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Philo

Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2007

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Displaying: 1-9 of 9 documents


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1. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Gianluca Di Muzio, Epicurus’ Emergent Atomism
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The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus regarded his atomism as a cure for the fear of natural phenomena. An atomistic philosophy, however, can easily lead to determinism and epiphenomenalism, which threaten human happiness even more than the fear of nature. The present paper attempts to reconstruct Epicurus’ strategy for dealing with the unwanted consequences of his atomism. The author argues that Epicurus employed a form of emergentism about properties to show that freedom exists and mental states are not causally inert epiphenomena.
2. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Kenneth G. Ferguson, Biological Function and Normativity
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Ruth Millikan and others adopt a normative definition of biological functions that is heavily used in areas such as Millikan’s teleosemantics, and also for emerging efforts to naturalize other areas of philosophy. I propose an experiment called the Lapse Test to determine exactly what form of normativity, if any, truly applies to biological functions. Millikan has not gone far enough in playing down as “impersonal” or “quasi” the precise mode of normativity that she attributes to biological functions. Further, her mode fails to qualify as genuine normativity at all, lacking an essential feature: some lapse of responsibility on the part of any entity or system that is charged with failing to do as it is “supposed.” Nor, as we will see, is there anything in English idioms used to describe biological functions that can provide a persuasive argument to rehabilitate Millikan’s normative definition.
3. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michael Almeida, Martin on Miracles
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Michael Martin introduces a non-Humean conception of miracles according to which miracles are events that need not violate a law of nature and are brought about by the exercise of a possibly non-theistic, supernatural power. Call those m-miracles. I consider Martin’s argument that the occurrence of an m-miracle would not confirm the existence of God. Martin presents an interesting argument, but it does not establish that m-miracles would not confirm the existence God. I argue that, on the contrary, it is quite reasonable to conclude that Martin’s m-miracles provide at least some confirmation for the hypothesis that God exists.
4. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Graham Oppy, Atheism: A Retrospective
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This paper provides a detailed examination of Michael Martin’s Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990). I argue that Martin’s project in this book is seriously damaged by his neglect of high-level theoretical considerations about rationality, justification, and argumentation. Furthermore, I suggest that this failing is endemic to recent discussions of arguments about the existence of God: there is no prospect of making progress in this area unless much more attention is paid to high-level theoretical questions about the connections between rationality, justification, and argumentation.
5. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michelle Beer, A Defense of the Co-Reporting Theory of Tensed and Tenseless Essences
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The co-reporting theory holds that for every A-sentence-token there is a B-sentence that differs in sense but reports the same event orstate of affairs. Thus, if it is now t7, what is reported by now tokening “It is t7 now” is identical with what is reported by tokening “It is t7 at t7.” Quentin Smith has argued that the fact that the sentence-tokens differ in sense but are co-reporting is compatible with the A-theory supposition that their difference in sense consists in the fact that the A-sentence-token alone conveys the information that t7 has an irreducible A-property of presentness. I counter argue that every time the indexical “now” is tokened it expresses, not an irreducible A-property, but a unique individual essence of a moment of time which can be apprehended only at that time.
6. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Quentin Smith, Can the New Tenseless Theory of Time Be Saved by Individual Essences?
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I will begin by conceding that some of Beer’s arguments are sound (mostly on pages before the last page), and observe that Beer’s theory that “now” ascribes an individual essence to a time on each occasion of its tokening is a novel theory that seems fruitful and is worthy of being pursued and of being developed to deal with the criticisms in the following points.
7. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michelle Beer, On the Individual Essences of Moments of Time
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In “Can the New Tenseless Theory of Time be Saved by Individual Essences?” Smith objects to the co-reporting theory on the groundsthat, since it grants that every time “now” is tokened it expresses a unique individual essence of that time which can be apprehended only at that time, the co-reporting theory is consistent with an A-theory of time that holds that each moment of time acquires its own particular property of presentness. I argue that Smith’s conclusion does not follow, since moments of time have world-indexed properties which, though distinct from the individual essences ascribed to them by the use of “now,” are expressible by the use ofdate-expressions.
8. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Graham Oppy, Maydole’s Modal Perfection Argument (Again)
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In “On Oppy’s Objections to the Modal Perfection Argument,” Philo 8, 2, 2005, 123–30, Robert Maydole argues that his modal perfection argument—set out in his “The Modal Perfection Argument for a Supreme Being,” Philo 6, 2, 2003, 299–313—“remains arguably sound” in the face of the criticisms that I made of this argument in my “Maydole’s 2QS5 Argument,” Philo 7, 2, 2004, 203–11. I reply that Maydole is wrong: his argument is fatally flawed, and his attempts to avoid the criticisms that I have made of his argument are to no avail.
9. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Richard Carrier, Fatal Flaws in Michael Almeida’s Alleged ‘Defeat’ of Rowe’s New Evidential Argument from Evil
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In a previous issue of Philo, Michael Almeida claimed to have “defeated” William Rowe’s “New Evidential Argument from Evil” againstthe existence of a benevolent god. However, Almeida’s argument suffers from serious logical errors and even logical absurdities, leaving Rowe’s argument intact and quite unthreatened by anything Almeida argues.