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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Conditions for conditionals

Appiah, Anthony January 1981 (has links)
No description available.

Is linguistics a part of psychology?

Fitzgerald, G. January 2009 (has links)
Noam Chomsky, the founding father of generative grammar and the instigator of some of its core research programs, claims that linguistics is a part of psychology, concerned with a class of cognitive structures employed in speaking and understanding. In a recent book, Ignorance of Language, Michael Devitt has challenged certain core aspects of linguistics, as prominent practitioners of the science conceive of it. Among Devitt’s major conclusions is that linguistics is not a part of psychology. In this thesis I defend Chomsky’s psychological conception of grammatical theory. My case for the psychological conception involves defending a set of psychological goals for generative grammars, centring on conditions of descriptive and explanatory adequacy. I argue that generative grammar makes an explanatory commitment to a distinction between a psychological system of grammatical competence and the performance systems engaged in putting that competence to use. I then defend the view that this distinction can be investigated by probing speakers’ linguistic intuitions. Building on the psychological goals of generative grammar and its explanatory commitment to a psychological theory of grammatical competence, I argue that generative grammar neither targets nor presupposes non-psychological grammatical properties. The latter nonpsychological properties are dispensable to grammarians’ explanations because their explanatory goals can be met by the theory of grammatical competence to which they are committed. So generative grammars have psychological properties as their subject matter and linguistics is a part of psychology.

Freedom of the will : a possible alternative

Elzein, Nadine January 2009 (has links)
This thesis is an investigation into free will, and the role of alternative possibilities. I defend an incompatibilist notion of freedom, but argue that such freedom is not exercised in all cases of decision-making. I begin by considering the debate surrounding Harry Frankfurt’s famous argument that alternative possibilities are irrelevant to freedom. I argue that the main disagreement can be best understood by considering the dispute surrounding the 'Flicker-of-Freedom' objection, which contends that there are still alternatives left open in Frankfurt's example. Compatibilists have argued that any such alternatives are outside the agent’s voluntary control and hence irrelevant. But the arguments for this conclusion commit the compatibilist to the more general claim that volitions are not within agents' voluntary control, and incompatibilism is generally motivated by a rejection this claim - so if we could support this claim, we would refute incompatibilism without appealing to Frankfurt’s argument. This disagreement about whether volitions are within agents' voluntary control has not received much attention in recent years, despite figuring implicitly in the debate. But in previous centuries, this figured explicitly as the main focus. I consider the historical debate, started by the famous dispute between Hobbes and Bramhall, and continuing throughout the eighteenth century. Although the libertarian position better captures our ordinary conception of freedom, compatibilists argue that it introduces freedom-undermining irrationality, and randomness of the sort that is either unhelpful or incoherent. Whilst for many cases of decision-making, these challenges are justified, they are not justified in cases involving a particular kind of reasons conflict. I argue that decisions are free in cases of this sort, but we cannot have incompatibilist freedom more generally. However, I also argue that these are the most important cases, given the nature of our concerns about freedom. By restricting the domain of incompatibilist freedom to just these cases, we can avoid introducing irrationality, or randomness of the sort that has made incompatibilism seem incoherent, whilst preserving the incompatibilist's intuition that an important sense of freedom rests on alternative possibilities.

Epistemic internalism : an explanation and defense

Madison, Brent James Charles January 2008 (has links)
What does it take for a positive epistemic status to obtain I argue throughout my thesis that if a positive epistemic status obtains, this is not a brute fact. Instead, if for example a belief is justified, it is justified in virtue of some further condition(s) obtaining. A fundamental topic in epistemology is the question of what sorts of factors can be relevant to determining the positive epistemic status of belief. Epistemic Internalism holds that these factors must be "internal" (in a sense that needs to be specified). Epistemic Externalism is the denial of internalism. My thesis is an explanation and defense of an internalist theory of epistemic justification. The central claim of my thesis is that something is "internal" in this sense only if it is, or can easily be, the object of the agent's conscious awareness. By considering key cases, I show that without an awareness requirement on justification, the subject cannot avoid what I call the Subject's Perspective Objection. In developing this objection I examine and respond to an argument against the awareness requirement which claims that such awareness either leads to a vicious regress of requiring higher order beliefs of increasing complexity (if any beliefs are to be justified), or else requiring such awareness is unmotivated. This regress is generated because it is assumed that the relevant kind of awareness must be doxastic. My solution invokes what I call 'strong non-doxastic awareness' that grounds non-inferential justification and thereby avoids this dilemma, while meeting the Subject's Perspective Objection. I also argue that external factors, such as the reliability (actual or conditional) of the mechanism supporting the belief, are not necessary for justification. I argue for this conclusion by comparing what constitutes justified belief in the actual world with one's counterpart in a 'demon world'. I argue that this intuition, correctly interpreted, counts in favour of internalism. As I explain, many philosophers moved by arguments presented by externalists about mental content deny that such a case is possible. In opposition I argue that the awareness requirement remains substantially unaffected, no matter which view of content turns out to be correct. What is key is that the two worlds are completely subjectively indistinguishable from each other for those who inhabit them in all the ways of which they are consciously aware. If neither the obtaining of truth nor reliability is necessary for epistemic justification, what makes justification genuinely epistemic In the final chapter I argue against recent work that assimilates justification with knowledge, as well as for a positive account of the truth connection. As to the former question, I defend the orthodoxy that they are distinct epistemic statuses as to the latter, I argue that the connection between justification and truth is conceptual. That is, epistemic justification is epistemic because it turns on evidence, evidence is epistemic because it is conceptually linked with truth. Epistemic justification, therefore, is conceptually linked with the truth (via evidence), which is what makes it distinctively epistemic. In short, this thesis is an explanation and defense of an internalist theory of epistemic justification. The central claim of the thesis is that something is "internal" in this sense only if it is, or can easily be, the object of the agent's conscious awareness. I argue that conscious awareness is a necessary condition of epistemic justification obtaining, and that factors external to consciousness play no justificatory role.

The myth of the hidden

McNeill, William Edgar Sainsbury January 2009 (has links)
Traditionally, it has been supposed that both minds and mental states are unobservable. If the mind and its contents are hidden in this way, our knowledge of others' mental lives would have to be indirect. In this thesis, I argue that it is not plausible to suppose that all of our knowledge, of others mental lives is indirect. It is more plausible to suppose that sometimes, we can perceive others' mental states. Thereby, we can sometimes come to have direct, perceptual knowledge of when another is in some mental state. The hypothesis that we can sometimes perceive each others' mental states is plausible because it is possible, and because if it were true, it would best explain our knowledge of others' mental states. It is possible to perceive others' mental states, because others' behaviours need not conceal those states. Rather, what behaviour sometimes does is to reveal another's mental state. When behaviour acts this way, knowledge of another's mental state need not rest on any beliefs about their behaviour. If others' behaviour could inform us of their mental states only in so far as it could be our evidence of their mental states, then the evidence it would provide could not be sufficient to secure all the knowledge we take ourselves to have about others’ mental states. If so, the claim that all we have to go on in discovering how others think or feel is the evidence of their behaviour could not hope to explain that knowledge. So, only if it were true that others' behaviour sometimes enabled us to perceive their mental states could we adequately explain all our knowledge of their mental states. For these reasons, I claim that the hiddenness of the mental is a myth.

Pragmatics & rationality

Allott, Nicholas Elwyn January 2007 (has links)
This thesis is about the reconciliation of realistic views of rationality with inferential-intentional theories of communication. Grice (1957 1975) argued that working out what a speaker meant by an utterance is a matter of inferring the speaker's intentions on the presumption that she is acting rationally. This is abductive inference: inference to the best explanation for the utterance. Thus an utterance both rationalises and causes the interpretation the hearer constructs. Human rationality is bounded because of our 'finitary predicament': we have limited time and resources for computation (Simon, 1957b Cherniak, 1981). This raises questions about the explanatory status of inferential-intentional pragmatic theories. Gricean derivations of speakers' intentions seem costly, and generally hearers are not aware of performing explicit reasoning. Utterance interpretation is typically fast and automatic. Is utterance interpretation a species of reasoning, or does the hearer merely act as "reasoning Within the framework of cognitive science, mental processing is under stood as transitions between mental representations. I develop a traditional view of rationality as reasoning ability, where this is essentially the ability to make transitions that preserve rational acceptability. Following Grice (2001), I claim that there is a 'hard way' and a 'quick way' of reasoning. Work on bounded rationality suggests that much cognitive work is done by heuristics, processes that exploit environmental structure to solve problems at much lower cost than fully explicit calculations. I look at the properties of heuristics that find solutions to open-ended problems such as abductive inference, particularly sequential search heuristics with aspiration-level stopping rules. I draw on relevance theory's view that the comprehension procedure is a heuristic which exploits environmental regularities due to utterances being offers of information (Sperber & Wilson, 1986). This kind of heuristic, I argue, is the 'quick way' that reasoning proceeds in utterance interpretation.

Thinking animals

Árnadóttir, Steinvor Tholl January 2009 (has links)
Many personal identity theorists claim that persons are distinct from the animals that constitute them, but when combined with the plausible assumption that animals share the thoughts of the persons they constitute, this denial results in an excess of thinkers and a host of related problems. I consider a number of non-animalist solutions to these problems and argue that they fail. I argue further that satisfactory non-animalist solutions are not forthcoming and that in order to avoid these problems we ought to affirm our identity with animals. I then discuss arguments to the effect that i) animalism faces its own problems of too many thinkers, arising from the non- identity of animals with thinking bodies and thinking body parts, and ii) that in order to avoid these problems we must deny not just that there are persons distinct from animals, but that there are bodies and body parts distinct from animals Once the second of these claims is granted, there is a short further step to the conclusion that there are no such things as body parts, and from there there is a direct route to eliminative animalism. Eliminative animalism denies not only that there are persons distinct from animals, but that there are any composite objects distinct from animals. This position has been gaining popularity recently, but I argue that we need not, and indeed should not, accept it. Although the problems of the thinking animal do commit us to animalism, the problems of thinking bodies and thinking body parts do not commit us to eliminate animalism.

The infinite subject : the transcendence of subjectivity from Descartes to Derrida

Rossiter, Andrew E. H. January 1997 (has links)
The aim of this thesis is to describe how the concept of the subject and subjectivity, in its necessary relation to the concept of infinity, is envisaged in the work of Jaques Derrida. His idea of deconstruction has challenged accepted notions of the subject, giving rise to new ways of describing the production of knowledge and meaning. Thus his interpretations of the subject, in its various forms, have been used to construct a representation of the subject which cannot be reduced to its traditional conceptualisation. The thesis consists of a series of "deconstructive" readings based on Derrida's earlier, more theoretical essays on the interpretation of the subject and subjectivity. This set of readings is meant both to describe the logical possibilities of thinking the concept of the subject offered by deconstruction, and to trace the movement of thought that Derrida's early writings instigate. The thesis consists of an introduction which outlines the theoretical problems and approaches to thinking the concept of the subject and subjectivity. The main body comprises four sections, the first being a short conceptual history of the subject from Descartes, Kant and Hegel. The second describes the possibility of establishing a relation of the subject to an objective world, and centres on Husserl's concept of the phenomenological subject. The third describes the possibility of establishing an objective sense in relation to subjective thought, and deals with Foucault's socio-historical account of the Cartesian Cogito. The fourth describes the possibility of providing a true description of the subject's meaning in a reading of Lacan. The thesis concludes with a description of the necessary relation of the concept of the subject to the concept of a transcendent infinity, and how this relation makes possible, and is more "original" than, traditional conceptions of the subject.

The memory and expectation of aesthetics : a study of Adorno's aesthetic theory

McPherson, Alan January 2009 (has links)
This study aims to clarify the underlying conceptual structure of Adorno's theoretical position with regard to both philosophy and art and to examine the expectation of philosophical aesthetics. I introduce Aesthetic Theory from a morphological point of view and claim that the form and structure of this unfinished text reveals a great deal about the book, as it exemplifies Adorno's theory of meaning. I claim that for Adorno dialectic is better thought of not in its Hegelian form but as a Kantian antinomy. This is because the dialectical oppositions he identifies cannot be resolved under the capitalist conditions of the administered world. I claim that philosophy understood as the construction of a form of totality, the constellation, provides the key to understanding Adorno's theory of meaning. This theory consists of three linked concepts: midpoint, constellation and parataxis. I further claim that for Adorno art and philosophy are structured in the same way. Adorno has in effect developed a conception of art that depends for its ultimate justification on the concept of rank as explicated by the completion of the work of art by philosophy. Art and theory are thus entwined in a mimetic relationship. I claim there is a temporal dichotomy at the centre of Adorno's conception of the work of art, that it is both transient and absolute. This antinomy is what makes the work of art a paradoxically absolute commodity precisely because Adorno's concept of the work of art is modelled on the commodity form. I claim that Adorno's conception of the artwork as an instant is clearly closely related, in a structural and conceptual sense, to his conception of how philosophy works. Truth for Adorno is always located in the present instant. My textual analysis leads me to claim that for Adorno a utopian element is involved in writing a negative dialectical text. Finally, I claim that a theory of the art form in all its different typologies is best suited to carry out detailed critique and theoretical reflection on contemporary art. Philosophical aesthetics can only supply an historical perspective.

Retribution and punishment

Dunlop, Francis Ninian January 1974 (has links)
No description available.

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