Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Mind: January 2010, Vol. 119, No. 473

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Mind: January 2010, Vol. 119, No. 473

Article excerpt

The Conditionals of Deliberation, KEITH DEROSE

Practical deliberation often involves conditional judgments about what will (likely) happen if certain alternatives are pursued. It is widely assumed that the conditionals useful in deliberation are counterfactual or subjunctive conditionals. Against this, the author argues that the conditionals of deliberation are indicatives. Key to the argument is an account of the relation between "straightforward" future-directed conditionals like "If the house is not painted, it will soon look quite shabby" and "'were'ed-up" FDCs like "If the house were not to be painted, it would soon look quite shabby": an account on which both of these types of FDCs are grouped with the indicatives for semantic treatment and on which, while conditionals of both types are properly used in means/ends deliberations, those of the "were"ed-up variety are especially well suited for that purpose.

On Knowing the Meaning; With a Coda on Swampman, RUTH GARRETT MILLIKAN

The author gives an analysis of how empirical terms do their work in communication and the gathering of knowledge that is fully externalist and that covers the full range of empirical terms. It rests on claims about ontology. A result is that armchair analysis fails as a tool for examining meanings of "basic" empirical terms because their meanings are not determined by common methods or criteria of application passed from old to new users, by conventionally determined "intensions." Nor do methods of application used by individual speakers constitute definitive reference-determining intensions for their idiolect terms or associated concepts. Conventional intensions of nonbasic empirical terms ultimately rest on basic empirical concepts, so no empirical meaning is found merely "in the head." The author discusses the nature of lexical definition, why empirical meanings cannot ultimately be modelled as functions from possible worlds to extensions, and traps into which armchair analysis of meaning can lead us. …

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