How do we understand other people’s minds? This question has been discussed intensively in the theory of mind debate. ‘Theory of mind’ is defined as the capacity to attribute mental states to oneself and to others and to make use of that capacity in behavior understanding. This book offers a critical analysis of a variety of tasks that have been conducted to investigate the development of a theory of mind in children. The heart of the book is a pluralistic account of social understanding. Rather than relying on a default procedure of social understanding (e.g., theory or simulation), individuals understand the behavior of another person in various ways dependent on their cognitive competencies and the socio-situational context. As a rule of thumb, individuals are prone to make use of that procedure that is cognitively least effortful to them in a given context. Covering a wide range of studies, the implications of the pluralistic account are discussed with respect to culture and psychopathology. Finally, the book points to the role that social interaction may play in social understanding.
Scepticism, the view that knowledge is impossible, threatens our conception of ourselves as epistemic subjects as much as it endangers our conception of the external world. The book develops a modal account of knowledge and provides an answer to scepticism based on a detailed examination of the main sceptical argument. It discusses prominent contemporary theories of knowledge, in particular safety and sensitivity theories, and shows that they cannot handle Gettier-type examples of a new kind. An alternative analysis of knowledge in terms of relevantly normal possibilities is developed. The sceptical argument addressed aims to show that we cannot know ordinary things because we cannot rule out that we are in a sceptical scenario. Classical responses, like dogmatism, non-closure theories, and epistemic contextualism, are explored and rejected as unnecessary for a refutation of the sceptical argument. A detailed investigation reveals, first, that the failure to know that we are not in a sceptical scenario does not conflict with ordinary knowledge, but only with knowledge that we know, and, second, that we can indeed know that we are not in a sceptical scenario. It is therefore claimed not only that we know, but also that we know that we know.
History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis (HPLA) holds that the goal of systematic philosophy of uncovering and substantiating philosophical truths should also be a central tenet when investigating the history of philosophy, especially considering that historical texts were written with this goal in mind, i.e., out of an interest in truth. For this reason we should read these texts as potential conveyors of truths, and if — despite benevolent interpretation — this proves to be unfeasible, then as conveyors of falsehoods. Only in this manner can a lively dialogue with our philosophical past be initiated, and only thus can we properly pay tribute to it. On the whole, this approach promises to shed new light on classical texts, making them even more fruitful in dealing with the controversial issues of modern philosophy.
HPLA provides a forum for articles in which texts from the history of philosophy are approached with the aim of offering a systematic reconstruction of theories concerning pertinent philosophical problems (often deploying the resources of modern logical analysis in the course of reconstruction). Discovered theories or fragments of such theories can be carefully elucidated and developed further. In this way, novel questions can be put to an historical author, and profitably pursued within the framework of the established system.
The works of the history of philosophy should not only be honoured as historical documents, but first and foremost be taken seriously from a philosophical point of view.
researched and published a book, called Robot Rights , which analyzes, investigates, and explicates this phenomenon (Gunkel 2018). Instead of attempting to replay the rather detailed argument that is developed in the published text – which would be difficult to accomplish in the course of a short essay
investigations, some say that they have found the truth, others declare that it cannot be apprehended, while others still continue to search.
Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism (= PH ), 1.2 (T1)
So Sextus Empiricus begins his general account of scepticism, or as he sometimes puts it, the sceptical
that, for Plato, both knowledge and the search for knowledge are a priori : this is 99d–100a, when he argues that we ought not to try to grasp things by our eyes and each of our senses, lest in doing so we get blinded in our soul, but ought, rather, to investigate the truth of things in logoi
Sextus responds to the Dogmatists’ criticism that the Sceptics cannot investigate Dogmatic theses, formulating his own version of Meno’s puzzle against them. He thus forces them to adopt υοεῐυ ἁπλῶς – a way of thinking that does not carry any commitment to the reality of what someone thinks – as their only solution to the puzzle and as the necessary starting point of their investigation. Nοεῐυ ἁπλῶς avoids Dogmatic assumptions without making use of the Sceptical argumentation that leads to suspension of judgment. It constitutes a novel answer to Meno’s puzzle, Dogmatism- and Scepticism-free, with important consequences both for Dogmatism and for Scepticism.
The problem of ‘collective unity’ in the transcendental philosophies of Kant and Husserl is investigated on the basis of number’s exemplary ‘collective unity’. To this end, the investigation reconstructs the historical context of the conceptuality of the mathematics that informs Kant’s and Husserl’s accounts of manifold, intuition, and synthesis. On the basis of this reconstruction, the argument is advanced that the unity of number – not the unity of the ‘concept’ of number – is presupposed by each transcendental philosopher in their accounts of the transcendental foundation of manifold, intuition, and synthesis. This presupposition is ultimately traced to Kant’s and Husserl’s responses to Hume’s philosophy of human understanding and the critical limits of what Kant calls the ‘qualitative’ unity of transcendental consciousness. These critical limits are exposed in both philosophers’ attempts to account for that ‘qualitative’ unity on the basis of the ‘quantitative’ unity of number.
To which extent is it justified to adopt Kant as a godfather of cognitive science? To prepare the stage for an answer of this question, we need to set aside Kant’s general transcendental approach to the mind which is radically anti-empiricist and instead turn our attention to his specific topics and claims regarding the mind which are often not focus of Kant’s epistemological investigations. If someone is willing to take this stance, it turns out that there are many bridges connecting Kant with contemporary cognitive science. We investigate possible bridges suggested in the literature between some of Kant’s central claims about consciousness, mental content, and functions of mind, and some specific treatments of these topics in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. While doing so, we offer additional arguments for some proposed bridges, reconstruct others and completely destroy still other bridges by demonstrating that some suggested links between Kant and cognitive science remain only apparent.
What does the way we clarify and revise concepts reveal about the nature of concepts? This paper investigates the ontological commitments of conceptual analysis and explication regarding their supposed subject matter–concepts. It demonstrates the benefits of a cognitivist account of concepts, according to which they are not items on which the subject operates cognitively, but rather ways in which the subject operates. The proposed view helps to handle alternating references to ‘concepts’ and ‘terms’ in instructions on analysis and explication. Furthermore, its virtue lies not in the capacity to render concepts ‘shareable’ but in its ontological parsimony.