Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rules of Thought

Benjamin Jarvis and I have been working for some time now on a book manuscript on mental content, rationality, and the epistemology of philosophy. I posted a TOC of our first draft last summer. Since then, we've received some helpful comments from reviewers, and have revised extensively; we now have a full new draft, which we feel ready to share with the public. If you're interested, you can download the large (2.3 MB, 331 page) pdf here. Comments and suggestions are extremely welcome.

I'm including a table of contents of the new draft in this post, to better give an idea of what we're up to.


Part I: Propositions, Fregean Sense, and Rational Modality

Chapter One: Objective Rules of Thought

§1.1. Philosophical Anti-Exceptionalism

§1.2. Pure Rational Thinking

§1.3. Philosophical Traditionalism

§1.4. Experiential Rationalism

§1.5. The Intersubjective Validity and Objectivity of Rational Inquiry

Chapter Two: A Fregean Theory of Propositional Attitudes

§2.1. Propositions as Structures of Concepts

§2.2. Concepts

§2.3. “Use” and Representational Content

§2.4. The Language of Thought

§2.5. Conclusive Rational Relations

§2.6. Trouble From the Preface Paradox?

§2.7. Proof and Refutation

§2.8. Fregean Senses

§2.9. An Alternative Theory of Fregean Senses

§2.10. Distinguishing Senses of ‘Rational Commitment’

§2.11. Realizing Propositional Attitudes

§2.12. Rules and Rationality

§2.13. Conclusive Rationality and Defeasibility

Chapter Three: A Theory of Rational Modality

§3.1. Rational Entailment

§3.2. Rational Possibility and Other Family Notions

§3.3. Rational and Metaphysical Entailment

§3.4. Coherence and Rational Modality

§3.5. Rationally Possible Scenarios and Truth Conditions

§3.6. Rational Entailment and Revision

§3.7. R-Possibility, ‘Epistemic Possibility,’ and Neo-Russellianism

§3.8. The Rationality Version of Frege’s Puzzle

§3.9. R-Possibility and Frege’s Puzzle

§3.10. Kripke’s Puzzle about Belief and Frege’s Puzzle

§3.11. David Chalmers’s “Epistemic Possibilities”

§3.12. Against Two-Dimensionalism

Chapter Four: The Psychological Realization of Fregean Sense

§4.1. Ontology

§4.2. Quinean Revisability

§4.3. Harman on Bonjour

§4.4. “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

§4.5. The Psychological Reality of Rational Entailment

§4.6. Our Theory of Psychological Reality Contrasted: Peacocke

§4.7. Our Theory of Psychological Reality Contrasted: Davidson

§4.8. Our Theory of the Psychological Reality of Rational Entailment Recapitulated

§4.9. General Second-Order Inferential Competencies

§4.10. Theory-Building

§4.11. Indeterminate Rational Relations

§4.12. Kripke and Proper Names

§4.13. Indeterminate Singular Concepts

§4.14. Fregean Sense, Descriptivism, and Conceptual Role

§4.15. Non-intentional Rule-Following

Chapter Five: The Sociability of a Fregean Theory

§5.1. Social Anti-individualism

§5.2. Analyticity and Social Anti-Individualism

§5.3. The Publicity of Propositions and Concepts

§5.4. Social Fregeanism

§5.5. Deferential and Non-deferential Concept Possession

§5.6. Proper Names Again

§5.7. Timothy Williamson on Conceptual Truths

§5.8. Conceptual Refinement

§5.9. Socially Externalizing Rationality

§5.10. Propositional Attitude Ascriptions and Testimony

§5.11. A Na├»ve Neo-Russellian Theory of Propositional Attitude Ascriptions

Chapter Six: Fregean Sense First

§6.1. The Minimalist Explanation

§6.2. Inherent and Essential Rational Relations

§6.3. Reductive Strategies

§6.4. Reduction, Factorization, and Analysis

§6.5. Boghossian and Concept Possession

§6.6. Peacocke and Metasemantics

§6.7. Wright, Enoch & Schechter, and Pragmatism

§6.8. Field and Evaluativism

Part II: Rationality, Apriority, and Philosophy

Chapter Seven: A Theory of the A Priori

§7.1. Apriority and Propositional Justification

§7.2. An Alternative Approach: Albert Casullo

§7.3. A Priori Transitions in Thought

§7.4. Experience in a Warranting Role

§7.5. Experience and D-Justification

§7.6. Apriority and R-Necessity

§7.7. Apriority and Empirical Indefeasibility*

§7.8. Is Apriority Homogeneous?

§7.9. Is Our Theory of the A priori Vacuous?

§7.10. The Nature of Experience

Chapter Eight: A Priori Philosophy: Responses to Objections

§8.1. A Posteriori Knowledge of A Priori Faculties

§8.2. Limiting the Challenge: Non-Basic Methods?

§8.3. Knowledge and Knowledge of Knowledge

§8.4. A Priori Reliability of A Priori Methods

§8.5. Philosophy and Knowledge of Philosophical Abilities

§8.6. Thought Experiments and the Quotidian

§8.7. Perceptual Faculties in Imagination

§8.8. Peeking as Self-Experimentation?

§8.9. Misleading “A Priori” Feelings

Chapter Nine: The Content of Thought-Experiment Judgments

§9.1. Formalizing Thought-Experiment Arguments: Necessity?

§9.2. Timothy Williamson’s Counterfactual Formulation

§9.3. Against the Counterfactual Formulation

§9.4. Attempted Patches

§9.5. Thought-Experiments as Fictions

§9.6. Fictions Fixing Content

§9.7. Disanalogies between Thought-Experiments and Fictions?

§9.8. Reasoning and Thought-Experiments

§9.9. Other Argumentative Roles for Thought-Experiments

§9.10. Non-Argumentative Roles for Thought-Experiments

Chapter Ten: The Epistemology of Thought-Experiment Judgments

§10.1. Content and Inferential Competencies

§10.2. Reliability and Knowledge about Imaginary Scenarios

§10.3. Two Points

§10.4. Knowledge of Necessity

§10.5. Categorization and Apriority

§10.6. On Conceptual Analysis

Chapter Eleven: Rational Imagination and Modal Epistemology

§11.1. Imagination as Supposition

§11.2. Imagination and Possibility

§11.3. Coherent Imagination

§11.4. Rational Imagination

§11.5. Defeasible Inference in Imagination

§11.6. R-Modality and Metaphysical Modality

§11.7. The Coherent Impossible

§11.8. From Rational to Metaphysical Possibility

§11.9. Moral Theorems

§11.10. Mathematical Truths

§11.11. A Priori Knowledge of Rational Modality

§11.12. Overstipulation

Appendix A: The Misidentification Response

Appendix B: Natural Kinds

Part III: Intuitions and Philosophy

Chapter Twelve: The Nature of Intuitions

§12.1. Eliminativism

§12.2. Reductionism

§12.3. The Robust Picture of Intuitions

§12.4. Williamson on Phenomenology

§12.5. Earlenbaugh and Molyneux

§12.6. Reductionism Without Insignificance

Chapter Thirteen: Against Strong Experiential Rationalism

§13.1. Strong Experiential Rationalism

§13.2. Intuitions and Evidence

§13.3. Evidence Concerning the Psychological

§13.4. Blind Irrationality

§13.5. What You Can’t See, Can’t Rationally Constrain You?

§13.6. The Intersubjective Validity of Rational Norms

§13.7. The Objectivity of Rational Norms

§13.8. Reliabilist Strong Experiential Rationalism

§13.9. Against Phenomenal Conservatism

§13.10. Against General Foundationalism

§13.11. Against Subjective Foundationalism

§13.12. Intuitions and Evidence Revisited

§13.13. Intuitions and Purely Rational Inquiry

Chapter Fourteen: Intuition as a Source of Evidence?

§14.1. A Simple Argument

§14.2. Blind Irrationality Reconsidered

§14.3. Epistemology and Psychology

§14.4. Apriority and the New Evil Demon Problem

§14.5. Perceptual Justification and the Problem of the Speckled Hen

§14.6. Failure of Justified belief

§14.7. Intuiting and Perceiving Compared

§14.8. Intuiting and Perceiving Contrasted

§14.9. The Benacerraf-Field Challenge

Chapter Fifteen: Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Methodology

§15.1. Positive Experimental Philosophy

§15.2. Negative Experimental Philosophy

§15.3. The Use of Intuitions in Philosophy

§15.4. The Critique Generalized?

§15.5. Epistemology and Methodology

§15.6. Traditional Methodology and Experimental Philosophy

§15.7. Philosophy and the Quotidian



  1. Thanks for posting this. I wish I'd seen it earlier!

  2. [...] news over the last while, for anyone interested who hasn’t already heard elsewhere, are that The Rules of Thought, my book with Ben Jarvis, is now under contract with OUP, and I’ll be beginning an Assistant Professorship at UBC this [...]