Stockholms universitet

Kathrin Glüer-PaginProfessor



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Illusory Looks

    2020. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin. Epistemology after Sextus Empiricus, 48-74


    One debate the Pyrrhonian skeptics had with the Epicureans concerned the relation between sense perceptions and beliefs. The debate centers on the Epicurean claim that all perceptions are true, a claim rejected by the Skeptics, who proceed on the assumption that there is no judgment component in perception, and it echoes widely through today’s philosophy of perception. In the past the author has defended a non-standard version of intentionalism, according to which (visual) experiences indeed are beliefs, but have contents—so-called looks-contents—that, if ever, very rarely are false. This chapter works out how this view can nevertheless account for non-veridical experience. It harnesses the rational role of experience to work out a precise way of characterizing non-veridical experience in terms of misleadingness.

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  • Defeating looks

    2018. Kathrin Glüer. Synthese 195 (7), 2985-3012


    In previous work, I have suggested a doxastic account of perceptual experience according to which experiences form a (peculiar) kind of belief: Beliefs with what I have called “phenomenal” or “looks-content”. I have argued that this account can not only accommodate the intuitive reason providing role of experience, but also its justificatory role. I have also argued that, in general, construing experience and perceptual beliefs, i.e. the beliefs most directly based on experience, as having different contents best accounts for the defeasibility of experiential reasons. In this paper, I shall have a closer look at the evidential or inferential relation between looks-propositions and the contents of perceptual beliefs and argue for a form of what I shall call “Pollockianism” about experiential reasons: such reasons are good unless defeated. Questions to be investigated include: Does the resulting picture of perceptual justification contain an externalist element? Is it compatible with Bayesianism? And how does it do with respect to problems that have been raised for other forms of Pollockianism such as dogmatism or phenomenal conservatism?

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  • Interpretation and the Interpreter

    2018. Kathrin Glüer. The Science of Meaning, 226-252


    According to Donald Davidson, “what a fully informed interpreter could learn about what a speaker means is all there is to learn; the same goes for what the speaker believes” (Davidson 1983, 148). This is a foundational claim about the nature of semantic properties: these are evidence-constituted properties. They are determined by the principle of charity on the basis of data about the behaviour of the speaker(s). But what exactly is the role of the interpreter in the Davidsonian account of meaning determination? Is she merely a dramatic device or an essential element of the metaphysical picture? In this paper, I investigate whether we can get help in answering these questions from David Lewis’s (1983) distinction between natural and unnatural properties.

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  • Rule-Following and Charity

    2017. Kathrin Glüer. Wittgenstein and Davidson on Thought, Language, and Action, 69-96


    The project of this chapter is to explore some relations between the rule-following considerations and radical interpretation. I spell out the sense in which the rule-following considerations are about meaning determination, and investigate whether the principle of meaning determination used in the early Davidson's account of meaning determination - the principle of charity - provides an answer to what I shall call "Wittgenstein's paradox". More precisely, I am interested in one aspect of the paradox: the "problem of objectivity". My question then is whether meaning, as determined by charity, is such that the correctness of the applications of meaningful expressions is an objective matter. After running us through the basics of the radical interpretation account of meaning determination I argue that the principle of charity does seem to fall prey to the problem of objectivity. After unsuccessfully trying to rescue objectivity by means of Lewisian natural properties, this is the verdict I in the end endorse.

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  • Talking about Looks

    2017. Kathrin Glüer. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (4), 781-807


    In natural language, looks-talk is used in a variety of ways. I investigate three uses of 'looks' that have traditionally been distinguished - epistemic, comparative, and phenomenal 'looks' - and endorse and develop considerations in support of the view that these amount to polysemy. Focusing on the phenomenal use of 'looks', I then investigate connections between its semantics, the content of visual experience, and the metaphysics of looks. I argue that phenomenal 'looks' is not a propositional attitude operator: We do not use it to ascribe propositional attitudes to subjects, but to directly ascribe looks to objects, where looks are relational properties. However, I go on to argue that, given the way we use phenomenal 'looks', these relational properties are ultimately best understood as phenomenal relational properties, i.e. in terms of relations involving experiences. Along the way, I endorse Byrne's argument against Jackson's claim that phenomenal 'looks F' only takes predicates for colour, shape, and distance, and raise the issue of compositionality for the resulting view according to which phenomenal 'looks F' is context-dependent in a way that allows it to take a vast range of predicates. I conclude by arguing that these considerations concerning the natural language use of 'looks', and in particular its phenomenal use, are water on the mills of phenomenal intentionalism, a position in the philosophy of perception according to which experiences are propositional attitudes with phenomenal looks-contents.

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  • Constancy in Variation

    2016. Kathrin Glüer. About Oneself, 56-85


    When you look at a circular plate at an angle, it looks circular. But there also is a certain sense in which its look can be described as oval. When you move, the plate’s look changes with your perspective on it—nevertheless, it continues to look circular. This chapter investigates whether these “constancy in variation” phenomena can be explained in terms of the representational content of visual experience, and whether constancy in variation provides special, phenomenological, reasons to construe experience as having centered contents. Concentrating on shape, it argues that due to warring phenomenological demands, all views construing constancy in variation as representation of both objective and perspectival properties or features have limited explanatory powers, and that centering does not provide any advantage. By contrast, adopting the non-standard intentionalism called phenomenal intentionalism, we get rather natural explanations of the phenomenology of constancy in variation.

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  • Intentionalism, defeasibility, and justification

    2016. Kathrin Glüer. Philosophical Studies 173 (4), 1007-1030


    According to intentionalism, perceptual experience is a mental state with representational content. When it comes to the epistemology of perception, it is only natural for the intentionalist to hold that the justificatory role of experience is at least in part a function of its content. In this paper, I argue that standard versions of intentionalism trying to hold on to this natural principle face what I call the “defeasibility problem”. This problem arises from the combination of standard intentionalism with further plausible principles governing the epistemology of perception: that experience provides defeasible justification for empirical belief, and that such justification is best construed as probabilification. After exploring some ways in which the standard intentionalist could deal with the defeasibility problem, I argue that the best option is to replace standard intentionalism by what I call “phenomenal intentionalism”. Where standard intentionalism construes experiences as of p as having the content p, phenomenal intentionalism construes (visual) experiences as of p as having “phenomenal” or “looks contents”: contents of the form Lp (it looks as if p).

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  • Meaning Normativism

    2015. Kathrin Glüer, Åsa Wikforss. Organon F 22, 63-73


    The paper examines a central argument in support of the thesis that meaning is essentially normative. The argument tries to derive meaning normativism from the fact that meaningful expressions necessarily have conditions of correct application: Since correctness is a normative notion, it is argued, statements of correctness conditions for an expression have direct normative consequences for the use of that expression. We have labeled this the 'simple argument', and have argued that it fails. In this paper we elaborate on our objections to the argument in response to Daniel Whiting's recent attempt to rescue it. We argue, first, that statements of correctness conditions simply allow us to categorize the applications of an expression into two basic kinds (for instance, the true and the false) without this having any normative implications; and, second, that the normativist has not provided any reasons to think that some further, normative notion of semantic correctness is essential to meaning.

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  • Still No Guidance

    2015. Kathrin Glüer, Åsa Wikforss. Theoria 81 (3), 272-279


    In a recent article in this journal, AsbjOrn Steglich-Petersen criticizes an argument we have called the no-guidance argument. He claims that our argument fails because it (1) presupposes a much too narrow understanding of what it takes for a norm to influence behaviour and (2) betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the point of the truth norm (Steglich-Petersen, 2013, p. 279). If these claims could be substantiated, the no-guidance argument would lose all interest. But Steglich-Petersen's attempt at substantiating them fails. The suggested sense in which the truth norm can guide behaviour turns out to be too wide to be recognizable as an intuitive notion of norm guidance. Moreover, it remains unclear how the truth norm could possibly provide an answer to the question whether it - rather than some other, possible norm for belief - is valid.

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  • Looks, Reasons, and Experiences

    2014. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin. Does Perception Have Content?, 76-102


    According to the phenomenal belief account of perceptual experience I have suggested elsewhere, experience is a kind of belief. These beliefs have contents of a special form or type: While their objects are ordinary material objects, the properties they ascribe to these objects are 'phenomenal' properties, properties such as looking red or looking round. In this paper, I shall further develop this account by defending it against two objections: a) the objection that ultimately, no plausible epistemology can be built upon experiences with phenomenal contents. And b) the objection that phenomenal ‘looks’ is a propositional attitude operator and therefore cannot be used in specifying the content of experience. First, however, I shall argue that the intuitive inferential integration of experience into our system of beliefs provides one of the strongest motivations for construing experiences as having propositional content in the first place. The phenomenal belief account provides one good way of accommodating this inferential integration. Defending it thus is one way of defending the claim that experience indeed has propositional content.

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  • Vulcan might have existed, and Neptune not

    2014. Peter Pagin, Kathrin Glüer. Empty Representation, 117-141


    Empty names such as ‘Vulcan’ or ‘Sherlock Holmes’ have intrigued philosophers of language at least since Frege. They are clearly problematic for Millian accounts of the semantics of proper names, but also for certain recent versions of descriptivism trying to accommodate Kripkean intuitions regarding proper names. In ‘Proper Names and Relational Modality’ (2006), we suggest an alternative to such semantics: introducing the technique of semantic evaluation switching, we develop a semantics allowing (non-empty) proper names to have descriptive contents while accommodating Kripkean modal intuitions. This chapter extends the switcher semantics to empty names.

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  • Against Belief Normativity

    2013. Kathrin Glüer, Åsa Wikforss. The Aim of Belief, 80-99


    Normativism about belief is a claim about the nature of belief: Belief is essentially norm- or rule-guided. This is standardly interpreted as requiring that belief formation be subject to genuine prescriptions. In this chapter, Glüer and Wikforss argue that belief normativism is very hard to square with some basic intuitions about rule guidance. Any account of rule-guidance needs to support the distinction between being guided by a rule and merely being in accord with it. But belief normativism cannot account for this difference in what the authors take to be the most natural, intuitive terms. If this is correct, any defense of normativism will have to involve a significant departure from intuition or a novel construal of the normativity involved. The challenge is to motivate any of these moves.

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  • Aiming at Truth

    2013. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin, Åsa Wikforss. Teorema 32 (3), 137-162


    We explore the possibility of characterizing belief wholly in terms of its first-order functional role, its input (evidence) and output (further beliefs and actions), by addressing some common challenges to the view. One challenge concerns the fact that not all belief is evidence-sensitive. In response to this, normativists and teleo-functionalists have concluded that something over and above functional role is needed, a norm or a telos. We argue that both allow for implausibly much divergence between belief and evidence. Others have suggested that belief should be saved as the evidence-sensitive attitude, by making it share its motivational role with an hitherto unrecognized state: alief. We argue that the appeal to alief faces a dilemma: Either explanation of intentional action by means of alief is a species of intentional explanation, in which case it becomes hard to distinguish alief from (irrational) belief, or alief is sufficiently different from belief, but then neither the explanation nor the explanandum (action) are recognizably intentional any longer. We conclude that the most promising way forward is an account of belief that makes use of the full functional role of belief, including its role in theoretical reasoning.

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  • Brief aus Schweden

    2013. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 61 (5/6), 823-826


    This short text is part of a series of letters from philosophers working abroad. I write about what brought me to Sweden and about what philosophy and academic life are like there, including some reflections on language politics as well as on the situation of women in philosophy and in academia more generally

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  • Martin on the Semantics of 'Looks'

    2013. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin. Thought 1 (4), 292-300


    A natural way of understanding (non-epistemic) looks talk in natural language is phenomenalist: to ascribe looks to objects is to say something about the way they strike us when we look at them. This explains why the truth values of looks-sentences intuitively vary with the circumstances with respect to which they are evaluated. But Mike Martin (2010) argues that there is no semantic reason to prefer a phenomenalist understanding of looks to “Parsimony”, the position according to which looks are basic visible properties. He suggests a semantics for looks-sentences that explains their intuitive truth values and is compatible with Parsimony. I argue that there is semantic reason to prefer a phenomenalist understanding of looks to a parsimonious one since there is a simpler semantics compatible with a phenomenalist understanding of looks, but not with Parsimony. This semantics provides a better explanation of the relevant truth value distribution

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  • Colors and the Content of Color Experience

    2012. Kathrin Glüer. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (36), 421-437


    In previous work, I have defended a non-standard version of intentionalism about perceptual experience. According to the doxastic account, visual experience is a peculiar kind of belief: belief with phenomenal or looks-content. In this paper, I investigate what happens if this account of experience is combined with another idea I find very plausible: That the colors are to be understood in terms of color experience. I argue that the resulting phenomenal account of color experience captures everything essential to what has been called the natural concept of color. And I show that circularity worries are not aggravated by adopting this account instead of more standard forms of intentionalism-rather, they can be dispelled along the same lines.

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  • Reply to Forbes

    2012. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin, Peter Pagin. Analysis 72 (2), 298-303


    In earlier work (Glüer, K. and P. Pagin. 2006. Proper names and relational modality. Linguistics & Philosophy 29: 507–35; Glüer, K. and P. Pagin. 2008. Relational modality. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17: 307–22), we developed a semantics for (metaphysical) modal operators that accommodates Kripkean intuitions about proper names in modal contexts even if names are not rigid designators. Graeme Forbes (2011. The problem of factives for sense theories. Analysis 71: 654–62.) criticizes our proposal. He argues that our semantics predicts readings for certain natural language sentences which these simply do not have. These sentences contain mixed contexts involving factive attitude verbs. We argue that the readings our semantics predicts do indeed exist, even if it might take a little work to bring them out. Moreover, denying their existence would have some rather unattractive consequences.

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  • The Truth Norm and Guidance

    2010. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin, Åsa Wikforss. Mind (Print) 119 (475), 757-761


    We have claimed that truth norms cannot provide genuine guidance for belief formation (Glüer and Wikforss 2009, pp. 43–4). Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen argues that our ‘no guidance argument’ fails because it conflates certain psychological states an agent must have in order to apply the truth norm with the condition under which the norm prescribes forming certain beliefs. We spell out the no guidance argument in more detail and show that there is no such conflation.

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  • In Defence of a Doxastic Account of Experience

    2009. Kathrin Glüer. Mind and language 24, 297-327


    Today, many philosophers think that perceptual experiences are conscious mental states with representational content and phenomenal character. Subscribers to this view often go on to construe experience more precisely as a propositional attitude sui generis ascribing sensible properties to ordinary material objects. I argue that experience is better construed as a kind of belief ascribing ‘phenomenal’ properties to such objects. A belief theory of this kind deals as well with the traditional arguments against doxastic accounts as the sui generis view. Moreover, in contrast to sui generis views, it can quite easily account for the rational or reason providing role of experience.

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  • Relational modality

    2008. Peter Pagin, Kathrin Glüer. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17, 307-322


    Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordi- nary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite descriptions. If we, like Kripke, account for this difference by means of the intensions of names and descriptions, we have to conclude that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, the difference in scope behavior between names and description can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their (standard) intension. The relational modality account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentences (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Given an alternative definition of consequence for relational modality, and a restriction to models with reflexive accessibility relations and non-empty world-bound domains, relational modality also turns out to be model theoretically equivalent with rigidity semantics with respect to logical consequence. Here we introduce the semantics, give the truth definition for relational modality models, and prove the equivalence results.

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  • Analyticity, Modality and General Terms

    2007. Peter Pagin, Kathrin Glüer-Pagin. Hommage à Wlodek


    ABSTRACT: In his recent paper ‘Analyticity: An Unfinished Business in

    Possible-World Semantics’ (Rabinowicz 2006), Wlodek Rabinowicz takes on the task of providing a satisfactory definition of analyticity in the framework of possible-worlds semantics. As usual, what Wlodek proposes is technically well-motivated and very elegant. Moreover, his proposal does deliver an interesting analytic/synthetic distinction when applied to sentences with natural kind terms. However, the longer we thought and talked about it, the more questions we had, questions of both philosophical and technical nature. Hence the idea of this little paper – for how better to honor a philosopher than by trying very hard to criticize him? After quickly running over some background in possible worlds semantics and setting out Wlodek's proposal against that background, we shall bring up and discuss our questions in sections 3 – 5. In the final section, we shall also make a stab at a different solution to the problem, making use of our own earlier idea of relational modality.

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  • Colors without circles?

    2007. Kathrin Glüer. Erkenntnis 66 (1-2), 107-131


    Realists about color, be they dispositionalists or physicalists, agree on the truth of the following claim: (R) x is red iff x is disposed to look red under standard conditions. The disagreement is only about whether to identify the colors with the relevant dispositions, or with their categorical bases. This is a question about the representational content of color experience: What kind of properties do color experiences ascribe to objects? It has been argued (for instance by Boghossian and Velleman, 1991) that truths like (R) cannot be used in an account of the colors as they would result in ‚circular’, and therefore empty, contents. It has also been argued (for instance by Harman, 1996) that switching to an account of color in terms of a functional account of color sensations would result in a circular, and therefore empty, account. In this paper, I defend a realist account of color in terms of a (non-reductive) functional account of color sensations. Such an account of sensations has been suggested by Pagin (2000), and it can be applied to color sensations without the resulting account of the colors themselves being circular or empty. I argue that the so-called transparency of experience does not provide any argument against such an account. I also argue that on such an account, the issue of physicalism vs. dispositionalism boils down to the question of the modal profile of the color concepts.

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  • Proper Names and Relational Modality

    2006. Kathrin Glüer, Peter Pagin. Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (5), 507-535


    Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs, (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite descriptions. If one, like Kripke, accounts for this difference by means of the intensions of the names and the descriptions, the conclusion is that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, this difference can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their descriptive content. That account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentence (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Here we present the relational modality account and compare it with others, in particular Kripke’s own

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  • The Status of Charity I

    2006. Kathrin Glüer. International journal of philosophical studies (Print) 14 (3), 337-359


    According to Donald Davidson, linguistic meaning is determined by the principle of charity. Because of Davidson's semantic behaviourism, charity's significance is both epistemic and metaphysical: charity not only provides the radical interpreter with a method for constructing a semantic theory on the basis of his data, but it does so because it is the principle metaphysically determining meaning. In this paper, I assume that charity does determine meaning. On this assumption, I investigate both its epistemic and metaphysical status: is charity a priori or a posteriori? And what kind of necessity does it have? According to Davidson himself, charity is an a priori truth and its necessity is conceptual: it is essential to, or constitutive of, our common concepts of meaning and belief. Not only does this generate tension within Davidson's own, Quine-inspired epistemology, but there is independent reason to think of charity as an empirical truth. Even so, charity might be essential to belief and meaning in the sense of being an a posteriori necessity. I conclude that our ordinary modal intuitions might well support charity's psychological-nomological necessity, but that they do not reach all the way to metaphysical necessity.

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