Volume 2, Issue 2 out now!

Volume 2, Issue 2 December 2020

A Kantian Take on Mind Extension

Levi Haeck, Ghent University

Winner of Best Paper

Abstract. I assess Andy Clark and David Chalmers’ groundbreaking exposition of the extended mind thesis (EMT), as originally put forward in 1998, from the viewpoint of Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism. Both stances are committed to investigating how extension might be constitutive of the mind, yet they do so on completely different terms. In Section 1, I set out how Kant relativises the Cartesian distinction between mind and world by showing how the very internality of the mind is necessarily constituted in relation to extension, giving rise to the suggestion that the mind is an activity. In Section 2, I use this Kantian dynamic to assess Clark and Chalmers’ claim that at certain times and under certain conditions the mind is extended into the world. Although they compellingly show that the functions of the mind are sometimes taken over by the world, a close reading of their text reveals that this does not really challenge the Cartesian opposition between mind and extension. This allows for the conclusion that Kant’s eighteenth-century approach to EMT stands much further from Cartesianism – but also from computationalism – than its twentieth-century competitor, thus preluding an alternative and perhaps more radical pathway to conceptualising mind extension.

Levi Haeck has recently commenced a PhD at Ghent University, and specialises in Kant’s transcendental logic and how this discloses a subtle yet fundamental relation between logic and metaphysics.

The Nature of Pleasure in Plato’s Philebus

Ruby Hornsby, University of Leeds

Winner of Best Paper (Member of an Underrepresented Group in Philosophy)

Abstract. The central question in Philebus concerns whether the life of pleasure or the life or reason is most akin to the good human life. Naturally, engagement in such discussion requires an adequate analysis of the natures of pleasure, rationality, and the good. It is the purpose of this paper to outline and defend a (non-exhaustive) two-fold account of pleasure as presented in the dialogue. Specifically, the paper will argue for the claim that Plato advocates an account of pleasure as a process of change that occurs in sentient beings either when the harmonious natural condition is genuinely or apparently restored (impure pleasure), or when certain potentials are actualised by the rational human (pure pleasure).

Ruby Hornsby is pursuing her Master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Leeds, England. Her research interests predominantly lie in ancient philosophy, with recent work focused on Platonic conceptions of pleasure, friendship, and the extent to which they are welcome in the good human life.

Star Models and the Semantics of Infectiousness

Matthew W. G. McClure, University of Edinburgh

Abstract. The first degree entailment (FDE) family is a group of logics, a many-valued semantics for each system of which is obtained from classical logic by adding to the classical truth-values true and false any subset of {both, neither, indeterminate}, where indeterminate is an infectious value (any formula containing a subformula with the value indeterminate itself has the value indeterminate). In this paper, we see how to extend a version of star semantics for the logics whose many-valued semantics lack indeterminate to star semantics for logics whose many-valued semantics include indeterminate. The equivalence of the many-valued semantics and star semantics is established by way of a soundness and completeness proof. The upshot of the novel semantics in terms of the applied semantics of these logics, and specifically infectiousness, is explored, settling on the idea that infectiousness concerns ineffability.

Matthew W. G. McClure is in the second year of the undergraduate philosophy programme at the University of Edinburgh. Matthew isn’t sure exactly what their philosophical interests are, but logic is probably among them.