ד"ר אליק פלמן
PhD. University of London (UCL). 2002-2007. Philosophy
Thesis: ‘Reference and Modality: A Theory of Intensions’
Supervisors: Paul Snowdon (chair), Tim Crane
Examiners: Genoveva Marti, Christopher Hughes
MA (Research). Hebrew University, 1998-2001. Philosophy and History of Science
Thesis: ‘Holism and other Relations: An Analysis of Part-Whole Relations’
Supervisor: Yemima Ben-Menahem. Examiner: Michael Roubach
Thesis awarded ‘Best Thesis in the Department for 2001’
BA. Hebrew University, 1993-1996. Joint degree: Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Program
Dean's List of Distinguished BA Students
Temporary lectureship, Bar Ilan University, Department of Philosophy, 2010-Present
Author, Open University, Department of Philosophy, 2014–present
ISF research, The Internal Structure of Imaginary Projects, research project led by Dr. Alon Chasid, 2016-present
ISF researcher, Freedom of Choice, research project led by Prof. David Widerker, 2013-2015
The Van Leer Research Group in Epistemology, 2010-2012
Formal Methods in Philosophy, invited by The Nordic Academy for Advanced Study, Lund University, Sweden, 2005
Honors and Awards
Overseas Research Scheme, UK (ORS), 2002-2006
A. J. Ayer Scholarship in Philosophy, UCL, 2002-2006
Goodenough College Carden Bursary 2004-2006
AVI Fellowships, 2002-2005
The Bar-Hillel Prize ‘for an outstanding graduate student in the history and philosophy of science’, The Hebrew University, 2002
The Faculty of Humanities Full Studentship ‘for a distinguished MA (research) student’, Hebrew University, 2000-2002.
Fellow, Environmental Fellows Program, The Heschel Sustainability Center, 2008-9
Organic Farmer, Carob-Tree Organic Farm, 2007-2010. Set up and ran a commercial model of an ethical ecological farm: grew varied organic crops, distributed directly to subscribers in the local vicinity.
'Possible World Semantics and the Complex Mechanism of Reference Fixing', Acta Analytica (Forthcoming, 2016)
Abstract Possible world semantics considers not only what an expression actually refers to, but also what it might have referred to in counterfactual circumstances. This has proven exceptionally useful both inside and outside philosophy. The way this is achieved is by using intensions. An intension of an expression is a function that assigns to each possible world the reference of the expression in that world. However, the specific intension of terms has been subject to frequent disputes. How is one to determine the intension of a term? Carnap has shown how the intension of a term depends on the type of that term. Two-dimensional semantics has shown how intensions also depend on the actual state of affairs. I will show how, in addition, intensions are no less dependent on metaphysical criteria of identity. Furthermore, I will reveal how these three factors interact to fix the exact intension of a term. In other words, I propose an outline of the overall mechanism by which intensions are being fixed.
Abstract: Two current leading positions about the relation between the mental and the physical are analytical functionalism, which identifies mental states with physical states, and Kripke's position, which seriously challenges such identification. The dispute between Kripke's view and Lewis's analytical functionalism boils down to whether the term ‘pain’ is rigid or nonrigid. It is a strong intuition of ours that if it feels like pain it is pain, and vice versa, so that ‘pain’ should designate, with respect to every possible world, all and only states felt as pain. I show that, despite crucial differences in both their semantic and metaphysical assumptions, surprisingly, both views meet this intuition equally well. Thus it appears that, at least with respect to this particular dispute, the jury is still out on whether mental states are identical to physical states.
Abstract: It has become widely accepted that theoretical identities like 'water = H2O' or 'heat = mean kinetic molecular energy' are necessary. However, some have challenged this claim. I propose yet another challenge in the form of a sceptical argument, i.e., that for all we know, theoretical identities may not be necessary. The argument is based on the contention that the necessity of theoretical identities is dependent upon criteria of identity. Since we do not know which criteria of identity in fact obtain, it follows that, for all we know, theoretical identities may not be necessary.
Chapters in Books
Abstract: I argue that intensions (in the sense of reference across possible worlds) are sensitive to all of the following: semantic issues, metaphysical issues, and the state of the actual world. I outline a ‘calculator of intensions’, that when provided with the appropriate data with respect to a given term, generates the term’s intension. I conclude with implications concerning rigidity.
The Philosophy of Science, Open University Press, Textbook (Heb) (commissioned, in preparation)
Abstract: I put forward a theory of reference across possible worlds. I locate the factors that determine reference, and provide a model of how they interact to fix reference. The applicability of the thesis is demonstrated by utilising it to analyse and explain away two important debates in contemporary analytical philosophy: the debate over the identity theory of mind, and the debate over the semantic significance of Donnellan’s referential / attributive distinction.
Paper Under Review
Abstract: I argue that meaning is dependent on metaphysical criteria of identity. In its negative part, the paper shows that present versions of possible-world semantics (including two-dimensional semantics) fail to account for some intuitive differences in meanings; and that this is so precisely because they fail to take into account the role played by criteria of identity in determining meaning. In its positive part, the paper offers an alternative version of possible-world semantics that solves this problem. In particular, the proposed view takes the semantic value of an expression to be a function from criteria of identity to two-dimensional intensions. I thus call this view, ‘three-dimensional semantics.’ This fine-grained version of possible-world semantics provides a richer account of meaning, and has an accordingly greater explanatory power, than its more coarse-grained alternatives.
Papers in Preparation
'An Account of Visual Resemblance' (together with Alon Chasid)
We propose an account of visual resemblance, cases of which include, e.g., the fact that Jones visually resembles his father, that Aunt Ruth looks like a walrus, or that a dune looks like parts of the human body. According to our account, the fact that A visually resembles B is not an objective, subject-independent, relation, but rather it is experience-dependent. In particular, we shall argue that the fact that A visually resembles B is based on the fact that a competent observer, under normal viewing conditions, can experience B while being aware that she is looking at A. For example, when Smith, a competent observer, is looking at Jones under normal conditions, he may visually experience Jones’s father, while being aware of the fact that he is looking at Jones and not at his father. In such a case, we contend, Smith may correctly judge, on the basis of his (non-veridical) experience of Jones’s father, that Jones visually resembles Jones’s father.
Referee for: American Philosophical Quarterly (APQ); Journal of Philosophical Research (JPR); Iyyun.
'Ontology Generator'; Presented in:
- Tel Hai College, Departmental Seminar, 2016
- Bar-Ilan University, Departmental Colloquim, 2016
'What can the Logic of Scientific Inquiry Offer to Attorneys?'; presented in:
- Litigation in Parliament and Ministerial Committees, Ministry of Justice,
Institute of Legal Training of Attorneys and Legal Advisers, 2016.
‘Theoretical Identities May Not Be Necessary’; presented in:
- Ben Gurion University Departmental Colloquium, 2014
- Bar Ilan University Departmental Colloquium, 2014
‘Population Growth and Ecological Footprint’; presented in:
- The Annual Conference for Science and Environment, Bar Ilan University, 2014
‘Semantics of ‘Pain’; Metaphysics of Pain’; presented in:
- Another World is Possible: An International Conference on David Lewis, Urbino, Italy, 2011
‘Three-Dimensional Semantics’; presented in:
- The Van Leer Research Group on Epistemology, Jerusalem, 2011 (invited speaker)
- The Logic and Metaphysics Research Group, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2011 (invited speaker)
- The Bar Ilan Philosophy Colloquium, 2011
‘A Blueprint for a Calculator of Intensions’; presented in:
- International Conference on Formal Ontology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore USA, 2006
- European Society for Analytical Philosophy, Lisbon, 2006
- Philosophy Colloquium, Hebrew University, 2007
‘The Varieties of Identity’; presented in:
- Identity: Ontological Perspectives, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, May 2005
- University of Utah, USA, February 2005
עיקריים: פילוסופיה של השפה, מטאפיזיקה, פילוסופיה של המדע
משניים: פילוסופיה של הנפש, לוגיקה, אתיקה סביבתית.
פילוסופיה של השפה
קריפקה, שמות והכרח
פילוסופיה של המדע
היסטוריה של המדע
מבוא למטאפיזיקה ואפיסטמולוגיה
בין המנטלי לפיזיקלי: רדוקציה ונסמכות
מדינה, משק ומוסר
מרצה מצטיין בפקולטה למדעי הרוח (האוניברסיטה העברית), 2002
מרצה מצטיין בפקולטה למדעי החברה (האוניברסיטה העברית) 2002