But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

Standard

Jean-marc pizano But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

 

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But, bless me, it seems that I am quoting from The Concept of Mind9 I’m sure that means that it’s time for me to stop.

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Appendix 7A Round Squares

I want briefly to consider an ontological worry about IA that’s relatively independent of the main issues that this chapter is concerned with.

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It seems pretty clear that IA is going to have to say that it’s metaphysically impossible for there to be a primitive concept of a self-contradictory property; e.g. a primitive concept ROUND SQUARE. (Remember that “ROUND SQUARE”is a name, not a structural description. The notation leaves it open whether the corresponding

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Ryle 1949.

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concept is atomic.) How the argument goes will depend on the details of IA’s formulation. But, roughly: IA says that concepts have to be locked to properties. Maybe it‘s OK for a concept to lock to a property that exists but happens notto be instantiated (like being a gold mountain), but presumably there isn’t any property of being a round square for thenecessarily uninstantiated concept ROUND SQUARE to lock to.

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That’s all right if ROUND SQUARE is assumed to be complex; it’s pretty plausible that there really isn’t anything to having ROUND SQUARE beyond the inferential dispositions that its compositional semantics bestows (viz. thedisposition to infer ROUND and SQUARE). But the corresponding primitive concept would have neither content(there’s no property for it to lock to) nor compositional structure (it has no constituents), so there could be nothing tohaving it at all. The objection is that it’s not obvious that it‘s metaphysically necessary that ROUND SQUARE couldn’tbe primitive.

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A possible reply is that it’s also not obvious that it could, so all you get is a hung jury. But I think maybe we can do a little better. Consider a non-self-contradictory property like being ared square. It’s common ground for any RTM thatthere is a complex concept of this property (constructed from the concepts RED and SQUARE). But it’s built intoinformational versions of RTM that it also allows there to be a simple concept of this property; viz. a primitive mentalrepresentation REDSQUARE (sic.; this is intended to be a structural description) that is locked to being red and square.Presumably, one could acquire REDSQUARE ostensively. That is, one could get locked to being red and square (not byfirst getting locked to being red and being square, but) by learning that redsquares (sic) are the things that look like those. SoInformational Atomism acknowledges the metaphysical possibility of having the concept of a red square withouthaving either the concept RED or the concept SQUARE. (You won’t, of course, admit that RED SQUARE could be,in this sense, primitive if you boggle at concepts without conceptual roles. But if you boggle at concepts withoutconceptual roles you can‘t accept a pure informational semantics at all, so why should you care what a pureinformational semantics says about concepts of self-contradictory properties?)

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If, on the other hand, you find it intuitively plausible that there are two ways of having a concept of a red square (viz. RED SQUARE, which you can’t have unless you’ve got RED and SQUARE, and REDSQUARE, which you canbecause it’s primitive) then everything is OK about IA’s treatment of the concept ROUND SQUARE.Jean-marc pizano

Alas, ecumenicism has to stop somewhere. The fifth (and final thesis) of my version of RTM does depart from the standard Frege architecture.

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Alas, ecumenicism has to stop somewhere. The fifth (and final thesis) of my version of RTM does depart from the standard Frege architecture.

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Fifth Thesis: Whatever distinguishes coextensive concepts is ipso facto ‘in the head’. This means, something like that

it’s available to be a proximal cause (/effect) of mental processes.10

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As I understand it, the Fregean story makes the following three claims about modes of presentation:

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5.1 MOPs are senses; for an expression to mean what it does is for the expression to have the MOP that it does.

I take it that one of the things that distinguishes Fregeans sans phrase from neo -Fregeans (like e.g. Peacocke 1992) is that the latter are not committed to Fege’s anti-mentalism and are therefore free to agree with Thesis Five if they’re so inclined. Accordingly, for the neo -sort of Fregean, the sermon that follows will seem to be preached to the converted.

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5.2 Since MOPs can distinguish concepts, they explain how it is possible to entertain one, but not the other, of twocoreferential concepts; e.g. how it is possible have the concept WATER but not the concept H2O, hence how itis possible to have (de dicto) beliefs about water but no (de dicto) beliefs about H2O.

5.3 MOPs are abstract objects; hence they are non-mental.

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In effect, I’ve signed on for 5.2; it’s the claim about MOPs that everybody must accept who has any sympathy at all for the Frege programme. But I think there are good reasons to believe that 5.2 excludes both 5.1 and 5.3. In which case, Itake it that 5.1 and 5.3 will have to go.

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—’What’s wrong with 5.1: 5.1 makes trouble for 5.2: it’s unclear that you can hold onto 5.2 if you insist, as Frege does, that MOPs be identified with senses. One thing (maybe the only one) that we know for sure about senses is thatsynonyms share them. So if MOPs are senses and distinct but coextensive concepts are distinguished (solely) by theirMOPs, then synonymous concepts must be identical, and it must not be possible to think either without thinking theother. (This is the so-called ‘substitution test’ for distinguishing modes of presentation.) But (here I follow Mates1962), it is possible for Fred to wonder whether John understands that bachelors are unmarried men even though Fred does notwonder whether John understands that unmarried men are unmarried men. The moral seems to be that if 5.2 is right, so thatMOPs just are whatever it is that the substitution test tests for, then it’s unlikely that MOPs are senses.

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Here’s a similar argument to much the same conclusion. Suppose I tell you that Jackson was a painter and that Pollock was a painter, and I tell you nothing else about Jackson or Pollock. Suppose, also, that you believe what I tell you. Itlooks like that fixes the senses of the names ‘Jackson’ and ‘Pollock’ if anything could; and it looks like it fixes them asboth having the same sense: viz. a painter. (Mutatis mutandis, it looks as though I have fixed the same inferential role forboth.) Yet, in the circumstances imagined, it’s perfectly OK—perfectly conceptually coherent—for you to wonderwhether Jackson and Pollock were the same painter. (Contrast the peculiarity of your wondering, in such a case, whetherJackson was Jackson or whether Pollock was Pollock.) So, then, by Frege’s own test, JACKSON and POLLOCKcount as different MOPs. But if concepts with the same sense can be different MOPs then, patently, MOPs can’t besenses. This isn’t particularly about names, by the way. If I tell you that a flang is a sort of machine part and a glanf is asort of machine part, it‘s perfectly OK for you to wonder whether a glanf is a flang.11

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You can’t, of course, do this trick with definite descriptions since they presuppose uniqueness of reference. If you mean by “Jackson” the horse that bit John, and you mean by “Pollock” the horse that bit John, you can’t coherently wonder whether Jackson is the same horse as Pollock.By the way, I have the damnedest sense of déjà vu about theargument in the text; I simply can’t remember whether I read it somewhere or made it up.Jean-marc pizano

But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

Standard

Jean-marc pizano But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

 

But, bless me, it seems that I am quoting from The Concept of Mind9 I’m sure that means that it’s time for me to stop.

Appendix 7A Round Squares

I want briefly to consider an ontological worry about IA that’s relatively independent of the main issues that this chapter is concerned with.

It seems pretty clear that IA is going to have to say that it’s metaphysically impossible for there to be a primitive concept of a self-contradictory property; e.g. a primitive concept ROUND SQUARE. (Remember that “ROUND SQUARE”is a name, not a structural description. The notation leaves it open whether the corresponding

Jean-marc pizano

Ryle 1949.

concept is atomic.) How the argument goes will depend on the details of IA’s formulation. But, roughly: IA says that concepts have to be locked to properties. Maybe it‘s OK for a concept to lock to a property that exists but happens notto be instantiated (like being a gold mountain), but presumably there isn’t any property of being a round square for thenecessarily uninstantiated concept ROUND SQUARE to lock to.

That’s all right if ROUND SQUARE is assumed to be complex; it’s pretty plausible that there really isn’t anything to having ROUND SQUARE beyond the inferential dispositions that its compositional semantics bestows (viz. thedisposition to infer ROUND and SQUARE). But the corresponding primitive concept would have neither content(there’s no property for it to lock to) nor compositional structure (it has no constituents), so there could be nothing tohaving it at all. The objection is that it’s not obvious that it‘s metaphysically necessary that ROUND SQUARE couldn’tbe primitive.

A possible reply is that it’s also not obvious that it could, so all you get is a hung jury. But I think maybe we can do a little better. Consider a non-self-contradictory property like being ared square. It’s common ground for any RTM thatthere is a complex concept of this property (constructed from the concepts RED and SQUARE). But it’s built intoinformational versions of RTM that it also allows there to be a simple concept of this property; viz. a primitive mentalrepresentation REDSQUARE (sic.; this is intended to be a structural description) that is locked to being red and square.Presumably, one could acquire REDSQUARE ostensively. That is, one could get locked to being red and square (not byfirst getting locked to being red and being square, but) by learning that redsquares (sic) are the things that look like those. SoInformational Atomism acknowledges the metaphysical possibility of having the concept of a red square withouthaving either the concept RED or the concept SQUARE. (You won’t, of course, admit that RED SQUARE could be,in this sense, primitive if you boggle at concepts without conceptual roles. But if you boggle at concepts withoutconceptual roles you can‘t accept a pure informational semantics at all, so why should you care what a pureinformational semantics says about concepts of self-contradictory properties?)

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If, on the other hand, you find it intuitively plausible that there are two ways of having a concept of a red square (viz. RED SQUARE, which you can’t have unless you’ve got RED and SQUARE, and REDSQUARE, which you canbecause it’s primitive) then everything is OK about IA’s treatment of the concept ROUND SQUARE.Jean-marc pizano