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Displaying: 1-20 of 30 documents

symposium on william p. alston's 'perceiving god'
1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Robert Audi Perceptual Experience, Doxastic Practice, and the Rationality of Religious Commitment
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This paper is a constructive critical study of William P. Alston’s Perceiving God. It explores his account of perception of God, his doxastic practice epistemology, and his overall integration of faith and reason. In dealing with the first, it distinguishes some possible cases of theistic perception that have not generally been sorted out in the literature. In examining doxastic practices, it explores both the sense in which it is rational to engage in them and the epistemic status of beliefs formed through them. Concerning the integration between faith and reason, it proposes a conception of faith in which, contrary to the prevailing tradition, belief is not central; distinguishes rationality from justification; and argues that the rationality of faith so conceived need not meet the same standard appropriate to the justification, or even the rationality, of the corresponding religious beliefs.
2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Alvin Plantinga What’s The Question?
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Two kinds of critical questions have been asked about the propriety or rightness of Christian beliefs. The first is the de facto question: is Christian belief true? The second is the de jure question: is it rational, or reasonable, or intellectually acceptable, or rationally justifiable? This second question is much harder to locate than you’d guess from looking at the literature. In “Perceiving God” William AIston suggests that the (or a) right question here is the question of “the practical rationality,” construed as he construes it. I argue that the question is ambiguous: and one of the disambiguees is too easy to answer, while the other is such that its answer is really irrelevant to any sensible version of the de jure question. I conclude by venturing a suggestion as to what a sensible de jure question might be.
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Norman Kretzmann St. Teresa, William Alston, and the Broadminded Atheist
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4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
William P. Alston Reply to Critics
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5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Herbert Hochberg Particulars As Universals: Russell’s Ontological Assay of Particularity and Phenomenological Space-Time
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Russell’s elimination of basic particulars, in An lnquiry into Meaning and Truth and Human Knowledge: lts Scope and Limits, by purportedly construing them as “bundles” or “complexes” of universal qualities has been attacked over the years by A. J. Ayer, M. Black, D. M. Armstrong, M. Loux, and others. These criticisms of Russell’s ontological assay of “particularity” have been based on misconstruals of his analysis. The present paper interprets Russell’s analysis, rebuts arguments of his critics, and sets out a different criticism of “bundle” analyses of particulars of the Russellian kind.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Mark Lance Two Concepts of Entailment
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What is the logic of entailment? The latter half of the twentieth century has seen, for even the simplest languages, a proliferation of distinct formal entailment systems, each having those willing to defend its status as the answer. Among those defenders, and among the most adamant and mutually critical, are the champions of strict implication and relevance logic. To an outsider, this debate must seem singularly odd. Here we have a group of philosophers who cannot agree on the validity of a simple, easily comprehensible inference scheme. They seem to think that they are not talking past one another---that there is some reality each seeks to describe---for they continue to write articles declaring that the opposing view is wrong. Yet they cannot seem to convince the other side that their view is even remotely plausible, thus leading some to an instrumentalist dismissal of the whole debate.I argue that the defenders of the two systems are right to suggest that something deeper is at issue between them than mere usefulness in particular applied contexts. Once we see what this is, however, we will see that they are, after all, talking past one another. When we succeed in clarifying the crucial underlying issue, we can then succeed in clarifying the crucial distinction between two dimensions of the underlying concept. Both the classicalist and the relevantist, then, will be seen to have accurately captured one dimension of the root concept.
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Mark Addis Criteria: The State of the Debate
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The article presents a review of the current literature on Wittgenstein’s notion of a criterion. It essentially deals with developments since Lycan’s survey article on the topic and examines the most important pieces contemporary with or prior to it. Different views on various aspects of criteria are considered and summarised. Particular attention is paid to the role criteria play in the philosophy of mind. A framework in which criteria are regarded as states of affairs is used to provide uniformity in the presentation of the accounts. The connections between and implications of varlous positions on aspects of criteria are assessed. No overall perspective on criteria is given and the question of whether the proposed accounts in the literature are adequate interpretations of Wittgenstein’s texts is not covered.
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Michael Scanlan Wittgenstein, Truth-Functions, and Generality
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Although it is eommon to attribute to Wittgenstein in the Tractatus a treatment of general propositions as equivalent to eonjunctions and disjunctions of instance propositions, the evidence for this is not perfeetly clear. This article considers Wittgenstein’s comments in 5.521, which can be read as rejecting such a treatment. It argues that properly situating the Tractatus historically allows for a revised reading of 5.521 and other parts of the Tractatus relevant to Wittgenstein’s theory of generality. The result is that 5.521 does not conflict with the view that general propositions are truth-functions of instance propositions. Common problems with such a view are to some extent obviated by the fact that Wittgenstein, following Russell and Moore, was not concerned with a syntactically defined language, but with propositions conceived as independent of a fixed language.
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
William F. Vallicella Do Individuals Exist?
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Is there room for a metaphysics of existence above and beyond the logic of ‘exists’? This paper defends an affirmative answer. It takes its point of departure from a recent polemic of Paul Edwards against Heidegger. According to Edwards, following Frege and Russell, Heidegger mistakenly assumes that existence belongs to individuals. I argue that although Heidegger does indeed make this assumption, he is not mistaken in so doing. My main concern, however, is neither to defend Heidegger nor to reply to Edwards; it is to vindicate the metaphysics of existence against the most damaging objection it faces.
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Andrew Melnyk Physicalism, Ordinary Objects, and Identity
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Any philosopher sympathetic to physicaIism (or materiaIism) will allow that there is some sense in which ordinary objects---tables and chairs, etc.---are physicaI. But what sense, exactly? John Post holds a view implying that every ordinary object is identical with some or other spatio-temporal sum of fundamental entities. I begin by deploying a modal argument intended to show that ordinary objects, for example elephants, are not identical with spatio-temporal sums of such entities. Then I claim that appeal to David Lewis’s counterpart theory, even if acceptable in principle, would not permit Post to make a plausible reply to this argument. Finally, I sketch an alternative account of ordinary objects, which does not require identity with spatio-temporal sums of fundamental physical entities, and argue that, despite Post’s protestations, this account is acceptably physicalist: his identity claims are not required for physicalism.
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Don Ross Minimal Strong Functionalism
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This paper is motivated by the concern that increasingly fewer philosophers of mind seem prepared to call themselves ‘functionalists’ these days. I suggest that this has less to do with explicit arguments presented against functionalism than with a gradual decay in the clarity of the term’s reference. This decay has two sources: functionalism has involved several different, logically independent research commitments, and it has become tightly associated, to an unnecessary degree, with classical computationalism, a program which is now under severe pressure from connectionist and other bottom-up methodologies in Al. After diagnosing the causes of this drift, I seek to arrest it by sketching a version of functionalism---Minimal Strong Functionalism---that is strong enough to have ontological and methodological bite, but that is sufficiently minimal in its empirical commitments so as to not be hostage to the outcome of the current dispute in Al between connectionists and classicists.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Andrew Pessin In Defense of Conceptual Holism: Reply to Fodor & Lepore
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In their recent book Holism, Jerry Fodor & Ernest Lepore (F&L) argue that various species of content holism face insuperable difficulties. In this paper I reply to their claims. After describing the version of holism to which I subscribe, I follow them in addressing, in turn, its implications for these related topics: interpersonal understanding, false beliefs and reference, psychological explanation, content sirnilarity and identity, the analytic-synthetic distinction, and empirical evidence. The most prominent theme in my response to F&L is that while holism does suffer from the problems they note in principle, it’s able to avoid them in practice. Holism’s implications, in short, are not only not fatal, but not even so bad --- and very possibly desirable.
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Robert Titiev Causal Troubles
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The focus of this article is upon just one particularly problematic condition among seven espoused by Honderich in A Theory of Determinism, where he sets forth a counterfactual theory of causality using certain kinds of nomic conditionals. Analysis of his fifth requirement shows it not only to be subject to a variety of counterexamples, but also to be in conflict with Honderich’s remarks about experimental testability in connection with claims expressed using nomic conditionals. Honderich has acknowledged that some fine tuning is needed in order to reach a suitable formal rendition of his requirement, but the nature of the new troubles pointed out here indicates that serious flaws lie at the heart of his requirement.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Harold Zellner “Is Relativism Self-Defeating?”
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Plato seems to have claimed that epistemological relativism is self-defeating in two ways. As reformulated by Siegel: arguments for relativism must be advanced as either relativistically or non-relativistically sound. In either case they are dialectically ineffective for the relativist. Second, relativism is either relativistically or non-relativistically true. Either choice commits the relativist to major concessions to her opponent, or so the story goes. But the relativist can advance her arguments as non-relativistically sound, for the consumption of the non-relativist. Moreover, relativists can claim that relativism is true not only for the relativist, but for her non-relativist opponent as well. Relativism is not self-defeating in either of these ways, for much the same reasons that skepticism is not self-defeating. But we cannot live as relativists, because relativism leads to epistemic paralysis, as the example of prediction shows.
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Arthur E. Falk Essay on Nature’s Semeiosos
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In this two-part essay I develop a theory of natural signs. Since even primordial signs signify values, in the first part I develop the theory’s valuative aspect. Goods are as primary in nature as facts are, and together facts and values generate semeiosis in all life without excess extrapolation from human psychology. To ward off over-extrapolating on values, I defend a major discontinuity between man and nature on the goods of ethics. In the essay’s second part I develop the semeiotic dimensions of the negative feedback model of purposive systems. I provide tests for the truth and falsity of the primitive representations in these systems. I account for the holism of representational systems and their non-extensionality, and I define functions. I solve this important definitional problem by inverting the usual mode of thinking: Functions do not explain signs; signs explain functions. Finally I defend this theory’s way of understanding the continuity between human beings and the rest of living nature against several criticisms.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
John O. Nelson Pragmatism According to Rorty: A Disaster Area
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The limited objectives of this paper are to show that A), what seem to be merely superficial incoherencies in Rorty’s preferred pragmatism [according to which, “the only constraints on inquiry are conversational ones”] really are not but B), along with every assertion of Rorty’s defining his system and its consequences, belie an intrinsic incoherency resulting from that system’s intended conflation of “correspondence truth” and “pragmatic truth.” Then C), I shall argue that should we ask of a philosophy that denies to its own statements of purported fact correspondence truth what use it is, the answer has to be, “Worse than no use at all”---at least, if like Rorty’s preferred pragmatism it demonstrably concludes in the conceptual annihilation of all inquiry.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Danielle MacBeth The Logic of Relations and the Ideality of Space
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18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Kenneth R. Westphal Kant’s Dynamic Constructions
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According to Kant, justifying the application of mathematics to objects in natural science requires metaphysically constructing the concept of matter. Kant develops these constructions in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MAdN). Kant’s specific aim is to develop a dynamic theory of matter to replace corpuscular theory. In his Preface Kant claims completely to exhaust the metaphysical doctrine of body, but in the General Remark to MAdN ch. 2, “Dynamics,” Kant admits that once matter is reconceived as basic forces, it is no longer possible to construct the concept of matter. I argue that Kant’s admission is only the tip of the problem, and that none of Kant’s commentators has fully grasped the problems infecting the MAdN that underlie Kant’s admission. I show that Kant’s proof that matter consists of forces is fallacious. I then re-analyze the circularity in Kant’s definition of density, criticizing both Adickes’ formulations and his later dissolution of it. I also show that a third circularity infects the relations between Kant’s treatment of “Dynamics” and “Mechanics” (MAdN ch. 3). These three fundamental problems demonstrate the untenability of Kant’s metaphysical method, and they require the radical revision of the relation between mathematics and metaphysics Kant undertakes in his opus postumum. I show that some of Kant’s most surprising and critical later claims about the Critical philosophy are correct, and that they require the sorts of remedies Kant contemplates in the opus postumum. (I defend the essentially correct analyses offered by Burkhard Tuschling and Eckart Forster against criticisms by Michael Friedman.)
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
James Fieser Hume’s Concealed Attack on Religion and His Early Critics
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Like Hume scholars today, Hume’s 18th century critics recognized his use of literary devices in his religious writings. Indeed, the early commentaries on Hume’s religious writings are dominated by attempts to identify and decode Hume’s concealed religious views. Little work has been done in Hume scholarship to understand the nature and scope of this aspect of his early critics. The purpose of the present essay is to resurrect the discussions of the “Natural History” and the Dialogues in which Hume’s 18th century critics attempt to uncover his concealed meanings. I begin by discussing the limited value of 18th century anecdotes about Hume’s personal religious views. After examining Hume’s general strategy of concealment in his religious writings, I catalog and interpret individual passages from Hume’s critics which acknowledge Hume’s technique of concealment. I conclude by noting that their overall assessment of Hume’s concealed religious views was more skeptical than the assessment of many contemporary commentators.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Susan Leigh Anderson Being Morally Responsible for an Action Versus Acting Responsibly or Irresponsibly
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In her article “Asymmetrical Freedom,” and more recently in her book Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf claims to have given us a new theory to account for when we can be held morally responsible for our actions. I believe that she has confused “being morally responsible for an action” with “acting responsibly or irresponsibly.” I will argue that Wolf has given us a nice analysis of the latter concepts, but not of the former one as she intended. I do not believe that she is alone in not appreciating the distinction between these different concepts, but I wiII focus on her work as being a particularly good example of how confusing them can lead to an incorrect account of moral responsibility.