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bachelor = unmarried man
knowledge = justified true belief
All concepts can ultimately be defined in terms of primitive concepts.
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aVQSome Versions: PhilosophyEmpiricists:
Primitive concepts are simple phenomenal and/or perceptual concepts
Carnap (in the Aufbau)
A single primitive concept: recollected phenomenal similarity
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D=,Q @~u Some Versions: Cognitive SciencehRoger Schank: Conceptual Dependency theory
11 primitive action concepts: ATRANS, PTRANS, MOVE, PROPEL, GRASP, INGEST, EXPEL, ATTEND, SPEAK, MBUILD, DO
Anna Wierzbicka: Semantic primes
60+ primitive lexical items
E.g. plants = living things; these things can t feel something; these things can t do something+l!|+k!!Z,
w2Philosophical Doubts about the Traditional Picture:Worry: Most expressions don t seem to have (short) definitions or explicit analyses that are a priori equivalent to the original
For most purported definitions/analyses, one can find conceptually possible counterexamples
If so: then on the definitional account of primitive concepts (where definitions must be a priori), most concepts will be primitive?
But still: some concepts seem more primitive than others& <\\xConditional Conceptual AnalysistEven if we can t define knowledge in more basic terms, we can still apply it to scenarios characterized in more basic terms
E.g. Gettier literature: Given scenarios characterized in non- knowledge -involving terms, people have conceptual intuitions about whether the scenario is a case of knowing that P
Cf. Chalmers & Jackson 2001: the conditional (as opposed to the definitional) model of conceptual analysis.
So: we don t need to use knowledge (or cognates) in describing a scenario, to know whether the term applies.
A sense in which knowledge is not primitive?|ZZ!ZZ
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,ySome Primitive Concepts?vMany/most concepts are like knowledge here, but not all.
E.g. time (and temporal concepts)?
To determine whether certain temporal concepts apply to a situation, one needs to use temporal concepts to describe it?
Some other candidates:
space (and spatial concepts)?
consciousness (and phenomenal concepts)?
red (and perceptual concepts)?
existence (and logical concepts)?_ZyZZZ
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.Wierzbicka s primitivesN.B. Some of Wierzbicka s primitives seem not to be primitive in this sense: e.g. know, living, inside, touching
One can describe an entity in non-living involving terms and make a conceptual judgment about whether it is living
One can describe the geometry of bodies without using touching and make a conceptual judgment about whether they are touching
Of course they may still be primitive in Wierzbicka s sense
(involving indefinability in more basic terms, and an appropriate standard of definitional adequacy)
I think there are multiple notions of primitiveness, but I ll focus on one.qZZ<ZfZLZR" @<fL>
rzProject(1) Make somewhat more precise sense of this notion of a primitive concept.
(2) Make a proposal about which concepts are primitive.
(3) Look at some applications.Z{Scrutability of Reference
The Scrutability of Reference:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our terms and our concepts refer to.
Something like this is the basis of the conditional model of conceptual analysis.
\lRlQ|Examples<E.g. water
A priori, we don t know what water refers to
Could be H2O, XYZ, whatever
Once we know enough about the environment, we know that water refers to H2O
E.g. given knowledge of appearance, behavior, composition, distribution, history of environmental objects and substances
/Ny
/Mx}ProblemsProblems with the thesis:
(1) Potential triviality
(2) Cognitive limitations
(3) Unclarity of know what T refers to
(4) Quine/Putnam inscrutability (permuting reference while preserving truth)
Move to a refined thesis: the scrutability of truth.H55>Q c~Scrutability of Truth
~For most terms T used by a speaker, then for any truth S involving T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and D is epistemically sufficient for T
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or any close cognates.
D is epistemically sufficient for T when knowing that D is the case puts the speaker in a position to know (on sufficient rational reflection, without needing further empirical information) that T is the case. 46^]XScrutability of Truth IIThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D implies S.
D implies S when DS is a priori
The move from epistemic sufficiency to a priori entailment is substantive but plausible (C&J 2001)
To obtain a limited vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one by one according to the previous thesisDss+ 4Epistemic BasisA minimal such vocabulary V can be seen as an epistemic basis for actual truths.
Suggestion: The members of an epistemic basis correspond to primitive concepts (or concept-families).
Issue: Maybe there are multiple epistemic bases?
Hope: These will usually involve cognate concepts from the same families
Can further constrain by appealing to simple epistemic bases, if necessary.
XZZZ.What is in an Epistemic Basis?Chalmers & Jackson 2001:
For all truths S, PQTI implies S.
P = microphysical truths
Involving mass, charge, spacetime, etc
Q = phenomenal truths
Involving phenomenal concepts of experiences
T = that s-all truth
The world is a minimal world satisfying P&Q
I = indexical truths
Specifying one s location in the world (using I , now , etc)Z#ZZ'ZZ-ZZ,ZZ?Z#'-,?m PQTI as Epistemic Basis?I ll assume that the C&J 2001 thesis is correct.
First pass suggestion: the expressions used in PQTI form an epistemic basis?
But: it s implausible that microphysical concepts are primitive.
Microphysical terms are scrutable using e.g. causal-role characterizations.
Still: we can use PQTI as a starting-point to find an epistemic basis.BZMZGZMG,1 sEliminating Microphysical TermsMicrophysical theoretical terms such as charge can be eliminated using a Ramsey sentence for the relevant theory.
The Ramsey sentence will be grounded in O-terms: either old terms from another theory, or observational terms. The old theoretical terms can be eliminated in turn, ultimately leaving mainly observational terms.
Q: What is in a fundamental Ramsey sentence for microphysics?
Spatiotemporal expressions? (e.g. location)
Terms for perceptual qualities? (e.g. red)
Causal/nomic expressions? (e.g. cause)
Logical/mathematical expressions.
Can this list be further reduced?tZZ?ZZ"Zt?#(!%",L_Perceptual Terms?vArguably: truths involving perceptual terms (such as red ) are scrutable using truths about experiences and the properties that cause them.
I.e. given full knowledge of underlying properties of all the things that cause red and green experiences and so on, I m in a position to know which things are red and green.
[Even a primitivist about redness can allow that the truths about redness are scrutable, with the aid of the that s-all clause.]
If so, we can eliminate color terms using phenomenal and causal vocabulary. Same for other secondary quality terms.
Something similar is plausible for mass (scrutable from truths about what causes mass-experiences, what resists acceleration, etc).XZZZb@
C: RSpatiotemporal Terms?Hard case: Spatiotemporal terms
View 1: Our grasp on spatial properties is indirect . It s a priori that spatial properties and relations (if they exist) are those properties and relations that stand in an appropriate causal relation to our spatial experiences. If so, spatial terms are scrutable using phenomenal and causal terms.
View 2: Our grasp on spatial properties is direct . No thesis about causal connections between these properties and our experiences is a priori. If so, spatial terms are not scrutable as above, and are plausibly primitive.
Similar alternatives for temporal terms.
t!Z/ZZZ*Z!/*b 8#
SSpatiotemporal Terms II`I endorse view 1.
Crucial cases: Spatial Twin Earth cases (Brad Thompson)
possibilities where phenomenally identical spatial experiences are typically caused by quite different properties (e.g. Doubled Earth, El Greco World, etc).
Can such experiences be typically verdical?
If yes, then view 1 is natural. If no, then view 2 is natural.
Cf. The Matrix as Metaphysics .
View 2 (Bealer, Horgan) is respectable too, however.
Similar issue arise for temporal expressions. My tntative view is that these are scrutable using terms for temporal experiences. BLZ+ZZL+B(M
(Causal TermscWhat about causal terms?
Maybe causal truths are scrutable from underlying truths about counterfactual dependence? And maybe these are scrutable from underlying truths about laws, I.e. involving natural necessity?
A Humean may hold that all these truths are scrutable from underlying truths about regularities
Then a hard question: how to characterize these regularities in the ultimate Ramsey sentence
My (nonHumean) view: causal/nomic truths are not scrutable using truths outside the family. So this family involves primitive concepts.
Maybe cause, or counterfactually depends, or naturally necessary.
9Z^ZZCZZ9^2 N I#
Phenomenal TermsAre phenomenal truths scrutable via more basic truths?
My view: No!
Type-A materialist: Yes
Then hard question: what s in the scrutability base?
One potential sort of scrutability (on my view)
Truths about phenomenal redness are scrutable via truths about the presentation of primitive redness
Where presentation is a basic intentional relation, and primitive (or Edenic) redness is a (probably uninstantiated) property that external objects are presented as having\\Z6Z0ZZ\60
;1}9Logical/Mathematical TermsAre logical terms eliminable?
Plausibly no: one needs conjunction (definitely), negation (probably), and existential quantification (arguably) in any scrutability base.
[or cognates: Scheffer stroke, universal quantifier]
Are mathematical terms eliminable?
Mathematical truths are scrutable as they re a priori (arguably)
But the mathematics needed for formulating physical theories is arguably ineliminable (pace Field, etc)
So: logical and mathematical terms will be in the scrutability base.XZ6ZZ6Rb
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iFEpistemic Basis-So, an epistemic basis for actual truths will involve (on my view):
Phenomenal concepts
Causal/nomic concepts
Logical/mathematical concepts
Categorical concepts? (object, property, etc)
Indexical concepts
Suggestion: these are all primitive concepts
The epistemic analogs of fundamental properties!BDZZ_ZD__Other Primitive ConceptsAre there other primitive concepts?
(1) Concepts responsible for truths not implied by PQTI?
Moral truths?
Metaphysical truths?
Mathematical truths?
Vague truths?
(2) Concepts not responsible for actual-world inscrutable truths, but which are responsible for inscrutable truths re non-actual epistemically possible scenarios
Primitive (Edenic) colors?
Primitive (Edenic) space, time?\]ZHZZ;Z]H;P&
Generalized Epistemic BasisGeneralized Scrutability: There s a limited vocabulary V such that for all epistemically possible S, there s some epistemically possible V-sentence D such that D implies S
S is epistemically possible when S is not ruled out a priori
This is a generalization of scrutability beyond the actual world
A minimal such vocabulary V is a generalized epistemic basis
Not just for truths about the actual world, but for all points in epistemic space.
A generalized epistemic basis may contain primitive concepts that aren t in an actual-world epistemic basis
E.g. primitive color concepts (if Eden is possible)ZZ=ZTZlZ4Z!Tl4b31G
JBeyond Apriority?JWorry: maybe there are primitive concepts (in some sense) that are such that all epistemically possible sentences involving them are scrutable via other vocabulary
Maybe because the concepts are incoherent, and mostly generate a priori falsehoods
Edenic pain? Moral concepts, on some views? Primitive choice?
Maybe because the concepts mostly generate a priori truths
Mathematical concepts (via role in mathematical truths)?
Or maybe because the scrutability conditional from basic vocabulary is ideally a priori, but highly cognitively significant, in a way compatible with primitiveness
Maybe: One could define a different notion of primitive concept via a less idealized notion of scrutability, using a less idealized epistemic notion than apriority
Then there might be more primitive concepts in this sense than in the previous sense. ZSZ@Z;Z9ZZZWZS@;9W:%
i_"Applications of Primitive ConceptsSome applications of primitive concepts:
Characterizing epistemic space
Defining primary intensions
Grounding narrow content
Grounding inferential-role semantics
Naturalizing content
.)ZZ)Application 1: Epistemic SpaceWe can use a generalized epistemic basis V to define the space of epistemically possible scenarios
Say a V-sentence D is maximal iff (I) D is epistemically possible and (ii) if D&F is epistemically possible, then D implies F.
Say two maximal V-sentences D and E are equivalent when D implies E (and E implies D).
Then scenarios (epistemically possible worlds) can be seen as (or characterized using) equivalence classes of maximal V-sentences.
A Carnapian logical construction, not just of the world, but of epistemic space?
tcZZZZZcB
2
th F*Application 2: Defining Primary Intensions*The primary intension of a sentence S is true at a scenario W when D implies S, where D is a canonical description of W
A canonical description can be: a maximal description in terms of an epistemic basis V.
This applies whether scenarios are maximal epistemic possibilities (last slide) or centered worlds
The application to centered worlds requires that all non-indexical primitive concepts are semantically neutral
N.B. For Frank s version of two-dimensionalism, where a rigid term s primary intension is grounded in the existence of an equivalent rigidified description the actual F : arguably the vocabulary in F can be restricted to primitive concepts?BZZZ,'Application 3: Grounding Narrow ContentJPlausible claim: All non-indexical primitive expressions are semantically neutral (same primary and secondary intensions, no a posteriori necessities)
If so, they re plausibly narrow: two twins will have exactly the same primitive concepts (no Twin Earth cases)
If so, and if the a priori entailment relation between thoughts is also narrow, then primary intensions are a sort of narrow content (shared between twins).
$ZZ#Application 4: Naturalizing ContentA thought s narrow content (primary intension) can be defined in terms of its epistemic connections to V-thoughts
A sort of inferential-role semantics with V-thoughts grounding the inferential role
A thought s wide content (secondary intension) can be defined in terms of its primary intension (or 2D-intension) plus nonmodal actual-world facts.
So, the problem of naturalizing content is reduced to the problems of naturalizing
(i) having V-thoughts (grasping and deploying primitive concepts)
(ii) the implication relation between thoughts (normative dispositional relation)\rZUZZZrU,6 Big Residual QuestionLBig residual question: What is involved in grasping a primitive concept?
Grasping a nonprimitive concept might just be a matter of having the right inferential role with respect to primitive concepts
But arguably, grasping a primitive concept involves something special: e.g. a direct grasp of the extension of the concept.
Maybe different for different primitive concepts:
E.g. grasping logical concepts involves structural inferential role?
Grasping phenomenal concepts derives from acquaintance with phenomenal property instances?
Causal/nomic concepts: The hardest case?
Hope: If we can answer this question, we ll have a much better grip on the roots of intentionality.tIZZ3ZZdZI3d>T
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WingdingsLucida GrandeSymbolArtsyPrimitive Concepts(Conceptual Analysis: A Traditional ViewSome Versions: Philosophy!Some Versions: Cognitive Science3Philosophical Doubts about the Traditional Picture Conditional Conceptual AnalysisSome Primitive Concepts?Wierzbickas primitivesProjectScrutability of Reference Examples ProblemsScrutability of TruthScrutability of Truth IIEpistemic BasisWhat is in an Epistemic Basis?PQTI as Epistemic Basis? Eliminating Microphysical TermsPerceptual Terms?Spatiotemporal Terms?Spatiotemporal Terms II
Causal TermsPhenomenal TermsLogical/Mathematical TermsEpistemic BasisOther Primitive ConceptsGeneralized Epistemic BasisBeyond Apriority?#Applications of Primitive ConceptsApplication 1: Epistemic Space+Application 2: Defining Primary Intensions(Application 3: Grounding Narrow Content$Application 4: Naturalizing ContentBig Residual QuestionFonts UsedDesign Template
Slide Titles""_C
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ppp@<4!d!d`gʚ;<4dddd`gʚ;<4BdBd`ʚ;ph___PPT2001D<4X?%Primitive ConceptsDavid J. ChalmersUP'Conceptual Analysis:A Traditional ViewA traditional view: Most ordinary concepts (or expressions) can be defined in terms of other more basic concepts (or expressions)
bachelor = unmarried man
knowledge = justified true belief
All concepts can ultimately be defined in terms of primitive concepts.
;G"2 ,
aVQSome Versions: PhilosophyEmpiricists:
Primitive concepts are simple phenomenal and/or perceptual concepts
Carnap (in the Aufbau)
A single primitive concept: recollected phenomenal similarity
D>
D=,Q @~u Some Versions: Cognitive SciencehRoger Schank: Conceptual Dependency theory
11 primitive action concepts: ATRANS, PTRANS, MOVE, PROPEL, GRASP, INGEST, EXPEL, ATTEND, SPEAK, MBUILD, DO
Anna Wierzbicka: Semantic primes
60+ primitive lexical items
E.g. plants = living things; these things can t feel something; these things can t do something+l!|+k!!Z,
w2Philosophical Doubts about the Traditional Picture:Worry: Most expressions don t seem to have (short) definitions or explicit analyses that are a priori equivalent to the original
For most purported definitions/analyses, one can find conceptually possible counterexamples
If so: then on the definitional account of primitive concepts (where definitions must be a priori), most concepts will be primitive?
But still: some concepts seem more primitive than others& <\\xConditional Conceptual AnalysistEven if we can t define knowledge in more basic terms, we can still apply it to scenarios characterized in more basic terms
E.g. Gettier literature: Given scenarios characterized in non- knowledge -involving terms, people have conceptual intuitions about whether the scenario is a case of knowing that P
Cf. Chalmers & Jackson 2001: the conditional (as opposed to the definitional) model of conceptual analysis.
So: we don t need to use knowledge (or cognates) in describing a scenario, to know whether the term applies.
A sense in which knowledge is not primitive?|ZZ!ZZ
ZI%[
,ySome Primitive Concepts?vMany/most concepts are like knowledge here, but not all.
E.g. time (and temporal concepts)?
To determine whether certain temporal concepts apply to a situation, one needs to use temporal concepts to describe it?
Some other candidates:
space (and spatial concepts)?
consciousness (and phenomenal concepts)?
red (and perceptual concepts)?
existence (and logical concepts)?_ZyZZZ
y
.Wierzbicka s primitivesN.B. Some of Wierzbicka s primitives seem not to be primitive in this sense: e.g. know, living, inside, touching
One can describe an entity in non-living involving terms and make a conceptual judgment about whether it is living
One can describe the geometry of bodies without using touching and make a conceptual judgment about whether they are touching
Of course they may still be primitive in Wierzbicka s sense
(involving indefinability in more basic terms, and an appropriate standard of definitional adequacy)
I think there are multiple notions of primitiveness, but I ll focus on one.qZZ<ZfZLZR" @<fL>
rzProject(1) Make somewhat more precise sense of this notion of a primitive concept.
(2) Make a proposal about which concepts are primitive.
(3) Look at some applications.Z{Scrutability of Reference
The Scrutability of Reference:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our terms and our concepts refer to.
Something like this is the basis of the conditional model of conceptual analysis.
\lRlQ|Examples<E.g. water
A priori, we don t know what water refers to
Could be H2O, XYZ, whatever
Once we know enough about the environment, we know that water refers to H2O
E.g. given knowledge of appearance, behavior, composition, distribution, history of environmental objects and substances
/Ny
/Mx}ProblemsProblems with the thesis:
(1) Potential triviality
(2) Cognitive limitations
(3) Unclarity of know what T refers to
(4) Quine/Putnam inscrutability (permuting reference while preserving truth)
Move to a refined thesis: the scrutability of truth.H55>Q c~Scrutability of Truth
~For most terms T used by a speaker, then for any truth S involving T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and D is epistemically sufficient for T
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or any close cognates.
D is epistemically sufficient for T when knowing that D is the case puts the speaker in a position to know (on sufficient rational reflection, without needing further empirical information) that T is the case. 46^]XScrutability of Truth IIThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D implies S.
D implies S when DS is a priori
The move from epistemic sufficiency to a priori entailment is substantive but plausible (C&J 2001)
To obtain a limited vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one by one according to the previous thesisDss+ 4Epistemic BasisA minimal such vocabulary V can be seen as an epistemic basis for actual truths.
Suggestion: The members of an epistemic basis correspond to primitive concepts (or concept-families).
Issue: Maybe there are multiple epistemic bases?
Hope: These will usually involve cognate concepts from the same families
Can further constrain by appealing to simple epistemic bases, if necessary.
XZZZ.What is in an Epistemic Basis?Chalmers & Jackson 2001:
For all truths S, PQTI implies S.
P = microphysical truths
Involving mass, charge, spacetime, etc
Q = phenomenal truths
Involving phenomenal concepts of experiences
T = that s-all truth
The world is a minimal world satisfying P&Q
I = indexical truths
Specifying one s location in the world (using I , now , etc)Z#ZZ'ZZ-ZZ,ZZ?Z#'-,?m PQTI as Epistemic Basis?I ll assume that the C&J 2001 thesis is correct.
First pass suggestion: the expressions used in PQTI form an epistemic basis?
But: it s implausible that microphysical concepts are primitive.
Microphysical terms are scrutable using e.g. causal-role characterizations.
Still: we can use PQTI as a starting-point to find an epistemic basis.BZMZGZMG,1 sEliminating Microphysical TermsMicrophysical theoretical terms such as charge can be eliminated using a Ramsey sentence for the relevant theory.
The Ramsey sentence will be grounded in O-terms: either old terms from another theory, or observational terms. The old theoretical terms can be eliminated in turn, ultimately leaving mainly observational terms.
Q: What is in a fundamental Ramsey sentence for microphysics?
Spatiotemporal expressions? (e.g. location)
Terms for perceptual qualities? (e.g. red)
Causal/nomic expressions? (e.g. cause)
Logical/mathematical expressions.
Can this list be further reduced?tZZ?ZZ"Zt?#(!%",L_Perceptual Terms?vArguably: truths involving perceptual terms (such as red ) are scrutable using truths about experiences and the properties that cause them.
I.e. given full knowledge of underlying properties of all the things that cause red and green experiences and so on, I m in a position to know which things are red and green.
[Even a primitivist about redness can allow that the truths about redness are scrutable, with the aid of the that s-all clause.]
If so, we can eliminate color terms using phenomenal and causal vocabulary. Same for other secondary quality terms.
Something similar is plausible for mass (scrutable from truths about what causes mass-experiences, what resists acceleration, etc).XZZZb@
C: RSpatiotemporal Terms?Hard case: Spatiotemporal terms
View 1: Our grasp on spatial properties is indirect . It s a priori that spatial properties and relations (if they exist) are those properties and relations that stand in an appropriate causal relation to our spatial experiences. If so, spatial terms are scrutable using phenomenal and causal terms.
View 2: Our grasp on spatial properties is direct . No thesis about causal connections between these properties and our experiences is a priori. If so, spatial terms are not scrutable as above, and are plausibly primitive.
Similar alternatives for temporal terms.
t!Z/ZZZ*Z!/*b 8#
SSpatiotemporal Terms II`I endorse view 1.
Crucial cases: Spatial Twin Earth cases (Brad Thompson)
possibilities where phenomenally identical spatial experiences are typically caused by quite different properties (e.g. Doubled Earth, El Greco World, etc).
Can such experiences be typically verdical?
If yes, then view 1 is natural. If no, then view 2 is natural.
Cf. The Matrix as Metaphysics .
View 2 (Bealer, Horgan) is respectable too, however.
Similar issue arise for temporal expressions. My tntative view is that these are scrutable using terms for temporal experiences. BLZ+ZZL+B(M
(Causal TermscWhat about causal terms?
Maybe causal truths are scrutable from underlying truths about counterfactual dependence? And maybe these are scrutable from underlying truths about laws, I.e. involving natural necessity?
A Humean may hold that all these truths are scrutable from underlying truths about regularities
Then a hard question: how to characterize these regularities in the ultimate Ramsey sentence
My (nonHumean) view: causal/nomic truths are not scrutable using truths outside the family. So this family involves primitive concepts.
Maybe cause, or counterfactually depends, or naturally necessary.
9Z^ZZCZZ9^2 N I#
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Phenomenal TermsAre phenomenal truths scrutable via more basic truths?
My view: No!
Type-A materialist: Yes
Then hard question: what s in the scrutability base?
One potential sort of scrutability (on my view)
Truths about phenomenal redness are scrutable via truths about the presentation of primitive redness
Where presentation is a basic intentional relation, and primitive (or Edenic) redness is a (probably uninstantiated) property that external objects are presented as having\\Z6Z0ZZ\60
;1}9Logical/Mathematical TermsAre logical terms eliminable?
Plausibly no: one needs conjunction (definitely), negation (probably), and existential quantification (arguably) in any scrutability base.
[or cognates: Scheffer stroke, universal quantifier]
Are mathematical terms eliminable?
Mathematical truths are scrutable as they re a priori (arguably)
But the mathematics needed for formulating physical theories is arguably ineliminable (pace Field, etc)
So: logical and mathematical terms will be in the scrutability base.XZ6ZZ6Rb
Y
iFEpistemic Basis-So, an epistemic basis for actual truths will involve (on my view):
Phenomenal concepts
Causal/nomic concepts
Logical/mathematical concepts
Categorical concepts? (object, property, etc)
Indexical concepts
Suggestion: these are all primitive concepts
The epistemic analogs of fundamental properties!BDZZ_ZD__Other Primitive ConceptsAre there other primitive concepts?
(1) Concepts responsible for truths not implied by PQTI?
Moral truths?
Metaphysical truths?
Mathematical truths?
Vague truths?
(2) Concepts not responsible for actual-world inscrutable truths, but which are responsible for inscrutable truths re non-actual epistemically possible scenarios
Primitive (Edenic) colors?
Primitive (Edenic) space, time?\]ZHZZ;Z]H;P&
Generalized Epistemic BasisGeneralized Scrutability: There s a limited vocabulary V such that for all epistemically possible S, there s some epistemically possible V-sentence D such that D implies S
S is epistemically possible when S is not ruled out a priori
This is a generalization of scrutability beyond the actual world
A minimal such vocabulary V is a generalized epistemic basis
Not just for truths about the actual world, but for all points in epistemic space.
A generalized epistemic basis may contain primitive concepts that aren t in an actual-world epistemic basis
E.g. primitive color concepts (if Eden is possible)ZZ=ZTZlZ4Z!Tl4b31G
JBeyond Apriority?JWorry: maybe there are primitive concepts (in some sense) that are such that all epistemically possible sentences involving them are scrutable via other vocabulary
Maybe because the concepts are incoherent, and mostly generate a priori falsehoods
Edenic pain? Moral concepts, on some views? Primitive choice?
Maybe because the concepts mostly generate a priori truths
Mathematical concepts (via role in mathematical truths)?
Or maybe because the scrutability conditional from basic vocabulary is ideally a priori, but highly cognitively significant, in a way compatible with primitiveness
Maybe: One could define a different notion of primitive concept via a less idealized notion of scrutability, using a less idealized epistemic notion than apriority
Then there might be more primitive concepts in this sense than in the previous sense. ZSZ@Z;Z9ZZZWZS@;9W:%
i_"Applications of Primitive ConceptsSome applications of primitive concepts:
Characterizing epistemic space
Defining primary intensions
Grounding narrow content
Grounding inferential-role semantics
Naturalizing content
.)ZZ)Application 1: Epistemic SpaceWe can use a generalized epistemic basis V to define the space of epistemically possible scenarios
Say a V-sentence D is maximal iff (I) D is epistemically possible and (ii) if D&F is epistemically possible, then D implies F.
Say two maximal V-sentences D and E are equivalent when D implies E (and E implies D).
Then scenarios (epistemically possible worlds) can be seen as (or characterized using) equivalence classes of maximal V-sentences.
A Carnapian logical construction, not just of the world, but of epistemic space?
tcZZZZZcB
2
th F*Application 2: Defining Primary Intensions*The primary intension of a sentence S is true at a scenario W when D implies S, where D is a canonical description of W
A canonical description can be: a maximal description in terms of an epistemic basis V.
This applies whether scenarios are maximal epistemic possibilities (last slide) or centered worlds
The application to centered worlds requires that all non-indexical primitive concepts are semantically neutral
N.B. For Frank s version of two-dimensionalism, where a rigid term s primary intension is grounded in the existence of an equivalent rigidified description the actual F : arguably the vocabulary in F can be restricted to primitive concepts?BZZZ,'Application 3: Grounding Narrow ContentJPlausible claim: All non-indexical primitive expressions are semantically neutral (same primary and secondary intensions, no a posteriori necessities)
If so, they re plausibly narrow: two twins will have exactly the same primitive concepts (no Twin Earth cases)
If so, and if the a priori entailment relation between thoughts is also narrow, then primary intensions are a sort of narrow content (shared between twins).
$ZZ#Application 4: Naturalizing ContentA thought s narrow content (primary intension) can be defined in terms of its epistemic connections to V-thoughts
A sort of inferential-role semantics with V-thoughts grounding the inferential role
A thought s wide content (secondary intension) can be defined in terms of its primary intension (or 2D-intension) plus nonmodal actual-world facts.
So, the problem of naturalizing content is reduced to the problems of naturalizing
(i) having V-thoughts (grasping and deploying primitive concepts)
(ii) the implication relation between thoughts (normative dispositional relation)\rZUZZZrU,6 Big Residual QuestionLBig residual question: What is involved in grasping a primitive concept?
Grasping a nonprimitive concept might just be a matter of having the right inferential role with respect to primitive concepts
But arguably, grasping a primitive concept involves something special: e.g. a direct grasp of the extension of the concept.
Maybe different for different primitive concepts:
E.g. grasping logical concepts involves structural inferential role?
Grasping phenomenal concepts derives from acquaintance with phenomenal property instances?
Causal/nomic concepts: The hardest case?
Hope: If we can answer this question, we ll have a much better grip on the roots of intentionality.tIZZ3ZZdZI3d>T
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ppp@<4!d!d`gʚ;<4dddd`gʚ;<4BdBd`ʚ;ph___PPT2001D<4X?%Primitive ConceptsDavid J. ChalmersUP'Conceptual Analysis:A Traditional ViewA traditional view: Most ordinary concepts (or expressions) can be defined in terms of other more basic concepts (or expressions)
bachelor = unmarried man
knowledge = justified true belief
All concepts can ultimately be defined in terms of primitive concepts.
;G"2 ,
aVQSome Versions: PhilosophyEmpiricists:
Primitive concepts are simple phenomenal and/or perceptual concepts
Carnap (in the Aufbau)
A single primitive concept: recollected phenomenal similarity
D>
D=,Q @~u Some Versions: Cognitive SciencehRoger Schank: Conceptual Dependency theory
11 primitive action concepts: ATRANS, PTRANS, MOVE, PROPEL, GRASP, INGEST, EXPEL, ATTEND, SPEAK, MBUILD, DO
Anna Wierzbicka: Semantic primes
60+ primitive lexical items
E.g. plants = living things; these things can t feel something; these things can t do something+l!|+k!!Z,
w2Philosophical Doubts about the Traditional Picture:Worry: Most expressions don t seem to have (short) definitions or explicit analyses that are a priori equivalent to the original
For most purported definitions/analyses, one can find conceptually possible counterexamples
If so: then on the definitional account of primitive concepts (where definitions must be a priori), most concepts will be primitive?
But still: some concepts seem more primitive than others& <\\xConditional Conceptual AnalysistEven if we can t define knowledge in more basic terms, we can still apply it to scenarios characterized in more basic terms
E.g. Gettier literature: Given scenarios characterized in non- knowledge -involving terms, people have conceptual intuitions about whether the scenario is a case of knowing that P
Cf. Chalmers & Jackson 2001: the conditional (as opposed to the definitional) model of conceptual analysis.
So: we don t need to use knowledge (or cognates) in describing a scenario, to know whether the term applies.
A sense in which knowledge is not primitive?|ZZ!ZZ
ZI%[
,ySome Primitive Concepts?vMany/most concepts are like knowledge here, but not all.
E.g. time (and temporal concepts)?
To determine whether certain temporal concepts apply to a situation, one needs to use temporal concepts to describe it?
Some other candidates:
space (and spatial concepts)?
consciousness (and phenomenal concepts)?
red (and perceptual concepts)?
existence (and logical concepts)?_ZyZZZ
y
.Wierzbicka s primitivesN.B. Some of Wierzbicka s primitives seem not to be primitive in this sense: e.g. know, living, inside, touching
One can describe an entity in non-living involving terms and make a conceptual judgment about whether it is living
One can describe the geometry of bodies without using touching and make a conceptual judgment about whether they are touching
Of course they may still be primitive in Wierzbicka s sense
(involving indefinability in more basic terms, and an appropriate standard of definitional adequacy)
I think there are multiple notions of primitiveness, but I ll focus on one.qZZ<ZfZLZR" @<fL>
rzProject(1) Make somewhat more precise sense of this notion of a primitive concept.
(2) Make a proposal about which concepts are primitive.
(3) Look at some applications.Z{Scrutability of Reference
The Scrutability of Reference:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our terms and our concepts refer to.
Something like this is the basis of the conditional model of conceptual analysis.
\lRlQ|Examples<E.g. water
A priori, we don t know what water refers to
Could be H2O, XYZ, whatever
Once we know enough about the environment, we know that water refers to H2O
E.g. given knowledge of appearance, behavior, composition, distribution, history of environmental objects and substances
/Ny
/Mx}ProblemsProblems with the thesis:
(1) Potential triviality
(2) Cognitive limitations
(3) Unclarity of know what T refers to
(4) Quine/Putnam inscrutability (permuting reference while preserving truth)
Move to a refined thesis: the scrutability of truth.H55>Q c~Scrutability of Truth
~For most terms T used by a speaker, then for any truth S involving T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and D is epistemically sufficient for T
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or any close cognates.
D is epistemically sufficient for T when knowing that D is the case puts the speaker in a position to know (on sufficient rational reflection, without needing further empirical information) that T is the case. 46^]XScrutability of Truth IIThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D implies S.
D implies S when DS is a priori
The move from epistemic sufficiency to a priori entailment is substantive but plausible (C&J 2001)
To obtain a limited vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one by one according to the previous thesisDss+ 4Epistemic BasisA minimal such vocabulary V can be seen as an epistemic basis for actual truths.
Suggestion: The members of an epistemic basis correspond to primitive concepts (or concept-families).
Issue: Maybe there are multiple epistemic bases?
Hope: These will usually involve cognate concepts from the same families
Can further constrain by appealing to simple epistemic bases, if necessary.
XZZZ.What is in an Epistemic Basis?Chalmers & Jackson 2001:
For all truths S, PQTI implies S.
P = microphysical truths
Involving mass, charge, spacetime, etc
Q = phenomenal truths
Involving phenomenal concepts of experiences
T = that s-all truth
The world is a minimal world satisfying P&Q
I = indexical truths
Specifying one s location in the world (using I , now , etc)Z#ZZ'ZZ-ZZ,ZZ?Z#'-,?m PQTI as Epistemic Basis?I ll assume that the C&J 2001 thesis is correct.
First pass suggestion: the expressions used in PQTI form an epistemic basis?
But: it s implausible that microphysical concepts are primitive.
Microphysical terms are scrutable using e.g. causal-role characterizations.
Still: we can use PQTI as a starting-point to find an epistemic basis.BZMZGZMG,1 sEliminating Microphysical TermsMicrophysical theoretical terms such as charge can be eliminated using a Ramsey sentence for the relevant theory.
The Ramsey sentence will be grounded in O-terms: either old terms from another theory, or observational terms. The old theoretical terms can be eliminated in turn, ultimately leaving mainly observational terms.
Q: What is in a fundamental Ramsey sentence for microphysics?
Spatiotemporal expressions? (e.g. location)
Terms for perceptual qualities? (e.g. red)
Causal/nomic expressions? (e.g. cause)
Logical/mathematical expressions.
Can this list be further reduced?tZZ?ZZ"Zt?#(!%",L_Perceptual Terms?vArguably: truths involving perceptual terms (such as red ) are scrutable using truths about experiences and the properties that cause them.
I.e. given full knowledge of underlying properties of all the things that cause red and green experiences and so on, I m in a position to know which things are red and green.
[Even a primitivist about redness can allow that the truths about redness are scrutable, with the aid of the that s-all clause.]
If so, we can eliminate color terms using phenomenal and causal vocabulary. Same for other secondary quality terms.
Something similar is plausible for mass (scrutable from truths about what causes mass-experiences, what resists acceleration, etc).XZZZb@
C: RSpatiotemporal Terms?Hard case: Spatiotemporal terms
View 1: Our grasp on spatial properties is indirect . It s a priori that spatial properties and relations (if they exist) are those properties and relations that stand in an appropriate causal relation to our spatial experiences. If so, spatial terms are scrutable using phenomenal and causal terms.
View 2: Our grasp on spatial properties is direct . No thesis about causal connections between these properties and our experiences is a priori. If so, spatial terms are not scrutable as above, and are plausibly primitive.
Similar alternatives for temporal terms.
t!Z/ZZZ*Z!/*b 8#
SSpatiotemporal Terms II`I endorse view 1.
Crucial cases: Spatial Twin Earth cases (Brad Thompson)
possibilities where phenomenally identical spatial experiences are typically caused by quite different properties (e.g. Doubled Earth, El Greco World, etc).
Can such experiences be typically verdical?
If yes, then view 1 is natural. If no, then view 2 is natural.
Cf. The Matrix as Metaphysics .
View 2 (Bealer, Horgan) is respectable too, however.
Similar issue arise for temporal expressions. My tntative view is that these are scrutable using terms for temporal experiences. BLZ+ZZL+B(M
(Causal TermscWhat about causal terms?
Maybe causal truths are scrutable from underlying truths about counterfactual dependence? And maybe these are scrutable from underlying truths about laws, I.e. involving natural necessity?
A Humean may hold that all these truths are scrutable from underlying truths about regularities
Then a hard question: how to characterize these regularities in the ultimate Ramsey sentence
My (nonHumean) view: causal/nomic truths are not scrutable using truths outside the family. So this family involves primitive concepts.
Maybe cause, or counterfactually depends, or naturally necessary.
9Z^ZZCZZ9^2 N I#
Phenomenal TermsAre phenomenal truths scrutable via more basic truths?
My view: No!
Type-A materialist: Yes
Then hard question: what s in the scrutability base?
One potential sort of scrutability (on my view)
Truths about phenomenal redness are scrutable via truths about the presentation of primitive redness
Where presentation is a basic intentional relation, and primitive (or Edenic) redness is a (probably uninstantiated) property that external objects are presented as having\\Z6Z0ZZ\60
;1}9Logical/Mathematical TermsAre logical terms eliminable?
Plausibly no: one needs conjunction (definitely), negation (probably), and existential quantification (arguably) in any scrutability base.
[or cognates: Scheffer stroke, universal quantifier]
Are mathematical terms eliminable?
Mathematical truths are scrutable as they re a priori (arguably)
But the mathematics needed for formulating physical theories is arguably ineliminable (pace Field, etc)
So: logical and mathematical terms will be in the scrutability base.XZ6ZZ6Rb
Y
iFEpistemic Basis-So, an epistemic basis for actual truths will involve (on my view):
Phenomenal concepts
Causal/nomic concepts
Logical/mathematical concepts
Categorical concepts? (object, property, etc)
Indexical concepts
Suggestion: these are all primitive concepts
The epistemic analogs of fundamental properties!BDZZ_ZD__Other Primitive ConceptsAre there other primitive concepts?
(1) Concepts responsible for truths not implied by PQTI?
Moral truths?
Metaphysical truths?
Mathematical truths?
Vague truths?
(2) Concepts not responsible for actual-world inscrutable truths, but which are responsible for inscrutable truths re non-actual epistemically possible scenarios
Primitive (Edenic) colors?
Primitive (Edenic) space, time?\]ZHZZ;Z]H;P&
Generalized Epistemic BasisGeneralized Scrutability: There s a limited vocabulary V such that for all epistemically possible S, there s some epistemically possible V-sentence D such that D implies S
S is epistemically possible when S is not ruled out a priori
This is a generalization of scrutability beyond the actual world
A minimal such vocabulary V is a generalized epistemic basis
Not just for truths about the actual world, but for all points in epistemic space.
A generalized epistemic basis may contain primitive concepts that aren t in an actual-world epistemic basis
E.g. primitive color concepts (if Eden is possible)ZZ=ZTZlZ4Z!Tl4b31G
JBeyond Apriority?JWorry: maybe there are primitive concepts (in some sense) that are such that all epistemically possible sentences involving them are scrutable via other vocabulary
Maybe because the concepts are incoherent, and mostly generate a priori falsehoods
Edenic pain? Moral concepts, on some views? Primitive choice?
Maybe because the concepts mostly generate a priori truths
Mathematical concepts (via role in mathematical truths)?
Or maybe because the scrutability conditional from basic vocabulary is ideally a priori, but highly cognitively significant, in a way compatible with primitiveness
Maybe: One could define a different notion of primitive concept via a less idealized notion of scrutability, using a less idealized epistemic notion than apriority
Then there might be more primitive concepts in this sense than in the previous sense. ZSZ@Z;Z9ZZZWZS@;9W:%
i_"Applications of Primitive ConceptsSome applications of primitive concepts:
Characterizing epistemic space
Defining primary intensions
Grounding narrow content
Grounding inferential-role semantics
Naturalizing content
.)ZZ)Application 1: Epistemic SpaceWe can use a generalized epistemic basis V to define the space of epistemically possible scenarios
Say a V-sentence D is maximal iff (I) D is epistemically possible and (ii) if D&F is epistemically possible, then D implies F.
Say two maximal V-sentences D and E are equivalent when D implies E (and E implies D).
Then scenarios (epistemically possible worlds) can be seen as (or characterized using) equivalence classes of maximal V-sentences.
A Carnapian logical construction, not just of the world, but of epistemic space?
tcZZZZZcB
2
th F*Application 2: Defining Primary Intensions*The primary intension of a sentence S is true at a scenario W when D implies S, where D is a canonical description of W
A canonical description can be: a maximal description in terms of an epistemic basis V.
This applies whether scenarios are maximal epistemic possibilities (last slide) or centered worlds
The application to centered worlds requires that all non-indexical primitive concepts are semantically neutral
N.B. For Frank s version of two-dimensionalism, where a rigid term s primary intension is grounded in the existence of an equivalent rigidified description the actual F : arguably the vocabulary in F can be restricted to primitive concepts?BZZZ,'Application 3: Grounding Narrow ContentJPlausible claim: All non-indexical primitive expressions are semantically neutral (same primary and secondary intensions, no a posteriori necessities)
If so, they re plausibly narrow: two twins will have exactly the same primitive concepts (no Twin Earth cases)
If so, and if the a priori entailment relation between thoughts is also narrow, then primary intensions are a sort of narrow content (shared between twins).
$ZZ#Application 4: Naturalizing ContentA thought s narrow content (primary intension) can be defined in terms of its epistemic connections to V-thoughts
A sort of inferential-role semantics with V-thoughts grounding the inferential role
A thought s wide content (secondary intension) can be defined in terms of its primary intension (or 2D-intension) plus nonmodal actual-world facts.
So, the problem of naturalizing content is reduced to the problems of naturalizing
(i) having V-thoughts (grasping and deploying primitive concepts)
(ii) the implication relation between thoughts (normative dispositional relation)\rZUZZZrU,6 Big Residual QuestionLBig residual question: What is involved in grasping a primitive concept?
Grasping a nonprimitive concept might just be a matter of having the right inferential role with respect to primitive concepts
But arguably, grasping a primitive concept involves something special: e.g. a direct grasp of the extension of the concept.
Maybe different for different primitive concepts:
E.g. grasping logical concepts involves structural inferential role?
Grasping phenomenal concepts derives from acquaintance with phenomenal property instances?
Causal/nomic concepts: The hardest case?
Hope: If we can answer this question, we ll have a much better grip on the roots of intentionality.tIZZ3ZZdZI3d>T
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