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Displaying: 1-10 of 24 documents

1. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
William F. Vallicella, A Tension in Quine’s Theory of Existence
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According to Quine, the ontological question can be posed in three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: “What is there?” But if we call this the ontological question, what shall we call the logically prior question: “What is it for an item to be there?” Peter van Inwagen has recently suggested that this be called the meta-ontological question, and more importantly, has endorsed Quine’s answer to it. Ingredient in this Quinean answer to the meta-ontological question are several theses, among them, “Being is the same as existence”; “Being is univocal”; and “The single sense of being or existence is adequately captured by the existential quantifier of formal logic.” This articleexamines the last of these theses, which van Inwagen claims “ought to be uncontroversial.” But far from having this deontic property, the thesis in question ought to be not only controverted, but rejected.
2. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Aleksandar Jokic, The Tensed or Tenseless Existence of Nature
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In the debate between those who hold the tensed theory and those who hold the tenseless theory of time, Arthur Prior’s famous “Thank Goodness Argument” has had a special place. Initially designed to help tensers, it has seen its fortune change many times. In this paper the focus is on a methodological aspect of the argument. The purpose is to defend the “new reading” of the argument, which is intended to resolve an ontological issue by focusing on an epistemic fact, against a recent charge by Nathan Oaklander that such an argument can be valid only if it is trivial, i.e., if “ceases to exist” contained in one of the premises had been already understood in the tensed sense. However, whether the argument is trivial or not depends also on whether the tensed reading is directly invoked or obtained only through the substitution of an extensional equivalent whose truth is not based on the presupposed truth of the tensed account. A possible extensional equivalent needed for the intended substitution is offered. It is based on the concept of in-the-world-inherent-modalities.
3. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
L. Nathan Oaklander, Jokic on the Tensed Existence of Nature
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In “The Tensed or Tensless Existence of Nature” Alexsander Jokic attempts to defend a new version A. N. Prior’s “Thank Goodness It’sOver” argument against my response to it. Jokic argues that we can give a non-circular account of ceasing to exist that will vindicate the new reading, but I argue that his account to rescue Prior’s argument against my criticism fails.
4. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
John Dilworth, A Representationalist Approach to Generality
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There are no unicorns, but there are representations of them, hence motivating an explanation of discourse about the property “unicorn” in terms of discourse about representations of unicorns. I show how to extend this strategy to apply to any kind or property terms. References to property instances may be explained as references to comprehensive representations of them, which represent all of the (supposed) properties of such an instance-unlike ’ordinary’ representations, which are distinctive in that they represent only some limited subset of such properties, through use only of some proper subset of their own (supposed) properties. This representationalist approach results in a very economical naturalist ontology, which has no need for properties.
5. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
John F. Post, Method, Madness, and Normativity
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The method in question is conceptual analysis. The madness comes of its privileging received usage over theories that would revise our concepts so as to conform to the phenomena, not the other way around. The alternatives to capture-the-concept include revisionary theory-construction as practiced not only in the sciences but in some philosophies. I present a revisionary theory of an important kind of normativity---the normativity involved in a biological adaptation’s being for this or that---which theory, I argue, undermines the received objections to there being any such normativity objectively in the world. So too for other kinds of normativity, including the moral, insofar as the objections to their objectivity have the same form and presuppositions.
6. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
John Shoemaker, Epistemological Naturalism and Mark Kaplan’s Decision Theory
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In Decision Theory as Philosophy, Mark Kaplan reissues a number of perennial questions within decision theory and epistemology, particularly regarding the relevance of decision theory to epistemology and the scope of an epistemology informed by a “modest” Bayesian decision theory. Much of Kaplan’s book represents a challenge to what he calls the “Orthodox” Bayesian theory of decision and evidence. His arguments turn positive in the fourth chapter, in which he argues for the “Assertion View” of belief---an attempted reconciliation of the categorical notion of belief (as distinct from disbelief) with that of confidence, which comes in degrees. Theapproach to epistemology manifest in Decision Theory, while commendable in some respects, suffers fundamentally from its methodological commitment to the primacy of preference principles over and above distinctively epistemic principles. But to express this last misgiving is just to doubt whether decision theory has much of its own to contribute to epistemology.
7. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Nick Trakakis, What No Eye Has Seen: The Skeptical Theist Response to Rowe’s Evidential Argument from Evil
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This paper examines the evidential argument from evil put forward by William Rowe during his early and middle periods (1978-1995). Having delineated some of the important features of Rowe’s argument, it is then assessed in the light of “the skeptical theist critique.” According to skeptical theists, Rowe’s crucial (“noseeum”) inference from inscrutable evil to pointless evil can be exposed as unwarranted, particularly by appealing to the disparity between our cognitive abilities and the infinite wisdom of God. However, by relating the problem of evil to that of divine hiddenness, the adverse consequences and hence the highly dubious nature of this skeptical theist position are brought to light.
8. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Laurence Carlin, Can Any Divine Punishment be Morally Justified?
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A traditional and widespread belief among theists is that God administers punishment for sins and/or immoral actions. In this paper, Iargue that there is good reason to believe that the infliction of any suffering on humans by God (i.e., a perfectly just being) is morally unjustified. This is important not only because it conflicts with a deeply entrenched religious belief, but also because, as I show, a number of recent argumentative strategies employed by theistic philosophers require that divine punishment be morally justifiable. I conclude, then, that the arguments put forth by these theistic philosophers do not succeed.
9. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Robert Maydole, The Modal Perfection Argument for the Existence of a Supreme Being
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The Modal Perfection Argument (MPA) for the existence of a Supreme Being is a new ontological argument that is rooted in the insights of Anselm, Leibniz and Gödel. Something is supreme if and only if nothing is possibly greater, and a perfection is a property that it is better to have than not. The premises of MPA are that supremity is a perfection, perfections entail only perfections, and the negation of a perfection is not a perfection. I do three things in this paper. First, I prove that MPA is valid by constructing a formal deduction of it in second order modal logic. Second, I argue that its premises are true. Third, I defend the argument and the logic used against some likely objections.
review articles
10. Philo: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Panayot Butchvarov, A Paradigm of Existence: Onto-Theology Vindicated by William F. Vallicella
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