Reduction, Elimination and Radical Uninterpretability

Anti-reductionist physicalists or materialists deny that psychology can be theoretically reduced to physics but allow physics sovereignty concerning what exists. Anti-reductionist arguments vary but a common line of attack against reductionism is that psychology expresses rational or normative relationships between mental states; not causal or functional relationships of the kind expressed in theories of natural […]

Robert Brandom and Posthumanism

Here’s a first draft of my paper for the Philosophy After Nature Conference in Utrecht, Sept 3-5. All feedback gratefully received! (For users a pdf is available here) BRANDOM AND POSTHUMAN AGENCY: AN ANTI-NORMATIVIST RESPONSE TO BOUNDED POSTHUMANISM David Roden, Open University Introduction: Bounded Posthumanism Posthumanism can be critical or speculative in orientation. Both kinds […]

Interpretations are Tools, Concepts are Demons

I’m currently using Davidsonian radical interpretation as a model for understanding the obstructions presented by very alien minds and phenomenologies – posthumans, aliens, cats, etc. However, much as I admire Davidson’s writings I don’t really want to be a Davidsonian. For example, I don’t think that content is constituted by how others might interpret it in ideal […]

Psychosemantics Redux

There is a concise but thought-provoking post over at the Philosophy of Brains blog by Gualtiero Piccinini here. ‘Psychosemantics’ refers to the project of explaining the intentional content of mental states in terms of non-intentional properties such as causal relations between head and world. The problem with what Jerry Fodor refers to as ‘crude causal’ […]

Harman on Patterns and Harms

Quentin Meillassoux’s  coinage ‘correlationism’ refers to any position which holds that thought can only think the relation between thought and its object; never the object as an absolute without relation to cognition. Kantianism and transcendental phenomenology are correlationisms. They conceive objectivity as an invariant structure of possible experience. Husserl conceives physical objectivity in terms of […]

Stengers on Dennett

I was irritated to see the inclusion of  Isabelle Stengers’ lazy diatribe against Daniel Dennett’s so-called eliminativism in the essays of The Speculative Turn. Here’s an indicative quote from her piece: The universal acid of the so-called dangerous idea of Darwin is just what is needed. It brings no effective understanding of evolutionary processes but […]