Locations.Susan Rothstein - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
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  • Reconstructing Arguments.Georg Brun - 2014 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 17 (1):94-129.
    Traditional logical reconstruction of arguments aims at assessing the validity of ordinary language arguments. It involves several tasks: extracting argumentations from texts, breaking up complex argumentations into individual arguments, framing arguments in standard form, as well as formalizing arguments and showing their validity with the help of a logical formalism. These tasks are guided by a multitude of partly antagonistic goals, they interact in various feedback loops, and they are intertwined with the development of theories of valid inference and adequate (...)
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  • On the Event Relativity of Modal Auxiliaries.Valentine Hacquard - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (1):79-114.
    Crosslinguistically, the same modal words can be used to express a wide range of interpretations. This crosslinguistic trend supports a Kratzerian analysis, where each modal has a core lexical entry and where the difference between an epistemic and a root interpretation is contextually determined. A long-standing problem for such a unified account is the equally robust crosslinguistic correlation between a modal’s interpretation and its syntactic behavior: epistemics scope high (in particular higher than tense and aspect) and roots low, a fact (...)
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  • Causation by Absence: Omission Impossible.Lawrence B. Lombard & Tiffany Hudson - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):625-641.
    In this paper, we argue that, omissions are not events or actions, but rather fact-like entities, and that, insofar as only events and actions can be causes, omissions cannot be causes. Nevertheless, since omissions can, and often do, play a role in the explanations of events, their place in such explanations must be found; and an attempt to find such a place is made.
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  • Time Travel for Endurantists.Markos Valaris & Michaelis Michael - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4):357-364.
    Famously, David Lewis argued that we can avoid the apparent paradoxes of time travel by introducing a notion of personal time, which by and large follows the causal flow of the time traveler's life history. This paper argues that a related approach can be adapted for use by three-dimensionalists in response to Ted Sider's claim that three-dimensionalism is inconsistent with time travel. In contrast to Lewis (and others who follow him on this point), however, this paper argues that the order (...)
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  • Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - Theoretical Linguistics.
    This paper gives an outline of truthmaker semantics for natural language against the background of standard possible-worlds semantics. It develops a truthmaker semantics for attitude reports and deontic modals based on an ontology of attitudinal and modal objects and on a semantic function of clauses as predicates of such objects. It also présents new motivations for 'object-based truthmaker semantics' from intensional transitive verbs such as ‘need’, ‘look for’, ‘own’, and ‘buy’ and gives an outline of their semantics. This paper is (...)
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  • Gather / numerous as a mass/count opposition.Jeremy Kuhn - 2020 - Natural Language Semantics 28 (3):225-253.
    Predicates like gather and ones like be numerous have both been described as ‘collective predicates,’ since they predicate something of a plurality. The two classes of predicates differ, however, with respect to plural quantifiers, which are grammatical with gather-type predicates but ungrammatical with numerous-type predicates. Here, I show that the gather/numerous opposition derives from mereological properties that are familiar from the domains of telicity and mass/count. I address problems of undergeneration and overgeneration with two technical innovations: first, I weaken the (...)
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  • Ramsification and the Ramifications of Prior's Puzzle.Justin D'Ambrosio - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Ramsification is a well-known method of defining theoretical terms that figures centrally in a wide range of debates in metaphysics. Prior's puzzle is the puzzle of why, given the assumption that that-clauses denote propositions, substitution of "the proposition that P" for "that P" within the complements of many propositional attitude verbs sometimes fails to preserve truth, and other times fails to preserve grammaticality. On the surface, Ramsification and Prior's puzzle appear to have little to do with each other. But Prior's (...)
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  • Events, Truth, and Indeterminacy.Achille C. Varzi - 2002 - The Dialogue 2:241-264.
    The semantics of our event talk is a complex affair. What is it that we are talking about when we speak of Brutus’s stabbing of Caesar? Exactly where and when did it take place? Was it the same event as the killing of Caesar? Some take questions such as these to be metaphysical questions. I think they are questions of semantics—questions about the way we talk and about what we mean. And I think that this conflict between metaphysic and semantic (...)
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  • A Process-Based Model for an Interactive Ontology.Richard Campbell - 2009 - Synthese 166 (3):453 - 477.
    The paper proposes a process-based model for an ontology that encompasses the emergence of process systems generated by increasingly complex levels of organization. Starting with a division of processes into those that are persistent and those that are fleeting, the model builds through a series of exclusive and exhaustive disjunctions. The crucial distinction is between those persistent and cohesive systems that are energy wells, and those that are far-from-equilibrium. The latter are necessarily open; they can persist only by interaction with (...)
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  • The Category of Occurrent Continuants.Rowland Stout - 2016 - Mind 125 (497):41-62.
    Arguing first that the best way to understand what a continuant is is as something that primarily has its properties at a time rather than atemporally, the paper then defends the idea that there are occurrent continuants. These are things that were, are, or will be happening—like the ongoing process of someone reading or my writing this paper, for instance. A recently popular philosophical view of process is as something that is referred to with mass nouns and not count nouns. (...)
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  • Events.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
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  • Distributivity Strengthens Reciprocity, Collectivity Weakens It.Hana Filip & Gregory N. Carlson - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (4):417-466.
    In this paper we examine interactions of the reciprocal with distributive and collective operators, which are encoded by prefixes on verbs expressing the reciprocal relation: namely, the Czech distributive po and the collectivizing na-. The theoretical import of this study is two-fold. First, it contributes to our knowledge of how word-internal operators interact with phrasal syntax/semantics. Second, the prefixes po and na generate (a range of) readings of reciprocal sentences for which the Strongest Meaning Hypothesis (SMH) proposed by Dalrymple et (...)
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  • Semantics for Opaque Contexts.Kirk Ludwig & Greg Ray - 1998 - Philosophical Perspectives 12:141-66.
    In this paper, we outline an approach to giving extensional truth-theoretic semantics for what have traditionally been seen as opaque sentential contexts. We outline an approach to providing a compositional truth-theoretic semantics for opaque contexts which does not require quantifying over intensional entities of any kind, and meets standard objections to such accounts. The account we present aims to meet the following desiderata on a semantic theory T for opaque contexts: (D1) T can be formulated in a first-order extensional language; (...)
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  • Infectum and Perfectum. Two Faces of Tense Selection in Romance Languages.Fabrizio Arosio - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (3):171-214.
    This paper investigates the semantics of tense and aspect in Romance languages. Its goal is to develop a compositional, model-theoretic semantics for tense and temporal adverbs which is sensitive to aspectual distinctions. I will consider durative adverbial distributions and aspectual contrasts across different morphological tense forms. I will examine tense selection under habitual meanings, generic meanings and state of result constructions. In order to account for these facts I will argue that temporal homogeneity plays a fundamental role in tense selection (...)
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  • Essence and Realization in the Ontological Argument.Timothy G. McCarthy - 2016 - Faith and Philosophy 33 (1):5-24.
    A persistent complaint about modal forms of the ontological argument is that the characteristic modalized existence assumptions of these arguments are simply too close to the conclusion to be of much probative value in establish­ing it. I present an abstract form of the ontological argument in which the properties imputed to the divine nature by these assumptions are replaced by any of a wide class of properties of a sort I call “actualizing.” These include basic theistic attributes such as authorship, (...)
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  • Semantics with Assignment Variables.Alex Silk - forthcoming - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book develops a syntactic and semantic framework for natural language. The principal focus is a spectrum of "shifting" phenomena in which the context relevant for interpreting certain expressions seems to depend on features of the linguistic environment. A key innovation is to introduce explicit representations of context in linguistic structure and meanings. Central applications include local and non-local contextual dependencies with quantifiers, attitude ascriptions, conditionals, questions, and relativization. The project integrates conceptual insights from contemporary philosophy of language, formal tools (...)
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  • On the Pragmatics of Counterfactuals.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):561-586.
    Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
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  • Conjuring Ethics From Words.Jonathan McKeown-Green, Glen Pettigrove & Aness Webster - 2015 - Noûs 49 (1):71-93.
    Many claims about conceptual matters are often represented as, or inferred from, claims about the meaning, reference, or mastery, of words. But sometimes this has led to treating conceptual analysis as though it were nothing but linguistic analysis. We canvass the most promising justifications for moving from linguistic premises to substantive conclusions. We show that these justifications fail and argue against current practice (in metaethics and elsewhere), which confuses an investigation of a word’s meaning, reference, or competence conditions with an (...)
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  • Agency as Difference-Making: Causal Foundations of Moral Responsibility.Johannes Himmelreich - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science
    We are responsible for some things but not for others. In this thesis, I investigate what it takes for an entity to be responsible for something. This question has two components: agents and actions. I argue for a permissive view about agents. Entities such as groups or artificially intelligent systems may be agents in the sense required for responsibility. With respect to actions, I argue for a causal view. The relation in virtue of which agents are responsible for actions is (...)
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  • An Ontological Investigation Over Human Relations in Linked Data.Miroslav Vacura, Vojtěch Svátek & Aldo Gangemi - 2016 - Applied Ontology 11 (3):227-254.
    The research presented in this article is motivated by the increasing importance of complex human relations in linked data, either extracted from social networks, or found in existing databases. The FOAF vocabulary, targeted in our research, plays a central role in those data, and is a model for lightweight ontologies largely used in linked data, such as the DBpedia ontology and schema-org. We provide an overview of FOAF and other approaches for describing human relations, followed by a detailed analysis and (...)
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  • Concepts, Meanings and Truth: First Nature, Second Nature and Hard Work.Paul M. Pietroski - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (3):247-278.
    I argue that linguistic meanings are instructions to build monadic concepts that lie between lexicalizable concepts and truth-evaluable judgments. In acquiring words, humans use concepts of various adicities to introduce concepts that can be fetched and systematically combined via certain conjunctive operations, which require monadic inputs. These concepts do not have Tarskian satisfaction conditions. But they provide bases for refinements and elaborations that can yield truth-evaluable judgments. Constructing mental sentences that are true or false requires cognitive work, not just an (...)
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  • Knowing-How: Linguistics and Cognitive Science.Jessica Brown - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):220-227.
    Stanley and Williamson have defended the intellectualist thesis that knowing-how is a subspecies of knowing-that by appeal to the syntax and semantics of ascriptions of knowing-how. Critics have objected that this way of defending intellectualism places undue weight on linguistic considerations and fails to give sufficient attention to empirical considerations from the scientific study of the mind. In this paper, I examine and reject Stanley's recent attempt to answer the critics.
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  • All the Superhero's Names.Olga Poller - 2016 - Studia Semiotyczne 30 (2):11-44.
    In this paper I concern myself with The Superman Puzzle. I argue that the descriptive content associated with proper names, besides determining the proper name's reference, function as truthconditionally relevant adjuncts which can be used to express a manner, reason, goal, time or purpose of action. In that way a sentence with a proper name NN is doing something could be understood as NN is doing something as NN. I argue that the substitution of names can fail on modified readings (...)
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  • All the Superhero’s Names.Olga Poller - 2017 - Studia Semiotyczne—English Supplement 29:127-158.
    In this paper I concern myself with The Superman Puzzle. I argue that the descriptive content associated with proper names, besides determining the proper name’s reference, function as truth-conditionally relevant adjuncts which can be used to express a manner, reason, goal, time or purpose of action. In that way a sentence with a proper name ‘NN is doing something’ could be understood as ‘NN is doing something as NN’. I argue that the substitution of names can fail on modified readings (...)
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  • Out of Nothing.Daniele Sgaravatti & Giuseppe Spolaore - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy (2):132-138.
    Graham Priest proposed an argument for the conclusion that ‘nothing’ occurs as a singular term and not as a quantifier in a sentence like (1) ‘The cosmos came into existence out of nothing’. Priest's point is that, intuitively, (1) entails (C) ‘The cosmos came into existence at some time’, but this entailment relation is left unexplained if ‘nothing’ is treated as a quantifier. If Priest is right, the paradoxical notion of an object that is nothing plays a role in our (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 15, Saarbruecken.Ingo Reich (ed.) - 2010 - Saarbrücken: Universitätsverlag des Saarlandes.
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  • Analogy as Relational Priming: A Developmental and Computational Perspective on the Origins of a Complex Cognitive Skill.Robert Leech, Denis Mareschal & Richard P. Cooper - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):357-378.
    The development of analogical reasoning has traditionally been understood in terms of theories of adult competence. This approach emphasizes structured representations and structure mapping. In contrast, we argue that by taking a developmental perspective, analogical reasoning can be viewed as the product of a substantially different cognitive ability – relational priming. To illustrate this, we present a computational (here connectionist) account where analogy arises gradually as a by-product of pattern completion in a recurrent network. Initial exposure to a situation primes (...)
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  • Agency and Practical Abilities.Will Small - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 80:235-264.
    Though everyday life accords a great deal of significance to practical abilities—such as the ability to walk, to speak French, to play the piano—philosophers of action pay surprisingly little attention to them. By contrast, abilities are discussed in various other philosophical projects. From these discussions, a partial theory of abilities emerges. If the partial theory—which is at best adequate only to a few examples of practical abilities—were correct, then philosophers of action would be right to ignore practical abilities, because they (...)
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  • Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    It is a commonplace in philosophy of action that there is and must be teleologically basic action: something done on an occasion without doing it by means of doing anything else. It is widely believed that basic actions are exercises of skill. As the source of the need for basic action is the structure of practical reasoning, this yields a conception of skill and practical reasoning as complementary but mutually exclusive. On this view, practical reasoning and complex intentional action depend (...)
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  • A Relational Theory of Moral Responsibility.Zsolt Ziegler - unknown
    This paper introduces a new theory of moral responsibility that does not rely on any concept of human control. Since an understanding of determinism shapes the possible set of views one can take regarding control, and there is no account of control that could be held simultaneously by both compatibilists and libertarians, the “relational theory of responsibility” is meant to create a common ground between compatibilism and libertarianism which are held to be mutually exclusive. Since the relational account of responsibility (...)
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  • Events and Causal Mappings Modeled in Conceptual Spaces.Peter Gärdenfors - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • Objects in Time: Studies of Persistence in B-Time.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2009 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance theory says (...)
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  • Molecular Interactions. On the Ambiguity of Ordinary Statements in Biomedical Literature.Stefan Schulz & Ludger Jansen - 2009 - Applied Ontology (4):21-34.
    Statements about the behavior of biochemical entities (e.g., about the interaction between two proteins) abound in the literature on molecular biology and are increasingly becoming the targets of information extraction and text mining techniques. We show that an accurate analysis of the semantics of such statements reveals a number of ambiguities that have to be taken into account in the practice of biomedical ontology engineering: Such statements can not only be understood as event reporting statements, but also as ascriptions of (...)
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