Results for 'Gary Williams'

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Gary Williams
Washington University in St. Louis
  1. What is It Like to Be Nonconscious? A Defense of Julian Jaynes.Gary Williams - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (2):217-239.
    I respond to Ned Block’s claim that it is ridiculous to suppose that consciousness is a cultural construction based on language and learned in childhood. Block is wrong to dismiss social constructivist theories of consciousness on account of it being ludicrous that conscious experience is anything but a biological feature of our animal heritage, characterized by sensory experience, evolved over millions of years. By defending social constructivism in terms of both Julian Jaynes’ behaviorism and J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology, I draw (...)
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  2.  25
    Racje wewnętrzne i zewnętrzne.Bernard Williams & Tomasz Żuradzki - 2019 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 67 (1):231-246.
    Artykuł, opublikowany po raz pierwszy w 1979 r., jest jednym z najczęściej cytowanych tekstów filozoficznych z drugiej połowy XX wieku. Tekst Bernarda Williamsa zainicjował kilka ważnych debat, toczących się do dziś w etyce i filozofii działania. Zaproponowana przez niego interpretacja pojęcia racji działania jest, z jednej strony, niezwykle wpływowa, ale z drugiej bardzo niejednoznaczna i często krytykowana. Williams broni stanowiska, które z czasem zaczęto określać jako internalizm racji: pewne względy są racjami działania dla danego podmiotu tylko wtedy, gdy mają (...)
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  3.  97
    Generalized Probabilism: Dutch Books and Accuracy Domi- Nation.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (5):811-840.
    Jeff Paris proves a generalized Dutch Book theorem. If a belief state is not a generalized probability then one faces ‘sure loss’ books of bets. In Williams I showed that Joyce’s accuracy-domination theorem applies to the same set of generalized probabilities. What is the relationship between these two results? This note shows that both results are easy corollaries of the core result that Paris appeals to in proving his dutch book theorem. We see that every point of accuracy-domination defines (...)
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  4. Decision-Making Under Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Decisions are made under uncertainty when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and one is uncertain to which the act will lead. Decisions are made under indeterminacy when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and it is indeterminate to which the act will lead. This paper develops a theory of (synchronic and diachronic) decision-making under indeterminacy that portrays the rational response to such situations as inconstant. Rational agents have to capriciously and randomly choose how to resolve (...)
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  5. A Theory of Metaphysical Indeterminacy.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 6. Oxford University Press. pp. 103-148.
    If the world itself is metaphysically indeterminate in a specified respect, what follows? In this paper, we develop a theory of metaphysical indeterminacy answering this question.
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  6. Normative Reference Magnets.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (1):41-71.
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  7. The Backward Clock, Truth-Tracking, and Safety.John N. Williams & Neil Sinhababu - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (1):46-55.
    We present Backward Clock, an original counterexample to Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking analysis of propositional knowledge, which works differently from other putative counterexamples and avoids objections to which they are vulnerable. We then argue that four ways of analysing knowledge in terms of safety, including Duncan Pritchard’s, cannot withstand Backward Clock either.
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  8. Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for postulating (...)
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  9. Eligibility and Inscrutability.J. Robert G. Williams - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (3):361-399.
    Inscrutability arguments threaten to reduce interpretationist metasemantic theories to absurdity. Can we find some way to block the arguments? A highly influential proposal in this regard is David Lewis’ ‘ eligibility ’ response: some theories are better than others, not because they fit the data better, but because they are framed in terms of more natural properties. The purposes of this paper are to outline the nature of the eligibility proposal, making the case that it is not ad hoc, but (...)
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  10. Indeterminacy and Normative Silence.J. R. G. Williams - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):217-225.
    This paper examines two puzzles of indeterminacy. The first puzzle concerns the hypothesis that there is a unified phenomenon of indeterminacy. How are we to reconcile this with the apparent diversity of reactions that indeterminacy prompts? The second puzzle focuses narrowly on borderline cases of vague predicates. How are we to account for the lack of theoretical consensus about what the proper reaction to borderline cases is? I suggest (building on work by Maudlin) that the characteristic feature of indeterminacy is (...)
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  11. Multiple Actualities and Ontically Vague Identity.Robert Williams - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):134-154.
    Although the Evans argument against vague identity has been much discussed, proposah for blocking it have not so far satisfied general conditions which any solution ought to meet. Moreover, the relation between ontically vague identity and ontic vagueness more generally has not yet been satisfactorily addressed. I advocate a way of resisting the Evans argument which satisfies the conditions. To show how this approach can vindicate particular cases of ontically vague identity, I develop a framework for describing ontic vagueness in (...)
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  12. Fundamental and Derivative Truths.J. R. G. Williams - 2010 - Mind 119 (473):103 - 141.
    This article investigates the claim that some truths are fundamentally or really true — and that other truths are not. Such a distinction can help us reconcile radically minimal metaphysical views with the verities of common sense. I develop an understanding of the distinction whereby Fundamentality is not itself a metaphysical distinction, but rather a device that must be presupposed to express metaphysical distinctions. Drawing on recent work by Rayo on anti-Quinean theories of ontological commitments, I formulate a rigourous theory (...)
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  13. Psi and the Problem of Consciousness.George Williams - 2013 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 34:259-284.
    In this paper, I consider what the growing evidence in parapsychology can tell us about the nature of consciousness. Parapsychology remains controversial because it implies deviations from the understanding that many scientists and philosophers hold about the nature of reality. However, given the difficulties in explaining consciousness, a growing number of philosophers have called for new, possibly radical explanations, which include versions of dualism or panpsychism. In this spirit, I briefly review the evidence on psi to see what explanation of (...)
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  14. An Argument for Conjunction Conditionalization.Lee Walters & Robert Williams - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (4):573-588.
    Are counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction Conditionalization, then, requires (...)
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  15. Illusions of Gunk.J. Robert G. Williams - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):493–513.
    Worlds where things divide forever ("gunk" worlds) are apparently conceivable. The conceivability of such scenarios has been used as an argument against "nihilist" or "near-nihilist" answers to the special composition question. I argue that the mereological nihilist has the resources to explain away the illusion that gunk is possible.
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  16. Defending Conditional Excluded Middle.J. Robert G. Williams - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):650-668.
    Lewis (1973) gave a short argument against conditional excluded middle, based on his treatment of ‘might’ counterfactuals. Bennett (2003), with much of the recent literature, gives an alternative take on ‘might’ counterfactuals. But Bennett claims the might-argument against CEM still goes through. This turns on a specific claim I call Bennett’s Hypothesis. I argue that independently of issues to do with the proper analysis of might-counterfactuals, Bennett’s Hypothesis is inconsistent with CEM. But Bennett’s Hypothesis is independently objectionable, so we should (...)
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  17.  68
    Nonclassical Minds and Indeterminate Survival.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):379-428.
    Revisionary theories of logic or truth require revisionary theories of mind. This essay outlines nonclassically based theories of rational belief, desire, and decision making, singling out the supervaluational family for special attention. To see these nonclassical theories of mind in action, this essay examines a debate between David Lewis and Derek Parfit over what matters in survival. Lewis argued that indeterminacy in personal identity allows caring about psychological connectedness and caring about personal identity to amount to the same thing. The (...)
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  18. Gradational Accuracy and Nonclassical Semantics.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (4):513-537.
    Joyce (1998) gives an argument for probabilism: the doctrine that rational credences should conform to the axioms of probability. In doing so, he provides a distinctive take on how the normative force of probabilism relates to the injunction to believe what is true. But Joyce presupposes that the truth values of the propositions over which credences are defined are classical. I generalize the core of Joyce’s argument to remove this presupposition. On the same assumptions as Joyce uses, the credences of (...)
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  19. The Possibility of an Ongoing Moral Catastrophe.Evan G. Williams - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):971-982.
    This article gives two arguments for believing that our society is unknowingly guilty of serious, large-scale wrongdoing. First is an inductive argument: most other societies, in history and in the world today, have been unknowingly guilty of serious wrongdoing, so ours probably is too. Second is a disjunctive argument: there are a large number of distinct ways in which our practices could turn out to be horribly wrong, so even if no particular hypothesized moral mistake strikes us as very likely, (...)
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  20. Indeterminate Oughts.J. Robert G. Williams - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):645-673.
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  21. Two Views of Animals in Environmental Ethics.Comstock Gary - 2016 - In David Schmidtz (ed.), Philosophy: Environmental Ethics. Boston: Gale. pp. 151-183.
    This chapter concerns the role accorded to animals in the theories of the English-speaking philosophers who created the field of environmental ethics in the latter half of the twentieth century. The value of animals differs widely depending upon whether one adopts some version of Holism (value resides in ecosystems) or some version of Animal Individualism (value resides in human and nonhuman animals). I examine this debate and, along the way, highlight better and worse ways to conduct ethical arguments. I explain (...)
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  22. Supervaluationism and Logical Revisionism.J. R. G. Williams - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (4):192-212.
    In the literature on supervaluationism, a central source of concern has been the acceptability, or otherwise, of its alleged logical revisionism. I attack the presupposition of this debate: arguing that when properly construed, there is no sense in which supervaluational consequence is revisionary. I provide new considerations supporting the claim that the supervaluational consequence should be characterized in a ‘global’ way. But pace Williamson (1994) and Keefe (2000), I argue that supervaluationism does not give rise to counterexamples to familiar inference-patterns (...)
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  23. Conversation and Conditionals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):211 - 223.
    I outline and motivate a way of implementing a closest world theory of indicatives, appealing to Stalnaker's framework of open conversational possibilities. Stalnakerian conversational dynamics helps us resolve two outstanding puzzles for a such a theory of indicative conditionals. The first puzzle -- concerning so-called 'reverse Sobel sequences' -- can be resolved by conversation dynamics in a theoryneutral way: the explanation works as much for Lewisian counterfactuals as for the account of indicatives developed here. Resolving the second puzzle, by contrast, (...)
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  24. Foundation for a Natural Right to Health Care.Jason T. Eberl, Eleanor K. Kinney & Matthew J. Williams - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (6):537-557.
    Discussions concerning whether there is a natural right to health care may occur in various forms, resulting in policy recommendations for how to implement any such right in a given society. But health care policies may be judged by international standards including the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The rights enumerated in the UDHR are grounded in traditions of moral theory, a philosophical analysis of which is necessary in order to adjudicate the value of specific policies designed to enshrine (...)
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  25.  84
    Rational Illogicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):127-141.
    Many accounts of structural rationality give a special role to logic. This paper reviews the problem case of clear-eyed logical uncertainty. An account of rational norms on belief that does not give a special role to logic is developed: doxastic probabilism.
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  26. Chances, Counterfactuals, and Similarity.Robert Williams - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):385-420.
    John Hawthorne in a recent paper takes issue with Lewisian accounts of counterfactuals, when relevant laws of nature are chancy. I respond to his arguments on behalf of the Lewisian, and conclude that while some can be rebutted, the case against the original Lewisian account is strong.I develop a neo-Lewisian account of what makes for closeness of worlds. I argue that my revised version avoids Hawthorne’s challenges. I argue that this is closer to the spirit of Lewis’s first (non-chancy) proposal (...)
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  27. Against Atomic Individualism in Plural Subject Theory.Neil W. Williams - 2012 - Phenomenology and Mind 3:65-81.
    Within much contemporary social ontology there is a particular methodology at work. This methodology takes as a starting point two or more asocial or atomic individuals. These individuals are taken to be perfectly functional agents, though outside of all social relations. Following this, combinations of these individuals are considered, to deduce what constitutes a social group. Here I will argue that theories which rely on this methodology are always circular, so long as they purport to describe the formation of all (...)
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  28. Degree Supervaluational Logic.J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - Review of Symbolic Logic 4 (1):130-149.
    Supervaluationism is often described as the most popular semantic treatment of indeterminacy. There???s little consensus, however, about how to fill out the bare-bones idea to include a characterization of logical consequence. The paper explores one methodology for choosing between the logics: pick a logic that norms belief as classical consequence is standardly thought to do. The main focus of the paper considers a variant of standard supervaluational, on which we can characterize degrees of determinacy. It applies the methodology above to (...)
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  29.  47
    Probability and Nonclassical Logic.Robert Williams - 2016 - In Alan Hajek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The oxford handbook of probability and philosophy. Oxford university press.
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  30.  70
    Words by Convention.Gail Leckie & Robert Williams - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language 1 (1).
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  31. Vague Parts and Vague Identity.Elizabeth Barnes & J. R. G. Williams - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):176-187.
    We discuss arguments against the thesis that the world itself can be vague. The first section of the paper distinguishes dialectically effective from ineffective arguments against metaphysical vagueness. The second section constructs an argument against metaphysical vagueness that promises to be of the dialectically effective sort: an argument against objects with vague parts. Firstly, cases of vague parthood commit one to cases of vague identity. But we argue that Evans' famous argument against will not on its own enable one to (...)
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  32. Requirements on Reality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia Benjamin Schnieder (ed.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 165-185.
    There are advantages to thrift over honest toil. If we can make do without numbers we avoid challenging questions over the metaphysics and epistemology of such entities; and we have a good idea, I think, of what a nominalistic metaphysics should look like. But minimizing ontology brings its own problems; for it seems to lead to error theory— saying that large swathes of common-sense and best science are false. Should recherche philosophical arguments really convince us to give all this up? (...)
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  33.  99
    Vagueness.Robert Williams - 2012 - In Delia Fara & Gillian Russell (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
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  34. The Possibility of Onion Worlds: Rebutting an Argument for Structural Universals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):193 – 203.
    Some argue that theories of universals should incorporate structural universals, in order to allow for the metaphysical possibility of worlds of 'infinite descending complexity' ('onion worlds'). I argue that the possibility of such worlds does not establish the need for structural universals. So long as we admit the metaphysical possibility of emergent universals, there is an attractive alternative description of such cases.
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  35.  28
    The Ontology of the Gene Ontology.Barry Smith, Jennifer Williams & Steffen Schulze-Kremer - 2003 - In AMIA 2003 Symposium Proceedings. Washington, DC: AMIA. pp. 609-613.
    The rapidly increasing wealth of genomic data has driven the development of tools to assist in the task of representing and processing information about genes, their products and their functions. One of the most important of these tools is the Gene Ontology (GO), which is being developed in tandem with work on a variety of bioinformatics databases. An examination of the structure of GO, however, reveals a number of problems, which we believe can be resolved by taking account of certain (...)
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  36. The Price of Inscrutability.J. R. G. Williams - 2008 - Noûs 42 (4):600 - 641.
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  37. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and John Duns Scotus: On the Theology of the Father's Intellectual Generation of the Word.Scott M. Williams - 2010 - Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 77 (1):35-81.
    There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we compare the theological (...)
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  38. Henry of Ghent on Real Relations and the Trinity: The Case for Numerical Sameness Without Identity.Scott M. Williams - 2012 - Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 79 (1):109-148.
    I argue that there is a hitherto unrecognized connection between Henry of Ghent’s general theory of real relations and his Trinitarian theology, namely the notion of numerical sameness without identity. A real relation (relatio) is numerically the same thing (res) as its absolute (non-relative) foundation, without being identical to its foundation. This not only holds for creaturely real relations but also for the divine persons’ distinguishing real relations. A divine person who is constituted by a real relation (relatio) and the (...)
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  39. Qualitative Assessment of Self-Identity in Advanced Dementia.Sadhvi Batra, Jacqueline Anne Sullivan, Beverly Williams & David Geldmacher - 2015 - Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice:1-19.
    This study aimed to understand the preserved elements of self-identity in persons with moderate to severe dementia attributable to Alzheimer’s disease. A semi-structured interview was developed to explore the narrative self among residents with dementia in a residential care facility and residents without dementia in an independent living setting. The interviews were transcribed verbatim from audio recordings and analyzed for common themes, while being sensitive to possible differences between the groups. The participants with dementia showed evidence of self-reference even though (...)
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  40.  17
    Response to Eklund.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 6. Oxford University Press.
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  41. Lewis on Reference and Eligibility.J. R. G. Williams - 2015 - In Barry Loewer & Jonathan Schaffer (eds.), A companion to David Lewis. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 367-382.
    This paper outlines Lewis’s favoured foundational account of linguistic representation, and outlines and briefly evaluates variations and modifications. Section 1 gives an opinionated exegesis of Lewis’ work on the foundations of reference—his interpretationism. I look at the way that the metaphysical distinction between natural and non-natural properties came to play a central role in his thinking about language. Lewis’s own deployment of this notion has implausible commitments, so in section 2 I consider variations and alternatives. Section 3 briefly considers a (...)
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  42. Part‐Intrinsicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):431-452.
    In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic. The principle that survival seems intrinsic is one factor which makes personal fission puzzles so awkward. Fission scenarios present cases where if survival is an intrinsic matter, it appears that an individual could survive twice over. (...)
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  43.  51
    Representational Scepticism: The Bubble Puzzle.J. Robert G. Williams - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):419-442.
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  44. Indexicals and the Trinity: Two Non-Social Models.Scott M. Williams - 2013 - Journal of Analytic Theology 1 (1):74-94.
    In recent analytic literature on the Trinity we have seen a variety of "social" models of the Trinity. By contrast there are few "non-­‐social" models. One prominent "non-­‐social" view is Brian Leftow's "Latin Trinity." I argue that the name of Leftow's model is not sufficiently descriptive in light of diverse models within Latin speaking theology. Next, I develop a new "non-­‐social" model that is inspired by Richard of St. Victor's description of a person in conjunction with my appropriating insights about (...)
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  45. Towards a Kantian Theory of International Distributive Justice.Howard Williams - 2010 - Kantian Review 15 (2):43-77.
    This article examines where Kant stands on the question of the redistribution of wealth and income both nationally and globally. Kant is rightly seen as a radical reformer of the world order from a political standpoint seeking a republican, federative worldwide system; can he also be seen as wanting to bring about an equally dramatic shift from an economic perspective? To answer this question we have first of all to address the question of whether he is an egalitarian or an (...)
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  46. Are Different Standards Warranted to Evaluate Psi?George Williams - 2016 - Journal of Parapsychology 79 (2):186-202.
    Throughout the debate on psi, skeptics have almost universally insisted on different standards for evaluating the evidence, claiming that psi represents a radical departure from our current scientific understanding. Thus, there is considerable ambiguity about what standard of evaluation psi must meet. Little attention has been paid to the possible harm to the integrity of scientific investigation from this resulting inconsistency in testing standards. Some have proposed using a Bayesian framework as an improvement on this dilemma in order to more (...)
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  47. Moore-Paradoxical Belief, Conscious Belief and the Epistemic Ramsey Test.John N. Williams - 2012 - Synthese 188 (2):231-246.
    Chalmers and Hájek argue that on an epistemic reading of Ramsey’s test for the rational acceptability of conditionals, it is faulty. They claim that applying the test to each of a certain pair of conditionals requires one to think that one is omniscient or infallible, unless one forms irrational Moore-paradoxical beliefs. I show that this claim is false. The epistemic Ramsey test is indeed faulty. Applying it requires that one think of anyone as all-believing and if one is rational, to (...)
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  48.  94
    Models, Mathematics and Deleuze's Philosophy: Some Remarks on Simon Duffy's Deleuze and the History of Mathematics: In Defence of the New.James Williams - 2017 - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 11 (3):475-481.
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  49.  91
    Permutations and Foster Problems: Two Puzzles or One?J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Ratio 21 (1):91–105.
    How are permutation arguments for the inscrutability of reference to be formulated in the context of a Davidsonian truth-theoretic semantics? Davidson takes these arguments to establish that there are no grounds for favouring a reference scheme that assigns London to “Londres”, rather than one that assigns Sydney to that name. We shall see, however, that it is far from clear whether permutation arguments work when set out in the context of the kind of truth-theoretic semantics which Davidson favours. The principle (...)
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  50. Moore-Paradoxical Assertion, Fully Conscious Belief and the Transparency of Belief.John N. Williams - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (1):9-12.
    I offer a novel account of the absurdity of Moore-paradoxical assertion in terms of an interlocutor’s fully conscious beliefs. This account starts with an original argument for the principle that fully conscious belief collects over conjunction. The argument is premised on the synchronic unity of consciousness and the transparency of belief.
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