Birkbeck, University of London
Birkbeck College, University Of London
  •  2989
    A relational theory of non-propositional attitudes
    In Alex Grzankowski & Michelle Montague (eds.), Non-Propositional Intentionality, Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Book synopsis: Our mental lives are entwined with the world. There are worldly things that we have beliefs about and things in the world we desire to have happen. We find some things fearsome and others likable. The puzzle of intentionality — how it is that our minds make contact with the world — is one of the oldest and most vexed issues facing philosophers. Many contemporary philosophers and cognitive scientists have been attracted to the idea that our minds represent the world. This book expl…Read more
  •  760
    Not All Attitudes are Propositional
    European Journal of Philosophy (3): 374-391. 2012.
    Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositional attitudes. In fact, many theorists hold that all attitudes are propositional attitudes. Our folk-psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non-propositional attitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non-propositional attitudes. More specifically, I …Read more
  •  398
    The Real Trouble with Recalcitrant Emotions
    Erkenntnis 82 (3): 641-651. 2017.
    Cognitivists about the emotions minimally hold that it is a necessary condition for being in an emotional state that one make a certain judgement or have a certain belief. For example, if I am angry with Sam, then I must believe that Sam has wronged me. Perhaps I must also elicit a certainly bodily response or undergo some relevant experience, but crucial to the view is the belief or judgement. In the face of ‘recalcitrant emotions’, this once very popular view has come under heavy criticism tha…Read more
  •  395
    Adverbialist theories of thought such as those advanced by Hare and Sellars promise an ontologically sleek understanding of a variety of intentional states, but such theories have been largely abandoned due to the ‘many-property problem’. In an attempt to revitalize this otherwise attractive theory, in a series of papers as well as his recent book, Uriah Kriegel has offered a novel reply to the ‘many-property problem’ and on its basis he argues that ‘adverbialism about intentionality is alive an…Read more
  •  366
    Non‐Propositional Attitudes
    Philosophy Compass 8 (12): 1123-1137. 2013.
    Intentionality, or the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for things, remains central in the philosophy of mind. But the study of intentionality in the analytic tradition has been dominated by discussions of propositional attitudes such as belief, desire, and visual perception. There are, however, intentional states that aren't obviously propositional attitudes. For example, Indiana Jones fears snakes, Antony loves Cleopatra, and Jane hates the monster under her bed. The prese…Read more
  •  330
    Propositions on the cheap
    with Ray Buchanan
    Philosophical Studies 176 (12): 3159-3178. 2019.
    According to the classical account, propositions are sui generis, abstract, intrinsically-representational entities and our cognitive attitudes, and the token states within us that realize those attitudes, represent as they do in virtue of their propositional objects. In light of a desire to explain how it could be that propositions represent, much of the recent literature on propositions has pressured various aspects of this account. In place of the classical account, revisionists have aimed to…Read more
  •  300
    Attitudes Towards Objects
    Noûs 50 (2): 314-328. 2016.
    This paper offers a positive account of an important but under-explored class of mental states, non-propositional attitudes such as loving one’s department, liking lattice structures, fearing Freddy Krueger, and hating Sherlock Holmes. In broadest terms, the view reached is a representationalist account guided by two puzzles. The proposal allows one to say in an elegant way what differentiates a propositional attitude from an attitude merely about a proposition. The proposal also allows one to o…Read more
  •  265
    Non-propositional Contents and How to Find Them
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (3-4): 233-241. forthcoming.
    To understand what non-propositional content is and whether there are any such contents, we first need to know what propositional content is. That issue will be the focus of the first section of this essay. In the second section, with an understanding of propositional content in hand, we will consider representations that fail to have propositional content. In contrast to recent literature, it will be argued that metaphysical considerations concerning what's represented, rather than linguistic c…Read more
  •  264
    What Acquaintance Teaches
    In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    In her black and white room, Mary doesn’t know what it is like to see red. Only after undergoing an experience as of something red and hence acquainting herself with red can Mary learn what it is like. But learning what it is like to see red requires more than simply becoming acquainted with it. To be acquainted with something is to know it, but such knowledge, as we argue, is object-knowledge rather than propositional-knowledge. To know what it is like one must know an appropriate propositional…Read more
  •  257
    Navigating Recalcitrant Emotions
    Journal of Philosophy 117 (9): 501-519. 2020.
    In discussions of the emotions, it is commonplace to wheel out examples of people who know that rollercoasters aren’t dangerous but who fear them anyway. Such cases are well known to have been troubling for cognitivists who hold the emotions are judgments or beliefs. But more recently, it has been argued that the very theories that emerged from the failure of cognitivism face trouble as well. One gets the sense that the theory that can accomplish this will win a crucial point over its competitor…Read more
  •  256
    Limits of propositionalism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (7-8): 819-838. 2016.
    Propositionalists hold that, fundamentally, all attitudes are propositional attitudes. A number of philosophers have recently called the propositionalist thesis into question. It has been argued, successfully I believe, that there are attitudes that are of or about things but which do not have a propositional content concerning those things. If correct, our theories of mind will include non-propositional attitudes as well as propositional attitudes. In light of this, Sinhababu’s recent attack on…Read more
  •  253
    Pictures Have Propositional Content
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1): 151-163. 2015.
    Although philosophers of art and aesthetics regularly appeal to a notion of ‘pictorial content’, there is little agreement over its nature. The present paper argues that pictures have propositional contents. This conclusion is reached by considering a style of argument having to do with the phenomenon of negation intended to show that pictures must have some kind of non-propositional content. I first offer reasons for thinking that arguments of that type fail. Second, I show that when properly u…Read more
  •  231
    Non-propositional intentionality: an introduction
    In Alex Grzankowski & Michelle Montague (eds.), Non-Propositional Intentionality, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Book synopsis: Our mental lives are entwined with the world. There are worldly things that we have beliefs about and things in the world we desire to have happen. We find some things fearsome and others likable. The puzzle of intentionality — how it is that our minds make contact with the world — is one of the oldest and most vexed issues facing philosophers. Many contemporary philosophers and cognitive scientists have been attracted to the idea that our minds represent the world. This book expl…Read more
  •  184
    To Believe Is Not To Believe True: Reply to Sankey
    Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology (1): 137-138. 2019.
    A short reply to Sankey's 'To Believe is to Believe True'
  •  128
    ‘Can’ and the Consequence Argument
    Ratio 27 (2): 173-189. 2014.
    The consequence argument is a powerful incompatibilist argument for the conclusion that, if determinism is true, what one does is what one must do. A major point of controversy between classical compatibilists and incompatibilists has been over the use of ‘can’ in the consequence argument. Classical compatibilists, holding that abilities to act are dispositions, have argued that ‘can’ should be analyzed as a conditional. But such an analysis of ‘can’ puts compatibilists in a position to grant th…Read more
  •  121
    Content Pluralism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    How fine-grained are the contents of our beliefs and other cognitive attitudes? Are the contents of our beliefs individuated solely in terms of the objects, properties, and relations that figure in their truth conditions, or rather in terms of our concepts, or modes of presentation of those objects, properties, and relations? So-called Millians famously maintain the former whereas their Fregean rivals hold the latter. Though much ink was spilled on the question of grain, relatively little was ev…Read more
  •  101
    One of the most influential traditional objections to Adverbialism about perceptual experience is that posed by Frank Jackson’s ‘many property problem’. Perhaps largely because of this objection, few philosophers now defend Adverbialism. We argue, however, that the essence of the many property problem arises for all of the leading metaphysical theories of experience: all leading theories must simply take for granted certain facts about experience, and no theory looks well positioned to explain t…Read more
  •  75
    A Puzzle for Evaluation Theories of Desire
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    How we evaluate things and what we desire are closely connected. In typical cases, the things we desire are things that we evaluate as good or desirable. According to evaluation theories of desire, this connection is a very tight one: desires are evaluations of their objects as good or as desirable. There are two main varieties of this view. According to Doxastic Evaluativism, to desire that p is to believe or judge that p is good. According to Perceptual Evaluativism, to desire that p is to pe…Read more
  •  56
    Propositions as Objects of the Attitudes
    In Chris Tillman & Adam Murray (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions, Routledge. forthcoming.
    Propositions are the things we believe, intend, desire, and so on, but discussions are often less precise than they could be and an important driver of this deficiency has been a focus on the objects but a neglect of the attitudinal relations we bear to them. In what follows, we will offer some thoughts on what it means for a proposition to be the object of an attitude and we will argue that an important part of the story lies with the attitude relations rather than the propositions. As we will …Read more
  •  15
    Non-Propositional Intentionality (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    This book explores how our minds represent things in the world, asking whether these representations necessarily have the structure of propositions about the world. The hope is that this will lead towards a more complete understanding of the puzzle of intentionality -- how it is that our minds make contact with the world.