•  723
    Are we perhaps in the "matrix", or anyway, victims of perfect and permanent computer simulation? No. The most convincing—and shortest—version of Putnam's argument against the possibility of our eternal envattment is due to Crispin Wright (1994). It avoids most of the misunderstandings that have been elicited by Putnam's original presentation of the argument in "Reason, Truth and History" (1981). But it is still open to the charge of question-begging. True enough, the premisses of the argument (d…Read more
  •  602
    Pacifists and their opponents disagree not only about moral questions, but rather often about factual questions as well—as seen when looking at the controversy surrounding the crisis in Kosovo. According to my reconstruction of pacifism, this is not surprising since the pacifist,legitimately, looks at the facts in the light of her system of value. Her opponent, in turn, looks at the facts in the light of an alternative value system, and the quarrel between the two parties about supposedly descri…Read more
  •  408
    When it became uncool to speak of beauty with respect to pieces of art, physicists started claiming that their results are beautiful. They say, for example, that a theory's beauty speaks in favour of its truth, and that they strive to perform beautiful experiments. What does that mean? The notion cannot be defined. (It cannot be defined in the arts either). Therefore, I elucidate it with examples of optical experimentation. Desaguliers' white synthesis, for example, is more beautiful than Newton…Read more
  •  370
    Crispin Wright hat die bislang beste Rekonstruktion von Putnams Beweis gegen die skeptische Hypothese vom Gehirn im Tank vorgelegt. Aber selbst in Wrights Fassung hat der Beweis einen Mangel: Er wird mithilfe eines Prädikates wie z.B. "Tiger" geführt und funktioniert nur, wenn man sich darauf verlassen kann, dass es Tiger wirklich gibt. Aber die Skeptikerin bestreitet, über die Existenz von Tigern bescheid zu wissen. Das Problem lässt sich dadurch beheben, dass man den Beweis – statt mit dem ext…Read more
  •  329
    Quine claims that holism (i.e., the Quine-Duhem thesis) prevents us from defining synonymy and analyticity (section 2). In Word and Object, he dismisses a notion of synonymy which works well even if holism is true. The notion goes back to a proposal from Grice and Strawson and runs thus: R and S are synonymous iff for all sentences T we have that the logical conjunction of R and T is stimulus-synonymous to that of S and T. Whereas Grice and Strawson did not attempt to defend this definition, I t…Read more
  •  300
    Can we conceive of a mind without body? Does, for example, the idea of the soul's immortality make sense? Certain versions of materialism deny such questions; I shall try to prove that these versions of materialism cannot be right. They fail because they cannot account for the mental vocabulary from the language of brains in the vat. Envatted expressions such as "I think", "I believe", etc., do not have to be reinterpreted when we translate them to our language; they are semantically stable. By …Read more
  •  278
    In its reaction on the terroristic attacks of September 9th, 2001, the US-government threatened Afghanistan's Taleban with war in order to force them to extradite terrorist leader Bin Laden; the Taleban said that they would not surrender to this kind of blackmail – and so, they were removed from Kabul by means of military force. The rivalling versions of this story depend crucially on notions such as "terrorism" and "blackmail". Obviously you'll gain public support for your preferrend version of…Read more
  •  248
    Autodetermination in Microeconomics
    Analyse & Kritik 26 (2): 319-345. 2004.
    My philosophical case study concerns textbook presentations of the theory of demand. Does this theory contain anything more than just a collection of tautologies? In order to determine its empirical content, it must be viewed holistically. But then, the theory implies false factual claims. We can avoid this result by embracing the theory's normative character. The resulting consequences will be illuminated with the new autodetermination thesis recently proposed in the philosophy of physics by Ol…Read more
  •  181
    Zitierte Zeichenreihen
    Erkenntnis 44 (3). 1996.
    We use quotation marks when we wish to refer to an expression. We can and do so refer even when this expression is composed of characters that do not occur in our alphabet. That's why Tarski, Quine, and Geach's theories of quotation don't work. The proposals of Davidson, Frege, and C. Washington, however, do not provide a plausible account of quotation either. (Section I). The problem is to construct a Tarskian theory of truth for an object language that contains quotation marks, without appeali…Read more
  •  167
    From within and from without. Two perspectives on analytic sentences
    In Wolfram Hinzen & Hans Rott (eds.), Belief and meaning: Essays at the interface, Deutsche Bibliothek Der Wissenschaften. 2002.
    The analytic/synthetic distinction can be conceived from two points of view: from within or from without; from the perspective of one's own language or from the perspective of the language of others. From without, the central question is which sentences of a foreign language are to be classified as analytic. From within, by contrast, the question concerning the synthetic and the analytic acquires a normative dimension: which sentences am I not permitted to reject—if I want to avoid talking nonse…Read more
  •  139
    Can They Say What They Want? A Transcendental Argument against Utilitarianism
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (2): 241-259. 2003.
    Let us imagine an ideal ethical agent, i.e., an agent who (i) holds a certain ethical theory, (ii) has all factual knowledge needed for determining which action among those open to her is right and which is wrong, according to her theory, and who (iii) is ideally motivated to really do whatever her ethical theory demands her to do. If we grant that the notions of omniscience and ideal motivation both make sense, we may ask: Could there possibly be an ideal utilitarian, that is, an ideal ethical …Read more
  •  40
    Prismatic Equivalence – A New Case of Underdetermination: Goethe vs. Newton on the Prism Experiments
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (2): 323-347. 2016.
    Goethe's objections to Newton's theory of light and colours are better than often acknowledged. You can accept the most important elements of these objections without disagreeing with Newton about light and colours. As I will argue, Goethe exposed a crucial weakness of Newton's methodological self-assessment. Newton believed that with the help of his prism experiments, he could prove that sunlight was composed of variously coloured rays of light. Goethe showed that this step from observation to …Read more
  •  29
    Echte ontologische alternativen
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 67 (1): 59-99. 2004.
    Quine's early arguments in favor of "Ontological Relativity" depend on wild but interesting alternatives to standard ontology,most apparent when viewing his unusual idea of undetached object parts. In Quine's later philosophy, by contrast, he invokes trivial proxy functions and simple permutations to standard ontology, and in so doing paves the way for his claim of "Inscrutability of Reference". Nevertheless, Quine's more recent alternatives to standard ontology have thus far remained uninterest…Read more
  •  23
    Repliken – Radikale Übersetzung der Moralsprache
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 64 (4): 597-600. 2010.
  •  22
    Moralische Beobachtung und andere Arten ethischer Erkenntnis – Précis
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 64 (4): 579-583. 2010.
  •  21
    Misstrauen oder Hoffnung? Protestnote gegen eine pessimistische Regel von Ernst Tugendhat
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 63 (1): 5-32. 2009.
    In seiner Aufsatzsammlung Anthropologie statt Metaphysik behandelt Ernst Tugendhat große metaphysische Fragen mit nüchternem Blick auf uns Menschen. Tugendhat plädiert dort an mehreren Stellen für ein erkenntnistheoretisches Prinzip, nach dem wir uns z.B. dann zu richten haben, wenn wir uns fragen, ob wir an Gott glauben sollen. Das Prinzip lautet: Wenn die rationalen Gründe zugunsten einer Überzeugung genauso stark sind wie die rationalen Gegengründe, und wenn wir – unabhängig von Vernunft – da…Read more
  •  14
    Benjamin Libet's celebrated experiments concerning freedom elicited numerous attempts of _philosophical_ repudiation. Ten years ago, however, Judy Trevena and Jeff Miller published a _technical_ objection; they claim to have detected a,,smearing artifact" in Libet's calculations. This rests on a misunderstanding of Libet's methodology. In my reconstruction of Libet's argument, he draws an abductive inference to the best explanation. Now, Trevena's and Miller's objection does indeed lead to alter…Read more
  •  13
    Newton in Gronland. Das umgestulpte experimentum crucis in der Streulichtkammer
    with Matthias Rang
    Philosophia Naturalis 46 (1): 61-114. 2009.
  •  8
    Mikro-Zertifikate: Für Gerechtigkeit unter Luftverschmutzern
    Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 95 (2): 167-198. 2009.
    What would be a fair solution to the problem of climate change? How should we distribute duties and financial burdens of the necessary CO2 reductions if this is to be done in an equitable manner? My answer to these ethical questions is based on a principle formulated by Angela Merkel: Every human has the right to cause as much in terms of CO2 emissions as any other. Unlike the German chancellor who wants to implement this principle only in the long term, I argue that there should already be equa…Read more
  •  8
    Innen und außen: zwei Perspektiven auf analytische Sätze
    Philosophia Naturalis 45 (1): 5-35. 2008.
  •  7
    Unbemerkte Religiosität
    In Anna Wehofsits, David Löwenstein, Dirk Koppelberg & Gregor Betz (eds.), Weiter Denken - Über Philosophie, Wissenschaft Und Religion, De Gruyter. pp. 277-304. 2015.
  •  5
    Fühlen oder Hinsehen? Ein Plädoyer für moralische Beobachtungssätze
    In Verena Mayer & Sabine A. Döring (eds.), Die Moralität der Gefühle, De Gruyter. pp. 175-196. 2002.
  •  1
  • Hegels Logik
    with Klaus Hartmann and Klaus Brinkmann
    Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 62 (4): 764-765. 2000.
  • Where is the essence of Mill's argument in favour of utilitarianism? In the psychological part of the argument, Mill establishes an aggregated description of our hedonistic values. And in the normative part of the argument he moves from there to an aggregated evaluation. Mill's move is an inference from description to evaluation; it depends on two hidden assumptions: The first one says that there are values; and the second one says that what these values are is not entirely independent of what a…Read more