Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author Vs Author
Russell, B. Peacocke Vs Russell, B. I 131
Acquaintance/Russell: objects of acquaintance: E.g. sense data. They are obvious to the subject. Sense Data/Russell: correspond to the positions of singular terms in a sentence.
They are at the same time real constituents of the sentence.
And without givenness at that! (Without intension). Purely extensional occurrence of objects in the sentence.
PeacockeVsRussell: 1) that may mollify FregeVsRussell's criticism of his concept of proposition.
But it does not justify Russell: because he did not refer to obviousness for the thinker.
2) physical objects that, according to Russell, "cause the sense data" are therefore demonstrative and descriptive in a mix.
PeacockeVs: our approach, on the other hand, assumes that demonstrative ways of givenness are not descriptive.
But Russell's mixed approach is not entirely irrelevant: if we replace "sense data" by "experience":
PeacockeVsRussell: he confused a plausible determination of the the constitutive role with "content".

I 180
Acquaintance/Russell: (B. Russell, Problems of Philosophy, 1973, p. 32) "Each understandable sentence must be composed of constituents with which we are familiar." PeacockeVs: that got bad press. Problem: Excessive proximity to Humean empiricism.
SainsburyVs: Russells ideas should be defended without the principle of acquaintance if possible.
Peacocke: but if you free the principle of non-essential epistemological attachments, it is a correct and fundamental condition for the attribution of contents.
Acquaintance/Russell: we are familiar with the sense data, some objects of immediate memory and with universals and complexes.
Earlier: the thinker is also familiar with himself.
Later: Vs.
Complex/Russell: aRb. Acquaintance/PeacockeVsRussell: he had a correct basic notion of acquaintance, but a false one of its extension (from the things that fall under it).
The salient feature is the idea of ​​relation. One is dealing with the object itself and not its deputy.
 I 182
Def Principle of Acquaintance/PeacockeVsRussell: Thesis: Reconstruction, reformulated principle of acquaintance: The thinker is familiar with an object if there is a way of givenness (within its repertoire of concepts) that is ruled by the principle of sensitivity and he is in an appropriate current mental state, which he needs to think of the object under this way of givenness.
For this, we need a three-digit relation between subject, object and type of the way of givenness
The type of the way of givenness (as visual or aural perception) singles out the object.
"Singling out" here is neutral in terms of whether the object is to be a "constituent of thoughts" or not.
This preserves two features of Russell's concept:
1) acquaintance enables the subject to think about the object in a certain way because of the relationship that it has with it.
2) The concept of the mental state may preserve what Russell meant when he spoke of acquaintance as a relation of presentation.
Constituent/Thoughts/Russell: he thought that objects occurred downright as parts of the thought.
PeacockeVsRussell: we will interpret this as an object that indicates a type of a way of givenness (indexing).
We do not allow an object to occur as part of a thought, just because it is the only component of the thought that corresponds to a singular term position in a sentence that expresses a thought.
I 183
This is a Neo-Fregean theory, because an object can only exist as part of the thought by the particular way of its givenness (intension). (VsRussell: not literally part of the thought or sentence).

I 195
Colors/Explanation/Peacocke: to avoid circularity, colors themselves are not included in the explanation of a response action, but only their physical bases. Different: E.g. 'John's favorite color': which objects have it, depends on what concepts φ are such that φ judges the subject, 'John's favorite color is φ' together with thoughts of the form 't is φ'.
Analog: defined description: E.g. the 'richest man'. He is identified by the relational way of givenness in context with additional information:
Complex/Acquaintance/Russell/Peacocke: E.g. a subject has an experience token with two properties:
1) It may have been mentioned in the context with sensitivity for a specific demonstrative way of givenness of an object (e.g. audible tone).
2) At the same time it may be an experience token of a certain type. Then, to be recognized the two must coincide in the context
I 196
with a sensitivity for a specific concept φ in the repertoire of the subject. VsAcquaintance/VsRussell/Peacocke: one can argue:
E.g. Cicero died long ago
E.g. arthritis is painful.
We can attribute such beliefs when the subject understands the meanings of the concepts.
Nevertheless, the readiness to judge that Cicero died long ago depends on a mental state, with regard to which there must be an evidence.
What kind of a mental state should that be?
It need not remember the occasion when it first heard the name 'Cicero'.
But neither: 'F died long ago', where 'F' is a defined description.
Name/Peacocke: semantic function: simply singling out a particular object.
Understanding: if you can identify the reference of the name in one way or another.
There is no specific way in which you have to think of the Roman orator to understand the name.
VsAcquaintance/VsPeacocke: that may even endanger the reformulated principle: if the name only singles out the object, then the subject must have a relation to a thought which contains the object as a constituent.
PeacockeVs: I dispute the last conditional.
We must distinguish sharply between
a) beliefs, where the that-sentence contains a name, and
b) the presence of the reference of a name as constituent of a Neo-Fregean thought. The latter corresponds to the relation 'Bel'.
I 196/197
Def Relation 'Bel'/Terminology/Belief/Propositional Attitudes/Peacocke: a belief which contains the reference of a name as constituent of a Neo-Fregean thought: E.g. not only 'NN died a long time ago', but propositional attitude.
((s) not only belief about someone or something, but about a particular object.)
Relation Bel/Belief/Peacocke: three reasons for distinguishing beliefs:
a) we want to exclude that someone can acquire a new belief simply by introducing a new name. (Only a description could do that).
E.g. if we wanted to call the inventor of the wheel 'Helle':
Trivialization: 1) it would be trivial that such a stipulation should be enough for the reference in a community.
2) Nor is it a question of us being able to give outsiders a theoretical description of the community language.
You cannot bring about a relation Bel by linguistic stipulation.
I 198
b) Pierre Example/Kripke/Peacocke: this type of problem arises in cases where the language is too poor for a theory of beliefs in this sense: if someone understands a sentence, it is not clear what thoughts he expresses with it. (>Understanding/Peacocke). Because the semantics only singles out the object, not the way of thinking about the object (intension). This is different with pure index words and certain descriptions.
E.g. a person who says 'I'm hot now' expresses the thought:
^[self x]^[now t].
But that involves nothing that would be 'thinking of something under a name'!
Pierre Example/Kripke/Solution: a complete description of Pierre's situation is possible (for outsiders) without embedding 'London' in belief contexts.
Peacocke: at the level of 'Bel' (where the speaker himself is part of the belief) beliefs can be formulated so that proper names are used: 'He believes that NN is so and so'.
c) Perception/Demonstratives/Way of Givenness/Peacocke: here, the way of givenness seems to have a wealth that does not need to be grasped completely, if someone uses demonstratives.
The wealth of experience is covered by the relation Bel, however.
But this way we are not making certain commitments: E.g. we do not need to regarded 'Cicero died long ago' as metalinguistic, but rather as meant quite literally.

I 201
Logical Operators/Quantification/Logic/Acquaintance/PeacockeVsRussell: our reconstructed principle of acquaintance implicitly includes the obligation to recognize entities that can only be preserved inferentially: E.g. uniqueness operators, other quantifiers, connections, also derived ones.
This can even apply to logical constants and some truth functions and not only for ways of givenness of these functions.
RussellVs: the principle of acquaintance is not applicable to logical constituents of thoughts.

Peacocke I
Chr. R. Peacocke
Sense and Content Oxford 1983

Peacocke II
Christopher Peacocke
"Truth Definitions and Actual Languges"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell Oxford 1976