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Displaying: 1-20 of 22 documents

1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Newton Garver Vagueness and Analysis
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Analytic philosophy generally follows Frege in insisting that concepts be defined so as to eliminate vagueness. In practice, however, context often provides the clarit y that definitions fail to supply. Wittgenstein’s later work stressed context (use) rather than definition, at least for philosophical (as opposed to scientific) discourse. In this Wittgenstein’s development was opposite to Frege’s.Richard Robinson notes the looseness in original language learning, and that precision is often nevertheless achieved, especially in sciences. Hence Robinson’s paradox: the inevitability of vagueness at the roots of precision. Analytic explanations contrast with contextual ones. We can sometimes explain meaning analytically, but we must sometimes use contextual explanations. Vagueness cannot be eliminated, and wholesale analysis is a chimerical ideal in philosophy. We need, as Wittgenstein came to see, a broader, more general, conception of cIarity, within which analytic (Iogical) clarity is only one special case.
2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Charles Landesman Moore’s Proof of an External World and the Problem of Skepticism
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Moore’s proof consists of the inference of both “Two hands exist at this moment” and “At least two external objects exist at this moment” from the premise “Here is one hand and here is another.” The paper claims that the proof succeeds in refuting both idealism (“There are no external objects”) and skepticism (“Nobody knows that there are external objects”). The paper defends Moore’s proof against the following objections: Idealism does not deny that there is an external world so Moore’s proof is beside the point; Moore may be mistaken about the premise; Moore has failed to prove the premise; Moore has failed to show how he knows the premise; the proof leads to an infinite regress; the proof begs the question because the premise assumes what needs to be proved; the premise depends upon a shaky inference; the premise rests upon evidence of the senses and thus begs the question; the proof fails to convince the skeptic .
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Donald L. M. Baxter The Discernibility of Identicals
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I argue via examples that there are cases in which things that are not two distinct things qualitatively differ without contradiction. In other words, there are cases in which something differs from itself. Standard responses to such cases are to divide the thing into distinct parts, or to conceive of the thing under different descriptions, or to appeal to different times, or to deny that the property had is the property lacked. I show these responses to be unsatisfactory. I then gather and systematize available ways of talking about such cases with phrases like ‘insofar as’ , ‘qua’ , ‘to the extent that’, ‘in some respect’, etc., while paying special attention to the scope of ‘not’ when used with these phrases. This allows me to show how we can speak of self-differing without contradiction.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Venanzio Raspa Łukasiewicz on the Principle of Contradiction
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Łukasiewicz distinguishes three formulations of the principle of contradiction in Aristotle’s works: ontological, logical, and psychological. The first two formulations are equivalent though not synonymous, but neither of them is equivalent to the psychological one, which expresses not a principle but only an empirical law. Furthermore, the principle of contradiction is neither a simple and ultimate law nor is it necessary for conducting an inference, because the syllogism is independent of it. The further explanation of this concept leads Łukasiewicz to formulate the idea of a non-Aristotelian logic, that is, a logic operating without the principle of contradiction. If the principle of contradiction shall be valid, it must be proved. A proof can be supplied only on the basis of a definition of object, as something that cannot have and not have the same property at the same time. However, this definition does not hold for all objects, i.e., for contradictory objects. In virtue of its ontological character the Aristotelian principle of contradiction is then different from that of symbolic logic.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Paul Raymont The Know-How Response to Jackson’s Knowledge Argument
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I defend Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant (in spite of her exhaustive knowledge of truths about the physical world). I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Christopher Williams Pictures, Photographs, and Causes
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I argue that photographic pictures need not depict their causes. The argument proceeds by an examination of puzzle cases in which the visible content of a photograph appears to diverge from its cause. I discuss an objection to the foregoing thought experiment, and also various sources of, and reinforcements for, the causal intuition.
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Robert W. Lurz Animal Consciousness
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The question of the possibility of conscious experience in animals has had a rebirth recentIy in both philosophy and psychology. I argue that there is an account of consciousness that is perfectly consistent with many animals enjoying conscious experiences. In defending my thesis, I examine a recent account of consciousness by Peter Carruthers which denies animals conscious experiences. I argue that Carruthers’ account should be rejected on the grounds that it is unnecessarily complex, and that it fails to provide either a sufficient or a necessary condition for conscious experience. A better account of consciousness, I maintain, is an Armstrongian account. I defend this account against a number of objections, and go on to show how it is consistent with a wide range of animals enjoying conscious experiences.
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Mariam Thalos Knowledge in an Age of Individual Economy: A Prolegomenon to Epistemology
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This essay identifies foundational questions, all metaphysical in character, which must be answered before the enterprise of epistemology proper can begin to prosper, and in the process draws attention to fundamental conflicts between the demands of epistemology and the demands of prudence. It concludes that knowledge is not, as such, a directive of prudence, and thus that the enterprise of knowledge does not fall under the category of what is practically required.
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Louis P. Pojman Equality: A Plethora of Theories
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The dominant contemporary political theory is egalitarianism, yet egalitarians seldom give a clear justification of their position. In this paper I examine such questions as, What is egalitarianism all about? What is so attractive about equality? And what is the proper criterion? What do egalitarians want to equalize and why? My primary hypothesis is that current egalitarian theories either illicitly attempt to derive substantive conclusions from formal notions or, if they are substantive, are beset with weighty objections. A corollary is the hypothesis that the idea of equality is an empty, rhetorical notion, one that, with one possible exception, does no useful philosophical work.
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Michael B. Wakoff Alston’s Practical Rationality Argument
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William AIston has argued that the prospects are dim for demonstrating with out epistemic circularity that any of our fundamental doxastic practices are reliable. In response to this predicament, he supplies a pragmatic rationale for our continued engagement in these practices. I argue that either he relativizes the practical rationality of engaging in a doxastic practice to participants, which ill suits his aim of providing a realist account of the practice that provides nonparticipants with are as on to trust that the practice is reliable, or he provides participants with no reason to trust their own practice in the face of actual or possible rival practices that issue in incompatible beliefs, unless they take as such a reason the bare fact that this practice is the one they happen to have. This too does not accord well with the need to provide an account of our practices that provides room for critical scrutiny of them.
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Patrick Francken, Heimir Geirsson Regresses, Sufficient Reasons, and Cosmological Arguments
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Most of the historically salient versions of the Cosmological Argument rest on two assumptions. The first assumption is that some contingeney (i.e., contingent fact) is such that a necessity is required to explain it. Against that assumption we will argue that necessities alone cannot explain any contingency and, furthermore, that it is impossible to explain the totality of contingencies at all.The second assumption is the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Against the Principle of Sufficient Reason we will argue that it is unreasonable to require, as the Principle of Sufficient Reason does, that any given whole of contingent facts has an explanation. Instead, it depends on the results of empirical investigation whether or not one should ask for an explanation of the given whole.We argue that if a cosmological argument invokes either of the two assumptions, then it fails to prove that a necessity is needed to explain the universe of contingent facts.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Richard Duble In Defense of the Smart Aleck: A Reply to Ted Honderich
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In “Honderich on the Consequences of Determinism” I argued that contrary to Ted Honderich’s thesis in his How Free Are You? determinism has no consequences, whether logical, moral, or psychological, about how we must view persons we beIieve to be determined. Honderich replied in “Compatibilism, Incompatibilism, and the Smart Aleck” that there is a sense in which our belief in determinism has consequences that any reasonable human being must recognize. My present paper examines Honderich’s reply.
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Philip Dwyer Cooking the Books: John W. Cook On Wittgenstein's Purported Metaphysics
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In his book Wittgenstein’s Metaphysics, John Cook argues that from 1912 until his death Wittgenstein was a proponent of neutral monism. This involves, according to Cook, Wittgenstein’s espousal of phenomenalism---the view that there can be nothing beyond immediate experience---and the consequent elimination of matter, causality, and other minds. I argue that this conflicts with almost everything that Wittgenstein wrote after 1932, including the passages cited and systematicalIy misinterpreted by Cook.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Odysseus Makridis An Inquiry into Book VI of Plato’s Republic
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This essay scrutinizes certain cardinal themes of Book VI of Plato’s Republic. After a brief inquiry into, and defense of the cogency of, the preliminary methodological groundwork for the study of Platonic dialogues and their sections, the essay probes into the VIth book.
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Lynn Holt Aristotle on the ΑΡΧΗ of Practical Reasoning
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With a historicist sensibility and attention to the ancient language, this paper attempts to sort out the question of how the ultimate end, and therefore how the starting point, of Aristotelian practical reasoning is determined. Some have argued that AristotIe’s practical reasoning must begin with desire in order to be motivational, beginning with his psychological works and interpreting his ethical works from that standpoint. I counter with the claim that an appropriate and sufficiently motivational form of reason grasps the end, beginning with the ethical works and interpreting the psychological works from that aIternative standpoint. Along the way, I sort out questions of interpretive strategy and the relationship between AristotIe’s psychological and ethical works.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
John Peterson Natural Law, End, And Virtue In Aquinas
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Natural law in Aquinas shares the essential features of law in general: it belongs to mind and stands between end and activity. The mind here is the human mind, the end is happiness which is the natural end of persons as persons and the activity is virtuous activity. The latter is activity that accords with reason. Virtue is called for by the natural law. That is because a) virtue is the habit that inclines persons to rational activity, b) persons are naturally inclined to rational activity and e) to the natural law belong all those things to which persons are naturally inclined. And so the ideas of virtue, rational activity, happiness and natural end are all of them inextricably linked in the Thomistic natural law ethics.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Richard R. Askay A Philosophical Dialogue Between Heidegger and Freud
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This essay presents imaginary philosophical debates between Heidegger and Freud exploring their views on science, philosophy, their interrelationship and the fundamental philosophical presuppositions of Freud’s metapsychology. In the final section, Heidegger presents a series of criticisms of Freud’s theory, to which ‘Freud’ posthumously responds.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Struan Jacobs Thoughts on Political Sources of Karl Popper’s Philosophy of Science
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How did Karl Popper arrive at his theory of science? Popper believed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity and his attitudes of modesty and self-criticism were all important.This paper challenges details in Popper’s account and suggests an alternative interpretation of the formation of his theory. It is held that his disillusionment with Marxism predated and conditioned his understanding of Einstein, and that the liberalism of J. S. Mill may have exercised an influence . Political ideas and practice paved the way for Popper’s philosophy of science.
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Joyce L. Jenkins The Advantages of Civic Friendship
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Aristotle distinguishes three types of friendship: virtue or character friendship, advantage friendship, and pleasure friendship. He also holds that the civic relation is a friendship, but it is unclear to which of the three types it belongs. There appear to be two candidates. It is either a character friendship, or an advantage friendship. I argue that it cannot be a character friendship, since that would entail that citizens have active goodwill toward one another, and Aristotle claims that such goodwill can exist only among a few relatively rare character friends. However, if the relation is not a character friendship, Aristotle’s claim that the city is more than alliance for security and exchange becomes puzzling. I argue that Aristotle’s view is that the civic friendship is a special type of advantage friendship in that one of its advantages is that it makes character friendships possible. This explains why rulers and citizens should want their fellows not only to act virtuously, but also to be virtuous.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Aleksandar Jokic Eithics and Ontology: Present Rights of Future Individuals and Property Instantiation
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In this century technology, production, and their consequent environmental impact have advanced to the point where unrectifiable and uncontroIlable global imbalances may emerge. Hence, decisions made by existing human beings are capable of dramaticaIly affecting the welfare of future generations. Current controversy about environmental protection involves the question of whether our present obligations to future generations can be grounded in their present rights. Many philosophers would question the very intelligibility of the idea that future individuals might have present rights. They do not see how a non-existing object could be said to have anything, let alone rights. Others see no obstacle to attributing properties to such objects. Thus, the controversy about the rights of future individuals shifted to a different, that is, ontological level. What is the proper method for resolving conflicts on this “deeper” level? This essay has two inter-dependent goals: (1) to suggest and assess a testing procedure for ontological claims, through the use of an example of conflicting ontological theses; and (2) to illuminate the concept of a right, through a discussion of the most general features of the requirements for the possible possession of rights.