The present discussion parallels what I regard as a very deep passage in Schiffer

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So, then, which appearance properties are sensory properties? Here’s a line that one might consider: £ is a sensory property only if it is possible to have an experience of which £-ness is the intentional object (e.g. an experience (as) of red) even though one hasn’t got the concept £ Here the test of having the concept £ would be something like beingable to think thoughts whose truth conditions include … £ … (e.g. thoughts like that’s red). I think this must be the notion of ‘sensory property’ that underlies the Empiricistidea that RED and the like are learned ‘by abstraction’ from experience, a doctrine which presupposes that a mind that lacks RED can none the less have experiences (as) ofredness. By this test, DOORKNOB is presumably not a sensory concept since, though it is perfectly possible to have an experience (as) of doorknobs, I suppose only a mindthat has the concept DOORKNOB can do so.‘But how could one have an experience (as) of red if one hasn’t got the concept RED?’ It‘s easy: in the case of redness, but notof doorknobhood, one is equipped with sensory organs which produce such experiences when they are appropriately stimulated. Redness can be sensed, whereas the perceptualdetection of doorknobhood is always inferential. Just as sensible psychologists have always supposed.

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The present discussion parallels what I regard as a very deep passage in Schiffer 1987 about being a dog. Schiffer takes for granted that ‘dog’ doesn’t name a species, and (hence?) that dogs as such don’t have a hidden essence. His conclusion is that there just isn’t (except pleonastically) any such property as being a dog My diagnosis is thatthere is too, but it’s mind-dependent.

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32

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Reminder: ‘the X stereotype’ is rigid. See n. 12 above.

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33

Except in the (presumably never encountered) case where all the X s are stereotypic. In that case, there’s a dead heat.

34

In principle, they are also epistemically independent in both directions. As things are now, we find out about the stereotype by doing tests on subjects who are independentlyidentified as having the corresponding concept. But I assume that if we knew enough about the mind/brain, we could predict a concept from its stereotype and vice versa. Ineffect, given the infinite set of actual and possible doorknobs, we could predict the stereotype from which our sorts of minds would generalize to it; and given the doorknobstereotype, we could predict the set of actual and possible objects which our kinds of minds would take to instantiate doorknobhood.

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35

Compare Jackendoff: “Look at the representations of, say, generative phonology… It is strange to say that English speakers know the proposition, true in the world independent of speakers [sic ], that syllable-initial voiceless consonants aspirate before stress … In generative phonology . . . this rule of aspiration is regarded as a principle of internalcomputation, not a fact about the world. Such semantical concepts as implication, confirmation, and logical consequence seem curiously irrelevant” (1992: 29). Note that,though they are confounded in his text, the contrast that Jackendoff is insisting on isn’t between propositions and rules/principles of computation; it’s between phenomena of thekind that generative phonology studies and facts about the world. But that ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’ is a fact about the world. That is to say: it’s a fact. And of course the usuallogico-semantical concepts apply. That ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’ is what makes the claim that ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’ true; since ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’, something in‘Patrick’ is aspirated . . . and so forth.

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36

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In just this spirit, Keith Campbell remarks about colours that if they are “integrated reflectances across three overlapping segments clustered in the middle of the total electromagnetic spectrum, then they are, from the inanimate point of view, such highly arbitrary and idiosyncratic properties that it is no wonder the particular colors we arefamiliar with are manifest only in transactions with humans, rhesus monkeys, and machines especially built to replicate just their particular mode of sensitivity to photons”(1990: 572—3). (The force of this observation is all the greater if, as seems likely, even the reflectance theory underestimates the complexity of colour psychophysics.)See alsoJ. J.Jean-marc pizano

On one hand, everybody knows, deep down, thatInferential Role Semantics makes the problem of concept individuation intractable. And, on the other hand, everybodygags on Informational Atomism. (Well, practically everybody does.) And nobody seems to be able to think of any otheralternatives. Probably that’s because those are all the alternatives that there are.

Jean-marc pizano On one hand, everybody knows, deep down, thatInferential Role Semantics makes the problem of concept individuation intractable. And, on the other hand, everybodygags on Informational Atomism. (Well, practically everybody does.) And nobody seems to be able to think of any otheralternatives. Probably that’s because those are all the alternatives that there are.

 

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It’s my view that we’re eventually going to have to swallow Informational Atomism whole. Accordingly, I’ve been doing what I can to

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sweeten the pill. It seemed to me, for a long while, that a cost of atomism would be failing to honour the distinction between theoretical concepts and the rest. For, surely, theoretical concepts are ones that you have to believe a theory inorder to have? And, according to conceptual atomism, there are no concepts that you have to believe a theory in orderto have. But it doesn’t seem to me that way now. A theoretical concept isn’t a concept that’s defined by a theory; it’s justa concept that is, de facto, locked to a property via a theory. Informational Atomism doesn’t mind that at all, so long asyou keep the “de facto” in mind.

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Likewise, it used to seem to me that atomism about concepts means that DOORKNOB is innate. But now I think that you can trade a certain amount of innateness for a certain amount of mind-dependence. Being a doorknob is just:striking our kinds of minds the way that doorknobs do. So, what you need to acquire the concept DOORKNOB“from experience” is just: the kind of mind that experience causes to be struck that way by doorknobs. The price ofmaking this trade of innateness for mind-dependence is, however, a touch of Wotan’s problem. It turns out that muchof what we find in the world is indeed “only ourselves”. It turns out, in lots of cases, that we make things be of a kind bybeing disposed to take them to be of a kind.

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But not in every case; not, in particular, in the case of kinds of things that are alike in respect of the hidden sources of their causal powers, regardless of their likeness in respect of their effects on us. To describe it in terms of those sorts ofsimilarities is to describe the world the way that God takes it to be. Doing science is how we contrive to causeourselves to have the concepts that such descriptions are couched in. Not philosophy but science is the way to getWotan out of his fly-bottle. That story seems to me plausibly true; and it is, as we’ve seen, compatible with aninformational and atomistic account of the individuation of concepts. But dear me, speaking of fly-bottles, howWittgenstein would have loathed it; and Wagner and Virginia Woolf too, for that matter. Well, you can’t pleaseeveryone; I’ll bet it would have been all right with Plato.

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Short Conclusion: A Consolation for Philosophers

That’s really the end of my story; but a word about what I think of as the Luddite objection to conceptual atomism is perhaps in order.

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It‘s natural, pace Appendix 5A, to suppose that conceptual atomism means that there are no conceptual truths, hence that there are no analytic truths. And, if there are no analytic truths, I suppose that there are no such things asconceptual analyses. And it would be worrying if ‘noanalyticity’ entailed not just ‘no analyses’ but ‘no analytic philosophy’ as well. Technological unemployment would thenbegin to threaten.

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But I guess I’m not inclined to take that prospect very seriously; certainly I’m not one of those end-of-philosophy philosophers. If, there aren’t any conceptual analyses, the moral isn’t that we should stop doing philosophy, or eventhat we should start doing philosophy in some quite different way. The moral is just that we should stop saying thatconceptual analysis is what philosophers do. If analytic philosophers haven’t been analysing concepts after all, at leastthat explains why there are so few concepts that analytic philosophers have analysed.

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I guess what I really think is that philosophy is just: whatever strikes minds like ours as being of the same kind as the prototypical examples.Jean-marc pizano

On one hand, everybody knows, deep down, thatInferential Role Semantics makes the problem of concept individuation intractable. And, on the other hand, everybodygags on Informational Atomism. (Well, practically everybody does.) And nobody seems to be able to think of any otheralternatives. Probably that’s because those are all the alternatives that there are.

Jean-marc pizano On one hand, everybody knows, deep down, thatInferential Role Semantics makes the problem of concept individuation intractable. And, on the other hand, everybodygags on Informational Atomism. (Well, practically everybody does.) And nobody seems to be able to think of any otheralternatives. Probably that’s because those are all the alternatives that there are.

 

It’s my view that we’re eventually going to have to swallow Informational Atomism whole. Accordingly, I’ve been doing what I can to

sweeten the pill. It seemed to me, for a long while, that a cost of atomism would be failing to honour the distinction between theoretical concepts and the rest. For, surely, theoretical concepts are ones that you have to believe a theory inorder to have? And, according to conceptual atomism, there are no concepts that you have to believe a theory in orderto have. But it doesn’t seem to me that way now. A theoretical concept isn’t a concept that’s defined by a theory; it’s justa concept that is, de facto, locked to a property via a theory. Informational Atomism doesn’t mind that at all, so long asyou keep the “de facto” in mind.

Likewise, it used to seem to me that atomism about concepts means that DOORKNOB is innate. But now I think that you can trade a certain amount of innateness for a certain amount of mind-dependence. Being a doorknob is just:striking our kinds of minds the way that doorknobs do. So, what you need to acquire the concept DOORKNOB“from experience” is just: the kind of mind that experience causes to be struck that way by doorknobs. The price ofmaking this trade of innateness for mind-dependence is, however, a touch of Wotan’s problem. It turns out that muchof what we find in the world is indeed “only ourselves”. It turns out, in lots of cases, that we make things be of a kind bybeing disposed to take them to be of a kind.

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But not in every case; not, in particular, in the case of kinds of things that are alike in respect of the hidden sources of their causal powers, regardless of their likeness in respect of their effects on us. To describe it in terms of those sorts ofsimilarities is to describe the world the way that God takes it to be. Doing science is how we contrive to causeourselves to have the concepts that such descriptions are couched in. Not philosophy but science is the way to getWotan out of his fly-bottle. That story seems to me plausibly true; and it is, as we’ve seen, compatible with aninformational and atomistic account of the individuation of concepts. But dear me, speaking of fly-bottles, howWittgenstein would have loathed it; and Wagner and Virginia Woolf too, for that matter. Well, you can’t pleaseeveryone; I’ll bet it would have been all right with Plato.

Short Conclusion: A Consolation for Philosophers

That’s really the end of my story; but a word about what I think of as the Luddite objection to conceptual atomism is perhaps in order.

It‘s natural, pace Appendix 5A, to suppose that conceptual atomism means that there are no conceptual truths, hence that there are no analytic truths. And, if there are no analytic truths, I suppose that there are no such things asconceptual analyses. And it would be worrying if ‘noanalyticity’ entailed not just ‘no analyses’ but ‘no analytic philosophy’ as well. Technological unemployment would thenbegin to threaten.

Jean-marc pizano

But I guess I’m not inclined to take that prospect very seriously; certainly I’m not one of those end-of-philosophy philosophers. If, there aren’t any conceptual analyses, the moral isn’t that we should stop doing philosophy, or eventhat we should start doing philosophy in some quite different way. The moral is just that we should stop saying thatconceptual analysis is what philosophers do. If analytic philosophers haven’t been analysing concepts after all, at leastthat explains why there are so few concepts that analytic philosophers have analysed.

I guess what I really think is that philosophy is just: whatever strikes minds like ours as being of the same kind as the prototypical examples.Jean-marc pizano

On one hand, everybody knows, deep down, thatInferential Role Semantics makes the problem of concept individuation intractable. And, on the other hand, everybodygags on Informational Atomism. (Well, practically everybody does.) And nobody seems to be able to think of any otheralternatives. Probably that’s because those are all the alternatives that there are.

Jean-marc pizano On one hand, everybody knows, deep down, thatInferential Role Semantics makes the problem of concept individuation intractable. And, on the other hand, everybodygags on Informational Atomism. (Well, practically everybody does.) And nobody seems to be able to think of any otheralternatives. Probably that’s because those are all the alternatives that there are.

 

It’s my view that we’re eventually going to have to swallow Informational Atomism whole. Accordingly, I’ve been doing what I can to

sweeten the pill. It seemed to me, for a long while, that a cost of atomism would be failing to honour the distinction between theoretical concepts and the rest. For, surely, theoretical concepts are ones that you have to believe a theory inorder to have? And, according to conceptual atomism, there are no concepts that you have to believe a theory in orderto have. But it doesn’t seem to me that way now. A theoretical concept isn’t a concept that’s defined by a theory; it’s justa concept that is, de facto, locked to a property via a theory. Informational Atomism doesn’t mind that at all, so long asyou keep the “de facto” in mind.

Likewise, it used to seem to me that atomism about concepts means that DOORKNOB is innate. But now I think that you can trade a certain amount of innateness for a certain amount of mind-dependence. Being a doorknob is just:striking our kinds of minds the way that doorknobs do. So, what you need to acquire the concept DOORKNOB“from experience” is just: the kind of mind that experience causes to be struck that way by doorknobs. The price ofmaking this trade of innateness for mind-dependence is, however, a touch of Wotan’s problem. It turns out that muchof what we find in the world is indeed “only ourselves”. It turns out, in lots of cases, that we make things be of a kind bybeing disposed to take them to be of a kind.

Jean-marc pizano

But not in every case; not, in particular, in the case of kinds of things that are alike in respect of the hidden sources of their causal powers, regardless of their likeness in respect of their effects on us. To describe it in terms of those sorts ofsimilarities is to describe the world the way that God takes it to be. Doing science is how we contrive to causeourselves to have the concepts that such descriptions are couched in. Not philosophy but science is the way to getWotan out of his fly-bottle. That story seems to me plausibly true; and it is, as we’ve seen, compatible with aninformational and atomistic account of the individuation of concepts. But dear me, speaking of fly-bottles, howWittgenstein would have loathed it; and Wagner and Virginia Woolf too, for that matter. Well, you can’t pleaseeveryone; I’ll bet it would have been all right with Plato.

Short Conclusion: A Consolation for Philosophers

That’s really the end of my story; but a word about what I think of as the Luddite objection to conceptual atomism is perhaps in order.

It‘s natural, pace Appendix 5A, to suppose that conceptual atomism means that there are no conceptual truths, hence that there are no analytic truths. And, if there are no analytic truths, I suppose that there are no such things asconceptual analyses. And it would be worrying if ‘noanalyticity’ entailed not just ‘no analyses’ but ‘no analytic philosophy’ as well. Technological unemployment would thenbegin to threaten.

Jean-marc pizano

But I guess I’m not inclined to take that prospect very seriously; certainly I’m not one of those end-of-philosophy philosophers. If, there aren’t any conceptual analyses, the moral isn’t that we should stop doing philosophy, or eventhat we should start doing philosophy in some quite different way. The moral is just that we should stop saying thatconceptual analysis is what philosophers do. If analytic philosophers haven’t been analysing concepts after all, at leastthat explains why there are so few concepts that analytic philosophers have analysed.

I guess what I really think is that philosophy is just: whatever strikes minds like ours as being of the same kind as the prototypical examples.Jean-marc pizano

The present discussion parallels what I regard as a very deep passage in Schiffer

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30

So, then, which appearance properties are sensory properties? Here’s a line that one might consider: £ is a sensory property only if it is possible to have an experience of which £-ness is the intentional object (e.g. an experience (as) of red) even though one hasn’t got the concept £ Here the test of having the concept £ would be something like beingable to think thoughts whose truth conditions include … £ … (e.g. thoughts like that’s red). I think this must be the notion of ‘sensory property’ that underlies the Empiricistidea that RED and the like are learned ‘by abstraction’ from experience, a doctrine which presupposes that a mind that lacks RED can none the less have experiences (as) ofredness. By this test, DOORKNOB is presumably not a sensory concept since, though it is perfectly possible to have an experience (as) of doorknobs, I suppose only a mindthat has the concept DOORKNOB can do so.‘But how could one have an experience (as) of red if one hasn’t got the concept RED?’ It‘s easy: in the case of redness, but notof doorknobhood, one is equipped with sensory organs which produce such experiences when they are appropriately stimulated. Redness can be sensed, whereas the perceptualdetection of doorknobhood is always inferential. Just as sensible psychologists have always supposed.

31

The present discussion parallels what I regard as a very deep passage in Schiffer 1987 about being a dog. Schiffer takes for granted that ‘dog’ doesn’t name a species, and (hence?) that dogs as such don’t have a hidden essence. His conclusion is that there just isn’t (except pleonastically) any such property as being a dog My diagnosis is thatthere is too, but it’s mind-dependent.

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32

Reminder: ‘the X stereotype’ is rigid. See n. 12 above.

33

Except in the (presumably never encountered) case where all the X s are stereotypic. In that case, there’s a dead heat.

34

In principle, they are also epistemically independent in both directions. As things are now, we find out about the stereotype by doing tests on subjects who are independentlyidentified as having the corresponding concept. But I assume that if we knew enough about the mind/brain, we could predict a concept from its stereotype and vice versa. Ineffect, given the infinite set of actual and possible doorknobs, we could predict the stereotype from which our sorts of minds would generalize to it; and given the doorknobstereotype, we could predict the set of actual and possible objects which our kinds of minds would take to instantiate doorknobhood.

35

Compare Jackendoff: “Look at the representations of, say, generative phonology… It is strange to say that English speakers know the proposition, true in the world independent of speakers [sic ], that syllable-initial voiceless consonants aspirate before stress … In generative phonology . . . this rule of aspiration is regarded as a principle of internalcomputation, not a fact about the world. Such semantical concepts as implication, confirmation, and logical consequence seem curiously irrelevant” (1992: 29). Note that,though they are confounded in his text, the contrast that Jackendoff is insisting on isn’t between propositions and rules/principles of computation; it’s between phenomena of thekind that generative phonology studies and facts about the world. But that ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’ is a fact about the world. That is to say: it’s a fact. And of course the usuallogico-semantical concepts apply. That ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’ is what makes the claim that ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’ true; since ‘p’ is aspirated in ‘Patrick’, something in‘Patrick’ is aspirated . . . and so forth.

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36

In just this spirit, Keith Campbell remarks about colours that if they are “integrated reflectances across three overlapping segments clustered in the middle of the total electromagnetic spectrum, then they are, from the inanimate point of view, such highly arbitrary and idiosyncratic properties that it is no wonder the particular colors we arefamiliar with are manifest only in transactions with humans, rhesus monkeys, and machines especially built to replicate just their particular mode of sensitivity to photons”(1990: 572—3). (The force of this observation is all the greater if, as seems likely, even the reflectance theory underestimates the complexity of colour psychophysics.)See alsoJ. J.Jean-marc pizano