Results for 'Matthew J. Williams'

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  1. 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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  2. Well-Being, Disability, and Choosing Children.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):305-328.
    The view that it is better for life to be created free of disability is pervasive in both common sense and philosophy. We cast doubt on this view by focusing on an influential line of thinking that manifests it. That thinking begins with a widely-discussed principle, Procreative Beneficence, and draws conclusions about parental choice and disability. After reconstructing two versions of this argument, we critique the first by exploring the relationship between different understandings of well-being and disability, and the second (...)
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  3. Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (2):59-77.
    A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...)
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  4. Weaving Value Judgment Into the Tapestry of Science.Matthew J. Brown - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (10).
    I critically analyze Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values in order to tease out his views on the nature and status of values or value judgments in the text. I show there is a tension in Elliott’s view that is closely connected to a major lacuna in the philosophical literature on values in science: the need for a better theory of values.
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  5. When Traditional Essentialism Fails: Biological Natural Kinds.Robert A. Wilson, Matthew J. Barker & Ingo Brigandt - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):189-215.
    Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...)
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  6. The Disconnect Problem, Scientific Authority, and Climate Policy.Matthew J. Brown & Joyce C. Havstad - 2017 - Perspectives on Science 25 (1):67-94.
    The disconnect problem arises wherever there is ongoing and severe discordance between the scientific assessment of a politically relevant issue, and the politics and legislation of said issue. Here, we focus on the disconnect problem as it arises in the case of climate change, diagnosing a failure to respect the necessary tradeoff between authority and autonomy within a public institution like science. After assessing the problematic deployment of scientific authority in this arena, we offer suggestions for how to mitigate climate (...)
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  7. Essentialism.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - In Byron Kaldis (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences.
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  8. Biological Individuals.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1).
    The impressive variation amongst biological individuals generates many complexities in addressing the simple-sounding question what is a biological individual? A distinction between evolutionary and physiological individuals is useful in thinking about biological individuals, as is attention to the kinds of groups, such as superorganisms and species, that have sometimes been thought of as biological individuals. More fully understanding the conceptual space that biological individuals occupy also involves considering a range of other concepts, such as life, reproduction, and agency. There has (...)
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  9. Biological Explanations, Realism, Ontology, and Categories.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):617-622.
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  10. Introduction: Symposium on Paul Gowder, the Rule of Law in the Real World.Matthew J. Lister - 2018 - St. Louis University Law Journal 62 (2):287-91.
    This is a short introduction to a book symposium on Paul Gowder's recent book, _The Rule of Law in thee Real World_ (Cambridge University Press, 2016). The book symposium will appear in the St. Luis University Law Journal, 62 St. Louis U. L.J., -- (2018), with commentaries on Gowder's book by colleen Murphy, Robin West, Chad Flanders, and Matthew Lister, along with replies by Paul Gowder.
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  11. Science and Values.Matthew J. Barker - 2015 - Eugenics Archive.
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  12. Is There a Liberal Right to Secede From a Liberal State?Matthew J. Webb - 2006 - TRAMES 10 (4):371-386.
    This paper explores the question of whether there can be a right to secede from a liberal state by examining the concept of a liberal state and the different forms of liberalism that may be appealed to in order to justify secession. It argues that where the foundations of the state’s legitimacy are conceived in terms of a non-derivative right to self-determination, then secession from a liberal state may be a justified form of action for different types of groups including (...)
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  13. “Dreamers” and Others: Immigration Protests, Enforcement, and Civil Disobedience.Matthew J. Lister - 2018 - APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy 17 (2):15-17.
    In this short paper I hope to use some ideas drawn from the theory and practice of civil disobedience to address one of the most difficult questions in immigration theory, one rarely addressed by philosophers or other theorists working on the topic: How should we respond to people who violate immigration law? I will start with what I take to be the easiest case for my approach—that of so-called “Dreamers”—unauthorized immigrants in the US who were brought to this country while (...)
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  14. Philosophical Foundations for Complementary Protection.Matthew J. Lister - 2020 - In David Miller & Christine Straehle (eds.), The Political Philosophy of Refuge. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 211-231.
    A Significant percentage of the people outside their country of citizenship or residence who are unable to meet their basic needs on their own, and need international protection, do not fall under the definition set out in the UN Refugee Convention. This has led many - both academic commentators and activists - to call for a new, expanded refugee definition, preferably backed up by a new, binding, international convention. In earlier work I have resisted this call, arguing that there is (...)
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    Letter Regarding Canada's Bill C-7, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) and Disability.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - manuscript
    This letter was submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Government of Canada, on 29th January, 2021, as final debate over Bill C-7 was being undertaken in the Senate regarding MAiD and the strong opposition to the legislation expressed across the Canadian disability community. It draws on our individual and joint work on eugenics, well-being, and disability.
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  16. Is Epistemic Expressivism Incompatible with Inquiry?J. Adam Carter & Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (3):323-339.
    Expressivist views of an area of discourse encourage us to ask not about the nature of the relevant kinds of values but rather about the nature of the relevant kind of evaluations. Their answer to the latter question typically claims some interesting disanalogy between those kinds of evaluations and descriptions of the world. It does so in hope of providing traction against naturalism-inspired ontological and epistemological worries threatening more ‘realist’ positions. This is a familiar position regarding ethical discourse; however, some (...)
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  17. William James on Belief: Turning Darwinism Against Empiricistic Skepticism.Matthew Crippen - 2010 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (3):477-502.
    Few address the extent to which William James regards the neo-Lamarckian account of “direct adaptation” as a biological extension of British empiricism. Consequently few recognize the instrumental role that the Darwinian idea of “indirect adaptation” plays in his lifelong efforts to undermine the empiricist view that sense experience molds the mind. This article examines how James uses Darwinian thinking, first, to argue that mental content can arise independently of sense experience; and, second, to show that empiricists advance a hopelessly skeptical (...)
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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. William James and His Darwinian Defense of Freewill.Matthew Crippen - 2011 - In Mark Wheeler (ed.), 150 Years of Evolution: Darwin’s Impact on Contemporary Thought and Culture. pp. 68-89.
    Abstract If asked about the Darwinian influence on William James, some might mention his pragmatic position that ideas are “mental modes of adaptation,” and that our stock of ideas evolves to meet our changing needs. However, while this is not obviously wrong, it fails to capture what James deems most important about Darwinian theory: the notion that there are independent cycles of causation in nature. Versions of this idea undergird everything from his campaign against empiricist psychologies to his theories of (...)
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  22. Normative Reference Magnets.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (1):41-71.
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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. The Price of Inscrutability.J. R. G. Williams - 2008 - Noûs 42 (4):600 - 641.
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  26. Quasi‐Indexicals and Knowledge Reports.William J. Rapaport, Stuart C. Shapiro & Janyce M. Wiebe - 1997 - Cognitive Science 21 (1):63-107.
    We present a computational analysis of de re, de dicto, and de se belief and knowledge reports. Our analysis solves a problem first observed by Hector-Neri Castañeda, namely, that the simple rule -/- `(A knows that P) implies P' -/- apparently does not hold if P contains a quasi-indexical. We present a single rule, in the context of a knowledge-representation and reasoning system, that holds for all P, including those containing quasi-indexicals. In so doing, we explore the difference between reasoning (...)
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  27. How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape From a Chinese Room.William J. Rapaport - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (4):381-436.
    A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational knowledge-representation system, (...)
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  28. 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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  29. Is There a Place in Bayesian Confirmation Theory for the Reverse Matthew Effect?William Roche - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1631-1648.
    Bayesian confirmation theory is rife with confirmation measures. Many of them differ from each other in important respects. It turns out, though, that all the standard confirmation measures in the literature run counter to the so-called “Reverse Matthew Effect” (“RME” for short). Suppose, to illustrate, that H1 and H2 are equally successful in predicting E in that p(E | H1)/p(E) = p(E | H2)/p(E) > 1. Suppose, further, that initially H1 is less probable than H2 in that p(H1) < (...)
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  30. Syntactic Semantics: Foundations of Computational Natural Language Understanding.William J. Rapaport - 1988 - In James H. Fetzer (ed.), Aspects of AI. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    This essay considers what it means to understand natural language and whether a computer running an artificial-intelligence program designed to understand natural language does in fact do so. It is argued that a certain kind of semantics is needed to understand natural language, that this kind of semantics is mere symbol manipulation (i.e., syntax), and that, hence, it is available to AI systems. Recent arguments by Searle and Dretske to the effect that computers cannot understand natural language are discussed, and (...)
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  31. Semiotic Systems, Computers, and the Mind: How Cognition Could Be Computing.William J. Rapaport - 2012 - International Journal of Signs and Semiotic Systems 2 (1):32-71.
    In this reply to James H. Fetzer’s “Minds and Machines: Limits to Simulations of Thought and Action”, I argue that computationalism should not be the view that (human) cognition is computation, but that it should be the view that cognition (simpliciter) is computable. It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain. I also argue that, if semiotic systems are systems that interpret signs, then both humans and computers are (...)
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  32.  89
    Seeing Aspects in Wittgenstein.William Day & Victor J. Krebs - 2010 - In William Day & Víctor J. Krebs (eds.), Seeing Wittgenstein Anew. Cambridge University Press.
    This is the introduction to Seeing Wittgenstein Anew, eds. William Day & Victor J. Krebs (Cambridge UP, 2010), a collection of essays on Ludwig Wittgenstein's remarks on aspect-seeing. Section 1: Why Seeing Aspects Now?; Section 2: The Importance of Seeing Aspects; Section 3: The Essays. (The front matter to Seeing Wittgenstein Anew appears above under "Books.").
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  33. Representational Scepticism: The Bubble Puzzle.J. Robert G. Williams - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):419-442.
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  34. 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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  35. Seeing Wittgenstein Anew.William Day & Victor J. Krebs (eds.) - 2010 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Seeing Wittgenstein Anew is the first collection to examine Ludwig Wittgenstein’s remarks on the concept of aspect-seeing. These essays show that aspect-seeing was not simply one more topic of investigation in Wittgenstein’s later writings, but, rather, that it was a pervasive and guiding concept in his efforts to turn philosophy’s attention to the actual conditions of our common life in language. Arranged in sections that highlight the pertinence of the aspect-seeing remarks to aesthetic and moral perception, self-knowledge, mind and consciousness, (...)
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  36. Understanding Understanding: Syntactic Semantics and Computational Cognition.William J. Rapaport - 1995 - Philosophical Perspectives 9:49-88.
    John Searle once said: "The Chinese room shows what we knew all along: syntax by itself is not sufficient for semantics. (Does anyone actually deny this point, I mean straight out? Is anyone actually willing to say, straight out, that they think that syntax, in the sense of formal symbols, is really the same as semantic content, in the sense of meanings, thought contents, understanding, etc.?)." I say: "Yes". Stuart C. Shapiro has said: "Does that make any sense? Yes: Everything (...)
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  37. Syntax, Semantics, and Computer Programs.William J. Rapaport - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):309-321.
    Turner argues that computer programs must have purposes, that implementation is not a kind of semantics, and that computers might need to understand what they do. I respectfully disagree: Computer programs need not have purposes, implementation is a kind of semantic interpretation, and neither human computers nor computing machines need to understand what they do.
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  38. On Epistemic Logic and Logical Omniscience.William J. Rapaport & Moshe Y. Vardi - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (2):668.
    Review of Joseph Y. Halpern (ed.), Theoretical Aspects of Reasoning About Knowledge: Proceedings of the 1986 Conference (Los Altos, CA: Morgan Kaufmann, 1986),.
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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. An Ethical Framework for Global Vaccine Allocation.Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Govind Persad, Adam Kern, Allen E. Buchanan, Cecile Fabre, Daniel Halliday, Joseph Heath, Lisa M. Herzog, R. J. Leland, Ephrem T. Lemango, Florencia Luna, Matthew McCoy, Ole F. Norheim, Trygve Ottersen, G. Owen Schaefer, Kok-Chor Tan, Christopher Heath Wellman, Jonathan Wolff & Henry S. Richardson - 2020 - Science 1:DOI: 10.1126/science.abe2803.
    In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...)
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  42. David Lewis, Donald C. Williams, and the History of Metaphysics in the Twentieth Century.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1):3--22.
    The revival of analytic metaphysics in the latter half of the twentieth century is typically understood as a consequence of the critiques of logical positivism, Quine’s naturalization of ontology, Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, clarifications of modal notions in logic, and the theoretical exploitation of possible worlds. However, this explanation overlooks the work of metaphysicians at the height of positivism and linguisticism that affected metaphysics of the late twentieth century. Donald C. Williams is one such philosopher. In this paper I (...)
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  43. Indeterminate Oughts.J. Robert G. Williams - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):645-673.
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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. To Think or Not to Think.William J. Rapaport - 1988 - Noûs 22 (4):585-609.
    A critical study of John Searle's Minds, Brains and Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984).
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  48. Yes, She Was!: Reply to Ford’s “Helen Keller Was Never in a Chinese Room”.William J. Rapaport - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (1):3-17.
    Ford’s Helen Keller Was Never in a Chinese Room claims that my argument in How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape from a Chinese Room fails because Searle and I use the terms ‘syntax’ and ‘semantics’ differently, hence are at cross purposes. Ford has misunderstood me; this reply clarifies my theory.
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  49. What Is the “Context” for Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition?William J. Rapaport - 2003 - Proceedings of the 4th Joint International Conference on Cognitive Science/7th Australasian Society for Cognitive Science Conference 2:547-552.
    “Contextual” vocabulary acquisition is the active, deliberate acquisition of a meaning for a word in a text by reasoning from textual clues and prior knowledge, including language knowledge and hypotheses developed from prior encounters with the word, but without external sources of help such as dictionaries or people. But what is “context”? Is it just the surrounding text? Does it include the reader’s background knowledge? I argue that the appropriate context for contextual vocabulary acquisition is the reader’s “internalization” of the (...)
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  50. 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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