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0bT3b?%c&Concepts and theScrutability of Truth
David J. ChalmersUPThe Scrutability of ReferenceThe Scrutability of Reference
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our concepts and our terms refer to.&kk
xVQExamplesE.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
Likewise for Jack the Ripper , Homer , gold , and so on.
Z/ZZNZyZ=ZZ
/Ny=WR
Nontriviality
Trivial version: Allow the knowlede in the antecedent to include water-knowledge
Nontrivial version: Disallow knowledge involving water and cognate notions from the antecedent
The nontrivial version is plausibly true for many or most terms and concepts
Knowledge of underlying truths suffices for knowledge of what water , Homer , etc, refer to.
Mary (in black-and-white room) could know P, without being able to deduce Q.
So PQ is not a priori
It is coherent to suppose that there are zombies: physical duplicates of us without consciousness.
So P&~Q is conceivable.Z_ZZOZZcZZB=v
GO)3rmIdealizationSpeakers given the relevant knowledge may in fact make mistaken judgments about reference
E.g. 68+57
But they re in a position to make correct judgments, given rational reflection
I.e. the relevant empirical knowledge plus sufficient rational reflection enables knowledge of reference
In effect, the scrutability thesis invokes a normative idealization.ZZ
ZPZjZEZ*(
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)qlScrutability of Reference II.For most terms T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and such that knowing that D puts the speaker in a position to know the referent of T.
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or close cognates
E.g. for water , D might involve knowledge of appearance, behavior, composition, distribution of environmental objects and substances (plus knowledge of their relation to oneself)..ZZXSProblemsNProblem 1: The notion of knowing what an expression refers to is unclear.
Problem 2: For some expressions, it s unclear (maybe indeterminate) what sort of thing they refer to
E.g. number , symphony , etc.
Cf. Quinean inscrutability of reference
Solution: Move to the scrutability of truth.BZIZ-ZI-,3
YTScrutability of Truth
VScrutability of Truth:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know whether our utterances and our beliefs are true.
Avoids problem 1
The notion of knowing truth-value is relatively clear
Minimizes problem 2
This will only affect a few sentences such as two is a set of sets
ZsZZ6ZZEZZs6E ]XScrutability of Truth II
vFor 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 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.*^YScrutability of Truth III
tThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D is epistemically sufficient for S.
To pare down the vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one-by-one according to the previous reasoning.
A minimal such V is a sort of epistemic basis for actual truths.,;Z z[V1From Epistemic Sufficiency to A Priori EntailmentnKnowing D enables knowledge of T without further empirical information
Stronger thesis: the inference from D to T is justified a priori
If empirical knowledge E is needed, just put this in the scrutability base!
Even a speaker who suspends all empirical beliefs can know that if D is the case, then T is the case.
See Chalmers and Jackson 2001 for detailed argument.FZZX\WScrutability of Truth IV
:There 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 the material conditional D->S is a priori
N.B. This doesn t require that S be definable in terms of V-vocabulary
C&J 2001: knowledge in Gettier case. >r(r(_ZEpistemic BasisQ: How small can an epistemic basis be?
C&J: PQTI, a conjunction of
P = microphysical truths
Q = phenomenal truths
T = a that s-all truth
I = indexical truths (speaker s place/time, etc).
Yields knowledge of macroscopic appearance, behavior, composition, etc, which suffices for knowledge of ordinary macroscopic truths.BEZ{ZZE{`[
Hard CasesHard cases for PQTI scrutability
Vague truths (on epistemic theory)
Deep mathematical truths (CH?)
Moral/normative truths?
Some metaphysical truths?
Handle hard cases by
Indeterminacy of truth-value; or
Idealization of apriority; or
Expanding the scrutability base (if necessary)
v!ZuZZoZZ!uo,
a\Minimal Basis?
Further reduction of PQTI: P is arguably scrutable from observational/causal/categorical truths
e.g. from underlying Ramsey sentence.
Observational truths are arguably scrutable from phenomenal/causal/spatiotemporal truths.
Spatiotemporal truths are maybe scrutable from phenomenal/causal truths
Leaves phenomenal, causal, spatiotemporal (?), indexical plus logical, categorical, etc.X`Z&ZZ`&vt) w
;2b]Generalizing Scrutability
Scrutability thesis applies to actual truths
But presumably is an instance of something more general
E.g. if we knew that our environment is like the XYZ-world, could know that water is XYZ is true
Can know non-empirically that if we re in the XYZ-environment, then water is XYZ.
So we might generalize scrutability from actual truths to arbitrary epistemic possibilities.
-ZZ]ZZ-=z2]$'
:c^Generalized ScrutabilityLGeneralized scrutability:
There s some relatively 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 [better: det(S)] is not ruled out a priori.
Here V is a generalized epistemic basis
A scrutability base for arbitrary epistemic possibilities, not just for actual truths
A basis for epistemic space?ZZPZ(ZsZPs>Kee`Conceptual ScrutabilityConceptual formulation of scrutability
There s some limited set of concepts V such that
For all true thoughts T, T is implied by some true V-thought
For all epistemically possible thoughts T, T is implied by some V-thought
A thought = a world-directed propositional attitude token (e.g. an occurrent belief or hypothesis)
Concepts = constituents of thoughts
N.B. mental entities, not abstract entities.
Concepts have contents but aren t contents.v'Z1ZZZZZ'1Z>
gbPrimitive ConceptsTraditionally: primitive concepts = those in terms of which all other concepts can be defined.
E.g. a set of primitive concepts V, such that all concepts are a priori equivalent to some V-concept.
But: it seems that most concepts can t be defined in this way.
Alternative: primitive concepts = those in terms of which the application of all other concepts can be determined
E.g. application of knowledge can be determined by specification of situation using non-knowledge concepts, so knowledge isn t primitive
Application of cause, consciousness, time, exists (??) can t be determined in this way, so these may be primitive._ZZrZZ_r
:
#AunConceptual BasisIA conceptual basis = a minimal set of concepts that serves as a basis for conceptual scrutability
Primitive concepts = members of a conceptual basis?
There may be multiple conceptual bases, some with cognate concepts, etc, some fairly complex, etc
May end with circles of (cognate) primitive concepts
E.g. cause, law, natural necessity, counterfactual dependence?
And might require a maximally simple conceptual basis.
Candidates for primitive concepts:
Phenomenal concepts, causal concepts, logical and mathematical (?) concepts, categorical concepts, spatiotemporal (?) concepts. ZZ?Z8Z#ZZ:8#>U5/Epistemic SpacemCan use a conceptual basis to define a space of epistemic possibilities
A V-thought T is complete iff for any thought T1 such that T1 implies T, T implies T1.
Complete thoughts correspond to maximally specific epistemically possible hypotheses.
A maximal epistemic possibility (= scenario) is an equivalence class of complete V-thoughts (under mutual implication)vHZ&ZH LbJDEpistemic Truth-Conditions,Given a complete V-thought, the truth-value of a given thought T will be implied: e.g.
V1 implies T
V2 implies ~T
T is associated with epistemic truth-conditions
T is true relative to scenario S1 [tied to V1]
T is false relative to scenario S2 [tied to V2]
Can call this the epistemic content of T.WZZ0Z`Z*ZW`hcInferential RoleEpistemic content is a variety of truth-conditional content that is tied constitutively to inferential role
The epistemic content of T is a function of its (normative) inferential role relative to V-thoughts
E.g. normative dispositions to judge T or ~T, given the judgment that V1.
Given the understanding of implication in terms of a priori entailment, this is a tie between truth-conditions of thought and a priori inferential role.nZLZZ" dLwoEpistemic Content of ConceptsbCan extend this account to an account of the epistemic content (epistemic application-conditions) of concepts
For a (singular) concept C, there will be implications
V1 implies C=X1, C=X2, & ,
Where X1, X2, are descriptive V-concepts
Equivalence classes of descriptive V-concepts (relative to V1) can be associated with individuals in the scenario S1.
So relative to S1, C picks out the corresponding individual
Relative to S2, C picks out an individual in S2, and so on.
Similarly (mutatis mutandis) for general concepts, kind concepts, property concepts, etc.nZZ7Z2ZZZe 7yZ,?idConcept IndividuationConcept types can be individuated in various ways
One way: two concepts are of the same type when they have the same epistemic content
This provides an individuation of concept types by a priori inferential role
More fine-grained than extensional individuation
Hesperus and Phosphorus are of different types
More coarse-grained than Fregean individuation
68+57 and 115 are of the same type
This coarse-graining is inevitable (?) given individuation in terms of apriority, as opposed to cognitive significance ZMZ1Z/Z/Z#ZxZzM1 /xMjeNarrow ContentJEpistemic content is arguably a form of narrow content, as long as
Conceptual bases correspond between twins
If V is a conceptual basis for one subject, a corresponding set of concepts V is a conceptual basis in a duplicate.
Implication is narrow
When T1 implies T2 in one subject, and a duplicate subject has corresponding thoughts T1 and T2 , then T1 implies T2 .
These allow us to identify scenarios across subjects
The epistemic content of a thought T will be the same as the epistemic content of a corresponding thought T in any duplicate.CZ*ZuZZzZZC*uzkfNaturalizing ContentCould this account be used to naturalize epistemic content?
Issues1: the account doesn t yield a substantive account of the content of primitive concepts
Issue 2: it appeals to an unreduced notion of implication (or apriority).
But: it grounds the content of all concepts in the content of primitive concepts and a notion of implication (inferential role).
Will need a separate account of the content of primitive concepts (phenomenal intentionality?) and of inference
A two-stage grounding of content?t>ZZZpZ"Z>p"6xpMeaning and TruthMore generally, the scrutability theses (if accepted) places a strong constraint on theorizing about meaning and truth
Links inferential role and reference/truth
In tension with many causal theories of content, with epistemic theory of vagueness, etc?
Coheres with a broadly Fregean view
Tends to support anti-realism about inscrutable domains
E.g. in metaphysics: the deep ontology of objects?
Captures the plausible core of stronger and implausible anti-realist views?wZ+Z~Z8Z3ZLZw+~83L,/8tv
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?%?^&Concepts and theScrutability of TruthDavid J. ChalmersUPThe Scrutability of ReferenceThe Scrutability of Reference
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our concepts and our terms refer to.&kkVQExamplesE.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,
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?%`&Concepts and theScrutability of TruthDavid J. ChalmersUPThe Scrutability of ReferenceThe Scrutability of Reference
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our concepts and our terms refer to.&kkVQExamplesE.g. water
A priori, we don t know w
!"#$%'()*+,-./0123456789:;<=>?@ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ[\]^_`abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz{|}~hat 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
Likewise for Jack the Ripper , Homer , gold , and so on.
Z/ZZNZyZ=ZZ
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NontrivialityTrivial version: Allow the knowlede in the antecedent to include water-kPowerPoint Document(&DocumentSummaryInformation8Root EntrydO)-}H7@PicturesKCurrent UserJSummaryInformation(|U
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nowledge
Nontrivial version: Disallow knowledge involving water and cognate notions from the antecedent
The nontrivial version is plausibly true for many or most terms and concepts
Knowledge of underlying truths suffices for knowledge of what water , Homer , etc, refer to.
Mary (in black-and-white room) could know P, without being able to deduce Q.
So PQ is not a priori
It is coherent to suppose that there are zombies: physical duplicates of us without consciousness.
So P&~Q is conceivable.Z_ZZOZZcZZB=v
GO)3rmIdealizationSpeakers given the relevant knowledge may in fact make mistaken judgments about reference
E.g. 68+57
But they re in a position to make correct judgments, given rational reflection
I.e. the relevant empirical knowledge plus sufficient rational reflection enables knowledge of reference
In effect, the scrutability thesis invokes a normative idealization.ZZ
ZPZjZEZ*(
2jE0*qlScrutability of Reference II$For most terms T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and such that knowing that D is true puts the speaker in a position to know the referent of T.
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or close cognates
E.g. for water , D might involve truths about appearance, behavior, composition, distribution of environmental objects and substances (plus their relation to oneself)..ZZXSProblemsNProblem 1: The notion of knowing what an expression refers to is unclear.
Problem 2: For some expressions, it s unclear (maybe indeterminate) what sort of thing they refer to
E.g. number , symphony , etc.
Cf. Quinean inscrutability of reference
Solution: Move to the scrutability of truth.BZIZ-ZI-YTScrutability of TruthVScrutability of Truth:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know whether our utterances and our beliefs are true.
Avoids problem 1
The notion of knowing truth-value is relatively clear
Minimizes problem 2
This will only affect a few sentences such as two is a set of sets
ZsZZ6ZZEZZs6E]XScrutability of Truth IIvFor 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 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.*^YScrutability of Truth IIItThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D is epistemically sufficient for S.
To pare down the vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one-by-one according to the previous reasoning.
A minimal such V is a sort of epistemic basis for actual truths.,;Z z[V1From Epistemic Sufficiency to A Priori EntailmentnKnowing D enables knowledge of T without further empirical information
Stronger thesis: the inference from D to T is justified a priori
If empirical knowledge E is needed, just put this in the scrutability base!
Even a speaker who suspends all empirical beliefs can know that if D is the case, then T is the case.
See Chalmers and Jackson 2001 for detailed argument.FZZX\WScrutability of Truth IV:There 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 the material conditional D->S is a priori
N.B. This doesn t require that S be definable in terms of V-vocabulary
C&J 2001: knowledge in Gettier case. >r(r(_ZEpistemic BasisQ: How small can an epistemic basis be?
C&J: PQTI, a conjunction of
P = microphysical truths
Q = phenomenal truths
T = a that s-all truth
I = indexical truths (speaker s place/time, etc).
Yields knowledge of macroscopic appearance, behavior, composition, etc, which suffices for knowledge of ordinary macroscopic truths.BEZ{ZZE{`[
Hard CasesHard cases for PQTI scrutability
Vague truths (on epistemic theory)
Deep mathematical truths (CH?)
Moral/normative truths?
Some metaphysical truths?
Handle hard cases by
Indeterminacy of truth-value; or
Idealization of apriority; or
Expanding the scrutability base (if necessary)
v!ZuZZoZZ!uo,a\Minimal Basis?
Further reduction of PQTI: P is arguably scrutable from observational/causal/categorical truths
e.g. from underlying Ramsey sentence.
Observational truths are arguably scrutable from phenomenal/causal/spatiotemporal truths.
Spatiotemporal truths are maybe scrutable from phenomenal/causal truths
Leaves phenomenal, causal, spatiotemporal (?), indexical plus logical, categorical, etc.X`Z&ZZ`&v>) w P {b]Generalizing ScrutabilityScrutability thesis applies to actual truths
But presumably is an instance of something more general
E.g. if we knew that our environment is like the XYZ-world, could know that water is XYZ is true
Can know non-empirically that if we re in the XYZ-environment, then water is XYZ.
So we might generalize scrutability from actual truths to arbitrary epistemic possibilities.
-ZZ]ZZ-=z2]3;c^Generalized ScrutabilityLGeneralized scrutability:
There s some relatively 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 [better: det(S)] is not ruled out a priori.
Here V is a generalized epistemic basis
A scrutability base for arbitrary epistemic possibilities, not just for actual truths
A basis for epistemic space?ZZPZ(ZsZPs>Iee`Conceptual ScrutabilityConceptual formulation of scrutability
There s some limited set of concepts V such that
For all true thoughts T, T is implied by some true V-thought
For all epistemically possible thoughts T, T is implied by some V-thought
A thought = a world-directed propositional attitude token (e.g. an occurrent belief or hypothesis)
Concepts = constituents of thoughts
N.B. mental entities, not abstract entities.
Concepts have contents but aren t contents.v'Z1ZZZZZ'1ZgbPrimitive ConceptsTraditionally: primitive concepts = those in terms of which all other concepts can be defined.
E.g. a set of primitive concepts V, such that all concepts are a priori equivalent to some V-concept.
But: it seems that most concepts can t be defined in this way.
Alternative: primitive concepts = those in terms of which the application of all other concepts can be determined
E.g. application of knowledge can be determined by specification of situation using non-knowledge concepts, so knowledge isn t primitive
Application of cause, consciousness, time, exists (??) can t be determined in this way, so these may be primitive._ZZrZZ_r
:
#AunConceptual BasisIA conceptual basis = a minimal set of concepts that serves as a basis for conceptual scrutability
Primitive concepts = members of a conceptual basis?
There may be multiple conceptual bases, some with cognate concepts, etc, some fairly complex, etc
May end with circles of (cognate) primitive concepts
E.g. cause, law, natural necessity, counterfactual dependence?
And might require a maximally simple conceptual basis.
Candidates for primitive concepts:
Phenomenal concepts, causal concepts, logical and mathematical (?) concepts, categorical concepts, spatiotemporal (?) concepts. ZZ?Z8Z#ZZ:8#U5/Epistemic SpacemCan use a conceptual basis to define a space of epistemic possibilities
A V-thought T is complete iff for any thought T1 such that T1 implies T, T implies T1.
Complete thoughts correspond to maximally specific epistemically possible hypotheses.
A maximal epistemic possibility (= scenario) is an equivalence class of complete V-thoughts (under mutual implication)vHZ&ZH LJDEpistemic Truth-Conditions,Given a complete V-thought, the truth-value of a given thought T will be implied: e.g.
V1 implies T
V2 implies ~T
T is associated with epistemic truth-conditions
T is true relative to scenario S1 [tied to V1]
T is false relative to scenario S2 [tied to V2]
Can call this the epistemic content of T.WZZ0Z`Z*ZW`hcInferential RoleEpistemic content is a variety of truth-conditional content that is tied constitutively to inferential role
The epistemic content of T is a function of its (normative) inferential role relative to V-thoughts
E.g. normative dispositions to judge T or ~T, given the judgment that V1.
Given the understanding of implication in terms of a priori entailment, this is a tie between truth-conditions of thought and a priori inferential role.nZLZZ" dLwoEpistemic Content of ConceptsbCan extend this account to an account of the epistemic content (epistemic application-conditions) of concepts
For a (singular) concept C, there will be implications
V1 implies C=X1, C=X2, & ,
Where X1, X2, are descriptive V-concepts
Equivalence classes of descriptive V-concepts (relative to V1) can be associated with individuals in the scenario S1.
So relative to S1, C picks out the corresponding individual
Relative to S2, C picks out an individual in S2, and so on.
Similarly (mutatis mutandis) for general concepts, kind concepts, property concepts, etc.nZZ7Z2ZZZe 7yZidConcept IndividuationConcept types can be individuated in various ways
One way: two concepts are of the same type when they have the same epistemic content
This provides an individuation of concept types by a priori inferential role
More fine-grained than extensional individuation
Hesperus and Phosphorus are of different types
More coarse-grained than Fregean individuation
68+57 and 115 are of the same type
This coarse-graining is inevitable (?) given individuation in terms of apriority, as opposed to cognitive significance ZMZ1Z/Z/Z#ZxZzM1 /xjeNarrow ContentJEpistemic content is arguably a form of narrow content, as long as
Conceptual bases correspond between twins
If V is a conceptual basis for one subject, a corresponding set of concepts V is a conceptual basis in a duplicate.
Implication is narrow
When T1 implies T2 in one subject, and a duplicate subject has corresponding thoughts T1 and T2 , then T1 implies T2 .
These allow us to identify scenarios across subjects
The epistemic content of a thought T will be the same as the epistemic content of a corresponding thought T in any duplicate.CZ*ZuZZzZZC*uzkfNaturalizing ContentCould this account be used to naturalize epistemic content?
Issues1: the account doesn t yield a substantive account of the content of primitive concepts
Issue 2: it appeals to an unreduced notion of implication (or apriority).
But: it grounds the content of all concepts in the content of primitive concepts and a notion of implication (inferential role).
Will need a separate account of the content of primitive concepts (phenomenal intentionality?) and of inference
A two-stage grounding of content?t>ZZZpZ"Z>p"xpMeaning and TruthMore generally, the scrutability theses (if accepted) places a strong constraint on theorizing about meaning and truth
Links inferential role and reference/truth
In tension with many causal theories of content, with epistemic theory of vagueness, etc?
Coheres with a broadly Fregean view
Tends to support anti-realism about inscrutable domains
E.g. in metaphysics: the deep ontology of objects?
Captures the plausible core of stronger and implausible anti-realist views?wZ+Z~Z8Z3ZLZw+~83L/8tv
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s/00DTimes New Romanbhb0bz[ 0xbDArialNew Romanbhb0bz[ 0xb DWingdingsRomanbhb0bz[ 0xb0DSymbolgsRomanbhb0bz[ 0xbDE+*F*$*E*)D#CCC#C)DC)C)C*0/*0K/*)##$#$$#**/0/)/OJ(I#D)C"D#$$#$#"""C=!="B"="##"#D)EJ#J#JD*E#$#$$?$E$$##)J#D#$)D#D$E$$$$D?>##ED#J*E#"$*KQQRQQ0QRRK#>">C>#D#*KK*0L+K+L*DICIIJI(CI(IIPQ0Q0007*#$$*$$*QP0/Q/I/O/#)#""####$###!""<""!"="<"=#DD$D)D#D###)*$J$$$#$#E##C##)##E+*$*$$$#D###C#*##*$#>D#KL0QWQQQWXRKD"=#C#>#DEJ*1K11Q1L*JII(IIIIIIII/Q0661W1W*#$$$$+K%$+16Q66P/P00rtsy'Concepts and the Scrutability of TruthThe Scrutability of Reference ExamplesNontriviality
IdealizationScrutability of Reference II ProblemsScrutability of TruthScrutability of Truth IIScrutability of Truth III2From Epistemic Sufficiency to A Priori EntailmentScrutability of Truth IVEpistemic BasisHard CasesMinimal Basis?Generalizing ScrutabilityGeneralized ScrutabilityConceptual ScrutabilityPrimitive ConceptsConceptual BasisEpistemic SpaceEpistemic Truth-ConditionsInferential RoleEpistemic Content of ConceptsConcept IndividuationNarrow ContentNaturalizing ContentMeaning and TruthFonts UsedDesign Template
Slide Titles&_sDavid ChalmersDavid ChalmersZ՜.+,0
'On-screen Shown-sA
!Times New RomanArial
WingdingsSymbolAdistribution, history of environmental objects and substances
Likewise for Jack the Ripper , Homer , gold , and so on.
Z/ZZNZyZ=ZZ
/Ny=WR
NontrivialityTrivial version: Allow the knowlede in the antecedent to include water-knowledge
Nontrivial version: Disallow knowledge involving water and cognate notions from the antecedent
The nontrivial version is plausibly true for many or most terms and concepts
Knowledge of underlying truths suffices for knowledge of what water , Homer , etc, refer to.rZ_ZB=v
G;rmIdealizationSpeakers given the relevant knowledge may in fact make mistaken judgments about reference
E.g. 68+57
But they re in a position to make correct judgments, given rational reflection
I.e. the relevant empirical knowledge plus sufficient rational reflection enables knowledge of reference
In effect, the scrutability thesis invokes a normative idealization.ZZ
ZPZjZEZ*(
2jE0*qlScrutability of Reference II$For most terms T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and such that knowing that D is true puts the speaker in a position to know the referent of T.
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or close cognates
E.g. for water , D might involve truths about appearance, behavior, composition, distribution of environmental objects and substances (plus their relation to oneself)..ZZXSProblemsNProblem 1: The notion of knowing what an expression refers to is unclear.
Problem 2: For some expressions, it s unclear (maybe indeterminate) what sort of thing they refer to
E.g. number , symphony , etc.
Cf. Quinean inscrutability of reference
Solution: Move to the scrutability of truth.BZIZ-ZI-YTScrutability of TruthVScrutability of Truth:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know whether our utterances and our beliefs are true.
Avoids problem 1
The notion of knowing truth-value is relatively clear
Minimizes problem 2
This will only affect a few sentences such as two is a set of sets
ZsZZ6ZZEZZs6E]XScrutability of Truth IIuFor most terms T used by a speaker, and for any truth S involving T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and D is epistemically sufficient for S
D is epistemically sufficient for S 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 S is the case.*^YScrutability of Truth IIItThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D is epistemically sufficient for S.
To pare down the vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one-by-one according to the previous reasoning.
A minimal such V is a sort of epistemic basis for actual truths.,;Z z[V1From Epistemic Sufficiency to A Priori EntailmentnKnowing D enables knowledge of T without further empirical information
Stronger thesis: the inference from D to T is justified a priori
If empirical knowledge E is needed, just put this in the scrutability base!
Even a speaker who suspends all empirical beliefs can know that if D is the case, then T is the case.
See Chalmers and Jackson 2001 for detailed argument.FZZX\WScrutability of Truth IV:There 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 the material conditional D->S is a priori
N.B. This doesn t require that S be definable in terms of V-vocabulary
C&J 2001: knowledge in Gettier case. >r(r(_ZEpistemic BasisQ: How small can an epistemic basis be?
C&J: PQTI, a conjunction of
P = microphysical truths
Q = phenomenal truths
T = a that s-all truth
I = indexical truths (speaker s place/time, etc).
Yields knowledge of macroscopic appearance, behavior, composition, etc, which suffices for knowledge of ordinary macroscopic truths.BEZ{ZZE{`[
Hard CasesHard cases for PQTI scrutability
Vague truths (on epistemic theory)
Deep mathematical truths (CH?)
Moral/normative truths?
Some metaphysical truths?
Handle hard cases by
Indeterminacy of truth-value; or
Idealization of apriority; or
Expanding the scrutability base (if necessary)
v!ZuZZoZZ!uo,a\Minimal Basis?
Further reduction of PQTI: P is arguably scrutable from observational/causal/categorical truths
e.g. from underlying Ramsey sentence.
Observational truths are arguably scrutable from phenomenal/causal/spatiotemporal truths.
Spatiotemporal truths are maybe scrutable from phenomenal/causal truths
Leaves phenomenal, causal, spatiotemporal (?), indexical plus logical, categorical, etc.X`Z&ZZ`&v>) w P {b]Generalizing ScrutabilityScrutability thesis applies to actual truths
But presumably is an instance of something more general
E.g. if we knew that our environment is like the XYZ-world, could know that water is XYZ is true
Can know non-empirically that if we re in the XYZ-environment, then water is XYZ.
So we might generalize scrutability from actual truths to arbitrary epistemic possibilities.
-ZZ]ZZ-=z2]3;c^Generalized ScrutabilityLGeneralized scrutability:
There s some relatively 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 [better: det(S)] is not ruled out a priori.
Here V is a generalized epistemic basis
A scrutability base for arbitrary epistemic possibilities, not just for actual truths
A basis for epistemic space?ZZPZ(ZsZPs>Iee`Conceptual ScrutabilityConceptual formulation of scrutability
There s some limited set of concepts V such that
For all true thoughts T, T is implied by some true V-thought
For all epistemically possible thoughts T, T is implied by some V-thought
A thought = a world-directed propositional attitude token (e.g. an occurrent belief or hypothesis)
Concepts = constituents of thoughts
N.B. mental entities, not abstract entities.
Concepts have contents but aren t contents.v'Z1ZZZZZ'1ZgbPrimitive ConceptsTraditionally: primitive concepts = those in terms of which all other concepts can be defined.
E.g. a set of primitive concepts V, such that all concepts are a priori equivalent to some V-concept.
But: it seems that most concepts can t be defined in this way.
Alternative: primitive concepts = those in terms of which the application of all other concepts can be determined
E.g. application of knowledge can be determined by specification of situation using non-knowledge concepts, so knowledge isn t primitive
Application of cause, consciousness, time, exists (??) can t be determined in this way, so these may be primitive._ZZrZZ_r
:
#AunConceptual BasisIA conceptual basis = a minimal set of concepts that serves as a basis for conceptual scrutability
Primitive concepts = members of a conceptual basis?
There may be multiple conceptual bases, some with cognate concepts, etc, some fairly complex, etc
May end with circles of (cognate) primitive concepts
E.g. cause, law, natural necessity, counterfactual dependence?
And might require a maximally simple conceptual basis.
Candidates for primitive concepts:
Phenomenal concepts, causal concepts, logical and mathematical (?) concepts, categorical concepts, spatiotemporal (?) concepts. ZZ?Z8Z#ZZ:8#U5/Epistemic SpacemCan use a conceptual basis to define a space of epistemic possibilities
A V-thought T is complete iff for any thought T1 such that T1 implies T, T implies T1.
Complete thoughts correspond to maximally specific epistemically possible hypotheses.
A maximal epistemic possibility (= scenario) is an equivalence class of complete V-thoughts (under mutual implication)vHZ&ZH LJDEpistemic Truth-Conditions,Given a complete V-thought, the truth-value of a given thought T will be implied: e.g.
V1 implies T
V2 implies ~T
T is associated with epistemic truth-conditions
T is true relative to scenario S1 [tied to V1]
T is false relative to scenario S2 [tied to V2]
Can call this the epistemic content of T.WZZ0Z`Z*ZW`hcInferential RoleEpistemic content is a variety of truth-conditional content that is tied constitutively to inferential role
The epistemic content of T is a function of its (normative) inferential role relative to V-thoughts
E.g. normative dispositions to judge T or ~T, given the judgment that V1.
Given the understanding of implication in terms of a priori entailment, this is a tie between truth-conditions of thought and a priori inferential role.nZLZZ" dLwoEpistemic Content of ConceptsbCan extend this account to an account of the epistemic content (epistemic application-conditions) of concepts
For a (singular) concept C, there will be implications
V1 implies C=X1, C=X2, & ,
Where X1, X2, are descriptive V-concepts
Equivalence classes of descriptive V-concepts (relative to V1) can be associated with individuals in the scenario S1.
So relative to S1, C picks out the corresponding individual
Relative to S2, C picks out an individual in S2, and so on.
Similarly (mutatis mutandis) for general concepts, kind concepts, property concepts, etc.nZZ7Z2ZZZe 7yZidConcept IndividuationConcept types can be individuated in various ways
One way: two concepts are of the same type when they have the same epistemic content
This provides an individuation of concept types by a priori inferential role
More fine-grained than extensional individuation
Hesperus and Phosphorus are of different types
More coarse-grained than Fregean individuation
68+57 and 115 are of the same type
This coarse-graining is inevitable (?) given individuation in terms of apriority, as opposed to cognitive significance ZMZ1Z/Z/Z#ZxZzM1 /xjeNarrow ContentJEpistemic content is arguably a form of narrow content, as long as
Conceptual bases correspond between twins
If V is a conceptual basis for one subject, a corresponding set of concepts V is a conceptual basis in a duplicate.
Implication is narrow
When T1 implies T2 in one subject, and a duplicate subject has corresponding thoughts T1 and T2 , then T1 implies T2 .
These allow us to identify scenarios across subjects
The epistemic content of a thought T will be the same as the epistemic content of a corresponding thought T in any duplicate.CZ*ZuZZzZZC*uzkfNaturalizing ContentCould this account be used to naturalize epistemic content?
Issues1: the account doesn t yield a substantive account of the content of primitive concepts
Issue 2: it appeals to an unreduced notion of implication (or apriority).
But: it grounds the content of all concepts in the content of primitive concepts and a notion of implication (inferential role).
Will need a separate account of the content of primitive concepts (phenomenal intentionality?) and of inference
A two-stage grounding of content?t>ZZZpZ"Z>p"xpMeaning and TruthMore generally, the scrutability theses (if accepted) places a strong constraint on theorizing about meaning and truth
Links inferential role and reference/truth
In tension with many causal theories of content, with epistemic theory of vagueness, etc?
Coheres with a broadly Fregean view
Tends to support anti-realism about inscrutable domains
E.g. in metaphysics: the deep ontology of objects?
Captures the plausible core of stronger and implausible anti-realist views?wZ+Z~Z8Z3ZLZw+~83L/8tv
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?%?^&Concepts and theScrutability of TruthDavid J. ChalmersUPThe Scrutability of ReferenceThe Scrutability of Reference
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know what our concepts and our terms refer to.&kkVQExamplesE.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
Likewise for Jack the Ripper , Homer , gold , and so on.
Z/ZZNZyZ=ZZ
/Ny=WR
NontrivialityTrivial version: Allow the knowlede in the antecedent to include water-knowledge
Nontrivial version: Disallow knowledge involving water and cognate notions from the antecedent
The nontrivial version is plausibly true for many or most terms and concepts
Knowledge of underlying truths suffices for knowledge of what water , Homer , etc, refer to.rZ_ZB=v
G;rmIdealizationSpeakers given the relevant knowledge may in fact make mistaken judgments about reference
E.g. 68+57
But they re in a position to make correct judgments, given rational reflection
I.e. the relevant empirical knowledge plus sufficient rational reflection enables knowledge of reference
In effect, the scrutability thesis invokes a normative idealization.ZZ
ZPZjZEZ*(
2jE0*qlScrutability of Reference II$For most terms T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and such that knowing that D is true puts the speaker in a position to know the referent of T.
D is independent of T when D doesn t contain T or close cognates
E.g. for water , D might involve truths about appearance, behavior, composition, distribution of environmental objects and substances (plus their relation to oneself)..ZZXSProblemsNProblem 1: The notion of knowing what an expression refers to is unclear.
Problem 2: For some expressions, it s unclear (maybe indeterminate) what sort of thing they refer to
E.g. number , symphony , etc.
Cf. Quinean inscrutability of reference
Solution: Move to the scrutability of truth.BZIZ-ZI-YTScrutability of TruthVScrutability of Truth:
Once we know enough about the world, we re in a position to know whether our utterances and our beliefs are true.
Avoids problem 1
The notion of knowing truth-value is relatively clear
Minimizes problem 2
This will only affect a few sentences such as two is a set of sets
ZsZZ6ZZEZZs6E]XScrutability of Truth IIuFor most terms T used by a speaker, and for any truth S involving T, there exists a truth D such that D is independent of T and D is epistemically sufficient for S
D is epistemically sufficient for S 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 S is the case.*^YScrutability of Truth IIItThere is a relatively limited vocabulary V such that for any truth S, there is a V-truth D such that D is epistemically sufficient for S.
To pare down the vocabulary, just eliminate scrutable terms one-by-one according to the previous reasoning.
A minimal such V is a sort of epistemic basis for actual truths.,;Z z[V1From Epistemic Sufficiency to A Priori EntailmentnKnowing D enables knowledge of T without further empirical information
Stronger thesis: the inference from D to T is justified a priori
If empirical knowledge E is needed, just put this in the scrutability base!
Even a speaker who suspends all empirical beliefs can know that if D is the case, then T is the case.
See Chalmers and Jackson 2001 for detailed argument.FZZX\WScrutability of Truth IV:There 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 the material conditional D->S is a priori
N.B. This doesn t require that S be definable in terms of V-vocabulary
C&J 2001: knowledge in Gettier case. >r(r(_ZEpistemic BasisQ: How small can an epistemic basis be?
C&J: PQTI, a conjunction of
P = microphysical truths
Q = phenomenal truths
T = a that s-all truth
I = indexical truths (speaker s place/time, etc).
Yields knowledge of macroscopic appearance, behavior, composition, etc, which suffices for knowledge of ordinary macroscopic truths.BEZ{ZZE{`[
Hard CasesHard cases for PQTI scrutability
Vague truths (on epistemic theory)
Deep mathematical truths (CH?)
Moral/normative truths?
Some metaphysical truths?
Handle hard cases by
Indeterminacy of truth-value; or
Idealization of apriority; or
Expanding the scrutability base (if necessary)
v!ZuZZoZZ!uo,a\Minimal Basis?
Further reduction of PQTI: P is arguably scrutable from observational/causal/categorical truths
e.g. from underlying Ramsey sentence.
Observational truths are arguably scrutable from phenomenal/causal/spatiotemporal truths.
Spatiotemporal truths are maybe scrutable from phenomenal/causal truths
Leaves phenomenal, causal, spatiotemporal (?), indexical plus logical, categorical, etc.X`Z&ZZ`&v>) w P {b]Generalizing ScrutabilityScrutability thesis applies to actual truths
But presumably is an instance of something more general
E.g. if we knew that our environment is like the XYZ-world, could know that water is XYZ is true
Can know non-empirically that if we re in the XYZ-environment, then water is XYZ.
So we might generalize scrutability from actual truths to arbitrary epistemic possibilities.
-ZZ]ZZ-=z2]3;c^Generalized ScrutabilityLGeneralized scrutability:
There s some relatively 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 [better: det(S)] is not ruled out a priori.
Here V is a generalized epistemic basis
A scrutability base for arbitrary epistemic possibilities, not just for actual truths
A basis for epistemic space?ZZPZ(ZsZPs>Iee`Conceptual ScrutabilityConceptual formulation of scrutability
There s some limited set of concepts V such that
For all true thoughts T, T is implied by some true V-thought
For all epistemically possible thoughts T, T is implied by some V-thought
A thought = a world-directed propositional attitude token (e.g. an occurrent belief or hypothesis)
Concepts = constituents of thoughts
N.B. mental entities, not abstract entities.
Concepts have contents but aren t contents.v'Z1ZZZZZ'1ZgbPrimitive ConceptsTraditionally: primitive concepts = those in terms of which all other concepts can be defined.
E.g. a set of primitive concepts V, such that all concepts are a priori equivalent to some V-concept.
But: it seems that most concepts can t be defined in this way.
Alternative: primitive concepts = those in terms of which the application of all other concepts can be determined
E.g. application of knowledge can be determined by specification of situation using non-knowledge concepts, so knowledge isn t primitive
Application of cause, consciousness, time, exists (??) can t be determined in this way, so these may be primitive._ZZrZZ_r
:
#AunConceptual BasisIA conceptual basis = a minimal set of concepts that serves as a basis for conceptual scrutability
Primitive concepts = members of a conceptual basis?
There may be multiple conceptual bases, some with cognate concepts, etc, some fairly complex, etc
May end with circles of (cognate) primitive concepts
E.g. cause, law, natural necessity, counterfactual dependence?
And might require a maximally simple conceptual basis.
Candidates for primitive concepts:
Phenomenal concepts, causal concepts, logical and mathematical (?) concepts, categorical concepts, spatiotemporal (?) concepts. ZZ?Z8Z#ZZ:8#U5/Epistemic SpacemCan use a conceptual basis to define a space of epistemic possibilities
A V-thought T is complete iff for any thought T1 such that T1 implies T, T implies T1.
Complete thoughts correspond to maximally specific epistemically possible hypotheses.
A maximal epistemic possibility (= scenario) is an equivalence class of complete V-thoughts (under mutual implication)vHZ&ZH LJDEpistemic Truth-Conditions,Given a complete V-thought, the truth-value of a given thought T will be implied: e.g.
V1 implies T
V2 implies ~T
T is associated with epistemic truth-conditions
T is true relative to scenario S1 [tied to V1]
T is false relative to scenario S2 [tied to V2]
Can call this the epistemic content of T.WZZ0Z`Z*ZW`hcInferential RoleEpistemic content is a variety of truth-conditional content that is tied constitutively to inferential role
The epistemic content of T is a function of its (normative) inferential role relative to V-thoughts
E.g. normative dispositions to judge T or ~T, given the judgment that V1.
Given the understanding of implication in terms of a priori entailment, this is a tie between truth-conditions of thought and a priori inferential role.nZLZZ" dLwoEpistemic Content of ConceptsbCan extend this account to an account of the epistemic content (epistemic application-conditions) of concepts
For a (singular) concept C, there will be implications
V1 implies C=X1, C=X2, & ,
Where X1, X2, are descriptive V-concepts
Equivalence classes of descriptive V-concepts (relative to V1) can be associated with individuals in the scenario S1.
So relative to S1, C picks out the corresponding individual
Relative to S2, C picks out an individual in S2, and so on.
Similarly (mutatis mutandis) for general concepts, kind concepts, property concepts, etc.nZZ7Z2ZZZe 7yZidConcept IndividuationConcept types can be individuated in various ways
One way: two concepts are of the same type when they have the same epistemic content
This provides an individuation of concept types by a priori inferential role
More fine-grained than extensional individuation
Hesperus and Phosphorus are of different types
More coarse-grained than Fregean individuation
68+57 and 115 are of the same type
This coarse-graining is inevitable (?) given individuation in terms of apriority, as opposed to cognitive significance ZMZ1Z/Z/Z#ZxZzM1 /xjeNarrow ContentJEpistemic content is arguably a form of narrow content, as long as
Conceptual bases correspond between twins
If V is a conceptual basis for one subject, a corresponding set of concepts V is a conceptual basis in a duplicate.
Implication is narrow
When T1 implies T2 in one subject, and a duplicate subject has corresponding thoughts T1 and T2 , then T1 implies T2 .
These allow us to identify scenarios across subjects
The epistemic content of a thought T will be the same as the epistemic content of a corresponding thought T in any duplicate.CZ*ZuZZzZZC*uzkfNaturalizing ContentCould this account be used to naturalize epistemic content?
Issues1: the account doesn t yield a substantive account of the content of primitive concepts
Issue 2: it appeals to an unreduced notion of implication (or apriority).
But: it grounds the content of all concepts in the content of primitive concepts and a notion of implication (inferential role).
Will need a separate account of the content of primitive concepts (phenomenal intentionality?) and of inference
A two-stage grounding of content?t>ZZZpZ"Z>p"xpMeaning and TruthMore generally, the scrutability theses (if accepted) places a strong constraint on theorizing about meaning and truth
Links inferential role and reference/truth
In tension with many causal theories of content, with epistemic theory of vagueness, etc?
Coheres with a broadly Fregean view
Tends to support anti-realism about inscrutable domains
E.g. in metaphysics: the deep ontology of objects?
Captures the plausible core of stronger and implausible anti-realist views?wZ+Z~Z8Z3ZLZw+~83L/8tvr{R?
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