Social Cognition and the Unconscious It is generally recognized in psychology that a good deal of problem solving goes on unconsciously. We can solve problems as we sleep with no expression of this mental activity in consciousness. This can happen with scientific problems, mathematical problems, literary problems, and practical problems of various kinds. […]
Completely Empty Names It is time we faced up to some uncomfortable truths about proper names. There have been two theories about them, neither very intuitive, commonly known as the description theory and the direct reference theory. The two theories are radically opposed to each other and each faces formidable difficulties. The […]
 But as soon as he created the predicate “bachelor” (along with its usual meaning) he was up to his neck in analytic necessities. God made names for the convenience of Adam and Eve (they were somewhat lacking in the omniscience department—don’t ask me why), but he had no intention of endowing them with semantic […]
Naming and Contingency Let’s accept that names have no meaning, as a distinguished tradition contends. They may have a reference or denotation but they have no sense or connotation. Names lack “descriptive content” and are not synonymous with definite descriptions. Predicates are alien to their semantic functioning. They belong to a different […]
 The concepts of particular and universal are theoretical concepts introduced to perform an explanatory role. They are not found fully formed in our ordinary conceptual scheme. They should therefore be evaluated in terms of their theoretical utility, which may trump any feeling of metaphysical repugnance they evoke. It is notable that they pull in […]
Universals in Thought We introduce the concept of the particular because we observe distinctness in the world. We introduce the concept of the universal because we observe similarity in the world. I see the cat as distinct from the computer and I conclude that particulars exist; if I didn’t I wouldn’t have […]
Big Mystery: Space and Time What is the most fundamental mystery in the universe? Mind and matter is big, but space and time might be bigger. Each individually is a mystery, as has long been recognized, but there is also the mystery of their connection. How are space and time connected? Are they […]
The same point applies to our knowledge of propositional content: we don’t have impressions of the content of belief (even if we have impressions of the belief attitude itself). Our senses are not geared to propositions. Thus our knowledge of folk psychology is not explicable in classic empiricist style.
Empiricism and Semantic Knowledge Empiricism tells us that all knowledge worthy of the name derives from the senses. In Hume’s formulation, every idea has its origin in an impression, such as an impression of red. This is a psychological theory to which empirical evidence is relevant (what if we came across a […]
 There is also a genetic question: if the original state of existence is nature-free, how does it ever acquire a nature? Where do the properties come from? If two bare existences interact with each other, what makes them become clothed? Natures can’t come from Nothingness.