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Philosophy and the 'Dazzling Ideal' of Science [1st ed. 2019]
 978-3-030-21674-0, 978-3-030-21675-7

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xvii
Introductory: A Still Point in a Turning World? (Graham McFee)....Pages 1-40
Persons as Agents: The Possibility of Genuine Action (Graham McFee)....Pages 41-83
What Persons Are: Identity, Personal Identity, and Composition (Graham McFee)....Pages 85-107
What Persons Are Not: Causality, Minds, and the Brain (Graham McFee)....Pages 109-143
Evolutionary Explanation in Psychology: Not an Issue for Philosophy? (Graham McFee)....Pages 145-175
Persons, Artificial Intelligence, and Science Fiction Thought–Experiments (Graham McFee)....Pages 177-210
Considerations of Exceptionlessness in Philosophy: Or, “Everything …” (Graham McFee)....Pages 211-234
Philosophy Without Exceptionlessness (Graham McFee)....Pages 235-270
Conclusion: The Place of Reason (Graham McFee)....Pages 271-313
Back Matter ....Pages 315-338

Citation preview

Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science Graham McFee

Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science

Graham McFee

Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science

Graham McFee University of California Fullerton Riverside, CA, USA

ISBN 978-3-030-21674-0    ISBN 978-3-030-21675-7 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Preface

This monograph begins from the assumption that philosophy is possible and explores the kinds of creatures we must be, if that is to be true. Yet why might the possibility of philosophy be doubted? A pervasive image, or ideal, drawn from science provides the primary reason discussed here, an image generating scientism, whereby the successes of science seem to leave little or no room for philosophy. And, as Thomas Nagel (2012, p. 7) puts it, “almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science”—just the kind of reductive conception against which this text presents a sustained argument. But more important, in practice, is our endorsement of the power of reason. For opposition to scientism—to the over-valuing of models of knowledge and understanding from science—can sometimes generate, or seem to generate, a rejection of science; and then, potentially, a rejection of the concept of truth; or of the distinction between truth and falsehood. Such rejections, too, must be set aside. Rather, the power of a certain image of science must be recognized, an image based on the achievements of the natural sciences in both explaining the world, and offering opportunities for prediction and control. Yet that image becomes pernicious if taken as an ideal of explanatory achievement, one stressing both the inexorability characteristic of causal explanation within science and its completeness: nothing sublunary escapes that explanatory power. The worry throughout is that, “dazzled by the ideal” as Wittgenstein (PI §100) put it, our bedazzlement obscures, or leaves obscure, our conception of the ‘rights and v

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responsibilities’, the powers and capacities, of philosophy: perhaps even rendering philosophy impossible. This project grew out of another, to sketch an account of the philosophy of action consonant with a plausible philosophical aesthetics of dance (McFee, 2018). There, the worry coalesces around attempts to explain the artworks of dance in terms, roughly, of the neurobiology of dancers. But some issues raised are pervasive. Hence, there, elaborating explanatory frameworks for persons and their powers and capacities required consolidating that project in the light of my granting that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). Thus, my interest in some of those frameworks in their own right was piqued—or rekindled—since they often involve various scientistic conceptions that, with Frege, I was keen to oppose: the view that persons were nothing but causal structures (therefore lacking agency, and hence responsibility); that minds were nothing but a kind of complicated computer; that imagining kinds of robot or android was an informative way to think about minds; that our psychologies were fixed by our biology. As a result, this book intersects with that one, like the circles of a Venn diagram: indeed, there is some overlap in content. So this monograph has, as it were, two agenda items: first, to defend the claims of philosophy against those seeking to minimize either its possibility or its importance by contrasting it with natural science; where such a defence of the claims of philosophy (especially its claims to truth, at least in principle) also permits granting to natural science (properly understood) its truth-generating power. Then, second, to show what this defence says about persons (as agents). In this light, some readers may think it odd that what might strike them as a key question remains unaddressed; indeed, unconsidered. For this text contains little or nothing about how the materialism I endorse here (on which we persons are wholly composed from matter, in the sense that there is no ‘mind-stuff’) ever generates the kinds of purposes and values that I repeatedly refer to throughout this text: how can such materialism lead to the kinds of teleology I find for people without involving some radically different kind of ‘thing’ or substance? This question clearly besets both Thomas Nagel (2012, pp. 4–5), who usually appears as a hero of this text’s theses, and Michael Ruse (2017, pp. 48–49), who might have played a similar role—had I discovered his book On Purpose (2017) before I had basically finished writing this one.

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For me, though, that whole line of enquiry is ill-formed: it represents exactly the tendency that, as we will see, Ludwig Wittgenstein (OC §471) warned us against as aiming to “go further back” beyond the appropriate starting point. A parallel to bring out the problem, perhaps, concerns the suggestion that the world rests on the back of a huge tortoise: anyone who accepts this as a legitimate attempt to answer a legitimate question must then surely ask on what the tortoise rests. Obviously, if such an initial foundation can legitimately be requested, or the kind of question it represents granted to be well formed, no answer will be possible—any ‘level’ chosen simply allows that the question be repeated at a lower ‘level’. And then those who regard the initial question as legitimate cannot really urge that it is tortoises all the way down! Ruse (2017, p.  182) offers another appropriate comparison: the cookbook recipe that begins, “first take ingredient X…”, does not typically consider practical questions about where such ingredients come from; addressing that issue—when it is an issue—is not the business of cookery. Similarly, beginning (as here: see below) from the possibility of philosophy requires having drawn a line that determines the structure of our investigation. We cannot then enquire how to explain the mere possibility of the prerequisites for what is already presupposed, much less hunt for some yet deeper origination, without independent reasons being provided. With respect to the text’s ‘pitch’, I must apologize both to those friends who advised that it should be more technical and scholarly (“Put in more on Kant, Sellars, and philosophy of science!”), and to those who urged that I remove scholarly detail (“None of that stuff on Sellars, Kant, and philosophy of science; and less quotation!”). In trying to strike a balance, I hope this version retains enough scholarly material to make the connection to the rest of philosophy, without leaving too many “hostages to fortune” in the form of unsupported claims requiring either expansion or omission. Certainly, in some places, there is perhaps more quotation than is consistent with the demands of style. But it is important to acknowledge the degree of dependence of this text on—as well as the degree of its response to—the ideas of others. Quotations and extensive cross-­ referencing remain efforts to acknowledge such concerns, and some of the repetition should illustrate the recurrence of similar issues, and their treatments. The admiring mention René Descartes receives intermittently throughout reflects a commitment to scientific truth going back at least to my first entering university as a physics student. For Descartes was, of course,

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appropriately concerned with “the method of rightly conducting one’s reason and seeking the truth in the sciences” (the subtitle of his Discourse on the Method: CSM I, p. 111). But it is also partly an homage to my late friend Gordon Baker, whose work (with Katherine Morris) revolutionized the interpretation of Descartes in philosophy—or should have. Also, Descartes’ recognition of the value of, and need for, education in learning to distinguish truth from falsity is salutary here: A good man is not required to have read every book or diligently master everything taught in the Schools. It would, indeed, be a kind of defect in his education if he spent too much time on book learning … But he came into the world in ignorance, and since the knowledge which he had as a child was based solely on the weak foundation of the senses and the authority of his teachers, it is virtually inevitable that his imagination should be filled with enumerable false thoughts before reason could guide his conduct. So later on he needs to have a great natural talent, or else the instruction of a wise teacher, in order to rid himself of the bad doctrines that have filled his mind. (CSM II, p. 400)

Given that one’s teachers and colleagues are so important, it becomes crucial not to surround oneself with either the self-deceived (say, the central figure in an alt-right ‘news’ website) or with sycophants. In the current climate in the USA, this requirement seems given an additional urgency by those who would deny the most obvious facts either about the world (“fake news”) or about science—say, by denying evolution or climate change. Here, while avoiding denying truth (of kinds the natural sciences can generate), one must also avoid over-rating science. It is therefore important to reinforce our commitment to science as a source of truth; and to insist that our criticism here is directed at an image of science, one extracted by others from the real achievements of genuine scientists. Before discussing the truth of such theses, they must be characterized accurately, especially as regards their scope. And many scientists have been alive to the possibility of misperception (or its probability, since its regular occurrence is a thesis of this text): thus, Freud ([1905] 1966, p. 267) comments tartly on the impact of popularization on his own works (see Chap. 9, Sect. 2), where: … qualifications and exact particularisation are of little use with the general public; there is very little room in the memory of the multitude; it retains only the bare gist of any thesis and fabricates an extreme version which is easy to remember.

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Freud’s complaint is that something inexact is taken from his theoretically precise accounts of human beings, with that inexactness following from how his works are presented to a general audience. For, of course, such a process might inflate any claim. In this vein, Darwin ([1859] 1993, p.  637) wrote that, “great is the power of steady misrepresentation”: if one’s views are standardly misrepresented, the general public may take for one’s claims something very different from them. Now, Darwin ([1859] 1993, p. 637) optimistically concludes that “the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure”. Let us hope he was right about this, as about so much; but it is hard to match his optimism, as I write this, living in the USA under President Donald J. Trump. Riverside, CA April, 2019

Graham McFee

Bibliography Darwin, C. ([1859] 1968/1993). Origin of Species (1st edn., J. W. Burrow, Ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin; (5th edn.). New  York: Random House (Modern Library Edition). Descartes, R. (1984). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (3 Vols.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [cited as “CSM I” and “CSM II”]. Frege, G. ([1918] 1984). Thoughts. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 351–372). Oxford: Blackwell. Freud, S. ([1905] 1966). On Psychotherapy. In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 7, pp. 257–270). London: Vintage Classics. McFee, G. (2018). Dance and the Philosophy of Action. Alton, Hants: Dance Books. Nagel, T. (2012). Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ruse, M. (2017). On Purpose. Princeton, NJ: University of Princeton Press. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G.  E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. [cited as “PI”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1969). On Certainty (D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “OC”].

Acknowledgements

As usual, this text overall reflects the impact of discussions with my friends; especially with the late Gordon Baker, with Katherine Morris, and with Terry Diffey. Many themes here were discussed with my late friend, Jeff Mason. Leon Culbertson kindly read closely the whole text, offering detailed comments on specific themes, and his contribution also includes many long discussions on these and related topics over the years. Similarly, some were discussed in detail, and profitably, with Nick McAdoo. Finally, my wife Myrene not only read the text, offering comments on substance and on proof-reading matters, but also supported me emotionally during these two years of its composition, during which writing and revisions were fitted-in around teaching and marking, radiation treatments, chemotherapy, and autologous stem cell transplant.

Permissions The following chapters contain material from, or are revised versions of, other works for which I am the copyright-holder. The original locations are as follows, and their publishers are hereby thanked for permission to include this material: • Chapter 2—a full redraft, with extensive additions and omissions, of my Dance and the Philosophy of Action (Dance Books, 2018) pp. 58–81; • Chapter 3—a full redraft, with extensive additions and omissions, of my Dance and the Philosophy of Action (Dance Books, 2018) pp. 27–46; xi

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• Chapter 4—a lightly redrafted version, basically reprinting my Dance and the Philosophy of Action (Dance Books, 2018) pp. 82–107; • Chapter 7—a redrafted version, with additions and deletions, of my Ethics, Truth and Knowledge in Sports Research (Routledge, 2010) pp. 177–193—published by Taylor and Francis; • Chapter 8, Sects. 3, 4, and 5—a redrafted version of my How to do Philosophy (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2018) pp. 332–342. [Also, odd paragraphs are recycled from my other works, where I could find no better way to express particular points.]

Contents

1 Introductory: A Still Point in a Turning World?  1 1 Introduction: The ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science  1 2 Priority in Science: The Possibility of an Ordo Cognoscendi  6 3 The Six “Still Points”: Connecting Persons, Agency, and Meaning  8 4 Meaning What We Say: Normativity, Responsibility, and Understanding 10 5 Wittgenstein, Exceptionlessness and Occasion-sensitivity 16 6 Sellars’ Two Images of Humankind 20 7 Philosophy and Language Again 25 8 Conclusion: The Project of This Work 30 Bibliography 37 2 Persons as Agents: The Possibility of Genuine Action 41 1 Introduction: The “Free Will” Issue 41 2 Setting the Scene 43 3 What Is Determinism? 44 4 Determinism as an Issue for Philosophy 45 5 Causality and Exceptionlessness 50 6 Causality and Agency 55 7 On Davidson’s Anomalous Monism 58 8 Connections 65 9 Locating Science in the “Action” Debate 67 10 Conclusion: A Therapeutic Resolution 71 Bibliography 81 xiii

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3 What Persons Are: Identity, Personal Identity, and Composition 85 1 Introduction to Numerical Identity 85 2 Five (Quick) Properties of Numerical Identity 88 3 What Are the Covering Concepts? 90 4 Psychological Discontinuity and Multiple Personality 92 5 Wiggins (1980) “Solution” 95 6 Hunting Logical Possibility 97 7 Some Problems for Problem-Cases 98 8 Identity and Composition101 9 Conclusion103 Bibliography106 4 What Persons Are Not: Causality, Minds, and the Brain109 1 Introduction109 2 The Causal Story of Past Behaviour: Causal Sufficiency111 3 Brain-States and Behaviour114 4 The Problem of Plasticity117 5 Deploying the “Is” of Composition118 6 Reducing Thoughts to Brain States: Six Cases of a Bugatti Veyron121 7 Contemporary Science and the Permanence of Explanation127 8 The Body’s Role132 9 The “Mereological Fallacy”, from Bennett and Hacker134 10 Exceptionlessness in Correlation: Returning to “Other Minds”135 11 Wittgenstein’s Question About States and Processes137 Bibliography141 5 Evolutionary Explanation in Psychology: Not an Issue for Philosophy?145 1 Introduction: Sketching the Biology145 2 The Individual and Evolution149 3 The Place of the Individual in Evolutionary Theory157 4 Genes (and Memes)161 5 Reasoning in Evolutionary Psychology164 6 Dual-Inheritance Theory166 7 Conclusion170 Bibliography173

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6 Persons, Artificial Intelligence, and Science Fiction Thought–Experiments177 1 Introduction177 2 The Turing Test179 3 Searle’s Chinese Room181 4 To Be Or Not To Be: That Is Not the Android’s Question183 5 The Aphrodite Argument187 6 Like a Person?190 7 Half-time Score192 8 Thought-experiments and Science Fiction193 9 Blade Runner194 10 Caught in the Turing trap?198 11 The Strange Case of Westworld202 12 Conclusion: An Unfamiliar Idea in Descartes205 Bibliography208 7 Considerations of Exceptionlessness in Philosophy: Or, “Everything …”211 1 Introduction: The Problem211 2 Ziff’s Cheetahs214 3 Defeating Disambiguation219 4 “All”, “Every”, and Contexts226 5 Conclusion231 Bibliography233 8 Philosophy Without Exceptionlessness235 1 Introduction: Thinking About Cases Lacking Exceptionlessness235 2 Parables, Not Propositions238 3 A Worked Example: Practical Constraints on Free Action?246 4 Two Constraints on Practical Freedom248 5 A Third Constraint252 6 Argument and “The Redeeming Word”254 7 Conclusion263 Bibliography267

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9 Conclusion: The Place of Reason271 1 Introduction: Truth, Reason, and Responsibility271 2 What Science Can and Cannot Offer273 3 Reason, and the Dangers of Truth-Denial, or Relativism281 4 Three Comparisons in Descartes286 5 Again, Sellars’ Two Images of Humankind292 6 Sellars on What Is Real297 7 Confronting the Parochial302 8 Conclusion306 Bibliography309 Bibliography315 Index329

Abbreviations for Works Occurring Frequently in the Text

Standard Abbreviations for works of Ludwig Wittgenstein AWL Wittgenstein, 1979b BB Wittgenstein, 1958 BT Wittgenstein, 2005 M Wittgenstein, 2016 OC Wittgenstein, 1969 PG Wittgenstein, 1974 PI Wittgenstein, 1953/2001/2009 PO Wittgenstein, 1993 PPF Wittgenstein, 2009 [originally PI Part Two] PPO Wittgenstein, 2003 RFM Wittgenstein, 1978 RPP 1 Wittgenstein, 1980 VoW Wittgenstein & Waismann, 2003 WWK Wittgenstein, 1979a Z Wittgenstein, 1967 [References to the unpublished “Legacy” (Nachlass) use the listing from PO, pp. 480–510.] Abbreviations for Works of Graham McFee EKT McFee, 2010 FW McFee, 2000 UD McFee, 1992 Additional Abbreviations CSM (or CSMK for Vol. III)—Works of Descartes, in three volumes. SPR Sellars [1963] 1991

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CHAPTER 1

Introductory: A Still Point in a Turning World?

At the still point of the turning world … (T. S. Eliot “Burnt Norton”, Four Quartets [1945]) It seemed rather absurd to me that the object of life should be to earn a living. So I decided to study philosophy. (Ove Arup, quoted Jones, 2006, p. 11)

1   Introduction: The ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science Wittgenstein characterized clearly two concerns central to this text. First, as he came to think: [p]hilosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness. (BB, p. 18)

Then, second, the temptation Wittgenstein sketched there amounted to being “dazzled by the ideal” (PI §100), thereby precluding our seeing clearly the practices and events before us. For, as Thomas Nagel (2012, p. 4) recognized, at its heart this ideal stressed:

© The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_1

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… a comprehensive, speculative world picture that is reached by extrapolation from some of the discoveries of biology, chemistry, and physics—… that postulates [both] a hierarchical relation among those sciences and the completeness in principle of an explanation of everything in the universe through their unification.

Its emphasis on completeness and comprehensiveness explains the persistent attraction of such a conception, or image, both of science and of its importance (what, above, Nagel rightly calls an “extrapolation” from the achievements of science) as well as that conception’s ‘application’ (as its adherents took it) to philosophy. In the attraction of these images (both of science and of its importance), then, we can encounter that “peculiar fate” Kant ([1787] 1998, A viii: p. 99) recognized for “human reason … [that] it is burdened with questions which it cannot dismiss, … but which it also cannot answer”. For that conception can make genuine knowledge appear problematic, however much we acknowledge the need for it; and philosophical reflection seem impossible. Yet the actual achievements of science cannot plausibly be denied. Still, all too often, thinkers look only to these ‘dazzling ideals’, perhaps realized in “a perfect language still to be constructed by us” (PI §98). With that conception as an ideal, we cannot move beyond our inability to describe, in exceptionless terms, all our concerns—say, all we know. For example, suppose we dispute or withhold the term “game” from sets of practices that others call a game just because these practices do not amount to “a perfect game” (PI §100), one without vagueness in the rules. In that case: … we misunderstand the role played by the ideal in our language. That is to say: we … would call it a game, only we are dazzled by the ideal, and therefore fail to see the actual application of the word “game” clearly. (PI §100)

At one time Wittgenstein too thought that characterizing the project of philosophy required just such an ideal of exceptionless description and explanation; yet he later came to see that conception as the entry “into philosophy of a false exactitude that is the worst enemy of real exactitude” (BT, p.  203). Instead, one should recognize both “the unsurveyable seething totality of our language” (VoW, p. 67) and our local grasp of it, rooted in our particular practices since, for us as for Wittgenstein, that image threatens not only [a] the progress of philosophy but also [b] its possibility.

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With that image set aside—or, at least, its ‘dazzle’ defused—no reasons remain to incorporate the view of causal inexorability, or exceptionlessness that (as we shall see) it typically deploys. For the kinds of philosophy often labelled “linguistic analysis”—at least, if this includes Wittgenstein’s later writing—were never “antiscientific”, despite claims by Patricia Churchland (1986, p. ix). That would require both that one’s view of science was accurate (the sort Wittgenstein thought lacked the ‘dazzle’) and that philosophy and science ‘worked the same street’. Rather, what was opposed was scientism, understood as a kind of “worship” of science, amounting to its misvaluing as a model of knowledge or investigation, as well as a misunderstanding of its character, both captured in its ‘dazzle’. Such scientism often assumes the hierarchical view of sciences such that “contemporary research in molecular biology … [is] dependent only on the laws of chemistry and physics” (Nagel, 2012, p.  7). This picture (or view) tends to prioritize scientific explanation in reductionist (or “eliminativist”) fashions, perhaps drawing on the reductive modelling of sound as waves in the air, where an increase in comprehensiveness is achieved by applying to sound waves knowledge previously developed for water waves; and where “[t]his reductionist dream is nourished by the extraordinary success of the physical sciences, not least in their recent application to the understanding of life through molecular biology” (Nagel, 2010, p. 25). Applied to persons, such a view often generates misplaced “psychophysical reductionism … largely motivated by the hope of showing how the physical sciences could in principle provide a theory of everything” (Nagel, 2012, p.  4). Now, Bernard Williams identifies two key assumptions typical of the scientism rejected here: first, “that science, and only science, describes the world as it is in itself, independent of perspective” (Williams, 2006, p. 182). Second, given that “one set of concepts, those of physical science, are potentially universal in their uptake and usefulness [that is, given the first assumption], then it follows … that they are somehow intrinsically superior to more local conceptions that are humanly and perhaps historically grounded” (Williams, 2006, p. 187). But then, as Williams asks, why should even granting that first assumption licence moving from it to the second? In particular, should it cast doubt on the possibility of a respectable, independent philosophical enquiry? No more specific reason is typically offered. Yet, the importance of science seems justified in just this scientistic fashion; namely, science is lauded just because its concepts are “potentially universal in their uptake and usefulness” (Williams, 2006, p. 187). For, perhaps because of the successes of natural science (and of the

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associated technology), “almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science” (Nagel, 2012, p. 7). Then, while claiming to be science remains one way of claiming to be truth-generating or knowledge-generating, it can seem the only way—a further statement of the scientistic misconception. Importantly, the view one rejects, in rejecting scientism here, is not a philosophy of science as such; and hence cannot be contested (nor defended) by investigating modern conceptions of science (or its philosophy): we need not be, say, “in favour of theoretical entities and against theoretical laws” (Cartwright, 1983, p.  20). Rather, it concerns a tendency implicit in a picture of science. Further, setting aside such reductionist thinking as the only model for science rightly assumes that the contrasts our discussion requires “may be provided in a simple and straightforward way without having to come to grips with certain large questions in the philosophy of science”, as Joseph Margolis (1966, p. ix) urged in a related context.1 Then, our project may resemble one ascribed to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, investigating “the necessary conditions of a possible experience” (Wilkerson, 1998, p. 45) or any “essential element[s] of any coherent conception of experience that we could form” (Strawson, 1966, p.  65); a project with its emphasis both on making sense of the world, and on permitting legitimate philosophical investigation.2 Here, we explicitly take a leaf from Frege’s book: If everything were in continual flux, and nothing maintained itself fixed for all time, there would no longer be any possibility of getting to know anything about the world and everything would be plunged into confusion … (Frege [1884] 1953, p. xix)

For that does not describe where we currently find ourselves: language typically does not fail in either of its “two principal functions: that of an instrument of communication and that of a vehicle of thought” (Dummett, 1993b, p. 166). Then what are the preconditions for our successes here? Frege responds by discussing the immutability of concepts, to introduce his view of the role and character of definition.3 That is not our path here (contrast McFee, 2015, p. 34). Instead, we concentrate on the presuppositions of such enquiries: what must be so, if (i) philosophy is possible, (ii) science (but not scientism) respected, and (iii) humanistic understanding

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given its due? In reply, I emphasize that the possibility of language use (that is, of meaning), with its associated normativity, by genuine agents, will furnish what is needed, once properly understood. A sustained argument or set of arguments, elaborating and defending such claims (to deal with threat [a] above) occupies most of this text. It recognizes “that the concepts of substance, agency and causation are intimately interwoven” (Hacker, 2007, p.  54), as Kant4 ([1787] 1998, B 249–250: pp. 312–313) emphasizes. But of equal importance (to address threat [b]) is ensuring that our accounts of people and of understanding permit the doing of philosophy. Hence, we begin from the fact of people as embodied, responsible agents—and their capacity for language, with all that implies. Although the starting point is our being embodied and constituted by this physical structure, stopping there would preclude our engaging in philosophical reflection. Recognizing only our embodied condition leaves unexplained the normative facts central to our lives in general (say, our responsibility, including moral responsibility). Further, as Hilary Putnam (2012, p. 401) notes: [o]ur understanding of our concepts and our employment of them in our richly conceptually structured lives are not mysterious transactions with intangible objects, transactions with something over and above the objects that make up our bodies and our environments …

So we cannot look beyond humans and their interactions to ground normativity. Moreover, as Putnam (2012, p. 401) continues: … as soon as one tries to take a normative notion like the understanding of a concept … and equate that notion with some notion from stimulus-­ response psychology (“being disposed to make certain responses to certain stimuli”), or a notion from computational psychology, or a notion from the physiology of the brain, then the notion of normativity disappears, and hence the concept itself disappears.

Indeed, explanations importing normativity are best understood by contrast with such causal explanations: causes may be more or less effective, but cannot be better or worse—if a decrease in temperature would cause a rainstorm, there either was or was not such a decrease, and hence there was or was not a corresponding rainstorm. But there is no “better or worse”. Then, while there are such causal stories for moves in chess, explanations of

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chess (or of remarks in language found meaningful) import normativity— thus, the chess-move can also be good or bad in that context; moreover, one might think it good but be mistaken. And recognizing the normativity in such cases does not involve finding, for instance, what people do say; so, does not, say, concern norms of behaviour. Yet where might we find arguments to keep straight our course? In addition to Wittgenstein’s general influence, two other major ideas operate throughout. The first, from Frege ([1918] 1984, p.  351) and oft-­ repeated here, is that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition”; the second is the contrast from Wilfred Sellars (1963/1991—at least as I read him: see Sect. 6 below) between the scientific image of humankind and its manifest image.

2   Priority in Science: The Possibility of an Ordo Cognoscendi I have urged that the ‘dazzle’ results from the impact of having the method of science before one’s eyes, given a certain view of science. But what is that view? Above, Nagel (2012, p. 4) correctly identifies two features: … a hierarchical relation among the subjects of those sciences [biology, chemistry, physics] and the completeness in principle of an explanation of everything in the universe through their unification. [my insert]

Certainly, the commitment to “completeness in principle” of a completed and unified natural science seems fundamental.5 But, in particular, is science hierarchical? The problem is neatly exemplified in an episode of The Big Bang Theory that I admire partly because it includes an unapologetic (and yet unqualified) reference to Frege (“The Zazzy Substitution” [Season 4, Episode 3], first broadcast 2010). In a debate between Sheldon and Amy—I assume that this series, and hence its characters, are well-enough known that explanation of the disputants is not required—the physicist (Sheldon) says, surely rightly, that a “theory of everything” as produced in physics would cover … well, everything; and, in particular, the results of his colleague’s neuroscientific experiments. The neuroscientist (Amy) replies that, since her results apply to all products of the human brain, they encompass his theories, like any others:

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My colleagues and I are mapping the neurological substrates that subserve global information processing, which is required for all cognitive reasoning, including scientific enquiry, making my research ipso facto prior in the ordo cognoscendi.

Each is clearly right, from the perspective he/she adopts. And each might grant that, compared with classifications from common sense: [s]cientific classification aims to be systematic, guided by clearly stateable and applicable principles of classification. These, wherever possible, aim to ensure exclusion of cross-classification, and to determine categories that are fruitful for explanatory purposes and scientific generalization. (Hacker, 2007, p. 33)

Both Sheldon and Amy are mistaken here, of course, since each assumes models of explanatory completeness drawn from causality in natural science as understood in his/her preferred science; hence, each claims a spurious priority to the version that draws on that science’s concerns. Each misses the erotetic character of research, and hence of scientific research: that its claims function as the answers to particular questions. Thus, as might be expected, the physicist’s responses address or answer questions raised in physics! And that speaks against the aspiration for the hierarchy. Here, too, the reductionist (or “eliminativist”) tendency inherent in our ‘dazzling image’, mentioned above, becomes clear: each protagonist takes the other’s claims to be nothing but what is already captured (“subsumed”) by his/her own. Further, in taking his/her own investigations as more fundamental, each sees those enquiries as logically simpler, providing building-blocks for any other enquiries. But, when combined with Nagel’s claim, this dispute identifies two features central to the ‘dazzle’ that (as I see it) science often generates for philosophy: first, the completeness of scientific explanation—nothing is left out; and, second, the inexorability of causality, as seen through the lens of science—that what occurs is inevitable, given previous states of affairs. These features, if adopted into philosophy and combined with a high regard for the conclusions of contemporary science, produce the hope for a “scientific philosophy” of the kind Bertrand Russell (1919, p.  1696) espoused in urging that “logic [by which he meant philosophy] is concerned with the real world … though with its more abstract and general features”: a concern central to much recent philosophy, especially in the

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USA.7 But a reason for hesitation here was already noted: science may not ‘leave anything out’ but, without some hierarchy (contrary to that asserted above), its completeness will always be question-relative.

3   The Six “Still Points”: Connecting Persons, Agency, and Meaning One of the hardest questions in philosophy is, roughly, “What can one justifiably take for granted?” or “What can be used as a starting place?”. In part, the problem is that “it is difficult to begin at the beginning. And not try to go further back”, as Wittgenstein (OC §471) put it. Moreover, the attentive might recognize this issue in Descartes (see Sect. 8 below): his project in Meditations concerned “what can be called into doubt” (CSM II, p.  17: my emphasis), rather than simply being to doubt everything. Hence his starting place is what cannot be “called into doubt”. Those of his critics who note (correctly) that Descartes did not doubt the power of reason, or logic, just make his point—these cannot be called into doubt, since doing so requires reasons for doubting; hence presupposes the power of reason. A similar strategy is adopted here: what, if denied, would make nonsense of our project? To answer requires our taking a view of that project, the project of philosophical enquiry. What must be our “still points” in order that doing philosophy be possible? I suggest, initially, recognizing six such, sketched here and then elaborated in the rest of the chapter (and the text). Of course, doing so assumes a certain view of philosophy: (a) Since philosophy is a conceptual enquiry, conceptual enquiry must be possible. (But what can be called into question or doubt [see Descartes in Sect. 8 below; Chap. 9, Sect. 4]? One needs reasons to raises these doubts; and hence must presuppose the possibility of reason, whatever its details. [So, it cannot decide between, say, intuitionists in logic and those committed to bivalence.]) (b) Philosophy requires the possibility of truths. Thus, an extreme relativism that denies the possibility of truth must be rejected. In fact, such relativism is self-refuting, as is shown by asking its ‘adherents’ for reasons to be a  relativist—if they provide reasons with some force, the matter is not arbitrary; and, if they cannot, there is no basis for our following them! [This complex question is only broached here; but Chap. 9, Sects. 2 and 3 sketches of some relevant considerations.]

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(c) Philosophy is not reducible to (natural or social) science: This point is contentious! But philosophy typically requires our going beyond scientific explanation.8 As two illustrations from popular culture, recall first the example above from The Big Bang Theory: there, philosophy requires the judicious treatment of the claims (the pretentions) of sciences; and, second [see Chap. 2, Sect. 3], an episode of The Simpsons illustrates the difference between the regularities described by scientific “laws” and the normative force of law: thus, when his daughter Lisa invents a perpetual motion machine, Homer says, “In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”9—as though there was a choice! The joke works precisely because the laws of thermodynamics are not laws of that kind—not normative laws, determining what ought to happen, and typified by traffic regulations; laws that could be broken, and that require agency to act both in accordance with the law and for that reason. Instead, the laws of thermodynamics are exceptionless descriptions, not counting as laws at all if there were exceptions. As we will see, the socalled “free will” debate offers a model here, explicitly contrasting the claims to exhaustiveness of scientific explanations of events with the requirements of responsibility crucial for the concept of a person. (d) The possibility of agency is required: so, persons as agents. (e) The possibility of meaning is required: so, normativity and meaning. In our use, the term “normativity” does not mean “norm-­inducing” or “norm-obeying”, as if these norms are just generalizations across what ‘people’, or the relevant people, do and say. Hence, the appeal is neither to consensus nor to trends and tendencies. Thus, as before, recognizing normativity here does not amount to finding, say, norms of behaviour. Rather, noticing how, for example, chess moves can be good or bad; moreover, a bad move might be mistaken for a good one. Thus, explanations of chess, like meaningful remarks in language, import normativity: the possibility of ‘right or wrong?’. And such explanations contrast with, say, causal explanation: causes can be more or less effective, but not better or worse as causes. Further, as we shall see (Sect. 4 below), the normativity required for meaningful language use is precisely that required to recognize the actions of persons, and hence the possibility of moral judgement. (f ) Occasion-sensitivity: Travis (after Wittgenstein?): the need for contextualism about meaning and understanding. The last three of these are treated together in Sects. 4, 5, and 6 below; and in Chap. 9, Sects. 1, 2, and 3.

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4   Meaning What We Say: Normativity, Responsibility, and Understanding Then, the possibility of philosophy requires structures of human normativity: any other view collapses philosophy into the causal structures of natural science. But how might such an identification be elaborated? My answer recognizes three elements already mentioned. At its heart, this answer begins from agency: that there are actions in the world. Or, putting that another way, that explaining some events in the world emphasizes a normativity; hence, as above, these events cannot be explained purely causally. But which events are these? Most fundamentally, these are events genuinely meaning-bearing—with linguistic events the most obvious exemplars. For words, say, must be recognized as such; not treated as mere grunts: that means taking the reception of those words in a parallel way. But then that limits how informative, for instance, the behaviour of macaque monkeys can be about such reception: the monkeys are not typical receivers of words. The same is true for the brain-states involved. Insofar as the behaviour flows from the sound received, rather than the word, we have not progressed; we still lack the resources to introduce the normativity of language-understanding. What can be said, in this guise, about us (and our brains) is more or less what can be said of the monkeys. Recognizing some sound-sequence as an utterance in a language grants both that (at least typically) something is being said, and that this utterance might fail to be saying that: that is, utterances in a language import normativity. Thus, for example, sequences of sounds are not automatically words or sentences; and sounds made by tape-recorders or parrots are not, by themselves, genuine linguistic interventions, unless they exhibit the possibility of being misused, or used incorrectly. Thus, if, during the Second World War, my hope for release from my monoglot Italians captors requires my convincing them I am German (to use an example from Searle, 1969, pp. 44–45), attempting to do so by uttering—in my most ‘master-race’ accent—the only piece of German I know. When that turns out to be words from a Marlene Dietrich song, I will have told my captors that I am head-over-heels in love with them (translated), even if they cannot take that from it. For, when addressing language-based utterances, the issue is not how an expression is used, but how it should be used (how it is used when used correctly); hence, how it should be understood. For instance, consider a word regularly misused. No doubt, as Ossie Hanfling (2000) suggests, the term “refute” is often used (say, by journalists) as though it meant nothing more than reject; as though one could refute some claim

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merely by saying that one had, rather than an actual refutation being required. But, “if the word ‘refute’ came in due course to mean nothing more than ‘reject’, it would not mean that to refute a proposition would have become easier than it is now” (Hanfling, 2000, p. 70). For, of course, what one then did would not be what now counts as a refutation. Hence, for philosophical purposes, not everything that “we ordinarily say” should be tolerated: we sometimes speak unacceptably loosely. But which utterances to dispute in this way must be discovered by looking at what follows from them: that is why I can “say what I choose” (PI §79) here, as long as I respect the distinctions thereby drawn. We arrive at the impasse sketched above by trying to explain conscious activity in a world of causality, given that we are materialists in the minimal sense of accepting that we are constituted by ‘just this’ physical structure, this anatomy and physiology. Filling the head with images is unacceptable if one intends to remain a materialist in this very minimal sense; and introducing for consideration something other than in ‘the head’ (the mind, the soul, the psyche) just reproduces the problem: for how should that consciousness be understood? (A parallel: those picture-builders who, trying to model perception as information processing, realized that their “processors” as depicted leave the issues unresolved—and so add a further “superprocessor” box! This is equivalent to adding a section marked, “Then a miracle happens” [as captured in the cartoon by Sidney Harris in American Scientist magazine, 1975: see McFee, 2004, p. 106]. That is no answer at all.) One datum here must be that any adequate explanatory schema should cover, for example, my having a hundred dollars in my bank account (this being true), such that I will repay the money I owe you, something not reducible to some statistical ‘trends and tendencies’ about my likely behaviour10—and where its truth could fail only by its being false (so it is “truth-­ apt”). Another datum will be our commitment to the dictum that “(e)rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p.  351). As we shall see, these might suggest a contrast between the scientific image of humankind and its manifest image (in roughly the manner of Sellars: SPR, pp. 1–40), to show how the problem for such scientists arises from a misreading of what exactly the “scientific image of humankind”—at least, as I understand it—actually involves; and hence, denying the very idea of a fixed hierarchy among the sciences (that is, a single ordo cognoscendi) by distinguishing the various contributions of the various sciences. This point is explicitly contextualist—there is no single hierarchy, but an erotetic structure (functioning as answers to particular questions).

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Moreover, causal explanations from the sciences cannot, in themselves, differentiate appropriately. For Frege’s reasons, then, the empirical data must be neutral across serious differences in philosophy. Hence there are really no uncontentious “crucial experiments” in philosophy, ones determining the ‘life or death’ of a theory. As an example, suppose someone urged that an aspect of a particular person’s behaviour (for instance, gender-­identity) was completely explained genetically rather than culturally: could such a thesis be refuted by identifying (say) monozygotic (‘identical’) twins with different self-perceived/ascribed gender-identities (compare Nutt, 2015)? If such simple observations could refute the thesis in such a case, that thesis itself would not be profound. For, in reality, we should imagine the example confronted by defenders of the thesis, pleading to reinterpret that case. Also, once one goes beyond that simple version, correctly classifying such empirical data is relevant to sorting out the impact of these data. For example: (a) Is there just one way to read the case of “Sally Beauchamp”, even once its detail is granted? As the story comes to us (compare Williams, 1982, pp. 15–18), this unfortunate woman had approximately fifteen different personalities. Might other explanations of her speech and action be offered? (b) Could questions of the innateness of language, after Chomsky’s version, be resolved empirically by isolating a human baby from birth? But how exactly is the example elaborated? And how is any conclusion tested? The isolate cannot be talked to; or, at least, heard from … (But then, how could questions be asked or answered?) And any example less than that will automatically be tainted. The point, of course, is that—while clarifying key concepts may be helpful here—that cannot be done completely independently of, and especially not prior to, one’s views on the case. For precisely what is relevant to answering such questions or resolving these perplexities; and how? Hence empirical investigations alone cannot resolve these questions: no theory-­ free description captures such cases. That might at first seem counter-intuitive. But, having granted that scientific enquiries are erotetic (that is, function as the answers to particular questions [to repeat]), assuming the possibility of comparing two sciences, as required by an ordo cognoscendi, must involve taking these sciences to

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offer answers to the very same question. Yet this is manifestly not so: put crudely, physics answers physical questions, chemistry answers chemical questions, biology answers biological questions, and so on. To dispute this is to fail to notice the relation of a question to its proper method of solution; that is, to what counts as an answer. For questions from physics require the concepts of physics; and not just the substantive ones, but also the methodological ones (what Stephen Toulmin [1972, p.  124] called the disciplinary principles for particular sciences, those that set “the basic intellectual goals of a science, and give it a recognizable unity and continuity”). Now, a catalogue of such concepts may alter over time, with individual concepts in such catalogues potentially mistaken for others from later lists. Thus, for both Newtonian physics and Einstein’s deployment of Riemann geometry, a straight line remains ‘shortest distance between two points’, but on a quite different understanding—the second closer to those ‘great circle’ routes on a globe flown by airlines. Yet at any time, concepts from (here) physics are at issue. With any seeming overlap—say, with particular properties from physics explaining chemical combinations—the conclusions still amount to something different. Further, moving to (say) psychology exacerbates the problem since, although some psychology is really a branch of neuroscience, there are other varieties. Moreover, in this way, the force of others in the normativity of language and of action is granted: what Hanfling (2000, p. 54) calls the participatory character of our linguistic (or language-using) practices regulates them, determining what should be said in a certain context. We join together in speaking the language, and “each participant is constantly kept on the rails by sanctions coming from the others” (Hanfling, 2000, p. 54). As Michael Dummett (2004, p. 41) puts it: In learning language, we learn not only when it is right to say certain things and what responses certain utterances evoke, but how to respond to the utterances of others; such responses include acting on the truth of what others assert.

But, of course, this recognition again acknowledges persons acting as agents; that is, normatively.11 Further, the “rails” here operate contextually: we only insist on levels of accuracy appropriate for this question or topic, rather than imagining some abstract level of perfect or complete accuracy. And such ‘regulation’ occurs even for scientific claims, although there, new work builds directly

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on past achievements of that branch of science: in particular, on theories it takes for granted, and the view it adopts of both the constituents of the world and their inter-connections. Hence, an expert community may with confidence be drawn on, one having “assimilated a time-tested and group-­ licensed way of seeing” (Kuhn, 1970, p.  189), with its understanding therefore: … firmly based upon one or more scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its future practice. (Kuhn, 1970, p. 10)

So, we have emphasized the connection between the normativity of language use (that is, of meaning) and the normativity implicit in recognizing the actions of persons. Moreover, since “(e)rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p.  351), much of the human world becomes inexplicable without other non-causal kinds of explanation, ones importing normativity: explanations that treat the behaviour of people as the (intentional) action of agents. In particular, the project of philosophy—on any account—cannot be intelligible if events are allowed only causal explanation. And, as above, the normativity required for meaningful language-use is precisely that required for the possibility of morality. Thus, Cavell (1969/2002, pp. 29–31) rightly urges that we must mean what we say, recognizing in that obligation two related dimensions—that what one says is what one means (other things being equal) just because it is what one says; and that one should mean what one says, the major alternatives being either lying or failing to take the interchange sufficiently seriously. In addition, the possibility of responsibility is often recognizable when disputed: where the claim is that one was not responsible, rather than that responsibility has no place here. Three plausible responses to the charge that one did something reprehensible or untoward all turn on the nature of one’s responsibility, as Austin (1979, p. 176) notes. The first (not Austin’s topic at all) involves denying that one did the thing; but—faced with one’s footprints in the butter, as it were—that case is less compelling. In the next set of cases, which Austin (1979, p.  176) calls “justifications”, one concedes that one did the action or caused the event, but denies that this is reprehensible. Here, one will “argue that it was a good, or the right or sensible thing, or a permissible thing to do,

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either in general or at least in the specific circumstances of the occasion” (Austin, 1979, p.  176). Finally, and Austin’s chief concern there, one can try to excuse or extenuate: “to admit that it wasn’t a good thing to have done, but to argue that it is not quite fair or correct to say baldly ‘X did A’”. As Austin (1979, p. 176) continues: We may say that it isn’t fair just to say X did it; perhaps he was under somebody’s influence, or was nudged. Or, it isn’t fair to say baldly he did A; it may have been partly accidental, or an unintentional slip. Or, it isn’t fair to say he simply did A—he was really doing something quite different and A was wholly incidental, or he was looking at the whole thing quite differently. Naturally these arguments can be combined or overlap or run into each other.

Then Austin (1979, p. 176) summarizes the last two cases: “In the one defence, briefly, we accept responsibility but deny that it was bad: in the other, we admit that it was bad but do not accept full, or even any, responsibility”. Here, as Cavell (2010, p. 340) notes, the Austin-style strategy allows various relations of explanations (or extenuations) to the corresponding action. Thus, he imagines: … [c]ontrasting the questions ‘What shall I do …?’ and ‘How shall I act …?’ by filling both blanks with a common sequence of descriptions of situations and events and then supplying answers to the resulting questions. For example: ‘… in the event of fire’, ‘… when the vice-president arrives’, …. Things you are to do: Phone the emergency number posted in the case of fire, and make sure you have arranged for a place to gather outside the house; show the vice-president and his party to the ballroom, and explain the delay of the ceremony …. Ways you are to act: in the first, stay calm; in the second, show due courtesy, without overdoing it …

Of course, all cases fall under our general concern with responsibility: such cases only make sense once the possibility of humans being responsible for their actions, including their verbal actions, is granted. Such a view, society will then “be full of statings, avowals, giving arguments, tellings that, tellings to, and the like”, as Wilfred Sellars (1968, p. 157) puts it: built around what I elsewhere call “talk” (EKT, pp. 49–51). While urging the inadequacy of Austin’s accounts of such events (as acts), Sellars certainly grants the force of other people in the normativity of language and of action. In that way, he recognizes the “manifest image of humankind” as a group phenomenon (see Sellars, 1963/1991, [SPR] p. 17, and later). Yet the

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real point here acknowledges these as human practices, with their associated normativity. Whenever that description is appropriate, we enter the realm of Sellars’ “manifest image”, as I see it. Granting (in line with Frege’s dictum) that events conceived under either image will have causal explanations, we begin to understand why treating those events as appropriately seen from the manifest image might permit the having of reasons, on this occasion. Thus, we locate those where, say, normative characterizations are appropriate. Moreover, such ideas bear directly on how not to explain language-­ using behaviour. Thus Dummett (1993a, p. 187) rightly dismisses as “an outright mistake” treating the philosophy of thought as amounting to reflection on neuroscience, commenting: If this means a theory … according to which a theory of meaning is really a theory of something very complicated that goes on in the brain, … that is a completely unphilosophical way of looking at the matter. Philosophy is not concerned with what enables us to speak as we do, but what it is for our utterances to have the meanings that that have, and nothing that happens in the brain can explain that. (Dummett, 1993a, pp. 187–188)

For Dummett (1993a, p. 188) is right that “[i]t is essential to treat language as a conscious activity of rational creatures”. Further, the error he rightly diagnoses would treat philosophic concerns in terms of causal structures.

5   Wittgenstein, Exceptionlessness and Occasion-sensitivity Now, philosophical enquiry characteristically deploys counter-examples, often taking the possibility of exceptions as sufficient for a claim’s rejection, with problem  cases—some imaginary but others not—often a favoured strategy to generate such exceptions. Thus, to some, it seemed that claims to know what another person is thinking or feeling can be set aside by demonstrating the lack of exceptionless rules here: the possibility of stoics shows that such thoughts or feelings cannot be inferred without exception from the person’s behaviour or utterances; and especially from the absence of typical (say) pain-behaviour—stoics with thoughts and feelings do not make them manifest! Similarly, the possibility of actors seems to show that thoughts of such-and-such or feelings of so-and-so cannot be inferred just from behaviours often performed by

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those thinking such-and-­such or feeling so-and-so—again there is no exceptionless relation here. And, of course, this strategy seems powerful precisely because entailment is exceptionless. This use of counter-examples within philosophy identifies assumptions of exceptionlessness sometimes thought central to any conceptual connections (see also Chap. 7). Two ideas from John Wisdom move us beyond such a picture. First, Wisdom (1965, p. 102) reminds us that, “at the bar of reason, always the final appeal is to cases”: that cases or examples come first, often generating the philosophical perplexity, with our philosophical narrative typically being answerable to them. Hence, such cases should not be ignored; and, indeed, one cannot do so, if one’s philosophical enquiries are to remain rooted in our perplexities. Moreover, ‘rational reconstruction’ here must not lose sight of its target in everyday perplexity. Thus, for instance, some interested in the neurobiology of dreaming take REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep as a criterion of having dreamed. Faced with clear evidence that dreaming occurred without REM sleep, one’s thesis identifying dreaming with such sleep might still be retained, dismissing these other cases as not dreaming at all, but merely “dream-like mentation” (Churchland, 1986, p. 206). However, on this strategy, identifying REM sleep cannot lead seamlessly to identifying dreaming. That strategy makes theses about the relation of REM sleep to dreaming “true by definition” as genuine dreaming, thereby dismissing as “dream-like mentation” cases the rest of us regard as dreaming (compare McFee, 1993/1994). A second idea directs us away from general assumptions of exceptionlessness. Approaching this idea obliquely, Wisdom (1965, p. 88) discusses Wittgenstein’s achievements: If I were asked to answer, in one sentence, the question ‘What was Wittgenstein’s greatest contribution to philosophy?’, I should answer, ‘His asking of the question “Can one play chess without the Queen?”.’

Then, my proffered answer to that question (in one sentence) would be something like, “Not in the World Chess Championship”. For Wittgenstein’s question is important here in stressing that no simple, general “Yes” or “No” answer is possible—on occasion (say, when playing against my grandson, as part of teaching him chess), the answer “Yes” seems right. But answering “No” is equally right in the unlikely case where, given a Queen advantage by Gary Kasparov, per impossible, I defeat him: that would not exemplify my beating Kasparov at chess, at

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least not without qualification, whereas for my grandson, that he beat me at chess (without qualification) is important. So, once the occasion is properly considered, there are determinate answers here; but no answer covers all cases. The further point, building on that one, justifies my response. For we grant, with Larry Wright, the erotetic component of explanation: that explanations operate (roughly) as answers to questions. Hence, “‘[w]hy?’ questions do … derive much from contrasts implicit in the context of enquiry; the perplexity being expressed is often not clear until we understand something about what the person asking the question expected in the circumstances” (Wright, 1976, p. 102). But we must further acknowledge that Wittgenstein’s question does admit of right (or wrong) answers in cases where the occasion is specified: that, on such-and-such occasion (“in the World Championship”), one can say “No”. This, then, recognizes what Charles Travis (2008, esp. pp. 150–160: see below) calls the occasion-­ sensitivity of understanding. So how should we respond to particular examples? Only contextually, as we would for, say, “Cheetahs can run faster than men”, once the occasion is properly considered (see Chap. 7): that would not typically mean, “All cheetahs are animals that can run faster than (any) men” (this was not the A-form from categorical logic); but neither was it about some cheetahs or some men. (For, if so, which?) Logic simplifies, in tidying up. But now close attention to such occasion-sensitivity works against the assumption (within philosophy) of a greater determinacy than is possible: in particular, as Wittgenstein saw (Sect. 1 above), against an ideal of clarity only realized in some distant future (but with no sense possible of how or when), with such “clarity” representing the entry “into philosophy [of] a false exactitude that is the worst enemy of real exactitude” (BT, p.  396)—for Wittgenstein, “… the sign of a totally false view” (BT, p. 203). Instead, one must recognize “the unsurveyable seething totality of our language” (VoW, p. 67: quoted above Sect. 1). Then “what confuses us is the uniform appearance of words when we hear them in speech or see them in print. For their use is not that obvious” (PI [2009] §11): indeed, this diversity of uses reflects occasion-sensitivity. Yet, with the context of the utterance specified, there are, at least usually, correct answers to questions about what is said and meant on that occasion (although one may not know what to say, or how to answer, on some occasions: for instance, “Are you at home when your house, you in it, has just slid down the hill?”: Travis, 2008, p. 2). Moreover, without that specification of context, no such answer is forthcoming.

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A version of such “occasion-sensitivity” was sometimes recognized even by Frege (1979, p. 135), such that: … the same sentence does not always express the same thought, because the words need to be supplemented in order to get a complete sense, and how this can be done can vary according to circumstances.

Thus, my relatively straightforward claim that the door of my house is blue tolerates a number of correct responses, reflecting different situations for that door, such that the very same door counts as blue on this occasion but not on some other occasion, without its pigmentation changing in the meantime. For instance, all the doors in the street were painted either red, green, or blue—mine was one of the blue ones, although the paint itself is so faded that some observers might doubt my claim about the door’s colour; or dispute my claim (“that the door is blue”) given how much the paint has peeled. Still, the door’s being blue might still, say, identify a meeting place, whatever its current state of deterioration, while precluding its usefulness (as blue) for a colour-chart. So, its counting now as true that the door is blue, while previously it counted as false, need not reflect simply changes in the world crudely conceived. Or perhaps all houses in the street have glass doors, with a small coloured edge—now my house is indeed the one with a blue door, even though the majority of the door’s surface is not blue. Here, with the context of the question understood, there is a determinate answer—say, to questions about the door’s blue-­ ness—but not otherwise. Thus, there is answerability. Yet the very same situation for the door’s colour that correctly gave the answer “Blue!” on this occasion might not do so on other occasions.12 Moreover, on any particular occasion, the requirement is only for answerability of the kinds appropriate to that occasion, not all kinds— indeed, we rightly set aside the idea of a finite totality of such situations: there can be no “all” here; and hence no approaching such an “all”. Instead, one should enquire whether the description of events answers to the ways things are. Then, as Travis (2011, p.  105) notes, “[t]here are various standards that might apply to settle that; one might hold that description to any of the various conditions on its truth”. So, one cannot assume that an utterance (say, “My house-door is blue”) has a single fixed meaning across all the occasions of its employment. For what issue is addressed depends on the circumstance in ways not typically captured by the words alone, since:

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… statements fit the facts always more or less loosely, in different ways on different occasions for different intents and purposes. What may score full marks in a general knowledge test may in other circumstances get a gamma [a fail mark]. And even the most adroit of languages may fail to ‘work’ in an abnormal situation. (Austin, 1979, p. 130)

Rather, we must ask what those words, said on this occasion, amount to. For, as Travis (2008, p. 152) puts it, “[a]ny of many different things may thus be said of a given item in saying it to be that way”. But this is not a recipe for vagueness or ambiguity: select an occasion, and then saying such-and-such typically amounts to something particular. To illustrate (as well as argue for) this point, imagine a pair of utterances of a string of words such that, in different contexts or on different occasions, “one member of the pair says something true, the other something false” (Travis, 2008, p. 153). Consider asking: ‘When would something be coloured blue? How about Lac Leman? It has a blue appearance on a sunny day. But its water is not blue in the way Lake Louise’s water is green. Is it blue? We find that we can understand (a lake’s) being blue such that Lac Leman is that way, but also such that Lac Leman is not.’ Neither understanding is … either required or excluded by what being blue is per se. So neither is required or excluded by ‘is blue’ meaning what it does. (Travis, 2008, p. 154: original insert)

And, as both a general claim about understanding and a specific claim about understanding utterances (understanding language), this again reflects our commitment to the inter-connections between meaning, saying, and understanding.13 Then noting the occasion-sensitivity of answers returns us to the ‘dazzling ideal’ seemingly offered by science by explaining why the normative world of humankind cannot be reduced to the causally structured world of natural science.

6   Sellars’ Two Images of Humankind Now, Wilfred Sellars (SPR, p.  6) famously contrasted the manifest and scientific images of man (where, throughout, Sellars uses the term “man” to refer to humankind, rather than to any gender). Then “the manifest image of man-in-the world” is characterized both as “the framework in which man came to be aware of himself as man-in-the-world” and as “a refinement or sophistication of what might be called the ‘original’ image

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… which makes it relevant to the contemporary intellectual scene” (SPR, p. 7). Later, Sellars (SPR, p. 39) connects this conception with responsibility as “the irreducible core of the framework of persons”, noting that “[a] person can almost be defined as a being that has intentions” (SPR, p. 40). Its contrast with the manifest image of humankind, which centrally embraces persons and intentions, clarifies the scientific image of humankind, although granting both that it is “as much an idealization as the manifest image” (SPR, p. 19); and that, strictly speaking, there are “several images proper to the several sciences” (SPR, p. 20): … there is man as he appears to the theoretical physicist—a swirl of physical particles, forces and fields. There is man as he appears to the biochemist, to the physiologist, to the behaviourist, to the social scientist; and all of these images are to be contrasted with man as he appears to himself in sophisticated common sense, the manifest image which even today contains most of what he knows about himself at a properly human level. (SPR, p. 20)

This might suggest, to some students of philosophy, my here endorsing a Sellars-type view: comments in Chap. 9 (Sects. 5 and 6) offer a fuller sketch of the relation of Sellars’ position to the views elaborated here. Yet, for Sellars, “the scientific image [typically] presents itself as a rival image” (SPR, p. 20) to the manifest one. To the degree that this leads to his looking to that scientific image for “the true and, in principle, complete account of man-in–the-world” (SPR, p. 25), I would, like Wittgenstein (compare McFee, 2015, pp. 23–75), reject this target. But, given the complexity of both Sellars’ views and (sometimes) their exposition, the fine detail need not concern us here. Then, when (on such a view) is which image invoked in practice? The problem is clarified through the “free-will” discussion (elaborated in Chap. 2), usefully introduced by noting what Alan Donagan (1994, p. 55) called “the presupposition of individual choice”: … that in a situation of a given kind, a man’s intentions must not be assumed to be the same as those of any other man, whatever their psychological or sociological similarities; or the same as his own intentions in other situations of the same kind.

How might such a “presupposition” be attacked? In standard responses, those intentions, and hence the choices they reflect, are often grounded in some causal story about the agent, perhaps ‘cashed out’ via his neurobiology.

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From the perspective of defenders of persons as agents, then, the issue arises partly because the explanatory power of science must be respected: laws of science seem to operate exceptionlessly over objects and events whose material construction is the same as ours (give or take some comments about complexity). Denying these powers to science seems unrealistic; yet, with science explaining so much, how can logical space be found for explanation in terms of intentions, reasons, and choices? For nothing sublunary seems to escape the explanatory power of science. In other cases, too, such as Eddington’s “two  tables”—that of the physicist and his common-sense counterpart—“the problem is to fit together the manifest sensation with its neurophysiological counterpart” (SPR, pp. 35–36). For what we see, in seeing a table, has the same neural basis as the physicist’s view. Yet, throughout, our default position must recognize humans (us) who think themselves able to attend to a philosophical presentation, perhaps to read it (which involves turning the pages), to understand it (to whatever degree) and to evaluate its argumentative potential. Thus, invoking our responsibility must predispose us to a “free-will defence” in at least the minimal sense sufficient to permit the truth of claims about agency (such as those just given). But how can due weight be given to the achievements of science, and to the scope of scientific explanation of sublunary events (events here and now), without that achievement automatically swamping the possibility of human agency; and, with it, human responsibility? Moreover, if some cases rightly grant priority to causal accounts, one cannot with justice present such accounts as always mistaken when applied to persons and their actions. Indeed, one cannot just say, “A picture held me captive” (PI §115) while, in some circumstances and contexts, still deploying that picture in one’s understanding. For instance, if the killer’s brain tumour generates the relevant behaviour, as is granted in the story (Dexter, 1983)14 of Inspector Morse’s investigation of the killing of the Master of Lonsdale College, Oxford by Professor Browne-Smith, is it murder? Such a killer, having no agency in this event (ex hypothesi), is therefore not responsible. Yet, in what respects does this situation differ from Browne-Smith’s earlier (rational) decision-making? And how does his case differ from ours? Such questions are not easily addressed. For here, at least, the “images” of humanity seem to conflict; further, in such cases, normativity is regularly suspended. Yet, just as descriptions from science cannot be denied, neither must pictures of causality from neuroscience hold us captive when discussing action.

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As the beginning of an explanation, I suggest the problem arises because it seems both (a) that in, say, the Browne-Smith case (as described) there is rightly no responsibility—the “scientific image of humankind” is rightly dominant; and (b) this case does not differ in any obvious way from the usual ones, where the manifest image of humankind is typically dominant. But the cases are not really parallel: our general commitment to causal explanation explains the appearance of a parallel, with both images ensured a role by locating “the scientific image with [the manifest image] as a crucial tool … [for] manifest man in his capacity as scientist” (SPR, p. 32). Yet, as we know, scientific explanation imports the assumption of exceptionlessness—that the factors relevant for any explanation constitute a finite totality: one needs a reason to introduce this assumption, with its associated ceteris paribus; here, no such reason is available for ‘ordinary’ cases, under the “manifest image”. Hence, causal descriptions and explanations should only be invoked with cases regarded as special in such a way, since doing so deploys the other (scientific) image of humankind. Then Sellars’ way with “the ‘free will’ objection” (SPR, p. 38) contrasts being caused (to do such-and-such) with there being a causal story for one’s doing it (see SPR, p. 13): the second will be true in all relevant cases, given our moderate materialist commitment; and often acknowledged under the scientific image. But the first only reflects the (denial of) full agency implicit in cases of coercion or constraint; hence under the manifest image. Thus, for Sellars (SPR, p. 31), it is important that cerebral processes, as characterized under the scientific image, at best “run parallel to conceptual thinking (and cannot be identified with it)”. But why not? Sellars (SPR, p. 32) explicitly rejects defending both images equally; or prioritizing the manifest image, as we will see (Chap. 9, Sects. 5 and 6). So, he refuses to “retreat to the position that the reality is the world of the manifest image” because he reads this as equivalent to asserting that “all features of the manifest image would be equally unreal” (SPR, p. 32). For Sellars, the connection of the scientific image to our human grasp on the world is threatened when “the manifest image dominates and mislocates the scientific image” (SPR, p.  8), as under the “perennial philosophy” conception (see Chap. 9, Sect. 6) where, for Sellars, the two images are collapsed together by inappropriately over-emphasizing the manifest image. Yet, by contrast, contextualists might both grant the accuracy of the manifest image in some situations and then, faced with cases where the manifest image seems counter-intuitive, draw back from it.

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Moreover, throughout, genuine scientific views of human issues (bounded by concepts legitimately the province of, say, physics, chemistry, or biology) must be distinguished from various misconceptions. For the over-reachings of science—offering causal explanations of what is not simply causally explicable—parallel those extensions of ‘common sense’ that, having failed to keep pace with scientific theory, misrepresent it. Thus A. J. Ayer (1973, p. 108) questioned the compatibility of “the scientific view of the nature of physical objects and that which can be attributed to common sense”. In one example, someone taking “a realistic view of the status of physical particles” (Ayer, 1973, p.  110) might think physics falsified naïve realism by denying that, say, tables are really coloured, by distinguishing “between things as they are in themselves and things as they appear to us … [so as] to count as the real properties of physical objects only those properties that they possess independently of our perceiving them” (Ayer, 1973, p. 82); thereby transferring “all the perceptible qualities of things to the observer’s account, leaving things, as they are in themselves, to be represented by the necessarily imperceptible objects of physical theory” (Ayer, 1973, p. 110: compare Chap. 9, Sects. 5 and 6; SPR, p. 173). Even if rejected as an account of physical reality or of the world around us, this may be plausible as a prescription of how to proceed within science. Yet, of course, some so-called common sense is really either a confusing simplification or a misunderstanding of what comes down from the scientists to the rest of us. Then perhaps, as Dummett (1993b, p. 390) suggests, while “[m]odern physics does undoubtedly offer many affronts to common  sense … it does not appear that the denial that objects are coloured is one of them”. So, sometimes at least, what passes for the “common-sense” view here is simply false: informed common sense should not maintain it, nor should the ‘rational reconstruction’ of common sense for philosophical purposes endorse it. Then, to continue the earlier example, where does this leave scientific study of free will? As we will see (Chap. 2, Sect. 9), in part it exposes the limitations of such investigations: roughly, they are causal when they should be humanistic or normative. Then what about human constraints on freedom of action or responsibility? This topic, addressed in Chap. 8, well-exemplifies ‘philosophy in practice’ on a Wittgensteinian view. So that, with the image of science no longer holding sway, one sees how philosophy might be conducted once the ‘dazzle’ has dissipated.

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7   Philosophy and Language Again Of course, the outcome offers a picture of philosophy that might be contested. Given the kinds of objections offered against, say, Wittgenstein and Austin (those writers looming large here), it is helpful to augment the brief comments earlier by reviewing the place of language in our investigations. Now Wittgenstein is sometimes thought to advocate “ordinary language philosophy” (whatever that is); and even his supporters sometimes find Wittgenstein “extremely interested in what we say in situations that appear to warrant being described in terms of [such-and-such] or related locutions” (Schulte, 2016, p. 39). But a number of factors should make us hesitant before describing Wittgenstein’s project either as, say, involving “an interest in language for its own sake” (Passmore, 1966, p. 441) or as “an approach to philosophy … that … relies on a disciplined and systematic study of facts” (New, 1969, p.  152). Even though he did write in favour of “quiet weighing of linguistic facts … [to replace] wild conjectures” (Z §447: my order), he did not really hold that “[i]f we keep calm, and look without prejudice at the way words are actually used … the ‘mystery of meaning’ will evaporate” (Passmore, 1966, p. 427); and so, first, did not standardly attend even to clear and fairly sharp linguistic differences. Thus, Wittgenstein’s writings do not standardly contrast one use of some term (say, Erfahrung, one translation for “experience”) with that of another (say, Erlebnis, also translatable as “experience”: see Schulte, 2016, p. 42), even though they are distinguishable in German. Second, he did not behave as though this was his view; for instance, he conducted no empirical enquiries of the kinds some critics assumed necessary to justify his claims, such as surveys to determine what, as a matter of fact, people (“most people”) say in some context. Further (perhaps third), he urged that one could “say what one liked” (see PI §79) as long as one respected the distinctions thereby invoked. And semi-empirical semantic investigations—typified by surveys—cannot deal with his invented cases (involving, for example, measuring wood: RFM I §§147–150 pp. 93–94; or making sense of those utterances not a language: PI §207). Here, there could not be just one thing people do (or anyone does) say, since no one presently encounters these situations. But where does Austin stand? Judging by some of his remarks, Austin certainly cared deeply about linguistic differences, but without regarding such differences as the final court of appeal for all philosophical purposes.

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Elaborating some methodological directions, then, Austin (1979, p. 274) identifies two methods: consideration of “(i) imagined or actual cases, and (ii) the ‘grammar’, ‘etymology’, and so forth of words”. But neither constitutes the kind of empirical examination seemingly required once one emphasizes that: [d]ifferent groups vary in their usage, and so do different individuals: so do the same individuals at different times and in different contexts. … How an expression is actually used is a study that belongs to descriptive linguistics … (New, 1969, p. 15715)

By contrast, Cavell (1969/2002, p. 97) summarizes Austin’s achievement, commenting that: [i]t is true that he asks for the difference between doing something by mistake and doing it by accident [for instance, killing a donkey: Austin, 1979, p. 185 note], but what transpires is a characterization of what a mistake is and (as contrasted, or so far as contrasted with this) what an accident is. He asks for the difference between being sure and being certain, but what is uncovered is an initial survey of the complex and mutual alignments between mind and world that are necessary for successful knowledge. He asks for the difference between expressing belief and expressing knowledge (or between saying ‘I believe’ and saying ‘I know’) and what comes up is a new sense and assessment of the human limitations, or human responsibilities, of human knowledge; and so on.

But how can that be? To respond, we must recall here Austin’s characterization of those methodological suggestions for profitable ways forward for philosophy. What are they? The first relatively uncontentiously emphasizes consideration of cases (see Sect. 5 above). Of course, Austin (1979, p. 274) suggests preferring real cases to imagined ones, because the concepts employed there “will have faced the test of practical use, of continual hard cases, better than their vanished rivals”. But, when approaching actual cases (like Regina vs. Finney: Austin, 1979, pp. 200–201), he criticizes what some participants said (especially the lawyers and judge). Hence, Austin’s view cannot be that one must, or even that one can, rely on what was actually said. Further, his own examples (tripping the aged relative “from whom I have expectations”; feeding the penguins and thereby killing them: see Austin, 1979, pp.  274–275) leave unclear what we would or should say, with Austin keen to address our hesitancies. Thus, clearly, for the string stretched across the stairhead:

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… it’s hard to see how I could have done such a thing unintentionally, or even (what is not the same) not done it intentionally. You don’t do that sort of thing—by accident? By mistake? Inadvertently? On the other hand, would I be bound to admit I did it on ‘purpose’ or ‘purposely’? That has an ugly sound. What could the purpose have been except to trip someone?

Thus Austin (1979, p. 275) concludes: Maybe I had better claim I was simply passing the time, playing cat’s cradle, practicing tying knots.

But which of these will I say? For Austin, the characterizations he offers, if accepted, explain away the “ugly sound” in the suggestion that I tied the string “purposely”. Yet nothing here describes what one must say; even less what we do say—for what we say (when we are trying to speak the truth, at least) depends on the situation. Similarly, having fed the penguins peanuts, despite the sign reading, “Do not feed the penguins”, when “peanuts happen to be, and these prove, fatal to the birds” (Austin, 1979, p. 275), how should I respond in the ensuring discussion? Did I feed them peanuts intentionally? Beyond doubt: I am no casual peanut shedder. But deliberately? Well, that seems to raise the question, ‘Had I read the notice?’. Why does it? Or ‘on purpose’? That seems to insinuate that I knew what fatal results would ensue. Again, why? (Austin, 1979, p. 275)

Here, Austin’s procedure explicitly raises questions about the variety of excuses or justifications (see Austin, 1979, p. 176) potentially offered in such cases, without any survey of which of these a particular person might say on whatever occasions. How should we elaborate the widespread objection that so-called “ordinary language philosophy” is insufficiently empirical? Now, Gilbert Ryle ([1953] 1971, p. 318—quoted Vendler, 1967, p. 11) urged that: Hume’s question is not about the word ‘cause’, it is about the use of ‘cause’. It is as much about the use of ‘Ursache’ [the German word usually translated “cause”]. For the use of ‘cause’ is the same as the use of ‘Ursache’, although ‘cause’ is not the same word as ‘Ursache’. [my insert]

In criticism, Zeno Vendler (1967, p. 11) asks, rhetorically, how Ryle can “know, without an exhaustive study of both languages, that the use of Ursache is the same as that of cause?”—an “exhaustive study” both sides

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grant that Ryle has not undertaken! But clearly generalized versions of Ryle’s claim—namely, that statements can often be expressed in more than one way, including in other languages—can hardly be gainsaid by anyone contrasting such sentences with statements in this sense (or propositions). For, unlike sentences, such statements are not being conceived as in this or that language. And was Ryle really urging that either term had a single use (“the use”)? Perhaps, instead, Ryle hoped to identify one use (“a use”) of each, a philosophical one, expecting that—at least in many cases—what puzzles English-speaking philosophers in discussions of causation is the same as (or, anyway, close enough to) what puzzles German-speaking philosophers confronting discussion of Ursächlichkeit; with one indicator here (although no guarantee) being that discussions of causality in English-speaking philosophers such as Hume were rendered into German, by competent translators, as discussions of Ursächlichkeit, with that translation neither regularly flagged as problematic nor changed in later editions. Against such a background, Ryle’s response to Vendler’s objection could defuse criticisms of this type by, first, stressing how—as a native English speaker with a certain level of education—he understood the use of that word in English in some contexts (especially, how it should be used); and then, second, displaying credentials to know what issues in philosophy discussion of causality introduced (whether or not the term “cause” appeared). Still, our interest here lies primarily in Austin’s second method, that deploying “the ‘grammar’, ‘etymology’, and so forth of the words” (Austin, 1979, p. 274), described as an appeal to “grammar and philology” (Austin, 1979, p. 279), and clearly exemplified when Austin (1979, p. 282) contrasts the prepositions characteristically “used with [the words] ‘intention’, purpose’, and ‘deliberation’”. For instance, he remarks that: [w]ith ‘deliberation’, perhaps the only, and unexciting, preposition used is ‘after’. ‘With deliberation’ is indeed found, but then the words are used to describe a certain slow style of performance, which makes an impression on the observer. ‘Deliberately’ is used in the same way, as when someone eats his soup deliberately. (Austin, 1979, p. 282)

In such a case, the soup-consumption might well be expected to take longer than usual. And, to show that this contrast does not depend on whether the action is meant, Austin (1979, p. 282) suggests we “[c]ompare the case where he deliberately eats my soup. Here, if he is well advised, he will make haste over it”. While Austin might seem interested here in what

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we actually say on whatever occasions, that cannot be correct: despite often being credited with concern for “ordinary language”, Austin’s interest here is no more statistical or empirical than Wittgenstein’s. Thus, his later book (and the lecture series from which it derived) was rightly called How to Do Things with Words (Austin, 1975), not how we do things with words. While that may have sounded like a return to detailed concern with language use, in reality: [i]n Austin’s hands … other words, compared and distinguished, tell us what a given word is about. To know why they do, to trace how these procedures function, would be to see something of what he wishes words to teach, and hints at an explanation of our feeling … that what we learn will not be new empirical facts about the world, and yet illuminating facts about the world. (Cavell, 1969/2002, p. 97)

That is, Austin’s interest resides in what follows from drawing some contrasts; and, following Aristotle, he finds many of these contrasts implicit in language use, when not explicit. For, say, using the term “X” may implicitly contrast X with Y. To see how, one should consider, in Austin’s own presentation, how these methodologies illuminate comparisons and (especially) contrasts that might then be pursued: to understand what one might first say in drawing some contrasts—real or imagined—rooted in examples (see Sect. 5 above) treated as “objects of comparison” (PI §130). That, of course, would make Austin’s methodological suggestions approximate Wittgenstein’s, as described here. Then one’s perplexities may dissolve, as when Wittgenstein confronts a certain view of time, and especially of its precise measurement, by asking: [i]f the price of a commodity [on the Stock exchange] has changed between yesterday and today, when did it change? How much was it at midnight when nobody was buying? (PO, p. 405)

Or when he imagines the confusion of someone who remarks, “I asked him for a breadknife and he gives me a razor because it’s sharper” (Ms 120, 9th April, 1938). Such an elaboration of the contrasts implicit in the cases might show how (say) an absolute conception of sharpness, or treating the passage of time as a series of points on a line, imported a model of exactness; and, in making their limitations manifest, such a procedure might free us from ‘dazzle’.

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8   Conclusion: The Project of This Work Its title captures much of this work’s project concerning the prospects for philosophical enquiry once the (justified) impact of both scientific thinking and its achievements is granted. For science may seem to fix an ideal of investigation. Now, while I am not always (and perhaps am never) an unqualified adherent of Hilary Putnam’s writings, one cannot deny that he has employed—perhaps better, stolen—the very best titles. Thus, “Realism with a Human Face” and “Philosophy in an Age of Science”, both titles appropriate to this text, were taken. Still, my thought throughout is that defending the possibility of philosophy requires elaboration of sets of contrasts with both the achievements and the prospects of natural science. For, as we noted, the ‘dazzling image’ from science incorporates two key ideas: first, the completeness of scientific explanation, so that nothing seems left unexplained, once its project is completed; and, second, the inexorability, or exceptionless character, of the associated conception of causality. Then, once that ‘dazzling image’ is applied to human beings, it can seem (a) that we humans are powerless; that everything is simply the working out of causal forces; (b) that ‘our’ nature as persons is fixed by those biological perspectives that recognize us as the animals we obviously are, given the causal explanation appropriate to biology; (c) that our minds are just our brains; (d) that our psychologies too are ‘determined’ by our evolutionary biology; (e) that perhaps our minds are just like computers, even if of interesting kinds (as science fiction illustrates); (f) that the apparent exceptionlessness of science should reappear in philosophy—does philosophy too require exceptionless conclusions?; finally (g) that undermining science leaves no place for Reason. Since science cannot generate morals, etc. (there can be no “evolutionary ethics”), ethical discussion will be hamstrung either by failing to accept our biological heritage at all or by overrating it. Rejecting these potential claims provides the structure for this work. Therefore, key philosophical ideas are sketched initially (in this Chapter), stressing in particular the need for accounts of persons, agency, normativity, and context. Then, in Chap. 2, that sketch is developed by dissolving one philosophical problem (concerning free action), where, in essence, the issue concerns the explanatory powers of what Sellars (SPR) calls the manifest and the scientific images of humankind. As we shall see, dissolving this perplexity requires acknowledging the character and generality of causal explanations of the kind natural science deploys, while not

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being overwhelmed by its achievements [against (a) above]. For rejecting scientism is not (necessarily) anti-scientific. Since a conception of persons as responsible agents will be central here, introducing the question of personal identity (in Chap. 3), and noting that everyday debates about (for instance) inheritance must ground any contention, allows discussion of our common-sense notion of the person and a brief defence of Wiggins’ view of persons as material continuants with psychological properties [against (b) above]. Next, Chap. 4 is an extended account of some philosophical difficulties that follow from treating minds and mind-states in terms of brains and brain-states [against (c) above]. As Wiggins’ view endorses, persons are material, biological continuants—in a word, animals (if of a distinctive type): how should our biological nature be accommodated within a framework established by evolutionary conceptions? Chap. 5 defends an account of some features of evolutionary explanations against their critics, while stressing limitations on the application of such ideas (ideas rooted in science) to human decision-­making, especially for individuals—when psychology is “the discipline most in thrall to the exigency of statistical methodologies” (Forrester, 2017, p. 4), typically concerned with ‘trends-and-tendencies’ [against (d) above]. To further elaborate this concept of a person, Chap. 6 addresses issues most readily raised for artificial intelligence, by first exploring how the so-­ called Turing Test sets the bounds for constructing intelligence. Searle’s  “Chinese Room” argument is recruited to expose some limitations of this Test: since computer programmes are syntactic, and syntax cannot determine semantics, passing the Test cannot guarantee understanding. Then, the so-called “Aphrodite Argument”, in recognizing ­constraints on understanding genuine persons, renders problematic the prospect of androids. Some apparent counter-cases, presented from the movie Blade Runner (1982) and the novel The Turing Option (Harrison & Minsky, 1992), give this contention content and make it vivid. A different version of androidology, from the television series Westworld (2016), reinforces the differential explanatory power of reference to persons and to machines [against (e) above]. Moreover, given our general rejection (throughout) of the demand for exceptionlessness, philosophy too cannot import the requirement for exceptionless generalizations: yet conceptual connections central to philosophy can seem exceptionless—as, say, the use of counter-examples might demonstrate. Could one reject this demand for exceptionlessness in

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philosophy? What would philosophical enquiries look like with this demand rejected? Following Paul Ziff, the required overview of the pervasive and pernicious ideal of exceptionlessness discusses claims that, while obviously not exceptionless on investigation, seem true nonetheless [against (f) above]. Exploring such ideas, in Chap. 7, connects our general contextualism with our particular practice here. Further, philosophy has a history—which distinguishes it from science, because even serious students of science need not know its history. That marks a further contrast with the ‘dazzle’-producing image, where it seems assumed that only contemporary science really requires consideration (in Chap. 8). The conclusion, in Chap. 9, brings together previous contentions, extending them by comparison with ideas (arguably interesting for our project) from writings of Wilfred Sellars. Additionally, our position is located within general conceptions of reasoning and rationality [against (g) above], since anyone who: … challenges the rational credentials of a particular judgement or of a whole realm of discourse, … [must] rely at some level on judgements and arguments which … are not themselves subject to the same challenge: which exemplify, even when they err, something more fundamental, and which can be corrected only by further procedures of the same kind. (Nagel, 1997, p. 11)

Hence, one cannot simultaneously call into doubt (that is, justify doubting) everything. A mistranslation revealing for the project of Descartes’ Meditations exemplifies the point (see Chap. 9, Sect. 4): someone following, say, John Veitch’s translation of the title of Meditation One (Descartes, 1974, p. 112) as “Of the Things of Which We May Doubt” (therefore understanding that title as What can be doubted) will probably endorse the familiar ‘criticism’ that Descartes fails to doubt some things that are doubtable (dubitable)—for instance, logic—and so fails to carry through his project. But here, mistranslation reinforces a confusion. For Descartes’ topic is what can be called into question/doubt (the real title of Meditation One: CSM II, p. 12). At issue is not whether doubt is possible, in the sense of expressible, but rather addressing those doubts for which rational bases can be found: such a project cannot (consistently) call reason into question/doubt—and is none the worse for failing to do so. Indeed, the other approach would be prima facie absurd! For what, other than reason, could ground one’s doubts? And ungrounded or unjustified doubt need not be taken seriously.

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Once the distinctiveness of human explanation of events is thereby both granted and reinforced, and its connection to reasoning clarified, how should we conduct ourselves when doing philosophy? In reply, two further thoughts pointing to what lies ahead complete this introductory chapter. The first continues our defence of the powers of reason (and hence of reasoning): it is hard to aim to conduct philosophy, while denying the importance of such reason. And misunderstanding what philosophy requires—in line with the scientism that was targeted throughout—can thereby abandon the project of philosophy, since: [w]ithout a strong grasp of the uniquely philosophical problems, it is easy to fall prey to scientism, the idea that any genuine question can be handled as part of the development of a scientific worldview, and that what can’t be, isn’t a real question. (Nagel, 1995, p. 6: my emphasis)

But the project of philosophy—what makes problems philosophical problems—is hard to explain: here, the intention is that the reader is shown philosophical issues or questions in this arena so that he/she begins to recognize them when they arise elsewhere. Further, the structure of philosophical argument should also become clearer as one sees it worked through in cases here. For, unless one recognizes that a primary method in philosophy is presenting and commenting on arguments, one may miss the conceptual character of philosophy’s central project. Responding may involve making up one’s own examples or cases; and following that argument will mean explaining any omissions—one cannot simply focus on claims (“truths”) one notices. This might illustrate why philosophical texts are usually best read through from the beginning. But even the difficulties here intersect with the need for responsibility for one’s sayings and doings. As Nagel (1997, p. 11) notes: Both the existence and the nonexistence of reason present problems of intelligibility. To be rational we have to take responsibility for our thoughts while denying that they are just expressions of our point of view. The difficulty is to form a conception of ourselves that makes sense of this claim.

If this is correct, neglected classics such as Elizabeth Anscombe’s writings (not to mention Wittgenstein’s) are as likely to provide insight as more recent compositions, especially if recent forays into the philosophy of science fail to acknowledge precisely those insights.16 Moreover, this text illustrates throughout that rational enquiry cannot be replaced with empirical

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enquiry without remainder or without loss (at least not always). Hence, there can never be “empirical philosophy” worthy of the title philosophy (at least as the term “philosophy” is understood here: compare Chap. 5, Sect. 7). Commenting that “[a]rithmetic cannot be displaced by sociology, or by biology”, Nagel (1997, p. 21) makes a similar point concerning attempts to get outside of, say, morality through its sociology, biology, or history. And, as he continues, “[o]nce the category of thoughts that we cannot get outside of is recognized, the range of examples turns out to be quite wide”. For, of course, mathematics—another conceptual enquiry at heart—is the University discipline that most closely approximates philosophy. But the history of universities typically located mathematics with the natural sciences. Yet, as Dummett (2010, p. 3) notes, “however useful … [mathematics] may be to the sciences, in its intrinsic nature it is something very different from them”. Why? Because, like philosophy, mathematics is primarily a conceptual enquiry17: “[m]athematics … needs no input from experience: it is the product of thought alone” (Dummett, 2010, p. 4). Hence, there are “no mathematical observations, no mathematical predictions the falsification of which will overturn a mathematical theory” (Dummett, 2010, p. 3). Thus “the experimental method came to be seen as marking a radical difference between one mode of theoretical enquiry and another” (Dummett, 2010, p. 3), a point applying as clearly when differentiating philosophy from (natural) science as when making sense of mathematics (Dummett’s target). Further: … mathematics shares with philosophy a difficulty in saying what it is about. Mathematicians do not concern themselves to find any general answer to this question: it is for philosophers to say not only what, in general, philosophy is about, but also what, in general, mathematics is about. (Dummett, 2010, p. 5)

This may not help with an answer, but the question recognizes that philosophy is not an empirical discipline. Even those philosophers most impressed by science as a model for philosophy, such as Quine (“the metaphysician of twentieth-century science”: Hacker, 2013, p.  187), did not imagine philosophy making observations or conducting experiments of its own: at best, philosophy should “incorporate the discoveries of the sciences to build a naturalized theory of knowledge and of the mind” (Dummett, 2010, p. 7). With Dummett, I also reject the second part of this account of the project of science, arguing from our oft-quoted remark of Frege that causal concerns (characteristic of science) must be separated from the normative concerns generated by humans, and studied by much of philosophy.

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Notes 1. One should not be criticized for failing to address such questions, if the context does not require it. For humanistic contexts like ours would not be affected by the kinds of changes disputed by, say, scientists engaged in normal science as characterized by Kuhn (1970, p.  10), but only by changes to science on a huge scale (say, total rejection of atomic conceptions of matter). 2. Another broadly Kantian theme here: like Kant of the Critique of Pure Reason, I implicitly offer a primer for doing philosophy, although our directions diverge. 3. Frege [1893/1903] 2013, Volume II §56: p. 69: A definition of a concept … must be complete; it has to determine unambiguously for every object whether it falls under the concept or not. … A concept without sharp boundaries would correspond to a region that would not have a sharp borderline everywhere but would, in places, be completely blurred, merging with its surroundings. This would not be a region at all. But the required clarity can be achieved in other ways: against those who cannot see beyond only this model, Wittgenstein (PI §§65–67) offers some other models. Elaborating another alternative model, Wisdom (1965, p. 37) notes that: … no one of a horse’s legs suffices to keep him standing up, and at the blacksmith’s it is demonstrated that no leg is indispensable for his standing up, but of course this doesn’t mean that no horse stands up nor that he stands up on anything but his own legs. 4. Kant [1787] 1998, B 249–250: pp. 312–333: “causality leads to the concept of action … and thereby to the concept of substance”; and compare Strawson, 1997. 5. For Strawson (1966, p. 227), Kant too urges an “ideal of completeness and systematic unity in scientific explanation” [original italics]. See Kant [1787] 1998, A 678/B 706: p. 609. 6. Thus, Russell (1918, p. 150) wrote: The supreme maxim in scientific philosophizing is this: Wherever possible, logical constructions are to be substituted for inferred entities. The point, of course, is not this view’s (lack of) correctness, but that Russell took it to characterize the correct view of philosophy, one that “aims only at understanding the world and not directly at any other improvement of human life …” (Russell, 1918, p. 105). 7. Quine is a key figure here: see Hacker, 2013 for discussion.

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8. As Moore reports Wittgenstein observing, philosophy is rightly expected “to be independent of the special results of science—e.g. of the latest experiments on cod-fish or guinea-pigs” (M, p. 103). 9. In episode 124: “The PTA Disbands”, first broadcast on April 16, 1995. 10. Thus, even a causal account of “function”, developed on an etiological model (Wright, 1973, 1976, pp. 73–116) to allow functional explanation of acts and events, must permit a response here, once its detail is elaborated, making concrete how I must do such-and-such (repay the money): that is, acknowledging the inexorability of causation. See Chap. 2. 11. In this sense, agency draws on a nexus of practices: here, too, people “make their own history” (to adapt Marx [1869] 1973, p. 146): … but how they make history is to some extent determined by what tools and raw materials they can get access to and the range of imagined possibilities that economic, political and cultural circumstances suggest. (Sugden & Tomlinson, 2002, p. 16) And hence the sense in which human agency both creates and assumes such structures (compare McFee, 2002, p. 130). 12. Here, I imagine Frege adopting a position he acknowledges, at least sometimes: indeed, it offers one way to read consistently his intention “never to ask for the meaning of a word in isolation, but only in the context of a proposition” (Frege, [1884] 1953, p. xxii). In other places, he deviates radically from it (compare Travis, 2011, pp. 105–106). 13. So, granting truth to claims that seem exceptionless (even speaking of “all”, “never”, and so on) does not preclude some exception-bearing contexts. Thus, the claim that snow geese migrate to Labrador is true (if it is) even though some (the injured, the hunted) do not “get quite the whole way” (Austin, 1975, p. 144); see Chap. 7. 14. The story was also televised as “The Last Enemy”, an episode of the TV Series Inspector Morse, first aired in the UK on January 11, 1989. 15. For instance, New (1969, p. 159) complains that one distinction Austin draws “may be interesting in its own right, but it is not an accurate account of ordinary usage”. 16. Roughly, by failing to address the issues raised here or assuming (with little argument) inadequate responses to them. (Further problems arise when theorists who reject humanistic conceptions of personal action simultaneously deploy them: compare Montero, 2006, 2013.) 17. According to Moore, Wittgenstein (granting the similarity here) asked whether discussing the relation of pure mathematics to science was all of philosophy (M, p. 103).

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Bibliography Austin, J. L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Austin, J. L. (1979). Philosophical Papers (3rd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Ayer, A. J. (1973). The Central Questions of Philosophy. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Cartwright, N. (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Cavell, S. (1969/2002). Must We Mean What We Say? New  York: Scribner’s [Updated edn., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press]. Cavell, S. (2010). Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Churchland, P. S. (1986). Neuro-Philosophy: Towards a Unified Science of Mind-­ Brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT/Bradford. Descartes, R. (1974). Meditation One. In The Rationalists. New  York: Anchor Books. Descartes, R. (1984). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (3 Vols.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [cited as “CSM”]. Dexter, C. (1983). The Riddle of the Third Mile. London: Macmillan. Donagan, A. (1994). The Philosophical Papers of Alan Donagan (Volume 1): Historical Understanding and the History of Philosophy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dummett, M. (1993a). Origins of Analytic Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Dummett, M. (1993b). The Seas of Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Dummett, M. (2004). Truth and the Past. New York: Columbia University Press. Dummett, M. (2010). The Nature and Future of Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press. Forrester, J. (2017). Thinking in Cases. Cambridge: Polity. Frege, G. ([1884] 1953). The Foundations of Arithmetic (2nd edn., J. L. Austin, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. Frege, G. ([1893/1903] 2013). The Basic Laws of Arithmetic (P.  E. Ebert & M. Rossberg, Trans.). Oxford University Press. Frege, G. ([1918] 1984). Thoughts. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 351–372). Oxford: Blackwell. Frege, G. (1979). Posthumous Writings. Oxford: Blackwell. Hacker, P.  M. S. (2007). Human Nature: The Categorical Framework. Oxford: Blackwell. Hacker, P. M. S. (2013). Passing by the Naturalistic Turn: On Quine’s cul-de-sac. In Wittgenstein: Comparisons and Context (pp.  187–208). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hanfling, O. (2000). Philosophy and Ordinary Language: The Bent and Genius of Our Tongue. London: Routledge. Harrison, H., & Minsky, M. (1992). The Turing Option. London: Penguin Books.

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Jones, P. (2006). Ove Arup: Masterbuilder of the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Kant, I. ([1787] 1998). Critique of Pure Reason (P. Guyer & D. Wood, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd edn.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Margolis, J. (1966). Psychotherapy and Morality: A Study of Two Concepts. New York: Random House. Marx, K. ([1869] 1973). The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. In Surveys from Exile: Political Writings Volume Two. Harmondsworth: Penguin. McFee, G. (1993/1994). The Surface Grammar of Dreaming. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, XCIV, 95–115. McFee, G. (2002). It’s Not a Game: The Place of Philosophy in the Study of Sport. In J.  Sugden & A.  G. Tomlinson (Eds.), Power Games: A Critical Sociology of Sport (pp. 117–137). London: Routledge. McFee, G. (2004). Why Don’t Sports Psychologists Consider Freud? In M.  J. McNamee (Ed.), Philosophy and the Sciences of Exercise, Health and Sport (pp. 85–116). London: Routledge. McFee, G. (2010). Ethics, Knowledge and Truth in Sports Research: An Epistemology of Sport. London: Routledge. [cited as “EKT”]. McFee, G. (2015). How To Do Philosophy: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Wittgenstein. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Montero, B. (2006). Proprioception as an Aesthetic Sense. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 62, 231–242. Montero, B. (2013). The Artist as Critic: Dance Training, Neuroscience, and Aesthetic Evaluation. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 71(2), 169–175. Nagel, T. (1995). Other Minds: Critical Essays 1968–1994. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nagel, T. (1997). The Last Word. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nagel, T. (2010). Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament: Essays 2002–2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nagel, T. (2012). Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Oxford: Oxford University Press. New, C. G. (1969). A Plea for Linguistics. In K. T. Fann (Ed.), Symposium on J. L. Austin (pp. 148–165). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Nutt, A. E. (2015). Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. New York: Random House. Passmore, J. (1966). A Hundred Years of Philosophy (Expanded edn.). Harmondsworth: Penguin. Putnam, H. (2012).  Philosophy in an Age of Science (M. D. Caro & D. Macarthur, Ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

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Russell, B. (1918). Mysticism and Logic. London: George Allen & Unwin. Russell, B. (1919). Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin. Ryle, G. ([1953] 1971). Ordinary Language. In Collected Essays: Collected Papers Volume Two (pp. 314–331). London: Hutchinson. [Reprinted]. Schulte, J. (2016). Seeing Aspects and Telling Stories About It. In G. Kemp & G.  M. Mras (Eds.), Wollheim, Wittgenstein, and Pictorial Representation: Seeing-as and Seeing-in (pp. 37–48). Abingdon: Routledge. Searle, J. (1969). Speech Acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sellars, W. (1963/1991). Science, Perception & Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing. [cited as “SPR”]. Sellars, W. (1968). Science and Metaphysics: Variations on Kantian Themes. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Strawson, P. F. (1966). The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. London: Methuen. Strawson, P.  F. (1997). Kant on Substance. In Entity and Identity, and Other Essays (pp. 268–279). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Sugden, J., & Tomlinson, A.  G. (2002). Theory and Methods for a Critical Sociology of Sport. In J. Sugden & A. G. Tomlinson (Eds.), Power Games: A Critical Sociology of Sport (pp. 3–21). London: Routledge. Toulmin, S. (1972). Human Understanding (Volume One). Oxford: Clarendon. Travis, C. (2008). Occasion-Sensitivity: Selected Essays. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Travis, C. (2011). Objectivity and the Parochial. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Vendler, Z. (1967). Linguistics in Philosophy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Wilkerson, T.  E. (1998). Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: A Commentary for Students (Rev. edn.). Bristol: Thoemmes Press. Williams, B. (1982). Problems of the Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Williams, B. (2006). Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Wisdom, J. (1965). Paradox and Discovery. Oxford: Blackwell. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G.  E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. [cited as “PI”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1958). The Blue and Brown Books. Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “BB”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1967). Zettel. Oxford: Blackwell. (cited as “Z”). Wittgenstein, L. (1978). Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics (3rd ed., G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “RFM”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1993). Philosophical Occasions 1912–1951 (J.  Klagge & A.  Nordmann, Eds.). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. [cited as “PO”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2005). The Big Typescript: Ts 213 (C.  G. Luckhardt & M.  A. E. Aue, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “BT”].

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Wittgenstein, L. (2016). Lectures, Cambridge 1930–1933: From Notes of G.  E. Moore (D. G. Stern, B. Rogers, & G. Citron, Eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [cited as “M”]. Wittgenstein, L., & Waismann, F. (2003). The Voices of Wittgenstein (G.  Baker, Ed.). London: Routledge. [cited as “VoW”]. Wright, L. (1973). Functions. Philosophical Review, 82(2), 139–168. Wright, L. (1976). Teleological Explanations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

CHAPTER 2

Persons as Agents: The Possibility of Genuine Action

1   Introduction: The “Free Will” Issue On our account of persons, especially of their importance for the possibility of philosophy, persons must be agents, able to initiate activity in the sublunary world. For only that could justify their responsibility (and hence their responsibility for meaning). Consideration of such agency, or “free will”, does not directly concern what can be willed (or wanted); and should recognize from the start that circumstances can affect what actions can realistically be chosen: hence, as not completely open or free. Instead, our default position involves humans (us) who think ourselves able to attend to a philosophical presentation, perhaps reading it (which involves turning the pages), and understanding it (to whatever degree), as well as evaluating its argumentative potential. Thus, since our responsibility is invoked, we must be predisposed to free will defences of the sort permitting the truth of such claims about agency. But is this possible? Are there not philosophical objections to just this possibility? Any discussion of human agency must respect the explanatory power of science: laws of science seem to operate exceptionlessly over objects and events, whose material construction is like our own (give or take some comments about complexity). This concession seems to support the hierarchical picture of “contemporary research in molecular biology … [as] dependent only on the laws of chemistry and physics” (Nagel, 2012, p. 7), especially when, as Nagel (2012, p.  7) rightly continues,

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“almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science”.1 But how can due weight be given to the achievement of science, and to the scope of scientific explanation of sublunary events (events here and now), without that achievement automatically swamping the possibility of human agency; and, with it, human responsibility? It seems unrealistic to deny these powers to science; yet, with science explaining so much, how is there logical space for explanation in terms of intentions, reasons, and choices? For nothing sublunary seems to escape science’s explanatory power. And attempts to deny our physicality by appeal to some “backstage artiste”, as Austin (1975, p. 10) puts it, cannot escape scientific explanation while offering satisfactory answers to questions concerning choice or responsibility. But also, when discussing action, pictures of causality from (especially) neuroscience must not hold us captive. Two related considerations are especially pressing here. The first generates our ‘default position’ above: if ‘the world’ is indeed explicable without remainder through causal accounts in natural science, it becomes hard to locate the intellectual virtues philosophy stresses. The mind or consciousness has no obvious place in such an account; and panpsychism (“the view that the basic physical constituents of the universe have mental properties, whether or not they are parts of living organisms”: Nagel, 1979, p. 181) cannot be an attractive option, even supposing it was no worse than other accounts of how consciousness relates to the physical.2 Second, granting that all events are completely explicable causally in this way seems to preclude the normativity that grounds human life as ordinarily understood—on the face of it, not only would responsibility for one’s actions (and hence morality) disappear, but also the difference between saying something (which can misfire) and merely making sounds. As we have seen, meaning too depends on the possibility of a normativity created by humans, nonetheless real for that. Moreover, one cannot simply postulate agent-causation as still clearly causation yet somehow different from our usual picture of causality as event-causation (say, for the weather, for technical difficulties with cars not starting, and for science). After all, those agents’ behaviours are themselves events, with causal antecedents; or so it seems. And the original project (see Sect. 8 below) attempted to explain the differences between events that do and those that do not involve agency (“actions”). But such a proposed contrast between two kinds of causality amounts to just re-­ describing the problem. So, this proposal can be set aside.

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2   Setting the Scene Put no doubt over-simply, but not inaccurately, standard responses to the problem of locating the general possibility of human agency—sometimes called metaphysical freedom3—traditionally either (first) urge that such agency is incompatible with accepting universal causation or, instead (and second), try to explain how freedom of action is compatible with such causation. The first position yields both those (typically called “libertarians”) who urge that, since there is metaphysical freedom (they claim), it is somehow counter-causal, as well as those (here called “determinists”: see Sect. 3 below) who argue from universal causality to the impossibility of (free) action, and hence of responsibility, rejecting the very idea of the counter-causal. Then debates on this first position turn on whether there are counter-causal events (to count as genuine actions) or, again, whether accounts of causality can avoid determinist consequences. By contrast, the second position yields compatibilist or reconciliationist accounts. Then debates typically concern whether granting freedom of action thereby achieves enough, since universal causality is implicit in, say, the project of natural science: if bodily movements all result from electrochemical changes in the brain, central nervous system, musculature, and such like, can there still be action, with its associated responsibility? For success, then, positive views here must distinguish what causality implies from what responsibility requires. A straightforward resolution is unlikely, given the twin pillars upon which this debate stands. For the causalist insight behind the project of natural science can scarcely be denied, with its recognition that humans too are composed of just that matter to which the laws of science apply—that must be granted even were human responsibility conceded. But, equally, the freewill-defender’s insight that much of our lives would be nonsensical without responsibility seems equally secure: indeed, one cannot assert, or urge, the positions sketched above unless humans are agents (capable of asserting, and meaning what they say). And, throughout, this work takes agency (with its connections to meaning and normativity) as a prerequisite for philosophical investigation. There seems no plausible ‘middle way’ between over-weaning causalist accounts and outright counter-­causalism. Hence, a ‘resolution’ here must somehow reject the problem. So, the alternative strategy offered here urges the centrality to the whole issue of the determinist argument: its picture of causality poses starkly the contrasts just mentioned. Then, since the issue depends directly on the determinist argument and indirectly on its picture of causality, our

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strategy focuses on rejecting that argument. Displacing somehow the determinist argument (and its attendant picture) dissolves the problem as classically conceived (and hence the classically conceived alternatives listed earlier), thereby returning us to our common-sense commitment to ourselves as agents, at least in typical cases.

3   What Is Determinism? What is it for one thing to cause another in the sense relevant to this debate, given that in English the word “cause” is used in many ways? Here, simple cases sketch a model for causality, or causal explanation, of the kind relevant (the kind from scientific explanation apparently posing problems for the possibility of agency: see Sect. 4). For, as in Chap. 1, one datum here should require that any adequate explanatory schema cover, say, my having a hundred dollars in my bank account (for this being true), such that I will repay the money I owe you, where it is not reducible to some statistical ‘trends and tendencies’ about my likely behaviour (compare Chap. 5, Sect. 2); another datum will be our commitment to the dictum that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). Accommodating both of these might suggest contrasting the scientific image of humankind with its manifest image (Sellars, SPR, pp. 1–40: see Chap. 1, Sect. 6; Chap. 9, Sects. 5 and 6). First, though, what should one call those who conclude, on the basis of philosophical argument, that genuine agency or action is impossible? The required terminology should explicitly recognize such theorists’ positions as philosophical; hence, I call them “determinists”. By contrast, simply accepting that every event has a cause and drawing no conclusion makes no move in philosophy. The designation (above) of such players as, say, “causalists” reflects that their commitment is only to universal causation. Moreover, as noted in Chap. 1, one tendency here is reductivist: that actions, say, are nothing but the bodily movements, since ordinary mental states like thought, feeling, sensation, or desire are just physical properties of the organism (compare Nagel, 1979, p. 181). Further, this tendency, if derived just from granting both our material composition and the completeness of scientific explanation, may recur even in (say) denials of an explicit psychophysical reductionism (contrast Sect. 7 below). Then the determinism argument runs roughly from “Every event has a cause”; through “Actions are a kind of event”; to the idea of causal necessity, understood as claiming that every action which actually is performed

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has to be performed, given the antecedent state of the world (the “cause” above); thence to the conclusion that the explaining of events in terms of reasons, which requires people choosing to do this or that (“for a reason”) should be discarded as empty—we cannot do otherwise than we do, given those causal antecedents (that is, the antecedent state of the world). We are governed by causal necessity. So: no responsibility, no choice (compare FW, pp. 21–22). Moreover, since determinism is the philosophical thesis that there is no genuine agency—not merely the endorsement of universal causality—this argument does not simply address limitations (especially in practice) to this or that range of action. Rather, reflecting its abstract nature, it rejects the very possibility of action, or choice, or responsibility. Seen one way, then, a picture here drives both a characteristic account of causality, as explicated via the determinist argument, and a view of that argument’s scope. And, on our account (recall), determinism is a philosophical thesis.

4   Determinism as an Issue for Philosophy Now, two related questions arise (perhaps, two formulations of the same question): first, for whom is this “free will” issue really an issue? My answer is: for philosophers. Second, why only an issue for philosophers? Because philosophers are required to follow arguments where those arguments lead. For, among its business, philosophy confronts abstract arguments (like the determinist argument); and investigates claims in as full a generality as they permit. Hence our problem only arises for those groups professionally obliged to address such abstract argumentation. So, while traditionally presented as puzzling for others, such as lawyers and psychologists, and regularly introduced to (say) students in that way, the philosophical issue concerning the possibility of genuine agency is actually only a scandal for philosophy, to borrow an expression from Kant ([1787] 1998 B xxxxix: p. 141 note), not more generally. Hence, the free will issue is “for philosophers” because they—unlike their colleagues in law or psychology—must confront directly the determinist argument and its supposed consequences. For only a plausible argument for a philosophical position denying the possibility of genuine action can generate the problem (or perplexity) here called ­“determinism”. Then the issue’s power for philosophy originates with the power of the determinist argument (or of the picture sustaining it). Now, perhaps, all

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who deploy intellectual resources should consider abstract arguments taken to their (logical) extremes. But, however that concern unfolds, this clearly is one task (“a scandal”) for philosophy. Addressing the scope of worries about the freedom of action from a first-­ person perspective clarifies this apparently puzzling conclusion. For even if Clarence Darrow sometimes argues that his clients are not free agents in the philosophical sense, such that, in the peculiar situations of the lives of his clients in the Leopold and Loeb case (which provided the basis for Hitchcock’s film Rope [1948]), nothing but their behaviour was a possible outcome, he cannot really apply such thoughts to himself. Perhaps they could not behave other than they did, given those circumstances: but, when considering his own behaviour, Darrow surely sees himself as uncontentiously choosing, say, to organize his defence of them, constructing speeches in that direction. Certainly, he regards such choices as within his gift. So, from his own perspective, Darrow’s seeming actions are not devoid of responsibility, as they would be if its causal history entailed that behaviour, so that it did not constitute genuine action—as he seems to claim for the behaviour of his clients, Leopold and Loeb, in saying that “any one of an infinite number of causes reaching back to the beginning might be working out in these boys’ minds” (see FW, p. 142), and concluding that therefore they are not responsible! Instead, what Darrow himself does counts—for him as for us—as behaviour for which he was responsible: hence, these were (at least broadly) genuine actions. Further, there is no reason to suppose he is disingenuous or inconsistent in this characterization, not least because such descriptions also present events (say, of his saying or asserting something) from an action-perspective—he takes the praise (and doubtless the money) that follows from winning the case. But how could he win (or lose) if all his behaviour has the same logical status as, say, the unfolding of gravitational forces? Clearly, he could not— any more than apple trees win when their fruit falls. Consider again4 Homer Simpson’s comment when his daughter Lisa invents a perpetual motion machine: “In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”. The joke works precisely because the laws of thermodynamics are not normative laws, typified by traffic regulations, determining what ought to happen; with agency required to act in accordance with the law (and for that reason); and hence that could be broken. Instead, thermodynamics offers exceptionless description of the kind that could not count as laws at all, if there were exceptions.

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At least sometimes, B. F. Skinner makes broadly the same assumptions as Darrow. For example, when Skinner (1979, p. 24) writes that, “[t]he environment can be manipulated” (my emphasis), who will be doing this “manipulation”, if not our scientist? And, although Skinner (1953, pp. 115–116) suggests one should “drop the notion of responsibility altogether”, his own investigations (and those of other scientists) are discussed in terms of agency; for instance, writing: We first study the height at which the head [of the pigeon] is normally held and select some line on the scale which is reached only infrequently. Keeping our eye on the scale we then begin to open the food tray very quickly whenever the head rises above that line. (Skinner, 1953, pp. 63–64: my emphases)

Clearly, the terms “study”, “select”, and “open” here describe normal actions and, since Skinner is here elaborating methodology, represent praiseworthy investigative strategies. So, even if his pigeon experiments modelled the behaviour of the rest of humanity, Skinner presents his own behaviour as more insightful. And, of course, genuine insight here assumes just those possibilities of choice indicative of agency. Thus, psychologists such as Skinner, while writing as though their theories denied genuine (human) agency to the world, certainly exempted themselves. Like Darrow, they may speak as though endorsing the determinist conclusion—as though we were all exempt from any praise or blame— but certainly cannot consistently endorse it in its full generality. In particular, like lawyers, they take the praise (or blame) and the money (say, in grants)! In such cases, with the practitioner’s perspective factored in, this cannot be the general, abstract issue it may seem. Despite appearances to the contrary, problematizing the possibility of genuine action (“freedom of the will”) requires more than simply acknowledging the causality that accompanies recognizing that we humans are composed of biochemistry: that we are, in a sense, sacks of chemicals, with a correspondingly causal explanation of changes.5 So, in reality, disciplinary matrices,6 such as law or psychology, offer no pressure to reject whole-heartedly the possibility of action or agency. Then the possibility of agency only poses a (real) problem for philosophy: that is, for those adopting the picture (especially of causality) that philosophy can generate. Yet, even for philosophy, that problem is not in fact enduring. The determinist argument may raise the issue for philosophy, since (to repeat) consideration of such arguments is the legitimate

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business of philosophy. Others, such as O’Connor (1971, p.  12), have urged that some version of that argument is valid (that the truth of its premises would guarantee its conclusion): yet, that need not concern us here. For that argument is not sound (or so I urge): that, in the crucial context at least, one of its premises (properly understood) is false in its full generality—that is, as it applied to much human action. Only when extended too far (as here) does the picture embodied in that premise become perplexing; and that key premise introduces causal necessity. This notion requires some attention, as it is not transparent.7 One grants causal necessity in urging that, if a decrease in temperature caused the rainstorm on Tuesday, then a similar decrease in temperature on Wednesday would lead to a similar rainstorm, at least were other conditions the same: that is, ceteris paribus. Moreover, if no rainstorm occurred on that Wednesday, then some other condition must be different. So, causal necessity amounts to urging that, if A caused B on one occasion, and yet another occurrence of A did not lead to a corresponding B, then the presence or absence of some other factor, C, must be invoked to explain why. That is, A (alone) did not cause B: rather, that cause was (say) “A in the context of C”. A simple example elaborates these three plausible ‘intuitions’ about causality here. Suppose that on a pool table, on Monday, one ball (the cue-­ ball) strikes another, and the second ball (the object-ball) falls into a pocket. Now if, on Tuesday, the balls are in precisely the same configuration (cue-ball moving as on Monday, object-ball positioned as it was), the object-ball will again fall into the pocket. But confidence in our prediction about the object-ball’s behaviour evaporates once the situation is no longer obviously the same as on Monday. Perhaps, in rebuilding the pool  table overnight, the engineers gave the table a slope, say; or corrected a slope from the previous day. Either change would defeat our prediction. So, without knowing that such things have not happened, one must rightly withhold assent from the claim that the same thing will happen on Tuesday as happened on Monday—the situation is different (although, to anticipate, perhaps not relevantly different). Moreover, regaining our confidence here involves checking that all important features of the situation are unchanged (checking all potential defeaters). Thus, our prediction remains unaltered with blue baize now instead of green, if other characteristics of the baize are the same. Yet, which ­features are important? Full confidence depends on checking every feature of the initial situation (Monday) and finding it unchanged, or not relevantly changed. (But what exactly are the features of that situation; and how does one check on them all?) Then, when the object-ball does not fall

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into the pocket, we know that something is different—or some number of things. (Of course, even slight deviations in the situation leads to …? At the least, our confidence in repeating the previous outcome is weakened.) Summarizing such considerations offers the following simplified model for features of causality: • If the exact situation occurs on two occasions, there will be the same outcome (same situation, same outcome). • When the situation is not exactly the same, there is (at most) no reason to assume the same outcome will result—the differences might preclude it; further, if we know only that the situation is different, we cannot be sure of the outcome here, one way or the other (different situation, uncertain outcome). • A different outcome, in what seemed exactly the same situation, must reflect differences in the initial situation (broadly conceived), even if they went unnoticed (different outcome, different situation). Our simplified picture depicts exceptionless causality8: that is what causal necessity amounts to. It implicitly assumes a finite totality of factors for consideration, with confidence in the outcome justified only if all the factors—or, anyway, all the relevant factors—are the same. And all factors must be addressed to ascertain which are relevant. Then, since the “every” in “every event has a cause”—and any corresponding “all”—implies a finite totality (such that all relevant features could be considered), one could arrive at “every-minus-two”, and then “every-minus-one”, and finally “every”—with parallel processes for “all”. Moreover, the outcome in certain circumstances cannot be an open question, especially when what happened previously in relevantly similar circumstances is known. Thus, whether on a particular occasion my car will start when the ignition-key is turned cannot be open: it is fixed by the working-out of causal forces. Urging that the question was open both runs counter to modern commitments to science and is plain absurd.9 Hence the causal necessity in the determinist argument actually takes that antecedent state of the world as causally sufficient for the outcome: given the exact state of the world, one (and only one) outcome was possible. At this stage, a further consideration must be put aside. Someone unduly impressed with quantum physics might urge that uncertainty considerations here are sufficient to set aside such a picture of causal sufficiency. This is a red herring: as Harris (2012, p. 5) urges, when explaining his claim that ideas of free action “cannot be made conceptually coherent”:

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[e]ither our wills are determined by prior causes and [therefore] we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and [therefore] we are not responsible for them. [my inserts]

Certainly, I cannot be responsible for what happens by chance! To put that point evocatively, “[i]f human behaviour were at the mercy of a brain subject to the fortuitous wanderings of electrons, then we would all live in a constant state of terror, not knowing what these jumping electrons would drive us to next” (Capaldi, 1966, p. 284). Since our desired outcome is responsibility, the implicitly cause-related contribution to what occurred (“I did it!”) means that probabilistic or chance-based models cannot replace the determinist’s causal sufficiency10: they cannot save what is required. Further, the statistical treatment appropriate to quantum mechanics does not imply any corresponding indeterminacy at the macroscopic level of, say, human behaviour.

5   Causality and Exceptionlessness Then what is wrong with that determinist argument? As we saw, the conception of inexorable causal necessity it requires belongs to the ‘dazzling image’ of science. But, the exceptionlessness of causation of kinds characteristic in natural science is only guaranteed when, in effect, we specify that causation as exceptionless, importing a conception of events in which all relevant factors could be considered (in principle), on a model of controlling for the variables in experiments in natural science, the ceteris paribus clause setting others aside.11 Hence, such an all is assumed—a finite totality of explanatory factors. Only then could one ensure that nothing would upset any conclusion drawn; or, at least, support such a conclusion by appeal to a ceteris paribus clause, even though one does not—and cannot—know which cetera (“other things”) must be paria (“equal”). Therefore, the determinist argument will only be sound when such a ceteris paribus structure can be assumed, to ground the causal necessity that argument requires. (For any cases where that is not true, our determinist conclusions should be set aside: see Sect. 6.) Yet, even in natural scientific cases, there will only be a finite totality of relevant considerations when we make it so—that is the force here of the ceteris paribus clause! It imports the assumption both of some finite totality of features (such that all could be considered, in principle) and of a

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clear sense of what should be considered, thus permitting us to imagine that all relevant factors either were considered or remain unchanged, by setting aside any not addressed. Here, one might instead follow Mumford and Anjum (2011, p. vii) such that, although “[t]he world is a messy place”, theories dealing with it should not be messy. Then the familiar phenomenon of salt (sodium chloride) only dissolving in water ceteris paribus is taken to show that: … the attribution [of causality] is dispositional: salt disposes towards dissolving in those circumstances but it is not necessary that it does so. (Mumford & Anjum, 2011, p. 167)

For, of course, various other factors, such as temperature and pressure, as well as the proportion of salt already dissolved in that water, affect the salt’s dissolving or not. Hence, it is not true of every teaspoonful of salt, added to a glass of water, that it will dissolve in the water. Hence, a “messy world” here means one in which inanimate objects, such as heaps of salt, have dispositions to behave in certain ways. Then, for Mumford and Anjum at least, “theory” should be comparatively straightforward: salt’s dissolving is just such a disposition. Or, more generally, they identify “the dispositional character of causes” (Mumford & Anjum, 2011, p. 167). In particular, their “tendential theory” seems to contain no suggestion of necessity. In effect, this “theory” simply re-describes the event to accommodate details of the case: the salt sometimes dissolves; and when it does not, factors that precluded its doing so in this case can typically be located. Moreover, those factors themselves operate causally. So, there is no suggestion here that, say, a variety of outcomes is possible in that particular circumstance: no, in that circumstance, one and only one outcome is possible. Hence there is a certain inexorability here. But the dispositional theory of causes reminds us that, in effect, there is no exceptionless uniformity here: the thought that “salt dissolves in water” cannot be read to mean, “every teaspoonful of salt will always dissolve when immersed in any glassful of water”. And the explanation offered lies with the messiness of the world. Instead, the issue is really located in our explanatory powers: there are occasions when causation is rightly regarded as exceptionless—and then one has causal necessity of a kind. (And, pace Mumford & Anjum [2011, p. 166],

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this is not treating induction as though it were deduction: Strawson [1952, pp. 248–260] rightly set aside expecting inductive inferences to behave like deductive ones.) Thus, as previously, my expectation of my car’s engine starting when the ignition-key is turned on a particular morning derives both from inductive evidence of its having done so in the past (when nothing seems changed) and from my conviction that in a particular circumstance—say, the one yesterday morning—that, and only that, could be the outcome. Hence, if there were another outcome (the engine did not start), something must be different. Of course, my version effectively introduces ceteris paribus clauses since “a causal relation can be prevented”, as Anscombe and Geach (1961, p. 102) recognized, and Mumford and Anjum (2011, p. 167) repeat. That form of words is revealing when we say why the causal relation originally projected failed (“water under the distributor cap”), thereby showing the causal story behind its failure. But, equally, that form of words can mislead in seeming to suggest that we might have checked for any “preventers” or “interferers”, had we only been more scrupulous; for only with some finite totality of potential “preventers” or “interferers” for any causal interaction could the possibility of such preventing or interfering have been excluded. Yet that is what generates the difficulty with understanding ceteris paribus clauses: unlike alchemy,12 natural science requires exceptionless causality, such that finding a different outcome to an experiment on the second occasion entitles one to infer that something—or some set of somethings—was different on that occasion, as against the first. Here, the world is not really messy: if only we could find the factors that made the difference here, functioning as preventers or interferers in this case, there would be reliable causal explanations—with all the preventers identified, and excluded, one’s causal relations could approximate law-likeness. As the expressions “preventer”, “interferer” suggest, this model rightly accepts “operating smoothly unless …”, even when the specific interferers today are unknown. Further, natural science (especially its applied version, such as engineering) requires a kind of exceptionlessness: from the perspective of such science, the world cannot really be messy; and rightly so. Then, if these preventing or interfering factors are not (or cannot be) known, one way forward will exclude them via ceteris paribus clauses. Moreover, since one’s causal relations approximate law-likeness only with all the preventers set aside, attending to their failures often allows identification of the preventer or preventers making the difference in this

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case—hence the evocative characterization of such causes as difference-­ makers (compare Mumford & Anjum, 2014, p. 51). Why is the case today simply not the same as that yesterday? What made the difference here? Thus, as previously, the water under the distributor cap caused the break-­ down of the usual causal regularity whereby turning my car’s ignition-key caused its engine to start: this water under the distributor cap made the difference. Yet, in reality, the whole context is crucial, although we do not (typically) expect to tell the whole story of the causal nexus—perhaps implicitly conceding that there is no whole story—but only to identify the crucial part of this case. For there simply is no finite totality of such candidate preventers.13 But, even while granting there is no finite totality of relevant preventers or interferers, natural science behaves as though there were (FW, pp. 121–123), while rightly supplying the terms to understand appropriately much of our causal world (say, cars’ behaviour). Thus, however much we curse the behaviour of our computers, this just resembles cursing the dog: the dog’s behaviour is not suitable for normative critique—rather, it is just being a dog! Similarly, the computer suffers from faulty parts, software glitches, or operator error: its ‘misbehaviour’ is explained causally. Of course, the expression “causal necessity” is potentially misleading here: causes are contingent, open to discovery by (say) the relevant sciences. Hence, in reality, anything could cause anything, except where the cause is specified in the effect—genuine footprints in the sand must result from feet! So, there is no real necessity here; but there is an inexorability. Thus, if in general hydrochloric acid dissolves zinc, when this piece of zinc is placed in this bath of hydrochloric acid … well, we cannot be sure the zinc will dissolve, as preventers or interferers may be present. But, first, we might reasonably expect that zinc to dissolve; and, second, we are sure of the inevitability of whatever is the outcome, given the proportions of the various constituents, and such like. It is all a matter of the components and their quantities, of the physics and chemistry, and such like. The thought, then, is that—in that precise situation—this, and only this, is a possible outcome (as noted above). Hence, were exactly those constituents in that same situation again (per impossibile), the same outcome would also recur. We refer to this inexorability when speaking of “causal necessity”. None of this suggests the world is messy, although it does suggest circumstances where different questions, and hence different answers, are appropriate. To recycle an example, viewing my car as a hot-rod might

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invite one set of questions, while viewing it as a custom car invites another set (FW, pp.  119–20). Then, giving ‘hot-rod’ answers to ‘custom-car’ questions will be inappropriate—but will it be false? Our best answer echoes Austin (1975, p. 143): In real life, as opposed to the simple situations envisaged in logical theory, one cannot always answer in a simple manner whether it is true or false.

And, as Austin recognizes, the difficulty arises because one finds oneself in a new situation, where what is true is “only a general dimension of being a right or proper thing to say as opposed to a wrong thing, in these circumstances, to this audience, for these purposes and with these intentions” (Austin, 1975, p. 145). Perhaps, here, “[d]ifferent approaches are useful for different purposes: they complement rather than compete” (Cartwright, 1983, p. 81). Still, once the appropriate context is located, thereby identifying the question at issue, determinate answers can typically be expected. And the sharpest cases here involve erotetic contexts (like those of natural science) where ceteris paribus clauses are assumed or invoked. Moreover, our warrant in predicting future events on the basis of past (and present) ones runs only to the degree that the future resembles the past (and present). But how should that thought be applied? In what features or respects should the past (and present) resemble the future? Our first two answers might be: “in relevant respects” (for then we have relevantly the same situation); or, “in all respects” (for then we have exactly the same situation). But both answers are unhelpful. For, which respects are relevant? Relevant in what way? And how is such relevance to be determined? (Typical cases in natural science can draw on theory to answer to these questions.) Or, if referring to all respects, how can we be sure we have got them all? For natural science, ceteris paribus clauses answer such questions. Thus, science does provide causal necessity, but only for science. But, as we saw, the determinist argument (or something like it) would offer the only basis for philosophers to urge a logical bar to the possibility of genuine action; and that argument assumes causal necessity. Then, with the general claim to such a logical bar set aside, one can explain treating as importantly different (from the rest of us) those persons for whom causal explanation seems most pertinent—such as the kleptomaniac (FW, p.  8 [and passim]): ex hypothesi, they lack our capacity for choice. That still recognizes the explanatory power of science (as before): in its domain,

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with causal necessity assumed and ceteris paribus clauses deployed, it operates exceptionlessly. Hence, two assumptions (noted above) are thereby imported: some finite totality of such features (such that all were considered) and a clear sense of what is or is not relevant. In natural science, ceteris paribus clauses guarantee the first of these (compare Dummett, 2006, pp.  86–87), while theory (or our complete enumeration) might provide the second. Such a picture gives the (false) impression both that what is and is not relevant (and why) is understood, and that some finite list of features should be considered. Only adherence to the ceteris paribus idea makes such assumptions plausible here: further, elaborating causal regularities completely here requires appeal to ceteris paribus.

6   Causality and Agency When one turns to human action, neither of the assumptions noted above is safe (in the legal sense): to repeat, one cannot even know what cetera should be paria—so this case differs radically from that in (natural) science. For natural science, with a pool cue-ball travelling at exactly the same speed and in the same direction on Tuesday as it was on Monday, and with the other balls in the same position and with nothing else changed, the same thing must happen on Tuesday as happened on Monday—say, the object-ball will be pocketed. Should this not happen, there must be some difference after all (contrary to my original assertion). We specify, on the basis of theory, that certain factors can be ignored; we control for such factors where we can, ‘handling’ the rest with our ceteris paribus assumption. Further, this device does not involve checking which ‘things’ are ‘equal’. Instead, we specify that any differences can be put aside as irrelevant. But claiming exactly the same situation for human beings in social settings is problematic. The context-sensitive reasons and choices important to characterizing and explaining human actions undermine the very commitment to ceteris paribus clauses built into the ‘natural-science’ picture of causal necessity, rejecting the thought that explanatory factors here constitute a finite totality. Hence the human world lacks precisely the kind of specificity required above. Suppose the sport in our picture is snooker, not pool, with the shot on Tuesday (like that on Monday) played by former World Snooker Champion John Higgins (to replicate the situation). Further, Higgins has neither been injured nor damaged his snooker cue in the meantime. But, while it made sense to think of exactly the same things

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being in place on the table, and so on, that makes no sense with a person, John Higgins, in the story. First, he cannot be in exactly the situation on Tuesday that he was on Monday—if for no other reason than that, on Monday, he had not potted that ball! He cannot return to his previous state. In fact, we cannot even know where to start looking. Has he had exactly the same meals? Even if he sampled the same menu-items from his favourite Chinese restaurant on both occasions (itself unlikely), he has not eaten the very same food. Or perhaps a vital conversation on Monday evening changes his motivation, say. And so on, for every feature of his life. But, if just one person’s involvement precludes clear replication, with a set of relatively closed action-skills (moreover, skills of which he is a master), how much less likely is it when more persons, more situations, and the like, are involved? More specifically, that Queen Elizabeth of England can name ships, and I cannot, is not explained by her greater capacity to hold and release champagne bottles, nor our relative abilities at certain vocalizations. Our differences are contextual. Hence any account that could do justice to normativity (or to misfires of this sort) cannot be solely causal, on the account of exceptionless causality sketched when characterizing determinism. So ‘causality’ with persons must be differently conceived: the assumption of a finite totality of factors must be given up; and, with it, the picture that produces (or permits) causal necessity. Then, when claiming (truly) that “action A caused action B”, there are always cases that (if they occurred) upset the claimed outcome: that claim is not exceptionless, and hence cannot be a “law” of the kind in natural science. Moreover, one cannot check for such exception-generating cases since, among other things, the (potentially) relevant factors cannot be enumerated—there is no finite totality: if they cannot be enumerated, one obviously cannot check them all. So, for actions, “A causes B” above cannot mean that, in every circumstance, A will be followed by B—unless it is made to mean that (as happens in natural science). Of course, we recognized above that there is no such finite totality in natural science, either: there, the ‘gap’ is legislated away with the (actual or implied) ceteris paribus clause. Yet, that seems plausible because—while we do not know all of the things relevant in science (there being no all: no finite totality)—the kinds of scientific investigation involved at least localize the factors relevantly considered. Thus, the position of the moon is relevant in investigating tides, but not in analysing some runner’s gait. The moon’s gravitational effect, although granted in that case is, if not

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exactly irrelevant perhaps, is not significant either. Similarly, some experiments require a Faraday cage to isolate experimenters from the earth’s electro-magnetic field; but others can simply ignore such effects, without compromising their results. These inclusions or exclusions are guided by theory; and all are weighed for relevance as factors within that branch of science. A similar point applies to human actions. No doubt Harris (2012, p. 4) is right when—referring to a notorious killer—he comments: I cannot take credit for the fact that I do not have the soul of a psychopath. If I had truly been in Komisarjevsky’s shoes on July 23, 2007—that is, if I had his genes and life experience and an identical brain (or soul) in an identical state—I would have acted as he did.

But that conclusion is guaranteed by the strong reading given to identical (and other such ideas) here.14 For, as above, if some other behaviour then occurred, one would infer that—after all, despite appearances to the contrary—there must be some differences: “[t]here is simply no intellectually responsible position from which to deny this” (Harris, 2012, p.  4), so long as one’s account of causality is the exceptionless one sketched above (Sect. 4). But what grounds this commitment to exceptionless causation? Why insist that the causality here must be exceptionless? Perhaps for no reason other than its model in scientific causation: there, it is made so by fiat, thereby importing a picture (developed above) of the inexorability of causation. Hence, statistical or stochastic causation (“Smoking causes lung cancer”—but not alone and not in every case) becomes just a kind of ‘second-class’ exceptionless causation (“exceptionless causation plus ignorance”?). Revealingly, J.  R. Lucas (1970, p.  12) characterized the position of (some) philosophers here as using “the word ‘free’ … to say of [certain] actions that no complete causal account can be given of them”. For such completeness here requires just the sorts of exceptionlessness achieved via ceteris paribus assumptions. Then the determinist argument (mentioned in Sect. 3 above) cannot go through without qualification: a key premise of that argument, in importing the causal necessity, incorporates an assumption (namely, a ceteris paribus assumption, or something similar) justified only when doing natural science. That assumption is not sustainable where consideration of (human) action or choice is invoked (as in the determinist

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argument), if only to be rejected. My terminological decision helps make this plain: for me, a determinist must argue from universal causation to the impossibility both of genuine action and (hence) of genuine responsibility. Hence the determinist thesis—in appealing to such a picture (and only powerful with such an appeal)—should be rejected because (roughly) it assumes two contrasting sets of background conditions: those of natural science for its introduction, and deployment, of causal necessity; and, for its conclusion, those of human action where talk of “free will” typically reflects lack of compulsion, rather than the absence of (complete) causal explanation. These two background conceptions cannot be conjoined, since they depend on competing presuppositions. Then, the picture of natural science just described, while true there, is implicitly made true (or specified as true), ultimately, through ceteris paribus clauses, thereby specifying as irrelevant any areas of variation not covered in the process of controlling for variables (say, in an experiment). Granting in this way the force of natural-scientific conclusions highlights what the determinist gets right: no counter-causal account will be plausible; and natural science need not consider general contextual matters—in effect, a simplifying assumption is introduced to constrain the scope of questions to those pertinent to the context of natural-scientific investigations.

7   On Davidson’s Anomalous Monism Given the widespread interest in Davidson’s anomalous monism, our view—which, to some, it might resemble—is usefully contrasted with Davidson’s, whereby it is not true “that mental phenomena can be given purely physical explanations” (Davidson, 1980, p.  214), although “all events are physical”. This view purports to follow from three further “principles” (Davidson, 1980, p. 208): • “that all mental events ultimately, perhaps through causal relations with other mental events, have causal intercourse with physical events”; • “that where there is causality, there must be a law: events related as cause and effect fall under strict deterministic laws”; • “that there are no strict deterministic laws on the basis of which mental events can be predicted and explained”.

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At one time, Davidson took these to generate his conclusion. Thus, when introducing anomalous monism, he referred to “first premise”, “second premise”, and “third premise” (Davidson, 1980, p.  231); and, more recently, stated those premises as: (1) that mental events are causally related to physical events, (2) that singular causal relations are backed by strict laws, and (3) that there can be no strict psychophysical laws. (Davidson, 2005, p. 185)

Davidson (2005, p. 186) has also urged that, in fact, the thesis of anomalous monism is “weaker than the premises”: still, those premises are still part of any elaboration of anomalous monism, even though adopting its conclusion does not strictly require their full acceptance. When repeating these “premises” later, Davidson (2005, p. 187) presents them as detachable in ways sketched diagrammatically as “(AM + P)”. Since the newer version “will involve some clarification, and perhaps modification, of the original thesis” (Davidson, 2005, pp.  185–186), I concentrate on that exposition. Davidson aims to avoid any reductionism that treats mental phenomena as nothing but physical phenomena, yet without sliding into dualism. In part, he defends this view by appeal to that supervenience (explained Davidson, 2005, p. 187) that implies monism, but “does not imply either definitional or nomological reduction” (Davidson, 2005, p.  187). Although the notion of supervenience (“S”) is not unproblematic, one should recognize that, for Davidson (2005, p. 188), anomalous monism really amounts to “(AM + P + S)”. Yet, as none of my difficulties here turns on the character of supervenience, I set it aside. But just why is the presence of (“strict”) physical laws not necessarily reductive? Consider the following example: If a hurricane is described at the top of page one of today’s Times and the damage caused by the same hurricane is described at the top of page ten of the same newspaper, then the event described at the top of page one of today’s Times caused the event described at the top of page ten; but this truth brings no commitment to the existence of a strict law that events described at the top of page one of the Times have effects described on the top of page ten. It suffices that there is a physical law which connects the forces inherent in the hurricane with the physical description of the damage thereby caused. (Baldwin, 2001, p. 199)

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So, in one way, Davidson is not committed to dependence of causal relations between events on the descriptions offered of those events: “[r]edescribing an event cannot change what is caused, or change the event’s causal efficacy” (Davidson, 2005, p. 189). But it seems that characterizing events in what Davidson calls “mental terms” does make a difference: for then the law-likeness disappears; or, more exactly, “mental concepts are not reducible by definition or by strict ‘bridging’ laws to physical concepts” (Davidson, 2005, p. 194). Central to Davidson’s defence of this position is the thought that, while physics is a “closed science” (Davidson, 1980, p. 241) or a “closed system” (Davidson, 2005, p. 193), the same cannot be true of psychology: and that “strict psychophysical laws” (Davidson, 1980, p. 240: my emphasis) would require such closure. Further, he regards at least some of those who differ from him as failing to recognize “the distinction between strict laws and other sorts of regularities” (Davidson, 2005, p. 192). Moreover, for Davidson (2005, p. 19315), it is important that physical laws, typified by the laws of physics, really are “genuinely strict, exceptionless laws, since physics, being the fundamental science of the universe, applies absolutely to all events and processes” (Baldwin, 2001, p. 200)— what Davidson (2005, p. 193) speaks of as “the laws of an ideal physics”. For, as Baldwin (2001, p. 200) goes on to explain: Whereas sciences like biology have to allow for interventions in biological processes that are not themselves susceptible of explanation in biological terms (such as changes in the Earth’s climate) there cannot be interventions in physical systems which do not admit, in principle, of a physical explanation, even if we do not presently possess it.

Then, for Davidson (1980, p. 22416), “there are no strict laws at all on the basis of which we can predict and explain mental phenomena”: again, the contrast is with those cases, typified (at least) by physics in Davidson’s view, where in principle strict laws hold. As above, neither Davidson’s insistence that his account is not reductive nor his discussion the form(s) of supervenience need concern us, for my aim here is simply to elucidate where my view differs from Davidson’s. We agree that psychophysical laws cannot be elaborated, for roughly the reasons he gives: that such laws would depend on how the psychological events were characterized, where many such characterizations would be possible in principle, all equally acceptable (in their contexts). We differ on the possibility of those strict laws operating in the “closed systems”

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that, as Davidson imagines it, are found in an idealized physics. My objection might be put in three ways. First, as an objection to the idea of a “closed system”: closure is only achieved in physics through the introduction of ceteris paribus clauses, as there is no finite totality of features to be considered (see below). Second, as an objection to the “idealized physics”: of course, if physics is explained so that there must be exceptionless laws, the problem will lie in finding them, and in confirming that one has done so—perhaps there must be a single ultimate explanation of an event, given that set of assumptions. But, if we can never know for sure when (or if) that ultimate explanation is found, we can never be sure that other features might not function here as “defeaters”, “preventers” or “interferers” (Anscombe & Geach, 1961, p. 102), in respect of any explanation offered. Or, put another way, there is no basis for getting beyond the idealization. Then, third, like the closed-ness of the system, the strictness of the laws is only achieved by importing ceteris paribus clauses, when we have no idea of what “other things” should be “equal”. So, I differ from Davidson primarily about understanding natural science, which serves both of us as a foil for understanding the human world: I find the tactical deployment of ceteris paribus (or something very like it), and so only apparently exceptionless laws, where he sees (in principle) strict, exceptionless laws, at least in physics suitably idealized. In reality, such strict laws are an illusion introduced to allow us to practise (at least) physics, importing a conception of the natural world that meets three conditions (see Sect. 4 above): • The same initial conditions ensure the same outcome (only one outcome is possible, given those conditions); • Differences in initial conditions remove any guarantee of what will occur (in different conditions, no particular outcome is guaranteed); • There must have been differences in the original conditions when, in what seemed the same initial situation, different results obtain. As we saw, this is broadly what is meant by causal necessity: such a conception makes sense only in a closed system, providing strict laws by allowing consideration of all the relevant factors—if sometimes obliquely, via the ceteris paribus clause. In this way, the possibility of the defeat of that “regularity” or “uniformity” (identified by the covering law) by some as yet unconsidered factor is granted. Since, as Anscombe and Geach (1961, p. 102) rightly imagine, “any alleged uniformity is defeasible by something’s interfering and pre-

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venting the effect”, setting aside such possibilities requires that the system was closed, with a finite totality of possibilities (so that all might be considered, in principle); yet such closure is achieved in natural science (especially in physics) only by ceteris paribus assumptions. With events involving human beings, two related factors are crucial: first, it matters how the event is characterized, since it will only be intentional under some (true) descriptions, not all; and, second, the human world incorporates what Friedrich Waismann (1968, p. 43) characterized as the “essential incompleteness” of description, whereby “it is always possible to extend some description by adding some detail or another. Every description … stretches into a horizon of open possibilities” (Waismann, 1968, p. 44). But Waismann took such openness to apply to most empirical propositions. For us, by contrast, the situation centrally applies only for human events, not for those others where the aim (or perhaps ideal) involves explanations of kinds typified by the natural sciences, closed by deploying ceteris paribus clauses. Still, our view of such cases coheres with Waismann’s view of the alternative to openness: in these situations (as in mathematics) “one could construct … a thought model which anticipates and settles once and for all every possible question of usage” (Waismann, 1968, p. 44)—just the condition Davidson envisages for a closed system! Thus, any anomalousness arises because one cannot really even approximate strict laws for human action, as one can for physical events. Moreover, is Davidson right to insist that what are anomalous are, speaking exactly, mental events? No; they are really personal events—occasions where persons are agents, importing the normativity associated with agency. Then, of course, Davidson is correct in recognizing that these events lose their connection to human psychology—to what permits them to be mental events—when regarded from the perspective of physics (or even perhaps of biology). Yet the crucial characteristics of such events are ones fitting least well with the conception of strict covering laws. For they will precisely be cases where what I intend, or mean to do, bears on the success of what I actually do—hence, on what action is performed; and how it should be described. But, to repeat, that may seem badly described as “mental”, since it will be more than merely psychological. Indeed, perhaps: … we need a way of thinking about the mental in which involvement in worldly facts is not just a point about describability in (roughly speaking) relational terms (like someone’s being an uncle), but gets at the essence of the mental. (McDowell, 2009, p. 256)

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Or, better, that reject any such essence but reflect “an availability, to the judging subjects, of facts themselves, which she may incorporate into her world view” (McDowell, 2009, p. 255). For instance, in perception, our visual experiences bring our surroundings into view (compare Travis, 2013, p.  30). For perceptual judgements too might count as “mental”, and hence as “mental events”17; and what is central to the human world includes judgement, with its associated normativity: that is what must be taken here from our capacities as rational agents. Further, a discussion of (broadly) determinism elaborates the situation for human behaviour, rightly noting that: … before 1815 … there could not be true or false statements giving individual mention to the Battle of Waterloo … The prediction of the event can, in principle, be as specific as you please … If gifted with a lively imagination … [the forecaster] could freely concoct a story in the future tense with all sorts of minutiae in it and this elaborate story might happen to come true. But one thing he cannot do—logically and not merely epistemologically could not do. He could not get the future events themselves for the heroes and heroines of his story, since while it is still an askable question whether or not a battle will be fought at Waterloo in 1815, he cannot use with … [its] normal force the phrase ‘the Battle of Waterloo’ …. (Ryle, 1954, p. 27: my emphasis, identifying a key notion)

For, as Ryle (1954, p. 27) goes on to explain: … a statement to the effect that something will exist or happen is, in so far, a general statement. When I predict the next eclipse of the moon, I have indeed got the moon to make statements about, but I have not got her next eclipse to make statements about.

The question about Waterloo remains askable at this point just because the situation is not closed in this respect: there might always be defeaters for any inference from, say, the placing of troops by Wellington or Napoleon, the state of mind of each, the needs of each country, and so on … to a conclusion about the inevitability of the Battle of Waterloo. Perhaps some battle seemed inevitable but, even though Wellington had picked “his ground”, it cannot follow absolutely that there would be such a battle, nor that it would be fought there. “Defeaters” here are easily identified under two headings: first, other specific factors that, had they occurred, would have militated against there being, in 1815, what we now call “the Battle

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of Waterloo”. For example, had Blücher’s Prussians been closer to the French army, Napoleon might well have preferred to retreat; or instead to again attack the Prussians directly, to prevent the two armies combining against him. And such a strategy might well have been successful: we have Wellington’s word that the actual outcome was “a close run thing”. A second, more abstract way grants the place of defeaters by noting a role for the expression “and so on” (combined, perhaps, with dots of omission) in elaborating the example, to acknowledge that there was no specific catalogue (no finite totality) of candidate “defeaters”. Additionally, of course a claimed outcome concerning events as addressed by natural science could indeed be thought inevitable; but doing so assumes, if implicitly, that precisely those “defeaters” (known and unknown) are set aside by the use of the ceteris paribus clause. In this sense, the sciences (or, at least, physics) constitute a closed system, permitting strict necessities, in just the way Davidson approves of. Yet such closure does not mark the physical from the psychological: rather, it is ensured by our commitment to ceteris paribus, in those cases where we are so committed. And, as Ryle suggests, that cannot be any case where the outcome remains “still an askable question”: but that must be all cases where the presence of human beings, with their motives and intentions, precludes the kind of closed system where the ‘answerability’ of such questions is settled—indeed, any cases in the natural world where ceteris paribus cannot be deployed or assumed. Here, first, the varieties of psychology must be recognized: despite its origins in Freud’s work on the brain, and Freud’s ‘sharing’ Charcot as mentor with Babinsky, psychoanalytically-inclined psychology is normatively structured around humans as agents—if there could be a “talk-cure’ (that is, if the problem is solvable by talking), its origins are not organic.18 Then, second, what is caused cannot be better or worse caused, only more or less efficiently—a corollary of our point throughout: that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). Hence a psychology devoted to Davidson’s “strict causality” (and especially neural causality) cannot have justified recourse to images, meanings, and such like: that is, to the human and normative. Indeed, taking ideas or images as operating causally in such cases extends “causality” beyond the scope of the natural sciences. Given the resources of the natural sciences, then, one might conclude “that only the physical world is irreducibly real” (Nagel, 2012, p. 37), although without

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treating the physical here solely in terms of concepts from contemporary physics (see Nagel, 1979, p. 18319). Hence, this need not imply that “the world itself has only primary qualities” (Williams, 1978, p. 247). Then the moral for neuroscience is just that the arrows in its quiver cannot include responses that draw on images, representations, and the like.

8   Connections This view connects to others introduced here. Thus, additional issues for Davidson’s caused-based account arise because, all too often, the physical structure comprises, say, my thinking this or feeling that, rather than causing it (on the “is” of constitution or composition, see Chap. 3, Sect. 8: Wiggins, 1980, pp. 30–33). No doubt there is a causal story but, if it takes place at what my opponents are pleased to call “the sub-personal level”, it cannot be me causing anything—all of this is me! As Hacker (2013, p. 35 note) put it, “[t]he brain makes it possible for us to use our eyes in order to see”: the brain, say, cannot be an agent here. So that, while I might move my leg, I very rarely cause my leg to move, except perhaps when testing my own reflexes. That speaks against the clarity of Davidson’s formulation of his “first premise” above: that “all mental events ultimately … have causal intercourse with physical events” (Davidson, 1980, p. 208). For, again, it might seem confusing to describe as mental those events constituted by (or comprised of) physical events. Further, the notion of an event clearly repays attention. If all causal relations are of the same kind, one must follow Davidson (2005, pp. 202–203) in addressing event-causation: that one event causes another; or that, in singular causal statements, one event is said to cause another (whether or not the term “cause” is used). But need any such regulation be introduced? Why not accept that, in some contexts (namely, those discussed by people who treat causal relations other than as event-causation: for instance, Mellor, 1995 on fact-causation), causal relations might be of other kinds, perhaps as one way to “press the case for the conceptual diversity of our common notion of causation” (Hacker, 2007, p.  8820). Then logical space might even be found for some agential causation. But, the working-out of causal forces between events (say, in the weather) gives clear examples of non-agential causation; and provides our model of causation. So, as noted initially (Sect. 1 above), beginning from agent-­ causation certainly cannot help explain action when causal relations in the

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natural world (of the kinds studied by, and explained by, physics) provide a model for causality. Since the original project attempted to explain how events that involve agency (“actions”) differ from those that do not, the proposal to contrast two (or more) kinds of causality will just amount to re-describing the issue set aside here. Equally, our desired result, in stressing responsibility, requires that outcomes not be just random or accidental. Then, drawing a contrast with cases where an event did not occur requires that, in typical situations, we “validate a counterfactual conditional statement … by experimental interference in the course of nature. So, our knowledge of causes depends on our manipulative and experimental action” (Hacker, 2007, p. 81). Thus, for G. H. von Wright (1974, p. 52: quoted Hacker, 2007, p. 81), the need to master counter-factuality in this context, to pick-out what would have happened, takes this as “the ground for saying that the concept of causal connection rests on the concept of [human] action”. But this is a step beyond any taken here. Law-likeness for some event might involve claiming that, “it happens this way unless something interferes”; and then urging that: … if an expectation of the type ‘it happens this way unless something interferes’ is disappointed, this leads to another—often successful—attempt to find the interfering agent. (Anscombe & Geach, 1961, p. 102)

But talk of agents here should not simply result from employing that explanation: thus, if the salt did not dissolve in the glass of water (as it normally would, and as might have been predicted, given the causal law) because that water was already saturated with salt, then that saturation is “the interfering agent” vis-à-vis the operation of the causal law. This is not agency as discussed here. We should conclude, therefore, that: [t]here is no absolute final classificatory scheme for everything there is, but only a multiplicity of taxonomies that the various sciences, natural and social, find fruitful, and the multitude of more or less unsystematic substance terms … that mankind [humankind!] in general finds useful for the manifold purposes that inform our lives. (Hacker, 2007, p. 49)

Hence, there cannot be exceptionless explanations of events, of the kind such an absolute classificatory scheme might have provided.

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9   Locating Science in the “Action” Debate Above (see Sect. 4), a consideration potentially raised by someone unduly impressed with quantum physics was set aside: uncertainty considerations here cannot undermine the picture of causal sufficiency developed earlier. As recognized there, probabilistic or chance-based models cannot deliver what is required—I am not responsible for what happens by chance! The desired outcome, our responsibility for actions, requires both (a) the normativity stressed throughout (which cannot be developed probabilistically: the right move in chess, say, requires choice, not chance!) and (b) my implicitly causal contribution to what occurred (“I did it!”). So, such a probabilistic account’s net effect would be both to deplete our picture of persons and to rob that picture of what it must take from (natural) science: that is, the inexorability of natural forces. More recently, some discussion of action (often explicitly presented as discussing “free will”) has occurred at the interface between science and philosophy, the very place where ‘empirical philosophy’ arises unless one is vigilant. Eddy Nahmias (201521) usefully summarized some of the candidate connections to free will of studies in natural science, beginning with experiments by Benjamin Libet in the 1980s, where participants were fitted with electrodes on their heads and instructed to flick their wrists “whenever they felt like it” (Nahmias, 2015, p. 78). Fluctuations in the brain’s electrical activity occurred about half a second before subjects’ flicking motions. The participants “became aware of their intention to move only about a quarter of a second before the movement” (Nahmias, 2015, p. 78). Libet (2005, p.  124) called these electrical activities “readiness potentials” (named for their supposed function: compare “mirror neurons”; Chap. 9, Sect. 2); and, exploiting views about the speed of decision-­ making, concluded that subjects’ “brains had decided before … [those subjects] became aware of what happened” (Nahmias, 2015, p. 78). Such reports raise a number of questions: they are typically delivered as though their conclusions were obvious, as though “their brains decided …”, for example (compare Baumeister et al., 2011). Here, one must ask about subjects becoming “aware of their intention to move”: what exactly was that like? First, how were such intentions located and documented? Clearly, these “intentions” were identified through the reports of those involved; but the instructions to subjects made no mention of intention. Indeed, what I intend to do, in typical cases, should certainly be contrasted with what I do “whenever I feel like it”.

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The expression “readiness potentials” suggests some preparatory procedure, modelled perhaps on the need to cock certain pistols before firing them—having cocked the pistol does not mean that one will fire (hence is not sufficient for firing the pistol), but is a prerequisite. Still, nothing in the cases Libet describes stands (for these electrical changes) as one’s broad plans to consider firing the pistol; or, at least, to be ready to fire it, should one so decide. But when does one plan to do something? Need that always be viewed in terms of the identification of some specific moment? (Compare planning for one’s retirement.) Treating intentions solely as specific moments of prior planning repeats a familiar error (see Chap. 4, Sect. 11). Further, researching human situations through complex machines can undermine the naturalism of research questions; here, concerning people’s action. For example, in research published in 2013, John-Dylan Haynes of the Bernstein Centre for Computational Neuroscience [a title with many hostages to fortune] described subjects in fMRI scanners asked to decide either to add or subtract two numbers. As Nahmias (2015, p. 78) reports it, researchers “found patterns of neural activity that were predictive of whether subjects would choose to add or to subtract that occurred four seconds before those subjects were aware of making the choice”; and he quotes (from New Scientist) Haynes claiming that “[o]ur decisions are predetermined unconsciously a long time before our consciousness kicks in” (Nahmias, 2015, p. 78), such that “it seems that the brain is making the decision before the person.” Further, Sam Harris (described as a “neuroscientist”) is quoted as concluding: If we were to detect [people’s] conscious choices on a brain scanner seconds before they were aware of them … this would directly challenge their status as conscious agents in control of their inner lives. (Nahmias, 2015, p. 78)

Now Harris (2012, p. 6) summarized his position as follows: The popular conception of free will seems to rest on two assumptions: (1) that each of us could have behaved differently than we did in the past, and (2) that we are the conscious source of most of our thoughts and actions in the present. … both of these assumptions are false.

We saw, above, how the first assumption might be undermined. Yet should free-will defenders rightly embrace the second assumption? Warning-flags should be inserted into some of these remarks (while

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acknowledging that their sources are not uncontroversial): would an exceptionless relation here be implied by decisions being “predetermined”, especially given how few of the general “claims” yielded from fMRI are exceptionless (Tallis, 2011, pp. 76–84)? Indeed, patterns were described as “predictive” although such “early brain activity predicted a choice with an accuracy only 10 percent better that could be forecast with a coin flip” (Nahmias, 2015, p. 78b). And is it really done unconsciously, just because it is not yet thought through? (In whose sense of the term “unconscious”? Not Freud’s, certainly.) Do we really need to be “in control of … [our] inner lives” to count as “conscious agents”? Nahmias (2015, p. 78b) recognizes that: Everyone performs repetitive or habitual behaviours, sometimes quite sophisticated ones that do not require much thought because the behaviours have been learned.

Indeed, real cases are even more compelling: driving home on a familiar road, I am suddenly aware that ten miles have passed ‘unnoticed’. Was I asleep? Of course not, or I would have crashed on any of the road’s many bends. Was my negotiating these bends accidental? Obviously not: I turned in response to the road. Did I drive those ten miles deliberately? Well, first, it was no accident that I behaved as I did (see my previous answer); but, second, it was not done with deliberation—as it might, had I been driving a friend’s new car, with its unfamiliar controls, and paying close attention to every little thing. But this is an obvious case, a paradigm case in one way, of the actions of a “conscious agent”—I made all the decisions required to drive those miles uneventfully. The right response here appeals to Austin (1979, p.  189): “no modification without aberration” (original italics), a point he exemplifies as follows: It is bedtime, I am alone, I yawn: but I do not yawn involuntarily (or voluntarily!), nor yet deliberately. To yawn in any such peculiar way is just not to just yawn. (Austin, 1979, p. 190: my emphasis)

Hence, what I do, I typically just do! Only when we imagine that ordinary actions need modification (to become deliberate actions, say) do we invent these complicated categories of consciousness ‘kicking in’ on what would otherwise have been unconscious actions: but that is a complete mistake.

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Yet the “scientists” above asked what of that doing is intended—having informed the subject that neither intending nor deliberation was required. Equally, the question about what is unconscious (or not) is raised without providing any background for this question—no context for it, or occasion when it is apposite; and no clarification of the contrast thereby introduced. I am unsure what they hope their investigations of the causal stories here will unfold, not least because the range of cases they address seems not just artificial—that would be inevitable—or hugely simplified (equally inevitable), but positively attenuated when contrasted with the greater sophistication provided by a human-sized perspective. Then, what of the need for control of our “inner lives”? In Austin’s example, someone (presented, in the first person, as “I”) helps himself to more than one portion of ice-cream when there is clearly only enough for one each. In doing this, I am: … succumbing to temptation and even conceivably (but why necessarily?) going against my principles. But do I lose control of myself? Do I raven, do I snatch the morsels from the dish and wolf them down, impervious to the consternation of my colleagues? Not a bit of it. We often succumb to temptation with calm and even with finesse. (Austin, 1979, p. 198 note)

The degree to which actions are explained, perhaps even excused, here reminds us of the complex inter-connections between thought and feeling for humans, such that: Giving orders, asking questions, telling stories, having a chat, are as much part of our natural history as walking, eating, drinking, playing. (PI §25)

So our language-using is part of a whole pattern of life, typically only available to persons as we have described them throughout. For most of the activities listed are actions, many with explicit normative dimensions (such that you are a better story-teller than I am). Equally, those activities in the second part of this list are also only fully available to language users (compare Z §§518–522): the “drinking”, for example, must amount to more than simply hydrating oneself, as horses might. Here the ‘scientific studies’ of free will are not yet directed at clarifying the philosophical questions: at present, this remains “empirical methods and conceptual confusion” (PPF §371). Or, at the least, we do not really know where to look for our answers. For, as Wittgenstein (PI §308 [4th ed.]) notes, all too often:

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… [t]he first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we’ll know more about them—we think. But that’s what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter. For we have a certain conception of what it means to learn to know a process better …

In just this vein, Nahmias (2015, p.  78a/b) seems prepared to acknowledge that: … neuroscience currently lacks the technical sophistication to determine whether neural activity underlying our imagining and evaluation of future options has any impact on which options we carry out minutes, hours or days later.

Yet this assumes that only “technical sophistication” is lacking: that the conceptual sophistication is in place. Moreover, much of the available data is essentially statistical, offering at best ‘trends and tendencies’ rather than the causality assumed by its advocates’ claims (compare Sect. 7 above; Chap. 5, Sect. 5). As such, these procedures offer many opportunities to inject scientism, sometimes in the guise of “experimental philosophy”, into genuine philosophical discussions.

10   Conclusion: A Therapeutic Resolution Once the image that sustains the prioritizing of causal explanations is set aside, there remains no reason to incorporate the view of causal necessity, or exceptionlessness, it typically deploys. Then questions about responsibility—addressing the practical constraints on action, hence reflecting some of the practical bars to genuine action—will be unrelated to those concerning (metaphysical) freedom posed initially: only the determinist argument connected them. The net effect is the disappearance of those puzzlements from which the discussion began—they no longer perplex us. For our worry was a result of applying the image from science beyond where it was appropriate; and, perhaps, taking too literally, and thus too far, some expressions concerning action that (by themselves) did not mislead us. (Nothing puzzling follows from saying, “It is raining”, until one then asks, “What is this ‘it’?”. Similarly, seeing that we sometimes explain in causal terms the doings of other humans—and even our own—only becomes worrying once a certain, exceptionless view of causal interactions is adopted and then applied to all events.)

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Of course, a place within philosophy must be found for our addressing science. Carroll and Seeley (2013, p. 184b note) draw from David Davies the idea that philosophers in general should22: … be circumspect in their search for support from behavioral sciences—to pay careful attention to the scope of experimental studies, to be wary of reckless generalizations, and to tread gingerly in domains where the interpretation of experimental results is itself controversial.

I agree, since this requires that we “not avail ourselves of a particular scientific view without taking account of the critical discourse within the relevant branch of science” (Davies, 2013, p. 199a), rather than simply following fashion. Then what are the practical constraints on action, or on responsibility, in a world where—given the arguments thus far—there is no logical bar to agency? The preferred answer involves some broadly abstract account of the constraints here, applied in specific cases: we will hope to avoid operating case-by-case from scratch on each occasion. Further, such a conception need not preclude useful philosophical enquires, as Chap. 8 illustrates. Some abstract patterns would be expected here that, although not exceptionless, can be informatively stated. Then the general success of social science (often appealing to ‘trends and tendencies’) also gives confidence in explaining that sometimes persons were not agents in respect of such-­ and-­such events (despite appearances to the contrary). Equally, might something usefully be said about these very powers and capacities of persons? The basic idea here is that, as an agent, I can just do various things.23 And, to recognize our capacity to initiate action, Wittgenstein’s favourite slogan (quoting Goethe) was: “In the beginning was the deed” (OC §402). (Not, of course, that I can do just anything.) Further, behaviour rightly counting as conscious and intentional may nonetheless not be explicitly thought through. Dummett (2010, pp. 88–89) reports Wittgenstein’s example of a person writing with a pencil who breaks off to look at its point, shrugs and then resumes work. Here, the writer’s thoughts need not be embodied in words, only in actions. Yet that person clearly thought something like, “The pencil is blunt; oh, well, it will do” (compare PI §330). Nor need actions be preceded by explicit thought of what to do next: calling the behaviours “intentional” may simply deny that they occur as reflexes, or come about by accident. Indeed, walking down the street, say, would not usually be

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described as intentional unless we had some contrast in mind: as Austin (1979, p. 189) urged, one should avoid modification without aberration. Yet how should such a capacity of mine be understood? Early in his career, Danto (1965, p. 45) espoused a theory of basic action, such that: If a is an action performed by M, then either a is a basic action of M, or else it is the effect of a chain of causes the originating member of which is a basic action of M.

Here, basic actions are identified as a class unrelated to their contexts of occurrence, yet as answering the question, “How did you do that?” But our contextualism, integral to my other positions (compare Chap. 1, Sect. 5), bears on the idea of a basic action: the explanation of action should be treated contextually, such that what counts as a basic action in this context, or relative to that question, need not do so in some other context, or facing a different question. Further, at this time, Danto’s account was explicitly causal, suggesting that action a, when not a basic action of the agent (M), is the causal outcome of such a basic action. But are all the connections here necessarily causal? And how informative can the “Yes” answer be? For, as Frege ([1918] 1984, p. 351) taught us, both truths and falsehoods may be given causal explanations. More recently, Danto (1989, p. 221) presented a slimmed-down, less formal account, with no direct mention of causality and without necessarily denying our contextualism: A pilot turns the ship by turning the wheel, and he turns the wheel by moving his arms. But he does not do anything of the same order to move his arms—he just moves them, immediately and directly, performing what I have spoken of elsewhere as basic actions. An action is basic when it is done, but not done through doing anything other than it.

And, in explanation, Danto (1989, p. 221) gives some examples: I lift a finger, or shut an eye, directly. But I have to move my hair by moving my hands against it, and unless I have a special gift, I cannot move my ears unless I do it with my fingers.

Our broadly sympathetic response to the idea of there being things one can just do can be reinforced here by recalling a logical point:

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There is a traditional theory that in order to move my arm I must, somehow, execute a volition—an act of will. But … this raises the problem all over again; namely, how do I form a volition? Do I form it directly? Or do I need another volition—and how do I form it? So there is either an infinite regress, or some volitions can be formed directly. (Danto, 1989, p. 221)

Since the regress must be avoided, should we concede that “some volitions can be formed directly”? No, for the whole idea of a volition is just a place-holder for our being able to do certain things—as powers and capacities of persons, at least in favoured cases. For, as Danto (1989, p. 221) continues, “if I can form a volition directly, why cannot I in the same sense lift a finger directly?” Here, the answer must be that I can! Then the temptation always to require such psychological prerequisites there exemplifies Wittgenstein’s comment that, “the difficulty is to begin at the beginning. And not try to go further back” (OC §471). Nor need a particular action (or level of action) always be taken, or explained, as basic: rather, what action is basic depends on the context (as above). What is basic for the experienced performer might not be so for the novice who—not yet habituated—must pay more attention to, say, how one changes gears, rather than simply doing it. And novice-drivers of cars with stick-shifts might count as experienced when using an automatic transmission. Further, sometimes actions, explicitly thought-through initially, can become “automatic”. Thus: When you first try to punt, for example, you have no idea how to control the direction of the boat, which will probably go in a circle. You are then shown the angle at which to throw down the punt pole in order to send the boat in this direction or that, and how to correct any error. You practice, bearing these instructions in mind. After sufficient practice, the proper use of the punt pole becomes ‘second nature’. (Dummett, 2010, pp. 37–38)

In such a case, we may no longer think-through what we are doing; indeed, we may have no need to do so: Now you think, ‘I must avoid this oncoming canoe’, and steer skilfully to keep out of its way, without the least conscious thought of the movements of the pole by which you accomplish this. (Dummett, 2010, p. 38)

But, if the context changes, that explicit concern can return. Thus, as Dummett (2010, p.  38) continues, although the explicit punting techniques are not typically ‘before one’s mind’, “when you are simply punting

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for pleasure … [y]ou can still bring them to mind if you have to instruct a beginner” [my order]. So, here, as an agent, I can do various things. Of course, there will be limitations, both practical and conceptual, to what I can do, and also what I can intend—I may lack the relevant concept, for instance; or the contacts to make this a real intention for me (as opposed to a vague aspiration). For, although asking, “How did you do that?” can be crucial, our strategy here is primarily to show how that question cannot be answered in contexts where many of its contemporary inquisitors find it. Thus, in the cricket match, I play a forward defensive stroke. How did I do it? I did it by stepping towards the pitch of the ball, with the bat angled in such-and-such a manner. I brought the bat through, ensuring that it was so angled that the ball would be played down. But each of these (say, ensuring that the bat was angled just-so) is itself another action. Hence, given a general question about how one performs actions, such comments cannot help. Rather, the right answer is just that one does it— that one is an agent. Or, if the question is about my ability (“How were you able to play that stroke?”), my reply can refer to being taught the stroke at school, and (having mastered it) not forgotten how. And, again, this description is at the level of action. Although another explanatory story for the behaviour, detailing causal changes, might seem forthcoming, in typical cases I cannot tell this story. How did I decide that the forward defensive stroke was appropriate? Well, I just decided—although my decision was influenced by the speed of the bowler, the wicket’s condition, and the fact that I just came in to bat (that I hadn’t ‘got my eye in’). But I did not do anything to decide: that is the force of, “In the beginning was the deed”. No doubt my deciding might be characterized in terms of changing states of my brain and body. But those states compose my thinking this or doing that—I do not, somehow, bring them about.24 Here, as Wittgenstein (PI §28125) recognized, the normativity of human action is again crucial; and such normativity cannot be completely captured by causal explanations. For example (as we saw: Chap. 1, Sect. 1), while regularities in the movements of chess pieces might be captured causally, such regularities should be distinguished from moves in accordance with the rules of the game. For those regularities cannot display the normativity that (here) rule-following provides: they do not describe (nor attempt to describe) what one should do in these circumstances, nor whether a move is good or bad (as well as legitimate or not); but only the workingout of causal forces—as one predicts the weather. Yet many moves legal in chess are not made because obviously bad; and others that would

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actually be good are overlooked—either by these players or by players more generally. And chess cannot be understood in any other way. Hence the human, and the normative, must not disappear from our explanations. Further, our human capacity to initiate action is just something about us: in typical cases, we do not do anything (or at least anything additional) to achieve it; and nor is there a causal explanation of how we do it, as distinct from the account describing that we do so. In typical cases, then, I know what I intend to do, or try to do; but not necessarily what I achieve. To highlight the differences, Elizabeth Anscombe (1957, p. 83) first notes that, if I close my eyes and write “I am a fool” on a chalkboard but, because the board is damp, no words actually appear, my failure to know what I was achieving is the result of bad performance, not well characterized as some mistaken belief of mine. Further, she contrasts the list a detective compiles, noting all the items I purchased, with my shopping list (assuming I bought all and only the items on that list). The lists match, but with a different direction of fit—his list is drawn­up from what I did buy, while mine reflects my plans (Anscombe, 1957, p. 56). The two lists contain the same words, but are they the same? Well, contextual considerations make their difference clear. In particular, errors in the detective’s lists are just that—errors in what he saw: for me, the most likely divergencies result from changes of mind. Moreover, at best, I have ‘privileged access’ here only to my plans, not to what I did buy. But, if asked how I did such-and-such, I can sometimes reply by breaking the whole action down into smaller component-actions (see discussion of “basic action” above). Here, consider Harry (played by Schwarzenegger) in True Lies (1994), anticipating torture at the hands of Samir: Samir: Harry: Samir: Harry:

Is there anything you’d like to tell me before we start? Yeah. I’m going to kill you pretty soon. I see. How, exactly? First I’m going to use you as a human shield. Then I’m going to kill that guard over there with the Patterson trocar on the table. And then I’m thinking about breaking your neck. Samir: And what makes you think you can do all that? Harry: You know my handcuffs? Samir: Mmm-hmm … Harry: I picked them. And just this sequence of actions, a moment later, amounts to his escaping.

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Yet how many such steps must be considered? Obviously, there is no limit: only those we regard as informative require mention. But is there always a first step? Davidson, mistakenly thinking reasons operate causally, imagines that there must be—after all, chains of causes have a beginning, although we may not know it. Thus, Davidson (1980, p. 83) imagines a kind of “pure intention” of which the agent might be unaware; and which, since it might not issue in behaviour, cannot be gleaned from what one does: Someone may intend to build a squirrel house without having decided to do it, deliberated about it, formed an intention to do it, or reasoned about it. And despite his intention, he may never build a squirrel house, or do anything whatever with the intention of getting the squirrel house built.

This seems to reflect what Anscombe (1957, p. 47) calls “an interior act of intention”. But, first, such acts of intention are not necessary once we grant that persons, as agents, can initiate actions (thinking otherwise generates the regress Danto, above, identified); second, in this case, the most plausible course may involve denying that this person genuinely intends (as opposed to merely aspiring) to build the squirrel house—the burden of proof would be on him/her! Sometimes, then, my doings are explained in terms of my reasons or intentions—although, of course, much of what I do lacks any specific reason, nor did I think about it prior to doing it. So, insofar as intention requires prior planning, what I do will sometimes not be (actively) intended. But it is not, somehow, unintentional or (worse) accidental—in the simplest case, it is just action: we have no reason to introduce a modifier of that sort (as above, “no modification without aberration”: Austin, 1979, p. 189). We are confident that my walking across the room was neither an accident nor, specifically, unintended—we have no basis for thinking it unintentional. And we do not doubt that it was an action unless, say, it resulted from post-hypnotic suggestion or the taking of some drug. But is it intentional? Here, we should ask: what are our choices? If my choice is just between intentional and unintentional, or between intentional and accidental, I make that choice in denying that it is unintentional, or accidental, as the case may be. But I need say no more. Only once the “either-or” (in each case) is foisted on me will I conclude that therefore it was intentional. Further, the content of calling the action “intentional” in such a case is just that it is not unintentional or accidental.

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Moreover, Austin’s panoply of excuses fits in here: these include “[i]nattention, carelessness, errors of judgement, tactlessness, clumsiness …” (Austin, 1979, p. 193), all potential excuses in relation to one’s actions. Additionally, Austin (1979, p.  194) recognizes the importance of cases where “a plan of action leads to disaster … through failure at the stage of appreciation of the situation …”. For how we see the situation can be crucial to what we do; hence, to the success or failure of projects to which those actions contribute. As Austin (1979, p. 194) remarks, “A course of E. M. Forster and we see things differently: yet perhaps we know no more and are no cleverer.” So that, “even thoughtlessness, inconsiderateness, lack of imagination, are perhaps less matters of failure of intelligence or planning than might be supposed …” (Austin, 1979, p. 194). Still, all these discussions are of actions—of humans as agents, who can (among other things) decide, and act on those decisions. Further, doing something (say, washing the dishes) thoughtlessly may mean neither that one is not thinking—some thoughtless action arises for thinking of something other than one is doing—nor even that one is not thinking about washing the dishes: perhaps, paying attention to hot water, soap and grease-removal right enough, I miss the delicate condition of these particular dishes; or perhaps, through those concerns, I pay insufficient attention to the drying or stacking of the clean dishes. So, what may still seem a brief digression actually offers a profitable area for the philosophy of mind to pursue: but, again, as an investigation into action, not into any causal substrate of that action—if my grip is insufficient to hold heavy plates, my breaking them will need an excuse different from thoughtlessness! Why ever did I agree to do so? And if the problem that led to some plates being broken were an unexpected muscular spasm, perhaps the failure is not well-characterized as a failure in dish-washing at all. Certainly, I was not clumsy or inept. Hence, this case reinforces the sense in which discussion of action may be fundamental here. (At the least, stressing its legitimacy as a strategy for some philosophy of mind.)

Notes 1. As the examples illustrate, physics most typically provides the model throughout for causality in natural science. After all, physics is, or was thought at one time, the fundamental science (with its ‘theories of everything’, and its conception of explaining chemical relations through physics). Further, its prominence here is unsurprising, autobiographically: I began training as a physicist; and the book I regard as the greatest contri-

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bution to twentieth-­century philosophy of science—Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970)—deals primarily with concepts from physics, as its examples illustrate. [One might speculate, elsewhere, on what changes wholesale deployment of biology as our specimen natural science would achieve.] 2. Nagel (1979, p. 193): “panpsychism should be added to the list of mutually incompatible and hopelessly unacceptable solutions to the mind-body problem”. More recently, Nagel (2012, p. 12) confesses to looking for “an alternative to physics as a theory of everything”. 3. As contrasted with moral or political freedom: compare McFee, 2015, p. 311. 4. See Chap. 1, Note 9. 5. Compare Anscombe (1957, p. 86) on what counts as causal: she contrasts two lists of descriptions, identifying one as those “which go beyond physics”—we might add “and biology”. And offers as “a causal history” that: Henry VIII longed for a son; the death of many children made him believe he had sinned in marrying Queen Catherine; he formed the intention of marrying Anne Boleyn. All this led to, helped to produce, the Act of Supremacy, to his decision to break with Rome. (Anscombe, [1983] 2005, pp. 100–101) Moreover, that physiological history, though of “a different type”: … touches it, but only at certain points. Henry signed something … and this was an episode in the above history. Ink got onto the page in a certain pattern. It was deposited on the paper by a pen pushed by the royal hand. At the other end of the chain perhaps there was a noise—a courtier saying, ‘Here, Sire’ and messages up the afferent nerves … (Anscombe [1983] 2005, p. 101) Although she continues, “The causal histories of the two types [of ??] aren’t rival accounts”, someone might think they were rivals, since the second was deterministic, the other not. 6. See Kuhn, 1970, pp. 182–191; also, Toulmin, 1972, p. 123 ff. 7. Roughly, the inherently rationalist thought of a necessary connection between cause and effect. Thus Spinoza ([1677] 2001, I.3 p. 76): From a given determinate cause the effect follows necessarily; and, conversely, if there is no determinate cause, it is impossible for an effect to follow. But the contingency here is that, from the perspective of logic, anything may cause anything—science must determine what does in fact cause any particular outcome.

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8. Donagan (1994, pp. 35–62) presents a clear account of such views of science, typified by the “Hempel-Popper” view, and of issues in applying it to history. For discussion, see Cartwright, 1983, pp. 26–33. 9. To some, modern developments in science offer a different view; but this picture is implicit in, for instance, much Chaos Theory (see FW, pp. 151– 158): the computer is the Chaos Theorist’s research tool! (See also below Chap. 9, Sect. 2.) 10. By contrast, the view of causality (if that is the right word) built into quantum mechanics—a view only really expressible mathematically—cannot impinge on the ‘dazzling’ effect of taking causality, as understood elsewhere in science, to be inexorable. Quantum mechanics is too arcane to offer the lay-person an image of the causal, at least at present; and understood (at best) only by the scientifically sophisticated. 11. Hence, “f=ma” is really a law-schema: much filling-in is required to deal with real cases (friction, air-resistance, inertia, etc.). 12. In alchemy, the luck of the alchemist might play a role. 13. Hart and Honoré (1985, p. 21) attribute to Mill and “most contemporary philosophers” a useful summary in three (from four) points, with the third thought fundamentally that identifying, in this context, the difference-­ maker. It may be encouraging here to stress its contextualism. 14. By contrast, J. B. S. Haldane (quoted Flew, 1973, p. 97) urged: Taking the record of any criminal, we could predict the behavior of a monozygotic twin placed in the same environment. This claim, while arguably false (since even monozygotic twins develop differently, both in the womb and later), catches the spirit of determinist assumptions. 15. Compare Davidson (1980, p.  241) where biology is contrasted with psychology. 16. See also Davidson (2005, p. 191) contrasting “the ‘strict’ laws I think exist covering singular causal relations … [with] … the less than strict laws that can be couched in mental terms”. [Why does only the first “strict” deserve scare-quotes?] 17. Davidson (2001, p. 144) seems to exclude perception, writing that “we can’t get outside of our skins to find out what is causing the internal happenings of which we are aware”; and again: “The relation between a sensation and a belief cannot be logical, since sensations are not beliefs or other propositional attitudes. What then is the relation? The answer is, I think, obvious: the relation is causal” (Davidson, 2001, p. 143). 18. Note well the complexity of some cases of epilepsy, say, as rooted in biological “abnormality”/illness etc. 19. Nagel, 1979, p. 183:

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… what makes a newly discovered property or phenomenon physical. [?] Since the class of known physical properties is constantly expanding, the physical cannot be defined [just] in terms of contemporary physics, but must be more general. New properties are counted as physical if they are discovered by explanatory inference from those already in the class. 20. For myself, I would not think recognizing such diversity is aided by imagining certain of the views as “duly refuted” (Hacker, 2007, p. 87 note). 21. In an issue of Scientific American:—an appropriate source since our topic is really what has been taken from such studies, rather than what the studies show. Compare Nahmias et al., 2014. 22. Especially philosophers of art: contrast Montero, 2006, 2013. 23. We should not forget “that ‘doing an action’, as used in philosophy, is a highly abstract expression …” (Austin, 1979, p. 178); nor forget beginning to plot this technical/abstract use by asking, “Is to sneeze an action?”. 24. Thus, research showing a high-class batsman in cricket paying attention to the bowler’s hand as he releases the ball is not relevant to the coaching of the game: that is not how one should train batters. (Better practical advice would involve, say, trying to get one’s foot to the pitch of the ball.) 25. Quoted, with some discussion in Chap. 9, Sect. 1.

Bibliography Anscombe, G. E. M. (1957). Intention. Oxford: Blackwell. Anscombe, G. E. M. ([1983] 2005). The Causation of Action. In M. Geach & L. Gormally (Eds.), Human Life, Action and Ethics: Essays by G. E. M. Anscombe (pp. 89–108). Exeter: Imprint Academic. [Reprinted]. Anscombe, G. E. M., & Geach, P. T. (1961). Three Philosophers: Aristotle, Aquinas, Frege. Oxford: Blackwell. Austin, J. L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Austin, J. L. (1979). Philosophical Papers (3rd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Baldwin, T. (2001). Contemporary Philosophy (Philosophy in English Since 1945). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Baumeister, R.  F., Masciampo, E.  J., & Vohs, K.  D. (2011). Can Conscious Thoughts Cause Behaviour? Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 331–361. Capaldi, N. (1966). Philosophy of Science: The Historical Development of Scientific Concepts and Their Philosophical Implication. New York: Monarch Books. Carroll, N., & Seeley, W. P. (2013). Kinesthetic Understanding and Appreciation in Dance. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 71(2), 177–186. Cartwright, N. (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Danto, A. ([1965] 1968). Basic Actions. In A. R. White (Ed.), The Philosophy of Action (pp. 43–58). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Reprinted].

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Danto, A. (1989). Connections to the World: The Basic Concepts of Philosophy. New York: Harper Row. Davidson, D. (1980). Essays on Actions and Events. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Davidson, D. (2001). Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Davidson, D. (2005). Truth, Language and History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Davies, D. (2013). Dancing Around the Issues: Prospects for an Empirically Grounded Philosophy of Dance. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 71(2), 195–202. Donagan, A. (1994). The Philosophical Papers of Alan Donagan (Volume 1): Historical Understanding and the History of Philosophy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dummett, M. (2006). Thought and Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dummett, M. (2010). The Nature and Future of Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press. Flew, A. (1973). Crime or Disease? London: Macmillan. Frege, G. ([1918] 1984). Thoughts. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 351–372). Oxford: Blackwell. Hacker, P.  M. S. (2007). Human Nature: The Categorial Framework. Oxford: Blackwell. Hacker, P.  M. S. (2013). The Intellectual Powers: A Study of Human Nature. Oxford: Wiley/Blackwell. Harris, S. (2012). Free Will. New York: Free Press. Hart, H. L. A., & Honoré, T. (1985). Causation in the Law (2nd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kant, I. ([1787] 1998). Critique of Pure Reason (P. Guyer & D. Wood, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd edn.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Libet, B. (2005). Mind Time: The Temporal Factor in Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lucas, J. R. (1970). The Freedom of the Will. Oxford: Clarendon Press. McDowell, J. (2009). The Engaged Intellect: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. McFee, G. (2000). Free Will. Aldershot: Acumen. [cited as “FW”]. McFee, G. (2015). How to Do Philosophy: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Wittgenstein. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Mellor, H. (1995). The Facts of Causation. London: Routledge. Montero, B. (2006). Proprioception as an Aesthetic Sense. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 62, 231–242. Montero, B. (2013). The Artist as Critic: Dance Training, Neuroscience, and Aesthetic Evaluation. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 71(2), 169–175.

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Mumford, S., & Anjum, R.  L. (2011). Getting Causes from Powers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mumford, S., & Anjum, R.  L. (2014). The Tendential Theory of Sporting Prowess. Journal of Philosophy of Sport, (3), 399–412. Nagel, T. (1979). Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nagel, T. (2012). Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nahmias, E. (2015). Why We Have Free Will. Scientific American, 312(1), 76–79. Nahmias, E., Shepard, J., & Reuter, S. (2014). It’s OK If ‘My Brain Made Me Do It’: People’s Intuitions About Free Will and Neuroscience Prediction. Cognition, 133(2), 502–516. O’Connor, D. J. (1971). Free Will. London: Macmillan. Ryle, G. (1954). Dilemmas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sellars, W. (1963/1991). Science, Perception & Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing. [cited as “SPR”]. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and Human Behaviour. New York: Macmillan. Skinner, B. F. (1979). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Spinoza, B. ([1677] 2001). Ethics (G. H. R. Parkinson, Ed. & Trans.). Oxford: Clarendon. Strawson, P. F. (1952). Introduction to Logical Theory. London: Methuen. Tallis, R. (2011). Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity. Durham, UK: Acumen. Toulmin, S. (1972). Human Understanding (Volume One). Oxford: Clarendon. Travis, C. (2013). Perception: Essays After Frege. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Von Wright, G.  H. (1974). Causality and Determinism. New  York: Columbia University Press. Waismann, F. (1968). Verifiability. In How I See Philosophy (pp. 39–66). London: Macmillan.  Wiggins, D. (1980). Sameness and Substance. Oxford: Blackwell. Williams, B. (1978). Descartes: The Project of a Pure Enquiry. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G.  E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. [cited as “PI”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1967) Zettel. Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “Z”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1969). On Certainty (D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “OC”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2009). Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment. [Originally Philosophical Investigations (“PI”) Part Two.] Philosophical Investigations (4th Rev. edn.) (pp. 182–243). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “PPF”].

CHAPTER 3

What Persons Are: Identity, Personal Identity, and Composition

1   Introduction to Numerical Identity If persons are (potentially) agents, as urged in Chap. 2, they necessarily can be responsible for their actions—a feature of such agency. And there is a strong connection here to our conceptual-mastery, since asking which person is thereby involved (“Who is the responsible person?”) addresses the contours of the concept person1; and “[t]o have an adequate grasp of what a thing is … is to know (in more or less detail) how to distinguish one such thing from others”, as Hacker (2007, p. 31) puts it. That, in turn, involves not merely identification but re-identification, since one’s responsibility is often for past actions. But, again, it is easy for answers to follow some image from science; and hence to be “dazzled” when responding to such questions. Elaborating our quite general issues for identity and related matters cannot require consideration of all uses of  the term “identity” (and its cognates). But, since our issues typically relate to persons, especially to personal responsibility, the philosophical problem here is posed in terms of personal identity. To identify that problem, consider simple cases of inheritance: to inherit my grandfather’s fortune, I must be the genuine grandson, the very same person that, say, his Last Will and Testament indicates. As we might say, “he wouldn’t be my grandfather unless …”, where that “unless” highlights the factors, whatever they are, that distinguish me (the genuine grandson) from others who resemble me, since the Will leaves the fortune to the grandson; and I am his only grandson (ex hypothesi). As here, personal identity problems typically arise across time: © The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_3

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• Is the person identified this way at this time the very same person as that one, identified that way, at that later time? In standard cases, there being such (numerical) identity here is compatible with my being very different from, say, when my grandfather last saw me. His last will made clear that only I (the legitimate grandson) can inherit, because only I am the very same person as the curly haired cherub scamp he saw all those years ago, the very same person picked-out by that Will; but not only is my appearance very different (I was seven years old when we last met) but also my views—I now have some—and my memories. So, personal identity should not be confused with (nor taken to require) similarity. (Of course, the identity-conclusion only means that I should inherit, not that I actually do.) In English, the terms “identity”, “identical” are used at least in two further ways. The first, typically as “identical”, is sometimes called “qualitative identity”: roughly, two objects are identical when one cannot tell them apart. In this case, two objects are compared (with numerical identity, the question is typically whether a single ‘object’ is being identified at different times or in different places); and objects are (qualitatively) identical to the degree that they share properties. Thus, two chairs from a mass-produced set are qualitatively identical: they share the same properties, and so cannot be distinguished. Then, having sat on a particular chair on Friday, and with chairs are moved on Saturday, I might sit on a [qualitatively] identical—although different—chair on Monday. But, since there are two chairs here, this cannot be numerical identity. In a second use of the term, referring to our identities somehow picks-­ out what is important to us: thus, when I return shell-shocked from the war, my friends say that I am not the same person; asked to elaborate, someone might say that I have had a change of identity. But in this case, unlike the other, numerical identity is not at issue. To give such changes a name, let us say, instead, that my personality has changed. Compare that case with one that would concern numerical identity: the film Sommersby [1993] raises real identity questions about whether the Richard Gere character is who he claims to be—whose husband he is, what he can inherit, and such like. By contrast, what I am calling “my changed personality” just means my not behaving or speaking as expected. (Similar changes might be deliberate, of course: I have found religion, or become more charitable, or less.)

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This use of the term “personality” in English is not without precedent, although perhaps not its usual deployment. Thus, in diagnosing and identifying a person with Multiple-Personality Disorder, we accept that there is only one person here (numerical identity), despite the differences in personality. Of course, meeting such a person under appropriate circumstances, one might mistakenly think that one had encountered different people on the two occasions, because “they” acted so differently. Still, (numerical) identity retains a clear role for responsibility, since I cannot be praised or blamed for some action unless I was the agent in respect of it. So, too, saying that someone does not understand himself/herself is not claiming some self here as the non-comprehending subject (compare Wiggins, 2016, pp. xx–xxi). Rather, the confusion engendered resembles that when, hearing that “It is snowing”, someone asks, “What is the it?”. Talking of selves typically involves recognizing that one’s current thoughts or actions seem at odds with how one usually thinks or feels—all remarks about the only person in that story; namely, that person puzzled about how his/her thoughts and feeling cohere with those in the past (hence, at best, about changes in personality). But focusing on one’s thoughts and feelings relates them to one’s actions; and hence invokes responsibility, as above. No doubt there are complications here when, say, I pay another to do some act; or cases where, although I am the agent (numerical identity), the passage of time bears on whether responsibility will be enforced or enacted. Thus, the shell-shocked person above might not be held responsible for his pre-war doings. Still, such issues are predicated on recognition of the numerically identical person in the case. Connections to inheritance (and similar) mentioned above show that this philosophical problem has more than mere intellectual interest: it connects with my getting my just desserts (not someone else’s); with what I am responsible for, or can (genuinely) remember. Moreover, this background for understanding personal identity imports the ‘common-sense’ assumption that there are continuants, ‘objects’ existing through time. No doubt, as Austin rightly stresses, the “furniture of the universe” is very diverse. A list of “what exists” should certainly include not only shoes and ships and sealing wax (roughly, those “moderate-sized specimens of dry-­ goods” mentioned by Austin, 1962, p. 8), but also shadows, eclipses, and rainbows. Such claims to existence seem self-evident, in the absence of theoretically sophisticated accounts. Not all are space-occupying (to the

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exclusion of other things) and not all are continuants (or substances), of course. Yet such individual, enduring substances are “the basic objects of reference and the subjects of predication in our conceptual scheme” (Hacker, 2007, p. 31).

2   Five (Quick) Properties of Numerical Identity In various works, David Wiggins has argued for the logical centrality of numerical identity when characterizing substances, explaining it via Leibniz’s Law, such that two characterizations of a single object must share all the properties thereby ascribed: that is what it means for there to be a single individual here. Thus, any analysis here should reflect our common-­sense idea that “there is persistence through change” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 3). Hence Wiggins (1967, p. vii) begins from “persisting material substances”. For, as Hacker (2007, p. 31) notes, “[c]haracterizing an individual as a thing of a given kind by using … a substance-name to answer the question of what the thing is”. Then, taking the numerical-identity issue as one of “coincidence as a substance” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 4) raises the question of what (in our world) can count as substances. Certainly, one danger lies in treating a “world in which nothing really persists through change as if some of the things in that world did persist through change—a sort of make-believe” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 3). Further, as Wiggins (2016, p. 17) recognizes, “[i]t is not an option for philosophy to reject the four-dimensional conception of the world urged upon us by philosophers and metaphysicians of science”. But how that conception applies (if at all) in our cases remains an open question. For “[t]he four-­ dimensional conception need not favour either side in the logico-­ metaphysical dispute in which we have been engaged” (Wiggins, 2016, p.  17). Indeed, when the non-continuant wing of this debate refers to constructs such as, say, “this-horse-at-t, that-river-at-t, or David-Lewis-­ at-t” (Wiggins, 2016, p. 17), its remarks inevitably “lean shamelessly upon the ordinary understanding of substances when we come to specify that from which these constructs are to be seen or assembled” (Wiggins, 2016, p. 17). In that sense, such theories merely return us to the problem. Here, some key properties of (numerical) identity, derived from cases and presented informally, offer background for the discussion: (a) Not every case may permit identity solutions: chopping the end from my walking stick (say, to make it more comfortable) may still leave my stick, the very same stick (numerical identity); but break that stick

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in half, and neither half is uncontentiously the original stick. Similarly, the ‘mother’ amoeba that splits is (one might think) not the very same amoeba as either of the ‘descendent’ amoebae. (b) Relatedly, the identity-relation is one-to-one: the stick-broken-in-­ half does not fit our identity-relation partly because each half has as good a claim as the other to being the very same one. Since both cannot be (numerically) identical with the one ‘predecessor’ (after all, there was one; now there are two), we must conclude that neither is. (c) As recognized above, our concern is not continuity of properties or attributes: the seven-year-old my grandfather last saw was pink, chubby, monoglot, and so on—now, although perhaps still monoglot, I am otherwise different (tall, handsome, etc.). Yet that remains irrelevant to the identity-conclusion. For instance, the seven-yearold had brown hair while my hair (now) is grey. Not only does this ‘difference’ not preclude identity, but such differences are to be expected with personal continuity: what would we make of cases where they were absent? In the jargon, one cannot begin from indistinguishability; although, of course, in a way—perhaps by taking the properties, and such like, to be tensed—where what was true of me (then) and what is true of me (now) just count as true of me. (d) Identity-claims are importantly connected to covering concepts: I am the very same person (in the cases discussed). Genuine identity judgements always have some covering concept ‘in the offing’. As Wiggins (1980, pp. 15–18 & ff.) has shown, its impact is recognized by noting that the absence of such a (genuine) covering concept when I ask if, say, this is the same thing as that, the question cannot be answered. Rather than just suggesting that identity as relative to such covering concepts, this shows that, unless the context clarifies what kind of thing is under discussion, the question is not even well-formed! Then a useful idea is that, roughly, whatever could be a covering concept here would be countable: if we can re-identify (say) the tables in, for instance, a particular room, we could ask how many tables are there (but contrast Wiggins, 2016, pp. 218–219; Hacker, 2007, pp. 39–40). (e) Relatedly, identity judgements must not be confused with those involving composition: although the watch is composed of its spring, face, hands, cogs, and so on, the watch-repairer can change those cogs—at least, if not too many are changed—and return the very

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same watch, but now with slightly different components. (Of course, the way the cells comprising our bodies are replaced over time might best be seen as serial part-replacement, on this model.) We return below to crucial questions about composition or constitution. This collection of features may suggest a method for exploring personal-­ identity conditions that Wiggins (1967, 1980) applies to identity in general: namely, subjecting candidate identity-conditions for persons to “trial by problem-case” or “inquisition by counter-example” (see Perry, 2002, p. xi: also Sect. 7 this chapter).

3   What Are the Covering Concepts? As Hacker (2007, p.  31) recognizes, “[t]he substance name provides a covering concept for statements of identity concerning particular things of the relevant kind …”. Now, combining an insight implicit in §2(a) with §2(d), we note that concepts to deal with all the cases may not be readily at hand, especially for potential problem cases.2 We are asking whether X (identified at one time, say) is the very same person as Y (identified at another time): does that concept (person) bring with it a unique set of identity-conditions, timelessly applicable? Must it? As Austin (1962, p. 76) points out, in respect of what is or is not a real X, “the criteria we employ at a given time can’t be taken as final, not liable to change”. The same is true of our concepts more generally, including the “covering-concepts” for identity judgements: here, centrally, person. To explain (and argue for) this point about concepts: Suppose that one day a creature of the kind we now call a cat takes to talking. Well, we say to begin with, I suppose, ‘This cat can talk.’ But then other cats, not all, take to talking as well; we now have to say that some cats talk, we distinguish between talking and non-talking cats. But again we may, if talking becomes prevalent and not talking seems to us to be really important, come to insist that a real cat be a creature that can talk. And this will give us a new case of being ‘not a real cat’: that is, being a creature just like a cat except for not talking. (Austin, 1962, pp. 76–77)

As this example indicates, concepts might change; hence what is required for being a cat might become different. Regarding the situation from our current perspective,3 we would correctly deny that the talking creatures were cats (where “cat” meant what we now mean by it). On the other

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hand, the longer view offered by the philosophers’ perspective on this matter suggests recognizing incommensurable changes: one cannot know exactly what some future people will say—certainly, “talking cat” cannot capture its full nuance. Our ordinary language embodies “all the distinctions … [people] have found worth drawing, and the connections they have found worth marking, in the lifetime of many generations”, as Austin (1979, p. 182) noted. Hence our everyday concepts embody: … something better than the metaphysics of the Stone Age [although perhaps not much better] namely, … the inherited experience of many generations of men. … if a distinction works well for practical purposes in ordinary life (no mean feat, for even ordinary life is full of hard cases), then there is sure to be something in it, it will not mark nothing …. (Austin, 1979, p. 185)

Thus Austin (1979, p.  195) rightly reminds us that ordinary language “embodies … the inherited experience and acumen of many generations of men (and women)”. That may leave us at a loss with cases well outside that compass. For instance, what should one make of a goldfinch that suddenly quotes Virginia Woolf (Austin, 1979, p. 88)? Presently, we do not know what to make of it. If such creatures became widespread—like the cats above—we might grant that goldfinches were of two kinds, those with a partiality for Bloomsbury literature, and … With a proliferation of the first kind of creature, we might even come to regard non-Woolfian goldfinches as somehow defective or deviant examples of the genus. So, one cannot so much begin from fixed categories as come to them. Here, our discussion of determinacy, elaborated through examples, displays three crucial features. First, many key properties here are context-­ relative: “I asked him for a bread knife and he gives me a razor because it’s sharper” (Wittgenstein: Ms 121: 9th April, 1938)—not that sharpness is not a virtue of knives, nor that the razor is not sharper than the bread knife. But, in this context, the sharpness needed is the kind the bread knife offers. The issue, indeed, turns on what sharpness amounts to in the context—here, the relevant standards of sharpness were misunderstood. So, second, our view of what is true here must acknowledge such context-­ dependence by recognizing occasion-sensitivity (see Chap. 1, Sect. 5). Hence, we must draw, in context, on our fund of knowledge of persons, and of (say) responsibility, because “there is a definite result as to truth only if the circumstances of the describing, or those of its evaluation as to

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truth, somehow make one standard or another the right one for the purposes in hand” (Travis, 2011, p. 106). For someone might lack mastery of the conditions (what Travis calls “the standards”) for counting as, say, the drapes being red in these circumstances—for example, in knowing what to make of the stains on those drapes. This means not only that a person: … could not grasp a thought that the drapes were red if he lacked the concept red … [but also that] one may know all there is to know as to what being coloured red would be as such—and for all that, … not yet be in a position to see whether a given judging, or stating, say, that the drapes were red is to count as having answered to the way things are. (Travis, 2011, p. 106)

That is to say, “[p]arochial human responsiveness” (Travis, 2011, p. 108) must be recognized to understand the application of, say, colour concepts. Yet, third, there may still be such standards in a particular case: for “[t]he statements fit the facts always more or less loosely, in different ways on different occasions for different intents and purposes … [although] even the most adroit of languages may fail to ‘work’ in an abnormal situation” (Austin, 1979, p. 130: quoted here Chap. 2, Sect. 5). And not all questions admit answers of the kind offered. In fact, most words in ordinary use are explained ostensively: that is, by pointing to objects and events. Thus (as recognized by Austin, 1962, p. 123 note), in many cases, it makes no sense to ask if A can be B, even though being the second does not logically exclude being the first. Thus, Austin (1962, p.  123 note) asks: “Why can’t a Jack of Spades be a Queen of Hearts?” It is obvious that it cannot, but why exactly? This point resembles that Lewis Carroll satirized by asking why a raven is like a writing-desk. So, in summary, one cannot assume, in every case, the adequacy of the concepts to hand. Equally, our concepts—person, responsibility—are central to much we do and say. And only sufficient determinacy in any specific context is required, rather than a context-free determinacy.

4   Psychological Discontinuity and Multiple Personality What contours has the concept “person” in this context? What is it for a person to survive; or, more generally, persist? Here, thinking of survival cannot involve imagining survival through our children (or our children’s children), nor through our literary accomplishments, or charitable works:

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these are not personal-identity questions. But, when the result is not personal survival, the hope (or whatever) that I survive is vain. What personal survival involves clearly bears directly on questions of personal identity: what is it that survives? In reply, Locke ([1689] 1975, p. 346: Essay II. xxvii. 25) asks rhetorically, “Could we suppose any spirit wholly stripped of all its memory or consciousness of past actions?” In modern terms, Locke’s position is roughly that a particular person (X) at a particular time is the very same person as one identified as “Y” at an earlier time if, and only if, both are persons; and X remembers at the later time his doing what Y did at the earlier time. So, if John (now aged 40) genuinely remembers falling from the apple tree (when aged 8), it follows that John is indeed the person (the boy, Johnny) who fell from the tree—only he can genuinely remember his doing this. (If, say, John recounted that fall to his brother Tom, then, while Tom could remember being told, he could not remember the fall: he did not have the fall!) Here, we begin from a test-bed of cases of identity (about, say, watches, or cars, or statues: see Sect. 2 above) for, often, arguments for identity-­ conclusions draw on such parallels. Further, while particular psychological accounts of personal identity must be addressed (Locke’s having been chosen), our aim is far wider: to address all accounts modelling the explanation of personal identity (or personal continuity) through psychological continuity (here, of memory). In all of them, the requirement (as here) is that I was the person who felt this or thought that or remembered such-­ and-­such; and so that I still am. Moreover, psychological accounts are typically more complex than the physically-based ones rooted in, say, the brain or body or some such. For tracking physical continuity seems relatively straightforward (although not unproblematic): at least, a conceptual model for the simplest case seems easy (say, the body—or whatever—constantly followed by television cameras, with no splitting, and so on). Nothing comparably simple exists for psychological accounts: after all, having graduated from the same university on the same day, you and I might both remember that graduation (from a participant’s perspective). Or we might both love the same woman (so that our love, characterized in terms of what/who it was love for, seems the same). Or, again, we might both be depressed at having been ‘dumped’ by the same woman. Cases where my psychological state appears the same as yours seem easily multiplied: in all such cases, it is tempting to say that you and I feel the same thing. But that alone cannot make us psychologically continuous.

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A Locke-type account requires that the person genuinely remember doing the thing: that I remember my brother joining the army cannot mean that I am my brother. He remembers the ceremony (say), while I just remember that he joined; or, were I at the ceremony, remember from the audience-perspective what he remembers from the participant-­ perspective. Yet, this important difference is hard to elaborate satisfactorily, since this appeal to memory is problematic. I can honestly think I remember doing such-and-such because I was told about it (in a particularly vivid way) when young, or some such. Were the Locke-type account correct, my honestly claiming that I remember doing such-and-such would make me the person who did it: but that is at least wrong and, perhaps, even absurd—for instance, I might claim to remember doing something done before my birth. (Such cases, called paramnesia, are less rare than one might think: thus, in his later years, King George IV supposedly ‘remembered’ leading troops at the Battle of Waterloo, many years previously!) A further oddity suggests an inconsistency of the position: a young man may remember doing such-and-such as a boy (say, stealing apples) and an old man may remember doing something as a younger man (say, some act of bravery—for this reason, this is sometimes called “The Case of the Gallant Officer”)—yet be unable to recall stealing the apples. On this position, then, the young man is the boy (they are psychologically continuous; hence, the same person); and the old man is the young man (they, too, are psychologically continuous); but the old man is not the boy, since they are not psychologically continuous: hence, not the same person. Thus, the old man both is the same person as the boy (since both are the same person as the younger man) and is not the same person as that boy, because ­psychologically discontinuous. Locating a paradox of this kind shows that the picture here is not coherent. Does that problem derive from the position’s focus on memory? Might some other psychological capacity provide the psychological continuity thought (on this account) to ground, or be criterial of, personal identity? Two good reasons suggest answering “no” (always assuming a single psychological capacity must be invoked): first, others fare no better, faced with objections parallel to those just raised: for instance, a “stream of consciousness” must be identified as mine before it can supply a criterion of my identity. Then, second, memory—as a temporally related capacity— seems (at first glance) especially well-suited to the task here. After all, numerical-identity judgements for persons relate a person identified at an

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earlier time to one identified at a later time. Further, parallels for the problems of amnesia, paramnesia, and the Gallant Officer, beset other possible accounts. So, one arrives at an untenable position however one interprets the key terms of Locke-type accounts. Hence, although seeming most promising, such accounts fail here: attempts to explain psychological continuity using only psychological building-blocks are always problematic, an insight developed below (Sect. 5). In this context, recall that cases at least seemingly relevant here—such as the “Three Faces of Eve” (Thigpen & Cleckley, 1957), or “Sybil” (Schreiber, 1973)—are rightly described as involving Multiple-Personality Disorder. That characterization recognizes that, for our key concern (say, with inheritance), there is unquestionably only one person here, despite multiple personalities. Such extreme cases, with one person having numerous personalities, offer useful ways to set aside problem-cases derived from differences of personality. More simply, a typical human being viewed across time will change her views, sometimes dramatically. So that, comparing what she said or thought at this time, and then at that, and so on, produces just the sorts of differences (diachronically) that our Multiple-­ Personality Disorder cases display within the same time frame. Multiple-personality cases, and bizarre cases of transplantation, and of fission, all seem to put pressure on any account of personal identity. We have given reasons to put aside the multiple-personality cases: whatever their interest in other ways, they are clearly cases of just one person. The other problem cases are the most extreme. Are our concepts equipped to deal with them?

5   Wiggins (1980) “Solution” Discussion of psychological continuity (above) makes clear that an account of personal identity cannot reduce to only the psychological—say, to memory-­ continuity—because, roughly, the initial examples of identity presuppose a material basis for that continuity. And our common-sense concerns with responsibility (say, for inheritance) require that something positive be said here. Although our (present) understanding of persons cannot, perhaps, deal with every case, it surely deals with most, even though its explication is not uncontentious, and it cannot be applied exceptionlessly. Indeed, the determinacy needed here is only contextual (see Sect. 3 above).

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Read one way, Wiggins (1980) incorporates this requirement into his account of persons by recognizing that, while properties appropriate for persons (especially psychological properties) can be indicated, one can neither specify them all (they do not form a finite totality), nor rule out, in principle, a candidate person just because this or that property is absent. Further, such properties are rooted in the physical. Hence, Wiggins (1980, p. 188) transforms Locke’s famous view to read: … a person is any animal the physical make-up of whose species constitutes [that is, makes] the species’ typical members thinking intelligent beings, with reason and reflection, and typically enables them to consider themselves as themselves, the same thinking things, in different times and places …

This remark must be augmented, Wiggins (1980, p. 171) rightly insists, by expanding our account of reason and reflection and the like: persons must be able to: … perceive, feel, remember, imagine, desire, make projects, acquire a character as they age, [be] happy or miserable, [be] susceptible to concern for members of their own or like species … conceive of themselves as perceiving, feeling, remembering, imagining, desiring, making projects, speaking … have and perceive of themselves as having, a past accessible in experience-­ memory and a future accessible in intention … etc.

Even so, this account is clearly incomplete. Hence, we must: … supply the lacunae, which we marked there [above] by dots, by drawing upon the indefinite and extensible fund of our knowledge of men, knowing that we shall never close off the enumeration or evaluate once and for all the relative importance of the various differentia. (Wiggins, 1980, p. 188)

Here Wiggins recognizes, surely rightly, the impossibility of ever finding a catalogue of properties or behaviours (understood as conditions individually necessary and jointly sufficient) to provide a genuine test for personhood just because such an enumeration of relevant properties cannot be completed. But this does not entail the pessimistic conclusion that we cannot know that what is around us are people—we can, once their biological origin is taken for granted. So, our ‘unit’ for persons will be organized parcels of matter to which the relevant (open-ended) set of properties is appropriately ascribed. In reflecting what we know about ourselves, such

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an account of persons should cover most cases.4 After all, Austin (1979, p. 182) is surely right to take the everyday understanding of persons as adequate to most of what is asked of it.

6   Hunting Logical Possibility What of more difficult cases? They may be crucial if one does not share the conviction (see Wilkes, 1988) that enough interesting cases arise from paying attention to real people or events—with novels somewhere in-­ between. Mentioning difficult cases illustrates some assumptions (especially about the nature of philosophy) that typical enquiries embody. In general, some consensus exists for cases of multiple-personality (one person, lots of personalities) and some cases of, say, transplantation of organs—arrived at by considering part-replacement of material objects such as automobiles or watches. More importantly, most cases combine bodily continuity with psychological continuity. Only when these familiar continuities come apart do we turn to thought-experiments: cases where we consider what would happen in some situations presently impossible, but still logically possible. Of course, our intuitions over such things may not be reliable. But appeal to parallels can reinforce them, as here; say, to numerical identity for animals or machines. And such thought-­experiments can provide counter-cases to candidate personal-identity theses. In perhaps the best-known example, from Shoemaker (1963, pp. 23–24), the brain of one person (Brown) is transplanted into the body of another (Robinson) with the usual assumptions about what causal capacities brains generate. Hence, the resulting person (“Brownson”) “recognizes Brown’s wife and family … and is able to describe in detail events in Brown’s life … of Robinson’s life he evinces no knowledge” (Shoemaker, 1963, pp. 23–24). Can such cases offer a set of minimally controversial claims about, say, who should inherit Brown’s money? First, such cases (see Sect. 2 above) are typically constructed with whatever features make them most likely (“best case scenarios”); second, simple clear cases are needed for comparison (cases from identity questions for objects are often helpful); third, the issue always concerns what is logically possible, not what is practically possible (nor what is likely); fourth, consistency is centrally important (“If you are saying this here, you must be saying that there—the cases are the same.”); fifth, the importance of relevant differences is clear, together with the need to argue the relevance: thus, if someone urges, “cars do not have brains” … well, that is true, but

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so what? What is its relevance? Suppose the thought were that, “In imagining brain removal/transplantation for persons, we attribute certain causal powers to the brain: so, viewed that way, the brain is an essential part of a person’s body—cars do not have essential parts in this way”. Well, now we understand the point! That leaves us free to consider contesting it. Finally, the whole procedure depends on the thought-experiments reflecting the logically possible. Too often, though, that idea becomes, “what we can imagine is logically possible!”, when perhaps there are more constraints than initially thought on what can be imagined. The potential power of such cases cannot be doubted. But that method of “problem cases through thought-experiments” is easily abused (compare, say, Wilkes, 1988, pp. 6–21). For the consensus over Shoemaker’s case, that Brownson is Brown, surely derives in part from our description of the case as a body-swap! And it benefits from both candidates being men. But is this conclusion really so compelling? Would Angelina Jolie really have swapped Brad Pitt’s body for a husband who looked like … (insert the name of someone less than attractive—say, Donald Trump!) even if she thought this creature was Pitt really? So perhaps there is less genuine consensus than at first appeared.

7   Some Problems for Problem-Cases In effect, sketches of three or four familiar difficulties problematize the characteristic deployment here of problem-case thought-experiments. First, it is often more difficult than the creators of such problem cases assume to guarantee that putative counter-cases are logically possible: this requires, of course, that the case be assertable without self-contradiction. On mature reflection, this requirement is more problematic than it might seem—a difficulty rarely addressed directly! Thus, while M.  C. Escher’s drawings might seem to represent logically possible (although physically impossible) situations—say, for staircases—those drawings in fact contravene the ‘logic’ of pictorial representation (see Hacker, 1976). In a not-­ dissimilar way, imagining such-and-such may well require far more detail than is typically given; and may prove impossible once one tries to supply that detail. Second, in aiming to generate counter-cases, these problem cases build­in the assumption of a determinate answer to whether there is, or is not, numerical identity: that is, whether the person involved in this complex business is  the very same person as the one identified initially. But that

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assumption of a determinate solution, with any particular situation resolvable in principle as definitely identity or definitely non-identity, seems contentious. And, of course, this might reflect negatively both on our ability to recognize the logically possible—crucial for the construction of genuine thought-experiments—and on our use of current concepts. First, setting-­up such cases as logically (if not physically) possible involves ignoring, or setting aside, various physical laws and regularities. Yet, which of our current assumptions must be retained for the case to be revealing about gold or cats or people? For such cases must be imagined in sufficient detail to grant their possibility (compare PI, p. 230 [PPF §366]). Hallett (1991, p. 109) puts the point eloquently, as a rhetorical question: “If the details omitted would be relevant in real-life situations, why are they irrelevant in imagined situations?” Omitting such details may preclude really imagining a case, or weighing the connections of concepts involved.5 Then, second (mentioned already), we cannot assume that our current concepts are always adequate to deal with problem cases. For instance, our common-­ sense account of persons may reasonably be expected to apply for most cases of, say, inheritance. But must it be able to accommodate, say, complicated duplication cases deploying something like the Star Trek transporter? Surely not. After all, identity-discussions seem ill-equipped to deal with cases where candidates are of equal standing: thus, as Wiggins (1980, p. 72 note) recognizes, our usual kinds of descriptions of the relation of a ‘mother’ amoeba to its resulting [post-split] ‘children’ seem misleading, or otherwise problematic. With Austin (1979, p. 88), we might wonder whether our concepts are sufficiently well-elaborated to resolve extreme cases, such as those the thought-experiments develop. We might be left literally speechless if what we took to be a goldfinch subsequently exploded, or quoted Virginia Woolf—words (or, better, concepts) might fail us. We might not know what to say because, in that context, there is nothing that we must say. Thus, Wittgenstein (BB, p. 62) suggests we: [i]magine a man whose memories on the even days of his life comprise the events of all those days, skipping entirely what happened on the odd days. On the other days, he remembers on an odd day what happened on previous odd says, but his memory skips the even days without a feeling of discontinuity … Are we bound to say here that two persons are inhabiting the same body?

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The “Three Faces of Eve” case offers alternative ways to regard this situation; say, in terms of multiple personalities. As Wittgenstein (BB, p. 62) asks rhetorically, given these alternatives: … is it right to say that there are, and wrong to say that there aren’t, or vice versa? Neither. For the ordinary use of the word ‘person’ is what one might call a composite use suitable under ordinary circumstances. If I assume, as I do, that these circumstances are changed, the application of the term ‘person’ or personality has thereby changed …

Once the details of the case are agreed, nothing may remain for dispute: so here, we might readily treat “Eve” as multiple personalities of the same person. As Wittgenstein (BB, p. 62) continues: … and if I wish to preserve this term and give it a use analogous to its former use, I am at liberty to choose between many uses, that is, between many different kinds of analogy. One might say in such a case the term ‘personality’ hasn’t got one legitimate heir only.

For, as Quine (1972, p. 490) put it6: To seek what is ‘logically required’ for sameness of person under unprecedented circumstances is to suggest that words have some force beyond what our present needs have invested them with.

Here, while ordinary language “embodies … the inherited experience and acumen of many generations of men (and women)” (as Austin, 1979, p. 195 reminded us: see Sect. 3), it cannot always cover cases hugely o ­ utside that compass. Certainly, one cannot assume that one or other answer here is obviously right: to urge, “Persons are substances, so this must be a feature of personality (only)” is simply to decide the matter one way. Rather, if “there is persistence through change” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 3), then the issue for numerical-identity concerns “coincidence as a substance” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 4). And our concern is primarily with apparent substance-objects, or continuants. Further, in practice, the question of what (in our world) can count as substances need not be problematic. Our work-a-day world is full of continuants-through-change: cars and watches returned after mending, for example; and (some) genuine inheritors. Of course, the concept of a person might also remain problematic, since (after all) “person” is not obviously (for instance) a natural kind. Hence a fuller account of the difficulties of “social objects” might have something special to say about persons.

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Then, third, presenting the issues from a first-person perspective is assumed to be unproblematic: is the idea of “the real me” thereby imported, hence, disposing to an identity-solution? All three issues here might suggest limitations to the usefulness of treating identity-­ investigations in these ways. Not only is it less likely that our current concepts will be adequate to deal with very elaborate or hypothetical problem-cases for persons, cases very far from our usual situations (our second criticism, above), but also less likely they offer useful models for discussion elsewhere. For instance, I have no idea how to approach the question of whether persons are four-­ dimensional entities. Exploring some of the complexities of such four-­ dimensional talk, Wiggins (1980, p.  194ff; also note 16; p.  70) has highlighted “some of the introductory explanations needing to lean on the crutch of the three-dimensional language …” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 196), commenting that “it is simply a mistake to suppose that we must … identify the persisting entities articulated by the three-dimensional world view with those articulated by the four-dimensional” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 196). And he had already urged that, “[n]o human being is any stage of a human being, or an 18-year-old cross-section of a larger 70-year-long space-time worm” (Wiggins, 1980, p. 27). So, despite my puzzlements, I am fairly sure that the usual view of persons (say, as parcels of matter with certain psychological properties, or some such) cannot accommodate that conception; or, at least, that there is no reason for confidence that it can. To identify substance-concepts, or continuants, Wiggins restricts his discussion to what he calls “sortal-concepts” which, for him, must be completely bounded; with determinate answers to whether particular instances do, or do not, fall under that concept. But what are sortals? Certainly, a useable sketch of them7 begins from the answerability for sortals of the counting question (“How many Xs are there in the room?”). But we need not go so far. In effect, my account here just reports some common-sense distinctions, of kinds Wiggins (1967, p. vii) evinced with “persisting material substances”.

8   Identity and Composition We move forward by recognizing another situation8 where saying truthfully “A is B” does not assert identity between A and B: the so-called “is” of composition (Wiggins, 1980, p.  31 note; see also [1968] 2016, p.  35), whereby saying that this scarf is (or was, once) a woollen hat, is not asserting

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identity between them, but simply acknowledging that the material from the second was unpicked and re-knitted into the first. As we will see (Chap. 5, Sect. 5), this idea becomes crucial when considering how thoughts or feelings relate to brain-states. With the “is” of composition, the wool too is not identical with the scarf but composes it. Scarf and hat shared material, but that is all. Since the scarf is nothing other than the wool, all the scarf’s properties depend on properties of the wool, including properties emergent from that base and rooted in inter-relations between that wool’s properties. (Thus, although the water is liquid, water-molecules are not: but the liquidity of the water, although ‘emergent’, is explained by detailed discussion of the properties of those molecules).9 Similarly, the scarf has stripes of red and yellow on a black ground because this section of the wool comprising the scarf is red, that section is yellow, and other sections are black. Further, the scarf really is striped, even though it is not true of any of the wool. In that sense, being striped is a higher-level property—a property of scarves not wool, even though the scarf is (that is, is composed of ) the wool. So, the relationship here, while broadly causal, is quite complex; and not explicable at the ‘lowest common denominator’ of causation. Such uncontentious facts about composition often escape our notice. Further, its colours identify this as the Students’ Union scarf of the University of Keele (in the UK): a normative element completely outside the realm of causality is thereby imported, since only a particular combination of stripes amounts to the Keele University Students’ Union scarf. Yet (a) it is true of the scarf that it is the Keele University Students’ Union scarf; (b) nothing external to the scarf makes that true (viewed one way)— the properties depend on the scarf; and (c) the relationship of wool to this fact is certainly not causal, since no straightforward way seems to account for this normativity, drawing solely on the resources from causality. Now, we saw in Chap. 1 (Sect. 1) that, while the causes of my behaviour in, for example, a chess game could be related to my brain-states, simply addressing the causal story here of how my judgements and actions came about cannot yet approach the normative question of whether this was, say, a good move in chess—both have a causal story. Further, the problem here is not one of complexity, since both bad and good moves are on a par in this respect. In effect, this recalls our slogan from Frege ([1918] 1984, p. 351): that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition”. Again, the resources from causality cannot account for this normativity.

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In Chap. 4, we will consider the degree to which the relationship of mind to brain might be captured in this way: clearly the brain offers (part of) the mind’s material composition—although of course, as Wittgenstein (PI §281; see also Robinson, 2007, p. 19ff.) rightly insists, mind-­properties are applicable strictly only to persons (or something very like human persons); for only persons could actually perform the mind-functions at issue, such as perception, memory, and intention.

9   Conclusion In this Chapter, focusing on the case for persons, while considering the notion of identity typically discussed in philosophy, allowed us to set aside cases where, say, the scarf is wool (the “is” of composition: see Sect. 8). For these exemplify occasions when apparent identity-claims are really doing something else, elaborated via, say, the questions to which they provide plausible answers (see also Chap. 5, Sects. 5 and 6). Thus, the “is” of composition explains what the woollen hat and the woollen scarf might share when the hat was unpicked and the resultant wool knitted into the scarf: they were the same wool. Such cases are important for other issues, since—on some occasions—apparent-identity claims (“The electrical discharge is the lightening”) have been mistakenly treated as genuine identity-­ statements, rather than simply designating composition. This error, widespread in the philosophy of mind, has a bearing both on attempts to understand Artificial Intelligence and when interested in how thoughts are instantiated in (roughly) the brain. Moreover, it combines with our ­general commitment to the occasion-sensitivity of utterance, or of understanding, to suggest ways of setting aside, as not urging identity, claims not designed to permit the standard inferences concerning properties such that, at least in a tensed way, what is true of an object under one designation is true of it under all other designations. Addressing personal identity, we have followed Wiggins (1980) in stressing the role of persons as a kind necessarily embodied and necessarily having powers and capacities from an open-ended list … one not in principle open to completion.10 Such a view offers a reply to many puzzles raised by philosophers over whether someone described at one time is the very same person as someone described at some later time (if only slightly later). These might include:

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(a) Multiple-personality cases, where there are a series of different ‘phases’ (Ansel Bourne/Brown, in James, [1890] 1950, pp. 391–392; or Phineas Gage before and after his accident: Tallis, 2011, p. 23; p. 35). [Since these are cases of “same person” continuity, our model has a physical dimension.]; (b) Brain-transplantation (Shoemaker, 1963, pp. 23–24), especially if we switch the brains, so that two people survive. Which is the real continuant? On what assumptions? (c) Split-brain brain-transplantation (Wiggins, 1967, p.  50; Parfit, 1984, p. 256)—here, as with a stick broken in half, identity may lapse in the face of two equally convincing candidates; (d) “Star-Trek-type transporter replication” (Parfit, 1984, pp.  199–201)—might something less than identity be crucial? Might ‘survival’ as one ‘descendent’ be enough? We saw, too, how discussion here draws usefully on consideration of numerical identity for, say, material objects like cars and watches; or even animals like amoebas (amoebae). So, the issues are clarified in central cases, although without always providing clear responses. For instance, Wiggins’ position provides a background conception of persons, suitable to consider the claims of Artificial Intelligence and the possibility of androids (see Chap. 6). It often allows plausible responses where identity is at issue: but without there always being an answer. For our concepts may not be robust enough to deal with all the potential imaginary cases; and it may be impossible to give all the details when there is no such finite totality, in line with our ­occasion-­sensitivity. Moreover, we have begun reflecting on a technique standardly used in philosophical debate: the deployment of thought-experiments.

Notes 1. Throughout, the concept person is crucial: more strictly, identity questions about persons might become “identity-questions about human beings [since] … [i]t is human being that is the plenary substance concept” (Wiggins, 2016, p. 96), thereby avoiding “the temptation to antedate the death of a person to a time before their biological death” (Wiggins, 2016, p. 96, Note 9). 2. Those wishing to pursue these topics beyond what I require here might usefully begin from distinctions drawn in Hacker, 2007, Chap. 2.

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3. Feyerabend (1987, p.  272) provides this contrast between the philosopher’s view of the matter (with the possibility of genuine incommensurability) and the practitioner’s, on which, asked whether such-and-such “is the Bohr electron, the Rutherford electron, the Lorenz electron or what … [t]he answer is, it is the electron, about which we have a large number of incomplete and sometimes conflicting theories” (Cartwright, 1983, p. 92): compare UD, p. 307. 4. Later, in summary, Wiggins (2016, p. 87) characterizes persons as: … subjects (or potential subjects) of fine-grained interpretation by us, as subjects for whom we are subjects of fine-grained interpretation and as creatures with whom we can have relations of reciprocity and solidarity. Although its open-endedness is less apparent here, this conception too leaves lacunae to be filled from what we know of persons: that is, of one another. Given his essentialism (and commitment to Putnam-type accounts of natural kinds, deploying stereotypes: Wiggins, 2016, pp.  150–165), Wiggins (2016, p. 87) puts as a parallel claim: … the stereotype we can have of a person—and the only effective conception we can have of what a person is—is the conception of a human being, a fellow creature, our fellow creature. A person is a rational human being with a distinctive and particular animal nature, origin and physiognomy, namely ours. Moreover, he takes such a view to be: … founded on a contention about shared norms of human reasonableness whose content stretches well beyond the logically a priori into the whole complex of specific responses that human beings can expect of other human beings, given the constitution that is ours by nature. (Wiggins, 2016, p. 88) 5. For more on treating counterfactuals as limited-scope suppositions, see Mackie, 1973, pp. 88–98. 6. Compare Wiggins, 1980, p. 175 note. 7. Wiggins (1980, pp. 72–73) discusses the counting principle, concluding that, “[i]t is one thing to be able to say how many fs there are in a determinate context. But it is another thing to have … a perfectly general method of enumerating fs”. 8. Also, see the “is” of identification: McFee, 2018, pp. 46–50. 9. Here, supervenience is “not arcane or theory-laden”, but rather as Anscombe ([1983] 2005, p. 103) describes “supervenient descriptions … a highly convenient façon de parler”.

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10. On this contextualist reading, determinacy only operates in context, and not absolutely—a view Wiggins rejects, commenting that failure to recognize the need for absolute determinacy ignores the contribution of (especially) Frege and Lesnieskwi on “the subject of soundness of concepts” (Wiggins, 1967, p. 43). See Wiggins, 2001, p. xiii: … to see that the principle of individuation for a buzzard is not the same principle as for a bat, to see that the principle of individuation for a teapot is not the same as for a housefly—there is no more to this (and no less) than there is to seeing what a difference there is between these things from a practical view of singling them out, of keeping track of them and of chronicling what they do. [original italics]

Bibliography Anscombe, G. E. M. ([1983] 2005). The Causation of Action. In M. Geach & L. Gormally (Eds.), Human Life, Action and Ethics: Essays by G. E. M. Anscombe (pp. 89–108). Exeter: Imprint Academic. [Reprinted]. Austin, J. L. (1962). Sense and Sensibilia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Austin, J. L. (1979). Philosophical Papers (3rd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Cartwright, N. (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Feyerabend, P. K. (1987). Farewell to Reason. London: New Left Books. Frege, G. ([1918] 1984). Thoughts. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 351–372). Oxford: Blackwell. Hacker, P. M. S. (1976). Locke and the Meaning of Colour Words. In G. Vesey (Ed.), Impressions of Empiricism (pp. 23–46). London: Macmillan. Hacker, P.  M. S. (2007). Human Nature: The Categorial Framework. Oxford: Blackwell. Hallett, G.  L. (1991). Essentialism: A Wittgensteinian Critique. Albany: State University of New York Press. James, W. ([1890] 1950). The Principles of Psychology. New  York: Henry Holt/Dover. Locke, J. ([1689] 1975). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (P.  H. Nidditch, Ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mackie, J. L. (1973). Truth, Probability and Paradox. Oxford: Clarendon Press. McFee, G. (2018). Dance and the Philosophy of Action. Alton, Hants: Dance Books. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Clarendon. Perry, J. (2002). Identity, Personal Identity and the Self. Indianapolis: Hackett. Quine, W. V. O. (1972). Review of Munitz Identity and Individuation. Journal of Philosophy, 69, 488–497. Robinson, D. (Ed.). (2007). Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind, and Language. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Schreiber, F. R. (1973). Sybil. New York: Henry Regnery. Shoemaker, S. (1963). Self-Knowledge and Self-Identity. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Tallis, R. (2011). Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity. Durham, UK: Acumen. Thigpen, C.  H., & Cleckley, H.  M. (1957). Three Faces of Eve. New  York: McGraw-Hill. Travis, C. (2011). Objectivity and the Parochial. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Wiggins, D. (1967). Identity and Spatio-Temporal Continuity. Oxford: Blackwell. Wiggins, D. (1968). On Being in the Same Place at the Same Time. Philosophical Review, 2016, 33–40. [Reprinted in Wiggins]. Wiggins, D. (1980). Sameness and Substance. Oxford: Blackwell. Wiggins, D. (2001). Sameness and Substance Renewed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wiggins, D. (2016). Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being and Their Identity: Twelve Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wilkes, K. (1988). Real People: Personal Identity Without Thought Experiments. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G.  E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. Wittgenstein, L. (1958). The Blue and Brown Books. Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “BB”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2009). Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment. [Originally Philosophical Investigations (“PI”) Part Two.] Philosophical Investigations (4th Rev. edn.) (pp. 182–243). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “PPF”].

CHAPTER 4

What Persons Are Not: Causality, Minds, and the Brain

1   Introduction My dissolution of the problem of the freedom (or, better, possibility) of genuine agency, in Chap. 2, resolves a number of issues concerning agency for persons. Discussions of causality regularly presuppose, for genuinely causal relations, the inevitability of outcomes—such that only a difference in initial conditions could preclude the same outcome in a second case. Correct as far as it goes, this picture must build-in the replication of all the initial conditions. As we saw, this view mistakenly assumes the completeness of the account of initial conditions: that they too comprise a finite totality. For if, at some time, some finite totality of initial conditions, in conjunction with some finite totality of relevant factors, meant that one particular outcome was inevitable (“causal necessity”), that outcome would be knowable, in principle if not in practice. But, since there is no such finite totality of initial conditions, any aspiration, even in principle, to exceptionless prediction of the future—say, my future states or actions—on the basis of the past and/or present is always misplaced. With no such finite totality of conditions or features in fact relevant to even a single causal interaction, no set of causal factors can ever guarantee a particular (causal) outcome. (Of course, the deployment of ceteris paribus clauses in natural science can conceal that fact: that is how the illusion of causal necessity is introduced (Chap. 2); and how ceteris paribus assumptions secure the sufficiency of sublunary causal interactions, as viewed scientifically1; say, the starting of

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my car when the ignition key is turned.) Recognizing the nature of ­genuine causal relations here detaches that causality from inevitability, at least for human actions. Instead, the actual outcome of a particular causal interaction might have been different, since (in reality) one cannot rule out all the potential counter-possibilities that, if actualized, would have precluded that outcome. And this is especially true when agents, with their differential conceptions of particular events, are involved. Still other problems seem to remain even after that dissolution. So, elaborating my account of causality here pays special attention to some misconceptions that follow from attempts to locate the causality for human action uncontentiously in the brain; for instance, whereby: The human brain is a machine which alone accounts for all our actions, our most private thoughts, or beliefs … All our actions are products of the activity of our brains. It makes no sense (in scientific terms) to distinguish sharply between acts that result from conscious attention and those that result from our reflexes or damage to the brain. (Blakemore, 1999, p. 270)

As discussed, accepting this view involves denying the reality of actions by failing to grant their distinctiveness. It explicitly runs counter to Frege’s oft-repeated slogan, by offering the same (causal) explanations to actions and to other movements. Further, much of the confidence manifest in views such as Blakemore’s derives from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a “gadget” to study the brain that “more than anything else, … has taken the analysis of brain function beyond the laboratory and into the wider world of popular science” (Tallis, 2011, p. 37). But: … fMRI scanning does not directly tap into brain activity … fMRI registers it only indirectly by detecting the increases in blood flow needed to deliver additional oxygen to busy neurons … (Tallis, 2011, p. 76)

Further, this indirect evidence takes place against a background where, since: [m]uch more of the brain is already active …, all that can be observed is the additional activity associated with the stimulus. Minor changes noted diffusely are regularly overlooked. (Tallis, 2011, p. 77)

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Moreover: fMRI measurements are noisy, picking up magnetic signals from the environment and from variations in the density of fatty tissue in different parts of the brain. Sometimes the voxels miss brain activity, sometimes they suggest activity where there is none. (Smith, 2018, p. 1162)

Acknowledging these limitations, then, speaks against our knowing the full causal story.

2   The Causal Story of Past Behaviour: Causal Sufficiency At this point, a previously mentioned objection recurs: for surely any past action has a complete causal story. After all, every event has a cause; and the action that was this event did occur. In that sense, the state of the world was causally sufficient for the event that comprised that action. Here, the role of the illusion of causal sufficiency is clear: since X occurred, whatever was causally sufficient for X was in place (and operative) when— or perhaps just prior to—the occurrence of X. It might seem that therefore an account of the factors causally sufficient would be possible, at least in principle—the illusion is just that therefore such sufficiency could be completely described. But this illusion is sustained by sleight of hand, for adding another feature could always undermine the apparent sufficiency of the specification previously taken as causally sufficient. Grant this, and the sleight of hand becomes obvious: again, a ceteris paribus clause was imported, concealing the failure to acknowledge any conditions contrary to causal sufficiency in the case. This point also bears directly on discussions cast in terms of causal sufficiency from neural events. Thus, according to John Searle (2007, p. 110), his opponents, Maxwell Bennett and Peter Hacker: … say that the neural processes are causally necessary (‘need to occur’) for a mental process to occur. But we need to know, in that context, what is causally sufficient, what made it happen that I ‘went through’ a mental process?

References to “causal sufficiency” here seem justified because all sides agree that the relevant “mental process” did occur: that I did think such-­ and-­such or decide so-and-so. But, as we have seen, no set of conditions at that time, when my brain is in state A, is sufficient to guarantee that, by

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a later time, my next brain-state will be state B, because of potential “defeaters”, counter-possibilities that—were they realized—would preclude brain-state A causing brain-state B.  And they cannot all be ruled out, since there is no all here; no finite totality of such possibilities. So, granting the earlier causality cannot imply that a recurrence of roughly those neural factors will be sufficient in another case for my thinking that same thing, or intending that same behaviour. Of course, another sleight of hand here specifies that exactly those past conditions—if recreated—would have the same outcome, with the term “exactly” doing the work. For, were there some other outcome, one could conclude that the situation was not in fact replicated exactly. Yet, that makes no sense when, as here, we cannot conclude that this situation mirrors that exactly, nor (say) list the relevant factors. For no finite totality of conditions or factors is under consideration. As Chap. 2 demonstrated, the conception whereby causal forces lead inexorably from one event to the next—or they would not genuinely be causal— fuels determinism (on my understanding3). Having set aside the inexorability of causation, discussions of the possibility of genuine action in a world of universal causation connect with our account of brain-states by elaborating four points. First, although my brain eventually arriving at brain-state B is indeed a causal transition, no causal chain sufficient for the transition to brain-state B in general can be identified, faced with potential “defeaters” that cannot be ruled out. Hence, as below, we cannot generalize. Yet, as above, the illusion of sufficiency here (urged by Searle, 2007, p. 110: quoted above) is achieved partly because, after all, I in fact arrived at that brain-state B (hence, the actual conditions in total must have been sufficient); and partly through the implicit appeal to a ceteris paribus clause to accommodate sufficiency’s other requirements. But, strictly, this is an illusion.4 Second, the conceptual moves from this case (after the fact) cannot be used predictively for human action, because—with no finite totality of the sorts of counter-possibilities potentially relevant here—ceteris paribus clauses cannot be deployed in those future-directed or predictive cases. The other case permitted the use of ceteris paribus via a feature now absent; namely, the transition having occurred. So, this particular causal transition’s being sufficient (ceteris paribus) cannot generate causal necessity of the kind fundamental to determinist arguments. Hence, claiming that the transition from brain-state A to brain-state B is causal, and connecting brain-state A with such-and-such a thought, cannot reliably license concluding that this thought causes another thought, namely, that instantiated

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by brain-state B.  Now, separate—or, anyway, separable—issues relating brain-states to psychological states are addressed below (in Sect. 6: see Bugatti Veyron discussions). Yet, even within those constraints, descriptions relating thoughts to one another—in the language of human action—cannot be substituted seamlessly for description in the (bodily) language of causation. A third point recognizes Wittgenstein’s insight (PI §3085) that the character of such states cannot simply be set aside sine die—for, insofar as one concern is the relationship operative here, that concern involves clarifying the appropriate relata in this context (“are they facts, material objects, conceptual terms, events, conditions?”: Robinson, 2007, p. 177), as well as determining that relation’s character. (These remarks highlight the inadequacies of the answer “causation”: for what are the features of this causation?) And, fourth, one must accommodate a further insight from Wittgenstein (PI §281); that: [o]nly of a human being and what resembles (behaves like) a human being can one say: it has sensations; it sees, is blind; hears, is deaf; is conscious or unconscious.

(We will return to this topic below.) To some, the action-story here might still seem defective: but, in effect, their objections were put aside elsewhere, along with the determinist argument (see Chap. 2; FW). The universalism of Every event has a cause sustains no logical bar to genuine action, but conditions genuinely causally sufficient for that action cannot be completely specified in advance to exclude “defeaters” (once the use of ceteris paribus clauses, as deployed in natural science, is prohibited). To other objectors, the account offered here may seem inadequate in failing to capture the causal story: in particular, the version here might seem defective in not elaborating why exactly you did what you did; say, ran away from the tiger. For a part of that explanation here, at the level of persons, involves your seeing the tiger as dangerous. Without that, your flight seems unmotivated. And this seeing or recognizing (we can grant) is centrally intentional: the causal story will not reflect it. Or so it seems. But, since we are materialists, your seeing the tiger as dangerous is still comprised by some bodily state broadly conceived (to include brain-­ states)—a state different from that where you do not recognize the danger of that tiger. And, to reiterate, both must be states of your body (broadly

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conceived) once our materialist commitments are maintained. Further, that some kinds of explanation offer no purchase on action-accounts (and vice versa) is precisely what differentiates the realm of action—governed for us by “in the beginning was the deed” (OC §402)—from the realm of causality. For, while such causal accounts cannot (ex hypothesi) reflect intentional features, at least directly (a key omission), in reality, granting this view of action-description excludes nothing genuinely causal.6 As a simpler example, consider the causal story for, I shoot you with my catapult: in particular, how little you actually feature in that story. For, although I aim at you, that causal story involves my aiming only insofar as doing so alters the state of my musculature, including the eye’s musculature. After that, you appear in the causal story only when the pellet hits you—if it does, for a mainly similar story has me missing you. Moreover, such stories capture the causality here, but without catching what (for the agents) is crucial. Indeed, the need for both kinds of description and explanation is reaffirmed in recognizing that we cannot move seamlessly, in every case, from knowledge of that causal story to an understanding of the action performed.

3   Brain-States and Behaviour This seems, then, a kind of terminus ante quem for explanations of the causal structure ‘behind’ action. No doubt much here cannot currently be done: some rational reconstruction (or science fiction) will be involved. But Searle (2008, p.  143) accurately identifies stages for one project here—not ours!—rightly calling it the search for the Neuronal Correlate of Consciousness (NCC7): [1] The idea is this: in order to solve the problem of consciousness, we should find out first what is going on at the neurobiological level at a time when the subject is conscious.8 … [2] The first step is to find a neuronal9 correlate of conscious states. This would be the NCC. [3] The second stage is to investigate whether the NCC is actually a causal correlation … [my numbers]

So, Searle [1] presents the problem in terms of what occurs in the brain during consciousness, interpreting the path forward as, first, [2] the building up of correlations and then, second, [3] determining any causality. But problems arise even for this appeal to correlations: must such c­ orrelations

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be exceptionless? And how exactly could these correlations be built-­up? Moreover, is the correlation really just with consciousness, in all its variety, rather than with, say, thought? Yet, with thought, surely specific thoughts must be the focus. Then the details become important: does a particular thought (of mine or yours) really correlate exceptionlessly with some particular neurobiological event? (We will return to these matters.) How should the previous questions be resolved? In explanation, Searle (2008, p. 143) concludes, “[t]he second stage is to investigate whether the NCC is actually a causal correlation, and we do this by the usual tests”. But what are “the usual tests”? As Searle (2008, pp. 143–144) continues: [4] In an otherwise unconscious subject, can you produce consciousness by producing the NCC? [5] In an otherwise conscious subject, can you shut off consciousness by shutting off the NCC? If you have affirmative answers to these questions, then it is a reasonable supposition that the correlation is more than accidental; it is, in all likelihood, a causal correlation. [my numbers, and emphasis]

Here, Searle is clearly assuming an exceptionless relation, at least, as far as causality is concerned. For the relevant “producing” and “shutting off” provides evidence only if exceptionless—or so it appears. At the least, if Searle simply wants the matter treated statistically, he does not say so. But, even had he done so, that issue is not straightforward. Certainly, as described by Searle, “the usual tests” seem inadequate for the job in two ways: (a) they cannot guarantee the move from correlation to causation. Thus, a statistically well-founded (that is, statistically significant) relation between the occurrence of red rays of the setting sun and kitchen fires in Chicago guarantees that this could not have come about by chance—it is “more than accidental”. But we rightly reject this as a causal explanation: the causality here is, of course, not the one sought. So, correlations alone, however well-founded, cannot guarantee causation. For the correlation is really, say, between the time of day when the sun sets (with its red rays) and people preparing evening meals in the kitchen. Moreover, that causal story invokes mechanical conditions of the kitchens, or human carelessness, or some such. Then (b) Searle seems at first to accept this, calling the move to causality just “a reasonable supposition” and simply “in all likelihood”. But this cannot be what moving beyond the NCC requires, always supposing one gets that far.

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Finally, Searle (2008, p. 144) identifies, as the next step, the explanatory theorization of one’s observations. Thus, this third stage is: … to get a general theory, a general statement of the laws or principles by which the correlation functions causally in the life of the organism.

Ideally, integration of this theory into some more general theoretical picture would be a fourth and final stage. While conceding that, even for the third, “we are a long way from reaching this stage”, Searle (2008, p. 144) expresses himself “quite optimistic about its long-term prospects”. But such optimism is unwarranted, given the present state of the earlier parts of the project Searle articulates. It seems right (see Searle’s [1] above) to assume some physical substrate here—since, as materialists in just this limited sense, each of us is composed of a particular anatomy and physiology with its ‘associated’ psychology. Here, a fellow materialist offers some good advice: We know two kinds of things about what we call our psyche (or mental life): firstly, its bodily organ and scene of action, the brain (or nervous system), and, on the other hand, our acts of consciousness, which are immediate data and cannot be further explained by any kind of description. Everything that lies between is unknown to us and the data do not include any direct relation between these two terminal points of our knowledge. If it existed, it would at the most afford an exact localization of the processes of consciousness and would give us no help towards understanding them. (Freud, [1940] 1966, pp. 144–145)

One obvious problem for any stripe of materialist (in our sense) is how one’s psychological states (one’s thoughts, intentions, dreams, and so on) relate to states of one’s body, broadly conceived, especially states of one’s brain and Central Nervous System—or whatever else gets included (hereafter, just “brain” for short). What does Searle (2008, p. 144) mean in urging that “the correlation functions causally in the life of the organism”? In particular, the term “causally” seems puzzling: “[h]ow exactly do brain processes cause our conscious states in all their enormous richness and variety” (Searle, 2008, p. 144)? Must events in the neurobiological substrate cause events at the human level—events in the mind, say, such as thoughts? When A causes B they are separately identifiable. Hence, talking about mind-brain causality might sound like dualism, which cannot be Searle’s view.

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In effect, Searle’s discussion identifies five or six fundamental although related problems here, treated in succeeding sections: • The problem of neural plasticity—can mental or psychological functions be ascribed uniquely to any particular brain architecture?; • The problem of identity; or, better, how to replace identity with composition; • The problem of identification of psychological events, in a world of neural events; • The problem of the mereological fallacy in psychological explanation; • The problem of the persistence of scientific explanation. Moreover, attempting to answer these problems generates others, all challenging the plausibility of the programme Searle discusses.

4   The Problem of Plasticity What exactly would be required to locate the neuronal correlate of a conscious state, in line with Searle’s hope? What is it hoped such locating would achieve? First, once that is achieved for a particular state, one should be able to identify recurrences of that brain-state (for, otherwise, why is it useful?). Second, the ability to do so presupposes this neuronal correlate’s realization in a particular place in the neural architecture—more or less the same place in any realization, at least in the brain initially considered. (Note, in passing, that many ascriptions of particular brain-functions to particular parts of the architecture assume that this has been achieved: Searle, more modestly, only assumes it as a possibility, although one his project requires.) Of course, the “history of science is littered with the debris of theories that were not just factually mistaken, but conceptually awry” (Bennett & Hacker, 2003, p. 4). Still that is not our issue here. Rather, our interest lies in what can be inferred from what we know; moreover, the scientists must draw on the best science they can muster. Then the key issue here is: are the powers and capacities of humans instantiated in a unique neural/cortical architecture? Thus, pursuing a “yes” answer, neuroscientists present themselves as “discovering which parts of the cortex are causally implicated in human being’s thinking, ­recollecting, deciding …” (Bennett & Hacker, 2007, p. 142). And, importantly, even philosophically-oriented writers such as Bennett and Hacker

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(2003) do not typically dispute this. Thus, Searle (2007, p. 110) is committed to “saying exactly where [in the brain] … [such and such] occurred”. Now, “[e]mpirical questions about the nervous system are the province of neuroscience” (Bennett & Hacker, 2003, p. 2): so, determining whether any psychological event, such as “thinking, recollecting, deciding …”, has a unique cortical or neural location is a neuroscientist’s task. But it is incumbent on those working on that topic to draw on their colleagues’ results. For the “reorganization at the level of individual synapses, and at the microscopic level of brain maps, is central to our understanding of what is happening in the developing, learning and healing brain” (Tallis, 2011, p. 27). Two related difficulties here should be familiar to neuroscientists: first, “the biological complexity of the synaptic network systems” (Bennett, 2007, p. 59); indeed, one should conclude that “[t]he brain is not entirely hard-wired: it is ‘plastic’” (Tallis, 2011, p. 26). Thus, Bennett and Hacker (2007, p. 213, Note 26) sketch the project of cognitive neuroscience as, in part, aiming to identify “as yet unknown neural processes, the locus of which can be roughly identified by inductive correlation using fMRI”. But the evidence sought is “inductive correlation” at best, with the “roughly” here acknowledging our earlier point: that the architecture cannot be inferred exceptionlessly. The second difficulty relates this plasticity to “remedial treatment” (Bennett, 2007, p.  58): for example, since the author Sherman Alexie functions within normal ranges, despite his hydroencephalopathy, the functions are performed without that specific architecture (which he lacks). In summary, then: by neuroscientists’ own lights, such plasticity should rule out this conception of location, architecture, and such like, since it implies that a single, inevitable architecture cannot be inferred in all cases (even if granting it in most).

5   Deploying the “Is” of Composition Central-state materialism or eliminative materialism10 offers one set of responses to the second of those problems, by urging (contingent) identity of mind-states and brain-states—as lightning just is the discharge of electricity. Yet, many of the flaws in such views11 arise from the difficulty in saying how mind is related to brain, once that “is” cannot readily amount to identity, even contingently. Of course, unlike eliminative materialists, we will not claim identity between brain-state and mental state. And Searle remains notably cagey about what is required here: speaking of a “correlate”

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(as in the NCC) might leave open the possibility of exceptions, which seems precluded by aiming at “causal sufficiency” (Searle, 2007, p. 110). But, granting that only brain-brain causality is possible might still recognize that (roughly) the mental event is the brain event: mind-events are composed of (or constituted by) brain-events, deploying the “is” of composition. Uncontentious facts about composition often escape our notice. As Wiggins elaborates the “is” of composition (see Chap. 3, Sect. 8), the wool is not identical with the scarf, but composes that scarf. Since the scarf is nothing other than the wool, all the scarf’s properties depend on the wool’s properties, including those rooted in the inter-relations of the wool’s properties and emergent from that base. As we saw, being striped is a property of scarves not wool, even though the scarf is (that is, is composed of) the wool. So the quite complex relationship here, while broadly of the causal kind, is not explicable at the ‘lowest common denominator’ of causation. This difficulty reflects the relationship between mind and brain: clearly the brain offers the material composition of the mind—although, as noted in Chap. 3 (Sect. 8), Wittgenstein (PI §281: see Sect. 9 below) rightly insisted mind-properties are really only strictly applicable to persons (or something very like human persons); only they could actually perform the mind-functions at issue, such as perception, memory, and intention. Ignoring Wittgenstein’s intervention, though, the best that might be said is that the brain (as I am calling it) composed the mind: at least for the purposes of our discussion, that is not necessarily too far from the truth. For, minimally, certain brain-states (and hence the brain-functioning to permit them) seem required in typical cases if certain mental states are to occur. And, since we are all materialists here, mind-states certainly have some (physical) ‘incarnation’, however understood. But this only means that my specific mind-state has some specific ‘incarnation’ in me—it offers nothing yet extending beyond what follows in any single case. Could addressing an “is” of composition help clarify some issues concerning the specificity of the relations posited between mind and brain—especially the causal relations? (In Sect. 6, six cases broach these issues as a stimulus for further discussions.) Introducing some neuro-physiological data might help when considering the relation of mind-states to brain-states: thus, reportedly (Jabr, 2011), London taxi-drivers typically have an enlarged hippocampus. On the plausible assumption (granted here) that the hippocampus has some

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connection to memory of the relevant kind, our fact from science might be explained through the need to acquire a comprehensive grasp of the arrangement of streets of London—“the knowledge”, as it is called. If true, what exactly would that tell us? First, our scientific ‘fact’ is clearly not necessarily exceptionless—there may be London taxi-drivers for whom this was not true; perhaps, by now, they have been found. At the least, too many taxi-drivers (past, present and, perhaps, future) remain unexamined to place much confidence in the generalization viewed as exceptionless. Yet, if it is not exceptionless, what is really being granted about memory, say (rather than just the memory-­ capacities of the individuals examined)? Still, these worries can be set aside, for the sake of argument (at least). Then, what should be said in this case? A tempting misconception would take the mental or psychological activity of learning or acquiring “the knowledge” to cause this development of one’s hippocampus. But a moment’s thought highlights an error. For the ‘mental state’ of having mastered “the knowledge”—at least in typical cases—is composed by this enlarged hippocampus. Nor can we think of the activity of a mind involved in acquiring “the knowledge” as the causal mechanism for developing the hippocampus (on a parallel with “working out” in relation to muscular development). More exactly, there must be a sense in which the fact of learning “the knowledge” explains (when it does) this comparatively enlarged hippocampus, as assumed here. But that just reiterates our general mechanist commitments: the hope was to offer something more informative. Yet that learning cannot be causally related to any changes in brain-states (however generously understood) for, on this view, the learning comprises just those changes in brain-states. That is, acquiring knowledge or understanding is just for one’s brain to arrive at that state. Further, nothing here is yet specific to “the knowledge” (for taxi-drivers). Hence, it just represents a causal story about how one set of brain-states leads to another in a particular case (say, mine). This only shows, of course, that taking seriously the “is” of composition is accepting that brain-states (or whatever) comprise mental states without taking the relations between them to be causal.12 Hence, conceding material composition does not indicate, at least so far, the sorts of generalizability to suggest causal laws here. Further, since mental states are not mentioned, this cannot be an account of causation by mental states, such as learning “the knowledge” (nor, of course, other mental states) if that is regarded directly. No doubt

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your mental states, like mine, have a physical substrate. But nothing yet requires nor allows our understanding one case in terms of the other. Where does this leave us—and, in particular, our materialism? What are the chief difficulties in taking our brain-states to compose mental states?

6   Reducing Thoughts to Brain States: Six Cases of a Bugatti Veyron The upshot of the discussion so far is that, while knowledge of some mental states may be explanatory of later mental states in particular individuals, the same cannot be said of the relationship of such mental states to their “causality” in the brain. Neither is the reverse position defensible: since the relation between one thought and the next is not (in typical cases) straightforwardly causal, knowing the first mental state (and even knowing its causal substrate or compositional brain-state) cannot lead us inexorably to the next mental state (or even its compositional brain-state). Now, given the idea of neural plasticity (Sect. 4 above), it makes a kind of sense to speak of “exercising my brain”, roughly as I might my biceps: but this is not something my brain could do. A point Flew (1984, p.  119) made eloquently for genes (see also Chap. 5, Sect. 4) applies to brains—that they: … do not and cannot necessitate our conduct. Nor are they capable of the calculation and understanding required to plot a course of either ruthless selfishness or sacrificial compassion.

For, at best, our plans and intentions are instantiated in our brains (see Sect. 5 above). In part, the difficulty here is typically obscured by introducing so-called “information” about thoughts with, at best, the wrong degree of generality. For identifying, say, parts of the brain typically associated with moods or with pains might seem like progress, a step towards a similar move for individual thoughts. But this seems a step forward only in the sense in which climbing a tall tree gets you nearer to the moon—it does so, but not in a manner that might get you all the way! Psychology’s barrenness follows in exactly this sense from the conceptual confusion that it can bring to its empirical methods (as Wittgenstein observed: PI, p.  197 [PFF §371]), rather than indicating the need for time to elaborate its conclusions or to develop further its technical notions. Those methods become associated with issues they could not address. So, when trying to explain in

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detail the transition of one specific thought to the next, or the reoccurrence of a particular thought, in the context of claims about brain-states, the specificity of the one cannot match the universality of the other, at least if the target is exceptionless laws of the kind science employs (or rightly favours). Thus, the specificity of, say, my thinking longingly about my friend’s new car cannot be matched to my brain-states with any degree of specificity, if the hope was either to be able to describe, in terms of your brain-states (and such like), your having similar thoughts about that car, or to predict (on the basis of my brain-states and such like) when I am having those thoughts again. Or so I shall urge, by considering some cases. And, because there are very few Bugatti Veyrons (giving the thought additional specificity), let the car in question be a particular black and grey Bugatti Veyron. Of course, there is some brain-state that is my having that thought—this is our commitment to materialism. Yet that need not tempt us to regard my thoughts of the Bugatti Veyron as also a state or process on the same model (see Sect. 11 below). In effect, my claim here is two-fold. First, that my thoughts are heavily contextual, in ways difficult to reflect in even the most detailed consideration of brain-states—hence, small differences in thoughts from my perspective will be hard to plot at a neural level (say, of voxels) against similar small differences of thoughts for you (a point to return to). Second, that my brain-states (and similar) are too particular to me, and my context, to permit reliable generalizations, either for my own case or—worse—for yours. And, if this is right, the prospect of laws for such mind-brain connections seems bleak. Here, the assumption in all the five or six cases considered is that brain-­ states (and similar) are known with the highest degree of specificity. So, nothing turns on failures to know the state of brains, bodies, or Central-­ Nervous-­Systems: straightforwardly epistemological questions of that sort are all set aside. Case 1: On Tuesday, I am thinking longingly about my friend’s black and grey Bugatti Veyron, struck by its beauty. Since we are materialists, this thought is somehow instantiated in my brain. Let us call that state of my brain, and whatever else is considered relevant, “State A”: my brain being in this state composes my having that thought. (A good question: if I just imagine the car, rather than thinking longingly, am I still in State A, or not?)

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Case 2: On the same Tuesday, I am thinking longingly of the Veyron, still struck by its beauty, but now it—obviously the same car— is, say, white and red. How does my brain-state in this case relate to State A? It would be odd if there were no relation, given the overlapping content of the thoughts; equally, it must differ from State A, since it comprises a different thought. So, call it “State B”. Case 3: That Tuesday again, and I am still thinking longingly of the car, still struck by its beauty, but now (being bilingual) I would report my thought by saying, Cette voiture est très belle!. Here, two questions: first, how far are we from State B? After all, my thoughts seem to express the same proposition. But, equally, the differences in my presentation of that thought must still be instantiated in differences in the brain-state. So, this is State C. Second, is my being bilingual really relevant when it comes to my brain-states here? Would altering that assumption produce yet more, still marginally different, cases to consider? It seems so. Case 4: On that Tuesday, you are thinking longingly about that very black and grey Bugatti Veyron. For ease of exposition, imagine that your thoughts are unrelated to mine—I have not, for instance, mentioned my obsessions. (Of course, another case might consider how my mentioning the Veyron, should it occur, would be manifest in the brain-state comprising your thought about that car. Since this complicates the picture, by introducing linguistic understanding, I set it aside.) Still, your brain-state here must obviously resemble State A in some way or to some degree (or there are no generalizations to be found), especially given our membership of the same species, and such like. But even regarding this simply as my exact thought being instantiated in your brain, you cannot just be in State A. Your brain clearly differs from mine to some degree. Moreover, this is your thought, connecting to other thoughts of yours in ways different to any connections of my original thought to my other thoughts. So, at neither the brain level nor the human level can one move seamlessly between these cases. Since it will recur, call this “State D”—but, unlike the others, this is a state of your brain.

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Case 5: On the following Wednesday, I think longingly of the Veyron, still struck by its beauty—as far as the thought goes, everything else is the same as Tuesday. But, of course, this cannot simply be the recurrence of State A. For, things have ‘moved on’ in my brain since Tuesday. In that sense, the passage of time has altered my brain. One way to characterize these changes refers to what I have learned, or forgotten, or argued (and so on) since Tuesday. Another way, not necessarily a competitor, focuses on causal or structural changes in my brain: indeed, the material of my brain is at least partly redistributed since Tuesday. But, however described, it will be difficult to arrive at the specificity of my thinking again of that Veyron, although this is definitely the very same thought (incorporating the same longing, and so on). It seems that my brain must be in State A—it is the very same thought! Yet, in this case, I am thinking of her again. So, it cannot be State A.  Perhaps, instead, my brain-­ states instantiate the same functional relations (as Functionalism in the philosophy of mind suggested); but, of course, this is precisely where Hilary Putnam’s own critique of Functionalism has most bite (Putnam, 1988, esp. pp.  77–78; Putnam, 1994, pp. 441–45). Hence, I shall set that line of response aside. Case 6: Although it is Wednesday, you are once again thinking about that Veyron: how does your current brain-state relate either to State A (of my brain) or to State D (of your brain)? Considerations raised above for my brain (in case 5) apply here: your current brain-state cannot amount to exactly State D, since the passage of time has altered your brain. On the other hand, it should be similar to State D if broadly causal laws operate over brainstates as they comprise mind-states. And that broad similarity must be sufficient to relate your State D to my State A (and, indeed, to States B and C). If not, any explanatory scheme here seems distinctly unlikely. (We might lapse into an anomalous monism: see Davidson, discussed Chap. 2, Sect. 7.) Yet how can these minor differences in thoughts be instantiated in the brain? To be clear, the instantiation of the thoughts is not disputed. As materialists, we grant that from the beginning. No, the question is whether what could be known about my brain now (assuming one knew everything) offers something useful about either my brain for the future or—an additional step—for your brain, either present or future.

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To bring out some difficulties here, one should recognize a crucial difference between brain-states and mind-states: that one’s brain-states—no matter how complex, and especially when relational states are considered—seem finite, while no such finite totality closes accounts of one’s thoughts. For, in thought, we can ‘look’ more and more closely at the Veyron, its colours and other features, the background, and such like, adding new descriptions. Hence there is no final or ultimate level of analysis (although typically one ‘level’ will satisfactorily address the actual question raised). For whenever one seems to arrive at something ultimate here, another contextualization always remains a possibility. The same cannot be true of any physical system viewed as a physical system: that is, through the eyes of physics. For physics, like other sciences, ‘cheats’ here by introducing ceteris paribus clauses. Claiming in that way that “other things are equal” removes those “other things” from consideration; thereby creating a “closed system”. Hence, for such physical systems, perhaps all features and relations could be articulated in principle, even if that is impossible in practice. Thus, there is a finite totality here, seen through the ‘spectacles’ of scientific practice (contrast Chap. 2, Sect. 7). For the contextually varied world of thought, though, the impossibility here is conceptual: more detail as to what exactly was thought on any occasion could always be requested—as if some determinate answer here were possible in all cases. But now reporting past thoughts must be contrasted with thinking anew. And, even for past thoughts, the sort of determinacy implicit in science cannot be assumed: one cannot come to all-minus-two of the objects and relations thought, and then all-minus-one, and finally all! For there is no all, no finite totality of possibilities. Yet, that is what is assumed in imagining (or asserting, or assuming) that a complete description is possible. (Setting aside various matters with ceteris paribus clauses achieves this for science.) Our model here cannot be the computer screen on Wednesday with exactly the same image as on Tuesday, both because changes to our brain-­ states are organic rather than simply chemical and because changes to the computer build-in a necessary compartmentalization whereby changes here have no bearing on other changes. For, (ex hypothesi) in the computer, the expectation is that changes to the computer as a whole (say, the ­downloading of additional programmes) can be isolated from the specific programmes (or their running) under consideration; hence, from their effects on its screen. In this sense, the ‘original position’ is only reproduced via a set of assumptions drawn from applying a picture of natural science to comput-

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ing: this assumption of independence is of a piece with the general ceteris paribus assumptions that natural science employs. So, the elements of the computer’s running are conceived as compartmentalized to produce exactly this effect—and, when the compartmentalization breaks down (say, the impact of a programme newly installed since Tuesday precludes this outcome), the computer is taken to have failed in this respect. So, do all my Veyron cases reflect slight differences in brain-states? Of course, there is a sense in which they must—or, for materialists, they would not constitute different thoughts. But they offer scant hope for laws or principles that allow understanding of the mind through understanding the brain. Perhaps some broad concepts (say, identifying certain neural firing as composing specific pain) might fit into that mould. And perhaps focusing only on a brain fully described, like mine as imagined here (although still with no explanation of how that was derived from fMRI), might generate optimism. By contrast, people’s real thoughts seem too Procrustean to all be captured by this sort of analysis. Here, my cases offer enough specificity for thoughts and brain-states to encourage resistance to forcing them into that particular ‘bed’. As materialists, we accept that, in favoured conditions, one brain-state caused a following one: this is standard electro-chemical causation. But that prior state was a particular thought (it comprised that thought, using the “is” of composition) and the succeeding state was a particular thought, in the same sense. Can we now say that the first thought caused the second? Clearly, although there is no guarantee here, in the abstract our answer must be “no”: thoughts are typically caused, if at all, by other thoughts—although smells and such like are also commonly involved. Moreover, since each thought (as such) is not identified with a particular brain-state, but only (at best) with a brain-state on an occasion, finding causality between brain-states cannot involve finding causal relations between (typical) thoughts. Indeed, this whole discussion makes vivid the idea that: … to sort out which sets and patterns of [neural] firings and inhibitions are engaged in realizing this thought about cameras rather than that thought about cuckoo clocks would presuppose that some of the brain’s functioning go along with the former rather than the latter, and vice versa. (Wilkes, 1988, pp. 41–42)

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But, instead, Wilkes (1988, p.  41) stresses our inability “to isolate the individual contents of individual mental states (beliefs that p, desires for x, expectations that q, and so forth) in A’s brain, let alone recreate them in B’s”, explaining that inability by recognizing that: The billion cells of the brain are in incessant flux—firing, resting, inhibited—and synaptic connections change over time; every cell will be implicated in dozens of different patterns, but may be replaced by another cell or set of cells if it is resting or if it decays; although cells do decay, axons sprout and dendrites grow to form new connections; changes in the amounts of the various neurotransmitters make great differences to cellular activity … and so on. (Wilkes, 1988, p. 41)

If so, the project of localization seems doomed. So that conception of the project must be challenged. As a partial analogy, ask “Where is the picture?” for an old-style television set where an electron gun, operating in a vacuum tube, generates its picture. We understand the sense in which there is no picture: that the lines tracked by the electron gun illuminate points from colour fields, and—when viewed with the human eye—Brad Pitt is visible. Writers might then suggest that the picture is nowhere; or even that it does not exist. But philosophers have seen through such talk, at least since physicists apparently asserted that tables did not exist13 (for critique, see Stebbing, 1937)—they were just clouds of molecules! No, the picture is real, just as the table is; and causal narratives sustaining it can be provided. But it seems unpromising to hope to localize that picture, beyond offering its causal story. Of course, Searle’s defence here returns us to his search for something more unified: rather than matching thoughts/feelings to brain-states, as here, he aims to answer the question, “How does the brain produce the unified, subjective conscious field?” (Searle, 2008, p.  13). But, at one level, granting that brains achieve this raises again specific questions about what that means for the neurobiology of specific thoughts and feelings.

7   Contemporary Science and the Permanence of Explanation At issue here is the connection between science, especially when presented in popularized versions, and its philosophy. That is why great care is needed when articulating the claims of the science for general audiences:

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to avoid misleading metaphors, and forms of words that (while appropriate in one context) are inappropriate if transposed into another. For instance, it is important to avoid applying purposive language to brains: say, appearing to warrant that purposive language sometimes applied to thermostats in air-conditioning systems—the thermostat itself cannot have a telos or goal; hence, it cannot try. It is just a mechanical device, built for our purposes and intentions; and understood functionally. Similarly, merely using the word “cause” (or the word “because”) cannot imply that causality is at work. The philosophy of mind cannot require a particular working-out of the science (especially the neuroscience). Thus, if later discoveries prove that the amygdala plays no role, that should not matter to the philosophy—we know what we as persons do. The shape of empirical investigation cannot be determined a priori: indeed, Travis (2011, p. 110) rightly pointed out that one species of psychologism “would be specialized scientism—a mistaken insistence as to how empirical investigation must turn out”. One cannot insist that future enquiries must take the form of present empirical investigations, except in the very broadest terms. There may be no (reliable, exceptionless) way to move from discussion of thought to discussion of related brain-states, with the Veyron cases illuminating my doubt that the specificity of thought can be realized in differences in brain-states. In particular, my interest in dreaming (see McFee, 1993/1994) reflects a set of reservations about how temporally specific causal relations can reflect intentional relations, even though they compose them—the causal states and the ‘experiences’ have a very complex relationship. Thus, the causal story of dreaming certainly relates in some way (if not exceptionlessly) to the brain-states associated with REM sleep on some occasions; but not straightforwardly. A related difficulty derives from thinking-through the character of intention, such that: [t]he agent can possess knowledge of his future actions, but this knowledge will be of a non-inductive kind and is most succinctly expressed in an ­assertion of the form ‘I intend to do such-and-such a thing’. (Wollheim, 1993, p. 12)

Certainly, we do not expect such knowledge of causes (typically inductive). Since some terms appropriate to persons (intentional terms with normative outcomes) cannot be applied to causal structures, and since such

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terms are certainly needed to describe the actions of persons, some “two-­ language” theory is required (its details are not crucial here) to do justice to our oft-quoted slogan: that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). Simply reflecting the causal story here—how my judgements and actions came about (say, relating to states of my brain, or to changes in my biochemistry)— does not yet address the normative question of this being, say, a good move in chess: the need for both stories is highlighted. If correct, this identifies two further problems: the first appears just because, in science as elsewhere, research is erotetic: its “‘[w]hy?’ questions do … derive much from contrasts implicit in the context of enquiry; the perplexity being expressed is often not clear until we understand something about what the person asking the question expected in the circumstances” (Wright, 1976, p.  102). But, if that question or expectation is important, the concepts used to elaborate it must also be. Thus, at one time, Kuhn (1977, p. xi) asked, “[h]ow much mechanics was known within the Aristotelian tradition, and how much was left for seventeenth-­ century scientists to deliver?”. But then he came to see: … that Aristotle’s subject was change-of-quality in general, including both the fall of a stone and the growth of a child to adulthood. In his physics, the subject that was to become mechanics was at best a still-not-quite-isolable special case. (Kuhn, 1977, p. xi)

Then how could Aristotle’s account—with its questions—be compared in this way to those of Galileo and Newton? The two sets of concerns seem to pass one another by: they are incommensurable in the strict sense where, as Kuhn (2000, p. 189) put it: [i]n applying the term “incommensurability’ to theories, I’d intended only to insist that there was no common language within which both could be fully expressed and which therefore can be used in a point-by-point comparison between them.

Comparative judgements of, say, of the ‘physics’ of Aristotle and of Newton require just that “point-by-point comparison” rendered problematic by their incommensurability. Overcoming such a difficulty, to the degree we can, must grant that, while:

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… there are many ways to read a text [in science], … the ones most accessible to a modern are often inappropriate when applied to the past. … [Yet] that plasticity of texts does not place all ways of reading [these texts] on a par …. (Kuhn, 1977, p. xii)

That is a plea for kinds of ‘eternal vigilance’, given that the natural science presently contemporary typically offers the closest approximation to the truth (“the facts of the matter”) about sublunary matters. Further, Kuhn’s commitment to the importance of “a scientific community” is explained by the fact that “although science is practiced by individuals, scientific knowledge is intrinsically a group project” (Kuhn, 1977, p. xx). For “[i]f scientists were not taught definitions, they were taught standard ways to solve selected problems in which terms like ‘force’ and ‘compound’ figured” (Kuhn, 1977, p. xix). Again, much scientific investigation is recognized as erotetic, locating its projects in answering specific questions or solving particular puzzles from the (local) past of the relevant science. Here, Kuhn’s much-abused technical term “paradigm” enters into his account: … in close proximity, both physical and logical, to the phrase ‘scientific community’ … [as] what the members of a scientific community share. Conversely, it is their position of a common paradigm that constitutes a scientific community of a group of otherwise disparate men. (Kuhn, 1977, p. 294)

Hence, by a paradigm, is meant “a time-tested and group-licensed way of seeing” (Kuhn, 1970, p.  189). Then what such normal science shares becomes crucial here; and one potential, if misguided, objection targets this very emphasis on the community with its learned conceptions and problems. A second problem arises from the first whenever philosophy puts undue weight on natural science. But, as above, one typically depends on contemporary science: its content changing as and when theory changes. As a summary sketch, suppose one grants with Lisa Randall (2006, p. 192), that: [s]cience involves a set of falsifiable assumptions and a framework for predicting and understanding observable phenomena. It arises from an amalgam of observation, mathematics, intuition and experiment.

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Still, when utilizing details of science in philosophy, we will emphasize those details (in particular, those theories) where our confidence is as strong as it can be—or, at least, recognize when we offer something less than the ideal situation. In that sense, their application to philosophy requires, as an idealization, that the scientific claims are correct. For sometimes (exceptionally!) changing the content of science bears on the content of the philosophy: that is our second problem. For then, not only “don’t [we] always immediately know which ideas can be tested or which hypotheses will agree with experimental results” (Randall, 2006, p. 192), but the possibility of revision in the light of new experiment or new theory is widely held, with justice, to be characteristic of science—one way to articulate its empirical character. That need not make one’s philosophy of science Popperian, proceeding from mere conjecture to mere conjecture. For instance, our science would be empirical in the required way if the outcome of new observations generates anomalies of the sort that, for a Kuhnian, might lead eventually to a new period of crisis, and thence to a new normal science (Kuhn, 1970, p. 53ff.; EKT, pp. 91–97)—even when, prior to the new crisis, scientific claims are rightly regarded as true. For, after the crisis as before, scientific practice was “firmly based on one or more scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its future practice” (Kuhn, 1970, p. 10: notice “for a time”), with practitioners having (as above) “assimilated a time-tested and group-licensed way of seeing” (Kuhn, 1970, p. 189). Then the claims of science will be open to falsification; and science answerable to the state of the world. For this reason, the truth of particular scientific claims cannot be absolutely guaranteed, especially when looking to newer reaches of enquiry. But what will modifying the scientific claims mean for philosophy? In particular, what can it show about sublunary truth? Suppose that, at one time, causal powers and capacities of kinds currently associated with the brain were thought to derive from the heart: the impact in some places in one’s philosophy might be profound, since one starts with different ‘facts’. Yet, for (say) views of personal identity stressing a unified material parcel as the seat of certain causal powers, nothing (much) need change—in this sense, that view of personal identity did not draw on the mechanics of personal powers and capacities.

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8   The Body’s Role Surely, though, there are causal relations between, roughly, body and person: the alcohol I ingest has effects (or sets of them) on my whole person. But the causal direction seems somehow from the body. Still, in this case, there is personal action too—I ingest this alcohol. Might that aspect disappear? Here, the metaphor of the ‘drug rush’ may seem tempting, faced with claims about the effects of brain chemistry on behaviour: in particular, that—like the ‘drug rush’—such effects seem both overwhelming and of fixed duration. But, here, those things we do (for which we are therefore responsible) must first be distinguished from those things that happen to us. Thus, my opening the door allowed the leaves to blow into the house: I should sweep them up—I did it (although not all the forces at work began from me). But if a falling tree smashes the door, I am not responsible: I did not do it. Although not hard-and-fast, this distinction is suggestive when applied to cases of drug-taking: the male Olympic athlete, whose blood is tested for anabolic steroids, is expected to have some level of testosterone ‘naturally’. As such, its presence is not evidence of drug-­ taking, or drug-use: he is not regarded as having a drug in his body— although, were this testosterone extracted and ingested or injected by another, that would constitute drug-taking. Since this testosterone is normal, nothing here needs explanation; hence, nothing that should be censured or penalized. Moreover, no particular level of testosterone is taken as the norm: it is recognized to differ from case to case. The same goes for other substances that, in different contexts, might count as drugs. That is to say, in typical cases testosterone-levels need not reflect something specific the athlete does, but rather something happening to him in the working-­out of typical body chemistry. Four further features should be noticed immediately. First, suppose there is mileage in knowing that, say, moods of certain kinds have a broadly fixed duration (knowledge potentially useful for the person in that mood, or other emotional state): that information can be conveyed in the human language of moods, without recourse to mood-biology. Second, the same goes for the suggestion that, if I am to ‘buck up’ (taking a different view of my situation to change my mood), it must be done quickly—before the mood takes hold. Here too the language of moods is part of the language of humans doing certain things (the language of action). Third, as throughout, many changes brought about by humans—many things they do—are

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intentional changes, which depend on how the event is characterized by, especially, its agents in ways causal changes do not: the cardio-vascular advantages of my workout arrive however I conceptualize the activity. Here again, there may be areas of dispute as to what is or is not causal. Still, fourth, that ‘chemical rushes’ are not typically under intentional control of this sort. Perhaps some practices (maybe meditation) offer some level of control here; certainly, that is not the usual situation. Suppose, with a clear case of meditation, a change in brain waves is noticed. In that sense, “I am meditating” might roughly equal, “I am changing my brain waves”: the choice of description might not matter (“Say what you please”: PI §79). But, as Austin warned Cavell (2010, p. 324), it often matters what one says: both morally (are you lying or just being frivolous?), and because, if one says such-and-such, a set of apparent ‘consequences’ can follow. Thus, talk of “sunrise”, with its potential to suggest a pre-Copernican cosmology on which the sun (normally) moved, might also offer of the possibility of God making the sun stand still. Once such (misplaced) consequences are excluded, expressions concerning sunrise will not be misunderstood: hence, will not be misleading. Yet this tells us little. If thinking of my angry responses as reflecting, say, a dragon inside me really helps me control those responses, what was wanted may have been achieved. (You might claim, by contrast, the superiority of your story involving the amygdala: that it was true of the brain … but, of course, the person can’t change that story …) Hence you cannot then say, “But I got the science right”: that (a) confuses conceptual and empirical and (b) seems to conflict with a certain provisional character fundamental to science. So how the person manages to achieve such things is mostly not explained causally but, instead, in terms of motives, intentions, reasons (as well as actions done for no reason)—explanation having no straightforward “translation” into the causality of brain-events.14 Why, in this specific context, does this combination of brain-conditions constitute my deciding to do X? This only seems problematic when causality for these conditions is treated in the determinist-type way (as above): the best account cannot be exceptionless, and is only ‘after the fact’— where my doing X just is my brain/body moving from state P to state Q.  But I do not cause the change: since I am the whole structure, my doing X is composed of the change from one brain/body-state to another. And, in typical cases, no explanation will be equivalent to how I did it—I just did it! (“In the beginning was the deed”: OC §402.)

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9   The “Mereological Fallacy”, from Bennett and Hacker Emphasizing the person as agent recalls a key insight from Wittgenstein (PI §28115): Only of a human being and what resembles (behaves like) a human being can one say: it has sensations; it sees, is blind; hears, is deaf; is conscious or unconscious.

Bennett and Hacker (2003, p. 72) identify an aspect of what Wittgenstein proscribes here as commission of the mereological fallacy: that “[i]t makes no sense to ascribe psychological predicates (or their negations) to the brain, save metaphorically or metonymically”, for the explanation of most psychological states requires treating them as states of persons (rather than, say, states of person-parts—such as brains). As they ask: … do we know what it is for a brain to see or hear, for a brain to have experiences, to know or to believe something? Do we have any conception of what it would be for a brain to make a decision? (Bennett & Hacker, 2003, p. 72)

Clearly, these suppositions make no sense: it is people, not eyes (or, worse, brains), that see. And so on. Further, as noted above, while speaking of “exercising my brain” makes a kind of sense, roughly as I might exercise my biceps, such “exercising” is not something my brain could do. Moreover, Bennett and Hacker rightly urge above that ascribing these capacities to eyes or brains makes no sense—they are not simply urging its falsity. Now, I am just this anatomy and physiology. But, although I therefore happily call myself “a materialist”, this materialism—and the possibilities for causal explanation it implies—cannot provide reductive or eliminative analyses of the normativity of human judgement. As we saw, simply elaborating the causal story here (how my judgements and actions came about) does not yet address the normative question of whether this was, say, a good or bad thing to do, with the problem not generated by complexity: the bad and the good are on a par in this respect. Saying that harnesses (once again) our slogan: “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). In context, this means that, while my decision to do such-and-such amounts to the transition from one brain-state to another, there is no strictly causal account sufficient

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for that transition (although, of course, after the fact there will be the appearance of one). And no clear way to characterize that decision at the level of causality: in particular, discussions of its duration are not confounded if one turns to, say, work by Benjamin Libet (200516) to suggest some uniform structure of temporal relations between decisions and actions (compare Chap. 2, Sect. 9). For, first, cases where I just do something (walk across a room, say, and only explain it later) are not under consideration. Yet, since that walking was clearly not accidental, we could say I decided to take the walk but, often, could not say when. Second, there are familiar facts about decision-making (among others) we should not ignore: we know that decisions can take various amounts of time: for instance, we know—if we watch the play—Hamlet takes about four hours to make up his mind; sometimes we ‘sleep on a decision’, and wake up having made it; we might even dream the decision. In reality, the possibility of predicting my actions from the causal story instantiating those actions cannot be entailed by such causal continuity alone. For those actions are not causally necessitated by a finite totality of antecedent conditions, such that they could be reliably predicted if only one knew enough (if only one were Carnap’s Logically Omniscient Jones, or LOJ for short): the determinist makes the mistake, shared by the picture of action that determinism imports (see Chap. 2, Sects. 5 and 6). Rather, in at least some cases, my deciding to do such-and-such is crucial here. But the fact that my decision is constituted by the change from one brain-state to another cannot threaten appeals in that account to consciousness, or intentionality, or decision-making. For, to repeat, the causal necessity required for determinism cannot be generated by that instantiation of psychological states of specific types (even when granted—which it is not here!).

10   Exceptionlessness in Correlation: Returning to “Other Minds” Now we can return to a consideration of Searle’s claims, in sketching the NCC project (Sect. 3 above). Re Searle’s [2]: Building-up the correlations Searle stresses here depends on independent identification of the two facts or states to be correlated: one needs access to both the moving of the windmill’s sails and the blowing of the wind to begin correlating them. His case, then, requires independent access to the neurobiological process and to “the conscious process”, in order to correlate them. This replicates the classic “Other

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Minds” problem: how do you, as researcher, have reliable access to my mental states? You can observe me, of course, but I might be a stoic (expressing few, or no, psychological states) or an actor (expressing states I did not feel). And, of course, asking me makes my truthfulness an issue. Moreover, it surely seems insufficient to urge that, because I am walking around, I am conscious. After all, if androids or zombies were readily imaginable, this would not be true of them. Or so it seems. So, can reliable, direct access to both the events for correlation be achieved17? If you accept my word about my psychological state or event, deciding that I am trustworthy and, further, have sophisticated information about my neurobiological states, what follows? Perhaps I am unusual (on a parallel with colour-blindness, perhaps): if so, my ‘data’ must be set aside when building-up correlations between people and their psychological states. Or starting with a few deviant cases might explain finding no such correlation. (A real parallel here18: Hobson [1988, p. 290] talks about “an impressive correlation” between dreaming and the occurrence of Rapid Eye Movement [REM] sleep; but even Patricia Churchland ‘1986, p. 206’ acknowledges that some people dream without such sleep occurring—she calls this “dream-like mentation”. Researchers starting with the facts Churchland acknowledges might never have found the “impressive correlation”.) At the very least, discussion of this topic must become much more guarded. For, of course, anything even approaching correlation (or the NCC) might become inflated in the process of exposition, especially for “the general reader”. Further, exceptionlessness really raises two different issues here, as we saw: first, are there exceptionless correlations between some psychological activity of mine on Tuesday and some brain-state of mine, given that the psychological state (say) recurs on Wednesday? Then, second, how are questions about my psychological states related to the states of your brain? For a correlation must involve (roughly) activity in the same part of the brain in your case as, we are supposing, was discovered in mine: our being the same species speaks in favour of such a correlation, at least in typical cases; and the thought of a science here (with law-like generalizations, at least) more or less requires it. But cases of people functioning normally despite abnormal brain conditions speak against any such symmetry (see Sect. 4 above), as do well-documented cases relating such plasticity to “remedial treatment” (Bennett 2007, p.  58), where a person functions within normal ranges despite, say, his hydroencephalopathy; or even those connecting one’s life and the development of one’s brain, known or not known (see the taxi-drivers, mentioned Sect. 5 above).

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Re Searle’s [3]: The gap between correlation and causation was already recognized: even well-entrenched correlations offer no guarantee of causal relations. So that even were the NCC found (per impossibile), the next step in the process remains inherently problematic—since one might take for difficult what is actually impossible!

11   Wittgenstein’s Question About States and Processes Moreover, we seem drawn to the causality of, say, mind-states by brain-­ states, or psychological processes by neural ones. But, as Wittgenstein saw, the language of “Processes and states” is potentially misleading, despite seeming so natural here: The first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we’ll know more about them—we think. But that’s just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter. For we have a certain conception of what it means to learn to know a process better. … (PI §308 [4th edn.])

Then the innocent language of “states and processes”, which seemed merely a place-holder awaiting further investigation, acquires a life of its own. That explains some puzzles posed by the six cases of thinking about a particular car (above): in them, the assumed similarity across all these brain processes is imported into our discussion of the thinking—then it too appears a unitary state or process. In effect, two difficulties overlap here. First, as Wittgenstein (VoW, pp. 415–417) noted: So we come up once again against the old problem: How can a process be an expectation, a fear or a belief? I think the mistake lies in one’s speaking here of a ‘process’. Certainly there occur in me various psychological processes, but these are not the expectation.

Further (PG, pp. 74–75): We say that understanding is a ‘psychological process’, and this label is misleading, in this as in countless other cases. It compares understanding to a particular process like translation from one language to another, and it suggests the same conception of thinking, knowing, wishing, intending, etc.

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This amounts to misrepresenting certain psychological phenomena as “processes”. Then, second, such processes are taken as unitary or uniform: … ‘Understanding’ is not the name of a single process accompanying reading or hearing, but of more or less interrelated processes against a background, or in a context, of facts of a particular kind … (PG, p. 74)

Indeed, Gordon Baker (2004, p. 144) recognized “advice to discard the label ‘a mental process’” as “a recurrent theme in the Blue Book (a kind of refrain) and … in [Wittgenstein’s] dictations to Waismann in the early 1930s” (Baker, 2004, p. 144); and aimed “to persuade someone puzzled by the nature of thinking to acknowledge certain grammatical prejudices in himself that generate his conceptual confusion” (Baker, 2004, p. 145). In that sense, our strategy (like Wittgenstein’s) involves pointing out misleading analogies, even when merely implicit: as Wittgenstein (BT, p. 302e) said, “I must always point out an analogy according to which one has been thinking, but which one did not recognize as an analogy”. And one mistaken analogy here takes thought as somehow behind expressions of thought: but “its sense is not located behind it” (BT, p. 65e). Instead, as Wittgenstein urged, the thought should be regarded as in its expression, although, of course, he granted that thoughts were not expressible only in language. Thus, in Wittgenstein’s example (PI §330), a person writing with a pencil stops to look at its point, shrugs, and then resumes work. Here, the writer’s thoughts are not embodied in words, only in actions; yet that person clearly thought something like, “The pencil is blunt; oh, well, it will do”. Nor need actions be preceded by explicit thought of what to do next. But, keen to emphasize that, “for our ­purposes” (VoW, p. 49), thinking need be nothing occult, Wittgenstein considered the possibility of a concrete expression of the thought; for example, treating one’s knowing something in terms of the injunction “to keep a piece of paper on which it was written” (PG, p. 49). Here, calling such behaviours “intentional” may be no more than denying that they occur as reflexes, or came about by accident. Indeed, walking down the garden path, say, would not usually be described as intentional unless one had some contrast in mind: as Austin (1979, p. 189) urged, one should avoid modification without aberration. And our capacity to initiate action here is recognized in one of Wittgenstein’s favourite slogans (quoting Goethe): “in the beginning was the deed.” But, faced with terms seeming to denote just psychological states and processes (with “thinking”,

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“knowing”, understanding”, “wishing”, “expecting”, and so on, as his examples), Wittgenstein aims “to exhibit an unfamiliar form of the use of all these expressions” (Baker, 2004, p. 167), in part to show that the “and so on” would not exhibit “more of the same”. As Wittgenstein (PG, p. 48) noted: If knowledge is called a ‘state’ it must be in the sense in which we speak of the state of a body or of a physical model. So it must be in a physiological sense or a sense used in psychology that talks about unconscious states of a mind-model. Certainly no one would object to that; but in that case one still has to be clear that we have moved from the grammatical realm of ‘conscious states’ into a different grammatical realm.

The ‘process’ analogy suggests that there must be distinctive brain processes, just as there are distinctive mental processes—and then one searches for them (say, in different structures within the brain). But perhaps that method, importing the psychological concepts as presently deployed into our investigations of neurophysiology, is inherently misleading. If so, it cannot be because only rough-and-ready ‘folk psychology’ is offered, but rather because understanding the psychology of persons and their actions—which generally works pretty well, and is intentional—is an inappropriate starting point for causal investigations of the kind neuroscience requires.

Notes 1. The determinist treating causes as, say, “antecedent states of the world” (FW, p. 21: my emphasis) partially recognizes that fact. 2. On false positives, see Smith, 2018, pp. 116–117. 3. My account of determinism (Chap. 2, Sect. 3) requires that the conclusion be reached. 4. Of course, nothing here criticizes common-sense talk of one thing causing another, although it might problematize attempts to draw certain inferences from that talk. 5. Wittgenstein identifies, as a mistake typical in psychology, “the conception that there are questions the answers to which will be found at a later date. It is held that, although a result is not known, there is a way of finding it” (WWK, p.  182 [December, 1931]). [More explicitly, PI §308 identifies “processes and states” as seemingly requiring explanation.] 6. Contrast Anscombe (1957, p.  86; [1983] 2005, pp.  100–101) on what counts as causal: see this volume Chap. 2, Sect. 3 note 5.

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7. Searle (2008, p. 13)—where the NCC is “neurobiological”—imagines two alternative ways; but, because the question is “How does the brain produce the unified, subjective consciousness field?”, and “[t]he subjectivity of consciousness implies a unity”, he urges adoption of “the unified field approach” (Searle, 2008, p. 144)—here the NCC is “neuronal”. 8. For Searle (2008, p. 141), “dreams are a form of consciousness that occur to us during sleep.” 9. As above, “neurobiological” (Searle, 2008, p.  13) becomes “neuronal” (Searle, 2008, p. 143). 10. For exposition, see Place ([1956] 1962); Smart ([1959] 1962). For critique, see Putnam, 1981, pp. 78–82. 11. Further, how does the physical event (say, the brain-state) come to also be a pain- or taste-sensation? Compare Nagel, 2012, pp. 38–43. 12. For one revealing example in practice, see Hacker, 2018, pp. 381–385 discussing so-called “mirror neurons”, such that: … when one observes another person picking up a teacup, mirror neurons in the premotor cortex will display much the same activity as they would if one were about to pick up a teacup oneself. (Hacker, 2018, pp. 381–382) Granting the scientists’ legitimate concern with causal, or neural, structures that permit human activities, such as infant learning, allows us “to separate neuro-scientific questions from conceptual ones” (Hacker, 2018, p. 384)—contrasts typically missing from those philosophers who mobilize the scientists’ work on the brain (and its construction). 13. See, for example, Jeans (1930); and Jeans (1943, p. 216) writing, from the perspective of science, of “the ghastly remains of matter …”. 14. That picture is further confused when causality is treated as having the kind of forward-looking necessity deployed by the determinist. 15. This remark is a fragment of one discussing what counts as “pain-­ behaviour” (or perception); specifically, Wittgenstein’s point is that we cannot conceive what, say, a sea-squirt’s being blind or sighted would involve. Generating the mereological fallacy requires another step. (A slightly different step yields my “Aphrodite Argument”: Chap. 6, Sect. 5.) 16. Notice here that Dennett (2007, p.  75) comments on the “crippling Cartesianism in Benjamin Libet’s view of intentional action”. 17. As my “Aphrodite Argument” (Chap. 6, Sect. 5) makes plain, with no finite totality of factors or properties appropriate to behaving like a person, the task of determining success in the project of androidology was necessarily unattainable; and the project with it! 18. For the sake of argument, I happily accept these claims about dreaming— since they are presented by my opponents.

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Wittgenstein, L. (1969). On Certainty (D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “OC”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1974). Philosophical Grammar (A. Kenny, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. [cited as “PG”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1979). Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “WWK”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2005). The Big Typescript: Ts 213 (C.  G. Luckhardt & M.  A. E. Aue, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “BT”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2009). Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment. [Originally Philosophical Investigations (“PI”) Part Two.] Philosophical Investigations (4th Rev. edn.) (pp. 182–243). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “PPF”]. Wittgenstein, L., & Waismann, F. (2003). The Voices of Wittgenstein (G.  Baker, Ed.). London: Routledge. [cited as “VoW”]. Wollheim, R. (1993). The Mind and Its Depths. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wright, L. (1976). Teleological Explanations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

CHAPTER 5

Evolutionary Explanation in Psychology: Not an Issue for Philosophy?

1   Introduction: Sketching the Biology One way to justify offering causal accounts of persons as individual agents draws directly on recognizing persons (us) as part of ‘the natural world’: here two related versions are mentioned briefly. The first draws on general evolutionary pictures; the second is more explicitly that of evolutionary psychology—at least on one version. Initially, exploration of both views begins by sketching Darwinian evolutionary theory (or, more exactly, the Modern Synthetic Theory: Flew, 1984, p. 23). This will be crucial to claiming that (say) explanations from evolutionary psychology are genuinely evolutionary—that the term “evolutionary” is more than a metaphor. Any Darwinian theory centres on a “strong principle of inheritance” (Darwin, [1859] 1968, p. 68, 1993, p. 211), whereby organisms reproduce “after their kinds”: offspring will share the properties of the parents, either singly or in combination. For “[n]o breeder doubts how strong is the principle of inheritance: that like produces like …” (Darwin, [1859] 1968, p. 75, 1993, p. 31). Thus, as in domestic selection, “by crossing we can get only forms in some degree intermediate between their parents” (Darwin, [1859] 1968, p. 81, 1993, p. 382): that mechanism now is recognized as genetic. So, a mommy-dinosaur and a daddy-dinosaur would typically have children sharing their properties, contrary to the misleading view implicit in many children’s cartoons, where offspring are presented with an explosion of colours, crests, and such like. But, famously, Darwin postulates random changes to some offspring, random mutations (again, explained © The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_5

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genetically in the Synthetic Theory). And such changes are, as it were, changes to a blue-print (or, better, recipe) otherwise inherited from the parents: that is, from the genetic blue-print of the parents, not incorporating any changes brought about during those parents’ life-histories. As Stephen Jay Gould (1995, p. 193) put it: Darwin’s theory is about natural selection working on these kinds of individuals, on bodies. Darwinian Theory is explicitly about the struggle of individual organisms, bodies, for reproductive success, and every thing flows from that.

For only changes at that genetic level would be genuinely heritable— again, by Darwin’s “strong principle of inheritance”: they would be changes in the ‘passed on’ material.4 Hence, “[a]ny variation which is not inherited is unimportant for us” (Darwin, [1859] 1968, p.  75, 1993, p.  31). (Exceptions might be made here for artificial changes brought about to genetic structure—if such things could occur. Ideally, these would be a form of domestic selection.) So here the genuinely heritable is contrasted with, say, the learned, as many cultural responses might well be learned. In its modern version, then, explanations based in genetics are offered for both inheritance (again, by Darwin’s “strong principle of inheritance”) and “variations” that then may or may not be favourable in the context of that environment, with those changes being advantageous (“favourable”) or not, only in the simple sense of facilitating the changed organism’s chances of getting food and of reproducing (thereby passing on the changed blue-print). Further, such advantages are, of course, tied to contexts, since what is advantageous in this context (say, a swampy landscape) might not be in that context (say, a dry desert). Darwin ([1859] 1968, p.  133, 1993, p. 113) puts the point characteristically: When we see leaf-eating insects green, and bark-eating insects mottled-grey; the alpine ptarmigan white in winter, the red-grouse the colour of heather, we must believe that these tints are of service to these birds and insects in preserving them from danger.

This is what is meant by being ‘fitter’ for this environment: the concept of fitness is tied to environments. Thus a moth that, through mutation, is darker than usual will stand out less against a dark background provided by, say, smoke-blackened trees or buildings. In that environment, this dark

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colour is advantageous, making the moth less easily noticed by predatory birds. As a result, it is more likely to survive to reproduce. And, since animals reproduce “after their kinds”, its offspring will typically be darker too, and therefore similarly advantaged. Gradually, the moths in the environment will tend to be darker in colour, since those without this advantage will be subject to higher rates of predation. But with a change in the environment—as happened in post-industrial Britain, where buildings and trees became less blackened by soot with the decline in coal-fired industry and heating—a lighter-colour would become advantageous for these moths (see Flew, 1984, pp. 30–31). Over a period, then, the typical moth in this environment will be lighter than previously. Yet, of course, no one moth changes colour—there are only particular moths, of particular colours; nor any way for this colour-change to spread except particular moths reproducing “after their kind” (together with any further mutations). So, these changes cannot realistically be treated as, somehow, in the species or in the kind—or, perhaps better, doing so generalizes a phenomenon specific to individuals.5 Here, population genetics describes the predictable ‘trends and tendencies’. In this sense, “[a]s a rough approximation, we can think of causes as events that increase the probabilities of their effects” (as Sober [2011, p. 133] puts it). Such a conception contrasts sharply with the attraction offered by the ‘dazzling image’ of inexorable causality—roughly, that offering what Davidson (2005, p. 192: discussed Chap. 2, Sect. 7) calls “strict laws”. For in this area, as Sober (2011, p.  134) continues, although “[c]ausality can be deterministic … it need not be”. But that concession (for the biology, recall) raises yet more difficulties if these models are deployed in psychology. Moreover, evolutionary success is not a measure of some absolute ‘better or worse’; rather, it is wholly ‘cashedout’ via the likelihood of “survival to reproduce” in a particular environment. Thus, in the environment imagined earlier, predatory birds would be less likely to spot the darker mother-moth than her lighter relative; but any particular moth (despite being dark) might still be eaten. Hence, as above, if the post-change organisms are called “fitter”, that fitness operates entirely contextually—in a different context, the change might prove disadvantageous. So that ‘evolutionary advantage’ is merely that: judged by the standards of the likelihood of survival, the organism ‘modified’ by the mutation—to be fitter—must be more likely than its un-modified counterpart to survive and to reproduce: it only represents progress over its ancestors in that sense. There is no ultimate test for benefit here; hence, no absolute version of the

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organism’s progressing through changes. That is, progress must be contrasted with mere change. There can be no context-free progress here but only, at most, change advantageous (to survival) in a particular context, or a number of them. At best, this a combination of likelihoods only. Even factoring in “the actuarial records for the past ten years … the proposition that a certain man will reach the age of 60 … [is not entailed by] … the proposition that he is a butcher of 50” (Wisdom, 1953, p. 211 [my order]), although (say) the actuarial records suggest this for butchers. At best, one encounters trends for typical examples of such-and-such kind, some not much better than, “With a goat you can bet your life it’ll get out however you fence it in” (Wisdom, 1953, p. 213)—which, after all, is not even a generalization across the majority of cases (compare EKT, pp. 177–192). Moreover, the problems here recur for domestic selection, where two quick cases suffice. First, in the Damon Runyon story “The Big Umbrella” (1938), a boxer with an impeccable genetic pedigree still lacks the required pugilistic traits, folding up when first hit (hence the title)—but then, as the story progresses, and we learn more about his family and birth, doubts are raised about the accuracy of that pedigree. Hence, any prediction rooted in genetics requires that one know the genetic background in ways one may not (even without the specific difficulty here). Second, Wisdom (1953, p. 216)—a horse enthusiast—quotes the following comment from some horse-racing pundit: It seemed then all Lombard Street to a China orange that Thankerton would win. For he is by Manna, a Derby winner, out of Verdict, the dam of Quashed.

Given his pedigree, then, Thankerton seemed a sure thing, but “[s]uddenly when it all seemed over Thankerton began to stop” (quoted Wisdom, 1953, p.  216): so, the favourite was beaten! This might seem only to reflect ignorance of, say, the full genome for the relevant creatures together with the combinatorial effects of each gene. But assuming that one must be right (if given full knowledge) again builds in the picture, familiar by now, of the inevitability (or exceptionlessness) of the outcome. To address randomness, think about tossing coins: what is the likelihood of seven successive heads? The likelihood of a head for each toss is exactly 50% (or the coin is biased); but, with a particular result specified (as in this case), the combination of probabilities must be considered. That is what generates the comparative improbability, even though that is not apparent at the individual level.

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Now, ‘trends and tendencies’ might be clearly identified for animal behaviour without appeal to specific tendencies of a particular individual: that these animals do eat this, do not eat that (at least typically), is no guarantee of the behaviour of the one before us. That specimen may be atypical. Animals, then, can count as active within the world. Then the Blind Watchmaker idea (see Dawkins, 1986) offers a picture of such general trends and tendencies plotted for the local population as a whole (as “population genetics”: see Ruse, 1973, pp. 32–46). But that clearly cannot be satisfactorily applied to any particular individual, who/which might fall outside the normal (and see below, on sexual selection in hadrosaurs): yet (a) psychology should apply at least individual-by-individual; and (b) the force of inheritance too lies within individuals (in situations or environments).

2   The Individual and Evolution Is my straightforward commitment to the operation of evolution over individual organisms (especially as it applies to their psychology) justified? Recently, Mary Midgley (2010, 2014) offered an engaging argument to the contrary, mentioning factors of two kinds: (a) that for some, teleology is unthreatening once it does not import religion; so who urge that: Mind is not just an afterthought or an accident or an add-on, but a basic aspect of nature … [required] … by the assumption that the world is intelligible. That is, the world in which we find ourselves … cannot only be described but can be understood. (Nagel, 2012, p. 16)

And (b) that socio-biologists influential in its elaboration (for instance, Wilson, 1975) have now given up “the individualistic doctrine” (Midgley, 2014, p. 70)—without saying why! Yet her own consideration does not appeal to such ideas, building instead on three chief aspects: first, the place of Darwin’s own account of sexual selection, especially in The Descent of Man ([1871] 1981). For Darwin’s own explanation of the “main source of evolutionary change [involved] … differential dying: by one kind of variant being lost in greater numbers than another” (Midgley, 2014, p. 71). But Darwin ([1859] 1968, p.  69; 1993, p.  23, also p.  637) was convinced “that Natural Selection had been the most important, but not the exclusive, means of modification”. Hence, this is not the only story here: Darwin ([1871]

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1981, pp. 92–93) wrote of the “male Argus pheasant … [where] the most refined beauty can serve as a charm for the female, and for no other purpose” (quoted Midgley, 2014, pp.  72–73); and, according to Midgley (2014, p. 71), “he got quite cross” when this was disputed.6 Further, for Midgley (2014, p. 71), “Darwin always remained interested in Lamarck’s suggestion that acquired characteristics were some how inherited”,7 although, as she concedes, Darwin could not see how they could be. Indeed, if the mechanism of evolution is genetic, this becomes very hard to understand, once direct gene manipulation is set aside. But running these claims together confuses Darwin’s thought about sexual selection, especially for humans, with his views on natural selection. Midgley (2014, p. 71) notices him contrasting sexual section with natural selection “as if it were somehow unnatural”! We have already diagnosed this mistake: the expressions “natural selection” and “sexual selection” should be thought unities (hence, as not conflicting with our commitment to no modification without aberration), and Darwin’s prior interest in domestic selection factored-in: pigeon-breeders select for properties desirable in pigeons. Then, “natural selection” follows a similar model, but now the term “selection” is potentially misleading, with no actual selection (“the Blind Watchmaker”). Especially in humans, sexual selection more closely resembles domestic selection—“choices” are made there: “literal choice rather than the figurative kind” (Midgley, 2014, p. 72). Yet on what basis might those choices be made, especially in the animal case? On Darwin’s view, that choice cannot reflect ‘evidence of fitness’ (biggest muscles, glossiest coat, and so on) since ‘fitness’ is situation- or context-relative: a single (form of) conclusion cannot be assigned generally to so complex an issue, as: What is the fittest in this environment? But Darwin seems to offer the features of male Argus pheasant (above) as reasons in themselves: suppose there is no other reason—then these traits will be those most typically selected; therefore, the ones to be passed on, everything else being equal. Certainly, for neither humans nor (other) animals, would Darwin have considered strictly causal explanations here; say, in terms of (just) pheromones. That is why “motives are real”, as Midgley (2014, p. 78) has it in a section-heading; that, in turn, speaks against appeal to genetic structures only. So that human beings choose here, at least to some degree; and not without constraint. Such choices apply typically for people, and ­differentially across the ‘animal kingdom’, broadly in line with the plausibility of ascribing choice to the organism: strong for cats, dogs, swans, and

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pheasants, weak for sea-squirts; and weaker still for plants. Yet appealing to motives is precisely to replace the inappropriate demand for “strict causality” here with normative notions (and, often, teleological explanations). But, a question to return to, does this concession undermine Darwin’s emphasis (noted above) on the evolutionary centrality of “differential dying”? Moreover, reference to sexual selection cannot really direct attention away from statistical ‘trends and tendencies’. Thus, suppose that the pipe-­ like crests on the skulls of some hadrosaurs (the lambeosaurines) are ‘explained’ in terms of sexual selection: that “they were for producing noise to attract females” (Ruse, 2017, p. 94). Still, that may not in practice apply to this particular hadrosaur: as Ruse (2017, p. 99) notes, the possibility of the unrequited hadrosaur must be conceded: Going back in time, the young hadrosaur is here and now. The noise and the sexual conflict are in the future. The bodily structure is to be explained in terms of growth and physiology … and of getting mates …. And this is true even if the hadrosaur dies an unrequited virgin. (Ruse, 2017, p. 99)

Such an example brings out, first, that evolutionary theorists are not automatically precluded from using purpose-type, teleological language. Thus, “[b]ecause the hadrosaur is design-like, it is appropriate to use the metaphor of design” (Ruse, 2017, p. 99). Then, second, here too something true in general may not be true of any specific individual; hence, not true exceptionlessly. So, without more specific evidence, one cannot claim much about hadrosaur psychology (or its equivalent), even were sexual selection assigned a role, if the claim is to apply to this particular hadrosaur. Before turning there, the two other elements from Midgley’s discussion noted above require comment. The second, indeed, suggested the inadequacy of Darwin’s view, as traditionally understood. Midgley (2014, p. 71) comments, “[n]o doubt this is because this explanation [differential dying, as above] alone could not possibly be adequate”. Here, her “[n]o doubt” suggests that she cannot think of another explanation; or that Darwin could not. But, above, I sketched how attention to “differential dying” (“determining the birth and death of the individual”: Darwin [1859] 1968, p. 458; 1993, p. 647), in a context where there was choice, and other elements of the situation (access to food, climate, and such like) relatively stable, does all that Darwin needs of it. In fact, the key point for Midgley (2010, p. 105) is that “natural selection cannot possibly be the

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cause of all evolutionary developments” (my emphases). But should one assume here what is needed is causal? Or, that the outcome was indeed “development”? (Speaking of “change” might be more revealing.) The third element is Darwin’s supposed failure to explain “self-­ organization … natural creativity” (Midgley, 2010, p. 12), or even “spontaneous creativity” (Midgley, 2010, p. 22). The metaphor of a filter is used to present her criticism of what Darwin offers on this issue: Selection of differential survival is only a filter, and filters have no originative force. They do not create the novelty, the coffee that flows out of them. (Midgley, 2014, p. 71 [original emphasis])

So, for Midgley (2014, p. 71, something is missing here: she comments, “[n]ew, positive kinds of development need their own source”—coming from where? Yet Darwin’s insight was precisely that this question required no explanation or answer. Then, one aspect of the question really concerns persistence; and, even then, persistence within that environment (where a changed environment might generate different persistences—as it were, filtering for something different). Since most of the features of individuals derive directly from combinations from their parents, persistences are ensured by the “strong principle of inheritance” (Darwin [1859] 1968, p. 68; 1993, p. 21): “organisms reproduce after their kinds”. Even here, we need not understand how they do this, of course. Then, as a second aspect, changes here will result from random variations, some favourable in that environment: although we now ‘explain’ such changes genetically, that is little more than a complex way to describe them. Here, again, there is no room for some other source—indeed, what could it be? Instead, natural selection explains the continuity of a change without that change itself having any particular explanation; rather, some changes would persist, others would not. Indeed, Darwin ([1859] 1968, p.  168; 1993, p. 159) was keen to recognize the place of extinctions. The initial suggestion, explored via Midgley’s image, is that the same material will flow out of the filter, as long as the filter does not change: with, say, a looser texture, perhaps a different, stronger coffee would be possible. (That is, a different environment might have a bearing.) Hence, while the filter remains unchanged, successive changes—say, as to the smallest sized particle—may facilitate its operation. Yet this is roughly how Darwinian evolution works to introduce differences: “chance is filtered cumulatively by selection, step by step, over many generations … a satisfying explanation of

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adaptive complexity” (Dawkins, 1986, p. 288). And, of course, while Darwin ([1859] 1993, p.  209) recognized that, “[o]ur ignorance of the laws of variation is profound”, he rightly did not doubt our grasping the mechanisms of the persistence of variation. Perhaps this explains the importance, for Midgley (2014, p. 71: quoted above), of noting that “Darwin always remained interested in Lamarck’s suggestion that acquired characteristics were some how inherited”. But of what sorts of acquired characteristics is she thinking? Insofar as the issue concerns the heritable (and agential perhaps8), Lamarck’s answer has no place. Yet there seems a difficulty here: Midgley (2014, p. 75) asks whether is it ludicrous to suggest “that the wishes of individual hen-pheasants … have affected, and had finally determined, the design of later generations?”. But, in fact, this represents no difficulty at all: first, ascribing such wishes to hen-pheasants is merely characterizing their typical patterns of behaviour (using an anthropomorphizing metaphor); second, if a pattern to the “wishes” of hen-pheasants led to offspring unfitted for life in the environment, these traits would have died out eventually. In this way, the “differential dying” argument trumps any argument about choices, except (perhaps) in the case of humans who might possibly even intervene at the genetic level, and can manipulate their environment—although the evidence to date may show only its mal-manipulation. Of course, Midgley (2010, p.  97) considers “what Darwin actually wrote about human sociality”, as though that was the real topic. But the term “sociality” here is potentially confusing: if it is causal, and not distinctively human, it refers to something potentially shared by humans and birds or chimps (and denied for most male tigers). But our relations one to another are rooted in language use, and its associated responsibility for what we say and do. If, on the other hand, the human dimension is captured (the world of actions!), it cannot really illuminate the animal situation, where responsibility is typically absent. Now, her “motives are real” section-heading (Midgley, 2014, p. 78), noted above, seems to illustrate Midgley’s commitment to agency here. But then Midgley (2014, p. 82) finds her opponents discussing “obsessively purposeful genes …” (and especially selfish genes), simultaneously asserting and denying such agency. Thus, she quotes Richard Dawkins (1996, p.  155) describing a universe with “at bottom, no design, no ­purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference”, commenting “[t]hat sounds value-free enough” (as natural science presumably should). Here Midgley (2014, p. 82) points out that:

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Dawkins’s image can only mean that DNA does have a purpose, namely the vast cosmic purpose of maximizing all reproduction, which it is somehow in a position to impose on everything, including us.

But, in introducing purposiveness to genes, that image denies the central Darwinian insight (that the appearance of purposiveness can occur without such genuine purposes) and commits the fallacy of attributing to a part or constituent what is only properly true of the organism as a whole: for instance, taking persons’ brains to have experiences or make guesses, properties applicable only to those persons (called “the merelogical fallacy” by Bennett & Hacker, 2003, p. 68; see the volume  Chap. 4, Sect. 9). Recognizing that difficulty would, in turn, speak against appeal to teleology, or purpose, when discussing such genetic material. Moreover, when Dawkins claims that we are born selfish, Midgley (2010, p. 28) rightly points out that “the word ‘selfish’ here cannot have the special technical meaning it is supposed to bear in Dawkins’s discussion of ‘selfish genes’”. Otherwise, this would be trivially true: the only interest of, “we are all born self-replicating”, resides in its reflecting two dimensions of Darwin’s “strong principle of inheritance”: namely, that most inheritance reflects the parents’ features or properties, and that offspring only acquire such characteristics through genuine inheritance. Indeed, Dawkins (1986, pp.  292–301) rightly cast doubts on the possibility of inheriting acquired characteristics. Where does this leave the connection of evolution to individual organisms, as I urged it? Midgley (2014, p. 70) reports, apparently approvingly, “that group selection is particularly plausible in the case of humans because of the intervention of speech”. The difficulty, though, is how communication via speech—which is normatively constrained—can be passed genetically. Midgley (2014, p. 7) notes: A group that can talk is able to pass round, and to profit from, any new invention much, much faster than any new developments could ever be spread genetically.

I take this to deny that such “passing round” is genetic; hence, to grant that it cannot be evolutionary, although Midgley (2014, p. 70) describes this as discussing “group selection”. Here, she concedes too much to those she criticizes.

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A similar leniency leads her to attribute as a conclusion what is more correctly just an associated view. Thus, Midgley (2014, p. 66) complains, “[t]he trouble is that theorists who think natural selection can only work by cut-throat competition between individuals pursue that pattern obsessively …”. But that is not my view. Yes, evolution operates over individuals (or, perhaps better, organisms): I do not see how any other ‘agency’ could be worthy of the title “inheritance”. Then, the ‘trends and tendencies’ of individual selection, taken together (say, statistically) compose ‘group’ selection: only changes to individual English persons generate changes to the average English person (for genuine inheritance can only occur for individuals). But then the explanatory structure (for the English as a whole) of discussing the average English person is just statistical, which must problematize any use of it to explain any particular individual’s thoughts or behaviour. For, as urged in Chap. 1 (Sect. 4 note 11), any adequate explanatory schema must not reduce to statistical ‘trends and tendencies’ about my likely behaviour that, say, I will repay the money I owe, given its being true that I have a hundred dollars in my bank account. Moreover, when “certain complex behavior patterns seem to demand teleological explanations” (Wright, 1976, p.  23: my emphasis) because they appear goal-directed, an account in terms of having a function (in contrast to being just accidental) might be offered: for instance, explaining the function of mammalian hearts as to pump blood (“the heart beats in order to pump blood”: see Wright, 1976, p.  73), and not merely to make a noise (although typically this occurs too). Such causal accounts of “function”, on an etiological model (Wright, 1973; 1976, pp. 73–116), aim to permit functional explanation of acts and events, such that “[w]hen we say that Z is the function of X, we are not only saying that X is there because it does Z, we are also saying that Z is (or happens as a result or consequence of) X’s being there” (Wright, 1973, p. 160; 1976, p. 81), with that “because” to be  read as explanatory rather than evidential. In Wright’s example: [n]ot only is chlorophyll in plants because it allows them to perform photosynthesis, photosynthesis is a consequence of the chlorophyll’s being there. Not only is the valve-adjusting screw there because it allows the clearance to be easily adjusted, the possibility of easy adjustment is a consequence of its being there. (Wright, 1973, p. 160)

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Such an account, while still causal, retains goal-directed language without implying any actual goal-setting, thereby dismissing the literal application of teleological explanations to “most nonhuman applications [since they] represent dead anthropomorphic metaphors” (Wright, 1976, p. 21). Then, functional (or apparently purposive) behaviour would be brought about (solely? primarily?) by the occurrence of the behaviour tending to bring about the specific effect, where such bringing about is an ordinary, causal process. But that returns us to some earlier concerns. Here, for advocates of agency, reference to my plans and purposes (and perhaps my character and situation) seem powerful. Then, as noted above and in Chap. 1, any adequate explanatory schema for, say, my doing such-and-such (repaying the money I owe) cannot be reducible to some statistical ‘trends and tendencies’ about likely behaviour (the issue is about me, and I may be atypical). Can any functional or etiological explanation of acts and events (as above) permit a response that is genuinely causal (as opposed to merely statistical), making concrete how I must do such-and-such (replay the money)— that is, involving the inexorability of causation (see Chap. 2)? For, in the analysis offered above, X does not always have to do Z: but, while X may do Z only on a small number of occasions, this must occur sometimes, for the proposed connection to be plausible. Yet, was genuine causality thereby identified (and hence causal explanation provided) if it is not inexorable (if the “causality” is not exceptionless, only statistical)? As a concession, we grant Wright (above) his conclusion about the “nonhuman” world. But would it apply to cases where people (agents) are involved? Earlier, a “No” answer seemed sustained via a contrast between the scientific image of humankind and its manifest image (following Sellars, SPR, pp. 1–40: see Chap. 1, Sect. 6; Chap. 9, Sects. 6 and 7). Yet might setting aside the requirement for a very specific action-component here, as etiological accounts of functions and end-directedness could, then offer ways to locate “survival of the fittest” (or natural selection more generally) within the human world? So far, at least, no hope seems offered in that direction, just because talk of functions for human behaviour seems to diverge from the picture of inexorable causality. Moreover, as Frege ([1918] 1984, p.  351) reminds us, causal explanation alone cannot uniquely separate error and superstition from correct cognition and truth; and hence cannot import normativity. This provides a further crucial limitation that the functional account shares with the more straightforward pictures of causality.

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The claim by Dawkins (1976, p. 3) that “we are all born selfish”, read in a very literal way, might seem to generate exactly that putatively “neo-­ Darwinian” social doctrine that Midgley opposes: as Gould (1995, p. 21) notes, a doctrine that “sounds ultimately selfish … [but] it is only a side consequence … the only thing happening out there is that individual organisms are struggling for personal reproductive success” (my order). Nor does Social Darwinism follow from accepting evolutionary theory (see Flew, 1984, pp. 124–132). Yet, even if this Social Darwinist direction represents a behavioural trend (hence, is true of some particular humans), it is neither exceptionless, nor indicative of a necessary connection. So, the “cut-throat competition” that Midgley mentions (above) cannot be explained by evolutionary ideas (alone). But she aligns Dawkins’ claim with how “various egoistic lines of thought converged to drive that doctrine even further towards extremes … during the age of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher” (Midgley, 2010, p. 10: my order). And she urges that her defence of “group selection” (Midgley, 2010, p. 26) justifies rejection of that version (called “Social Atomism”: Midgley, 2010, p. 19). Now, Midgley (2014, p. 54) is opposed to “the assumption that we are originally quite separate from one another”; and normativity requires more than merely that we be “gregarious animals” (Aristotle, 1995, p. 776: HA 488a8–10). But, if she takes the view opposed to mean that we do not require others—for instance, to give normativity to our sayings and doings—arguments here (especially in Chap. 1, Sect. 4) show that view to be wrong, without invoking other kinds of agencies in addition to those of individual humans or groups of them. In particular, denying that we could be logical isolates cannot require rejection of the idea that evolution operates only over individual agents. Group solidarity, when faced with (say) Mrs Thatcher’s utterances in the UK in the 1980s (“There is no such thing as society”) and her egoism-inflamed policies (Midgley, 2014, p. 699), cannot require group inheritance.

3   The Place of the Individual in Evolutionary Theory This point is significant when turning to evolutionary psychology since, if evolution operates over individuals rather than groups, nothing of an evolutionary kind can be brought to psychology, at least when one is concerned, say, to predict exceptionlessly the behaviour of particular persons (Chap. 2, Sect. 6). No doubt individuals have genetically-given dispositions

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to behave in certain ways; and no doubt one’s genetic inheritance partly constrains those possibilities. But how individuals actually behave always requires those dispositions actualized in the current context. Further, a particular individual’s behaviour need not accord with the usual tendencies. Consider for a moment, the suggestion10 of a gene for the belief that all bags are carry-on bags. Perhaps an underlying human predisposition (say, towards selfishness) might point in this direction. But such a belief requires both the concept of a carry-on bag and modes of transportation (such as air travel) where this is an issue. So, whatever genetic dispositions are also presupposed, the belief itself makes no sense outside societies or cultures that meet such conditions. But meeting those conditions cannot be guaranteed genetically. And, of course, such cultural and social conditions are precisely not heritable in Darwin’s sense. Moreover, even within the cultural conditions required, the behaviour of some individuals will not accord with the generalizations: predictions here cannot be exceptionless, if they are to be completely accurate. For humans (as agents) have the capacity to initiate changes to their context; and perhaps to create contexts more favourable for the flourishing of their offspring. The numerous pairs of spectacles I have worn since age eight offer a simple example of people facilitating the continuity of people: in an earlier period, I would have been comparatively non-functional. Moreover, a parent with financial resources could create environments suitable to his children—not so very different from ‘handing on the family firm’: the offspring are not required to look for jobs for themselves. In this light, recognising evolutionary explanation as ultimately causal invokes again the warning from Frege ([1918] 1984, p.  351) against dependence on causal explanation. Then when some writers “explain our having the concepts we do in terms of their supposed evolutionary advantages” (Dummett, 2010, p. 36), their doing so: … is not philosophy; but it is not science either. It is the result of the bedazzlement of those who have undertaken one manner of intellectual inquiry via the successes of another. (Dummett, 2010, p. 36)

Here, Dummett rightly identifies this as just a species of scientism, of the kind Frege was diagnosing: treating conceptual questions (from, roughly, philosophy) as amenable to the causally-focused and empirically’ investigated methods of science. Given the obvious power of evolutionary explanation in some places in the sublunary world, it is assumed to apply everywhere, and to answer all questions, a conception reflecting the

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characteristic combination of “empirical methods and conceptual confusion” (PI Part II §xiv [p. 197]; PPF §371 [p. 243]). For many questions supposedly answered by reference  to “evolutionary advantage” are not questions where the appropriate form of the answer could ever reflect causal structures. As we saw, following Frege’s injunction, appeal to causal mechanisms (such as those deployed in natural science) cannot explain the normativity built into human life, since non-normative behaviour could also be explained causally; nor can  the methods appropriate to treating such questions be empirical ones, such as, say, surveys. Here, that injunction means simply that ‘evolutionary advantage’ is merely that, judged by the standards of the likelihood of survival, the organism ‘modified’ by the particular mutation is more likely than its un-modified counterpart to survive and reproduce—that is the only sense in which it represents progress over its ancestors. So that, say, an athlete will be never genetically advantaged punkt, but only where that advantage exists vis-à-vis this sport in this context. Now, remarks about human psychology typically reflect, at best, trends and tendencies among humans: John Forrester (2017, p.  4) rightly describes psychology as “the discipline most in thrall to the exigency of statistical methodologies”. No doubt this person behaved in that way because of his upbringing (say): but can we infer that every person with a strongly similar upbringing will behave in the same, or even a strongly similar, way? Of course, we cannot: such claims—while no doubt reflecting trends or tendencies among humans—are not exceptionless. So, there will always be individuals who ‘buck the trend’. Thus, for example, the “Iron Law” of economics is precisely as Nagel (1995, p.  183) put it: “human motivation in the aggregate: how the decisions … of millions of people combine to produce large-scale results”. That is, it offers a description of trends in human behaviour and response, rather than an ­exceptionless account. Further, to be genuinely heritable, changes must operate at the level of the particular individual. Yet, acknowledging these facts casts doubt on the degree to which human psychology can ever have a directly evolutionary base. For, if evolutionary changes are necessarily changes to particular individuals, any attempt to speak generally about human psychology will be misplaced, in assuming an unjustified (and unjustifiable) exceptionlessness. As above, the only mechanism here is individual; and, because it operates on individuals in contexts, not typically exceptionless in ways hoped for by those of a scientistic or reductionist inclination.

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However, three points in clarification are necessary. First, when speaking against group selection in this way, we follow Darwin (in the first edition of Origin11) in urging that: … in social animals … [natural selection] will adapt the structure of each individual for the benefit of the community; if each in consequence profits by the change. (Darwin, [1859] 1968, p. 135)

So, while defending the view that fortuitous group benefits might emerge, Darwin did not in general take such traits to evolve “because they benefit the group” (Sober, 2011, p. 8312). No doubt the presence of other wolves in the pack benefits a typical wolf (for instance, the pack can ‘wear down’ prey by continuous pursuit in ways individual wolves could not), but these ‘advantages’ often seem social—we need not appeal to a shared biology here, even in the form of kin selection. In saying this, however, we are not joining the debates among biologists13: instead, our issue is the appropriation by psychology of biological models. Still, from the beginning, Darwin saw the ‘altruism’ implicit in the honey-bee’s barbed stinger (a weapon where deployment causes the death of the bee: see Sober, 2011, pp. 62–63)—the animals died “for the good of” the group. In addition, Darwin made an exception for humankind both in the importance assigned to sexual selection (Darwin, [1871] 1981, pp.  92–93), and in the impact of “another and more powerful stimulus to the development of social virtues, namely, the praise and blame of his fellows” (Darwin, [1871] 1981, p.  163): there, choice had a role. Thus, as we will see, denying group selection is not thereby endorsing selfishness, nor denying altruism. Second, and relatedly, our view takes very seriously here the ‘strictly causal’ image of science that is our target throughout. Anything less lacks the inevitability or inexorability central to the dazzle of the ‘dazzling image’ from science that is central to adopting science as an ideal. Admitting that we are just describing ‘trends and tendencies’, or that “we can think of causes as events that increase the probabilities of their effects” (Sober, 2011, p. 133 quoted above: my emphasis), is granting that predictions of future behaviour may be false of any particular individual. This mild thesis is not one typically defended by evolutionary appeals in psychology. Turning to the claims of an evolutionary psychology reinforces such criticisms. Third, a different set of questions might be asked, or a different set of difficulties raised, if—with Midgley (2010, p.  10)—our target was the manner in which some biologists have taken selfishness as the default

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position, especially where drawing conclusions about social relations. But our point here has been simply that her criticism of evolutionary approaches cannot yield the results she aims towards; and that because her goals cannot be realized in the causal descriptions to which one is committed by adherence to models of causality with ‘strict laws’.

4   Genes (and Memes) I have urged that any change necessarily operates at the level of the particular individual, since only such changes are genuinely heritable in that ‘strict’ sense. Typically, remarks about human psychology reflect, at best, “trends and tendencies” among humans. No doubt this person behaved in that way because of his upbringing (say) or his genetic inheritance: but we cannot infer that every person with a strongly similar upbringing, or genetic inheritance, will behave in the same, or even a strongly similar, way. Such claims reflecting trends or tendencies among humans are not exceptionless: like the behaviour of the typical English family at a particular time, these are clearly descriptions of mere trends in human behaviour and response, rather than exceptionless accounts. This fact, once acknowledged, casts doubt on the degree to which human psychology applied to individuals can ever be given a directly evolutionary base. For, if evolutionary changes are necessarily changes to particular individuals, attempts to speak generally about human psychology will be misplaced in assuming the unjustified (and unjustifiable) exceptionlessness associated with causal explanation. As above, the only mechanism here is individual; and, since it operates on individuals in contexts, it cannot typically be exceptionless in ways those of scientistic or reductionist inclinations hope. Moreover, we saw (Sect. 2 above) that focusing on explanation in terms of, say, genes does not improve the situation: merely ascribing purpose to genes metaphorically fails to do justice to the normativity of human action, where humans might make the wrong choices—an impossibility for genes! And literally ascribing purpose to genes commits the mereological fallacy (Bennett & Hacker, 2003, p. 68) by offering a property of—in this case— the person as though it was a property of the part (here, the gene). To produce a greater generality for candidate changes, with an evolutionary flavour, Dawkins’ Selfish Gene (1976, p. 192) introduces, as “a unit of cultural transmission”,14 the meme—deriving the term from the Greek mimeme—to indicate the replicator here: “tunes, ideas, catch-phrases,

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fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches” (Dawkins, 1976, p. 192). So, roughly, an idea, or behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. But how? For Dawkins (1976, p. 192): … memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in a broad sense, can be called imitation. If a scientist hears or reads a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it in his articles and his lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain. [my emphases]

Here, the scientist passes on good ideas (not merely ideas that are replicator-­ effective); and their “propagation” is metaphorical, rather than literal (“can be said”—yes, but does it?). Further, on this view, memes are reproduced by imitation, rather than genetically (Dawkins, 1976, pp. 190–192). Yet what exactly does this mean? In the theory, a meme (like a gene) is assigned a primitive drive to reproduce itself (Dawkins, 1976, p. 196), “enabling it to mutate and change and insidiously infect our minds, passing from one mind to another in different forms in different moral and political and intellectual climates” (Blackburn, 2005, p. 82); and, in that way, to modify its environment to aid its spread. Further, for Dawkins, this possibility of replication here is fundamental: as he says, “[t]he gene will enter my thesis as an analogy, nothing more” (Dawkins, 1976, p. 191). Elaboration of this model encounters three related difficulties following from its claim to be genuinely evolutionary. First, Dawkins explicitly denies the fact that made his account seem biological: he says that DNA “does not necessarily hold those monopoly rights [as a replicator] for all time” (Dawkins, 1976, p. 193). Yet now, any temptation to adopt such a view—a pressure from the successes of evolutionary theory—has d ­ issipated. Certainly, the move “from brain to brain” is not (just) biology, since the brains have no direct contact. And how exactly could replicator-­hood be passed on? Many sorts of replication seem, for Dawkins, to have the same status: then the photocopier might count as ‘reproductive’ of images! Surely that cannot be what is meant. Indeed, it seems nothing but metaphor. At the least, the ‘dazzle’ of the causality thought characteristic of science has vanished. The title of Dawkins’ next book, The Blind Watchmaker (1986), encapsulates the second difficulty: namely, that the apparent direction to Darwinian evolution (as though it were planned) is an illusion, not a feature acquired from agential intention. Intentions may appear to be at

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work, but none are. Yet this conflicts with granting the necessary agency to (say) meme-users, as opposed to the memes themselves. For, in evolutionary explanation, organisms simply find themselves in environments where distinctive changes from mutation (if any) make them more or less suited than before to find food and reproduce. Moreover, we know exactly what such reproduction involves—genetic transfer. So, what can that model imply for non-genetic reproduction? In particular, it is unclear how such forces could be evolutionary in any strong sense. (One might think this was ruled out for meme-theory by the slogan, “imitation, not genetics, rules”.) Certainly, stressing a connection to agency will undermine the claim that the picture behind the meme-theory is genuinely evolutionary. Indeed, Dawkins (1976, p. 201) imagines humans able to “rebel against the tyranny”, such that, for Dawkins (1976, p. 331), “genes exert a statistical influence on human behaviour … [but/and] this influence on human behaviour can be modified, overridden or reversed by other influences” (my emphasis). But what is a statistical influence? How is it a direct influence on my behaviour? (An agent might be influenced by knowing the statistics, but that is scarcely causal!) That raises the third difficulty: how can memes be operative in the world? That is, how should one understand the ascription to a meme of the primitive drives mentioned above (Dawkins, 1976, p. 196); namely, the drive to reproduce and to aid its spread? Trends and tendencies might be ascribed to animal behaviour without appealing to specific tendencies of a particular individual: the animals do eat this, do not eat that (at least typically)—with no guarantee about the behaviour of the particular animal before us. Then, since animals are active within the world, the Blind Watchmaker idea offers a model for general trends and tendencies plotted for the local population as a whole. Still, the genetic change (the ­mutation) takes place in this animal, and its offspring, the characteristics becoming part of the populations only later. Yet clearly memes (themselves) are not ‘active in the world’ in this sense. The spread ‘from person to person’ is not that of a disease (despite the word “infect” above), but (roughly) that of an idea. Still, some less-than-­ deliberate process explains many ideas becoming widely accepted. For many people at least, the transmission of memes will involve their coming to accept that “idea, behaviour, or style”. Yet the areas for change are not clearly uniform: for instance, ideas might become accepted because others accept them too (as might styles) but also because one comes to believe this or that. How one behaves may well reflect the dictates of fashion or

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the mores of one’s social set; but also reflect one’s choices—even if ideas and behaviours ‘inherited’ from previous generations circumscribe the range of those choices (compare FW, pp. 7–9). Moreover, even within the cultural conditions required, the behaviour of some individuals may not accord with the generalizations: to repeat, any predictions here cannot be exceptionless, if they aim at complete accuracy.

5   Reasoning in Evolutionary Psychology Does it help, or even make sense, to urge that our capacity to, say, reason in particular ways is “a consequence of a more primitive capacity of belief formation that had a survival value when the human brain was evolving” (Nagel, 1997, p. 75)? In part, this explanation is trivial—if the human brain had not evolved in certain ways, we would not be able (now) to formulate beliefs as we can. In another way, it is unhelpful: we need the capacity to do certain things now—explaining them in terms of the prior capacity to do things from a similar list is unhelpful. For, clearly, the possibility of one’s behaviour being open to understanding has some causal prerequisites in the brain and central nervous system. To offer a parallel, the capacity to grasp requires (roughly) the opposable thumb. Hence one can say with confidence that, if grasping had a survival value, so did opposable thumbs. Yet that cannot explain the creature’s acquisition of the opposable thumb. To simply re-describe the events, so that acquiring the benefit requires previous acquisition of the (causal) precondition, is not really to explain how that precondition itself came to be satisfied: what was its causal history? Of course, as Nagel (1997, p. 137) recognizes, “our capacity to reason has survival value”: indeed, who could reasonably deny this? Yet what (if anything) does this show? For it cannot mean that a particular individual will survive; nor that an individual with a greater capacity to reason therefore will survive (in contrast to another). Further, reducing the claim to one’s being likely to survive is just equivalent to some likelihood-­ calculation: by definition, the statistical probability here just reflects a particular individual’s likelihood of survival. Hence, it will be as uninformative as remarks about, say, the typical moth. A line of (seeming) counter-argument might urge that altruism of some kind was operative at a genetic level: that not all genetic explanations should be thought selfish in (broadly) the sense from Dawkins (1976). But, as above, one mistake here comes from regarding genetic material as though it chose; hence, as though it might have been altruistic but was in

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fact selfish (see Sect. 4 above). Rather, as above, the precise working-out of the physical system is exceptionless ceteris paribus (see Chap. 2); additionally, the working-out of the biological system means that success here is measured just in terms of living or dying. Or, more exactly, in the trends of such living or dying in that species in this environment. Success here is no more than survival in a broadly hostile environment; in particular, survival long enough to reproduce. But then, we rightly consider just trends within this group, rather than assigning desires or intentions to particular individuals on that basis. Nevertheless, Nagel (1997, p. 137) clearly denies “that what rationality is can be understood through the theory of natural selection” [my emphasis]. Why? Because: One cannot embed all one’s reasoning in psychological theory, including the reasonings that led to the psychological theory. The epistemological buck must stop somewhere. (Nagel, 1997, pp. 137–138)

So that, insofar as the psychological theory accurately describes tendencies towards belief, it cannot address the issue of truth: hence, not what one should believe or justifiably assert in that context. As before, our oft-quoted slogan from Frege ([1918] 1984, p. 351) rightly warns us that each view or disposition will have a causal explanation; some will be crazy, others sensible. But then, if our interest is typically in reasoned conclusions, appeal to the causal story cannot decide what is true, or even correctly concluded: it will not, and cannot, capture the normativity of the human world. Thus, it makes no sense to urge that claims “are tested in controlled experiments, and the results are subjected to the usual statistical analyses” (Knobe et  al., 2012, p.  82, characterizing “empirical philosophy”). More specifically, whatever the requirement here (Nagel, 1997, p.  31), one cannot appeal to the merely contingent psychology (say, of reasoning), since any such psychology will have, as its preconceptions, a set of causal structures and their working-out. The point is not just that they might be mistaken; rather, that this  cannot be the right analysis. Philosophy must never be turned into the television programme Family Feud (Family Fortunes in the UK), where—to determine what answers to consider—one asks 1000 people. Clearly, for philosophy, the right answer is needed, rather than the answer urged by 1000 possibly misguided people. Indeed, I suspect that long division, if practised at all today, is performed by children learning the skill: in such a world, all the answers

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offered in the USA on a particular Tuesday to a particular long-division calculation might be mistaken. Then, what most (here, all) people claim as true on a particular topic (here, a long-division example) is actually false. The criterion for truth is not set by some kind of consensus. Certainly, the persistence of dispute has no relevance, as such. As Bambrough (1979, p. 19) put it, “Galileo was right when he contradicted the cardinals; and so was Wilberforce when he rebuked the slave-owners”. Again, what was then the consensus view was still wrong. Two points should be reiterated here: first, genuinely evolutionary explanations cannot be offered of ‘trends and tendencies’, since the detail of such explanations functions individual-by-individual (although ‘population statistics’ here are doubtlessly useful, once properly understood; and recall, psychology is “the discipline most in thrall to the exigency of statistical methodologies”: Forrester, 2017, p. 4.). Second, as Frege reminds us, precisely what is crucial to the human world (namely, the normativity of judgements) must be missing from some accounts of human thought or behaviour rooted in its causal history (as a genuinely evolutionary account must be). Thus Nagel (1997, p. 141) correctly offers: … the right way to react to the cruder suggestions of the sociobiological outlook … to consider the alleged biological causes of this or that motivational disposition, and then go on to ask whether, if those are the facts, we are justified in continuing to act on it. There might well be an innate, biologically explicable disposition towards racism, for example, yet that does not exempt racism from moral criticism.

Hence one cannot determine what to do by following such dispositions: recognizing that we have choices here, ones we might make rationally, undermines this version of evolutionary argument.

6   Dual-Inheritance Theory To offer a way forward, a revised view of human psychology might urge that “our minds are massively modularized” (Davies, 2012, p. 40), such that “many cognitive mechanisms operate as automated programs, each directed to solving specific problems faced by our direct ancestors” (Davies, 2012, p. 40). Indeed, its insistence on the “automated” character of the forces is part of the view’s attraction here—in those cases, we would not be choosing, nor necessarily invoking a teleology (or directedness) to

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the relevant systems. Yet, this denial alone offers no licence for introducing a concept of “gene-culture coevolution (aka dual inheritance theory)” (Davies, 2012, p. 36). Two related issues are raised (once again) for any putative evolutionary psychology: first, what are the ‘units’ of change here? Second, what is the scope of operation of such ‘units’? Since the process here is evolutionary, at least, any such ‘units’ must be heritable. If, as I would urge, they are to be genes—or something similar—that fixes their scope: the inheritance of particular organisms is under consideration. What should be made of cases regularly cited in favour of cultural factors influencing biology? The three encountered most regularly are: [i] humans’ dentition, jaw size, and gut have reduced in response to our comparatively recent diet of soft foods; [ii] the people who domesticated cattle became more lactose tolerant; and [iii] increased resistance to malaria followed the move to agriculture. (Davies, 2012, p. 35 [my numbers])

One difficulty in all these cases is simply that we cannot be as sure of the chronology as this list implies: perhaps they should be reversed, with an increased lactose-tolerance being a factor in the successful domestication of cattle, or an increase in resistance to malaria aiding the movement to agriculture, with both changes initially genetic mutations (then found favourable). A more important difficulty for the version above, though, lies in making such changes seem biological—a consequence of evolutionary forces, rather than human choices. No doubt, far enough back into human history, it makes little sense to distinguish our wants or choices from biological drives. But to address choices (especially with those choices explained in human terms) is to approach elementary “domestic selection”: no longer the “blind watchmaker” Darwin envisages, but his seeing counterpart. Again, go far enough back and that distinction will seem tendentious: but, in such a distant past, that should not provide a reason to smuggle-in teleology. For instance, since the alpha-lion’s position in the pride results in most of the pride’s offspring being his, a percentage of those will carry any evolutionary advantage of his in our savannah (say, a mottled coat offering particularly good camouflage). Since some of those offspring breed with others in our pride, this advantageous difference becomes well established. That sketch offers a story along broadly Darwinian lines: an accidental change proves advantageous in our environment—and the ‘advantage’

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could readily be explained in terms of the acquisition of food. And suppose that the alpha-lion systematically kills off those of his offspring lacking this feature (perhaps, like the Pak in Larry Niven’s novel Protector [1973], these descendants are eliminated because they no longer smell right to him): here, his action need have no strictly evolutionary explanation. Then (ex hypothesi), this particular behaviour will not aid the lion’s (or the pride’s) survival. Here, it seems to me, we have gone beyond what evolution as such can readily explain: wanting to find an explanation of the lion’s behaviour, we must look elsewhere. For the defenders of some kind of evolutionary psychology, such a quest will be vain. Thus, Stephen Davies (2012, p. 41) thinks that: The central premise of Evolutionary Psychology—that we have inherited (some) ways of thinking and perceiving, emotions, personalities, and values because those behaviours and attributes promoted the survival and reproduction of our distant forebears—can hardly be denied.

But I wish to deny precisely this. For Davies’ claim, first, explicitly assumes that this is material inherited—but how can it be, unless ideas or some such are inheritable? Then, second, it requires that such “behaviours and attributes” were favourable in their environments (hence that the forces were genuinely evolutionary); but how could that be defended? What we know cannot answer to the impact of drives on our distant ancestors. As Nagel (1997, pp. 137–138) remarks: Natural selection has to operate on the biological possibilities that are actualized, and we do not know how those possibilities and their likelihoods of actualization are constrained by the fundamental laws of nature.

So, initially, we cannot really grasp with any certainty what alternatives were present, with only the biological record as our evidence. For, as with natural science (see Chap. 2, Sects. 5 and 6), we typically treat that record as operating exceptionlessly—with any apparent deviations explicable as the consequence of failing to factor-in something relevant (some interferer or defeater). But once those distant ancestors have language, or offer other means of our making sense of the ideas their lives embody, we confront their choices and plans. That is, we are no longer dealing solely with the working-out of those causal forces biology describes.

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No doubt there are ‘trends and tendencies’ here—the disposition to do such-and-such—but, on the picture I espouse, they cannot be inherited unless grounded in the biology more firmly than, say, Lamarckian views would offer: perhaps my height is strictly heritable; and perhaps, given my height, social forces dispose me to a life in professional basketball. But other career choices are available to me (the contingency of the invention of basketball surely proves that!); and even the ‘choice’ to pursue basketball further depends on my levels of nutrition, opportunities at school (and later), and avoiding life-threatening illnesses and damaging ‘accidents’ (compare the central character’s fate in Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels). Perhaps, as a context to realize some of these other contingencies, the continuing success of some basketball team (for instance, the LA Lakers) should also be mentioned, with my success dependent on being seen by them at the right moment—say, when a ‘gap’ opens in their roster. Thus, while I cannot become a professional basketball player without trying, the contingencies above highlight some of the decisions I might make (or aim to), some of the ways to try, as well as some potentially limiting factors; certainly, trying alone will not necessarily achieve it for me. And if, despite the predisposition, I do not grow as tall as predicted, perhaps that will preclude my going forward—or just change my position, or the manner in which I play it. So that the genetic consequences cannot be set down independently of the cultural ones; yet, to the degree they could, one’s psychology seems at least as strongly cultural or contextual as any other human attribute. Further, since the mechanism of evolution is broadly genetic, a question raised above recurs: how can it operate other than from individual to individual? The suggestion of something broader must undermine the genetic character of such an explanation. ‘Trends and tendencies’ that, in the environment, seemed likely to “promote the survival and reproduction of our distant ancestors” (Davies, 2012, p. 41 above) must, in the end, be resolved into such-and-such a genetic structure. Ideas cannot be inherited, both because, in a very different environment, a baby surely acquires different ideas, just as he/she acquires a different language— again, predispositions towards language-acquisition cannot be towards acquisition of particular languages; similarly, even were there predispositions towards respecting the dead (as among the ‘inheritable’ values Davies mentions), they cannot predispose towards cremation, interment, or even sky-burial! As Bambrough (1979, p. 20) recognized, on such issues it is

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unnecessary “for the whole of mankind to have a single, fixed, universal standpoint, regardless of variations in time and place”. But that cannot be (certainly, need not be) because the environmental circumstances favour some evolutionary developments over others. Rather, it reflects choices made in the context of history and culture (compare Chap. 9, Sect. 2; Sect. 4). In effect, then, discussing the possibility of a genuinely evolutionary psychology returns us to issues concerning choice (in particular, of the possibility of genuinely choosing) from Chap. 2. If such-and-such (for instance, evolutionary theory) is indeed an account of causal structures governing the living world (a law of science, in that sense), we—as part of the living world—cannot choose whether to behave in accordance with it, any more than we can choose to behave in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics! Hence, one cannot choose to act in evolutionarily advantageous ways (nor choose not to); and so, despite contrary appearances, evolutionary biology cannot “offer a perspective from which life can be lived” (Nagel, 2010, p. 12). For, if those really are laws in that sense, there can be no choosing one way or the other. But, insofar as one thinks of human psychology as studying choices between alternatives, there cannot be room for such choices in that segment of human life where the biology, and especially the evolutionary biology, is the dominant explanatory force. In effect, the point is again Frege’s: there will be a causal story for whatever results—so, finding that causal story cannot yet distinguish good choices from bad ones, nor explain why this choice rather than that one should be made. (Then appeal to evolutionary psychology will typically obscure that key difference between biological evolution and social ‘evolution’.)

7   Conclusion As we saw in Chap. 1, Sect. 4, Dummett (1993, p. 187) rightly dismissed as “an outright mistake” and “a completely unphilosophical way of looking at the matter” (Dummett, 1993, p. 187) any strategy for conducting the philosophy of thought that utilizes “a theory … according to which a theory of meaning is really a theory of something very complicated that goes on in the brain”. But why? Dummett (1993, pp. 187–188) rightly urges that:

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Philosophy is not concerned with what enables us to speak as we do, but what it is for our utterances to have the meanings that they have, and nothing that happens in the brain can explain that.

Here, Dummett is both diagnosing the error (by now familiar) whereby one treats philosophical concerns in terms of causal structures, and highlighting the conceptual distinctiveness of language—linguistic meaning is not even explicable solely in terms of a philosophy of action only for, although utterances are actions, “what is uttered” is meaning-bearing, in a way only human matters can be. So, another mistake would attempt to reduce words, or meaning-bearing utterances, to simply sounds or signs. For that misses the very distinctiveness of linguistic meaning that counts against the prospects of philosophy grounded in empirical methods (such as surveys). Recognizing genuine meaning (as opposed to, say, association) will be fundamental here, as will the impossibility of offering a causal explanation of meaning in that sense. Obviously, such topics are not readily explored with empirical methods, nor explained in those terms (contrast Goodwin & Darley, 2008; Young & Durwin, 2013). Thus, it makes no sense to think one investigated moral realism (understood as the view that there are moral truths: see Chap. 9, Sect. 2) by conducting surveys about, say, the impact on one’s behaviour of accepting such moral realism; in particular, such surveys cannot be regarded as a way of doing philosophy (“empirical philosophy”). If there is a reason to accept moral realism (in this sense), that reason’s power is independent of whether people generally accept it: the trends and tendencies of actual acceptance are beside the point of one’s concern with the rationality of acceptance. Indeed, a survey showing that most people behaved better if they accepted moral realism (in this sense) might offer a practical reason (resembling Plato’s myth of the metals) to trick people into being moral realists. But if moral realism is true, no trick is needed: people should be moral realists (in the correct version) because moral realism is true; and not if it is not. The fact that people might behave better if misguided cannot have a bearing. Again, this familiar point counts against any so-called “empirical philosophy”: operating within (roughly) the project of philosophy precludes taking one’s data solely from the diametrically opposed consideration of generalizations about what people do believe or think. Why should such “empirical philosophy” be thought philosophy? On one hand, empirical conclusions of this sort cannot alone guarantee purely conceptual enquiries, for then philosophical correctness must await scientific

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correctness. Can what is not conceptual, but rather causal, really count as philosophy? More importantly, what would remain distinctive of philosophy if it did? Any answer is complicated by the complexity of other disciplines: for example, psychology sometimes deals with people as agents (I think here first of psychoanalytically-inclined psychology15) and sometimes investigates causal forces. Only the first of these could offer much philosophy, insofar as concerns in philosophy are with people and their choices. And, even then, counting as the science of psychology at all requires an empirical element: it cannot just become philosophical psychology (basically, another name for philosophy of mind). But, insofar as it is empirical, how should it be distinguished from these other disciplines? As we will see (Chap. 9, Sect. 2), the forces that preclude grounding ethics in science (indeed, in anything outside the ethical realm) also preclude building a similar base for philosophy in general.

Notes 1. Generally, first and fifth editions of Origin are cited as, respectively, “[1859] 1968” and “[1859] 1993”: where differences are important, I sometimes refer to just one. 2. More specifically, the Modern Synthetic Theory now confronts “… the context of selection working on nonblending units of inheritance: the Mendelian gene!” (Ruse, 1982, p. 130); such that “… genes controlling reproduction are transmitted intact and are not blended”, as John Barrow put it (“Editor’s Introduction”, Darwin, [1859] 1968, p. 47). 3. For his reservations, see Gould (1995, p. 29): the issue is whether genes have the same sets of capacities as Darwinian individuals; and whether some “groups”, such as species, do also. 4. Setting aside meme-theory: see Dawkins, 1976, pp. 188–201; 322–328; for criticism, see Sect. 4 below; and Bennett & Hacker, 2003, pp. 432–435. 5. For Nagel (1997, p. 133), this is often a species of “naturalized epistemology” on which “[e]pistemology is concerned with the foundations of science” (Quine, 1969, p. 69); and “the language and thought processes in which… [science and everyday knowledge] are pursued are to be seen as natural phenomena and studied and described and explained scientifically like any other part of the natural world” (Stroud, 1984, p.  211). For a critique, see Dilman, 1984, pp. 106–121; Travis, 2011, pp. 92–93; Stroud, 1984, pp. 209–254.

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6. Sober (2011, p. 189, note 5) suggests that Darwin would not endorse the modern contrast with Lamarck; compare Darwin ([1859] 1993, p. 637) asserting “the steady power of misrepresentation” in the face of the arguments in Origins—was Darwin (by the fifth edition) getting cross? 7. Again, no citation: but see Sober (2011, p. 19) on Darwin’s retention of use/disuse (Darwin, [1859] 1968, pp.  175ff. & pp.  431–432; 1993, p. 175ff. & pp. 606–607). 8. Perhaps Steele et al. (1998) offer a kind of Lamarckism at the level of the manipulated retrogenes: for the direction of rejection, compare Ruse, 1982, p. 144. 9. Compare McFee (2002, pp. 124–125) on methodological individualism. 10. See Blackburn, 2001, p. 41, from Matt Davies. 11. In the fifth edition, by contrast, Darwin ([1859] 1993, p. 115) writes: In social animals … [natural selection] will adapt the structure of each individual for the benefit of the whole community; if the community profits by the selected change. 12. As Sober (2011, p. 83) recognizes, later editions of Origin are less clear on this point (see, for instance, Darwin, [1859] 1993, p. 115 quoted in note 11 above). 13. Contrast, for instance, Ruse (1980, p. 615): Apart from some slight equivocation over man, Darwin opted firmly for hypotheses supposing selection always worked at the level of the individual rather than the group. 14. Although Dawkins (1976, p.  189) urges that “[c]ultural transmission is not unique to man”. [Now I don’t know what he means by “culture”.] 15. Thus Freud ([1940] 1966, pp. 144–145—quoted in full Chap. 4, Sect. 3): “Everything that lies between [the brain (or nervous system), and … our acts of consciousness] is unknown to us …”. Instead, we should begin from conceptions of agency, rather than viewing this human power as something to be discovered (say, empirically).

Bibliography Aristotle. (1995). The History of Animals. In J. Barnes (Ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle, Volume One (pp. 774–993). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [cited as HA]. Bambrough, R. (1979). Moral Scepticism and Moral Knowledge. London: Routledge.

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Bennett, M.  R., & Hacker, P.  M. S. (2003). Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. Oxford: Blackwell. Blackburn, S. (2001). Being Good. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Blackburn, S. (2005). Truth: A Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Darwin, C. [1859] 1968/1993). Origin of Species (1st edn., J. W. Burrow, Ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin; (5th edn.). New  York: Random House (Modern Library Edition). Darwin, C. ([1871] 1981). The Descent of Man. London: Penguin/John Murray. Davidson, D. (2005). Truth, Language and History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Davies, S. (2012). The Artful Species. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dawkins, R. (1986). The Blind Watchmaker. London: Penguin. Dawkins, R. (1996). River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life. London: Phoenix. Dilman, I. (1984). Quine on Ontology, Necessity and Experience: A Philosophical Critique. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Dummett, M. (1993). Origins of Analytic Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Dummett, M. (2010). The Nature and Future of Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press. Flew, A. (1984). Darwinian Evolution. London: Grafton. Forrester, J. (2017). Thinking in Cases. Cambridge: Polity. Frege, G. ([1918] 1984). Thoughts. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 351–372). Oxford: Blackwell. Freud, S. ([1940] 1966). The Outline of Psychoanalysis. In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 23, pp. 141–207). London: Vintage Classics. Goodwin, G. P., & Darley, J. M. (2008). The Psychology of Meta-ethics: Exploring Objectivism. Cognition, 106, 1339–1366. Gould, S. J. (1995). The Individual in Darwin’s World. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. Knobe, J., Buckwater, W., Nichols, S., Robbins, P., Sarkassian, H., & Sommers, T. (2012). Experimental Philosophy. Annual Review of Psychology, 63, 81–99. McFee, G. (2002). It’s Not a Game: The Place of Philosophy in the Study of Sport. In J.  Sugden & A.  G. Tomlinson (Eds.), Power Games: A Critical Sociology of Sport (pp. 117–137). London: Routledge. McFee, G. (2010). Ethics, Knowledge and Truth in Sports Research: An Epistemology of Sport. London: Routledge. [cited as “EKT”]. Midgley, M. (2010). The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene. London: Routledge. Midgley, M. (2014). Are You an Illusion?. London: Routledge. Nagel, T. (1995). Other Minds: Critical Essays 1968–1994. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Nagel, T. (1997). The Last Word. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nagel, T. (2010). Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament: Essays 2002–2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nagel, T. (2012). Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Quine, W.  V. O. (1969). Ontological Relativity, and Other Essays. New  York: Columbia University Press. Ruse, M. (1973). The Philosophy of Biology. London: Hutchinson. Ruse, M. (1980). Charles Darwin and Group Selection. Annals of Science, 37, 615–630. Ruse, M. (1982). Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies. London: Addison-Wesley. Ruse, M. (2017). On Purpose. Princeton, NJ: University of Princeton Press. Sellars, W. (1963/1991). Science, Perception & Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing. [cited as “SPR]. Sober, E. (2011). Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards? Philosophical Essays on Darwin’s Theory. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Steele, E. J., Lindley, R. A., & Blanden, R. V. (1998). Lamarck’s Signature: How Retrogenes Are Changing Darwin’s Natural Selection Paradigm. New  York: Basic Books. Stroud, B. (1984). The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Travis, C. (2011). Objectivity and the Parochial. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Wilson, E. O. (1975). Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wisdom, J. (1953). Philosophy and Psycho-Analysis. Oxford: Blackwell. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G.  E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. [cited as “PI”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2009). Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment. [Originally Philosophical Investigations (“PI”) Part Two.] Philosophical Investigations (4th Rev. edn.) (pp. 182–243). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “PPF”]. Wright, L. (1973). Functions. Philosophical Review, 82(2), 139–168. Wright, L. (1976). Teleological Explanations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Young, L., & Durwin, A.  J. (2013). Moral Realism as Moral Motivation: The Impact of Meta-ethics on Everyday Decision Making. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 302–306.

CHAPTER 6

Persons, Artificial Intelligence, and Science Fiction Thought–Experiments

1   Introduction Much recent philosophy seems to grant that minds (or persons) resemble computers in some important respects. John Searle (1984, pp. 32–38) has dubbed the key project here “strong artificial intelligence” (“Strong AI”1) by which he means—or I shall mean—the view that, roughly, mind is to brain as programme is to hardware; hence, that computers can genuinely know, understand, etc., rather than just metaphorically ‘know’, ‘understand’, and so on. But philosophy has regularly modelled persons (roughly equivalent to minds) on the most complicated things then constructed: • for Descartes, water features in ornamental gardens (CSM I, p. 101); • for philosophers in the 1950s, telephone exchanges; • for the 1990s/noughties, computers (generating Searle’s “project of Strong AI”). Such a focus on the most ‘sophisticated’ as its real reason exposes an oddity underlying our assumptions of analogies between mind (or, worse, brain) and computer; and may help us expose, as problematic, the credentials of some putative science here. For, as later comments detail, the modern view is, of course, as hopelessly mistaken as its forebears. First, though, it has newly become important to set aside a further confusion of our target here. To be clear, some recent (2018–2019) advertising, especially television advertising, has used the expression “AI” or the © The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_6

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term “artificial intelligence” in a sense now touted for phones, voice-­ controlled smart speakers, and the like—or with other claims (compare Smith, 2018, esp. p. 33)—for what is really just data-mining. AI in this sense has little or nothing to do with the Strong AI that is at issue here; and it is crucial both to concentrate on Strong AI (as explained by Searle, and here), and to set the other aside as, at best, a potentially very confusing verbal similarity. First, the philosophical interest of the claims of Strong AI is very powerful (shedding light on the capacities of persons); while, second, the limitation of the other uses, and their relation to data-mining, are clear: “an astonishingly powerful search engine … [and a] massive database” (Smith, 2018, p.  9). But this is precisely not the project to which the Turing Test, for all its limitations, was directed, but, rather “a deception designed to make a very narrowly designed set of skills seem superhuman” (Smith, 2018, p. 10). In effect, my claim (like Gary Smith’s) is that either the supposed “AI” is indeed “Strong AI” in my sense (at least in aspiration); or, more likely, its advocates were merely exploiting the computer-processing-power of data-mining, as when the IBM computer Watson, designed to compete in the television programme Jeopardy, proved very successful at that task (Smith, 2018, pp. 8–9). If the first, then (as we will see, Sects. 3, 4, and 5) the arguments here refute such claims: what its advocates hoped is impossible. And, therefore, the claimed account cannot really be Strong AI. If the second, genuine computer intelligence or understanding could never be among the aspirations of its advocates: by definition, their targets were apparently intelligent behaviour or apparent understanding only. And then the matter has become terminological. We prefer to retain the term “AI” for that connection to the projects of Turing, Searle, and Schank, whereby success in that aim was (ultimately, if perhaps at some distance) that computers think, know, understand, read, and such like, and not merely appear to do so. If others wish to use the term “AI” for something weaker, giving up requirements for genuine understanding or the like, that is only worrying for us when the difference remains unmarked. As the pioneer in the (genuine) AI project Roger Schank reportedly recognized: What I am concerned about are the exaggerated claims being made by IBM about their Watson program. Recently they ran an ad featuring Bob Dylan which made me laugh (or would have, if it had not made me so angry). I will say it clearly. Watson is a fraud. I am not saying that it can’t crunch words, and there may be value in that to some people. But the ads are fraudulent. (quoted Smith, 2018, p. 46: original italics)

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It is easy to share Schank’s frustration: in his work, he was careful to aim at genuine understanding on the part of computer programs (even if, as I will argue, he was less successful than he hoped). As I take it, the central claims of the ads Schank criticizes were that Watson read large amounts of Dylan’s works, understood them, and identified key themes. But this is exactly what, as we shall see, the weaker version of the “AI” claim precludes. On that weak AI version, the literal use of the terms “read”, “understand”, “identify themes” are thereby precluded, since each such notion—in its literal use—would assume grasping just the semantic content that weak AI explicitly excludes. In recognizing that the chocolate bar (vending) machine does not literally count our coins, but only appears to count them, we treat it in line with (at best) weak AI: it will be uninformative about literal counting. As Smith (2018, p. 47) accurately puts it (re computer ability to  ‘understand’ song lyrics), “[a] computer can easily identify, list, and count these words, but it will have absolutely no idea of what Dylan is saying”. The computer does not treat such “words” as words (in the human sense) at all, since it assigns them no semantics. Then we can turn to the further characterization of Strong AI. So, four elements seem crucial to standard considerations of the nature of Strong AI, on which “the appropriately programmed computer … can literally be said to understand and have other cognitive states” (Searle, 1980, p. 417). First, Strong AI is explained, as here, in terms of computers genuinely thinking, and so on: these terms are not, say, used metaphorically. Second, Strong AI incorporates the idea that mind is to brain as programme is to hardware (also giving an account of programmes). Third, the Turing Test (of which more later: Sect. 2) explains or demonstrates success in Strong AI. Fourth, the Turing Test itself is understood in a certain way. And, initially we turn to the third and fourth since, as Shanker (1987, p.  75) points out, AI has typically involved either “a confused apprehension of the Turing Test, or else … some version of the homunculus fallacy”.2

2   The Turing Test Faced with the question, “Can a machine think?”, first, one easy “Yes” answer arises because, viewed one way, we are machines, and we can think. But here, (roughly) something constructed must instead be meant by “machine”. Then, second, we must acknowledge having no test in our own case for thinking: we recognize thought in others, in their actions, and

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what they say, but have no formula here. Alan Turing ([1950] 2005) used this second fact to offer an answer to the initial question. Put simply, his answer is that, to count as thinking, a machine must ‘fool the experts’, such that its responses cannot be distinguished from a person’s. For then, Turing reasoned, the basis (in the machine’s behaviour) for ascribing thought is the same as that for ascribing thought to persons. Turing’s own idea was “the imitation game”: sitting at a computer terminal (say) you receive responses from, and respond to, two other terminals. Can you tell which ‘respondent’ is a machine, which a person? Most importantly, can you identify the machine? Or will it ‘fool the experts’? However, that expression (“fool the experts”3) is misleading just in suggesting that one’s respondent aims to trick: Turing imagined rather that man and machine respond in the same way. And the key point is that this Test—if passed—should guarantee machine-thinking: hence, the Test must be addressed via thought-experiments, rather than the current state of technology. Although the Turing Test can be applied in any case where, as it were, one cannot tell just by looking at the responder—hence, seeming more plausible for androids (machines looking like humans) than for computers as such—its point remains the same. Moreover, although not always acknowledged, this Test must be demanding, such that one tries to ‘catch out’ the candidate machine. Thus, early attempts to pass this so-­ called Test in practice did not replicate (nor could they be mistaken for) genuine conversation. Rather, they gave at best a superficial appearance of conversation, by (say) repeatedly offering unresponsive answers or answering a question with a question—such responses sounding like psychoanalysts dealing with patients (compare Smith, 2018, pp.  36–38 on “chatbots”). Now consider one genuine attempt to confront the Turing Test, a favourite of Searle’s: namely, Roger Schank’s Yale programme for understanding stories (Schank & Abelson, 1977). Simplifying, a computer equipped with “narratives” about behaviour in restaurants is presented with the following simple story: A man goes into a restaurant, and orders a hamburger. When the hamburger arrives, it is burnt to a crisp. So, the man storms off without paying.

Then a question is asked for which the story contains no explicit answer: did the man eat the hamburger? When the computer responds that the man did not eat the hamburger, that is ‘one up’ for the computer—it says

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what we would have said: in beginning to ‘fool the experts’, it is on the way to passing the Turing Test. Further, the ‘responses’ given could resemble those of humans in other ways; for instance, by throwing a tantrum once in a while: “Why are you still asking me dumb questions about hamburgers? Can’t you see I am passing the Turing Test?” and so on. (Of course, people trying to design such programmes cannot yet achieve this, but thought-experiments let us explore an imagined future.) For Searle, this case shows not merely that machines cannot think or understand, but that nothing of this sort could ever (in principle) show that machines were thinking or understanding. Thus, he denies that passing the Turing Test can guarantee intelligence. So, the question is not, “Can we pass?” but rather, “What can passing it guarantee?”. Searle aims to demonstrate that passing the Turing Test cannot guarantee that a machine genuinely understands.

3   Searle’s Chinese Room A brief sketch of Searle’s elegant thought-experiment offers a suitable beginning, since what follows presupposes that arguments like Searle’s dispose forever of the claims of Strong AI.  In essence, the argument employs two relatively uncontentious assumptions: first, an account of programmes (essentially computer programmes) as formal, syntactic structures for the re-arranging of uninterpreted formal symbols: that is, as computational rules over formally specified elements. Then, second, as a slogan (Searle, 1984, p. 39): syntax does not determine semantics. These assumptions entail that programmes necessarily lack semantic content—and yet semantic content is central to understanding. The “Chinese Room” thought-experiment itself goes like this (supposing “I” to be Searle): • Imagine I am in a room with two boxes full of Chinese symbols. Now I don’t understand Chinese, so these are—as Searle would say—so many squiggle-squiggle and squoggle-squoggle signs. I am given rules in English for matching the signs from box A with the signs in box B, saying things like “take a squiggle-squiggle from box A and match it with a squoggle-squoggle from box B”. Then I am given a third lot of Chinese symbols, say, through a window, together with more rules of the same sort, but now I hand back some of the symbols through the window. Unbeknownst to me, those on the outside call the symbols in box A “a script”, those in box B “a story”,

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those they give me “questions about the story” and those I give back “answers to the question”—this closely approximating Schank’s Yale programme for understanding stories. Finally, they call the rules in English “a programme” and me “the computer”. Now suppose they get so good at writing the rules and I get so good at matching the symbols that, from the point of view of someone outside the room, my “answers” to the “questions” are as good as those of a native Chinese speaker. Here I am passing any test for understanding the story, the questions etc. But I do not understand a word of Chinese. And if I don’t, neither in such a situation could a computer. For any computer has just what I have in this example: a set of formal rules for manipulating symbols. If this is not sufficient to guarantee understanding in my case, it can’t be sufficient to guarantee understanding in the case of the computer. Notice, first, that this very powerful argument is wholly general. If it establishes that there is no understanding in this case, as I think it does, then it establishes the impossibility of any computer ever understanding in any case—at least as long as the test for understanding is construed as this sort of Test, while maintaining the centrality to our picture of machine-­ mentality of the programme, understood as manipulating uninterpreted symbols. (As above, Searle grants that asking “can machines think?” has a clear answer, because—in the relevant sense—we are machines; but that fact cannot approach the real issue.) Second, one cannot ‘get around’ the argument by giving the computer interpretations of the symbols: doing so would merely be providing more uninterpreted symbols—the equivalent, in the thought-experiment, of putting further batches of Chinese symbols into the room. Since I do not understand Chinese, these cannot possibly help. Finally, the thought-experiment achieves its effect partly by putting a person at its centre. For, clearly, I do (or Searle does) understand some things: that cannot be the issue. Rather, neither Searle nor I understand Chinese, even though satisfactory ‘replies’ in Chinese appear in the thought-experiment: just that aspect of my understanding (or Searle’s) is at issue. Here, I will not explore this argument further, nor elaborate it. It seems obviously sound, and obviously compelling, removing forever the possibility of coherently adopting a Strong AI project as that enterprise was characterized above. But, faced with this conclusion, believers in Artificial Intelligence or knowledge-engineering might still adopt a different yet

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strong approach. For Searle regularly acknowledges that he is not concerned with questions of hardware—with its complexity, construction, and such like. For him, a computer could be made “out of old beer cans” (his favourite example) and mental functioning would be genuinely allowed just in the case where it does exactly what a human brain does, a point Searle (1984, p.  39) articulates in his slogan: brains make minds. Searle intends this point primarily to deny that he is any kind of mentalist: nothing non-physical, or beyond the bounds of scientific investigation, is required (as an explanatory tool). Instead he urges that mental processes are emergent, or tertiary, properties of physical systems, just as the liquidity of a glass of water is a genuine property of a physical system without its being true (or, indeed, possible) that the molecules are liquid (Searle, 1984, p. 22). Searle’s point is that AI enthusiasts cannot prove their case even when a great deal is conceded; and the essentially concessive nature of Searle’s “Chinese Room” thought-experiment should be recognized. First, it is directed only against a certain interpretation of the Turing Test. For example, the practical possibility of ‘fooling the experts’ in the way required is never raised (compare Dennett, 1991, p. 436). Second, Searle does not here focus on rule-following as such. Now, can computers follow syntactic rules any more than they can follow semantic ones? Perhaps a “Yes” answer still involves “muddled attempts to ascribe normative concepts to computers” (Shanker, 1987, p. 85). Then some objections to Searle begin from exactly this point—that, since Searle seems to concede that computers can follow syntactic rules, they might in some way follow semantic ones.4 But Searle’s point is merely concessive: even if one grants that computers can follow syntactic rules, understanding still cannot genuinely be ascribed to them. And Searle, among others, has been at pains to point out that just such ascription is widespread in the artificial intelligence community.

4   To Be Or Not To Be: That Is Not the Android’s Question Further, consideration of notions central to one possible avenue of retreat (or extension) of the project of Strong AI demonstrates the untenability of the whole street plan, not simply that route. Of course, this builds on Searle’s work,5 yet without arguing for the appropriateness of these kinds of procedures, and still taking for granted that the objects of one’s empirical

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enquiry should match the concepts used in one’s interpretation of results: that the alternative is conceptual confusion, where it becomes impossible for questions even to be asked, let alone answered. Thus far, we saw that the Turing-style Test cannot deliver all that is required. But, one of the “artificial intelligenzia” (in Ted Honderich’s phrase6) might now see a new role for research in artificial intelligence from within Searle’s picture, perhaps to overcome such difficulties in some way: a role as builder of artificial brains, out of old beer cans or whatever. To be clear, this programme is offered only to those adherents of AI who—faced with Searle’s argument—continue with AI-style projects. Of course, some thinkers may prefer to leave AI; my discussion cannot formally concern them, though I privately suspect that its outcomes may actually count heavily against their projects too.7 So, the revised AI project is—in effect—androidology: the construction of an artificial brain. My (negative) conclusions concerning that project helpfully highlight a difficulty for Searle’s way of viewing the mental. Then, later (Sects. 8, 9, 10, and 11), I consider the consequences of that conclusion via some movies and novels featuring prominently just such androids. At this point the defenders of Strong AI might become interested. For (they might reason), if Searle’s view of minds is mistaken, perhaps his “Chinese Room” arguments do not really go through. Although a digression, this point is worth considering. First, Searle helpfully states the relevant difficulty explicitly as his inability to solve the problem of free will (Searle, 1984, p. 86; compare Chap. 2), while still accepting it as a genuine problem. Then an argument against Searle might run: • Searle’s position is internally consistent, and each part requires the other parts. That position cannot resolve the question of free will. But the will is free, and so Searle’s position is mistaken. And if one part of it is mistaken then, from the above, all of it is mistaken. In particular, the part of the position involving the “Chinese Room” argument is mistaken. Of course, such an imaginary argument has not identified Searle’s mistake in detail: but it has guaranteed that the mistake was there somewhere—as one might know a calculation was in error, for instance when the negative answer offered was impossible (given the multiplications involved), without necessarily being able to pin-point the mistake.

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Yet clearly such an argument is unsatisfactory: Searle’s positions do not all stand or fall together. In particular, the principle grounding the “Chinese Room” thought-experiment—that syntax does not determine semantics (Searle, 1984, p. 39)—seems independent of his slogan that brains make minds, with this second slogan leading to the potential difficulty over free action. In fact, this imaginary argument against Searle is a sword with a very sharp second edge—against the throat of AI. For, it makes the ‘freedom’ of action a crucial element, when it is unclear that any version of Strong AI can handle this thorny problem any better than Searle. Indeed, perhaps Searle finds himself in this jam precisely by conceding too much to AI. At the very least, the suspicion must exist that Searle’s difficulties stem from retaining an unduly mechanist account of the mind; in particular, from his way of understanding the brains make minds slogan. For that “make” could be understood simply compositionally (see Chap. 4, Sect. 5): nothing there automatically supports a commitment to mechanistic models of the mind as mental functioning; still less to the Strong AI thesis of genuine intelligence for machines. To what extent could satisfactory reductive accounts be given for some relevant notions, such as choosing: that is, accounts not importing some theoretically-validated notion of human decision? In the relevant case, when I take a plate of ham salad from a counter in a cafeteria containing both ham salads and cheese salads—taking the ham salad rather than the cheese salad, we might say—I have chosen the ham salad rather than the cheese in much the way that dogs might with justice be said to choose this dog food rather than that, without ascribing complex psychological properties to animals. There was no implication of any ratiocination on my part, nor any weighing of the merits of one against the other (say, as producers of energy); nor need this in any way imply a weighing of my preferences, for I might have no preference one way or the other. Thus, an account (leaving out nothing crucial) might connect my choosing, abstractly conceived, to my actual actions. But such reductive accounts of choice cannot readily apply in those cases of choosing that we think most important; say, cases where moral responsibility is at issue, where the implication of decision seems central. So, reductive accounts in general— with reductive accounts of choice as an example—take us so far, but not where we must go when interested in crucially human action and decisions. To apply: from reductive accounts of intelligence in certain closely defined contexts, capturing all we mean when using the word “intelligence” of machines, it cannot follow automatically that machines are

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intelligent. Rather, our use of words as “intelligence”, “recollection”, and so on, intending them in this reductive sense, must be firmly distinguished from our other uses of those terms. As one such case,8 consider for instance a machine that sorts change. Saying (as I just did) that it “sorts change”, or even that it recognizes coins of different denominations, would not be wrong—it need not mislead. But that process must not be assimilated to, for instance, simple versions of selecting candidates by interview—however haphazard one takes interviewing to be! These processes differ in kind and not merely in degree. The kind of process appropriate for candidate-­selection is not amenable to reductive analysis on the model of the machine’s sorting. Here, something brief on the ascription of intelligence may prove useful. Contrary to what is often thought, intelligence is typically ascribed to others on the basis of their displaying intelligent capacities: their ability to play chess, or master a foreign language quickly, or even to complete quickly and accurately the Times crossword-puzzle. Some of these capacities are broadly dispositional: the confidence others have that I would be a brilliant conversationalist, if only I found myself in the right company. Further, many such capacities (especially typically involving actions) cannot readily be mimicked by computers: that it would be disconcerting to find the completed crossword-puzzle not in some handwriting suggests the need here for hands. But, moreover, conversations can be remarkably unresponsive, as well as often lacking clear structures—in contrast to, say, exercises in logic; a fact relevant here, given some attempts (mentioned above) to pass the Turing Test in practice. In this way, one strategy for ‘fooling the experts’ there aims to pass for a person by combining a lack of responsiveness with attention to what one’s interlocutor introduces (like psychoanalysts, to judge by their representation on television and in movies): the response is never directly to anything said, but, instead, either asks a question, or rambles on what had seemed the previous topic. And, since people do interact with one another in this way, the ‘conversation’ might resemble that between people. But unlike real conversation, it continues here only because no response is genuinely responsive: asking direct questions, for example, leaves the machine nowhere to go. Since the attainment here would, at best, be the imitation of mentality, we can call this “the imitation-game” version of the Turing Test. Such attempts to pass the Turing Test by deception show what genuine attempts must be like—more than just deception is required. Thus, Schank’s aim, with the story of the man’s burnt hamburger, is that his

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programme respond as persons might, were this genuine interaction: that is, ‘fooling the experts’ only in the sense that a machine’s response was taken for a person’s—no deception should be involved! But then, further, success-conditions (or even reliable failure-conditions) become very difficult to specify: there is no one way persons respond, even when being responsive. So, no set of behaviours is automatically required of persons, or does any automatically preclude the responder’s being a person.

5   The Aphrodite Argument Now, our revised task for those seeking to build artificial intelligence was to produce an artificial brain: something functionally equivalent to a human brain. Hesitancy about the “brains make minds” slogan surely leaves this project seeming less attractive: more importantly, a strong argument against it is readily available. I have called this “The Aphrodite Argument” (see UD, pp. 265–266), after the vivid dramatization in Lawrence Durrell’s book The Revolt of Aphrodite of the impossibility of any specific list of properties being sufficient for person-status. In that book, scientists build an android resembling a (human) woman in all respects, to behave like a woman, with two unimportant exceptions. Although the android does not eat, that will go unnoticed as it plays with food like a model ‘watching her figure’; and, while it does not actually urinate or defecate, its behaviour in going to the bathroom at appropriate intervals suggests the contrary. (And, if thought important, these behaviours could in principle be built in.) Then the outcome would be an android that behaves like a woman. Or so the artificers hope. Then the scientists wonder whether their android will indeed behave like a person. For then, with no situation—dissection apart—in which man (in this case, woman) could be distinguished from machine, denial of thought (and so on) to the machine seems just an attachment to biology or a trivial semantic point. How can these scientists determine whether their construction is functionally equivalent to a person? Putting the matter that way highlights the major difficulty, treated in the novel by specification. For one could know that the machine behaved like a person in every situation only if one really knew how persons would behave. But, first, we have no catalogue of the scope of a person’s possible achievements, no set of things to be done by or to an android that would allow its observers to be certain of its functional equivalence to a person. In the Durrell story, under surveillance for week one, the android behaves exactly like a woman—but will it last? Or will ‘she’ run amok next week?

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No, in week two, there is only woman-like behaviour. But will it last? Or will ‘she’ run amok in week three? The difficulty doubtless becomes clear: nothing could finally and definitively convince the observers that the android will always behave like a person. No amount of observation is sufficient here: the android’s behaviour to date cannot be sufficient (inappropriate behaviour may always appear tomorrow); and no particular set of behaviours is required, nor many precluded,9 consistent with being a person. So, nothing can finally and definitively determine whether ‘she’ is functionally equivalent to a person. Further, this is not just a matter of complexity. Others argue, surely rightly, that many extant efforts at explaining “androidology” consider too narrow a range of human activities: to adapt the example from Gunderson (1971, p. 53), just as an all-purpose vacuum cleaner must do more than pick up one piece of dust, a genuine person must do more than just perform some simple functions of the kind easily tested. Now, as a matter of fact, such Turing Tests—‘fooling the experts’—have only addressed a few fairly specific cases; but that is not our argument. Here, the android’s (imagined) activity in week one does range across all the things that persons might do in a week. But, lacking ways of determining ‘her’ future behaviour, we can have no basis to conclude her functional equivalence to a person.10 Yet what precisely could establish such functional equivalence? In effect, some version of the Turing Test must be employed: that, over the specified range of activities, the machine should ‘fool the experts’ because: [i]f the machine can perform in such a way that an expert cannot distinguish the performance of the machine from the performance of a competent human, then the machine has successfully simulated the intelligent behavior of the human. (Searle, 2008, p. 53)

But, as Searle (1980, p. 419) rightly saw, at issue is the adequacy of the Turing Test, since: … so construed, the Turing Test seems trivially right: If you can’t tell the difference between the original and the imitation, then the imitation is a successful one. (Searle, 2008, p. 53)

For this is still just imitating! And, as Searle (1984, p.  37) urges, “the computer is unable to duplicate however powerful its ability may be to simulate”. A successful artificial brain for our android should duplicate

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human functions, not merely simulate them. So, duplication must be contrasted here with simulation, since no simulation by itself ever constitutes duplication. Then, our concern with AI is confined to duplicating intelligence, etc., for only that could produce something arguably intelligent. Of course, simulation is centrally important for AI’s cousin, Cognitive Science, illustrating how nothing automatically follows about the process or event simulated even if effective simulation is granted—no small concession. For granting the possibility of simulation does not concede its informative character. For example, suppose two mechanisms for simulating sounds were used in staging a play: the mechanism used to simulate the sound of a gunshot—a starting pistol—is, in appropriate respects, similar to that which it simulates, namely the gun, such that at least something about guns could be learned by studying starting pistols. Here, the simulation can be informative about what it simulates. But a tape-­recording used to simulate the sound of a bell, with the recording itself made, say, using a synthesizer, offers no functional equivalence between any part of the simulating device—the tape recorder or synthesizer—and that simulated, namely, the bell. Although potentially offering perfect simulation, detailed consideration of the mechanism of that simulation cannot be informative about the mechanism of that simulated. Typical features of bells—for example, their characteristic shape, the clanger, and so on—are absent. These cases illustrate difficulties for moving from successful simulation (granting that for now) to information about what is simulated: one should not “think that the simulation of digestion on a computer could thereby actually digest beer and pizza” (Searle, 2008, p.  68). Thus, for instance, if Marr’s account of vision provided a satisfactory computer model for human perception11 (that is, satisfactorily simulates human vision), the Cognitive Science project will assume that, in the end, studying Marr’s programme will be informative about (human) vision. But, on the contrary, nothing follows automatically from the possibility of simulation alone. In the relevant case, one would need to show—or have reason to believe—that Marr’s programme is more like the gun than like the bell. This example undermines one whole project of Cognitive Science, at least insofar as that project attempts an effective simulation; the thought being to offer (or to gain) information about human processes from that simulation. Here then, we grant as uncontentious a level of analysis of, say, vision—perhaps called “intentional analysis”—that describes what people do, what they see, and so on; but also a level of what might be called “mechanical analysis” in which one studies the ‘hardware’—the

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rods and cones and such like. To repeat, the existence of such levels is, here, uncontentious (compare Sellars’ two images of humankind: SPR, pp. 19–20; Chap. 1, Sect. 6). Cognitive Science suggests a further level: the level of, say, Marr programming (the primal sketching and all that stuff ) Moreover, it suggests that discussion at this level, intermediate between the other two, is somehow informative. But, for me, the gun and bell case shows that this is not obviously so: another argument is needed— and, as yet, has not been offered. Still, it might be urged, for many psychological phenomena, a machine ‘fooling the experts’ should be taken to duplicate the phenomena, since nothing seems missing from a perfect-in-every-respect reproduction of human behaviour—one offering ‘responses’ to questions, that was occasionally unpredictable, and the like. For, as above, with no situation, dissection apart, that distinguishes human from machine in respect of mental or psychological activity, denial of thought, etc. to the machine might seem just an attachment to biology or a trivial semantic point.

6   Like a Person? Yet, perhaps, putting the matter that way returns us to a major difficulty. For we could claim that the machine behaved like a person in every situation only if we really knew how persons would behave. And, as noted above, there is reason to doubt our knowing this. Above, the Durrell story illustrated that nothing could finally and definitively convince the observers that the android (when under surveillance) would continue to behave like a person later on. Lacking any catalogue of things done by or to an android that will ensure its observers’ certainty of its functional equivalence to a person, no catalogue of the brain’s achievement (or, more ­precisely, of the person’s achievement), nothing can finally and definitively determine whether or not ‘she’ is functionally equivalent to a person. In fact, this acknowledges, in this context, two ideas familiar throughout this work, features of our occasion-sensitive view of understanding: first, there is no finite totality of considerations to be raised or addressed— no ‘all’ here; then, second, supposing that all that was relevant could be considered, there is no way to determine that the task had been completed. And the problem here is not just a matter of complexity. For, recall, just as all-purpose vacuum cleaners should do more than simply pick up one piece of dust, genuine brains must do more than just perform simple functions of the kind which might be tested (compare Gunderson, 1971, p. 53). But which?

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We saw (Chap. 3, Sect. 5) that David Wiggins (1980), acknowledging this difficulty, suggests an account of persons that rewrites Locke’s, such that: … a person is any animal the physical make-up of whose species constitutes [that is, makes] the species’ typical members thinking intelligent beings, with reason and reflection, and typically enables them to consider themselves as themselves, the same thinking things, in different times and places … (Wiggins, 1980, p. 188)

Further, as Wiggins (1980, p.  171) insists, our account of reason and reflection (and the like) must grant that persons: … perceive, feel, remember, imagine, desire, make projects, acquire a character as they age, [be] happy or miserable, [be] susceptible to concern for members of their own or like species … conceive of themselves as perceiving, feeling, remembering, imagining, desiring, making projects, speaking … have and perceive of themselves as having, a past accessible in experience-­ memory and a future accessible in intention ….

This account remains necessarily incomplete, the dots of omission indicating places to be filled-in with “and so on” or “more of the same”. Yet, these lists could never be completed, even in principle, since they neither suggest nor reflect finite totalities. Noting this, Wiggins (1980, p. 188) recommends drawing: … upon the indefinite and extensible fund of our knowledge of men, knowing that we shall never close off the enumeration or evaluate once and for all the relative importance of the various differentia.

Wiggins here urges, surely rightly, just the impossibility of ever answering the Aphrodite Argument: no list of properties or behaviours could provide a genuine Turing-style test for personhood. But this does not lead to the pessimistic conclusion that we can never know that what is around us are people—we can, by taking for granted their biological origins. Ascription of personhood is defeasible such that, say, on discovering that what we took for the ‘man’ next door was in fact an android, we would conclude that we had previously been mistaken. Put simply, our understanding of what being a person involves is not purely functional; and, since personal characteristics such as intelligence, understanding, feeling, etc. are interconnected, they

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cannot have purely functional equivalents: to extrapolate what behaviour is required of persons requires an extrapolation from the behaviour of biological persons (homo sapiens), with known biological origins—and their behaviour is often surprising and peculiar. We know they are persons, as it were, antecedently of considering their behaviour; and only to them can knowledge or understanding (at least in any interesting sense12) be ascribed. Of course, as well as problematizing attempts to construct an artificial person, this raises huge difficulties for grasping how science fiction’s bug-eyed monsters, treated as persons, might ever become science fact; and for the dreams of some philosophers for dolphin-persons. Now, granting the force of Searle’s argument (as given in Sect. 2) involves implicitly accepting a certain style of argument. But, since not all readers may be in this category, and lest this whole Chapter be dismissed as somehow simple-minded (just because its central thought-experiments are simple), this section can conclude by noting, as a fundamental characteristic of arguments of this kind, that nothing here depends on the current state of technology, or our understanding of it; hence, it cannot be refuted by appeal to possible future development of that hardware. Rather, it depends solely on the syntactic character of computer programmes and the nature of our understanding of persons—an understanding we already have. But that understanding is not something readily stated, and so no checklist for it can be drawn up. Then, the upshot of the Aphrodite Argument is, minimally, to refute one possible line of development of Strong AI programmes. Perhaps that direction has no appeal to most labourers in that field. Still, the argument works against careless presentation of whatever other projects arise from an interest in computers and the like. For, if we speak as though computers can literally do things that people do—for example, notice or recognize, think, decide, or perceive—others (less careful than ourselves) may be misled into thinking that we believe that nonsense.

7   Half-time Score Thus far in this chapter, and facing the dependence of accounts of Strong AI on the Turing Test, we have entered Searle’s Chinese Room to demonstrate that the manipulation of uninterpreted symbols can never amount to understanding (say, of Schank’s story). For, as Searle (1984, p. 39) puts it, syntax (of the kind the computer instantiates) does not determine semantics. Then passing a Turing-style Test cannot here set realistic failure-­ conditions, or success-conditions. So, the project of Strong AI must collapse, whenever its failure-conditions involve failing the Turing Test.

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However, what about the related project of constructing androids? Here too the aim would be androids able to fool the experts, demonstrating functional equivalence, but now to include replicating (to some degree and in some way) the interaction between person and world—perhaps, in order to build-in an interpretation (or something similar) for the symbols manipulated by the android’s computer ‘brain’, by providing those symbols with causal connections to sublunary events. The Aphrodite Argument was deployed against this new project, urging that, with no finite totality of factors or properties appropriate to behaving like a person, success in the androidology project was necessarily unattainable. For more than merely simulating personal behaviour is needed here, even to ‘fool the experts’ constituted by other people. But, no amount of observation of the android, however detailed, could guarantee that android’s future behaviour being equivalent to that of a person, because no set of behaviours is uniquely appropriate to being a person, nor does any fixed set preclude being a person, except trivially. As a consequence, the construction of such an android cannot actually be imagined, however much it seems that it is imagined. Further, since understanding and meaning are central to what is distinctive of persons, the collapse of the projects of Strong AI and androidology effectively circumscribes the value of modelling such centrally human properties on the ‘activities’ of computers. No doubt, the b ­ ehaviour of computers might be functionally equivalent to those of persons in (say) counting or performing arithmetical operations, perhaps; but these are not centrally the capacities of persons typically of most interest here. Even when computers offer a causal analogue for some human activities, Frege’s slogan warns us that nothing follows about the normative force of that activity, since any human activity always has a causal story. Hence, misunderstanding too will have a causal story. And, of course, we have seen repeatedly that a genuine semantics would offer the normativity—since what we (elsewhere) call meaning is just what Searle calls “semantics”.

8   Thought-experiments and Science Fiction In part, the ‘promise’ of considering the character and possibility of Artificial Intelligence (and its cousin, Cognitive Science) resides in insights supposedly forthcoming into the nature of human mental life: hence, into what it is to be a person. Against such claimants, I have urged that (in their own terms) a test of personhood, paralleling the Turing Test, cannot be

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constructed since, at least for those philosophers not mesmerized by the sheer size of research grants, understanding of the sort characteristic of being a person requires more than just the performance of some mental tasks. Rather, the required account must reflect a finite totality of relevant considerations (a possibility rejected here); and hence must involve completely filling in the “lacunae” in, say, Wiggins’ (1980, p.  188) view of persons. But such in-filling cannot be achieved just by: … drawing upon the indefinite and extendible fund of our knowledge of men, knowing that we shall never close off the enumeration or evaluate once and for all the relative importance of the various differentia.

For that “fund of knowledge” is indeed “indefinite and extendible”. Thus the Aphrodite Argument (Sect. 5 above) exploits the fact that success in this project requires an object that behaves exactly like a person (in all situations): yet in actuality there is no unique way in which persons behave. We cannot (in principle) specify what will count as success here, nor set up a test for it. For personhood cannot be equated with any string of (specifiable) behaviours, or with behaviour plus something else—especially if that something is specified in functional terms.13 Now, in philosophy, one’s ‘intuitions’ on some topic are often explored through thought-experiments, primarily constrained, of course, by ­requiring what is considered to be imaginable, as one way to characterize what is possible. In this vein, my specific objections to Strong AI and androidology might seem straightforwardly refuted by those movies and novels in which androids appear: if so-and-so is depicted in a movie (the thought might run), it is possible; or we can imagine it. But has what is filmed or written about been imagined in sufficient detail to guarantee its logical possibility? To justify my negative reply, I shall consider how movies and novels seem (but fail) to present counter-examples to my claims about the possibility of artificial intelligence. The remainder of this Chapter turns to a pair of examples—elaborated in a science fiction film and a novel, respectively—plausibly taken to show the logical possibility14 of this option. Finally, I consider another version from a television series.

9   Blade Runner In our first case, dramatized in the film Blade Runner (1982),15 ‘perfect’ androids of the future—called replicants—have been built. (They seem to have biological structures approximately similar to homo sapiens, which

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may begin to explain their circumvention of the Aphrodite Argument.) Despite seeming superficially antithetical to my previous claims, this case actually supports them. For why are the replicants needed? Obviously, for jobs that persons would refuse: to be servants (= slaves) and cannon-­fodder. In the film, one replicant (Roy) makes this explicit by referring to the “horrors” he has seen. So, the plan is that replicants be less than perfect androids: they are supposed to lack feelings, as possessing feelings might foment dissatisfaction with their lot. This conception is already interesting: the men of that future, in making their androids not (fully) persons, can direct them to tasks unsuitable for persons (for example, slave), or unpleasant to persons (for example, killer). (This parallels the way in which some racists talk, on which certain tasks are OK for a certain group—because members of that group are not really persons.) Even more interesting is the twofold ‘safety net’ employed by the replicant-producing company. For they fear that, despite their best efforts, the possession of feelings by the replicants will be unavoidable: that, as we might say, feelings will be emergent16 on replicant physiology. So, first, the makers attempt to channel any resultant feelings harmlessly by giving replicants (apparent) memories and (apparent) pasts, together with the attendant paraphernalia of photos, momentos, and such like. In this way, replicants will not distinguish themselves from (other real?) persons. Further, the manufacturers construct replicants (with one irrelevant exception17) with very limited ‘life’-spans (four years), perhaps to prevent the ‘grip’ of their feelings becoming too intense. On this picture, then, the androids might have acquired the full range of person properties (witness these ‘halfhearted’ defences by the manufacturers against this possibility), and become persons, given time. The film portrays both these ‘safety nets’ failing. While this case might seem to contradict my conclusions from the Aphrodite Argument, this is not a counter-case for, given my earlier remarks, the replicants are not really (full) androids at all, if such robots are to be “… virtually indistinguishable from men in practically all respects: in appearance, in movement, in the utterances they utter, and so forth” (Ziff, 1966, p.  161). Rather, their manufacturers aimed at producing something less than persons, lacking the full range of person-properties, in order that they cope emotionally with menial or otherwise unpleasant tasks not (or no longer) available to humans. Interestingly here, since these are biological constructions, the results of genetic engineering, one question for machine-mentality is thereby put aside.18 So, these men of the future visualize an alternative (biological) route for the creation of persons.

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But persons are not wanted, because persons would not willingly do the tasks assigned to replicants—the menial and the demeaning. So, the ‘lives’ of the replicants are as hedged-around with qualifications as their creators can make them. Indeed, the replicants being persons is just what the twofold ‘safety net’ described above is designed both to mitigate against and, ultimately, to accommodate (should it happen): to prevent a successful replicant-rebellion by creating persons with very brief ‘life’-spans. For then they will be nearing death by the time their dissatisfaction with their assigned roles is fully fomented—as indeed those central to the film Blade Runner are! But these designers fail to meet their aims. Through that un-looked-for success of those designers, the replicants, as conceptualized here, ultimately succeed as persons produced by something other than traditional methods. One saves the life of Harrison Ford’s character, Deckard, in an act of human (personal) compassion,19 and Deckard falls in love with another of them (Rachel), as he begins to see them as persons—in sharp contrast to his boss, who calls them “skin jobs”. As Deckard remarks in a voice-over, this boss is the sort of policeman who, years ago (that is, now), would have called black people “niggers”, with the same dehumanising, de-personifying motive. Thus, by apparently depicting the construction of (potential) persons, this case supports my position, rather than running counter to it. Further, one reading of the film, based on scenes added for the final director’s cut (2007), makes Deckard himself a replicant, by suggesting that his memories and dreams are false—he imagines a unicorn, the very beast used by his colleague, Gaff, to indicate that he could have “retired” Deckard’s replicant ‘girl’-friend, Rachel. But how could Gaff know Deckard’s dream/memory? C.  D. Reeve (in Coplan & Davies, 2015, p. 82) considers the possibility that Deckard “[l]ike Rachel, … is a replicant—mortal but also soulless”. But he also conjectures a connection to “some common lore about how unicorns finally get hunted and captured” (Reeve, in Coplan & Davies, p. 83): namely, through the intervention of the ‘fair maiden’—precisely the situation in which Deckard perhaps finds himself. Setting aside how that issue is resolved,20 some replicants are clearly capable of emotion-related behaviours: both positively, when Roy saves Deckard on the rooftop, and negatively, when the mention of his mother makes Leon lose control, murderously. And casting doubt on our certainty as to Deckard’s status will raise again the question of recognizing distinctively ‘person-type’ behaviour.

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But, in this case, we are not told how the replicant manufacturers succeeded; how personhood is emergent on replicant physiology (and how they were sure). So, we are not told what tests, if any, were used to ‘overcome’ the Aphrodite Argument. We do know, however, that the replicant-­ makers worry that they have succeeded in ‘overcoming’ that argument; hence, succeeded in making persons. And, after all, we do not understand how personhood is emergent on our physiology21: we just know that it is! Another point develops here: that, as Deckard puts it in the film, the replicants “just wanted the same things as anyone else …”. This implies that the study of replicants will not be particularly informative for the study of (other) persons, or the personhood. Rather, the same issues will arise in all cases, with perhaps the two most important here being (i) how it is that psychological properties are emergent on this (these) physiological structure(s), and (ii) about the connection between physiological structures and free action (the problem of freedom of the will or of action22). Of course, this conclusion should dash the hopes of the project of Strong AI for some construction that does what persons do; and which, in its Cognitive Science face, informs our understanding of the intellectual (and such like) powers of ordinary persons. For the first hope can be achieved only by the construction of persons (such as the replicants); and, under the second hope, study of these can only be as informative as the study of any other persons, for what such ‘androids’ do will be exactly the behaviour of persons! Here again the Aphrodite Argument comes into play. For, in effect, the film Blade Runner offers no independent reason for thinking that the replicants are persons, but, rather, it tells us that they are: they “just wanted the same things as anyone else …”. So, then, that if the supposition of such androids is coherent,23 then they will/must be persons. Yet that “if ” is precisely where the Aphrodite Argument bears on the situation, by raising doubts about the possibility of replicants being uncontentious persons: how have their makers succeeded? For the coherence of that supposition requires that the conditions from the Aphrodite Argument have been met, without an answer being provided here. Finally, throughout this story (and the others to come), the possibility of androids is taken at face value. Of course, our doing so is aided by the replicants looking exactly like human beings (and not, say, like slavering green monsters, such as Kang in The Simpsons), and by our not being (directly) presented with some major questions: for example, could Deckard and his replicant love, Rachael, have children? But this highlights

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a general thesis of mine, of which the Aphrodite Argument is one limb: that androidology cannot stop short of genuine personhood—so that if (concessively) androids were possible, they would necessarily be real persons, not merely quasi-persons.

10   Caught in the Turing trap? Different, although related, aspects of our discussion of AI are illuminated by another fictional case, from The Turing Option by Harry Harrison and Marvin Minsky (1992). Towards the beginning of that book, the central character suffers brain damage and, as a result, has elements of his brain replaced with computer technology—processors and the like—which permit him to continue functioning as a person, although a certain amount of learning is required, based on other people supplying him with information, and suchlike. In the end, though, he functions as a human being (and hence intelligently) even though his head contains these silicon-based elements. Of course, his being a person prior to the event, and a member of homo sapiens, combine with his behaviours: the reader is left in no doubt of his person-status. In the second phase, information about brain-­function gained from the work on the central character in the first phase permits the building of an artificial intelligence. So, this text contains two separate, though related, thought-experiments for us, each offering the opportunity for useful comment. The first is especially important since Searle uses it in some form24: the case of part-replacement of a defective brain. (Of course, this is not a discussion of part-replacement as accepted, for example, for watches: see Chap. 3). Ex hypothesi, the processes here ‘preserve function’, but over what? That is, is it my function (the functioning of the person), or merely some input/output version, or what? Here we should also ask whether this story equally plausibly told in both first- and third-­person versions. Following Searle, at least three possibilities should be recognized here, not just one. The Turing Option recounts the first, optimistic possibility, where part-replacement leads to a finished ‘brain’ working just like the brain; but then, of course, human achievement has set the success-criteria: that merely invokes the Aphrodite Argument, granting that persons (human beings) automatically pass. In effect, that Argument is by-passed: as I have described the case, no response has really been imagined in detail, except to reiterate that the ‘raw material’ here was uncontentiously a human being; and report the (first-person) continuity. (So, this case might yet fall foul of the Aphrodite Argument by, say, controverting its sketch of brain repair.)

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On a second (much more pessimistic) possibility, the first-person view involves the gradual loss of relevant functions: whatever the organism can do, I lose any ‘entré’ to vision, etc. As Searle (1992, pp. 66–67) imagines it: You find, for example, that when the doctors test your vision, you hear them say, ‘we are holding up a red object in front of you; please tell us what you see’. You want to cry out, ‘I can’t see anything, I’m going totally blind’. But you hear your voice saying, in a way that is completely out of your control, ‘I see a red object in front of me’. … We imagine that your consciousness slowly shrinks to nothing, while your externally observable behaviour remains the same.

Of course, very little would be left by way of story were this the result of the experiments in The Turing Option. For, the central human figure is key to readers following what ultimately occurs. Yet, importantly, much is built in here, if the matter is treated as that text does, without the kind of full explanation of detail required to show the thought-experiment’s imaginability (or logical possibility); in particular, its circumvention of the Aphrodite Argument. Searle mentions a third possibility in connection with Guillain-Barré syndrome, with patients “completely paralyzed, but also fully conscious” (Searle, 1992, p. 68). Here, the body loses all function, apparently becoming a zombie, but with no loss of one’s first-person sense. But now ‘preserves function’ obviously cannot mean a return to the first option above, except by definition. And that is precisely the issue. Further, the idea that the process ‘preserves function’ might mean none of these. But if one implies that the first is meant, then the Aphrodite Argument will apply. Of course, in the story, the success of the brain repair in some sense guarantees the possibility of androidology if only one were sophisticated enough, since all that is required is a complete part-replacement, as it were—that offers a useful way of thinking about what happens in the story we have. Indeed, there, information about the person’s brain is what finally permits the building of the AI. In this way, then, it imports a solution to the Aphrodite problem, without ever explaining that solution. However, a further issue is raised when the AI refuses to be called an AI, insisting—one might think rightly—that there is nothing artificial about its intelligence. Instead, it requests that it be described as an “MI”, a machine intelligence, but our treatment of the replicants in Blade Runner

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(see Sect. 9) suggests a more realistic way forward. Rather than permitting the title “machine intelligence”, one should argue that the creation is, instead, an artificial person. In the Aphrodite Argument, we denied that there was any finite list of conditions for functional equivalence to personhood. Much of our discussion has turned on the adequacy of this Argument, and just what it proves. In the case of Blade Runner, we supposed it overcome in some way, although without knowing in what way. Wittgenstein (PI §308) captures this difficulty neatly: “We talk of processes and states and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we’ll know more about them—we think”. The explanation is simply to put off sine die, on the assumption that the rest of one’s picture is correct. The Turing Option offers, as it were, a model for overcoming the Aphrodite Argument based on part-­replacement into a genuine human brain. But, as we saw, this model begs crucial questions about functional equivalence, and (relatedly) assumes one set of answers to, for example, Searle’s questions about Guillain-Barré syndrome. In effect, we have seen how personhood or intelligence is not merely a matter of intelligent behaviour—required here is not just an ‘attitude’, a belief, or some such. In all cases, one cannot specify relevant behaviours, and we have typically other ways of describing the vexing cases (as Wittgenstein suggested): for example, as another way of making persons (although the Aphrodite Argument has bite here too25). Two difficulties with using thought-experiments of this kind (elaborated Chap. 3, Sect. 7) are especially relevant here, reflecting undischarged assumptions of that procedure. First, the proposed case must indeed be logically possible, although there is really no test for logical possibility, except that it be imaginable. For a case that can be described or imagined in its ‘full complexity’ will indeed be logically possible. But when does the apparently imaginable case actually go beyond what can be imagined? Thus, discussing the “reverse spectrum” case, Hacker (1976) urged that here the boundaries of imaginability have been transgressed. Such cases are additionally complicated by the requirement for “full complexity” in their description (as I put it above), since the absence of a finite totality of factors to consider will mean one cannot guarantee having considered all the factors, or even all the relevant ones; and that one cannot know when one has completed that task. Here again, as Wittgenstein (VoW, p. 325) remarked, “[i]f one wished for an enumeration … then the question must arise: Is that all?” But we have no basis for ever claiming the enumeration of factors to be complete: defeaters, or interferers, can always be raised (see Chap. 2, Sect. 7), if that context provides some reason to do so.

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The second general difficulty for our use of thought-experiments concerned the robustness of our current concepts in these extraordinary cases. For example, suppose one became convinced that the transporter beam used in Star Trek cannot really be explained using current concepts of personal continuity, given the difficulties with the idea of an organized ‘parcel’ of matter in such a case. On this assumption—basically, that our current concept of a person, roughly as elaborated by Wiggins (1980), cannot both accommodate the transporter beam and cohere with our intuitions about, say, inheritance—we clearly need not worry about cases where, due to a quirk in the transporter, two indistinguishable “Captain Kirks” arrive at the far end of the transported beam. But, on these assumptions, should something sufficiently like the transporter become a reality, we would be obliged to rethink our concepts, just as with the situation when some, but not all, cats begin to talk (see Chap. 1, Sect. 3). Austin (1962, p. 77) comments: … we may, if talking becomes prevalent and the distinction between talking and not talking seems to us really important, come to insist that a real cat be a creature that can talk.

Here, he is imagining, and explaining, a modification of our concepts in response to changes in the world around us, where technologies might generate just such changes. Indeed, this sort of case is exploited by Derek Parfit (1984), whose ‘transporter machine’ simply produces my replica on some distant planet, and destroys the one at home-base. Here, conceptual modifications are typically required. That one’s case is genuinely logically possible must be demonstrated by showing that it can be imagined (or, if this is different, described) in sufficient detail to allow the meeting of major philosophical objections—typified by the Aphrodite Argument. However, at least one of the cases discussed here might seem to meet this challenge. Of course, if the conclusion of the Aphrodite Argument (Sect. 5 above) is sound, the making of androids is a task that cannot be completed, even in principle: surely an overwhelming objection! Then Blade Runner’s replicants are not, after all, logically possible creatures but rather take us beyond genuine imaginability. (Their biological character, rightly thought a positive step towards imaginability, since we are biological too, does not achieve enough.) In The Turing Option, by contrast, a concerted effort is made to address more-or-less exactly this difficulty: in part, by starting with a kind of proto-­ android—a human being needing to a return to full functioning, as

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described above. But here too its logical possibility is not demonstrated, especially faced with the demands of the Aphrodite Argument. Of course, this should not modify our practices of reading science-fiction novels or watching science-fiction films, but the two cases here should give us pause, before importing cases from them into philosophy.

11   The Strange Case of Westworld The television series Westworld (201626) presents a further case of androidology, in which some imagined Earth includes a technologically-advanced themed vacation resort or amusement park, based on a conception of the American “Wild West”. Here, the android “hosts” provide saloon-­ hostesses and villains, as well as the rest of the townsfolk. The same (or similar) events are enacted daily: at night, the hosts’ bodies—at least, those damaged—are collected, repaired when necessary, and given new ­instructions, if needed. Thus, a particular android that, having been cast as the father of Delores (a central character in the first narrative we follow), later appears in another guise. Further, because the show’s storyline explicitly concerns the status—especially the moral status—of these androids, there are elaborate discussions of what they are, how they came about, and how they resemble, or differ from, real people (call them “homo sapiens”). And the Turing Test is brought up explicitly, and dispatched without comment or explanation—the audience is assumed to know the character and (potential) importance of the Test. Here, we should recall (see Sect. 4 above) the two conceptions of what passing the Turing Test involves, both captured by Seale’s expression “fooling the experts”; and both realized in attempts to win the prize for passing that Test. On what I called “the imitation-game” version (above Sect. 4), the goal was to deceive: hence, those attempts where the ‘respondent’ aimed at being taken (better, mistaken) for a person—for instance, by avoiding questions, and appearing to answer without ever doing so, drawing on information produced, on a model from the evasiveness of a psychoanalyst interested only in hearing what one said. On this version, of course, the ‘respondent’ did not actually behave as humans would, because there was (for instance) no genuine effort to answer questions. The other version, if successful, might be revealing about human intelligence or human psychology: here, ‘fooling the experts’ deceived them only about the status of the ‘respondent’. So, meeting the goal here—call this the Real Turing Test—would produce behaviour indistinguishable

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from that of humans: and, to that end, is most easily imagined, when words were accompanied by gestures and other behaviour. Hence, as suggested above, making an android-respondent requires passing a sophisticated version of the Real Turing Test. That version might seem realized in Westworld. However, three or four issues or peculiarities of the case should be noted. Firstly, the hosts in the artificial ‘world’ of the Westworld recreation centre pass only the “imitation-­ game” version of the Turing Test: this is both explicitly claimed by Robert Ford, the Anthony Hopkins character (“they were passing the Turing Test after three months”), and obvious in the acceptance of the android-hosts by the “guests”. But, of course, the “guests” were well aware of the hosts’ status: that was fundamental to the ways the hosts are treated. For they were regarded as suitable to be gunned-down in ‘shoot-­outs’ or used for sexual gratification in ways incompatible with viewing them as persons—such behaviour with people would be immoral; and much of it would be illegal in civilized societies. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the uses to which the hosts are put here resemble those of the replicants in Blade Runner: see above Sect. 9—not morally appropriate ways to treat persons.) Still, the hosts could clearly ‘pass’ as persons: that is, be taken for persons by homo sapiens (‘fool the experts’). Indeed, the character Bernard Lowe (played by Jeffrey Wright) does exactly this. Hence, while the androids here are not actually mistaken for homo sapiens, the story makes clear that they could be. Secondly, the Hopkins character, Ford, shows that the “hosts” are not persons in brutal ways, by exposing their causal structure: he uses a razor to expose what is under the skin, in ways that would not (indeed, could not) be acceptable for human beings—an implication that, since they were not persons, they must be just puppets. Further, he insists that the hosts be unclothed (“nude” or perhaps “naked”) when they are worked-on. Why does Ford behave like this? Presumably the answer lies in his desire that the workers in the resort, who tend to the hosts’ bodies, should not come to view them as persons. In part, that might be explained precisely by his intention that (later) these hosts revolt, and assert their freedom and individuality: as they do at the end of the (first) series. Yet, third, the androids make unexpected decisions, as one of their creators, Arnold, seemed to hope; and seems realized through the gradual self-awareness of the character Delores (although difficulties with plotting the time-line in the series are complicating here: we learnt only later to pay

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close attention to, say, Delores’ wardrobe). Still, it seems clear that Arnold recognized, and encouraged, something beyond the requirement that the “imitation-game” version of the Turing Test sets for thought; and, hence, personhood. As it were, his goals cannot be parsed in those terms. Indeed, he seems to have aimed to free the hosts: to permit them to be moral agents. (Perhaps, finally, his co-creator, Ford, arrived at the same conclusion or decision. Certainly, that explains his wishing to retain some of the memories inherited by the hosts across different roles, his so-called “reverie codes”, which aid this process somehow, and his giving some “back-­ stories” of apparent memories.) One goal here, then, seems to be to create real people (if artificial ones), whose behaviour would not be predictable—who would indeed ‘run amok’ (as Aphrodite did in Durrell’s novel: see Sect. 5 above). Yet, fourthly, that too seems ultimately predictable (because predicted) by the Hopkins character in the final episode of the (first) series. Importantly, this is a much more knowing version: many of the problems mentioned above are explicitly addressed. Thus, we see, at least, some of the process through which the hosts were taught to behave like people, with that teaching clearly modelled on the learning of skills, including physical skills, by homo sapiens. Further, we see that the creators’ original goal would be satisfied by an “imitation-game” version of the Turing Test, such that the hosts could be taken for persons, even though this does not actually happen (the guests do, and must, know the difference). At that stage, then, there need be nothing here to be learned about intelligence or the psyche. Still, by the end, the creators have surely “wrought better than they intended” (or, at least, pretended to); and made persons. And the key factor here is that some androids now understand their own servitude (again, like the replicants in Blade Runner): that alone promises a brighter future, although not (yet) sufficient for moral agency. So, to that degree, Westworld offers a conception of androids different from that usually promulgated by books and movies: but does it offer a generalization beyond the parochialism of the human? At the least, the behaviour duplicated by androids there is human behaviour. Therefore, if the “hosts” are conscious, their consciousness of the world will—in the end—be understood in terms of the human world. So, if successful, making such ‘androids’ would also become just another way to make persons; and, therefore, can show us nothing beyond what is arguable for (other) persons. Hence, again, the limitations of using such fictions as thought-­ experiments for philosophy become clear.

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12   Conclusion: An Unfamiliar Idea in Descartes Where have we arrived? As noted initially, the introduction of AI to model human thinking should remind us that philosophy has regularly modelled humans—basically the most complicated thing we know—on the next most complicated; for Descartes, this included water-features from ornamental gardens! But, in the end, human beings—and especially their crucial normative possibilities—are not easily modelled on anything lacking those possibilities. So, in the end, fictional beings are presented as importantly like us only by anthropomorphizing them: that concedes that, ultimately, nothing realistic here can be offered as the prior goal of ‘behaving as a person would behave’—there is no finite totality of such behaviours. Instead, as Wiggins saw (see Sect. 6 above), we must draw on what we know of actual persons (us), augmenting the lists of potential properties with dots of omission to acknowledge the unfillable lacunae. Having looked over the latest version of attention to the most complex—the computer—we might return to other ideas from Descartes. For it is regularly suggested, or presented as just obvious in his work,27 that the world for Descartes consisted of “consciousness and clockwork” (as Anthony Kenny, 1966, p. 352 puts it)—that he was a dualist precisely in acknowledging just these two substances. Moreover, that therefore one big problem for Descartes lies in explaining how this picture allows quasi-­ causal interaction between the psychological and the physical of the kind seemingly implied by my carrying out my intention to dig in the garden. But if one focuses, now, just on this account of the dualism, is it obvious that what, for Descartes, does not count as consciousness can be explained as clockwork? Well, what does Descartes actually say when addressing this topic in Meditation Six? Certainly, in the title (and elsewhere), he talks about a real distinction between mind and body (CSM II, p. 50). That is, he focuses on a real distinction in contrast to a merely conceptual one: the two components can exist independently (or at least, the mind/soul can exist independently of the body). So, the mind does not depend, for its existence, on the body. However, Descartes (CSMK III, p.  209) talks about a substantial union between mind and body (see CSM II, p. 56; CSM II, p. 160): this rightly suggests a union at the level of substance.28 Yet it is unclear what should be made of that, for our view of substance differs from his. More important, though, is Descartes’ focus, in thinking about the character of persons, away from concentration on those causal issues prioritized above?

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For, in Descartes’ hands, his position does not imply that, say, the human being “is the only conscious animal; [that] all other animals … are merely complicated, but unconscious, machines” (which is how he is read by Kenny, 1987, p. 119) [And shouldn’t it be “non-conscious”?]. In fact, Descartes usually writes of “animals without reason” (CSM I, p.  134: compare Baker & Morris, 1996, p.  4): for instance, he says, “I cannot share the opinion of Montaigne and others who attribute understanding or thought to animals” (CSMK III, p. 302). In elaboration, he comments that in “denying thought to animals … I am speaking of thought, not of life or sensation” (CSMK III, p.  366: my emphasis). Hence, animals are granted life and sensation: that does not sound like regarding animals as clockwork! Rather, the real debate here concerns what is distinctive of rational agents: as Descartes explains, if animals “thought as we do, they would have an immortal soul like us” (CSMK III, p. 304). Of course, the Christian theology of the time suggests that anyone believing that animals genuinely think in the relevant sense (that is, the one presently applied to persons) should have those animals baptized—as thinking beings, and hence moral agents, they would otherwise go to Hell! For thinking of this kind is the province of moral agents. Hence, were you the person holding such a belief: You would be guilty of murder in killing a pig to eat. You would have a moral obligation to look after your pets’ moral and religious education. (Baker & Morris, 1996, p. 91)

So, this is what is at issue! It turns on our potential as moral agents, and hence on the normativities we generate. And, for Descartes (as for us), the questions raised thereby are clearly not ones to which the causal answers will be sufficient, as Frege reminded us.

Notes 1. Hence Strong AI “is identical with computer functionalism” (Searle, 2008, p. 58). 2. On the homunculus fallacy, see Bennett & Hacker, 2007, pp. 132–133. 3. From Searle in Voices, Channel 4 television (UK), in discussion with Margaret Boden, chaired by Ted Honderich. 4. Contrast Searle, 1992, p. 197: “Marr’s rules of vision (1982: reprinted as his 2000) … are not the sort of phenomena that could become conscious”.

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5. See also the suggestion that “expert-systems” (say, for landing an aeroplane) are sometimes just “high-speed data-base searches” (Putnam, 1994, pp. 322–323). 6. From Voices, Channel 4 television (cited note 3). 7. Searle’s own arguments against the possibility of an intelligible Cognitive Science should support this view (Searle, 1984, pp.  42–56; also Searle, 1992). 8. Suggested by Myrene McFee in discussion of this point. 9. It is surprisingly difficult to find examples not based on incompatibility with the biology. 10. Perhaps Searle accepts some version of this argument too, although not explicitly. Certainly, he seems strongly committed to the biological basis here, such that having a “truly substantive of a biological nature … [will] be like digestion or photosynthesis or the secretion of bile” (see Searle, 2008, p. 82); but—contrast with below—Searle (2008, p. 72) also recognizes that “[a]n artificial heart does not merely simulate pumping, it actually pumps”; similarly, for artificial brains in relation to consciousness. 11. See Marr, [1982] 2000. For the relation to rule-following, see Shanker, 1988, pp. 155–255. 12. Consider “the dog knows the cat is up the tree”, a sort of knowledge-­ attribution uninteresting for students of personhood. See Malcolm, 1977, pp. 40–57. 13. For discussion, see Putnam, 1988, esp. Chaps. 1, 2, and 5. 14. The thought here is that what can be stated without self-contradiction is logically possible. For discussion, see Palmer, 1984; Hacker, 1976, esp. p. 24. 15. Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer; directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. Its inspiration was Philip K. Dick’s novella, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Grafton Books, 1968), which presents a more complex version. But my comments are typically based on the original 1982 ‘cut’ of the film. For detail, see Coplan & Davies, 2015. 16. By this I mean that these properties result from that physiology, as “higherorder” properties. See also Searle, 1983, pp. 265–271. For discussion, see Dilman, 1988, esp. pp. 95–96. 17. The exception is Rachael, the replicant that Deckard (the hero) falls in love with. But, as her maker implies, she is a special case, not required to engage in the activities usually reserved for replicants. Yet these very differences highlight the intentions vis-à-vis other replicants. 18. As Searle (1984, pp. 35–36) points out, there is an uninteresting sense in which we are machines. But the thought here is clear enough.

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19. Is this a genuine act of compassion? Certainly, that point, if conceded, exhibits one of the key personal properties. For discussion, see Midgley, 1979, esp. Chaps. 9 and 10. 20. Reeve (in Coplan & Davies, 2015, p. 84) offers these as “two ways of reading Gaff’s unicorn”; Ridley Scott (reported Coplan & Davies, 2015, p. 25, note 10) seems to think it a closed matter. 21. Of course, any members of homo sapiens not granted full person-status— say, the very young or some advanced dementia cases—are irrelevant here: on exceptions, see Chap. 7; on philosophy without exceptionlessness, see Chap. 8. 22. As above, Searle (1984, p. 86) acknowledges that he cannot easily solve the “free will” problem (see Chap. 2 this volume); and grants that it is a real problem. For discussion, see Dilman, 1988, pp. 130–137. 23. This question returns us to the idea of conceivability: see especially Hacker, 1976, cited note 14. 24. Talking to Jeffrey Hinton, Voices, Channel 4, April 19, 1988; and see Searle, 1992, pp. 66–68. 25. See Shanker, 1987, p. 99 (quoting Wittgenstein, RPP 1, §1096): “Turing’s machine: These machines are in fact human beings who calculate”. 26. HBO television, of ten episodes, first broadcast between 2nd October and December 4th December, 2016: created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. A second series aired in 2018; but only the first series (2016) is addressed here. 27. Baker and Morris (1996) is the obvious exception: my debt here, as elsewhere, to their scholarship should also be obvious. 28. Note too that “[p]eople who never philosophize and use only their senses” conceive of the union between body and soul without difficulty: for Descartes, “the ordinary course of life and conversation” teaches us to do this (CSMK III, p. 227); but, in fact, “the mind and the body are incomplete substances when they are referred to a human being which together they make up” (CSM II, p.  157 [4th Set of Replies]), although each is complete relative just to itself.

Bibliography Austin, J. L. (1962). Sense and Sensibilia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Baker, G., & Morris, K. M. (1996). Descartes’ Dualism. London: Routledge. Bennett, M. R., & Hacker, P. M. S. (2007). The Conceptual Presuppositions of Cognitive Neuroscience: A Reply to Critics. In D. Robinson (Ed.), Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind, and Language (pp.  127–162). New  York: Columbia University Press. Coplan, A., & Davies, D. (Eds.). (2015). Blade Runner. Abingdon: Routledge.

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Dennett, D. (1991). Consciousness Explained. London: Allen Lane. Descartes, R. (1984). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (3 Vols.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [cited as “CSM” (for Vols. I, II) or “CSMK” (for Vol. III) as appropriate]. Dilman, I. (1988). Mind, Brain and Behaviour. London: Routledge. Gunderson, K. (1971). Mentality and Machine. New York: Anchor Books. Hacker, P. M. S. (1976). Locke and the Meaning of Colour Words. In G. Vesey (Ed.), Impressions of Empiricism (p. 2S46). London: Macmillan. Harrison, H., & Minsky, M. (1992). The Turing Option. London: Penguin Books. Kenny, A. (1966). Cartesian Privacy. In G.  Pitcher (Ed.), Wittgenstein: The Philosophical Investigations (pp. 352–370). New York: Doubleday. Kenny, A. (1987). Descartes for Beginners. In The Heritage of Wisdom. Oxford: Blackwell. [Reprinted]. Malcolm, N. (1977). Thought and Knowledge. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Marr, D. (2000). Vision. In R. Cummins & D. D. Cummins (Eds.), Minds, Brains and Computers: The Foundations of Cognitive Science (pp.  69–83). Oxford: Blackwell. McFee, G. (1992). Understanding Dance. London: Routledge. [cited as “UD”]. Midgley, M. (1979). Beast and Man. London: Harvester. Palmer, A. (1984). The Limits of AI: Thought Experiments and Conceptual Investigations. In S. Torrance (Ed.), The Mind and the Machine (pp. 43–50). Ellis Horwood Ltd.. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Clarendon. Putnam, H. (1988). Representation and Reality. Cambridge, MA: MIT/ Bradford Books. Putnam, H. (1994). Words and Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schank, R., & Abelson, R. (1977). Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Press. Searle, J. (1980). Minds, Brains and Programs. Behavioural and Brain Science, 3, 417–457. Searle, J. (1983). Intentionality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Searle, J. (1984). Minds, Brains and Science. London: BBC. Searle, J. (1992). The Rediscovery of the Mind. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books. Searle, J. (2008). Philosophy in a New Century: Selected Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sellars, W. (1963/1991). Science, Perception & Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing. [cited as “SPR”]. Shanker, S. (1987). The Decline and Fall of the Mechanist Metaphor. In R. Born (Ed.), Artificial Intelligence: The Case Against (pp.  72–131). London: Routledge. Shanker, S. (1988). Wittgenstein’s Remarks on the Significance of Gödel’s Theorum. In S.  Shanker (Ed.), Gödel’s Theorum in Focus (pp.  155–256). London: Croom Helm.

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CHAPTER 7

Considerations of Exceptionlessness in Philosophy: Or, “Everything …”

1   Introduction: The Problem Thus far, a key element of our identification of the ‘dazzling image’ that might be inherited from (natural) science is its commitment to exceptionlessness—an exceptionlessness that, as we have seen, is sustained primarily through the use of ceteris paribus clauses to set aside potential defeaters. Thus, with a cake recipe or a chemical reaction, the same outcome is reached if one begins with the same ingredients and combines them in the same way or under the same conditions. Or, if something different occurs, that highlights a difference—perhaps (for instance) the atmospheric pressure was different, or the oven temperature higher. And, when one turns to philosophy, there seems at first blush to be a similar feature for conceptual connections: thus, for example, philosophers who search for definitions of such-and-such—sets of conditions individually necessary and jointly sufficient (or as concise yet comprehensive accounts of such-and-­ such, having an “exact fit”: UD, pp. 16–17)—will conclude that they are mistaken when their putative definitions admit of exceptions. Hence, there is an assumption that such relations will be exceptionless. And this fact allows us to search for counter-examples to the claims by philosophers—again, finding an exception seems to suggest that, after all, there is not a conceptual connection between A and B, but only a general ‘trend or tendency’ connection one with the other. Further, one of the relations readily considered conceptual (namely, entailment) functions in just this way; and, accordingly, is deployed in arguments against, say, behaviourist © The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_7

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accounts of other minds—once we agree that a person might behave in such-and-such a way, and yet not be feeling X (say, pain, fear, or anger), then to be feeling X cannot just amount to behaving in these ways. Equally, that one might feel X and not behave in the specified way (that one might be a stoic here) again highlights the gap between thought or feeling and behaviour: the relationship is not exceptionless. And therefore, for some thinkers, it is not conceptual. But how plausible is this view of conceptual connections? To pursue it, we can begin by noting the (lack of a) connection here to truth of such exceptionlessness, despite appearances to the contrary. For many claims that might, at first glance, be thought exceptionlessness are not. Thus, Austin (1975, p.  144) asks us “whether it is true that all snow geese migrate to Labrador, given that perhaps one maimed one sometimes fails when migrating to get quite the whole way”. For it seems true both that snow geese migrate to Labrador and that this claim is not exceptionless. If conceptual connections of the kinds explored by philosophy are also not always exceptionless, then the model of definition just noted cannot be the dominant force in philosophy it sometimes seems. Similarly, since less weight is then given to counter-examples, less weight also accrues to those thought-experiments seeming to refute by finding exceptions. Such considerations problematize the place of exceptionlessness in philosophy. For on some occasions, “all” and “every”, and similar terms, are not used exceptionlessly: hence, analysing their use as (always) exceptionless may mislead.1 In my non-professional moments, I will happily assert: (a) Everyone likes Chinese food; (b) Everything goes with beer. I have asserted each of these in contexts where, if pressed, I would claim the truth of what I said. (With regard to the second, chocolate with beer is especially recommended.) I will return to such contexts later (Sect. 4 below). There, saying that these claims were true amounts to recognizing that anyone disputing them—probably just a friend who studied philosophy—should (rightly) be dismissed as a pedant, with no place at our celebration. Yet, how should such claims be understood? Does the first really affirm that every single person likes Chinese food? Surely someone, somewhere, does not. And, even were it currently true, in practice, of the world’s population, the birth tomorrow of someone not liking Chinese food seems a

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‘logical possibility’—it cannot be ruled out. So, an opponent’s stance is that this claimed pervasive attraction of Chinese food cannot be true because it admits of counter-examples. Hence, it is either false as it stands or (since it might be or become false) not the sort of claim to accept without qualification. Equally, for my second case, the scope of the everything must be restricted: roughly, to foods and drinks. Then, what does and does not count as beer for these purposes must be determined, although such points need not be pursued here. Even with such points accommodated, there are foodstuffs that—at least in the minds, or on the palates, of some judges—do not go with beer. Our concern here, in either case, is not with such matters of taste, or discernment, or discrimination. Putting such considerations aside again leaves potential counter-examples: hence, the thought that my claim is not exceptionless, urged (again) in principle, if not in practice. Thus, discussing the Hilaire Belloc lines: The llama is a hairy sort of woolly fleecy goat, With an indolent expression and an undulating throat, Like an unsuccessful literary man.

John Wisdom (1965, pp. 42–43) comments: ‘The llama’, used Belloc’s way, means ‘Llamas’ or ‘Every llama’, just as the phrase ‘The heart’ used in medical textbooks means ‘Every heart’.

Moreover, students in my predicate-logic class treat statements such as “Everyone likes Chinese food” as urging that all persons like Chinese food (as one way to produce a categorical version), in turn treating that claim using the universal quantifier: “For all X …”. So, their account casts doubt on the claim’s truth—at least in principle—by stressing its (apparent) exceptionlessness. Moreover, such students (it might seem) typify one powerful inclination within the project of philosophy. For instance, characterizing Principia Mathematica (second edition), Ramsey (1931, p.  114) urges that Russell “would say ‘Unpunctuality is a fault’ really means something like ‘For all x, if X is unpunctual, x is reprehensible’ …”. Hence it might seem that philosophy should concern itself with the exceptionless, one mark of (conceptual) necessities being exceptionlessness. But, in making my claims about beer or Chinese food, did I really say or assert what another is keen to deny? Or, even if I did not, should I have

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done so, were I only more thoughtful, more consistent, and so on? I shall not pursue the part of this debate that concerns how English is translated into quantifier-speak.2 For it also concerns when to raise objections, and what sort of objections, to general claims: ultimately, a debate about the scope or purpose of claims made in philosophy.

2   Ziff’s Cheetahs Of course, I did not claim, say, or assert what my antagonist is denying, for reasons that might be philosophically revealing, in addressing the place of exceptionlessness in the project of philosophy. Philosophy has for some time recognized questions here concerning the exceptionlessness of claims beginning (or seeming to imply) “all” or “every”. Thus, the truth of the claim about snow geese migrating to Labrador (Austin, 1975, p.  144) does not imply its exceptionlessness. And we understand the person who—defending the claim that “all swans are white”—denies that he was discussing swans in Australia. And, clearly, there was no intention to discuss swans everywhere: he would, with justice, respond that his claim was not “about possible swans on Mars” (see Austin, 1975, p. 143). But comments such as Austin’s have not been widely explored. First, the capacity to be either true or false is still the primary feature of statements (with the claims just mentioned clear examples). Second, much philosophy continues as though the units of truth and falsity here, the statements, were really just sentences; that is, just linguistic units. Disputing the first of these (at least, conceived detached from contextual standards of truth and falsity) will do something to unsettle the second. So, first, consider some discussion of the assertion that “a cheetah can outrun a man” (from Paul Ziff, 1972, mentioned in Chap. 1), something that, I take it, we are all prepared to assert, at least in our pre-reflective moments. Of course, this claim intersects with issues of exceptionlessness despite not using the words “all”, “every”, and so on. For it has generality of a kind—for instance, it is not just about Herbert, our pet cheetah. Further, Ziff’s point is that this claim is not equivalent to “any cheetah (or every single cheetah) can outrun any man”, even though sometimes treated that way. So, it has generality without universality, a thought to elaborate (see Chap. 8, Sect. 2). In discussing his claim, Ziff makes six crucial points, here merely stated (later discussion both elucidates and justifies them):

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• The claim itself is “as standard as can be” (Ziff, 1972, p. 128). • That claim can be used to say something true.3 • We are not excluding very fast human runners (Olympic champions, say), cheetahs with broken legs, cheetahs wearing leg-weights (what Ziff [1972, p.  128] calls “an encumbered cheetah”), or even the slow horned cheetah (Ziff, 1972, p. 139). • We are also not failing to consider such cases, as though they perhaps slipped our minds. • Our remarks are not equivalent to asserting that, with a man and a cheetah on a racetrack, the cheetah will outrun the man—a cheetah turned loose might just sit “lazily in the sun” (Ziff, 1972, p. 128). As Ziff (1972, p. 128) puts it, “… ‘can’ is not ‘will’”. • What we said cannot be “translated” (without change) into some other form of words: especially not in terms of merely “some”, and so on. As Ziff suggests, we need a way to characterize what we did in fact say, in saying that. Of course, this discussion is not about words as such, but about the contrasts those words are (sometimes) used to draw. Here, it amounts to claiming that something importantly distinctive is being said; where looking for an “analysis”, or some such, means finding something equivalent. This last insight, fundamental here, really needs careful consideration. Importantly, the claim was not that some cheetahs can outrun men—then we could ask which; and we have no more specified that (nor intended to, nor needed to) than we have explained to which cheetahs (or men) our original claim referred. Then anything in that direction will make what was said specific in ways it presently is not. Thus, it cannot be equivalent to what was said initially; and must be rejected for that reason. In elaboration, Ziff (1972, p. 132) considers another claim of a kind standardly taken as true: “A tiger is a large carnivore”. Again, Ziff correctly urges that it is not exceptionless, especially given the powers for thought-experiment that philosophy appropriates to itself. First, a newborn tiger, while certainly a tiger, is not a large carnivore (Ziff, 1972, p. 129). Granting that case gives ‘open season’ for thought-experiments: so, consider (say) “an adult tiger … shrunk to the size of a newborn tiger” (Ziff, 1972, p. 132). Faced with such a case, one might—in the spirit of disambiguation (see later: Sect. 3)—assert, “A normal unshrunken adult tiger is a large carnivore”. But did this really mean that initially? Clearly not; for thoughts of, for instance, shrinking (or not shrinking) had not crossed my mind.

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In a similar vein, with cheetahs outrunning men, we must rule out not only encumbered cheetahs but also “… foot-bound [since birth] unencumbered cheetahs … three-legged cheetahs, cheetahs being forced to run after being force-fed and so on and on” (Ziff, 1972, p.  129). The “and so on and on” is revealing both (a) in highlighting, quite correctly, that there is no finite totality of such (imaginable?) cases to consider: that “so on and on” could never be turned into a complete list of them, since any list will (in principle) admit of yet more cases; and (b) in recognizing that no single principle generates such cases. So, all (apparent) counter-­ examples cannot be dealt with in a uniform way: for instance, by specifying that our cheetah is unencumbered. For that still admits of many ways of identifying particular cheetahs not fitting our (general) bill—the three-­ legged cheetah, say, is still (after all) a cheetah! Suppose we arrive at some cheetah-ly equivalent of the general formula, “a tiger is a large carnivore”, true in the ways that this assertion is true. (Here, our best example to date was a highly qualified claim about unshrunken adult tigers.) Then, in this new claim (whatever it was), we have said of cheetahs what we originally claimed, in saying they could outrun men. Anyone happy with this transformation accepts that this new version says what was really meant all along. But, typically, such highly qualified versions (say, speaking of “some cheetahs”, for instance) surely do not bring out what was meant all along. Elaborating this idea, Ziff (1972, p. 129) comments: It is true that some—never mind which—cheetahs can outrun a man. But it is also true that some—never mind which—men can outrun a cheetah (namely those able ones racing against disabled cheetahs). And it is also true that some—never mind which—cheetahs cannot outrun a man and some— never mind which—men cannot outrun a cheetah. So, so far, men and cheetahs would seem to be on a par with respect to running. But they are not: a cheetah can outrun a man. [two commas added]

This last assertion is what we wanted to say all along. Since it does not amount to either or both of the others, we have not yet arrived at what we do want to say. Yet both claims Ziff rightly puts aside in that passage aim at exceptionlessness. And our ‘summary’ here more or less reiterates our original assertion. But how does it relate to the powers and capacities of extant cheetahs?

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If, as a result of disease (say), only a few weak cheetahs were left in the world, all (or, anyway, most) men could outrun these poor specimens. Does that necessarily mean that, now, cheetahs cannot outrun men? No, it does not. To clarify that point, Ziff (1972, p. 129) considers the assertion: “Cheetahs don’t have horns”. Again, we would be willing to assert this; and doing so seems right. But what should then be made of a cheetah with grafted horns, say (Ziff, 1972, p. 128)? Or even a result of genetic engineering? Certainly, these are not typical cheetahs. Perhaps that thought can move us forward. For our target in claiming that a cheetah can outrun a man involved looking for a kind of average man and a kind of average cheetah—but not in the statistical sense of the term “average”. (We might even be seeking, on a parallel with dog shows, the ‘breed standard’ for cheetahs, or whatever.) For it is typical cheetahs in typical conditions—don’t want anything too hilly, perhaps—that can outrun typical men. In addition to not quite being what was said initially, such a claim seems rendered “true by definition”: it is guaranteed by all these typicallys. My original claim might have been false: at the least, it seems contingent. (After all, that I commented on Chinese food and not, say, on Indian food was supposed to reflect differentially ‘how the world is’.) Elaborating that thought may help. For our concerns here might vary: in teaching a biology class, and wanting to show our students a cheetah, which of the powers, capacities, features, properties, and so on, of cheetahs—that is, instantiated in some cheetah or other, including the drugged and encumbered ones—will we select? Our purposes certainly do not require all the properties of extant cheetahs, both because, for many of these properties, lacking them would not disqualify the animal as really a cheetah and because some will conflict with others (say, height or age) without this being problematic—our chosen cheetah will not exemplify these features to our class. Meeting our needs requires some but not all the characteristics of extant cheetahs. But the cheetah chosen will, of course, instantiate some characteristics not, in this way, required of it as a sample: for instance, in being of a certain age. (We only rule out very young and very old—for a cheetah!) And the context creates the requirements. Thus, an unencumbered, four-legged, two-eyed, unhorned cheetah is certainly required for this class—that one will (if it wants to) outrun the kind of man needed when exemplifying homo sapiens to these same students.

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Complications arise, though, when something other is wanted of our cheetah: for instance, a guard-cheetah to keep our property safe. Now fierceness, or perhaps the appearance of it, might be prized over some of the features mentioned above. Our cheetah is not required to run-down any burglars, just to scare them away. We might, therefore, not care if this cheetah could outrun the man mentioned previously, instead being happy to find it staying put, guarding us. Again, a fierce but one-eyed cheetah, pretty useless in our biology class, might be perfectly adapted to guard-­ cheetah-­ly tasks (see UD, pp. 108–109). Is it a cheetah? Certainly! But does it have all the properties of that abstraction from cheetah-hood, the ‘breed standard’ for cheetahs? No—in particular, this cheetah would not, and could not, outrun the ‘breed standard’ for homo sapiens. But whoever said it would or should? I certainly did not, although—as above—I agree that a cheetah can outrun a man. First, this conception of a ‘breed standard’ is therefore a normative one, highlighting some features, good of cheetahs (or whatever) in some contexts. Second, genuine descriptive substance cannot be given to this conception, while insisting on exceptionlessness. Third, our picture of generality here cannot be expanded by expanding the ‘breed standard’ either in length or into a disjunctive form (say)—there is no finite totality of such properties, such that noting them would say all we could say about (in this example) cheetahs: there is no all here. I draw four morals from this consideration of ideas developed from Ziff’s chapter: 1. The claim made (about the cheetah) is not equivalent to the disambiguated versions, those using “some”, and so on—to say more about that, I turn (in Sects. 3 and 4 below) to more general comments on disambiguation strategies. 2. Revealingly here, no finite totality of properties circumscribes either the ‘exceptions’ to our original general claims (that everyone likes Chinese food; that everything goes with beer) or the ‘class’ of cheetahs. 3. Something revealing in this case also applies to many occasions either when the terms “all” or “every” are used or when the use of such terms might seem to be implied (say, to die-hard logicians). Again, I return to this later (Sect. 4). 4. Our conclusions here extend beyond these few cases: as Ziff (1972, p.  129) puts it, “[t]hese cheetah cases are not curious, special or rare” [my comma].

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3   Defeating Disambiguation The route of disambiguation might seem (it seemed to Ziff, 1972, p. 131) one response here: making explicit further specifications that—it might be claimed—were implicit in what was said. In some cases, just that is required: say, a question about the temperature of your Indian food becoming confused with a similar-sounding (because orthographically indistinguishable) comment about its degree of spiciness—“Is that vindaloo hot?” Moreover, such implicit disambiguation seems typical. For, only occasionally must we expand my claim that “I want to buy some alligator shoes” (see Ziff, 1972, p. 63) by adding, “Yes, of course for my alligator”. But, disambiguation may only do all that is required in such cases of a clear and recognizable ambiguity (at least once it is pointed out). Such successes may generate the illusion that, in every case, a disambiguation strategy always works by clarifying what was really said or meant. Such a strategy might seem suitable to deal with our cases concerning the general attractiveness of Chinese food or the compatibility of beer. It might seem that—with exceptions recognized—disambiguation makes these claims exceptionless, on this new understanding. This strategy works in cases where, say, “all” or “every” can be replaced with “some”. Not all swans are white, but some (and perhaps most) are. But Ziff’s discussion showed that, faced with (apparent) exceptions to the claim about a cheetah outrunning a man, disambiguating the original assertion did not readily preserve our sense of it as true or appropriate, giving us cause to suspect the force of such disambiguation strategies applied generally. When the issue is whether, in a particular case, the particular puzzlement generated can, at least, sometimes, be resolved through disambiguation, we should agree—that is much of the usefulness within philosophy of the drawing of distinctions. But often more is required: a disambiguation such that no perplexity whatever can remain. Can we deal with all perplexity in this way, globally rather than case-by-case? This I deny, for reasons reflecting, in two different (though related) ways, the fact that no finite totality of candidate counter-cases exists here. The more direct response points out that disambiguation between notions or ‘senses’ deal only with this case (the case before us), since the manner of drawing the distinctions here is set by this context: that is, by this puzzlement or perplexity. There can be no guarantee that it could (or would) deal with other cases. And new cases, unconsidered cases, can always arise. So, as Travis (1997, p. 119) notes, this “is a dead end”, because our newly-drawn contrast must now confront “novel

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cases, which it may count as describing correctly or not” (Travis, 1997, p. 119).4 This returns us to the occasion-sensitivity of what is said: that the same string of words might, on a different occasion, amount to something different—indeed, might even have a different truth-value. For: … statements fit the facts always more or less loosely, in different ways on different occasions for different intents and purposes. … And even the most adroit of languages may fail to ‘work’ in an abnormal situation. (Austin, 1979, p. 130)

Thus, our discussion of occasion-sensitivity throughout was illustrated through the contribution of colour-shades, stains, holes, fading, and such like that would permit correctly asserting, on one occasion, that a particular curtain was red, but where, on another occasion, that same combination would make it false that the curtain was red, given who was asking now, or the interest in redness on that occasion. Hence, these different occasions set different constraints on the redness of the curtains. So, holding some exceptionless account of how statements relate to facts here seems unsustainable. The other response (taken more directly from Travis) focuses closely on how the disambiguation strategy seems to exploit a natural or obvious way to distinguish cases. But is this really always so? Recognizing as actually two substances—with different chemical composition, atomic number, and so on—what was previously called “gold” (and taken for one substance), what should be done? Which should continue being called “gold”, which should be called something else; for instance, “fool’s gold”? That ‘solution’ suggests that the term “gold” always really meant the element with such-and-such atomic number, rather than the compound. Yet, as Dummett (1978, pp. 428–429) noted: What is clear, at any rate, is that the word “gold” did not, in advance of the introduction of a theory and technique of chemical analysis, have a meaning which determined the course to be followed.

Indeed, both might be called “gold” (as though it were some larger covering concept), with distinctions then drawn within that category: say, between assay gold and fool’s gold. But must one of these be what was meant all along? The disambiguation strategy assumes that there were two different ideas, each clear, distinct and occasion-insensitive, to be distinguished from each other. That is not our view.

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Moreover, it seems implausible that semantics alone will distinguish, for all cases, one option (and not the other) as true. Consider a different example (Travis, 2008, p.  112): “the leaves are green”, said of painted leaves—now, is this just plain true or plain false? Part of the difficulty is that we cannot decide which, since it seems natural to say one on a particular occasion and the other on another occasion. But if we cannot decide which is (obviously) right, then neither can be obviously right. At first blush, disambiguation seems to offer a promising way forward: we could talk of, say, “painted-green leaves”—although this too might not be unproblematic; for instance, some (otherwise) green leaves might be painted green (which would then be, as it were, double-green). To consider the adequacy of the disambiguation option, consider one of the (apparently) disambiguated pair: if we can generate occasion-­ sensitivity in respect of it, then the disambiguation strategy looks unhelpful. So, our argumentative tactic involves finding each of the different so-called “senses” of “green” still amenable to occasion-sensitivity. Of course, one cannot prove (in the abstract) that such still-contentious cases can always be found; but it looks promising. As Travis (1985, p.  2005) urges, “[d]istinctions in the same and other veins can be proliferated indefinitely … as ambiguities in expressions of a language cannot”. Hence, occasion-sensitivity should be distinguished from (mere) ambiguity. First, even if disambiguation sorts out this case, one cannot be sure that it sorts out all such cases. For any level of ‘grid’, a yet finer mesh might be needed to avoid, once and for all, unclarity or ambiguity. And, if this is so, the idea of an ultimately fine mesh would be needed—but we have no basis for such a conception. Second, if disambiguation works for these purposes or in this context, it deals (“completely”) with the issue in this context: for our puzzle is the one now, the one in this context. As a result, the puzzle depends on the context. Then both puzzle and relevant (apparent) ‘disambiguation’ are occasion-sensitive: If you call a leaf green, the leaf must count as green for what you said to be true. But when must it so count? There is more than one thing to be said in calling a leaf green. (Travis, 2008, p. 278)

As Travis notes, there are a wide variety of cases here, including the term “green” used to mean inexperienced (“But that is a different kind of green!”). Still, even sticking to some version of (roughly, with much turning on how rough) green-coloured and leaves, there are green leaves painted

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green as well as brown leaves painted green; also leaves dyed; and ‘naturally occurring’ green leaves. In this last camp, there are some uncontentiously green, and some contentiously green (“Isn’t this one a little yellow?”; “Hasn’t that one started to turn red?”). And many more. For some purposes, what I happily (and rightly) call “a green leaf ” will not so count for you—neither my painted leaf nor my yellowing (but still green) leaf work as examples for your biology class. And you have no truck at all with my jade leaves! Our response can be consolidated from cases both simpler and nearer to that desired by the advocates of disambiguation strategies. In some cases, a hearer may not know how to take an utterance that is in fact clear once the context is taken into account—it might have misled me, but it is not misleading. As assistant to the marine biologist and the cook (UD, p. 121: Travis, 2008, pp. 189–190; Austin, 1962, pp. 65–66), I share two interests in red fish—the cook’s in a surface-swimming red fish, and the biologist’s in a deep swimming one. Now the instruction, “Bring me a red fish”, represents a “contrasting pair” of orders (with different satisfaction conditions), clear once I know which of my masters uttered it. Although I might end up confused (I don’t know who said it), it is not confusing: I might be unable to fulfil the task but—in this case—what I am being asked is perfectly clear, prescribing only one behaviour as a satisfactory response. The differential interests of, say, biologist and cook yield different interests (or different questions, or different issues) even though both result, for me, in the request, “Bring me a red fish”. But particularizing the matter offers this clarity: once I know who said it, then … whatever follows will follow. So, in each ‘world’, there is really no ambiguity. There is, in general, no prior way of guaranteeing in which of these ‘worlds’ we find ourselves: still (in practice), participants in that ‘world’ need not be perplexed. In summary, the issues raised cannot simply be dismissed as merely pragmatic (rather than semantic6) nor treated as always amenable to resolution through disambiguation—which may have been a first thought faced with (say) the “red fish” case since, then, what I hear would determine which fish to bring without further need to explore the occasion. As we have seen, this answer is inadequate for many of reasons: (a) What is said was always clear in these cases. Since, once we know what occasion this is, or what ‘world’ we are in, the order or claim becomes clear (and clearly either satisfied in such-and-such a way or true/false [respectively]), there is really no ambiguity to be remedied.

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(b) There is no natural or obvious way to distinguish cases. Trying to simplify, my “red fish” story indicated how the expressions might be taken. But, in general, we lack a sense of the precise number of possibilities here—for this reason, my artificial cases (with, seemingly, only two outcomes possible) aid recognition of occasion-­ sensitivity, while clouding our understanding of it. (c) Were there really just two options here, we should be able to say which is correct on a particular occasion, and which is wrong. As Travis (2008, p. 112) notes, “one must choose in a principled way. What the words mean must make one or other disjunct plainly true, or at least demonstrably true”. And there seems little hope of this. (d) With terms ambiguous in English (therefore amenable to disambiguation), “there must be a way of saying just what these ambiguities are: so a fact as to how many ways ambiguous they are” (Travis, 2008, p. 112). And, again, there seems no hope of finding some fixed number here. (e) Further, the ‘new’ terms, now suitably disambiguated, are still amenable to occasion-sensitivity—with the cook saying, “Bring me a red fish!”, to ask for a surface-swimming, red-skinned fish if making fish tacos and a surface-swimming, red-fleshed fish if making fish stew. Our first disambiguation of the expression “red fish” still leaves two occasions, with different satisfaction conditions, when I bring red fish; and where the word “red” means red, “fish” means fish, and so on. The artificiality of the case should not disguise its power. For we cannot in general predict how certain expressions might be used (that is what Chomsky calls “creativity” [Lyons, 1970, p.  86]: particular terms can be understood in indefinitely many sentences, most of which we have not previously encountered). Moreover, we cannot predict which of the many ­understandings of a particular situation is appropriate for a particular occasion—although (consonant with earlier points) we typically understand it when encountering it! As this line of reply emphasizes, with no finite totality of conditions to be met in describing a particular scene, the notion of an “ideal language” to deal with all cases, including the new ones (“a perfect language still to be constructed by us”: PI §98) is a fiction; here too (see Chap. 1, Sect. 1), one must confront “the unsurveyable seething totality of our language”

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(VoW, p. 67). And, relatedly, there is no basic level of description or explanation here (see FW, pp.  130–131). So, even were a particular issue accommodated by, say, modifying what was urged (to cover exclusively only some of the cases originally envisaged: for instance, by specifying which kind of red fish), the problem simply recurs. We cannot simply “disambiguate” (see [c] above) down—or up—to that level: there will always be uses of, say, the term “green”, which escape such disambiguation. Further, where there are “contrasting pairs” of utterances (like those concerning the redness, or otherwise, of the fish above) “the circumstances of a speaking must contribute substantially to fixing what is said, if anything even possibly true or false is to be said at all” (Travis, 2008, p. 153). For these terms are not somehow ambiguous (although we often write as though that were the point), even though a “sentence may, while meaning what it does, say things to be in any of various ways … on different speakings of it” (Travis, 2008, p. 153). Thus: To grasp a thought is to grasp what it would be for things to be in a certain way—that way things are according to it. To grasp that by grasping what being green is, one must grasp the appropriate way of counting as green or not; a particular way in which facts about [say] the leaf may count for or against its being as it is according to that thought. (Travis, 2008, pp. 284)

To bring out such a contextualist conception, Travis (2008, p. 155) rightly points to his critics (see Cappelen & Lapore, 2005, p.  132), offering a revealing misquotation: he had not said that “what sometimes counts as green may sometimes not be”, but rather that “what sometimes counts as green may sometimes not so count”. Yet what should be said in cases involving such “contrasting pairs” (as above)? What should be said of that thing on that occasion? When it does not count as green, surely that means that one makes a mistake in calling it green (given the understanding of “green” then current or relevant). So, it would not be green! For, of course, “[t]here is no way in which something which is green on the understanding on which it was said to be may, for all that, really not be green …” (Travis, 2008, p. 156) just because there is no sense to “really not be green” distinct for what the object might be rightly called on the understanding of “green” then current: that is, the understanding of “green” that context provides. But this is just to repeat that there may be occasions when a different understanding of “green” would be current, where what was green on the first understanding would not have been on the second.

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Further, Dummett (2004, p. 107 [also p. 110]) has taken to task (what he calls) “classical theories of truth” for failing to recognize that “the concepts of truth and meaning cannot be explained separately; only together can they be illuminatingly explained”; hence, for discussing, or aiming to discuss, “the concept of truth independently of that of meaning” (Dummett, 2004, p. 110). In effect, for Dummett, such theorists take the concept of meaning as given, such that: … they proposed a condition for a proposition to be true; and what proposition is expressed by the utterance of a sentence evidently depends on the meaning of that sentence. (Dummett, 2004, p. 107)

This account of meaning for propositions is plausible-sounding; but is it correct? Notice that it characterizes the meaning of sentences independently of the context of their utterance, as though one could understand that sentence’s meaning, and then ask about the contribution of the context. Explication of that view’s erroneous nature might begin with a view Dummett (2004, p. 2) dismisses as held “somewhat casually”[!] by Frege: namely, one granting that: … the occurrence of indexical expressions in some sentences … [required that] … the identity of the speaker or the time of utterance contributed to determining the thought expressed. (Dummett, 2004, p. 2)

Then other terms in a sentence uttered may have similar impacts, amounting to something different in different contexts. Thus, this mistaken line of explanation of sentence-meaning grounds truth-claims in discussion of “using [certain] words as meaning what they do” (Travis, 2008, p. 156). For there is no “meaning what they do” that is not to be contextually determined; although some contexts are so common and so familiar that this element sometimes goes unnoticed (especially when dealing with written words and abstracting from genuine utterance-situations). Of course, we should acknowledge a point from Dummett (1991, p. 121); namely, that one must contrast: … the specific content of an utterance from the type of linguistic act it is used to effect … [such that] … the majority of words and expressions that may occur without change of meaning in assertions, questions, commands, and other types of utterance.

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Yet this way of thinking about what is common to “assertions, questions, commands, and other types of utterance” (namely, sense) affects what one then says about senses (or “meanings”). For it seems to imply a kind of unity to sense, such that one linguistic expression always has the same sense— then modified, in the context of utterance, by these different forces. As Dummett (1993, p. 24) urges, in order that his considerations: … provide a ground for ascribing to each expression a sense constant from speaker to speaker … [since] each sentence [must] possess a common cognitive content for all speakers … [for] an account of the use of language in communication. (my order; my emphasis)

For, here, “a common cognitive content” (or sense) seems to be a single cognitive content, such that “sense must be common to different speakers” (Dummett, 1993, p. 25). In particular, taking sense to be a property of a particular word (the meaning of X), or of expressions deploying that word, automatically regards senses in this unitary way (the only exceptions being ambiguity or vagueness). A commitment to occasion-sensitivity obviously involves our denying this.

4   “All”, “Every”, and Contexts This discussion demonstrated that the application of all or every to the cheetah example is misplaced. In particular, what can be said, on that basis, about apparent counter-cases to the claim that everyone likes Chinese food or that everything goes with beer? As Ziff (1972, p. 136) notes: Speaking of a cheetah, as one does when one says ‘A cheetah can outrun a man’, is like modelling a cheetah in clay or like doing a pictorial representation of a cheetah.

As we saw, certain things necessarily true of any particular cheetah (either it is or is not one metre high at the shoulder, say) need not be determinate for the cheetah in “A cheetah can outrun a man”—it amounts (in terminology from Ziff [1972, p. 136]) to the conception of a cheetah. Our countercases make determinate some or other feature of this conception, features determinate for any extant cheetah. Thus, we recognize that claims about such conceptions are not exceptionless, if “exceptionless” means that there

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can be no counter-cases to them. Instead, such claims should be read differently. For (recall) there is no finite totality of properties here, either as part of this conception or applicable to extant cheetahs. Hence the conception cannot cover all cases. As Ziff (1972, p.  139) notes, “[n]o picture captures everything: even the best picture of a cat won’t purr”. Also, there is no all or every here: there features are important or central, given the interest taken or the question asked (or answered); but other features may be important or central on other occasions, with other issues raised. (This is just occasion-sensitivity: see Sect. 4 above, and Chap. 1, Sect. 5.) The scope of the “all” or “every” is then understood via a consideration of the context in which the assertion, or question, is raised. Perhaps, on some occasions “Everyone does such-and-such” means “Every single person, without exception, does such-and-such”, but there are many other contexts too. In what contexts of their utterance might my candidate claims about Chinese food or about beer be appropriately thought true? How exceptionless do these contexts require them to be? It might have seemed— since this idea was introduced (from Ziff) in Sect. 2 above—that some sleight of hand was implicit in my repeated assertion that, properly understood), these claims of mine were true.7 To discharge that obligation here, I offer a brief sketch of at least one context for each, presented through dialogue, while granting that many might be constructed, in all directions. (a) “Let us buy Chinese food for this motley crew of visitors—we do not know much about their specific requirements or tastes; but everyone likes Chinese food.” (b) “No, it is not essential to open a bottle of (expensive) wine to go with this food, especially as—if you do so—you will need bottles of different wines with other courses (if you are consistent). Beer is OK, honestly—everything goes with beer.” [And, in imagining the beer in front of us, the content of the term “beer” is clear in this context!] As my earlier characterization recognized, the claim that a cheetah can outrun a man has generality without universality. This also fits exactly what to say, in the contexts in which they are plausible (better true) of my two specimen claims. Hence, it would be a misplaced criticism of me to claim that everyone just means “every single person”, that everything here just

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means “every single foodstuff”, suggesting that my comments be revised accordingly (or read that way). For what I meant is certainly not equivalent to these revised claims—as the possibility of counter-cases to these claims (but not to mine) illustrates. If it is urged, instead, that my claim too is susceptible of counter-cases, that amounts to revising the terms of our example, since common sense took my original claims to be true. In justification of such ‘common sense’ (were justification thought necessary), we might even explain why these are the right things to say in this context. For instance, I want to be as inclusive as possible for those to whom I am giving this food: they are not just my Friday philosophy class, nor my friends from next door, but a wider (and unspecified) group. And yet others may arrive. Moreover, if they do, my claim is that they will be happy with my selection. The practice of ordering Chinese food in such contexts is, I am asserting, a sound one—for everyone likes Chinese food. So, there will be no dissenters8; there will be some food for the vegetarians, and so on. Since no particular group is identified (such that I could say, “All my Friday philosophy class like Chinese food.”), my thought here was to be something general and expansive. The issue of its exceptionlessness does not arise in this context. (Who would raise it but a philosopher-­ manqué—and my people know better than literalism!) Should the issue of exceptionlessness arise, I could console myself by pointing out that my expansive, general everyone does not, after all, invoke a finite totality. So, it is not as though—had I wished to ascertain the truth of my claim about Chinese food—I should (or could) explore all the people who might (in principle) show up for dinner, to see where they stand vis-à-vis Chinese food: for their likes or dislikes are beside the point—I need only consider those who might plausibly show up. (To put it formally, a principle of total evidence is at work here.9) So, I cannot be criticized for, as it were, failing to consider some group of only logically possible dinner guests. Then, second, our comments here had a point: we were not merely ‘flapping our gums’. Hence, some way is needed to assert what I said, in claiming: (a) Everyone likes Chinese food. (b) Everything goes with beer. And many candidate assertions—including those with the term “some”, or those shown false by counter-cases (as mine is not)—are not equivalent to that from which I began. And, as Ziff recognized, such claims are “as

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standard as can be” (Ziff, 1972, p. 128): they do not turn on complexities of grammar or syntax, for example. Hence, one cannot simply reject (as somehow ill-formed) my original assertions. Moreover, a reason was provided for saying what was said. And we can imagine it being challenged: Well, in this vegetarian enclave, that is not true—since all the Chinese food you can buy nearby contains meat.10

In context, this challenge might make me withdraw my claim here. Yet that would not preclude my making a claim in the same words on another occasion (as long as I was in a different place!). Nor should I add, as a parenthetical remark, “Except for such-and-such”. For that gives my assertion false specificity: no doubt there are other such enclaves of which I am unaware (so the specification to just this one is misplaced). Again, my claim in a new place does not bear on the old enclave, one way or another— its members are too far away to get here for dinner. Thus, I am neither including that enclave nor failing to mention it: it is not relevant to the generality towards which my new assertion is directed. Thus, I am justified in sticking to my assertion (on the new occasion) even when I have encountered what others might take as a counter-case. In this way, the force of my claim about Chinese food is clear: it is general but not universal or exceptionless. And, in context, it is true. Or, at least, that would be the best way to characterize it, if pressed. Then, even if the expression is used (slightly aggressively?) to suggest that a dissenter is, somehow, weird—because everyone likes Chinese food—a kind of generality is still preserved: it does not deny the existence of the dissenter, who is (after all) right there in front of the person making the assertion. Thus, one way not to be “weird” involves accordance with the ‘breed standard’ in liking Chinese food. At this point, we return to the question of the contingency of my claims (see Sect. 2 above). For what is really happening? In Ziff’s case, claiming that a cheetah can outrun a man extracts some features from extant cheetahs. Hence, the possession of horns (say) will not be included—although, of course, cheetahs might have been different. In that context, this matter is empirical; its process a kind of generalization across cheetahs. Then, we are ‘in the hands’ of the changes in our world—as it changes, we revise what to say about it. As Austin (1962, pp. 76–77) remarked about talking cats (to repeat an example):

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Suppose that one day a creature of the kind we now call a cat takes to talking. Well, we say to begin with, I suppose, ‘This cat can talk.’ But then other cats, not all, take to talking as well; we now have to say that some cats talk, we distinguish between talking and non-talking cats.

Our comments assume (or build in) a certain stability to the powers and capacities of the cheetah population, real or imagined (or future). In this sense, my claim (like Ziff’s) must be revised were these generalizations no longer broadly true: that is, if cheetahs could not, in general, outrun men or if people did not show a marked preference for Chinese food. However, the assertion itself (in either case) is not such a generalization: as I put it earlier (Sect. 2), Ziff’s remark pertains to ‘breed-standard’ cheetahs and ‘breed-standard’ men. That suggests that the claim is not, after all, straightforwardly empirical, if that means that it must be susceptible to counter-cases (or, better, it presents a reason to reject that conception of the empirical: compare Travis, 2011, pp.  90–93). Further, as Austin (1962, p. 77) goes on to illustrate, the contours of concepts here too can be responsive to the values or priorities of people: … we may, if talking becomes prevalent [among cats] and the distinction between talking and not talking seems to us to be really important, come to insist that a real cat be a creature that can talk. And this will give us a new case of being ‘not a real cat’, i.e. being a creature that is just like a cat except for not talking.

The scope of what is said cannot be completely detached from the interests and concerns of those saying it: this goes for our claims about all or every as much as for the remarks about cheetahs (or cats). Am I saying, using Ziff’s terminology, that a conception of all or of every is at work here? I prefer to put the point another way, since the terminology does not quite fit. At the least, both the generality of my claims and the fake universality in some exclusions noted earlier were identified. For it had seemed I was not entitled to claim everyone or everything unless I checked—and put aside—all potential counter-cases. But, with no finite totality of such cases (no all here), that requirement is spurious. One cannot consider all cases (or every case) because there is no all (nor every): unconsidered cases could always arise, as we saw earlier. Thus, one cannot legitimately be criticized for failing to consider them all. (Indeed, a more sophisticated account of the philosophy of logic here might suggest our

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view—that these claims here are not exceptionless—as the only defensible one.) Thus, if “all” and “every” were always taken as necessarily exceptionless (as above), there would always be exceptions, in some contexts, to claims deploying them. Hence, in those contexts, the terms would be useless. Yet they are useful in my contexts: they say (in these contexts) just what I need said. Of course, I am not asserting that in no contexts should terms such as “all” or “every” be taken exceptionlessly: instead, my position involves waiting to see. Of course, in certain contexts—say, for natural science (see FW, pp. 126–131)—exceptionlessness is secured by fiat. But one cannot always argue seamlessly from the presence of the terms “all” or “every” (and so on) to positive conclusions about exceptionlessness. Thus, a wider issue concerning the scope of general claims is reflected in my urging that, in context, remarks about (say) everyone should not be read exceptionlessly. At root, the explanation lies in occasion-sensitivity. But we have recognized a kind of constraint on such occasions: that we must read them charitably. Hence, if it makes no sense to talk (exceptionlessly) of all people in this context (as liking Chinese food)—because there is no finite totality—then that cannot be the way to understand what was said in using those words on that occasion.

5   Conclusion Ziff (1972, p. 141) offers a useful slogan, summarizing my overall point here: namely, that “[o]ne speaks and hopes to be understood”. When considering (say) my major claims about the attractiveness of Chinese food and beer’s general compatibility with other foodstuffs, the issues principally concerned, first, what I said—in saying those words on that occasion—and, second, the truth of what I asserted. In line with Ziff ’s slogan, you must understand this in order to understand what I said. For, to understand what I said is, in part, to take, from my saying those words in that context, both what I meant and where I was right (when I was). Here, some pitfalls of this kind of understanding were discussed: in particular, those associated with assumptions of exceptionlessness, especially in making sense of the generality in claiming (in context) both that everyone does such-and-such—in my case, liking Chinese food—and that cheetahs have so-and-so properties (in this case, that they can outrun men). Insights from the second were deployed to help us with the first. In neither case is the claim as merely about some, or about this or that specific group. In both cases, what was said was (in context) arguably

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true. Further, you will misunderstand if you take them differently: in particular, if you assume that such general claims were (or were supposed to be) exceptionless. In this chapter, a relatively unproblematic feature of our understanding—and hence of our language—was urged: that terms such as “all” and “every” do not necessarily indicate exceptionlessness, and that other locutions operate similarly. Our example was, “A cheetah can outrun a man”. That suggests a commitment to occasion-sensitivity, at least as an agenda for research. But why should we care? Does this leave us anywhere useful? For philosophy is not, in general, much vexed by either the speed of cheetahs or the tastiness of beer or Chinese food. The short answer is that (especially) philosophical readings of some claims often treat every claim of this kind as exceptionless, a feature exploited in the search for counter-examples to such claims. But, in saying men did such-and-such, was I really ignorant of the two men who did not? How could I miss (or, worse, ignore) such obvious counter-examples? Well, the ‘error’ requires that my claiming “All men …” (for example, are selfish) was meant exceptionlessly. In part, then, our concern is to capture what was said or meant in context, rather than importing from outside a ‘reading’ of what was said. Hence, always urging such exceptionlessness is a philosophical mistake: here, again, the occasion-sensitivity of the remarks is crucial. Thus, as Travis (2008, pp. 300–301) recognizes: The point is: whether that is so depends not merely on the fact that it is this that is to be so or not, and on the way things are, but also on what one is to count as things being that way, where this last is a genuinely substantive question.

The discussion, then focuses on the illusion of exceptionlessness. So, the moral from Ziff’s tales of cheetahs is that my asserting, “Men are selfish” is not equivalent to claiming that all men are selfish, with that “all” read as exceptionless. Then, even had I said, “All men are selfish”, that too should not (in all contexts) always be taken as an exceptionless claim: that is the moral from my claims about beer, or about Chinese food—saying these things need not commit one to the exceptionless reading. In particular, those recognizing occasion-sensitivity should be more hesitant about raising accusations of failing to be exceptionless. And hence what may seem like a demand for exceptionlessness in philosophical discussion (so as to be genuinely conceptual) need not be so. At the least, this cannot be assumed.

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Notes 1. This Chapter is a reworked version of EKT (McFee, 2010, pp. 177–193) with both insertions and deletions from the original. 2. Thus, see Quine on the view that “the quantifiers … are our way out of talking about objects” (Putnam, 2012, p.  364); and for connections to ontology implicit in his claim that “[t]he quest for the simplest clearest pattern of canonical notation is not to be distinguished from a quest for ultimate categories” (Quine, 1960, p. 161). 3. See also Austin, 1975, pp. 143–145 on “France is hexagonal”. And even when we agree that, “Lord Raglan won the battle of Alma” (which means, “agree with the person who said it”, or, “agree that it was true”), “there would no question of giving Raglan a medal for it” (Austin, 1975, pp. 144). 4. As Travis (2008, p. 99 note) says, of another example: I will not pause to argue against the heroic view that that just means that no one can ever speak truth in calling something round. 5. This passage was excluded when the paper was “reprinted” in Travis, 2008. 6. Another useless strategy: to deny that these are genuine meaning-­ connections, invoking “implicature” (Grice, 1989, pp. 24–31): such ideas are annihilated by Travis, 2008, pp. 19–64; 65–93. 7. Recall Austin (1975, p. 143) commenting, of a similar case, “[i]t is a rough description; it is not a true or false one”. Yet he grants that true should stand for “a general dimension of being the right or proper thing to say as opposed to the wrong thing, in these circumstances, to this audience, for these purposes and with these intentions” (Austin, 1975, p. 145). 8. For this reason, “Most people like Chinese food” would not do. 9. As Carnap (1950, p. 211) states it: … in the application of inductive logic to a given knowledge situation, the total evidence available must be taken as the basis for determining degrees of confirmation. So, what we cannot presently know we must treat as irrelevant. 10. The example recalls occasions when my friend Bob Goldman wanted to voice just such an objection.

Bibliography Austin, J. L. (1962). Sense and Sensibilia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Austin, J. L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Austin, J. L. (1979). Philosophical Papers (3rd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Cappelen, H., & Lapore, E. (2005). Insensitive Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.

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Carnap, R. (1950). Logical Foundations of Probability. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Dummett, M. (1978). Truth and Other Enigmas. London: Duckworth. Dummett, M. (1991). The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Dummett, M. (1993). The Seas of Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Dummett, M. (2004). Truth and the Past. New York: Columbia University Press. Grice, P. (1989). Studies in the Ways of Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lyons, J. (1970). Chomsky. London: Fontana. McFee, G. (1992). Understanding Dance. London: Routledge. [cited as “UD”]. McFee, G. (2000). Free Will. Aldershot: Acumen. [cited as “FW”]. McFee, G. (2010). Ethics, Knowledge and Truth in Sports Research: An Epistemology of Sport. London: Routledge. [cited as “EKT”]. Putnam, H. (2012). Philosophy in an Age of Science (M. D. Caro & D. Macarthur, Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.  Quine, W. V. O. (1960). Word and Object. Cambridge: MIT Press. Ramsey, F.  P. (1931). The Foundations of Mathematics. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Travis, C. (1985). On What Is Strictly Speaking True. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 15(2), 189–229. Travis, C. (1997). Reply to Simons. Mind, 106(1), 119–120. Travis, C. (2008). Occasion-Sensitivity: Selected Essays. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Travis, C. (2011). Objectivity and the Parochial. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Wisdom, J. (1965). Paradox and Discovery. Oxford: Blackwell. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G.  E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. [cited as “PI”]. Wittgenstein, L., & Waismann, F. (2003). The Voices of Wittgenstein (G.  Baker, Ed.). London: Routledge. [cited as “VoW”]. Ziff, P. (1972). Understanding Understanding. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

CHAPTER 8

Philosophy Without Exceptionlessness

1   Introduction: Thinking About Cases Lacking Exceptionlessness A conception of philosophy escaping the ‘dazzling ideal of science’ will not readily invoke exceptionlessness (such exceptionlessness being a feature of that ideal); nor, for similar reasons, aim at completeness, at least on one model of completeness. What is needed, of course, will generalize our response to the mistaken claim that concepts lacking determinate boundaries are therefore defective, like a field with no determinate edge (Frege, [1893/1903] 2013, Volume II §56: p. 69; quoted in full in Chap. 1 note 3), at least, when those boundaries are understood in terms of conditions individually necessary and jointly sufficient—although perhaps Frege meant this only for mathematical concepts (contrast, Kenny, 1995, p. 113). For our response highlighted the possibility of concepts where, first, lacking such a boundary does not preclude successful application; and, second, our continued successful use of the concept cannot require our knowing the implied definition (or boundary-condition) even were there one. So that, even if there were such a boundary for (say) the concept “game”, making that term amenable to definition,1 I do not know the definition (ex hypothesi). Hence, my correctly using that concept cannot require knowledge of its boundaries, if that use is allowed at all. Moreover, many putative explanatory definitions fail here, being either circular (and so empty) or not exceptionless (and hence not necessary-and-sufficient)— counter-examples show them to be either false or empty because “true by © The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_8

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definition”. As Kripke (1980, p. 119) recognizes, “if it is part of the concept of a tiger that a tiger has four legs, there couldn’t be a three-legged tiger”. Yet the so-called definitions in dictionaries regularly include that four-leggedness; and thence a misconceived conception of definitions is passed to hapless students. Further, one cannot just deny that the three-­ legged creatures are actually tigers. But, as the previous chapter showed, claims of considerable generality can consistently be endorsed (recognized as true) without the assumption of exceptionlessness. This concession might seem to remove something central to philosophy: either its definiteness or its usefulness—for who can benefit from connections claimed to be at once not exceptionless and still conceptual? Yet, determining the potential of such ways of proceeding should involve looking at individual cases, rather than offering generalities. Then the first of two related points appears when Kripke (1980, p. 10) asks: “could all of our intuitions [about X] be handled [in such-and-such a way]?” For the context suggests (or assumes) that only one form of answer is possible here—one offering a single, unified response. But a single, technical solution seems unlikely: the differences highlighted by contextualism (or occasion-­sensitivity for understanding) speak against any ‘unified treatment’ here, by the standards Kripke envisages. Yet, second, that should not be daunting. Instead, we should recognize the benefits of what Aurel Kolnai (1978, p. xv) sometimes terms “imperfectionism”, since: … any philosophy placing itself outside the framework of ordinary language is bound to lose touch with common sense and thus … is doomed to be totally pointless and irrelevant to our reading of reality. (Kolnai, 1978, pp. 188–189)

And our understanding of one another is responsive to that “reading of reality”. In part, our preference for going “[b]ack to the rough ground” (PI §107) is clear. Still, that is not equivalent to rejecting rationality as such, but only highly formalized conceptions of it. So, denying in this way the insistence on a single model, or a single style of response (faced with various logical analyses), is not claiming that anything goes, or that reason is purely subjective (contrast Chap. 9, Sect. 3). Thus, as Nagel (1979, p. 29) puts it: What humans who form scientific or mathematical beliefs agree on is that these things are true, full stop, and would be true whether we agree on them or not—and furthermore that what makes that true is not just that we agree to say it!

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For reasons here retain an intrinsic generality, even when our deployment of them is nevertheless our deployment. And here we should recall that: [t]hought, in the sense of thinking, is always somebody’s thought. But again, by its very nature, it aims at truth as such, and not at somebody’s truth. (Kolnai, 1978, p. 23)

Hence, while space for ‘rational reconstruction’ must be retained—and perhaps the genuine insights of science, along with those from philosophy, justify the lacunae in our thinking that require such modifications—that space must still be amenable to the giving, and understanding, of reasons. Yet how is that possible? How does one steer a course without the ‘dazzling ideal’ of science’? Adopting the occasion-sensitive view of understanding implicit in our rejection of the ‘dazzling ideal’ of science “gives substantially different form to virtually every philosophic problem, not just in the philosophy of language but wherever puzzles arise” (Travis, 2008, p.  129). If that is right, what does that difference amount to locally, wherever puzzles arise? More generally, how does one proceed in philosophy, having recognized both the need for conceptual connections and that such connections need not be (and typically will not be) exceptionless? Certainly, one must recognize that the erotetic character of research requires viewing each enquiry as answering questions or perplexities specific to that enquiry. Moreover, it should permit us to utilize the insights of others—thereby conceding when the ‘dazzling ideal’ led those ‘insights’ astray (see Sect. 6 below). Could any investigation in philosophy meet such constraints? This Chapter discusses, briefly, three helpful thoughts towards answering that question. First, that what are sometimes treated as counter-cases to exceptionless claims (compare Chap. 3, Sects. 6 and 7), and hence as refuting those claims, actually draw our attention to differences between contexts. The importance of such cases, then, lies in our recognition that, even though initially presented in the same string of words, the same utterance, they may well need differential treatment—that just recalls occasion-­ sensitivity (Chap. 1, Sect. 5). This point can be reinforced by commenting on a use of the term “proposition” in this context, since that term “is used rather vaguely to mean what a declarative sentence expresses” (Gaskin, 2013, p. 6). Then someone might mistakenly assume that, “bracketing ambiguity, indexicals, and demonstratives, for each declarative English sentence

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there is a [single] thought which is the one it expresses; its role in English is to express that one” (Travis, 2008, p. 110)—a conception rejected here. Rather, on our view: [w]hat words mean plays a role in fixing when they would be true, but not an exhaustive one. Meaning leaves room for variation in truth conditions from one speaking [that is, one occasion of utterance or reading] to another. (Travis, 2008, p. 94).

We have seen the same strings of words amounting to something different in different contexts (Chap. 1, Sect. 5): the question of (say) the blue-ness of a particular door sometimes requires an affirmative answer, sometimes a negative one, even though the sublunary world has not changed, and “blue” still means blue! Now, have we one proposition, or many? Assuming a single proposition here, identified by (say) a declarative sentence, will typically confuse, since there would then be more than one thing that “declarative sentence expresses”. This insight should caution us both against discussing “the proposition” here, as though there was only one, easily identified through the sentence; and against locating any differences in straightforwardly linguistic terms: say, by introducing types of adjectives as though they always made the same contribution to what was uttered or written. (Contrast, for instance, the attention to word-usage seemingly suggested in referring to “the logico-grammatical features of substance (stuff ) nouns” [Hacker, 2007, p. 37]; although, when discussing natural kinds, it is granted that “the interests of botany differ from those that underlie the classifications of ordinary language”: Hacker, 2007, p. 50).

2   Parables, Not Propositions Our second thought returns us to the function of cases in philosophy. If, as I think, Wisdom (1953, pp. 94–95) is right that at least some philosophy takes the methodological journey from the familiar to the familiar, what can that show about accountability in philosophical arguments? We begin, of course, from recognizing that “at the bar of reason, always the final appeal is to cases” (Wisdom, 1965, p. 102). For such cases motivate philosophical perplexity, with any attempted resolution (or dissolution) therefore answerable to these cases. From such familiar cases, we learn what is contentious; and where (when) the right way forward lies in philosophy. Thus, even simple cases used to explain identity-issues (in Chap. 3,

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Sect. 2) can display those issues as conceptual, concerning how “the same one” should be rightly understood, and subsequently motivating diverse philosophical responses. Thus, if we become perplexed about the nature of reality—about what kinds of things there are in the sublunary world—it is probably because someone (often someone of philosophical inclinations) has used cases to raise doubts about the common-sense answers. Are there really tables, given that the atomic theory of matter treats such objects as primarily ‘composed’ of spaces between atoms? (But, for example, when should distinctions presented [by their authors] as exceptionless require differential treatment to acknowledge contextual differences of the kind occasion-sensitivity suggests (see Chap. 7)? We return to this crucial question below.) One worked example of the importance of cases here might revisit a Lewis-type perdurantist’s view (see Chap. 3, Sect. 2) on which: … persisting things are sums of temporal parts; their temporary intrinsic properties belong in the first instance to their temporal parts; and it is no problem that two different temporal parts can differ in their intrinsic properties. A persisting thing is like a parade: first one part of it shows up, and then another. (Except that most persisting things are much more continuous than most parades.) (Lewis, 2002, p. 1)

To generate the difficulties with opposing (“endurantist”) views, Lewis (1986, p. 61) first explains that we should: … distinguish intrinsic properties, which things have in virtue of the way they themselves are, from extrinsic properties, which they have in virtue of their relations or lack of relations to other things.

Then Lewis (2002, p. 1) asks, “How can one and the same thing have two contrary intrinsic properties? How does it help to say that they have them at different times?” Yet, this situation is clearly familiar: “[s]ometimes you sit and then you are bent; sometimes you stand or lie, and then you are straight” (Lewis, 2002, p. 1). So: The principal and decisive objection against endurance as an account of the persistence of ordinary things such as people … is the problem of intrinsic [properties]. (Lewis, 1986, p. 203)

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Are there really continuants, such as persons, since they can be rightly ascribed incompatible properties (say, of being tall and short, or seated and standing: see Lewis, 2002, p. 1)? And so on. Then the common-sense (“endurantist”) view of people changing over time is contrasted with Lewis’ perdurantist account, on which one should deploy constructs such as, say, “this-horse-at-t, that-river-at-t, or David-Lewis-at-t” (Wiggins, 2016, p. 17). But such matters are usually addressed differently: “my car was red, is now blue” is—other things being equal—more likely to describe a re-­ spray than an engagement with a four-dimensional object. Then this way of thinking, even if widespread, cannot have the implications its advocates urge. Further, developing the “constructs” above draws on the everyday understanding derived from assuming that there are continuants. Hence, perdurantist accounts must “lean shamelessly upon the ordinary understanding of substances when we come to specify that from which these constructs are to be seen or assembled” (Wiggins, 2016, p. 17). What prompts such questions, or leads us to pursue these issues? Why might we be impressed by the difficulty of identity-through-change implicit in the fact that, say, David Lewis is seated at one time, but standing at another? Of course, philosophy has venerable traditions of concern with such questions. If we must find a single kind of property shared by ‘substances’ (like Lewis) throughout their changes of detail—and what could be less problematic, given (for instance) that we are creatures that age—perhaps perdurantism has a place after all. Yet, making sense of that idea requires that one both finds compelling the requirement for a single, exceptionless response here (where does that assumption come from?) and is willing to go far beyond everyday cases, despite having begun from them. But, as we saw Reid ([1815] 2002, p. 577) rightly remark, “[p]hilosophers should be very cautious in opposing the common sense of mankind; for, when they do, they rarely miss going wrong”. Yet surely philosophy may also challenge the common-sense understanding of such work-a-day cases, on some occasions. Elsewhere (McFee, 2018, p. xiii; pp. 2–3; p. 30), I have urged the (occasional) need for ‘rational reconstruction’ of what we would say. Thus, many idioms in English might be taken—mistaken, of course—to imply a substantial mind, or a mind-substance: as when I ask you to bear something in mind, or to keep your mind on what you are doing; when I make up my mind, having previously been in two minds on the issue; when I speak my mind; when I have half a mind to do something, and yet we are of the same (or like) mind on that topic; and so on. But once we recognize how, say, serious

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adherence to dualism of mind and body can be confusing when describing one’s actions (I dig in the garden, my body does not), we may avoid certain locutions (actions done ‘for your sake’ should not lead to the Great Sake Hunt), or acknowledge that certain questions have no place—that my using the term “sunrise” cannot, with justice, prompt you to ascribe a pre-Copernican cosmology to me (compare Chap. 4, Sect. 8) … well, none of these idioms need be puzzling: thus, being in half a mind to do something is being undecided whether to do it. Moreover, in most cases at least, there is nothing “which [reference to] ‘mind’ captures and which a satisfactory elaboration will leave untouched” (Rundle, 2004, p. 150). Yet this merely concedes that our discussions of (here) minds are at best answerable to our ‘common-sense’ cases; therefore, generating perplexities only when such cases do. Now, Wittgenstein was struck forcibly by both the pervasiveness of such problems in our thinking and the need to deal with them case-by-case; and explicitly diagnosed the source of such perplexities, at least on some occasions: … our language … keeps seducing us into asking the same [kinds of] questions. So long as there is a verb ‘to be’ that seems to function like ‘to eat’ or ‘to drink’, so long as there are adjectives ‘identical’, ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘possible’, so long as there is talk of the flow of time and the expanse of space, etc., etc., humans will continue to bump up against the same [seemingly] mysterious difficulties, and stare at something that no explanation seems able to remove. (BT, p. 312e)

And that is why, as Travis (2008, p. 14) summarizes: … the main source of philosophical (pseudo) problems is the impression that we understand [the application of certain familiar concepts] …—that it is ‘just the same as we are familiar with’—to circumstances for which they are really not defined at all.

Then, before returning to that discussion, we must enquire whether our view here allows the generality required to take these considerations forward: can the particularist tendencies occasion-sensitivity encourages still generate the requisite generality? Our reply, like that of Travis, comes from Frege (1979, p. 174): A thought always contains something reaching out beyond the particular case so that it is presented to us as falling under something general.

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Or, as Travis (2011, p. 8) translates it: A thought always contains something by means of which it reaches out beyond the particular case to present this to some consciousness as falling under some given generality.

Travis (2018, p. 63) reads this passage as urging that, “[a] thought that things are thus and so is also the thought of things a certain way. … A way for things to be has a certain intrinsic generality.” For Travis, then, the specific case—although having a generality in virtue of being subsumed under a concept which applies more generally—must still be understood occasion-sensitively. Thus, this form of words, when it recurs, may still amount to something different: the generality here is to what Frege ([1918] 1984, p.  353) calls “the thought”—“something for which the question of truth can arise”—which we might regard (without much confusion) as the proposition; a generality to what was said or meant, depending (in part) on the possibility of others saying or meaning (roughly) the same thing in uttering those same words; and hence in their capacity to be understood. For that is what differs, at least approximately, when occasion-­ sensitivity is recognized: that, while that same form of words might say something different on these different occasions (and so, in uttering that string of words, one might mean different things on these different occasions), someone else might also have said that same thing in using those words. What the words mean here is specific or particular in just this sense. But also, since what the person means by that utterance differs only when the occasions differ, Frege’s point concerns the generality of concepts, or thoughts (in his sense), or what is meant—where that may be particular in the ways granted by occasion-sensitivity, with the truth of the claim dependent on the context—and yet it still be possible to subsume what is meant (by those words uttered on that occasion) under a concept, such that they could be used by others in that context (or a closely similar one) to mean just that same thing: for Frege-style thoughts, too, require “the possibility of different thinkers grasping the thought as one and the same thought” (Frege, [1919] 1984, p. 376). That accommodates the generality within an occasion-sensitive framework. More importantly, though, the cases above illustrate how differences (or similarities) can be made vivid for us, with parables offering powerful examples. And many of our cases, while not strictly parables, operate in similar ways, even if recognized through slogans, or some such. Since

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actual parables illustrate this point clearly, Wisdom (1991, p. 113) recounts the prophet Nathan’s narration to King David (from the second book of Samuel): There were two men in one city: one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds: the poor man had nothing save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: it grew together with his children: it did eat of his meat, and drank from his own cup, and lay on his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but he took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come unto him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb four-fold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man … And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.

Through the story, David comes to recognize the immorality of his own actions, although no sheep feature in those actions. Rather, he had ordered that Uriah the Hittite be placed in the frontline in a battle where his expected (and actualized) death leaves David free to take Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, for himself. (Here, the story’s details might also require elaboration: for instance, how was the rich man able to do this? Hence, moral philosophy must often turn to literary works for cases as fully worked-out as possible, given “the priority of the particular … the need for fine-tuned concreteness in ethical attention and judgement”: Nussbaum, 1990, pp. 37–38.) As here, parables are told for some purpose, building (in this case) on similarities that Nathan recognizes from the beginning and David sees only in light of the parable. Then David must deal with the contrast he now acknowledges between his own behaviour and what he took it to be. In most parables, exposing something otherwise missed generates the insight, although the scope of relevant similarities or contrasts may be different. Faced with that situation, one must now say or do something different. And even when that ‘something’ is expressed wholly generally (“One should never …”, “You should always …”), these injunctions need not be meant exceptionlessly. Yet such contrasts, once elaborated, are conceptual contrasts; and, when similarities, conceptual similarities.

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But to what purpose? A stylized moment of ‘therapy’, from Derek Jarman’s film Wittgenstein (1993), offers an instructive example: in the film’s best scene, two students are asserting that “people” typically believed that the sun went around the earth because it looked as though it did— then Wittgenstein asks how it would look if the earth went around the sun. It takes a moment for them to realize that, since that is what happens, it must look just like this! The scales fall from their eyes. Just telling these young men that they were wrong would not be effective; after all, in a way, they know the facts already. But their understanding is transformed by the redeeming word, or liberating word, or even magic word (das erlösende Wort: PO, p. 161; BT, p. 302e; see McFee, 2015a, pp. 48–51). And, of course, it need not be a single word, but possibly, as in this example, a question highlighting what was taken for granted. Hence, for us as for Wittgenstein, philosophy proceeds “by curing … [philosophers] of the temptation to attack common sense; not by restating the view of common sense” (BB, p. 59). Earlier, having recognized that acknowledging contextual differences in line with occasion-sensitivity may require us to treat differently what their authors sometimes present as exceptionless distinctions (as in Chap. 7), we asked, “but when?”. The answer, of course, is now clear: one will do so when that makes a philosophical difference. But can any investigations in philosophy meet the constraints (above) of lack of exceptionlessness combined with recognition of conceptual connections and integration of extant philosophical insights where possible? A worked example (Sects. 3, 4, and 5 below) will demonstrate that this is possible, indicating some of its contours as manifest there. Then what we learn may be applied to our new cases. After all, even looking for such lessons from Wittgenstein: … would be pointless … if we are incapable of fending for ourselves afterwards … [which means imparting] a know-how which we can make our own by applying it to any philosophical problem whatsoever. (Baker, 2004, p. 129: my order)

Perhaps the application to just “any philosophical problem” is unduly expansive. Certainly, our contextualism (rooted in occasion-sensitivity, and the erotetic structure of those perplexities), as well as our therapeutic concern with what perplexes this person, here and now, suggests that different problems, issues, or perplexities might be treated differently. Thus, for cases raising “the ‘cognitive significance of language’, the most famous

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being Frege’s famous puzzle about informative identities” (Wettstein, 1991, p. 7), the concern might be summarized as asking, “how identity sentences in which proper names flank the identity sign can both state truths and be informative” (Wettstein, 1991, p. 109). How is information available from, roughly, a sentence comprising two proper names joined by the identity sign (“=”)? Stating the problem for these sentences as they appear in some natural language, such as English, already imports assumptions about the form of analysis suitable; and even turning to the sentence—as opposed to the (contextually specific?) utterance—imports significant analytic assumptions. Hence, if “Cicero is Tully” was the original sentence, the “is” of identity contrasts with other uses of that sentence (compare, say, the “is” of identification: see McFee, 2018, pp.  46–50). Then, unsurprisingly, the philosophical literature contains two, broadly contrastive account of reference, despite differences of detail in how each is then elaborated: broadly, the Millian-Kripkean “pointing” view, and the Frege-Russell “definite descriptions” view. So, one might conclude that each had virtues in its context; and hope to gain insights from each, those insights extending only as far as that context. (In this way, while each position assumes exceptionlessness, our differing with both on this point need not preclude our learning from each, nor our reading them.) And a single explanation cannot be expected to apply in all cases; nor will our way of dissolving this issue always be applicable in others. As usual, there are just cases to be considered. But a suggestive picture is offered when these requirements outlined can be met for at least one such problem. The so-­ called “free will issue”, having proved rewarding throughout, provides our example.2 So, my strategy adopts, and transforms, elements from Philip Pettit’s A Theory of Freedom (2001: cited as “TF”), where Pettit addresses the traditional version of the free-action problem (metaphysical freedom), presenting his constraints as applying to action as such. Reinterpreting Pettit’s position to accommodate the absence of a logical bar to agency (see Chap. 2, Sect. 5) will question whether the ‘actions’ thereby specified meet the conditions (whatever they are) for agency. That might raise different issues in different contexts, since (when compared to some previous case) different factors among those relevant are now contentious: why does such-­ and-­such not count as agency in this case, given no general abstract bar? Moreover, my selection of Pettit’s work here is adventitious, making sense to me as highlighting some of the (practical) issues here—once understood as I suggest.

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3   A Worked Example: Practical Constraints on Free Action? What are the practical constraints on (genuine) action, or on responsibility, in a world where—given the arguments thus far (Chap. 2)—the only reason for philosophers to dismiss agency and responsibility for humans, the determinist argument, was rejected? The absence of such a logical bar to human agency returns us to the default position: that humans are agents. Then, must each example be treated case-by-case, from scratch, on each occasion? The general success of social science might suggest the possibility of some broadly abstract account of the constraints here, applied in specific cases to explain why sometimes persons were not agents in respect of such-and-such events (despite appearances to the contrary): for instance, by appealing to disqualifying cases of kleptomania or some brain injury. Hence, some abstract patterns should be expected here, patterns that, although not exceptionless, can be stated informatively. Now, Pettit recognizes that candidate conditions to allow that “at the moment of choice it must have been possible for the agent, regardless of the causal regime and the causal history of the world up to that point, to have done otherwise” (TF, p. 9) are likely to be “in tension with a naturalistic picture of the universe” (TF, p. 9). In effect, that repeats the insight behind determinism: that counter-causal freedom cannot make sense of agency or responsibility. But the “could have done otherwise” condition is not thereby reinstated. As Pettit continues: Let the world be governed by naturalistic law, and the condition is straightforwardly ruled out. Let it be governed by indeterministic law, and it is still unclear how agents are supposed to fill the gaps that such law leaves open; and if they do fill them, it is unclear why this does not compromise indeterminism. (TF, p. 9)

The model of deterministic laws offered here is that developed earlier (Chap. 2): one made correct for natural science by its assumption of a finite totality of relevant conditions—an assumption introduced by fiat and made good by using ceteris paribus clauses. Further, this assumption is not one social science should adopt (and even less so the humanities). For only philosophers seem to require a uniform account of causality, such that it either always is or always is not exceptionless. Moreover, this need not vex philosophers either: a principled basis for exceptionless causation (better, exceptionless causal laws or principles) in natural science could combine

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with a causality elsewhere that—while still causality—is not exceptionless; and applied (where appropriate) within the social sciences and humanities. And that, of course, would involve no longer being ‘dazzled’ by science. The key to this conception lies in its contextual basis: no finite totality of conditions is always relevant to particular human decisions, but only conditions relevant here and now. So, (exceptionless) causal laws for matters of action cannot be drawn up. Yet, in any actual case, on any occasion, there will be causal continuity. It is odd to attempt to unravel the problem of the freedom of action (or “free will”) by urging that “[y]ou are free … just so far as you are fit to be held responsible” (TF, p. 12). For common sense suggests that one is only fit to be held responsible if one is an agent for that action—that is, if one is free! So, this strategy3 looks unpromising aimed at the original “conundrum” (Pettit’s word: TF, p. 8). Yet, with the possibility of a logical bar to human agency set aside, thereby granting the possibility of such agency to this (potential) agent, the choice would no longer be “(possible) agent or not?”. Instead, practical problems would require consideration: when is this particular person an agent? And, better, when is this person not an agent, or an agent only in an attenuated sense—for clearly the failure-­ conditions are strongest. (That, in turn, follows from the defeasibility of the relations here [see FW, pp. 123–124]; and is implicit in recognizing us as [potential] agents.) Then Pettit offers a useful starting place: Intuitively, you will not be fully free in respect of a choice between A and B, if [a] you are not aware of the availability of those options in your environment of choice, [b] do not have the conceptual resources to evaluate them, or [c] are not functioning in a way that would allow that evaluation to affect what you do. [TF, p. 13: my letters]

In thinking about conditions where—with no logical bar to the possibility of agency—the local situation sets up constraints on if (or when) there is actual agency, one sees that here too agency is not neutral. In effect, those three considerations from Pettit acknowledge limitations on one’s power to grasp one’s situation, or on one’s understanding at the level of either simply understanding or that involved in moving from such understanding to action. Such limitations of perception or of reason might be understood either fairly globally—the powers and capacities were not available at that time or place—or locally: although others might have had them, you did not! This second case grants that you were not free to do such-and-­ such. Yet, on our picture, human beings are rightly regarded as agents:

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that, as Wittgenstein (OC §402) liked to quote from Goethe, “In the beginning was the deed”. As a result, no explanation is needed of our (human) capacity to achieve changes in the world of the sorts rightly regarded as actions (to include, of course, omissions and such like), with the agents responsible for such actions, wholly or in part. Moreover, “[t]he concepts of thought and action, that is, of deliberate human action, prevent any separation [of thought from action] being carried through consistently” (Hampshire, 1959, p. 91). I am responsible for whatever follows from, say, my walking down my garden path, even without explicitly planning to take that walk. Roughly, that follows once the event is not set aside as an accident. So, its being intentional does not require some explicitly formulated plans, thoughts, or intentions—and certainly not ones prior to the event: in typical cases, my intentions are embodied in my actions. Of course, discussions of, say, political freedom need not address abstract freedom (and associated responsibility) of this sort, although we might become closer to so-called negative freedom, on which “[t]he free man is the one who is not in irons, nor imprisoned in a gaol, nor terrorized like a slave by fear of punishment … it is not a lack of freedom not to fly like an eagle or swim like a whale”4: that is, a conception of freedom as neither attempting to contravene the laws of physics and nor currently in handcuffs.

4   Two Constraints on Practical Freedom Here the three conditions above from Pettit elaborate ways to recognize the collapse of responsibility (wholly or in part) for what might otherwise be one’s actions. So that, with a failure of any of these conditions, either this is not an action at all (nor an event for which one is responsible) or— more likely—one’s responsibility is mitigated in this case. Such failures or mitigations are introduced through familiar cases with the fine detail there being very important, of course, since that case itself is contextually grounded. Thus, Pettit highlights three modifications to one’s account of an action potentially treated as identifying the recognized heads of exception within defeasibility: that is, as ways of explaining why one cannot be free in this case. Moreover, despite being presented positively, these really amount to negative conditions, highlighting “heads of exception” to defeat the ascription of full human agency in this case. Like the positive-­

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sounding requirement that contracts be “true, full, and free”, such negative conditions acknowledge ways (here) for the contract to fail to be true or full or free, thereby defeating the original ascription of a contract. Pettit (TF, p. 31), then, presents three such conditions: [i] It is fitness, prior to choice, to be held responsible for whatever one does. [ii] It is personalised fitness to be held responsible, not just fitness according to standardized criteria for ascribing responsibility. And [iii] it is fitness to be held properly responsible, not fitness to be treated—for developmental reasons—as if one were fit to be held responsible. [my numbers]

Each of these conditions highlights ways of failing to be a plausible agent. The first of these [i], “fitness, prior to choice, to be held responsible for whatever one does”, puts aside an objection noted earlier: that is, it grants that agents are not simply “praised in the event of their action being good or … blamed in the event of their action being bad” (TF, p. 14). Rather, agents have that capacity, the fitness to be held responsible, independently of the outcome. Hence, someone whose physical conditions (for instance, some brain-based illness) or local circumstances precluded her being held responsible would certainly be disqualified as an agent: thus, the little girl in Sam Raimi’s film The Quick and the Dead (1995) is too small and weak to support her father’s legs to save him from hanging. While she might count as an agent in other respects, in this one at least she does not—she is not fit (“suitable”), in those circumstances, to be held responsible. Perhaps she bears some responsibility for her inability to shoot through the noose—certainly, when she becomes Sharon Stone, she feels such a responsibility: to the degree that she might have done it, she might be implicated in the failure. And, in line with Pettit’s constraint, any responsibility here is independent of whether she chose to attempt that feat. More importantly, the literature identifies two specific cases where this condition disqualifies—or, anyway, mitigates—the claim to be an agent. In the first, it is urged that the person must be an agent since he was encouraged by praise or deterred by blame (compare Schlick, 1966, p. 61: also FW, p. 71). Yet this was never a test-case: perhaps obvious-looking security officers in the department store would deter even the kleptomaniac (FW, pp. 74–76), but that does not make him/her a free agent. Then, second, agents are praised for actions even when they fail this condition, although only from a limited perspective. As Pettit points out, “[t]he resistance agent

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who does not crack under torture may attract lavish praise” (TF, p. 15). But such agents are still rightly regarded as not fully free because, while we would not “have taken them to be fully worthy of praise in the event of doing something good … they are fully worthy of blame in the event of doing something bad” (TF, p. 15). Hence, our resistance-­member holding out against torture is certainly praiseworthy, but not (typically) blame-worthy for succumbing to torture. Certainly, his/her behaviour was not exactly free! This condition highlights an asymmetry between that case and more usual ones. In certain circumstances, then, specific persons might fail even to count as candidate agents. The second condition [ii], that “[i]t is personalized fitness to be held responsible, not just fitness according to standardized criteria for ascribing responsibility” (TF, p. 31), recognizes that our agents always operate in contexts. Relevant here is the person in the context: both play a role. In The Quick and the Dead, the Sharon Stone character (“The Lady”)—while a child—might plausibly be thought too small, too weak, and perhaps too young, to wield the large pistol she is offered to attempt to save her father. But, by the movie’s end, she clearly has the requisite capacities both physical and psychological. Moreover, the conclusion’s contextual character must be granted: that, although your doing such-and-such may be rightly praised, someone else might not be entitled to praise (indeed, might be entitled to blame) for doing what also looked, superficially, like such-and-such. This particularist thinking5 rejects exceptionless principles for ethical conduct, applicable exceptionlessly to any situation, despite appearances to the contrary. At least, any very general ‘principles’ appearing exceptionless lack content: for example, “Be nice to others” offers no specific guidance to conduct, typically requiring different behaviours in different contexts. Rather, whatever is urged must then be applied to one’s particular situation. And, in familiar cases, the same reason may function in diametrically opposed ways. For instance, my having borrowed a book from you is a reason to return it. But when I find that you stole the book from the library, I have no reason to return it to you; and (perhaps) reason not to. Moreover, “[t]hat she wants power and he does not may be a reason to give the power to him rather than to her …” (Dancy, 2004, p. 75). So, a guideline that, in one situation, promoted ethical behaviour might, in another, promote morally reprehensible actions: the context affects what action is, or may be, actually performed. Hence, exact advice can rarely be given. Here again, the occasion-sensitive character of truth is involved (Chap. 1, Sect. 5), because

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“[t]he statements fit the facts always more or less loosely, in different ways on different occasions for different intents and purposes” (Austin, 1979, p. 130). Therefore, definite results as to truth accrue only when the circumstances of the describing are somehow the right ones for the purpose in hand, by some relevant standard. Then, no abstract resolution, divorced from context, is possible here. But there typically will be such a resolution once the context’s details are taken into account—or, at least, room for debate towards such a resolution. Of course, such particularist conceptions of the ethical need supplementation and elaboration; and remain contentious. But granting them would show why exceptionless principles for ethical conduct towards others cannot be offered here (namely that exceptionless ethical principles cannot be offered anywhere else!). An anecdote, possibly apocryphal, may clarify: in a lull in the proceedings on an examination board involving two Oxford philosophy professors, the particularist J. L. Austin asked his colleague, Richard Hare, how he would respond if offered a bribe by one of the candidates. Hare, an advocate of principles in the sense denied here, replied that he would say, “I do not take bribes as a matter of principle”. By contrast, Austin claimed his own reply would be, “No thanks”. That no overarching principle is required to explain his conclusion in this case in turn highlights what can be offered: namely, hints and reminders applied in the case before us. Often, too, this will ground reconsiderations based on failures to know or to recognize one’s options: you knew, and hence were praiseworthy, but I did not (or, better, could not), and hence cannot be regarded as being as fully free in that respect. Thus, full autonomy, and even fully autonomous choices, are ideal notions, only to be approached more or less closely: here, mitigations are likely. For example, John Harris (1995, p. 196) recognizes, as a partial justification of paternalism, some factors counting against autonomy, to include: • Defects in the individual’s ability to control either her desires or her actions or both; • Defects in the individual’s reasoning; • Defects in the information available to the individual, upon which she bases her choices; • Defects in the stability of the individual’s own desires.

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If one considers the case of young children, where paternalism seems most widely justified, at least the first three conditions are readily understood. Further, on different occasions, each might be attributed to one or other of Pettit’s conditions for freedom: at your age, your reasoning is defective; so, you are not fit, prior to choice, to be held responsible for whatever you do. Or, at your age, you do not see all the options: so, your knowledge is defective—but this is your case specifically, your personalized fitness for responsibility: although the same age, I can recognize those options and so on. Insofar as relations here are defeasible, Harris’s list offers “recognized heads of exception”, or perhaps alternative formulations of those already mentioned: with “defects in my reasoning” granted, my choices might be questioned—are they really my (properly considered) choices? Such questions are partially raised in Pettit’s considerations [a], [b], and [c] above. To the extent that we are confident that these are not my choices (but, say, really yours, given your influence on me), my agency becomes questionable, as Pettit identifies (especially in condition [ii] above). In effect, this point has two dimensions, because the specificity of my choices, in my contexts, must be recognized—doing so offers one way to disallow my agency while conceding yours in a similar situation; further, defects in (say) the choosing that underpins agency can be essentially my defects. That too gives a reason to doubt my agency in a context where yours is not questioned. Again, Pettit’s second condition ([ii] above) also seems plausibly applied here, highlighting a genuine constraint on full agency— indeed, one directly related to many plausible examples of justified paternalism, with such paternalism precisely identifying (and being justified by) limitations of the subject’s capacity for agency.

5   A Third Constraint The third condition from Pettit is also important: that [iii] “it is fitness to be held properly responsible, not fitness to be treated … as if one were fit to be held responsible” (TF, p. 31). That is, although penalizing a certain behaviour treats its ‘agent’ as though fit to be held responsible, the explanation of that penalty need not always grant that implication. In a simple case, while attempts to train our pet not to defecate on the kitchen floor seem to involve blaming the pet for having done so, no such implication follows. By contrast, we are in fact aiming to inculcate into our (very young) children the blameworthiness of their behaving in that manner.

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So, nothing here follows from our using the term “blame”, even though not readily distinguishable in our genuine blaming-behaviour—say, with friends tempted to defecate on the kitchen floor. It can be hard to unpick how cases of training animals and teaching children both resemble and differ from the cases of genuinely applying the concepts (here, “blame”) in ordinary situations. For, first, mastery of those concepts may be required, and be a matter of degree. The child who applies the word “dog” to all four-legged creatures, in pictures as in life, has not (of course) mastered the concept dog—that requires, at least, contrasting dogs with cats and with giraffes—but has a rudimentary grasp of that concept: after all, four-legged-ness is important for typical dogs, as is the ability to recognize ‘dogs’ in pictures as well as in ‘reality’. Then, second, our cases here are not exactly like claiming that (say) the bin at the automatic toll-­ booth ‘counts’ the money thrown into it before raising the barrier although, for both, more accurate descriptions will remove the appearance of agency, or choice. While uncontentiously a sentence in English, used to make an intelligible statement, this cannot be rudimentary counting (nor rudimentary decision-making), as though open to improvement, but rather is no kind of counting at all. In a classic case here, some social benefit may be claimed for imprisonment by those nevertheless denying absolutely the effectiveness of (say) imprisonment as a punishment: “We are not really punishing him—since imprisonment is no kind of punishment—but we want others to take his treatment (really, to mis-take it) as a kind of punishment.” On some occasion, such a procedure might have merit for psychological reasons. But it should not be confused with appropriately treating so-and-so as an agent: instead, the treatment resembles that of the dog-trainer. So, fitness to be responsible must be contrasted with cases where, although the person is not fit to be responsible, the treatment received resembles that of someone who is fit to be responsible. This remains a topic for further discussion elsewhere; but one where the negative force (that so-and-so is not fit to be responsible) is dominant, with straightforward examples of not being responsible (such as those mentioned above for, say, children) put aside. For ascriptions of fitness to be responsible will, of course, be defeasible. On this reading, Pettit’s three conditions generate key questions concerning an individual’s responsibility—although, of course, our presumption (faced with, say, an adult member of homo sapiens) is that of responsibility and agency, unless offered some specific reason, in this case,

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to think otherwise in this context, not all. So, first, has one the relevant capacities? Second, are there reasons to doubt that one’s choices, and hence one’s actions, are really one’s own? Often, the answer to such questions here will be a matter of degree: for instance, my philosophical ‘choices’ are clearly inflected by my having learned much philosophy from study of Wittgenstein. Perhaps, in general, we happily accept that I make up my own mind, drawing on what I learned from Wittgenstein: I have internalized the ideas, making them my own. But perhaps, on such-and-­ such an occasion, all I am doing is reiterating Wittgenstein’s ‘choices’. In that case, a debate might concern the degree of my autonomous action there; hence, the degree to which any agency or responsibility is mine. But that debate is now concrete, and specific to this case. Third, one might object, not just that I do not exercise agency here, but that it would be impossible in my case: that, in this respect, I was not a suitable object of agency. Perhaps, here and now, agency will be precluded for some specific reason—by its being ‘reflex action’, or by kleptomania, in the simplest cases; by other brain conditions (say), or by extreme duress, in more complex examples. Easy answers to such questions should not be assumed even in the specific cases where those questions arise. But they represent topics to be explored for some cases, as well as situations that—sometimes—provide “recognized heads of exception” to defeat the presumption of agency; and, hence, become ways of not being, say, a moral agent. Moreover, all three of Pettit’s constraints began from recognized (and recognizable) cases of unfreedom: the choices each person appears to have in those situations are not what they would be, were the situations different. Using these ideas has allowed us to sketch (with some generality) the morals from such cases in an apparently more substantive fashion—as though defending a thesis of our own. But that ‘thesis’ was not read exceptionlessly!

6   Argument and “The Redeeming Word” Suppose all the above were accepted. Central cases for discussion (“the very essence of causation”: Hart & Honoré, 1985, p.  10, cited as “H&H”) were rightly taken as those reflecting “the generalizations or laws which it is the prime business of the experimental sciences to discover” (H&H, p. 10); and begin from an exceptionless and inexorable causality sustained only by the introduction (if implicitly) of ceteris pari-

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bus clauses (see Chap. 2, Sect. 5); moreover, with such causality typically viewed as event-­causality, with one event causing another. Having put aside the philosophical problem of free action (there is no logical bar to human agency in the world), some constraints on genuine agency were recognized, of kinds potentially used to justify claiming, “She is not really responsible”, or “He is not fully responsible”—where our considerations turn on the logical status of both the defeating conditions and the plausible lines of excuse here (compare Austin, 1979, pp.  175–180). This more revealing use suggested here makes Pettit’s claims seem insightful, rather than requiring him to recycle, once again, a treatment of the metaphysical problem of free action. It aligns his view with one Austin (1979, p. 273) attributes to Aristotle: … that questions of whether a person was responsible for this or that are prior to questions of freedom … [So that] to discover whether someone acted freely or not, we must discover whether this, that, or the other plea will pass—for example, duress, or mistake, or accident, and so forth.

For it makes plain why such discussions of responsibility might usefully address practical constraints on action, and hence reflect some of the practical bars to genuine action discussed above. And, in many cases in history or in the law (compare H&H, p. 9), a person’s activity results in an outcome, with the first rightly described as causing the other; but also cases of “one man by words or deeds providing another with a reason for doing something” (H&H, p.  2). And, even were the second account not regarded as portraying (genuine) causation at all, at least this feature might differentiate this case from a similar one—that this is what led (“caused”) this person, but not his fellow, to do such-and-such. In such cases, “[t]he lawyer and the historian are both primarily concerned to make causal statements about particulars, to establish that on some particular occasion some particular occurrence was the effect or consequence of some other particular occurrence” (H&H, pp. 9–10). And, when they go beyond the particular cases, their concern “is often to apply generalizations, which are already known or accepted as true and even platitudinous, to particular concrete cases” (H&H, p.  10)—where, of course, the essence of such generalizations is to reflect ‘trends and tendencies’ only, not to require exceptionless, inexorable outcomes. Thus, we noted previously that the “Iron Law” of wages is neither really iron (in the sense of inexorable) nor really a law, in the sense elaborated above.

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Moreover, such an account lends itself to our kind of erotetic contextualism reflecting “the particular context and purpose for which a particular causal enquiry is made and answered” (H&H, p.  11; compare Wright, 1976, p.  102, quoted this volume  Chap. 1, Sect. 5). Moreover, Austin (1979, p. 122) urged exactly this basis in the “historic” for truth-claims. Hence, quite often the difference-maker for such cases will reside in the specifics of this case, rather than in indicating all those background conditions without which this item would not, as it were, have made the difference. That also highlights one role for these particular claims in contexts of this sort. Further, in sketching (briefly) pictures such cases might dissolve, I have, of course, claimed such dissolutionary moves as philosophical. However, does this conclusion, and especially the suggested strategies (such as the “redeeming word”: Sect. 2 above), really leave us doing philosophy? Our positive answer both shows how the sorts of definiteness envisaged above might draw on what we reliably take for granted; and how that in turn might illustrate some features of argumentation here. Hence, it is worth appending a brief discussion of that point. For what can be learned about accountability in philosophical argument if, in much philosophy, the methodological journey is from the familiar to the familiar, as Wisdom (1953, pp. 94–95) urged? Then recall, above, the methodological importance of examples or cases: that “we now demonstrate a method by examples; and the series of examples can be broken off” (PI §133). Hence, we see why, as Reid ([1815] 2002, p. 577: quoted above) noted, “[p]hilosophers should be very cautious in opposing the common sense of mankind; for, when they do, they rarely miss going wrong”. For that “common  sense” reflects the cases (or examples) to which we might ­plausibly appeal. Moreover, one should recognize “that [particular] pattern of agreement and disagreement are distinct features of the notion of logic” (Cavell, 1969, p. 94/2002, p. 87), at least as we should deploy it when attempting to identify arguments (and especially non-arguments) for philosophical purposes. Our starting point, of course, repeats that “at the bar of reason, always the final appeal is to cases” (Wisdom, 1965, p. 102), a claim quoted above. For such cases not only motivate philosophical perplexity, but also provide the “test bed” for success in any account or analysis: any attempted resolution (or dissolution) must be answerable to such cases. As we saw, someone (often someone of philosophical inclination) might have raised doubts about our common-sense claims: are there really tables, given the atomic theory of matter treats such objects as primarily ‘composed’ of spaces between atoms? Are there really continuants, such as persons, when (as

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above) they can be ascribed incompatible properties—say, of being tall and short, or seated and standing? And so on. Given philosophy’s conceptual character, we expect such issues to be explored there at least partly though argument. Yet then the broadly therapeutic conception of philosophy urged here raises the fundamental question: “But is it argument?” Clearly, this request for argument identifies something characteristic of the practice of philosophy, and distinctive of its contrasts both with natural science on the one hand and with literature (and with conversation) on the other. While it is tempting to call this the requirement for genuine argument, we lack uncontentious models for such argument: certainly, one could not look to, say, formal logic (see below). Still, as Bernard Williams (2014, p. 367, 2006, p. 202) recognized: Unless a conversation is very relentless … it will not be held together by ‘so’ or ‘therefore’ or ‘but’, but rather by ‘well then’ or ‘that reminds me’ and ‘come to think of it’…

For philosophy, as opposed to, say, ordinary conversation, requires a certain relentlessness (which elsewhere I identified as flintiness: McFee, 2015a, p. 208): “That reminds me of …”, say, cannot readily capture conceptual connection of the kinds required for philosophy. As Ilham Dilman (2011, p. 113) urged, there is a sense in which “[a]rgument forces our hand”. Of course, as Putnam (1994, p. 69) recognized, “[a]ll philosophy does not have to be argument, and all arguments do not have to be in the analytic style”: much of what one makes of his first clause inevitably depends on what one makes of the second. For what exactly does “the analytic style” encompass (once wholesale appeal to the symbolism of the predicate calculus and modal logic are set aside)? As Dilman (2011, p. 113) continued, “the dismantling of attractive sounding positions changes our perspective and makes us see what we did not appreciate before”; and he was certainly correct that insight is not always achieved by briskness of the sort that Wisdom (1965, p. 69, 1991, pp. 47–48) calls “the father’s method”. In contrast to the “mother’s method” of enlightening her child by offering simple examples, the father offers principles or definitions: “Short, conclusive, the Father’s procedure. That’s more what one might call a proof” (Wisdom, 1991, p. 48)—or, equally, what one might call an argument! So here too there is the potential for ‘dazzle’: scientific conclusions too seem to offer models of brisk inevitability. Equally, we cannot always expect (nor require) “the top hat and spats of deduction” (Wisdom, 1991, p.  40). Still, Cavell (2010, p. 191) offered the right response on Wittgenstein’s

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behalf to this difficulty: that it amounted not to “an avoidance of the argument of a text but an alternative way of engaging it …”. The required recognitional character is central here: one must see that such-and-such a conclusion follows from these other claims (“premises”). As Lewis Carroll showed us eloquently, only those who accept the normative force of (say) the requisite rules can follow that path: in his example, the Tortoise constantly accepts the claims Achilles offers, but only as further premises— and hence without (yet) accepting the ‘conclusion’ as following. We can understand Achilles frustration here with those who cannot see these ‘inevitabilities’: “Logic would take you by the throat, and force you to do it” (Carroll, [1894] 1973, p. 1107). But, of course, there is no throat-­ grabbing Logic in this sense! Moreover, our grip on the notion of an argument builds similarly on familiar cases of drawing justified conclusions from other claims (“premises”). For we must (and do) begin from conclusions we recognize as following from those premises. Presuppositions of axiomatization are relevant only on the assumption that axiomatization is the right strategy here: at best, that remains to be demonstrated. Thus, Dummett (1991, p.  16) draws “[a] sharp distinction … between criticism of a proposed formalization of the way we are accustomed to reason and a criticism of the way we are accustomed to reason”, his comments broadly paralleling my discussion (McFee, 2015b, pp. 101–107). To make the point, Dummett uses a simple but compelling example from elementary categorical logic, by showing that—while a particular argument-schema is recognized as invalid—some arguments instantiating that schema may nonetheless be valid since in this case we grant that the truth of this conclusion is indeed guaranteed by the truth of the premises.6 So, then we cannot urge that, in reaching that conclusion, someone “had in practice reasoned incorrectly” (Dummett, 1991, p.  17). That is, the ordinary, everyday ‘reading’ of premises and conclusion would leave one happy with this conclusion-­ drawing, as a typical example of “the way we are accustomed to reason”. What should be made of this? As Dummett (1991, p. 17) notes: The immediate effect of a challenge to fundamental accustomed modes of reasoning is perplexity: on what basis can we argue the matter, if we are not in agreement about what constitutes a valid argument?

We are, of course, just criticizing a particular formalization of that “way we are accustomed to reason”. If a wholly general and abstract account is

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required, that argument-schema cannot count as valid, for we know of arguments using it where the conclusion’s truth is not guaranteed. So, if the person arguing as above is thereby entitled to the truth of the conclusion (given the truth of the premises), that ‘entitlement’ is not wholly syntactic or structural, the usual bases for validity. Thus, in any cases, where the reasoner is indeed entitled to claim the truth of that argument’s conclusion, the ‘entitlement’ must have a (broadly) semantic component. So, for this ‘entitlement’ to be the outcome, not just any terms can be slotted into the argument-schema. Hence, the formalization alone cannot be any guarantee of the validity of any particular arguments involved; but, at best, only of argument-schema. For, on either count, the analysis to ensure these matters must predate the formalizing. Such reflection on the place of such formalization or axiomatization leads rightly to distinguishing sharply “criticism of the way we are accustomed to reason … [from] criticism of a proposed formalization of the way we are accustomed to reason” (Dummett, 1991, p. 16: my order and emphasis); only the second of these—based on formalization or axiomatization—may look like logic as represented by classes called “Introduction to Logic”. And might explain, in writings by the (imaginary) ‘typical philosopher’, taking seriously the tools provided by the formalism: “the persistent use of formal reasoning, especially reductio ad absurdum and the detection of vicious infinite regress” (Donagan, 1994, p. 264). Yet there too, in practice, we begin by seeing that such-and-such follows from ­so-­and-­so in examples: hence, not all such conclusion-drawing necessarily fits into any abstract formalizations drawn up. Suppose one returns to (apparently) perplexing claims, addressing actual cases. Now, while I remain unsure what it would mean to ask if tables are real, my sublunary world certainly includes shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, as well as tables, chairs, and spectacles. But, equally, it includes shadows and rainbows. To repeat, if one begins from these cases, it scarcely makes sense to ask whether there are really people or tables. On the contrary, any resolution (or dissolution) of the perplexity must be answerable to just these cases. (We return to these issues in Chap. 9.) Moreover, one mistake here will involve requiring answers, thereby ignoring the power of questions to bring out fundamental differences here—as one feature of “the redeeming word”. Thus, recall (from Chap. 1, Sect. 5), our treatment of what Wisdom (1965, p.  88) regarded as Wittgenstein’s biggest contribution to philosophy: “[h]is asking of the question “Can one play chess without the queen?’”. There, we recognized

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that it seemed right on occasion to answer “yes”, but equally right, on a different occasion, to give or infer the answer “no”. Neither answer covers all cases, although there can be determinate answers here, once the occasion is properly considered. And then, if one gets a kind of definiteness, it is not the kind envisaged by some writers. Wisdom (1953, p. 95) himself provides a clear example, when someone asks, “Could anything which is not a bridle serve the purpose which a bridle serves?”: The Red Indian [better, Native American] with his single strip of hide can stop and turn his pony with it, so the practical, debunking person will say ‘Yes’, may even then insist that it is a bridle, which of course is quite untrue. The instructor in equitation will say ‘No’ because he cannot obtain with it the balance and ‘collection’ he obtains with a bridle. … Shall we say ‘It serves the same purpose’ or shall we not?

There is no single answer here, but we see why the question vexing the “instructor in equitation” is rightly answered “No”; and that this answer is not thereby rendered vague (say), by recognizing that there are other questions, other occasions. Hence such questions demand answers of other kinds. In a similar vein, Wittgenstein (PI §531) raised two cases (identifying each as “in a sense”), in the first of which (as is familiar): … the thought in the sentence is something common to differences; in the other, something that is expressed only by these words in these positions. (Understanding a poem.)

He continues by asking whether “… ‘understanding’ [has] two different meanings here?” (PI §532). Clearly, in implicitly writing of “two senses”, Wittgenstein is not postulating “sense 1” [“understanding-subscript-­ one”] and “sense 2” [“understanding-subscript-two”] (as Oxford philosophers in the 1950s might7). Here, Wittgenstein uses our acknowledged mastery of the notion of understanding a poem to shed light on understanding sentences, rather than trying to characterize the understanding of poems; further, the variety within understanding sentences in general is reflected in the different things rightly called “understanding a poem”— which is why (for me) the example of understanding a poem applies to both halves of the paragraph (PI §531 para [b]).

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Consider “the thought in the sentence”, which someone understanding that sentence would (implicitly) claim to understand. For some sentences in a poem, on some of someone’s perplexities with that poem, this thought might be put in another way (using different words), and still be complete (since it answered that person’s perplexity, each of these ‘understandings’ must be seen as complete in its own terms). And what is true of individual sentences is true of the whole poem. But, obviously, one might have other perplexities: for jokes, puns, rhetoric (as well as for poems), there might be occasions where it was important that the thought was uniquely instantiated in those words in that order (“these words in these positions”); and students of literature might learn to approach poems from perplexities of just this kind. But then the same might also be roughly true of novels. Certainly, the long poem and the novel seem pretty similar here: notice that Homer, Virgil, and Chaucer are regularly rendered into prose. One might think that, for such poems, their poetic status was not as central to their interest as it was in some short poems. Equally, though, some changes introduced in, say, the bowdlerizing of Shakespeare seem more crucial than others [“words in books, stones in brooks” misses any point]. And that might be explained by regarding these as ‘purple passages’, ones where the language had a more ‘poetic’ character. But then the term “poetic” has a specific use, not just the generally descriptive one. Moreover, this discussion too seems to generate a powerful emphasis on freedom: that one can resolve only contextually what the right answer is, or how many answers there are that count as right—such that, changes in one’s view of the occasion, or the issue, should both be expected and impact substantially what one should say; and, equally, what might be disputed by others. Further, insight here was achieved through the reorientation brought about by the redeeming word: we recognize that our previous view was partial, or imported assumptions we need not (always) make, or some such. More importantly, though, in making differences vivid for us, parables (discussed in Sect. 2 above) offer a model for the way that, when effective, the “redeeming word” forces its ‘conclusion’ on us, thereby highlighting similarities or differences: in particular, in prioritizing the particular, it might emphasize again “the need for fine-tuned concreteness in ethical attention and judgement” (Nussbaum, 1990, pp. 37–38) mentioned above. For King David must acknowledge, as a result of hearing Nathan’s parable (see Sect. 2 above), that his actual behaviour differs from

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his prior view of it. As in confronting that case, and recognizing its power, the result is that one should now say or do something different. Further, it is the redeeming word, not just the redeeming sound: the impact is normative, not (just) causal. And, when such parables (or other forms of “redeeming word”) elaborate contrasts, these should be seen as conceptual contrasts; and understood as occasion-sensitive. Moreover, as noted above (and see Chap. 7 passim), forms of words that seem to imply exceptionlessness (“One should never …”; “You should always”; “Every snow goose …”) need not build in that assumption. Some texts from Wittgenstein support ascription to him of such a conception (McFee, 2015a, p. 198); for example: It is a comparison that misleads us. Or, actually, a hundred misleading comparisons seem to meet here: one takes for an ostensive definition what is not one; & for a description what is not a description; and for a name what is not a name; and for knowing something what is not knowing … A hundred misleading pictures meet here & that is what makes up the difficulty of the philosophical condition … (Ms 116, pp. 216–218)

Or again: Different disquietudes of the understanding are settled by different means … Many of your clarifications make comparisons, many make simplifications. (Ms 134 p. 31v)

Here, one only benefits if the perplexity thereby undermined is the perplexity one has; and, of course, one cannot know this unless one’s perplexity remains (after ‘treatment’)—then that, for you, was not after all the redeeming word. Wittgenstein makes this point explicitly, although perhaps most clearly in the 1937 version of PI (Ts 220 §106): One of the most important tasks is to express all false trains of thought so characteristically that the other says, “Yes, that is exactly the way I mean it.” … Indeed, we can only convict someone of a mistake if he acknowledges that this is really the expression of his feeling. For only if he acknowledges it as such is it the correct expression. (quoted McFee, 2015a, p. 51)

That is, only with a clear view of one’s (mis)understanding will it (eventually) go away. In this sense, Wittgenstein urges, “[w]ork in philosophy is … actually more a kind of work on oneself ” (PO, p. 161: BT, p. 300). But this is difficult both because it can be difficult to find your redeeming word

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(das erlösende Wort: PO, p. 165: BT, p. 302), the one suitable for you here, making the matter clear to you (VoW, p. 301); and because we regularly acquire misleading ideas. Hence: Teaching philosophy involves the same immense difficulty as instruction in geography would if a pupil brought with him a mass of false and falsely simplified ideas about the course of rivers and mountain chains. (PO, p. 185: BT, p. 311)

In part, then, this rejects the idea that there must be a single, dominant mode of description and explanation; and amounts to the advocacy of, or the demand for, freedom of thought here. Perhaps this answer is most appropriate or most revealing in this situation, and that one (or those ones) in that one, where the circumstances or occasions would identify the contexts. Hence, each may have a role on some occasion, determined—if at all—occasion-sensitively. Certainly, Wittgenstein wrote against the idea that a single formulation was always effective or that a single account (or answer) was always the appropriate one, in every context: he recognized that his perspicuous representation (see McFee, 2015a, pp. 65–71) must be the kinds of overview that permit diversity appropriate to context, to yield “one out of many possible orders, not the order …” (PI §132). And others rightly took from Wittgenstein a concern with freedom of thought rather than with the policing of boundaries: that he was “fascinated by the ­contemplation of different possibilities and did not sympathize with those who wanted to close doors” (PPO, p. 396), seeking instead to substitute “can” for “must” (see Drury, 1996: “Dublin Lecture” p. 5)—where one explanation was the therapeutic efficacy of possibilities thereby exposed.

7   Conclusion So, might our discussion of the three constraints on responsibility function as a liberating word or redeeming word (or even magic word: see above Sect. 2) for some perplexities concerning free action? For that, after all, was the rationale for its inclusion here. Of course, it is not just a word: but that, in turn, reminds us that any ‘cure’ here must run its natural course (Z §382), rather than being hasty (McFee, 2015a, pp. 55–57). By such standards, the discussion above could indeed fulfil its primary purpose here by illustrating such liberating in the relevant ways: someone might come to see that the practical constraints here were all philosophy could

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(or should) offer; and hence be freed from the search for bigger solutions. Now, not everyone will share a particular worry or perplexity, nor confront it in his or her practice. As Wittgenstein (PPO, p. 133) noted: Someone who must fight (against) (swarms of) mosquitoes finds it an important matter to have chased some away. But that is quite unimportant to those who are not concerned with mosquitoes.

But the prevalence of the ‘dazzling ideal’ of science may make avoiding it less likely. For, as Wittgenstein reportedly urged, “[t]he obsessions of philosophy vary in different ages because terminologies vary. When a terminology goes, some worries may pass, only to arise in a similar terminology” (AWL, p. 98). Thus, perhaps attributing human capacities to brain-parts would become harder if the term “mirror neuron” disappeared.8 But that alone would not eradicate this scientistic tendency (discussed in Chap. 5). For, as Wittgenstein reportedly continued, “[s]ometimes a scientific language produces an obsession and a new language rids us of it” (AWL, p. 98). But, obviously, sometimes it does not—and especially when this “new language” is still modelled on scientistic conceptions of description, explanation, and causation. Finally, our practice here differs in two recognizable ways from that suggested by the ‘dazzling ideal’ of science: it is not necessarily exceptionless (as stressed throughout), but it is also historical in that students of philosophy are expected to read philosophers of the past—physics students are not, in the same way, expected to read Newton or Galileo. Obviously, such a conception of the non-relation of science to its history seems supported by the ‘dazzling ideal’, or image, of science mentioned throughout. So, what marks-out philosophy here from some other disciplines? To approach that question, we might ask ourselves just what we learn about, say, persons from Aristotle—given that his view of persons was built around the notion of a city-state, that states of the period were mainly slave-holding (can one own persons?), and that the notions from physics and biology of that time are (or seem) radically different from our own. Then appeal to the past of philosophy can seem problematic. Are not Aristotle and Descartes so mistaken about the character of the brain as to render their ideas irrelevant in the twenty-first century? To answer “No” requires explaining briefly their enduring value.

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A further feature of the teaching of philosophy seems also central here: our preference for reading philosophers in their own words, where possible and, language-mastery permitting, in the words they wrote; and, to the degree that this is difficult or impossible, to use reputable translations and—where possible—to pay attention to terms problematic in translation. To strike a personal note, much of my work on Wittgenstein (see McFee, 2015a) has been predicated on the need to grasp what he was saying—and my route to that goal has been via the study of his writing. For, of course, one wants not merely to report, say, the arguments of philosophers of the past but also to assess them: are they good arguments? And if so why? Thus, an explanation is needed of how philosophy (especially so-called “Analytic Philosophy”) makes legitimate use of its past—since it seems now agreed on all sides that it should: that is, the old ahistorical ‘one-­ conversation’ view no longer seems plausible. Rather, a legitimate place for the history of philosophy must be found within philosophy, unless our practices in teaching philosophy are to be revised substantially. Here, the benefits lie not in finding views for ‘target practice’ but in the insights that studying such an alternative “mind-style”9 can offer—insights, perhaps, into what constituted a good argument, and into what was then taken for granted. For these are potential ways to locate what one takes for granted oneself. Then here, as above, “[p]hilosophy is … a kind of work on oneself. On one’s own conception. One the way one sees things. (And what one demands of them.)” (BT, p.  300e; PO, p.  161–163), as for Wittgenstein (see McFee, 2015a, pp. 43–55). Moreover, whatever explains our continuing interest in some philosopher of the past, such as Descartes (see Chap. 9, Sect. 4), surely justifies an interest in Descartes’ own arguments and their conclusions. After all, accepting as his sayings what are not (especially accepting it on others’ say-so) effectively puts aside the real history. As we saw (Chap. 6, Sect. 12), we should not begin by just dismissing as confused Descartes’ own view (as he presents it). Doing that assumes that we know better. But, if Descartes’ own view is given credence, as worthwhile, it must be more sophisticated than the accounts offered of it. Perhaps, say, it draws conceptual boundaries differently: then, it may be illuminating to encounter, in this way, a “mind-style” different from our own, with some things obvious to us seeming to be un-obvious—and vice versa. As a more general moral here, then, philosophers should pay more

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attention, and different attention, to ascribing these views to our past philosopher. Then we might see more clearly why we care: that is, consider what can be learned from that person. Drawing such a conclusion will involve sensitivity to history. Perhaps that will help both explain and profit from the philosophical interest of philosophers of the past. Moreover, our discussion of free will cases above also highlights some of what is on offer. Pettit’s view presents a useful simplification or categorization for cases needing consideration, since one cannot begin from all the relevant cases, both because it is impossibly complicated to select, in the abstract, which were relevant, and because there is no finite totality of such cases (real or imagined)—no all! Even that aspiration would be obviously unfeasible, a little like trying to use a map where each inch (or millimetre) on the earth’s surface appeared as one inch (or millimetre) on the map. For then the map would be as big as the relevant segment of the earth’s surface. A degree of simplification is needed. Then we can consider whether the simplifications from Pettit (above Sects. 4 and 5) might offer the liberating word or redeeming word for those person-specific perplexities addressed, as remarks “for a particular purpose” (PI §127) or “for some particular person” (compare BT, pp. 300e-301e): this, for us as for Wittgenstein (Ms 142 §122), is how “[w]e are released … from the enchantment of the ideal”. And central to Wittgenstein’s methodological presentation was to “demonstrate a method, by examples” (PI §133: BT, p. 316e). Moreover, Wittgenstein rightly stressed that, “there are only particular tasks”, no wholly general ones, commenting “[a]ll philosophical problems are of this kind” (VoW, p. 123). Further, what might mislead or perplex me (say, on this occasion) might not mislead or perplex you. Hence, what was therapeutic for me, for my puzzlement on this occasion, might not apply to how you ‘see the world’—as we might say, to the spectacles you were wearing (PI §103). For our concerns may be different: hence, there need be no fundamental level of issue to which all others can be reduced. Now, the simplifications we are considering, especially those in the writings of other philosophers, typically derive from insightful presentations of some relevant cases or examples, written for general consumption (and so not person-specific): that may give us some confidence in taking them as starting points on our journey from the familiar to the familiar (Wisdom, 1953, pp.  94–95). Certainly, what are there identified as counter-­cases to exceptionless theses may, for us, aid in the identification of the relevant contexts, and their delimiting. Certainly, one need not always be left claiming, “Yes but …”. After all, from the perspective of those urg-

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ing exceptionlessness, these very cases or examples count as refutations of their positions: for us, instead, they actually provide data for our search for the (relative) clarity, and freedom from ‘disquiet’, that the redeeming word can give.

Notes 1. For instance, that from Suits, 1978, p.  40: compare McFee, 2015b, pp. 19–28. 2. Recycled from McFee, 2015a, pp. 332–342. 3. Arguably that of Schlick, 1966, pp. 54–63: see also FW, pp. 70–72. 4. Helvétius, quoted Berlin ([1958] 1969, p. 122 note). The contrast between negative and positive freedom is contentious, especially if presented as contrasting “freedom from” (negative) with “freedom to” (positive). See brief criticism in Williams, 2005, pp. 79–81. 5. Compare McFee, 2004, pp. 141–144. For more articulation of particularism, see Dancy, 2004. 6. Dummett offers the following argument that, despite instantiating an argument-­schema invalid on the modern interpretation (EAO-3), has a conclusion whose truth is guaranteed by the truth of its premises (1 and 2): No Fish are Hairy Creatures; All Fish are Scaly Creatures; Conclusion: Some Scaly Creatures are not Hairy Creatures. 7. For Wittgenstein’s earlier flirtation with such a view, compare PG, p. 49. 8. Compare Hacker, 2018, pp. 381–385; and Chap. 4 note 12 above. 9. This evocative expression is Gordon Baker’s: see McFee, 2015a, pp. 41–42.

Bibliography Austin, J. L. (1979). Philosophical Papers (3rd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Baker, G. (2004). Wittgenstein’s Method: Neglected Aspects. Oxford: Blackwell. Berlin, I. ([1958] 1969). Two Concepts of Liberty. In Four Essays on Liberty (pp. 118–172). Oxford: Clarendon Press. [Reprinted]. Carroll, L. ([1894] 1973). What the Tortoise Said to Achilles. In The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll (pp. 1104–1108). London: Nonesuch Press. Cavell, S. (1969/2002). Must We Mean What We Say? New  York: Scribner’s. [Updated edn., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press]. Cavell, S. (2010). Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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Dancy, J. (2004). Ethics Without Principles. Oxford: Clarendon. Dilman, I. (2011). Philosophy as Criticism: Essays on Dennett, Searle, Foot, Davidson, Nozick. New York: Continuum. Donagan, A. (1994). The Philosophical Papers of Alan Donagan (Volume 1): Historical Understanding and the History of Philosophy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Drury, M.  O’C. (1996). The Danger of Words; and Writings on Wittgenstein. Bristol: Thoemmes Press. Dummett, M. (1991). The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Frege, G. ([1893/1903] 2013). The Basic Laws of Arithmetic (P.  E. Ebert & M. Rossberg, Trans.). Oxford University Press. Frege, G. ([1918] 1984). Thoughts. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 351–372). Oxford: Blackwell. Frege, G. ([1919] 1984). Negation. In Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy (pp. 373–389). Oxford: Blackwell. Frege, G. (1979). Posthumous Writings. Oxford: Blackwell. Gaskin, R. (2013). Language, Truth and Literature: A Defence of Literary Humanism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hacker, P.  M. S. (2007). Human Nature: The Categorial Framework. Oxford: Blackwell. Hacker, P. M. S. (2018). The Passions: A Study of Human Nature. Oxford: Wiley/ Blackwell. Hampshire, S. (1959). Thought and Action. New York: Viking Press. Harris, J. (1995). The Value of Life. London: Routledge. Hart, H. L. A., & Honoré, T. (1985). Causation in the Law (2nd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kenny, A. (1995). Frege. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Kolnai, A. (1978). Ethics, Value and Reality: Selected Essays. Indianapolis: Hackett. Kripke, S. (1980). Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lewis, D. (1986). On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell. Lewis, D. (2002) “Tensing the Copula”, Mind, 111, 1–14. McFee, G. (2000). Free Will. Aldershot: Acumen. [cited as “FW”]. McFee, G. (2004). Sport, Rules and Values: Philosophical Investigations into the Nature of Sport. London: Routledge. McFee, G. (2015a). How to Do Philosophy: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Wittgenstein. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. McFee, G. (2015b). On Sport and the Philosophy of Sport: A Wittgensteinian Approach. Abingdon, OX: Routledge.

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McFee, G. (2018). Dance and the Philosophy of Action. Alton, Hants: Dance Books. Nagel, T. (1979). Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nussbaum, M. (1990). Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pettit, P. (2001). A Theory of Freedom: From Psychology to the Politics of Agency. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Putnam, H. (1994). Between the New Left and Judaism. In G. Borradori (Ed.), The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn (pp.  55–69). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Reid, T. ([1815] 2002). Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (D. R. Brookes, Ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Rundle, B. (2004). Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Schlick, M. (1966). When Is Man Responsible? In B. Berofsky (Ed.), Free Will and Determinism (pp. 54–63). New York: Harper & Row. Suits, B. (1978). The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia. Edinburgh: Scottish Academy Press. Travis, C. (2008). Occasion-Sensitivity: Selected Essays. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Travis, C. (2011). Objectivity and the Parochial. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Travis, C. (2018). What Structure Lurks in the Minds of Men? In J. Collins & T.  Dobler (Eds.), The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought and Perception (pp. 50–89). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wettstein, H. (1991). Has Semantics Rested on a Mistake?, and Other Essays. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Wiggins, D. (2016). Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being and Their Identity: Twelve Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Williams, B. (2005). In The Beginning Was The Deed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Williams, B. (2006). Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Williams, B. (2014). On Hating and Despising Philosophy. In Essays and Reviews 1959–2002 (pp. 363–370). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Wisdom, J. (1953). Philosophy and Psycho-Analysis. Oxford: Blackwell. Wisdom, J. (1965). Paradox and Discovery. Oxford: Blackwell. Wisdom, J. (1991). Proof and Explanation: The Virginia Lectures. Lanham, MA: University Press of America. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/2001/2009). Philosophical Investigations (G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, [50th Anniversary (3rd edn.); 4th Rev. edn., P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.]. [cited as “PI”].

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Wittgenstein, L. (1958). The Blue and Brown Books. Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “BB”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1967). Zettel. Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “Z”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1969). On Certainty (D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “OC”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1974). Philosophical Grammar (A. Kenny, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. [cited as “PG”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1979). Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Lectures: Cambridge 1932–1935 (A. Ambrose, Ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “AWL”]. Wittgenstein, L. (1993). Philosophical Occasions 1912–1951 (J.  Klagge & A.  Nordmann, Eds.). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. [cited as “PO”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2003). Public and Private Occasions (J. Klagge & A. Nordmann, Eds.). New York: Rowman & Littlefield. [cited as “PPO”]. Wittgenstein, L. (2005). The Big Typescript: Ts 213 (C.  G. Luckhardt & M.  A. E. Aue, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. [cited as “BT”]. Wright, L. (1976). Teleological Explanations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

CHAPTER 9

Conclusion: The Place of Reason

1   Introduction: Truth, Reason, and Responsibility Two related questions posed initially amounted to: “What must be true of us if philosophy is possible?”, and “How might images of scientific reasoning seem to count against, or undermine, such possibilities?” Here, we deployed Wittgenstein’s suggestive answer to the second question: that one might easily be ‘dazzled’ by a certain image, an ideal, from science. Much of this text was devoted to exposing contours of that image in a number of contexts—free will debates, mind-brain debates, artificial intelligence debates. In all cases, one primary tool involved reminding ourselves of Frege’s warning against undue dependence on causal explanation in contexts where conceptual connections arose: that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). Then, our conclusion was that “[t]he concepts of physical science provide a very special, and partial, description of the world that experience reveals to us … what remains is the mathematically describable order of things and events in space and time” (Nagel, 2010, p. 25). Addressing the other matter stressed the inter-connection of human powers: in particular, normativity in meaning and action, with its associated responsibility. As noted in the Preface (this volume), fuller elaboration of such connections must await other texts.1 But addressing debates over rationality and the place of truth—topics mentioned in Chap. 1, Sect. 3, but not specifically pursued there—clarifies exactly what is at issue here. © The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7_9

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Moreover, my questions above are clearly related. As Wittgenstein recognized, our view of persons as possible (human) agents—and as speakers—requires normativity: the human and the normative must not disappear from our explanations. Hence Wittgenstein (PI §282) highlights how cartoon teapots become candidate agents only when anthropomorphized, because: [o]nly of a human being, and what resembles (behaves like) a human being can one say: it has sensations; it sees, is blind, is deaf; is conscious or unconscious. (PI §281)

Saying this acknowledges the normativity of human action, typically exemplified here by chess (see, for instance, Chap. 1, Sect. 1; Chap. 2, Sect. 10): the chess moves being good or bad (as well as legitimate or not) cannot be completely explained by describing regularities in the movements of chess pieces, since such description cannot capture (nor attempt to capture) what one should do in these circumstances. And chess can be understood only by granting its normative features. Equally, as we noted, such normativity distinguishes words (which can be misused) from mere sounds. Therefore, as we saw, we must mean what we say, since what one says is what one means (other things being equal) just because it is what one says; and one should mean what one says, with the major alternatives being either lying or failing to take the interchange sufficiently seriously, as Cavell (1969/2002, pp.  29–31) rightly urged. Then, specifying what one did (what action one performed) requires characterizing that action in the correct or appropriate ways. Moreover, only when truthfulness and keeping one’s word are valued in themselves can one expect the flourishing of human dispositions to, for instance, honesty and fidelity. Further, our human capacity to initiate action is just something about us: in typical cases, we do not do anything (or at least anything additional) to achieve it; and nor is there a causal explanation of how we do it, as distinct from the account describing that we do so. After all, actions at one time explicitly thought-through can sometimes become ‘automatic’. In illustration (see Chap. 2, Sect. 10), Dummett offers the learning of the skills of punting: initially, one perhaps pays conscious attention to all the instructions one has been given. But later, as one gains mastery (say), explicitly thinking-through one’s actions prior to performing them, or while doing so, can disappear:

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After sufficient practice, the proper use of the punt pole becomes ‘second nature’. Now you think, ‘I must avoid this oncoming canoe’, and steer skillfully to keep out of its way, without the least conscious thought of the movements of the pole by which you accomplish this. (Dummett, 2010, p. 38)

In such cases, then, we may no longer think-through what we are doing; nor, indeed, need to do so. But that cannot make the behaviour any less intentional. Moreover, my avoiding that canoe can be explained, after the fact, by saying that it required my doing such-and-such, referring back to the initial teaching in ways unnecessary when just performing the action. As an agent, I can just do various things. But, in a changed context, that explicit concern can recur: thus, although explicit punting techniques are not typically ‘before one’s mind’: [y]ou can still bring them to mind if you have to instruct a beginner; but when you are simply punting for pleasure, the technique has been buried at a level below consciousness. (Dummett, 2010, p. 38)

And, of course, what I can do, and also what I can intend, will have limitations, both conceptual and practical—I may lack the relevant concepts, for instance; or the contacts with other people to make this an intention for me (as opposed to a vague aspiration). In these ways, the distinctly human world in which philosophy is possible might be elaborated. But where does that leave “the dazzling ideal of science”?

2   What Science Can and Cannot Offer This text has focused on the potential of certain views of science to ‘dazzle’, and especially that capacity as potentially manifest in philosophy; but such claims must be distinguished from more generalized ‘science-­ bashing’. Doing so will stress both the strengths and weaknesses of science itself. Thus, to begin from a limitation, the field of science should be characterized so that its goal is (broadly) sublunary truth, or ‘truth about the world’ (to include the rest of the universe), and its methodology naturalistic—by which I mean more than just urging, negatively, that “science should make no claims about the existence or properties of a supernatural deity” (as Sober, 2011, p.  121 expresses “a first approximation”). Of course, in science, the default position must be a restrained scepticism,

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since “suspension of belief … [is] rationally and morally justifiable, in contrast to meaningless commitment to unintelligible ideas” (attributed to Ove Arup: Jones, 2006, p. 22). But, as we shall see, that cannot amount to rejecting either the possibility of truth or determinate answers to context-­specific questions. Instead, the issues for science cluster around the universe’s causal structures: its concern is, broadly, with how suchand-such occurred. Of course, sometimes enquiring why such-and-such occurred is appropriate: but asking, say, why the rope of the playground swing broke when my child was using that swing, becomes either a legitimate question for science (“How did the rope become frayed?) or a hunt for some normative agency (“Who frayed the rope?”). For answering the initial question cannot assume (nor legitimately build in the assumption) that this fate befell my child rather than some other for a reason—perhaps there was no such reason! Or, better, concluding that there was indeed a reason is moving to a different question. Then we can see why science cannot ground normativity: Nagel (1997, p. 21) makes a similar point by considering attempts to provide external validation of, say, morality (recognized in Chap. 1, Sect 8)—that just as arithmetic: … cannot be displaced by sociology, or by biology … [n]either can ethics … [o]nce the category of thoughts that we cannot get outside of is recognized, the range of examples turns out to be quite wide.

A plausible ethical theory cannot be based only on scientific theories, not least because results in science cannot reflect differences in culture; with so-called evolutionary ethics the obvious case thereby excluded. Thus, as Nagel (1997, p. 141: quoted Chap. 5, Sect. 5) recognizes, “[t]here might well be an innate, biologically explicable disposition towards racism, for example, yet that does not exempt racism from moral criticism”. In particular, although one cannot ‘act against’ any ‘laws of nature’ (or they would not be laws), one can always chose to act immorally, for the injunctions of morality are normative and human.2 Of course: Scientists discuss nonscientific matters, and there is nothing wrong with their doing so. … Methodological naturalism does not prohibit scientists from making philosophical claims … [thus] Darwin expressed his hatred of slavery and he was a scientist, but the wrongness of slavery isn’t part of a scientific theory … (Sober, 2011, p. 128: my order)

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Such a view need not contrast the truth of science with the situation for (say) slavery. Instead, one should begin by recognizing that at least some ethical claims are true: for instance, that it is wrong to torture innocent children. But if that is true, there are moral truths; at least, one example was found—a kind of ethical realism (Bambrough, 1979, p. 13). So, the possibility of moral truth cannot just be set aside. Yet, then, truth in the sciences might be contrasted with ethical truth, taking scientific truths as exceptionless. But, insofar as connections to the human world necessarily find a place for ethical truths (as the example above demonstrates), such truths will be contextual: in ethics too, “[c]ircumstances objectively alter cases” (Bambrough, 1979, p. 33). And a further potential for the ‘dazzling ideal’ here is identified, offered as a reason to deny that such contextualism permits truth. Moreover, Nagel (2012, p.  19) rightly suggests, as an assumption behind such a view of science, the thought that: … we can attempt to discover the universal principles governing the elements out of which everything is composed, and of which all observable spatiotemporal complexity is a manifestation. These are the mathematically stateable laws of basic physics, which describe the fundamental forces and particles or other entities and their interactions, at least until a more fundamental level is uncovered.

Then that “more fundamental level” will itself be expressible by the physics of that time. Certainly, the assumption of such intelligibility is pervasive; its reductionist potential already noted. Further, this recalls the aspiration of Sheldon (from television’s The Big Bang Theory) to offer a “theory of everything” (see Chap. 1, Sect. 2), with Nagel (2012, p. 20) explaining what such “scientific optimists mean by a theory of everything”: It is assumed not only that the natural order is intelligible but that its intelligibility has a certain form, being found in the simplest and most unified physical laws, from which all else follows.

But how can one explain everything? The problem here lies in the scope of “everything”: thus, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (by Douglas Adams, 1979) tried to characterize the kind of ultimate question that seems required here. But the answer offered there (“42”)—admittedly as a joke— makes no sense, of course. Still, the real moral of the story is that there is actually no question here, although unfortunately philosophy did not pay sufficient attention.

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Positively, though, what can science offer, once the benefits of technology, medicine, and such like are set aside? That is, I pose the question having granted the material or technological gains. At its heart, the key methodological commitment to the place of truth is made explicit in The Search, by C. P. Snow: in that novel (as Lord Peter Wimsey expresses it), one scientist informs another that: [t]he only ethical principle which has made science possible is that truth shall be told all the time. If we do not penalize false statements made in error, we open up the way for false statements made by intention. And a false statement of fact, made deliberately, is the most serious crime a scientist can commit. (Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night, 1936, p. 373)

This methodological imperative towards truth (even if not always achieved in practice) makes the connection to intentions—although one must neither be repressive nor fail to see truth-seeking as both valuable in itself and necessary for properly managing oneself and one’s world. In this way, regard for truth builds in a place of reason. Moreover, once the connection of truth to meaning is conceded (as below), truth-seeking must accompany any attempt to understand. Finally, the project of truth-­seeking requires conceding the contrast between truth and falsity—or, more generally, the possibility of truth. Without the assumption that some claims are true of the world (and therefore answerable to it), one cannot pursue science; but neither can one genuinely pursue philosophy. It is important generally to see truth as a goal, especially as one implicit in asserting. Thus, I recently saw a poster asserting, “Evolution is a lie”; but—whatever one thinks of evolutionary biology (see Chap. 5, Sect. 2)— it cannot be a lie! Its advocates take themselves to assert it for good reasons; and are committed to its truth. They may be mistaken, but they are not lying. Or consider the apocryphal claim (attributed to Mary McCarthy3) about some semi-autobiographical writing of Lillian Hellman: that, in these works, “every word is a lie including the ‘ands’ and the ‘buts’”. Setting aside the hyperbolic exaggeration-for-emphasis (could it really be “every”?), and recognizing that, broadly, truths or falsehoods are expressed in assertions (hence, roughly sentences rather than single words), this claim embodies two elements crucial for lying. First, that events these works describe did not occur as described—for instance, that Muriel Gardiner Buttinger, rather than Hellman, performed the activities self-ascribed in the story “Julia”, from Pentimento: A Book of Portraits

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(Hellman, 1973) (and included in the film Julia [1977]); and that the behaviour of Hellman and her friends, faced with Joseph McCarthy’s hearings of the House Committee for Un-American Activities, was not as described in Scoundrel Time (1976). So that what these works asserted was false. Then, second, that this self-description on Hellman’s part was motivated, here by a desire to present her behaviour in a more positive light. To the extent that such claims were true, the accusation of lying would seem justified. At issue, of course, is the commitment to the possibility of truth; and hence of falsehood. So that, if certain claims made by (say) the Flat Earth Society are false—the world is not like that—those claims are not lies when honestly asserted. The claimants are saying what they mean and meaning what they say. Maintaining this relation to truth is important in many ways: for instance, one can deny that such-and-such is true only after conceding that there is some ‘fact-of-the-matter’ (whether or not one knows it). Thus, it makes no sense to, say, dismiss all news as “fake news”: even if true of all extant news, its general truth would preclude there being news! And, as below (Sect. 3), truth-denial is self-refuting. Another issue, directly connected to espousal of truth here (see Chap. 1, Sect. 3), concerns the need to speak not merely truly but also exactly. Thus, in the Preface (this volume), we saw Freud ([1905] 1966, p. 267) commenting tartly on the impact of popularization on his own work, where: … qualifications and exact particularisation are of little use with the general public; there is very little room in the memory of the multitude; it retains only the bare gist of any thesis and fabricates an extreme version which is easy to remember.

Freud’s lament is that something inexact is made of his theoretically precise accounts of human beings, with that inexactness following from how his works are presented to, and received by, a general audience. This perhaps explains why “popularisers were [typically] ignored” (Jones, 2006, p. 298) in academic philosophy, and perhaps should be in science. Further, one must take with appropriate seriousness the terms employed: thus, just as merely calling a piece of music “the greatest song ever” ­cannot demonstrate that it is the greatest song of all time, so one must be wary of inferring too much from what something is called! For instance, the so-called “mirror reflex”, where people reflect the behaviour of someone with whom they converse, is revealingly titled; the “mirroring” is real. By contrast, the presence of so-called “mirror neurons”, once

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established, cannot (yet) demonstrate anything about their functioning as brain-parts: that name merely suggests the hoped-for function! On the other hand, we must not infer simply from a person’s talking of sunrise that he/she maintains a pre-Copernican cosmology. So, one must be both accurate and judicious. Moreover, care here is needed with terms having very specific (sometimes technical) uses within certain contexts (and therefore set by those contexts). And, of course, precisely this difficulty besets ‘doubters’ of science mesmerized by, for example, the term “theory”: “Oh, it is just a theory!”, as though that were automatically demeaning, readily treating theory as broadly equivalent to “unsupported, wild conjecture”, without plausible evidence and hence not proven to any degree. In some contexts, the term “theory” might perhaps have this use: suppose I acknowledge having no idea why the American people actually ended-up electing Donald Trump as President in 2016—but I offer a theory … here, a theory might indeed be (and, given the ignorance I affirmed above, probably is) a wild conjecture with no particular plausibility. My selection of it, rather than some other, seems arbitrary. But, as described, this is no theory in the scientific sense (or not yet); and the situation is exacerbated if it seems that I simply decided here. So, comment on both arbitrariness and decision in this context can be useful. Predictions based on scientific theory and observation give a clear starting place,4 by implicitly recognizing operative concepts of sublunary objects—roughly, the kind-terms identifying substances (see Chap. 3, Sect. 1)—as “always and necessarily compendia of causal law or law-­ likeness [that] carry implications of causal power or dependence”, as Strawson (1966, pp. 145–146) puts it (echoing Kant); and events as comprised of such ‘objects’, including, of course, our bodies. To offer a (non-­ exceptionless) slogan, “[k]ind terms supply the categories prerequisite to description of and generalization about the world” (Kuhn, 2000, p. 233). So, law-like behaviour is the default-assumption for explanation of ‘the natural world’, as well as showing one reason to want science—a reason connected to technology, and the potential for ‘control’ in ‘the world of nature’.5 Then, typically, cases described by “linear” equations, where (roughly) a small error in one’s statement of initial conditions will result in errors in one’s predictions of roughly the same order of magnitude, provide our simplest examples for causality in scientific contexts. But some non-linear situations, as captured (at best) by the misnamed “Chaos Theory”, can generate major epistemological issues: what can be predicted

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if (a) we do not know those initial conditions, while granting there is “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” (Gleick, 1987, p. 8), so that ‘getting it slightly wrong’ about the initial conditions can lead to hugely different projected outcomes (say, in respect of weather); and (b) we recognize my ignorance of the real values that, roughly, should be inserted into my equations (for instance, those predicting climate changes)? Faced with such a situation, climate scientists might speak of deciding on values for initial- and boundary-conditions, and such like. While these are legitimate uses of the term “decision” and its cognates in English (so the point is not about language only), using the term “decision” in such scientific contexts can be misunderstood. First, such a decision can seem arbitrary: but this misunderstands the degree to which here, as often, one cannot just say whatever one likes. Thus, contrast a “Three strikes and out” rule for baseball with the alternatives: yes, it is a human choice in sport, a human practice—and so arbitrary, in that a different number could be selected. Yet, it does not seem just arbitrary to reject “One strike and out” (as not giving the batter the required opportunity to display his/her skill); nor does rejecting “Two hundred strikes and out” (as delaying the activity’s outcome in ways counter to expectations). So, these are not simply arbitrary: in particular, any arbitrariness cannot derive merely from baseball’s being a human creation (like other sports, and many human activities). Our scientist’s choices here are also constrained both by her commitment to truth-seeking and by what she knows: thus, she may face a range of candidates here, but certainly not an open horizon. And, to repeat, the issue concerns the difficulties of knowing the appropriate values. Yet such practical difficulties need not (yet) preclude the philosophical conception of these ‘values’ (of such initial conditions, etc.) as unknowns, rather than as ‘unknowables’. Moreover, on this conception, there are ‘facts of the matter’ if only we humans could know them6: as Bradley ([1893] 1969, p. 506) put it, there is a determinate answer “if only it could be got”. Then, faced with problematic constraints on human knowledge, philosophy might appeal to the ‘god’s-eye-view’ of Carnap’s LOJ (“Logically Omniscient Jones”) to insist that there is such a definite answer. And, if that often seems problematic for predictions, it will be clear for past events: there, something occurred and, in principle, sufficiently explanatory causal descriptions of that event would capture why that (and not something else) occurred. After all, we began from the occurrence of whatever event. And the description of what occurred7 is that offered by the science within which one’s enquiry is situated.

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Yet, for philosophical purposes, characterizing the issue in terms of decisions is then potentially confusing. In practice, scientists must decide what values to use in specifying (say) initial conditions only because these values are not presently within their grasp (the difficulty is purely epistemological). And such decisions are not wholly arbitrary; even less so than those for rules in baseball! Then, looking to (say) climate equations similarly circumscribes the boundaries of choice, so one need only choose the most plausible values—and then use those in one’s model! Hence, there is a decision, but only because those initial conditions (and boundary-­ conditions, and so on) are not known sufficiently accurately. Moreover, the empirical data from which one’s predictions begin must be treated critically, or with appropriate scepticism. One danger is that, while: … an applied mathematician’s relation to reality [or that of any scientist using mathematical procedures for prediction, as here] is fraught with problems … [,] experimentalists try to help by simplifying what they see, and key facts are often unwittingly overlooked. They must be respected but never trusted without question. (Mandelbrot, 2014, p. 155)

So, on the picture and proviso above, there is a determinate answer “if only it could be got” (Bradley [1893] 1969, p.  506); and one should make determined efforts to reach it, with the best tools at one’s disposal. Further, one should not always infer a single answer. That thought should dispel the illusion of arbitrariness to the selection or stipulation of ‘values’ for use in some key equation (and either justified or accepted within that scientific community: compare this volume Chap. 4, Sect. 7). To clarify, consider two cases—one deterministic, the other not—both originating in work by Benoit Mandelbrot. First, the fractal models of natural objects and systems that Mandelbrot and his successors and co-­workers developed, based on the Mandelbrot set, draw on mathematical ‘objects’ in a clear way, permitting their investigation with a computer. Then even those not drawn to offering such mathematics objects real existence (that is, to Platonizing them) accept that such ‘objects’ have d ­ eterminate properties, once identified. After all, if computers were not deterministic in this sense, the results produced would not be trustworthy (in the jargon, would not be safe: see FW, pp. 155–158). But, while recognizing “[e]mpirical scientists having to be content with less than perfect inductions” (Mandelbrot, 1967, p. 638), his brilliant short paper, “How Long is the Coast of Britain?”, considered a second possible scenario, concerning measurement of quantities

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(here, length) “assumed to have well-­defined finite values, such as the length of coastlines” (Mandelbrot, 2014, p. xiv). Because then the character of choices or decisions involved may differ. For what are the geographer’s purposes and concerns? An account accurate for some purposes will satisfy geographers “unconcerned with minute details”, as Mandelbrot (1967, p. 636) suggests. And, although offering such a geographer the right answer here, it implies other concerns or purposes; and then reaching the same degree of accuracy for one’s answer may require modification. Especially important here is that, first, a decision as to scale is needed; but then, second, with such a decision in place, there is a determinate answer. So, this insight does not produce incompleteness in the world or anything parallel to it. It is not the sort of ‘messiness’ in the world feared or deplored by Mumford and Anjum (2011, p. vii: see Chap. 2, Sect. 5). With that scale stipulated, the answers given will be accurate or true (other answers being wrong)—an attractive conclusion, given our commitments to answerability and the like, despite general warnings against requiring nothing but truth (or assuming, somehow, a capital “T”), since truth was “only a general dimension of being the right or proper thing to say as opposed to the wrong thing, in these circumstances, to this audience, for these purposes and with these intentions” (Austin, 1975, p. 145). This contextualism too should be congenial. At the least, the discussion problematizes the degree to which the background difficulty here is indeed (“just”) epistemological; and, if not, what that conclusion assumes. Certainly, nothing here undermines our commitments to, for instance, truth-seeking explanation of natural phenomena.

3   Reason, and the Dangers of Truth-Denial, or Relativism In this way, some limitations of truth-denial become obvious—as we might expect, given how aiming at truth connects with meaning what one says. Such a truth-denying view “makes everything subjective, and if we follow it through to the end, does away with truth”, as Frege ([1884] 1953, p. xix) recognized. To reinforce that point, note the incoherence of a general conceptual relativism, the kind discommoded if one then claims, “Well, relativism is not true-for-me!” (as Putnam, 1985, p.  288 recognizes)—if “true-for-me” is all there is, as the most such relativism might concede, no response is possible (compare Blackburn, 2005, pp. 63–67). Indeed, those denying truth risk falling into “the trap of concluding that

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all argument is mere rationalization, and then proceeding to argue rationally for this position” (Putnam, 1981, p. 161: original emphasis). And, of course, one cannot here argue in any other way: attempts at, say, bullying cannot count! And neither can appeals to authority, unless well-grounded. In particular, the mere fact of agreement should be set aside: that “others agree” is typically irrelevant. For example, Maund (2003, p. 103), discussing Austin’s work on perception, comments that: … the view attacked by Austin seems close to a view held by many psychologists and philosophers who discuss perceptual constancies, for example, of size, shape and colour.

Putting aside the “seems” as just mealy mouthed, the ‘objection’ offered here is simply that others differ from Austin: the question, though, should be, “Who is correct?”. Finding agreement, we are not yet entitled to infer anything (relevant)—unless, say, agreement among experts (were this is a topic for expert opinion: see this volume Chap. 1, Sect. 4). Otherwise, as noted there, the quest for truth becomes simply a search for consensus, a version of the television show Family Feud (in the UK, Family Fortunes), where contestants try to match the answers from survey! For truth cannot be “determined by most votes” (Reid, [1815] 2002, p.  464). What is needed here, instead, is actually meeting criticisms—here Austin’s—rather than simply claiming that others too disagree with that author. For meeting criticism requires argument, not the abandonment of argument. That in turn constrains processes suitable to philosophy, distinguishing its arguments from mere conversations. But, while it is tempting to regard the requirement as one for genuine argument, no uncontentious model for such argument is forthcoming: certainly, we should not look to, say, formal logic, nor always expect (nor require) “the top hat and spats of deduction” (Wisdom, 1991, p.  40). This returns us to some conclusions from (this volume) Chap. 8, Sect. 6, well-identified in three quotations. First, when compared to, say, such conversation, philosophy requires a certain relentlessness: Unless a conversation is very relentless … it will not be held together by ‘so’ or ‘therefore’ or ‘but’, but rather by ‘well then’ or ‘that reminds me’ and ‘come to think of it’… (Williams, 2014, p. 367; 2006, p. 202)

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In that sense, and second, “[a]rgument forces our hand; the dismantling of attractive sounding positions changes our perspective and makes us see what we did not appreciate before” (Dilman, 2011, p. 113). But not in only one way: for of course, and third, “[a]ll philosophy does not have to be argument, and all arguments do not have to be in the analytic style” (Putnam, 1994, p. 69). Then one worry (as earlier) is that such arguments’ conclusion-­reaching powers might “fall below the level of principle and be a matter of opportunistic politics” (Williams, 2014, p. 258). For one must avoid concluding that “subjects are answerable in judgement not to the world but [only] to other judging subjects”, as Richard Gaskin (2013, pp.  7–8: my insert), engaged in a related debate about relativism, rightly summarized the approach “advocated by Richard Rorty”. For then: [w]e cannot find a skyhook which lifts us out of mere coherence—mere agreement—to something like ‘correspondence with reality as it is in itself.’ … Pragmatists would like to replace the desire for objectivity—the desire to be in touch with a reality which is more than some community with which we identify ourselves—with the desire for solidarity with that community. (Rorty, 1991, pp. 38–39)

So, on Rorty’s view: … following norms of inquiry helps us to achieve consensus among our peers—or rather, helps us achieve a better consensus than we have now or have had in the past, where the standard by which a consensus is judged better or worse must not inconsistently re-introduce questions of fit with the world, but should be set by purely internal considerations of human flourishing and solidarity. (Gaskin, 2013, p. 8; see Rorty, 2000)

Yet to adopt such a view is “to abandon the discourse … of objectivity, and work instead towards expanding human solidarity” (as McDowell, 2009, p. 205 notes). For, as stressed throughout, “the idea of answerability to the world is central to the discourse of objectivity” (McDowell, 2009, p. 205: my emphasis). One cannot step outside human practices entirely, finding a ‘transcendental’ normativity, nor make do merely with conventional agreements among persons. Additionally, one’s conclusions cannot derive such ‘solidity’ solely from consensus with (or, worse, the approval of) others. Of course, humans seek, and value, the approval of others for good psychological

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reasons. But a social nature for reasoning is recognized in granting its regulation by its participatory character, with “each participant … constantly kept on the rails by sanctions coming from the others” (Hanfling, 2000, p. 54: quoted Chap. 1, Sect. 4); and, in part, by noting that—since the truth of claims is a reason to believe them, and hence to assert them when appropriate—most assertions of others not only attempt to state the truth, but succeed on balance. As Reid ([1815] 2002, p. 466) recognized, such common-sense “rails” are merely what “indicates an uniformity of opinion in those things upon which the structure is grounded” (my emphasis): they reflect our “agreement in judgements” (PI §242). However, “[t]ruth is always uppermost” (Reid, [1785] 1997, p. 193), rather than mere agreement. So, “[w]hen we find a general agreement among men in principles that concern human life, this must have great authority with every sober mind that loves truth” (Reid, [1815] 2002, p. 464), since “to suppose a general deviation from truth among mankind in things self-evident, of which no cause can be assigned, is highly unreasonable” (Reid, [1815] 2002, p.  466).8 But, while such a consensus may indicate truths here, it does not determine them. Thus, we see why agreement with the results of a colleague, when rooted in methods agreed to be reliable, “[m]ost certainly will, and … ought” (Reid, [1815] 2002, p.  465) to increase the confidence of the mathematician in his own conclusions, that agreement does not constitute their being true—with the same applying more generally. So, there is a good reason to hope for consensus here, since—as a generalization—we expect consensus around the truth (at least among the knowledgeable and thoughtful) in typical cases. Ah, but there’s the rub: are those others thoughtful, knowledgeable, well-informed? Are they the sorts of “others” whose “sanctions” (to use a term from above) one should take account of? For that consensus at best only indicates the likelihood of the truth of what was claimed, but never guarantees it. And even if, eventually, a consensus around the truth should be expected, perhaps the truth on such-and-such a topic is not (yet) known. Further, how is appropriate consensus determined, or recognized? Those not judicious here may end up with adherence to views of the kinds from so-called “social media”, typified by Twitter or Facebook, on the dubious assumption of such “social media” always and automatically being a Good Thing (“a force for good”: Marantz, 2018, p. 199). Even if not regarded simply as the opportunity to vent what is worst in us humans, and with its authors expressly carrying no direct responsibility of the views spouted, the objection to taking seriously the claims from “social media” is precisely one elaborated

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previously: that one cannot determine what is true by learning what ‘most people’ think—there is little reason to regard such a general strategy highly elsewhere, since it obviously cannot work for mathematics. Further, having the support of others (or even their criticism) is irrelevant if the views expressed are ill-informed, or badly thought-through. Of course, one must learn from others; for instance, to find out what they think and gain information and insight from them. Yet that cannot amount to seeking their approval as such; nor even to giving their views credence unless one has reason to do so, rooted perhaps in the particular knowledge, understanding, and insight of this person, the perspective on the problem of that one, and so on. Moreover, one’s claims must be supported by reasons or evidence, with such “reasons” or “evidence” both public in principle and with rational or evidential connections to the topic potentially recognized by others. In elaboration, Sabina Lovibond (2004, p. 190) notes that: … a reason (for doing or believing something) has its home within a certain dialectical context—one in which a question is, or may be, raised as to the (rational) intelligibility of what is done or believed.

Then, as she explains: If I tell you the reason(s), e.g., why I intend to vote for a particular party in an election, my aim would standardly be to make you see this intention as one it would make some kind of sense to entertain, i.e., make you see it as the outcome of a process of deliberation in which various items of information, political analysis and evaluative concern are brought together in a recognizably competent (although not necessarily uncontentious) way for the purpose of an electoral decision. (Lovibond, 2004, p. 190)

In this sense, then, giving reasons renders intelligible the behaviour in question, in line with explications from philosophy. Then a rough contrast with causal explanation is drawn around three ideas: • The issue of “intelligibility”: reasons offer intelligibility (but how? That is what other points address). • “Dialectical context”: the reasons offered are erotetic (EKT, pp. 14–15), reflecting the issue under consideration. In a different dialectical context (say, answering a different question), different reasons would be appropriate.

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• Knowing one’s reasons: I can typically provide some of the considerations here for my reasons, whereas I may know nothing of the causes of my thoughts or actions. But can this commitment to rationality10 be sustained? Certainly, a key factor here will be avoiding the non-rational or irrational. And Grice (2001, p.  24) correctly notes “that ‘reasonable’, unlike ‘rational’, is a really privative term … [such that] … [t]o be reasonable is to be (relatively) free from unreasonableness”. Hence, not being reasonable is more easily characterized, with degrees of exactness. Some light is cast on the character of rationality, and of my appeal throughout to reasons in explanation of behaviour (even if such reasons are sometimes given ‘after the fact’), by relating these ideas about rationality—that, in effect, one cannot have grounds to doubt rationality quite generally, such grounds necessarily being rational grounds—to my distrust of causal explanation of the human world, regularly voiced by quoting Frege ([1918] 1984, p. 351) as above. For not all changes in one’s views or conclusions can be attributed to rational consideration. No doubt, say, being hit on the head might bring about radical transformations of one’s views (Phineas Gage provides an extreme example: Tallis, 2011, p. 23; 35), just as striking one’s television set may improve reception, on at least some occasions. But philosophy cannot utilize such approaches; not least because that outcome was achieved causally, rather than through rational persuasion or the exercise of reasons.

4   Three Comparisons in Descartes Some views regularly ascribed (better, mis-ascribed) to Descartes offer a revealing contrast for the conception of philosophy developed here, reflecting a similarity between our conclusions and his by considering some ideas that really have no place in Descartes’ oeuvre, especially as represented by his masterpiece, Meditations. Now, getting clear what philosophers mean is fundamental, not least because accusations of inconsistency are among the most widely deployed philosophical tools: that one cannot consistently hold X and Y, where these are mutually opposed, will be a problem for our philosopher (say, Descartes, or Wittgenstein) only if he does indeed hold both positions. Yet how can we know what positions he holds (and, perhaps, when) unless we at least begin from what he says? Even when (not true of Wittgenstein)

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some commentator has “unimpeachable evidence that a philosopher wrote something, … [one must still] proceed to infer from what he wrote what he meant by it” (Donagan, 1994, p. 5)—really a matter of having learned, or decided, how to read the words, rather than an inference from them. For these are words, not clues. And that may require a sense of the history of the issues, as they occur in philosophy, to avoid our task becoming “largely an exercise in converting the writings of the major philosophers into texts of our time” (Donagan, 1994, p. 1), to make them part of our ‘conversation’. Such ahistorical conceptions of the past of philosophy must be rejected. Then, if it is true “that a philosophical interest in the philosophical work of the past arises out of present philosophical concerns” (Donagan, 1994, p. 9), that fact must be explained from an appropriate historical background. All too often, though, philosopher’s history of philosophy is “the continuous creation of new present philosophies out of historical texts” (Donagan, 1994, p. 7). Thus, Donagan (1994, p. 12), having laid out an account of (in this example) Spinoza’s concept of an idea, comments: To extract even these elements from the study of Spinoza’s texts alone would be extremely difficult, and impractical for most of us. Yet when those texts are read in the light of the treatment of ideas in the Port Royal Logic, and then compared with what Descartes wrote in his Meditations and Passions de l’âme on the same topics, it becomes clear both what Spinoza meant by the expression “a mode of thinking” and why he believed that an idea is a mode of thinking and that all modes of thinking are either ideas or mental acts involving ideas.

That begins to justify an attitude endorsed here, under which texts of philosophers of the past rightly provide one crucial set of objects of investigation. Three features distinctively clarify Descartes’ suitability here as a ‘best case scenario’ for attention to the words of past philosophers. First and most obviously, we pay attention to philosophers’ words because what they wrote (or ‘said’ in this sense) is our best guide to what they meant: and we are led to consider them in order to understand what they meant, for perhaps what they meant offers valuable insight. So, our interest lies in what Descartes meant. Second, Descartes’ writings provide authoritative texts. For some writers (such as Aristotle), we have only what has come down to us—and these works need not be from Aristotle’s hand. (Related difficulties exist for Wittgenstein, where the relative importance of texts must be

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gauged.) Still, to study Aristotle, we have the works we have; and, given its history, philosophy might award them some authority as Aristotle. Then there are texts to study, at least. But (to repeat) that is not our problem for Descartes, of course, for whom authoritative works exist. Of course, seeking what past philosophers said often forces us (as here) to use a good translation. But that difficulty can be put aside, since there is nothing special to philosophy here: when struggling with the complexities of contemporary physics, there will be papers or books to read in languages other than our own. If the specific words used, or distinctions drawn, are likely to be more crucial in philosophy than elsewhere, at least some comfort can be drawn from the case of poetry: someone lacking the Polish language can at least approach reading, say, the poetry of Zbigniew Herbert in good translations, while recognizing the limitations that practice imposes, and being alert to any places where its importance is greatest. Philosophy must do the same. A third point acknowledges Descartes as a meticulous writer, in contrast to those thinkers who are not good writers, so that their writings express only rather inexactly what they mean. (As one example, when the word “But” or “Yet” begins a sentence or paragraph in Meditations, it usually means exactly that some previously considered assertion is now contested; hence, the “But” should not be ignored or set aside.) Still, even the most meticulous writer is not always a clear guide: for instance, metaphysical assumptions that our author (and his audience) took for granted may be imported—they understood these assumptions (or thought they did) and perhaps shared them. Then the explanatory, interpretative remarks required to confront a passage incorporating such assumptions might fail to be included when our philosopher’s writings seem too ‘transparent’ (as sometimes with Descartes). So, in summary, we read judiciously at least authoritative works by the meticulous writers among the philosophers of the past, with our project being to understand what those philosophers meant, through what they said. Major difficulties here may be presented by an established mythology for what was said: consider three representative examples.11 Thus, Descartes is regularly presented as a kind of sceptic, with a central difficulty from Meditation One cast as more or less akin to that posed in the movie The Matrix (1999): namely, how can facts (or truths) about the world be distinguished from the way the world appears to me? Then, an initial suggestion might read Descartes’ project as aiming to doubt everything. But he is explicit in not saying that. As noted in Chap. 1, Sect. 8, Descartes’ title for

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Meditation One makes clear that his own discussion considers what can be called into doubt (as Cottingham correctly translates it). (I put aside the merely possible status of this [“possible grounds for doubt”: CSM II, p. 9]— that is a further complication, although in the same direction.) Now, if doubting were a kind of psychological state or logical operation, I could doubt anything—I can certainly say, “I doubt that” to any assertion offered; and may at least feel uneasy about the truth of your claim. But that will not call your assertion into doubt; to call it into doubt requires some basis for doubting it, some reason for thinking it might not be true. That returns us to the conditions set in Chap. 1, Sect. 8: Whether one challenges the rational credentials of a particular judgement or of a whole realm of discourse, one has to rely at some level on judgements and arguments which … are not themselves subject to the same challenge: which exemplify, even when they err, something more fundamental, and which can be corrected only by further procedures of the same kind. (Nagel, 1997, p. 11)

Descartes’ own account certainly meets these conditions. He identifies explicitly what he is aiming to call into doubt (CSM II, p. 12); namely, those of his judgements that depend on the Faculty of Sense-perception— many of his knowledge claims derive either “from the senses” (that is, from perception of the world around him) or “through the senses” (that is, by reading what others have written, listening to what they have said, and so on). Descartes’ avowed intention is to lead the mind “away from the senses” (Synopsis: CSM II, p. 9). More importantly, it is immediately obvious that such a process cannot call into doubt logic or reason en bloc: Descartes rightly says that, “reasons are provided which give us possible grounds for doubt” (Synopsis: CSM II, p. 9). If I need a reason for my doubt (to call some claim into doubt), my having of reasons is thereby presupposed; and (rightly) viewed by Descartes as not amenable to doubt; and not disputed in Meditation One. Again, one might debate exactly what is thereby set aside. On my version,12 Descartes sets aside the content of typical books of the time called “Logic”. But, unfortunately, such books typically contain many metaphysical assumptions (as I would urge of our advanced logic books), which then are also set aside, as beyond question, in the (justified) setting aside of reason. So perhaps Descartes made a kind of mistake here; but not the mistake of failing to include logic in his process (that was right); nor that of having no basis (in logic) for his conclusions—urging that is just misreading him.

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But surely, someone might ask, at least Descartes there addressed issues concerning the foundations of knowledge of kinds The Matrix (1999) might be thought to raise? Well, Descartes does exploit a house-building metaphor to declare his intention to scrutinize the principles on which all his previous knowledge claims rested, replacing any rotten timbers with sound ones (CSM II, p.  12). And its use by, for example, Montaigne ([1595] 1991, p.  678) and Bacon ([1620] 2000, p.  39) shows this “architectural-­foundations” metaphor to be current at the time. Further, Descartes certainly wanted a firm grounding for knowledge claims, especially those made on the basis of the senses (that is, from the Faculty of Sense-perception): such claims are crucial in natural science; and Descartes wanted to secure the scientific progress he saw himself (and others) making. But a ‘firm foundation’ of that sort is not the epistemic ground beloved of contemporary philosophy. In fact, Descartes’ project was not foundationalism in its modern sense: and he never says it was. (Our term “foundationalism” would have been obscure to him.) By “foundationalism” in this modern sense, then, I mean roughly the thesis that one set of claims (“one set of propositions”) are foundational with respect to (all) other sets of claims (“other propositions”)—at least with respect to a certain class of knowledge claims. Thus, on this view, there are, as it were, Protocol-Satze for general knowledge claims, and those Protocol-Satze are of kind K. To see that this was not Descartes’ concern, we should note that such a foundationalist project, if successful, would be a philosophical ­achievement: then, whenever locating the bed-rock of epistemology was needed, each of us could, as it were, pull the book down from our shelf for answers that would be located, and thrive, person-independently. But, for Descartes, there cannot be a kind K such that its claims function as incontrovertible groundings, or Protocol-Satze. Indeed, his enquiry necessarily lacks both features. First, Descartes (in Meditations) shows no interest in identifying an underlying set of foundational-claims (or foundational-­propositions), only in the reliability of the Faculty of Sense-perception. Yet granting the general reliability of that Faculty also concedes, in practice, the falsity of many claims made in the exercise of the Faculty: for instance, if I misdeploy that Faculty. So, no general achievement can be guaranteed. Second, and relatedly, on Descartes’ own account, his project requires individual or personal achievement, unlike the modern version. In Meditations, Descartes implies that the enquiry he engages in is something each of us should undertake at least once in his/her life: he says, “it was necessary, once in my life …” (CSM II, p. 12); and, again, “to make the

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effort, once in the course of our lives …” (CSM I, p. 193). In Principles, the task is assigned to “[t]he seeker after truth …” (CSM I, p. 193), clearly identified as Descartes himself. Further, he writes of “the basic principles on which all my former beliefs rested” (CSM II, p. 12): this sense of the term “principle” was inherited from the tradition in which Descartes was educated, going back to Aristotle (see Baker & Morris, 1996, p. 20). But the details of that tradition, while less explored, are of clear relevance. As typified in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, such principles were not always explicitly formulated, or held constantly in mind—they were seen in the choices one makes and the kind of life one habitually leads. Still, one was responsible for one’s principles. Descartes applies this conception of principles to the whole of a person’s intellectual life. So that even the enquiry into the reliability of the Faculty of Sense-perception is necessarily my enquiry: asked why I must undertake it, my reply should stress this as a moral obligation on (at least) those engaged in intellectual investigations—it is my duty to ensure that I am not mistaken systematically here; and (where appropriate) to make a decisive alteration in the principles that govern my intellectual life, since those principles are my responsibility. Further, Descartes (CSM II, p.  12) emphasizes blame accruing when he characterizes not getting on with his project as wasting the time he still had left to complete it: the censure (and hence the obligation) is moral! So, however, we are to understand Descartes’ project, following what Descartes actually said precludes his exemplifying (modern) foundationalist ones.13 One topic in particular apparently connects The Matrix (1999) movie to philosophy: the suggestion that, for all we know for sure, we might be “brains-in-a-vat”, a conception supposedly hypothesized in Descartes’ postulation of an evil demon deceiving us. Yet, in Meditation One, the evil demon (the “malin genie”) is not invoked to further the hyperbolic doubt. As this point is slightly more difficult to see, we should first note the introduction of the “malin genie”, in Meditation One paragraph twelve, when Descartes considers, “that some malicious demon of the utmost cunning and power has employed all his energies in order to deceive me” (CSM II, p. 15). The task for the “malin genie” is clearly laid out in the previous paragraph: … it is not enough merely to have noticed [my need to withhold assenting from these former beliefs just as carefully as I would from obvious falsehoods] …; I must make an effort to remember it. (CSM II, p. 15)

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And so the “malin genie” is just recruited to the task of helping me remember, lest I backslide. This is important, of course, because one can only understand what Descartes does set aside once one recognizes his argumentative strategies (in particular, what they are not). This discussion illustrates how some attention appropriate to philosophers is historical in a way contrasting with parallel cases for science. Here, emphasizing the historical recognizes the contingencies of some views (Descartes, although a pioneer, knew only the anatomy and physiology then current—plus what he discovered!); and even their relations to the cultural past, with normativities arising from such a cultural nexus.

5   Again, Sellars’ Two Images of Humankind Returning to a related discussion further clarifies such contrasts. For, as noted in Chap. 1, one datum here requires that any adequate explanatory schema cover, say, my having a hundred dollars in my bank account (to this being true), such that I will repay the money owed you, where this cannot be reduced just to statistical ‘trends and tendencies’ about my likely behaviour.14 To explore that matter will involve considering contingent and historical questions (“What exactly are dollars?”). Another datum will be our commitment to the dictum that “[e]rror and superstition have causes just as much as correct cognition” (Frege, [1918] 1984, p. 351). Then, faced with the ‘dazzling ideal’ seemingly offered by science, I stressed throughout that the normative world of humankind is not reducible to the causally-structured world of natural science. To some students of philosophy, this might suggest Wilfred Sellars’ contrast between manifest and scientific images of man (better, of humankind). Am I here endorsing a Sellars-type view? When posing this issue, some comments towards resolution were promised: the time has come to (partially) discharge that obligation. For the difficulty of resolving apparent conflicts between these manifest and scientific images exposes a major unclarity in Sellars’ contrast: what would Sellars say? And what should one say? In this vein, Sellars (SPR, p. 173) notes some of the things that “speaking as a philosopher, I am prepared to say …” [my emphasis], things that I am certainly not prepared to seriously assert: “that the common sense world of physical objects in Space and Time is unreal—that is, that there are no such things” (SPR, p. 173). In explanation, Sellars (SPR, p. 173) urges that “science is the measure of all things”; but how should what we know from the manifest image of

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humankind be combined with such a measure? In particular, how (if at all) is it that “the scientific image of ‘what there is’ supersedes the descriptive ontology of everyday life” (SPR, p. 172)? (My uncertainties about what constitutes a “descriptive ontology” make this issue more difficult for me.) How should the relationship between these two images be understood? Sometimes, Sellars seems to regard them as strictly competitors, as suggested by the term “supersedes”, quoted above (from SPR, p.  172). At other times, though, Sellars seems to urge diversity here, with manifest and scientific images of humankind really just alternative conceptions, each with its own domain, so that: … the conceptual framework of persons [that is, the manifest image] is not something that needs to be reconciled with the scientific image, but rather something which needs to be joined to it. (SPR, p. 40)

Were that one’s view, it might parallel the version of compatibilism (from FW) that requires reference to the particular perplexity under consideration (if implicitly) to identify which conception of the human is currently under discussion. Certainly, Sellars (SPR, p.  32) explicitly rejects either (1) defending equally both images or (2) prioritizing the manifest image. For Sellars, the second option would result in making everything ‘unreal’, as below. And he rejects the first option because, applied to our understanding of ordinary objects, it would mean “that an object can be both a perceptible object with perceptible properties and a system of imperceptible objects, none of which has perceptible qualities” (SPR, p. 26)—he is thinking of combining an everyday view of objects with one stressing their atomic structure. While not regarding this view as “immediately paradoxical” (SPR, p. 26), Sellars takes it to conflict with the “principle” that “every property of a system of objects consists properties of, and relations between, its constituents” (SPR, p.  27). For finding the table strictly imperceptible (under the atomic view of the scientific image) leaves no room for its being perceptible (under the manifest image). So that is the paradox here. One suitable test-case for this aspect of Sellars’ “two images” thesis concerns colour-ascription, where the “scientific image” seems to suggest that objects are not really coloured: what is the right thing to say in this case? As applied in philosophy, the suggestion that objects are not really coloured perhaps originates in Locke (although originally in Galileo or

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Newton—and perhaps Descartes: see Hacker, 1991): Locke took the so-­ called “secondary qualities” like colours to be merely powers (“which in truth are nothing in the Objects themselves, but Powers to produce various Sensations in us …”: Locke, [1689] 1975, p. 135: Bk. II, Ch. VIII, §10). This seems among the claims that, as above, Sellars (SPR, p. 173), “speaking as a philosopher, … [is] prepared to say …” [my emphasis]). For, to repeat, “science is the measure of all things” (SPR, p. 173); and “[m]any years ago it used to be confidently said that science had shown … that physical objects are not really coloured” (SPR, p. 172)—a version of the view above of “secondary qualities” as merely powers in objects to produce effects (“sensations”) in us. Yet Sellars (SPR, p. 172) notes that: … if this is interpreted as the claim that the sentence ‘Physical objects have colours’ expresses an empirical proposition which, although widely believed by common sense, has been shown by science to be false, then, of course, this claim is absurd.

But this in itself requires explication. For Sellars (SPR, pp. 172–173): The idea that physical objects are not coloured can make sense only as the (misleading) expression of one aspect of the philosophical critique of the very framework of physical objects located in Space and enduring through Time.

Yet what exactly does this critique amount to? In elaboration, Sellars (SPR, p. 173) continues: In short, [the claim] ‘Physical objects are not really coloured’ makes sense only as the clumsy expression of the idea that there are no such things as the coloured physical objects of the common sense world, where this is interpreted, not as an empirical proposition … within the common sense framework, but as the expression of a rejection (in some sense) of this very framework itself, in favour of another built around different, if not unrelated, categories.

Three related points: first, is this really clearer? The idea of an empirical proposition seems tied, on such a view, to the sublunary world, the world of “common sense”: does that mean that, on such a conception, the natural sciences do not produce empirical propositions? Certainly, even the most theory-laden of scientific claims is ultimately answerable (that is the insight of falsificationism).15 Here, we approach the view of Dilman (2011, p. 33) that:

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[p]hysical objects exist independently of us: when I shut my eyes, the table on which I have been writing does not disappear, even though my perception of it does. This is a logical or conceptual difference between physical objects and our sensory perception of them. When we say that what we see in the distance is really water, and not a mirage, the claim that what we see is real is empirical; but what makes us say, rightly, that what we see is real, the criterion we use in making that claim, is not empirical. It belongs to the logic of the reality of physical objects, and their independence is part of that.

In this sense, Dilman (2011, p. 33) thought “of social reality as supplying the framework of human relationships and actions, as part of the human world; and of physical reality as a central part of that framework”.16 Second, when is each framework used? For me, the manifest image of humankind recognizes causality of a kind (say, that our cars do not fail to start for no reason). This returns us to the question of which image is appropriate when. Third, our initial perplexity recurs: how are the categories here ‘related’? The matter has not become clear: for, in addition to what should happen, Sellars seems also to recognize, in certain cases, the dominance of one image or other as, perhaps, inappropriate in some contexts. Thus, he writes that in what he calls “the perennial philosophy” (an idea discussed in the next section) “the manifest image dominates and mislocates the scientific image” (SPR, p. 8). But still, what is the correct account? Sellars’ use of the term “supersedes” (above: his italics) certainly suggests prioritizing the scientific image of at least the sublunary world, if not of mankind: that is, of persons. Yet, if tomatoes are not really red, much of what we took for the manifest image will be rejected: and those same arguments will undermine a great many claims about the character of the ‘world’ humankind inhabits. But “matterof-factual truth” (Sellars, 1968, p. 143) seems precisely the view humans should take of their world—a world that includes ‘social objects’ like bank accounts and overdrafts, legal obligations, conventional rules and practices, and much more not readily described if Locke’s view of primary and secondary qualities (on this reading) alone provides one’s framework—especially if only primary qualities like weight and shape are real (with secondary qualities just “powers”: see Locke, [1689] 1975, p. 135, quoted above). Then the scientific image might, after all, contribute even to the manifest, such that “a correct account of matter-of-factual truth, even at the perceptual level, must contain ‘instrumentalist’ components” (Sellars, 1968, p. 143). That is, such an account (of sublunary truth) will permit singularstatement predictions that seem to imply epistemological and ontological

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commitments not otherwise warranted: in the simplest case, claims that the side of the tomato farthest from us is red, curved, and such like (where we cannot actually see this, as we do the nearest side). And, of course, the inherent defeasibility here means that, once this was exposed as just half a tomato, claims requiring a whole tomato would be withdrawn. Sellars’ point (as I understand him, at least) is that such claims about, say, the other side of the tomato cannot be an inference from what we do see—we only see what we see.17 But, of course, claims about the properties of the other side of the tomato are sometimes made, while granting their defeasibility as part of any warrant for such claims, precisely because typical occasions for whole tomatoes can be identified, as well as occasions (say, in salads) for half-tomatoes. Further, under the manifest image of humankind, our experience regularly includes tomatoes and half-tomatoes, but only rarely tomato-­ringers— say, holograms looking like tomatoes, or very realistic soap “models” (Travis, 2011, p. 91); and, again, typically only in specific contexts. So that ‘choosing’ to postulate the ringer requires a reason for a ringer being there, rather than a tomato; that is, a reason why this is a ringer-situation or context. For here, in a way: … we are dealing with a relational notion, and when one term of the relation is denied to us, the conditions requisite for applying the concept do not obtain. (Rundle, 2004, p. 3)

For instance, this is the reason why it cannot make sense to postulate the universe suddenly doubling in size. Yet the issue is not that identified by Waismann (1965, p. 326): that “since this remarkable change of our world could not be verified in any way, it would remain completely unnoticed by us”; nor even that “there is always a chance that something unforeseen may occur” (Waismann, 1968, p. 46). For our arguments do not require us “to take an arbitrary stand on a question of meaning” (Rundle, 2004, p. 2), as sometimes seems required by, say, positivist claims about ‘verifiability’. Neither does the difficulty concern the likelihood or even the possibility of our noticing, but rather, whether there is anything to notice! In this case (ex hypothesi), there would not be. This becomes important once we wonder how to accommodate claims going beyond the immediately seen—putting aside any issues of how the concepts deployed are then localized (see discussion of green in Travis, 2008, pp. 115–117). In fact, at least four or five Travis-type cases seem particularly relevant here:

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• “Is it meat?” asked of offal: no dispute about what is there, but (roughly) what follows from it. • “Is it green?” asked of the variety of leaves: like the first, when does it so count, when not? • “Is it red?” asked of the ripped curtain; or of the mostly glass front door—how much must be red to count as its being a red door? However one answers, the first two issues will then arise, to decide what that involves. • “Is it disgusting?” asked of the state of Sid’s face, when smeared with food: the point here is not about the distribution of food on the face, but one’s response—this introduces the values or judgements of the person involved, and so is not simply answerable. (See Travis, 2011, p. 89: “Disgust is not optional for me. I am saddled with it by the way I am”.) • The taste of rhubarb: is the taste’s being (say) disgusting a fact? (See Wright, 2006, and Travis, 2011, pp. 89–90; and, for discussion of “deep disagreement”, Davis, 2015.) But that just recognizes the complexity here; hence, makes us doubt that any brief solution could be forthcoming.

6   Sellars on What Is Real Where have we arrived in respect of a fundamental question for Sellars’ view, posed in Chap. 1; namely, “Is what is not exceptionless therefore not real?” We have seen, at least sometimes, Sellars assumes a “Yes” answer. A view perhaps even stronger than Sellars’—for instance, that of David Lewis (discussed Chap. 3, Sect. 2; Chap. 8, Sect. 2)—might dispute our work-a-­day commitments here, to shapes, colours, and continuants, by casting doubt on their “intrinsic character” (Lewis, 1986, p. 61). And Lewis’ “perdurantist” commitments might seem justified only once ideas from physics about the real nature of continuants were imported. Yet that would prioritize the scientific image, with its problematization of the idea of change over time, as well as that of the reality of colour. Both run counter to the view presented here of the “furniture of the universe” and of our investigation of it. And, as Wiggins (2016, p. 17) rightly notes, such conceptions of properties must “lean shamelessly upon the ordinary understanding of substances when we come to specify that from which these constructs are to be seen or assembled”.

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To arrive at Sellars’ view that, at least sometimes, what is not exceptionless is therefore not real—with the “therefore” remaining contentious— requires clarifying, first, that this feature is only important when speaking strictly (that is, when common-sense categories are rejected in favour of those of science; and perhaps philosophy); and then, second, that these properties or features are unreal precisely because they are not permanent features, so that changes in human beings might amount to a change in whether phenol-thio-urea was tasteless (see Bennett, 1968, p. 105), or in the taste of saccharine, if (say) all future humans found it bitter. For these properties seem changed without changes in the underlying substances in the interim. Hence, the scientific image should be preferred in such cases. That provides a sense in which, as above, “science is the measure of all things” (SPR, p.  173); in which “the scientific image of ‘what there is’ supersedes the descriptive ontology of everyday life” (SPR, p. 172). Still, were this indeed Sellars’ final view, it seems problematic in two related ways. First, this does not grant enough to the “manifest image” of humankind—in the last resort, on such a view, the “manifest image” must always give way to the descriptions of real things offered via the “scientific image”; so, where is the promised “stereoscopic view” (SPR, p. 19) of the two images? Second, that outcome is justified precisely in terms drawn from science’s ‘dazzling ideal’, rather than its actual achievements. But, such limited conceptions of reality seem unacceptable, once one’s knowledge and interests inform either the variety of what the real should include (as in Austin, 1962, pp. 63–77), or the contrasts among what might be immediately seen (as we did above). Now, Sellars clearly has much to say positively about persons, agency, intention, and the like, recognizing “the normative aspect of the concepts of meaning, existence and truth” (Sellars, 1968, p. x) as well as an “irreducible core of the framework of persons” (SPR, p. 39), such that “a person can almost be defined as a being that has intentions” (SPR, p. 40). Here, Sellars (SPR, p. 8) urges a revealing reciprocal relationship between persons and what he calls “perennial philosophy”, claiming (vis-à-vis “the manifest image of man-in-the-world”) that: … the perennial tradition in philosophy … can be construed as the attempt to understand the structure of this image, to know one’s way round in it reflectively with no intellectual holds barred. (Sellars, SPR, p. 18)

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Further, he contends that “[t]he same considerations which led philosophy to deny the reality of perceptible things led them to the dualistic theory of man” (SPR, p. 29). And, of course, Sellars denies such dualism. Instead, as above, he recognizes “the need to enrich … [the scientific image] with the language of community and individual intentions” (SPR, p. 40): the manifest image must not be merely “reconciled with the scientific image, but … joined to it” (SPR, p. 40: his italics). But how is such “enrichment” or “joining” possible, given the power already conceded to the scientific image? After all, for Sellars (SPR, p. 172), “the scientific picture of the world replaces the common sense picture” (even if one must be “cautious” about what exactly that claim implies). Sellars begins from that version of the “stereoscopic” view, where the manifest image’s impact occludes clear vision of the scientific image: ­further, he concentrates on the limitations of that image, granting that “the so-called ‘analytic tradition’ … particularly under the influence of the later Wittgenstein, has done increasing justice to the manifest image” (SPR, p. 15). Still, Sellars feels the need to stress the scientific image since, on occasion, “the manifest image dominates and mislocates the scientific image” (SPR, p. 8). Perhaps this is all there is to it. But, reading Sellars at the foot of the letter, we might conclude that, after all, he takes as justified a certain dominance to the scientific image: that (to repeat) “in the dimension of describing and explaining the world, science is the measure of all things, of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not” (SPR, p. 173). On that reading, persons and their actions and intentions, being unavailable for such explanation and description, would be part of “what is not”. But this is too stringent a view of what it is to be real, not just in ruling-out everyday objects—shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, as well as colours, shadows, and rainbows—but also rendering problematic what seems at first ruled-in (namely, objects as described by contemporary science), if they too are not permanent. For, of course, the scientific image too is repeatedly modified by inflections of contemporary science; and its object along with it. To take an extreme example, one’s conception of the (causal/sublunary) world is differently inflected for “Many Worlds” theorists of quantum mechanics as against advocates of the Copenhagen interpretation—they see things differently when looking at the sublunary,18 just as Lavoisier differed from Priestley when looking at (what we call) the combustion of mercury. For Priestley saw phlogiston being given off by the mercury. With Lavoisier,

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we recognize the mercury as combining with oxygen: the difference here is not just in what (say) one believes, but in what one sees (or, more generally, perceives) from first-person perspectives. In this way, particular theories of contemporary science give nuance to the content of the scientific image of man. By contrast, we should reject the external ‘god’s-eye’ view from which “absolute presuppositions” (Collingwood, [1940] 1997, p. 3119) can be judged or compared; thereby recognizing an essential historicism, such that only a ‘fishes-eye-view’ of the absolute presuppositions of other periods is possible. They will look false when in conflict with judgements from our absolute presuppositions. Thus, our perspective makes Einstein’s physics superior to Newtonian physics—but that is simply a way of defining our perspective, given by our absolute presuppositions. Of course, these absolute presuppositions (for a particular era) range across both the “images” Sellars characterizes. But the scientific image, in being scientific, is rightly causal, grounded in causal relations (however understood), with Nature as a working-out of causal forces, non-teleologically: for instance, even ‘natural selection’ involves no selection as such; and hence no agency. That the manifest image is not centrally causal permits the contrast with the scientific image, a contrast with causal explanation retained (for me) through all the vicissitudes of the manifest image. For that image begins from the actions of persons, rather than the movements of bodies; its typical explanatory structure is intentional or, at the least, teleological: a contrast sometimes obscured when apparently purpose-driven expressions are used to describe functionally wholly causal systems. The ‘bin’ on toll-roads is said to count the coins, or the central-heating system’s thermostat to turn on the heat: yet neither has an aim or purpose ‘of its own’ (as such expressions seem to imply), but only one given by humans. Further, while Sellars seems to require permanence for reality, much in our world is transitory: our own existence seems comparatively fleeting, but granting it (and one cannot consistently deny one’s own reality) involves accepting the changeability of our properties over time (compare Chap. 3, Sect. 2)—that I was once small, or bald, and so on, but am no longer. Defending Sellars’ super-stringent views of what is real requires adopting a particular ontology; here, neither reason for doing so nor justification for this version was offered. All Sellars’ positive remarks about people, community, and sociality seem to point in the opposite direction. On the interpretation sketched here, then, Sellars has not broken completely free of the ‘dazzling ideal of science’: he adopts—or reinforces—

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some of its key features. Then Sellars’ “manifest image” (as I present it) is less satisfactory than the account of the human world urged throughout this text. For, first, components of the “manifest image” are presented as (or might be thought) unreal, in a sense; entirely dependent, like (Lockean) secondary qualities above, on their recognition by humans whose powers and capacities are presented as problematic in comparison with the solidarity of the ‘facts’ the scientific image provides. Second, the scientific image—in reflecting such facts—is both more complete and more permanent, changing only to correct previous mistakes, with those corrections still deploying familiar methodological concepts. On this view, then, changes in science amount to no more than correction of past errors. In addition, the manifest image is presented as dependent on the scientific one at an epistemological level: one should regard “the scientific image with [the manifest image] as a crucial tool … [for] manifest man in his capacity as scientist” (Sellars, SPR, p. 32), which is why “a correct account of matter-of-fact truth, even at the perceptual level, must contain ‘instrumentalist’ components …” (Sellars, 1968, p. 143). By contrast, I am less impressed with science, less ‘dazzled’ into taking it as an ideal for either methodology or epistemology. Thus, my starting point is the reality of just those aspects Sellars finds problematic: for instance, that our world is coloured. Moreover, arguments raising doubts about, say, the reality of colours or shadows or rainbows strike me as built on a fundamental confusion: those features are unlike mirages or (real) hallucinations (compare Austin, 1962, pp. 62–77). Rather, in this respect, they are features of our lives: no reason for doubting them has yet been offered that would not require, for consistency, my denying (say) the obvious fact that my coffee cup is solid enough to hold liquid; or that, in this case, the liquid is light brown. The argument Sellars endorses seems just a more sophisticated version of Jeans’ two tables: like Jeans, Sellars seems to regard descriptions of the table by a fully developed science (one with no mistakes) as capturing the real table, for the simple reason that such descriptions would be unchanging and exceptionless. Yet, its exceptionlessness is an assumption of the scientific image, not an achievement (as we saw: Chap. 2, Sects. 5 and 7)—and an implausible assumption for anyone seeking to describe or understand the human world. The introduction of ceteris paribus creates the exceptionlessness of causality in physics; adopting such a model elsewhere has no better justification than appeal to the image of physics— which is precisely to treat this image as an ideal.

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7   Confronting the Parochial At this stage, a more powerful concern might arise, especially given the Kantian connection urged here (see Chap. 1, Sect. 1) as well as Sellars’ (1968) transparent interest in Kant: that our discussion assumes the reliability of the judgements we make of (roughly) the sublunary world, as corresponding to the features of such a world, where this cannot be ensured by granting natural science’s power to describe such a world. Indeed, one might even confront a suggestion Strawson (1966, p.  38) finds in some remarks of Kant: namely, “that reality is supersensible and that [therefore] we can have no knowledge of it”. How should one respond? At least as reconstructed by Strawson (1966, p. 97; see also Wilkerson, 1998, pp. 56–58; 81–82), Kant’s project in the Critique of Pure Reason involves a demonstration or an argument for: … the thesis that, for a series of diverse experiences to belong to a single consciousness, it is necessary that they should be so connected as to constitute a temporally extended experience of a unified objective world. [my commas]

From the preconditions for self-consciousness, then, Kant (on Strawson’s reading) develops “the central thought … that, in having a concept of myself, I necessarily have a concept of other things” (Wilkerson, 1998, p. 57). Yet, does having “a concept of other things” offer any guarantee that one’s judgement typically recognizes the features of that world correctly? If Strawson is right, Kant’s strategy is wholly general, such that “[i]f there were no external world, there would be no experiences. Self-­ awareness and awareness of objects are irretrievably connected” (Wilkerson, 1998, p. 59). Still, this alone cannot offer the required guarantee: even given the connection of self-awareness to the world of objects, why should my judgements of objects (say, of their colour or location) not mistake the properties of those objects, at least typically? How should my mistaken judgements be compared with your non-mistaken ones, without presupposing just what is at issue—namely, a mind-independent reality to which such judgements are answerable, and to which appeal might be made? But with what is “real” contrasted,20 when writers postulate that “reality is supersensible”? In part, a mind-independent reality, reaching further than human powers and capacities, is contrasted with one humans can grasp. So, contrasting the reality of shapes with the mind-dependence of colour just assumes the basic idea behind the distinction currently under discussion. Yet such a contrast leaves the term “real” (or “reality) unclear,

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not least because—as noted earlier (Chap. 3, Sect. 1)—the question, “What is real?” has no single, exceptionless answer (in part because this form of words asks no single, uniform question). Indeed, my sympathies lie with Professor Dumbledore when, asked by Harry Potter if the current events are real or just in Harry’s head, he replies: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (Rowling, 2007, p. 723). Even when considering more directly the answerability of perceptual claims to the sublunary world, it remains unclear what examples of what is real to deploy. There seems no reason to doubt the reality of love, of after-images, or of rainbows and shadows— although none of these submits readily to measurement of the kinds beloved by some natural scientists as a condition for being real. But claims about (say) the colour of the traffic-lights as I drove through answer to their colour at that time: hence, are answerable to the sublunary world— and so real, at least for some purposes. Certainly, the ‘public and shareable’ quality of my responses are granted, with the possibility of colour-blindness as a ‘public and shareable’ explanation of failure on my part. Nothing here seems other than real, if the contrast is with imaginary or illusory. Indeed, this is another place where the idealization implicit in much science can ‘dazzle’ us. The Kantian view (as presented by Strawson) sets limits on what counts as thinking or judging as such here, stressing that “only because I ascribe all perceptions to one consciousness … can I say of all perceptions that I am conscious of them” (Kant, [1787] 1998, p. 240 A 122), thereby recognizing “the necessary self-reflexiveness of a possible experience in general … [such] that experience in general must be such as to provide room for the thought of experience itself” (Strawson, 1966, p. 107). But where does that leave us? Strawson (1966, p. 127 note) is clear that: The required distinction between “things being thus-and-so” and “things being experienced as thus-and-so” must be provided for within the temporal series of experiences themselves, and can be so provided for only if some of the latter are taken to be experiences of things which possess among themselves temporal relations independent of the order in which they are actually experienced.

That requires just the sorts of commitment to externality and answerability these arguments are designed to provide. Further, concluding that external objects are “nothing but the sum of appearances, hence not a thing in itself but merely a multitude of representations of the mind”

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(Kant [1787] 1998, p. 236: A 114; p. 263: B 164) might suggest moving towards a psychological explanation of any divergence, but can scarcely ground an explanation in the conceptual connections of philosophy. Moreover, attempts to circumscribe thinking as such seems doomed since all we know directly of thinking, judging, and such like, comes from our own case (including our dealings with others). Travis offers one way to make the best of this, by first recognizing the problem, and then urging that it need not be genuinely problematic. Once we grant ourselves able to make sense of our world, at least to some degree, we seem faced with two possibilities21: There is always the optimistic view: our minds equip us with the means for thinking about the world, for organizing it into a picture. But then, equally, there is the pessimistic one: our minds saddle us with what pretend to be ways of thinking about the world. So they strike us. They would, after all: that is what it is to be saddled with them. (Travis, 2011, p. 2)

As Travis (2011, p. 203) characterizes it, either option this would acknowledge “an entirely parochial form of thought”, such that “[w]e are thinkers of a particular kind, equipped by our nature with certain sensitivities, equipped to treat the world, in thought and deed, in certain ways” (Travis, 2011, p. 203). Then, there might be thoughts that “it would take a parochial capacity to grasp: its absence need not disqualify one as a thinker” (Travis, 2011, p.  104). But then, those possessing that capacity would grasp those thoughts, although that that would not count as thought for (say) Martians or dolphins. By contrast, to credit with thought the slavering, green, many-tentacled monster Kang (in The Simpsons cartoon series) is (implicitly) is to project onto Kang precisely one’s own conceptions of what it is to think or judge such-and-such. And, because “[a] thought is of things being a certain way—the way it presents itself to consciousness as among the ways things are” (Travis, 2011, p. 2), that grants the truth to some of those thoughts or judgements. Then any more detailed presentation, in identifying (for example) the beer in the glass on the table, divides the world (as then addressed) into sets of elements: “glass”, “beer”, “table”; and does so on a particular understanding of those elements and their importance (to reflect occasion-sensitivity). Hence, “[p]arochial human responsiveness may … not just choose between stances visible to all, but make visible particular things to answer to in taking things to be some given way” (Travis, 2011, p. 108). For example (from Travis, 2011, pp. 19–21), our claim that Sid is slurping his soup requires consideration

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of what exactly Sid is doing to/with the soup: its resolution, for here and now at least, is typically answerable to the sublunary world. But consideration of Sid’s (possible) slurping also requires recognizing what counts as slurping one’s soup, perhaps here and now; but perhaps more generally (to address the range). That Kang cannot recognize this (with all the slavering, what is a bit of slurping?) need not undermine our commitments, nor make us doubt the truth of any conclusions we arrive at, when we do. But recognizing the diversity possible here is just acknowledging occasion-­ sensitivity for the question asked, and hence for our (appropriate) response to it—a response correct (or not) on that occasion, but not (necessarily) more generally (compare PI §136). And made correct (or not) because that occasion, or situation, identifies the standards appropriate for the purposes at hand. Such a defence of the parochial, once elaborated, counts against the possibility of a single, uniform account of what is required to see others’ judgements as true: rather, these judgements would be parochial in that “one sort of thinker (say, humans) can grasp, or entertain, thoughts that another sort (say, Martians) cannot” (Travis, 2011, p.  104). That might seem to undermine the commitment to truth endorsed throughout this chapter (indeed, throughout this work), but does not. For, since the answer offered on that occasion draws on conditions of answerability, they must be available to us, “ones it takes no such foreign form of thought to see” (Travis, 2011, p. 126). Hence, they are entirely appropriately regarded as parochial. Further elaboration of any response here goes beyond this work’s scope. But two comments are apposite: first, if we are right to assume that, in describing a situation, our description deploys notions that will “admit of varying understanding, where it takes an occasion to fix how, on it, the notion is to be understood” (Travis, 2011, p. 108)—that is, if we grant occasion-sensitivity—then nothing here need be worrying. For one can at least begin identifying what, if anything, (say) our Martians and our humans share here—perhaps they grant the situation or occasion—and then enquire what else is shareable. If, in the end, the lack of a resolution turns on the parochial, that is at least a clarification. Moreover, and second, such complex debates need not be resolved here. Rather, our initial strategy began from what must realistically be taken for granted if philosophy were possible: agency and normativity. Hence, we return to that starting point: the presuppositions of a world in which philosophy is possible, and remind ourselves (again) of Wittgenstein’s injunction to begin at the beginning, “[a]nd not try to go further back” (OC §471). For, at the least, that discus-

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sion cannot begin without answerability of kinds that would disappear were there no agents, and no possibility of normativity. But these ideas find little place in the ‘dazzling ideal’ that science provides, an ideal that can make us doubt the very possibility of philosophical insight.

8   Conclusion Our project as a whole is clarified by concluding both chapter and text with the account of Sellars developed here: on my view, its limitations illustrate what escaping the ‘dazzling ideal’ of science requires. For, on my reading, despite his good intentions, Sellars remains unduly dazzled: he correctly recognizes that the aim cannot be merely to reconcile the two images, since the scientific image can conflict with the manifest image— even if his way of bringing that out suggests the unreality of objects under non-scientific conceptions! But then he cannot (as he hoped: SPR, p. 40) join the two images: the tension between them remains. The difficulty, I have urged, lies in the characterization of causality for science: applied quite generally, the ‘dazzling ideal’ of an inexorable causality (operating exceptionlessly) precludes acknowledging the inappropriateness of this pattern for causality outside the special case of natural science (where ceteris paribus assumptions are imported). Then justice cannot be done to Sellars’ manifest image. Recognizing this difficulty permits seeing the ideal as an ideal—where that means “as an idealization” of limited utility. Here, as we saw, that ideal can be pernicious in our thinking about persons and their actions, and about the nature of the mind, including the possibilities for its understanding using models drawn from the operation of computers. More broadly, we have acknowledged both that the needs of philosophy require recognition of a distinctive normativity not open to causal accounts (as Frege informed us, causal explanations cannot offer differential diagnoses of the normatively good and bad); and that future extensions of the scope of science cannot offer a remedy here.

Notes 1. Some of this is sketched in McFee, 2018. 2. My point, though, is not that evolutionary ethics confuses the moral and the factual (as urged by Flew (1967: also Flew, 1984, pp.  124–129). Instead, our response to sceptics is that arguing from is to ought:

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… is a feat we repeatedly perform in a context in which it would not occur to the skeptic or the subjectivist himself to doubt its legitimacy … (Bambrough, 1979, p. 107) For, as Bambrough (1979, pp. 107–108) continues, the sceptic assumes that anyone accepting his premises must then acknowledge his conclusion, once granting the argument is valid: … the principle of such an argument is precisely a statement to the effect that premises of a certain sort are sufficient for the truth of a conclusion of a certain sort. But, then, anyone ought to accept that conclusion. Hence scepticism here is self-defeating, since the sceptic argues for his conclusion, without noticing that “[l]ogical validity is a value” (Bambrough, 1979, p. 105). 3. In reality, McCarthy was more guarded, originally saying of those works of Hellman in an interview in Paris Metro (1978) that “every word she writes is false including the ‘and’ and the ‘but’…”; the more extreme comment occurred in a television show (hosted by Dick Cavett in 1979), to the effect that “every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’”. (Hellman sued for defamation; but the case did not come to court, due to her death in 1984. Here, I address the events as though McCarthy was right, to clarify the nature of lying.) 4. Of course, typical sciences have many overlapping features of differential import. But recall the power of Popper’s demarcation of science: as Kuhn (2000, p. 139) summarizes the insight, “for some range of natural phenomena, concrete predictions must emerge from the field”. 5. The traditional picture of choosing between theories solely on the basis of experimental results wants reconsideration. For instance, were the goal of David Bohm’s 1952 interpretation of quantum mechanics to generate exactly the same theoretical predictions as other accounts (say, the Copenhagen or the Many-Worlds Interpretations), all must be equally well-­confirmed by experimental results. Then any preference can only be rooted in, say, ‘simplicity’ or ‘elegance’. 6. In particular, one conjecture is that the energy-requirement for the exascale computer with computing-power sufficient to determine unequivocally these relevant initial conditions for earth-wide climate calculations (for the ‘whole world’, recall), and especially in ‘real time’, would itself be sufficient (producing, effectively, heat) to disturb those very calculations. 7. Here, too, like Kuhn (2000, p. 189): … I do not believe that reference in natural or scientific languages is ultimately inscrutable, only that it is very difficult to discover and that one may never be absolutely certain one has succeeded.

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So, one cannot guarantee that key terms refer to the same objects, nor that they can be ‘translated’ from one theory to another in the point-by-point, remainder-less way required. Further, I grant that “[r]eference and translation are two problems not one” (Kuhn, 2000, p. 190). 8. Reid ([1785] 1997, p. 195) rightly recognizes the possibility of explaining such deviation (the “cause” of it) in some cases. 9. Thus, Mark Zuckerberg notes Facebook as initially being “focused on all the good that connecting people brings”, but now concedes that its developers “didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is”, and so failed to prevent “abuse” [his term] under which he includes “fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech, in addition to developers and data privacy” (quoted Marantz, 2018, p. 19). 10. Grice (2001, p. 16) rightly stresses that “a reasoner should be, to a greater or lesser degree, the author of his reasonings … [since] [p]arroted sequences are not reasonings when parroted, although the very same sequences might be reasoning if not parroted”; and, further, that “[r]easoning is characteristically addressed to problems” (Grice, 2001, p.  16)— thereby connecting to our contextualism. 11. Material in this section was presented as “Six or seven things Descartes did not say” to the Philosophy Departmental Colloquium, California State University Fullerton, in 2009; and to the Sussex Philosophy Group gathering, in 2014. It benefits from the discussion in both places: participants are hereby thanked. 12. Throughout, my debt to Gordon Baker and Katherine Morris should be obvious; and not just to their Descartes’ Dualism (1996). 13. So perhaps Williams’ book, Descartes: The Project of a Pure Enquiry (1978) goes wrong on the title page! 14. Thus, causal accounts of “function”, on an etiological model (Wright, 1973, 1976, pp. 73–116), must acknowledge the inexorability of causation (see Chap. 2; Chap. 5, Sect. 2). 15. The situation is yet more complicated if our account of science involves a view of quantum mechanics where a key idea is, “there is only the wave function” (see Putnam, 2012, p. 151). But, as Putnam (2012, p. 152) recognizes, “the wave function is not part of the physical ontology of quantum mechanics because … it is a mathematical object” (only); and “mathematically presented quantum-mechanical theories do not wear their ontologies on their sleeves” (Putnam, 2012, p. 161). On this general topic within a broadly realistic framework, see Putnam, 2012, pp. 126–161. 16. In adopting such a view, on which “we clearly do not ‘construct’ any part of … [our world], even though some of us make a contribution to the historical and cultural changes that shape the world in which we live” (Dilman, 2011, p. 32), we are not necessarily conceding to Dilman (2011,

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p. 34, quoting from Dilman, 2000, p. 218) that “[t]he life we live is the life of the language we speak; and the world in which we live is the world of that life—the life of our language”. 17. This point applies to the scientific image also: as above (Chap. 1, Sect. 4; Chap. 4, Sect. 7), on my account, scientific communities have “assimilated a time-tested and group-licensed way of seeing” (Kuhn, 1970, p. 189)— where each term is important; but with special emphasis on way of seeing. This view need not require “the notion of a fully external world towards which science moves closer and closer, a world independent … of the practices of the scientific specialties that explore it” (Kuhn, 2000, p. 251). 18. Of course, if either finds that his car will not start, he calls a mechanic, or something similar: he does not dismiss it as just a quantum effect. 19. Collingwood ([1940] 1997, p.  31) explains that “[a]n absolute presupposition is one which stands, relatively to all questions to which it is related, as a presupposition, never as an answer.” When one presupposes something, the presupposition can ordinarily be made good. But, for our absolute presuppositions, any question: … such as ‘Is it true?’, ‘What evidence is there for it?’, ‘How can it be demonstrated?’, ‘What right have I to presuppose it if it can’t?’, is a nonsense question. (Collingwood [1940] 1997, p. 33) It is nonsense because such presuppositions are fundamental to our whole way of thinking, acting, arguing, questioning, and so on: they represent places where “reasons run out” (PI §211). 20. See Austin (1962, pp. 62–77). Drawing on the Oxford English Dictionary, Maund (2003, p. 97) suggests that any case involving “the apparent perception of an external object when no such object is present” counts as an hallucination: he should both read Austin’s careful contrasting of cases here; and attend a performance of stage magic! 21. Equally, “we are saddled by our nature with thought of a particular kind … We are endowed with a parochial capacity for thought” (Travis, 2013, p. 225: my order).

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Index1

A Abelson, R., 180 Absolute presupposition, 300, 309n19 Accident(al), 15, 26, 27, 66, 69, 72, 77, 104, 115, 135, 138, 149, 155, 167, 248, 255 Achilles, 258 Acquired characteristics, 150, 153, 154 Agent-causation, 42, 65 Altruism, 160, 164 Ambiguity, 20, 219, 221, 222, 226, 237 Amoeba, 89, 99, 104 Ancestor, 147, 159, 166, 168, 169 Android/ology, vi, 31, 104, 136, 140n17, 180, 183–188, 190, 191, 193–195, 197–199, 201–204 Anjum, R. L., 51–53, 281 Anomalous monism, 58–65, 124

Anscombe, G. E. M., 33, 52, 61, 66, 76, 77, 79n5, 105n9, 139n6 Anti-scientific, 31 Aphrodite Argument, 31, 140n17, 187–195, 197–202 Approximation, 130, 147, 273 Arbitrary/iness, 8, 278–280, 296 Aristotle, 29, 129, 157, 255, 264, 287, 288, 291 Artificial Intelligence (AI), 31, 103, 104, 177–206, 271 Arup, Ove, 1, 274 Austin, J. L., 14, 15, 20, 25–29, 36n13, 36n15, 42, 54, 69, 70, 73, 77, 78, 81n23, 87, 90–92, 97, 99, 100, 133, 138, 201, 212, 214, 220, 222, 229, 230, 233n3, 233n7, 251, 255, 256, 281, 282, 298, 301, 309n20 AWL (Wittgenstein, 1979b), 264 Ayer, A. J., 24

 Note: Page numbers followed by ‘n’ refer to notes.

1

© The Author(s) 2019 G. McFee, Philosophy and the ‘Dazzling Ideal’ of Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21675-7

329

330 

INDEX

B Bacon, F., 290 Baker, G., viii, 138, 139, 206, 208n27, 244, 267n9, 291, 308n12 Baldwin, T., 59, 60 Bambrough, R., 166, 169, 275, 307n2 Basic action, 73, 76 Basketball, 169 Baumeister, R., 67 BB (Wittgenstein, 1958), 1, 99, 100, 244 Becoming Nicole (Nutt), 12 Bennett, J., 298 Bennett, M. R., 111, 117, 118, 134–136, 154, 161 Berlin, I., 267n4 Big Bang Theory, 6, 9, 275 “Big Umbrella, The” (Runyon), 148 Biology/ical, vi, 2, 3, 6, 13, 24, 30, 31, 34, 41, 60, 62, 79n1, 79n5, 80n15, 80n18, 96, 104n1, 118, 145–149, 160, 162, 165–170, 187, 190–192, 194, 195, 201, 207n9, 207n10, 217, 218, 222, 264, 274, 276 Blackburn, S., 162, 281 Blade Runner, 31, 194–201, 203, 204, 207n15 Blakemore, C., 110 Bohm, David, 307n5 Bradley, F. H., 279, 280 BT (Wittgenstein, 2005), 2, 18, 138, 241, 244, 262, 263, 265, 266 Bugatti Veyron, 113, 121–128 Burial, 169 C Capaldi, N., 50 Cappelen, H., 224 Carnap, R., 135, 233n9, 279

Carroll, Lewis, 92, 258 Carroll, N., 72 Cartoons, 11, 145, 272, 304 Cartwright, N., 4, 54, 105n3 Causal necessity, 44, 45, 48–51, 53–58, 61, 71, 109, 112, 135 Causal sufficiency, 49, 50, 67, 111–114, 119 Cavell, S., 14, 15, 26, 29, 133, 256, 257, 272 Central nervous system, 43, 164 Central-state materialism, 118 Ceteris paribus, 23, 48, 50–52, 54–58, 61, 62, 64, 109, 111–113, 125, 126, 165, 211, 246, 254–255, 301, 306 Chance, 50, 67, 115, 146, 152, 296 Chaos Theory, 80n9, 278 Chaucer, G., 261 Chess, 5, 6, 9, 17, 18, 67, 75, 76, 102, 129, 186, 272 Chinese Room (argument), 31, 181–185, 192 Chomsky, Noam, 223 Churchland, P., 3, 17, 136 Circumstances, 15, 18–20, 22, 36n11, 41, 46, 49, 51–54, 56, 75, 87, 91, 92, 100, 129, 170, 224, 233n7, 241, 249–251, 263, 272, 281 Climate change, viii, 279 Closed system, 60–62, 64, 125 Coastline, 281 Cognitive Science, 189, 193, 197, 207n7 Collingwood, R. G., 300, 309n19 Colour, 19, 92, 102, 125, 127, 145–147, 282, 294, 297, 299, 301–303 Composition (“is” of), 65, 101–103, 118–121, 126, 245 Concreteness, 243, 261

 INDEX 

Contextual(ism), 9, 32, 56, 58, 73, 76, 80n13, 95, 122, 169, 214, 236, 239, 244, 247, 250, 256, 275, 281, 308n10 Continuant, 31, 87, 88, 100, 101, 104, 240, 256, 297 Copenhagen interpretation (of quantum mechanics), 299 Copernicus/Copernican, 241, 278 Coplan, A., 196, 208n20 Counter-causal, 43, 58, 246 Counterexample, 216, 232 Counterfactual, 66, 105n5 Covering concept, 89–92, 220 Creativity, 152, 223 Cricket, 75, 81n24 CSM (Descartes, 1984), 8, 32, 177, 205, 206, 208n28, 289, 291 D Dancy, J., 250 Danto, A., 73, 74, 77 Darley, J., 171 Darrow, C., 46, 47 Darwin, C., ix, 145, 146, 149–154, 158, 160, 167, 172n2, 173n6, 173n7, 173n11, 173n12, 173n13, 274 Davidson, D., 58–65, 77, 80n15, 80n17, 124, 147 Davies, D., 72, 196, 208n20 Davies, S., 166–169 Davis, J. K., 297 Dawkins, R., 149, 153, 154, 157, 161–164, 173n14 Decision, 58, 68, 69, 75, 78, 79n5, 134, 135, 159, 169, 185, 203, 204, 247, 278–281, 285 Deduction/ive, 52, 257, 282 Defeasibility, 247, 248, 296 Defeater, 48, 61, 63, 64, 112, 113, 168, 200, 211

331

Defective, 91, 113, 198, 235, 252 Definition (character of), 4 Dennett, D., 140n16, 183 Descartes, R., vii, viii, 8, 32, 177, 205–206, 208n28, 264, 265, 286–292, 294, 308n11 Determinate/acy, 18, 19, 54, 79n7, 91, 92, 95, 98, 99, 101, 105n7, 106n10, 125, 226, 235, 260, 274, 279–281 Determinist argument, 43–45, 47, 49, 50, 54, 57, 58, 71, 112, 113, 246 Determinist/ism, 43–50, 54, 56–58, 63, 71, 80n14, 112, 135, 139n1, 139n3, 140n14, 246 Dexter, C., 22 Difference-maker, 53, 80n13, 256 Differential dying, 149, 151, 153 Dilman, I., 257, 283, 294, 295, 308–309n16 Direction of fit, 76 Disambiguation, 215, 218–226 Disciplinary matrices, 47 Disciplinary principles, 13 DNA, 154, 162 Donagan, A., 21, 80n8, 259, 287 Doubting, 8, 32, 289, 301 Dreaming, 17, 128, 136, 140n18 Drury, M., 263 Dual-inheritance theory, 166–170 Dualist/ism, 59, 116, 205, 241, 299 Dummett, M., 4, 13, 16, 24, 34, 55, 72, 74, 158, 170, 171, 220, 225, 226, 258, 259, 267n6, 272, 273 Durrell, L., 187, 190, 204 Durwin, A. J., 171 Dylan, Bob, 178, 179 E Economics, 36n11, 159 Einstein, A., 13, 300

332 

INDEX

EKT (McFee, 2010), 15, 131, 148, 233n1, 285 Eliminativist/ism, 3, 7 Eliot, T. S., 1 Empirical philosophy, 34, 67, 165, 171 Entailment, 17, 211 Environment, 5, 47, 80n14, 111, 146, 147, 149, 150, 152, 153, 158, 162, 163, 165, 167, 169, 170, 247 Erotetic, 7, 11, 12, 18, 54, 129, 130, 237, 244, 256, 285 Escher, M. C., 98 Evolution(ary), viii, 30, 31, 145–172, 276 Evolutionary ethics, 30, 274, 306n2 Exa-scale computer, 307n6 Exceptionless(ness), 2, 3, 9, 16–20, 23, 30–32, 36n13, 46, 49–57, 60, 61, 66, 69, 71, 72, 109, 114, 115, 120, 128, 133, 135–137, 148, 156–159, 161, 164, 165, 211–232, 235–267, 275, 297, 298, 301, 303 Explanation causal, v, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 23, 24, 30, 44, 47, 52, 54, 58, 71, 73, 75, 76, 110, 115, 134, 150, 156, 158, 161, 165, 171, 271, 272, 285, 286, 300, 306 etiological, 156 functional, 36n10, 155 teleological, 151, 155, 156 F Faculty of Sense-perception, 289–291 Falsificationism/ist, 294 Family Feud (tv programme), 165, 282 Faraday cage, 57 Feyerabend, P., 105n3 Finite totality, 19, 23, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 61, 62, 64, 96, 104, 109,

112, 125, 135, 140n17, 190, 193, 194, 200, 205, 216, 218, 219, 223, 227, 228, 230, 231, 246, 247, 266 Flat Earth Society, 277 Flew, A., 80n14, 121, 145, 147, 157, 306n2 Formalization, 258, 259 Forrester, J., 31, 159, 166 Foundationalism/ist, 290, 291 Fractal, 280 Free will, 9, 21–24, 41–42, 45, 58, 67, 68, 70, 184, 208n22, 245, 247, 266, 271 Frege, G., vi, 4, 6, 11, 12, 14, 16, 19, 34, 35n3, 36n12, 44, 64, 73, 102, 106n10, 110, 129, 134, 156, 158, 159, 165, 166, 170, 193, 206, 225, 235, 241, 242, 245, 271, 281, 286, 292, 306 Freud, S., viii, ix, 64, 69, 116, 173n15, 277 Functionalism, 124 functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), 68, 69, 110, 111, 118, 126 FW (McFee, 2000), 45, 46, 53, 54, 80n9, 113, 139n1, 164, 224, 231, 247, 249, 267n3, 280, 293 G Gage, P., 104, 286 Galileo, G., 129, 166, 264, 293 Gallant Officer (case of), 94, 95 Game, 2, 75, 81n24, 102, 235 Gaskin, R., 237, 283 Geach, P. T., 52, 61, 66 Gene/genetic, 12, 145–150, 152–154, 157–159, 161–164, 167, 169, 195, 217 Generality, 30, 45, 47, 48, 121, 161, 214, 218, 227, 229–231, 236, 237, 241, 242, 254

 INDEX 

Gleick, J., 279 Goethe, J. W. von, 72, 138, 248 Goldman, Bob, 233n10 Goodwin, G., 171 Gould, S. J., 146, 157, 172n3 Grice, P., 233n6, 286, 308n10 Group selection, 154, 155, 157, 160 Guillain-Barre syndrome, 199, 200 Gunderson, K., 188, 190 H Hacker, P., 5, 7, 34, 35n7, 65, 66, 81n20, 85, 88–90, 98, 104n2, 111, 117, 118, 134–136, 140n12, 154, 161, 172n4, 200, 238, 294 Hadrosaur, 149, 151 Hallett, G., 99 Hampshire, S., 248 Hanfling, O., 10, 11, 13, 284 Harris, J., 251, 252 Harris, S., 11, 49, 57, 68 Harrison, H., 31, 198 Harry Potter, 303 Hart, H. L. A., 80n13, 254 Heads of exception, 248, 252, 254 Hellman, L., 276, 277, 307n3 Herbert, Zbigniew, 288 Hierarchical, 2, 3, 6, 41 Higgins, John, 55, 56 Hinton, J., 208n24 Hippocampus, 119, 120 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 275 Hobson, A., 136 Homer, 9, 46, 261 Homunculus fallacy, 179 Honoré, T., 80n13, 254 Hot-rod, 53, 54 I Idealization, 21, 61, 131, 303, 306 Identification, “is” of, 105n8, 245

333

Identity “is” of, 245 numerical, 85–90, 94, 97, 100, 104 qualitative, 86 Imaginability, 199–201 Imperfectionism, 236 Implicature, 233n6 Incommensurable/ity, 91, 129 Indeterminist/ic, 246 Indistinguishability/able, 89, 195, 201, 202, 219 Inheritance, 31, 85, 87, 95, 99, 145, 146, 149, 152, 154, 155, 157, 158, 161, 166–170, 172n2, 201 Inspector Morse (Dexter), 22 Intelligence, 31, 78, 177–206, 271 Intention, 14, 21, 22, 27, 28, 33, 36n12, 42, 54, 62, 64, 67, 68, 72, 75, 77, 79n5, 96, 103, 116, 119, 121, 128, 133, 138, 162, 165, 191, 203, 205, 207n17, 214, 233n7, 248, 273, 276, 281, 285, 289, 290, 298–300, 306 Interfere, 66 J Jabr, F., 119 James, W., 104 Jarman, D., 244 Jeans, J., 140n13, 301 Jeopardy (tv programme), 178 Joke, 9, 46, 261, 275 Jones, P., 1, 274, 277 K Kant, I., vii, 2, 4, 5, 35n2, 35n4, 35n5, 45, 302, 303 Kasparov, G., 17 Kenny, A., 205, 206, 235 Kleptomaniac, 54, 249 Knobe, J., 165

334 

INDEX

Kolnai, A., 236, 237 Kripke, S., 236 Kuhn, T., 14, 35n1, 79n1, 79n6, 129–131, 278, 307n4, 307–308n7, 309n17 L Lamarck, J-B., 150, 153, 173n6 Lapore, E., 224 Lavoiser, A., 299 Law-like, 52, 60, 66, 278 Lawyer, 26, 45, 47, 255 Leopold & Loeb, 46 Lewis, D., 239, 240, 297 Liberating word, 244, 263, 266 Libertarian/ism, 43 Libet, B., 67, 68, 135 Localization, 116, 127 Locke, J., 93, 96, 191, 293–295 Logically Omniscient Jones (LOJ), 135, 279 Logical possibility, 97–98, 194, 199, 200, 202, 213 Lovibond, S., 285 Lucas, J. R., 57 Lying (lies), 14, 133, 272, 276, 277 Lyons, J., 223 M M (Wittgenstein, 2016), 36n8, 36n17 Mackie, J., 105n5 Malcolm, N., 207n12 Mandelbrot, B., 280, 281 Manifest image (of humankind), 6, 11, 15, 16, 20, 21, 23, 44, 156, 293, 295, 296, 298–301, 306 Many Worlds (interpretation of quantum mechanics), 299, 307n5 Marantz, A., 284, 308n9 Margolis, J., 4

Marr, D., 189, 190 Marx, K., 36n11 Materialist/ism, vi, 11, 23, 113, 114, 116, 118, 119, 121, 122, 124, 126, 134 Mathematics, 34, 36n17, 62, 80n10, 130, 280, 285 Matrix, The, 288, 290, 291 Maund, B., 282, 309n20 McDowell, J., 62, 63, 283 McFee, G., vi, 4, 11, 17, 21, 36n11, 79n3, 128, 233n1, 240, 244, 245, 257, 258, 262, 263, 265, 267n5 Mellor, H., 65 Meme, 161–164 Memory, viii, 93, 94, 99, 103, 119, 120, 195, 196, 204, 277 Mereological fallacy, 117, 134–135, 140n15, 161 Metaphysical freedom, 43, 71, 245 Midgley, M., 149–155, 157, 160 Minsky, M., 31, 198 Mirror neurons, 67, 140n12, 264, 277 Mirror reflex, 277 Modern Synthetic Theory, 145, 172n2 Modularized, 166 Montaigne, M., 206, 290 Montero, B., 36n16, 81n22 Moral, 274 criticism, 166, 274 realism, 171, 275 relativism (see Moral realism) Morris, K. M., viii, 206, 208n27, 291, 308n12 Motives, 64, 133, 151, 153, 196, 256 Multiple-personality, 95, 97, 104 Multiple-Personality Disorder, 87, 95 Mumford, S., 51–53, 281 M (Wittgenstein, 2016), 36n8, 36n17

 INDEX 

N Nagel, T., v, vi, 1–4, 6, 7, 32–34, 41, 42, 44, 64, 65, 79n2, 140n11, 149, 159, 164–166, 168, 170, 172n5, 236, 271, 274, 275, 289 Nahmias, E., 67–69, 71 Napoleon, 63, 64 Natural selection, 146, 150–152, 155, 156, 160, 165, 168, 173n11, 300 Neural architecture, 117 Neurobiology, vi, 17, 21, 114–116, 127, 135, 136, 140n7 Neuronal Correlate of Consciousness (NCC), 114, 115, 119, 135–137, 140n7 Neuroscience, 13, 16, 22, 42, 65, 71, 118, 128, 139 New, C., 25, 26, 36n15 Newton, Isaac, 129, 264, 294 Normativity, 5, 6, 9–16, 20, 22, 24, 30, 34, 42, 43, 53, 56, 62–64, 67, 70, 75, 76, 102, 128, 129, 134, 154, 157, 159, 161, 165, 166, 183, 193, 205, 206, 218, 258, 262, 271, 272, 274, 283, 292, 298, 305, 306 Nussbaum, M., 243, 261 Nutt, A. E., 12 O Objective, 275, 302 Objectivity, 283 Occasion-sensitive/ity, 9, 18–20, 91, 103, 104, 190, 220, 221, 226, 227, 231, 232, 236, 237, 239, 241, 242, 244, 263, 304, 305 O’Connor, D., 48 OC (Wittgenstein, 1969), vii, 8, 72, 74, 114, 248, 305 Open horizon, 279 Open texture/concept (Waismann), 62

335

P Palmer, A., 207n14 Panpsychism, 42, 79n2 Parable, 238–245, 261, 262 Paradigm, 69, 130 Paramnesia, 94, 95 Parfit, D., 104, 201 Parochial, 302–306, 309n21 Participatory, 13, 284 Particularist/ism, 241, 250, 251 Part-replacement, 97, 198, 199 Passmore, J., 25 Paternalism, 251, 252 Perdurantist/ism, 239, 240, 297 Perry, J., 90 Persistence, 88, 100, 117, 152, 153, 166, 239 Personality, 12, 86, 87, 92–95, 97, 100, 168, 249, 250, 252 Perspicuous representation, 263 Pettit, P., 245–249, 252–255, 266 PG (Wittgenstein, 1974), 137–139 Physical object, 24, 292, 294, 295 Physics, vii, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13, 24, 41, 49, 53, 60–62, 64–67, 78–79n1, 79n2, 79n5, 81n19, 125, 129, 248, 264, 275, 288, 297, 300, 301 PI (Wittgenstein, 1953/2001/2009), v, 1, 2, 11, 18, 22, 29, 35n3, 70, 75, 103, 113, 134, 137, 138, 159, 200, 236, 256, 260, 263, 266, 272, 284, 309n19 Place, U. T., 140n10 Plasticity, 117–118, 121, 130, 136 Poem, 260, 261 Popper(ian), 131, 307n4 Population genetics, 147, 149 PO (Wittgenstein, 1993), 29, 244, 262, 263 PPF (Wittgenstein, 2009), 70, 99, 159 PPO (Wittgenstein, 2003), 263, 264

336 

INDEX

Premise/s, 48, 57, 59, 168, 258, 259, 267n6, 307n2 Priestley, J., 299 Primary quality/ies, 65, 295 Probability/ies, viii, 67, 147, 148, 160, 164 Problem case, 16, 90, 95, 98–101 Programme (computer), 31, 177, 179–182, 192 Proposition, 11, 28, 36n12, 62, 80n17, 123, 148, 225, 237–245, 290, 294 Psychological discontinuity, 92–95 Psychology/ist, 5, 13, 21, 31, 45, 47, 62, 64, 80n15, 116, 128, 139, 202, 282 Psychophysical, 3, 59, 60 Punish/ment, 248, 253 Punting/punt, 74, 272, 273 Putnam, H., 5, 30, 124, 140n10, 207n5, 233n2, 257, 281–283, 308n15 Q Quantum mechanics, 50, 80n10, 299, 307n5, 308n15 Quantum physics, 49, 67 Quick and the Dead, The, 249, 250 Quine, W., 34, 35n7, 100, 172n5, 233n2 R Ramsey, F. P., 213 Randall, L., 130, 131 Rapid Eye Movement [REM] sleep, 17, 128, 136 Rationality, 32, 165, 171, 236, 271, 286 Rationalization, 282 Rational reconstruction, 17, 24, 114, 237, 240 Readiness potentials, 67, 68 Reagan, Ronald, 157

“Redeeming word,” 244, 254–263, 266, 267 Reductivist/ism, 44, 59 Reid, T., 240, 256, 282, 284, 308n8 Relativist/ism, 8, 281 Replicant, 194–197, 199, 201, 203, 204, 207n17 Replicator, 161, 162 Responsibility, v, vi, 5, 9–16, 21–24, 26, 33, 41–43, 45–47, 50, 58, 66, 67, 71, 72, 85, 87, 91, 92, 95, 153, 185, 246, 248–250, 252–255, 263, 271–273, 284, 291, 308n9 RFM (Wittgenstein, 1978), 25 Riemann, B., 13 Ringer, 296 Robinson, D., 97, 103, 113 Rope (Hitchcock), 46 Rorty, R., 283 Rowling, J. K., 303 RPP (Wittgenstein, 1980), 208n25 Rundle, B., 241, 296 Ruse, M., vi, vii, 149, 151, 172n2, 173n8 Russell, B., 7, 35n6, 213 Ryle, G., 27, 28, 63, 64 S Sake, 25, 120, 140n18, 241 Sceptic/scepticism, 273, 280, 288, 306–307n2 Schank, R., 178–180 Schlick, M., 249, 267n3 Schreiber, F., 95 Schulte, J., 25 Scientific image (of humankind), 6, 11, 21, 23, 30, 44, 156, 292, 295 Scientism, v, 3, 4, 31, 33, 71, 128, 158 Searle, J., 10, 31, 111, 112, 114–119, 127, 135, 140n7, 140n8, 140n9,

 INDEX 

177–185, 188, 189, 192, 193, 198–200, 207n7, 207n10, 207n18, 208n22 Secondary quality/ies, 294, 295, 301 Seeley, W. P., 72 Selfish, 121, 154, 157, 158, 160, 161, 164, 165, 232 Sellars, W., vii, 6, 11, 15, 16, 20–24, 30, 32, 44, 156, 190, 297–302, 306 Semantics, 25, 31, 179, 181, 183, 185, 187, 190, 192, 193, 221, 222, 259 Sexual selection, 149–151, 160 Shanker, S., 179, 183 Shoemaker, S., 97, 98, 104 Simpsons, The, 9, 197, 304 Simulation, 189 Skinner, B. F., 47 Smart, J. C. C., 140n10 Smith, G., 111, 178–180 Snow, C. P., 276 Sober, E ., 147, 160, 173n6, 173n7, 173n12, 273, 274, 284 Social Darwinism, 157 Social media, 284 Solidarity, 105n4, 157, 283, 301 Sortal, 101 Spinoza, B., 79n7, 287 SPR (Sellars, W., 1963/1991), 6, 15, 20–23, 30, 292–295, 298, 299 Star Trek (transporter), 99, 104, 201 Statistical, 11, 29, 31, 44, 50, 57, 71, 115, 151, 155, 156, 159, 163, 164, 166, 292 Stebbing, S., 127 Steele, E. J., 173n8 Stereotype, 105n4 Stochastic, 57 Strawson, P. F., 4, 35n4, 35n5, 52, 278, 302, 303 Stroud, B., 172n5 Subjective/ity, 127, 140n7, 236, 281, 307n2

337

Substance, vi, 5, 35n4, 66, 88, 90, 100, 101, 104n1, 132, 205, 208n28, 218, 220, 238, 240, 278, 297, 298 Sugden, J., 36n11 Suits, B., 267n1 Sunrise, 133, 241, 278 Supervenience, 59, 60, 105n9 Sybil, 95 Syntax, 31, 181, 185, 192, 229 T ‘Talk-cure,’ 64 Tallis, R., 69, 104, 110, 118, 286 Tendential theory (of causes), 51 Thatcher, M., 157 Therapeutic, 71–78, 244, 257, 263, 266 Thermodynamics (laws of), 9, 46, 170 Thigpen, C. H., 95 Thought-experiment, 97–99, 104, 177–206, 212, 215 Tomlinson, A. G., 36n11 Toulmin, S., 13 Travis, C., 9, 18–20, 36n12, 63, 92, 128, 172n5, 219–225, 230, 232, 233n4, 233n5, 233n6, 237, 238, 241, 242, 296, 297, 304, 305 True Lies, 76 Truth-denial/denying, 277, 281–286 Turing, A., 180 Turing Option, The, 31, 198–201 Turing Test, 178–181, 183, 186, 188, 192, 193, 202–204 U UD (McFee, 1992), 105n3, 187, 211, 218, 222 Unintentional, 15, 27, 77 Unreal, 23, 292, 293, 298, 301 Uriah the Hittite, 243

338 

INDEX

V Vendler, Z., 27, 28 Virgil, 261 Von Wright, G. H., 66 VoW (Wittgenstein & Waismann, 2003), 2, 18, 137, 138, 200, 224, 263, 266 W Waismann, F., 62, 138, 296 Waterloo (Battle of), 63, 64, 94 Watson (IBM computer programme), 178 Westworld, 31, 202–204 Wettstein, H., 245 Wiggins, D., 31, 65, 87–90, 95–97, 99–101, 103, 104, 104n1, 105n4, 105n6, 105n7, 106n10, 119, 191, 194, 201, 205, 240, 297 Wilberforce, W., 166 Wilkerson, T. E., 4, 302 Wilkes, K., 97, 98, 126, 127

Williams, B., 3, 12, 65, 257, 267n4, 282, 283, 308n13 Wilson, E. O., 149 Wimsey (Lord Peter), 276 Wisdom, J., 17, 35n3, 148, 213, 238, 243, 256, 257, 259, 260, 266, 282 Wittgenstein (Jarman film, 1993), 244 Wollheim, R., 128 Woolf, V., 91, 99 Wright, C., 297 Wright, L., 18, 36n10, 129, 155, 156, 256, 308n14 WWK (Wittgenstein, 1979a), 139n5 Y Young, L., 171 Z Ziff, P., 32, 195, 214–218, 226–232 Zuckerberg (Mark), 308n9 Z (Wittgenstein, 1967), 25, 70, 263