•  982
    Online collection of papers by Devitt, Dretske, Guarino, Hochberg, Jackson, Petitot, Searle, Tye, Varzi and other leading thinkers on philosophy and the foundations of cognitive Science. Topics dealt with include: Wittgenstein and Cognitive Science, Content and Object, Logic and Foundations, Language and Linguistics, and Ontology and Mereology.
  •  399
    Event Concepts
    In Thomas F. Shipley & Jeffrey M. Zacks (eds.), Understanding Events: From Perception to Action, Oxford University Press. 2008.
    This chapter analyzes the concept of an event and of event representation as an umbrella notion. It provides an overview of different ways events have been dealt with in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. This variety of positions has been construed in part as the result of different descriptive and explanatory projects. It is argued that various types of notions — common-sense, theoretically revised, scientific, and internalist psychological — be kept apart.
  •  395
    Qualia domesticated
    In Amita Chatterjee (ed.), Perspectives on Consciousness, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. 2002.
    Consider the following argument If panpsychism is true, then the hard problem of consciousness is solved Physicalism is true Physicalism entails panpsychism. We conclude that The hard problem of consciousness is solved. This is a valid argument, and one whose conclusion has a certain appeal. What about the premisses? How exactly is panpsychism a solution to the problem of phenomenal consciousness? Who can take panpsychism seriously, and how can panpsychism be entailed by physicalism? A little fo…Read more
  •  385
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020.
    A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
  •  383
    False beliefs and naive beliefs: They can be good for you
    with Marco Bertamini
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6): 512-513. 2009.
    Naive physics beliefs can be systematically mistaken. They provide a useful test-bed because they are common, and also because their existence must rely on some adaptive advantage, within a given context. In the second part of the commentary we also ask questions about when a whole family of misbeliefs should be considered together as a single phenomenon
  •  358
    This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final p…Read more
  •  308
    Topological Essentialism
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Philosophical Studies 100 (3): 217-236. 2000.
    Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of s…Read more
  •  304
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2019.
    A brief introduction to the main philosophical problems and theories about the nature of holes and such-like nothingnesses.
  •  294
    The Structure of Spatial Localization
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Philosophical Studies 82 (2). 1996.
    What are the relationships between an entity and the space at which it is located? And between a region of space and the events that take place there? What is the metaphysical structure of localization? What its modal status? This paper addresses some of these questions in an attempt to work out at least the main coordinates of the logical structure of localization. Our task is mostly taxonomic. But we also highlight some of the underlying structural features and we single out the interactions b…Read more
  •  286
    Spatial Entities
    with Achille C. Varzi
    In Oliviero Stock (ed.), Spatial and Temporal Reasoning, Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1997.
    Ordinary reasoning about space—we argue—is first and foremost reasoning about things or events located in space. Accordingly, any theory concerned with the construction of a general model of our spatial competence must be grounded on a general account of the sort of entities that may enter into the scope of the theory. Moreover, on the methodological side the emphasis on spatial entities (as opposed to purely geometrical items such as points or regions) calls for a reexamination of the conceptua…Read more
  •  267
    Foreword to ''Lesser Kinds''
    with Achille C. Varzi
    The Monist 90 (3): 331-332. 2007.
    This issue of The Monist is devoted to the metaphysics of lesser kinds, which is to say those kinds of entity that are not generally recognized as occupying a prominent position in the categorial structure of the world. Why bother? We offer two sorts of reason. The first is methodological. In mathematics, it is common practice to study certain functions (for instance) by considering limit cases: What if x = 0? What if x is larger than any assigned value? Physics, too, often studies the (idealize…Read more
  •  257
    A philosophical dialogue on the functioning, the limits, and the paradoxes of our electoral practices, dealing with such basic questions as: What is a vote? How do we count votes? And do votes really count?
  •  252
    Naive physics
    Philosophical Psychology 7 (2). 1994.
    The project of a 'naive physics' has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as K hler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit…Read more
  •  245
    Counting the Holes
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1): 23. 2004.
    Argle claimed that holes supervene on their material hosts, and that every truth about holes boils down to a truth about perforated things. This may well be right, assuming holes are perforations. But we still need an explicit theory of holes to do justice to the ordinary way of counting holes--or so says Cargle.
  •  211
    Holes and Other Superficialities
    with Achille C. Varzi
    MIT Press. 1994.
    Holes are a good example of the sort of entity that down-to-earth philosophers would be inclined to expel from their ontological inventory. In this work we argue instead in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this liberality—odd as they might appear. We examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity and their causal role, the ways we perceive them. We distinguish three basic kinds of holes: blind hollows, perforating tunnels, and in…Read more
  •  207
    La physique naïve: un essai d'ontologie
    Intellectica 17 (2): 173--197. 1993.
    The project of a naive physics has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field, in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as Kohler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit f…Read more
  •  196
    I trabocchetti della rappresentazione spaziale
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Sistemi Intelligent 11 (1). 1999.
    This is a position article summarizing our approach to the philosophy of space and spatial representation. Our concern is mostly methodological: above all, we argue that a number of philosophical puzzles that arise in this field—puzzles concerning the nature of spatial entities, their material and mereological constitution, their relationship with the space that they occupy—stem from a confusion between semantic issues and true metaphysical concerns.
  •  187
    True and False: An Exchange
    with Achille C. Varzi
    In André Chapuis & Anil Gupta (eds.), Circularity, Definition, and Truth, Indian Council of Philosophical Research. pp. 365-370. 2000.
    Classically, truth and falsehood are opposite, and so are logical truth and logical falsehood. In this paper we imagine a situation in which the opposition is so pervasive in the language we use as to threaten the very possibility of telling truth from falsehood. The example exploits a suggestion of Ramsey’s to the effect that negation can be expressed simply by writing the negated sentence upside down. The difference between ‘p’ and ‘~~p’ disappears, the principle of double negation becomes tri…Read more
  •  160
    Esercizi di attenzione
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Riga 24. 2005.
    A brief study of Saul Steinberg’s works on shadows and reflections, and of the seemingly paradoxical world that emerges from such works.
  •  141
    Perché i buchi sono importanti. Problemi di rappresentazione spaziale
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Sapere 63 (2). 1997.
    The methodological anarchy that characterizes much recent research in artificial intelligence and other cognitive sciences has brought into existence (sometimes resumed) a large variety of entities from a correspondingly large variety of (sometimes dubious) ontological categories. Recent work in spatial representation and reasoning is particularly indicative of this trend. Our aim in this paper is to suggest some ways of reconciling such a luxurious proliferation of entities with the sheer sobri…Read more
  •  126
    That useless time machine
    with Robert Casati and Achille C. Varzi
    Philosophy 76 (4): 581-583. 2001.
    Dear ‘Time Machine’ Research Group; if in order to travel to the past one has to have been there already, and if one can only do what has already been done, then why build a time machine in the first place? À quoi bon l'effort?
  •  119
    All the Things You Are
    with Achille C. Varzi
    In Gabriele Usberti (ed.), Modi dell’oggettività, Bompiani. 2000.
    An imaginary dialogue between Andrea Bonomi and Gonzalo Pirobutirro (the main character of Gadda’s novel La cognizione del dolore) aiming to challenge Bonomi’s tenet that a work of fiction defines a domain of objects which is closed with respect to the actual world.
  •  116
    Representational advantages
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3). 2003.
    Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naïve ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that…Read more
  •  114
    Sfondo e figura
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Rivista di Estetica 43 (24): 38-40. 2003.
    A dialogue between a figure and its background, illustrating that the perceptual conditions that determine which is which are not as clear as standard Gestalt theory dictates.
  •  113
    Cognitive aspects of gerrymandering
    Topoi 20 (2): 203-212. 2001.
    Some philosochical and cognitive aspects of political gerrymandering are investigated. The basic assumption of gerrymandering practices is that regions be connected. This assumption is questioned, as it seems to result for a cognitive bias for connectedness (a preference for unitary objects).
  •  112
    The relationships between art and cognition constitute a very wide set of largely unexplored and at times undefined or much too speculative problems. The field is narrowed down by imposing some constraints. It is proposed that the depiction of cast shadows, in its early history, could provide an ideal case study which conforms to the constraints. This paper addresses some methodological problems of the study of this case. A sample of relevant Renaissance images is discussed. A typology of depict…Read more
  •  111
    Brains in a Vat, Language and Metalanguage
    with Jérôme Dokic
    Analysis 51 (2). 1991.
  •  100
    Un altro mondo?
    Rivista di Estetica 19 (1): 131-159. 2002.
    Alexandre Koyré wrote that Newton and the science that followed led to a splitting of the world: on the one hand is the “world of qualities and of sensible perceptions”, on the other is the “world of quantities and of reified geometry”. A comparison between facts held true by common sense and false by the scientific image of the world (or vice versa) seems to confirm this view. But is the dichotomy a real one? Is the world of common sense really “another world” relative to the world of the natur…Read more
  •  92
    Surfaces, holes, shadows
    In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, Routledge. pp. 382--388. 2009.
    Minor entities provide an interesting testbed for metaphysical theories, but also for investigating the structure of concepts, as their concepts appear to be tributary of different representational systems.
  •  90
    Is the object concept formal?
    Dialectica 58 (3). 2004.
    This review article explores several senses in which it can be held that the (actual, psychological) concept of an object is a formal concept, as opposed, here, to being a sortal concept. Some recent positions both from the philosophical and psychological literature are analyzed: Object-sortalism (Xu), quasi-sortalist reductive strategies (Bloom), qualified sortalism (Wiggins), demonstrative theories (Fodor), and anti-sortalism (Ayers)