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Displaying: 1-20 of 28 documents

1. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Leigh B. Kelley Impartiality and Practical Reason
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The paper constitutes a detailed critical commentary on Stephen Darwall’s Impartial Reason (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983). Its central thesis is that Darwall’s attempt to integrate a naturalist theory of substantive reasons for acting with a neo-rationalist derivation of moral requirements from the very concept of practical rationality is faced with insurmountable theoretic problems. The author argues that anyone who would accept a plausible internalist account of reasons, that justificatory reasons for an agent to act are facts which must be capable of motivating that agent under certain conditions, cannot establish on an a priori or rationalist basis claims for the intersubjective validity of reasons or substantive normative requirements of any kind, but rather must acknowledge that such claims are both irreducibly empirical and epistemically risky.
2. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12 > Issue: Supplement
James T. Culbertson A Neural Theory of Percepts and Mental Images
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This essay is an analysis of conscious perception and conscious memory. It tries to show that percepts and mental images (roughly, experientially, the same as Hume's "impressions and ideas") are sets of particles at the perceived stimulus objects and at the remembered stimulus objects. It is thus a theory of direct perception and direct memory, and a materialism but not a central state materialism. The percept (we claim) is an "appearance" of the stimulus object particles (perceived object particles) which is due to the way the particles at the perceived object are interconnected (interrelated) by the networks of stimuli-plus-neuron-impulses starting from them. The same is true of the mental image. This essay is primarily an analysis of such networks--to show, we claim, how they make the sets of object particles seem to have sense qualities and gestalts and other properties of percepts and mental images.
3. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Sheldon Wein Plato and the Social Contract
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This paper argues that Plato’s version of the contractarian theory of justice is superior to all other statements of that theory. The conditions any adequate theory of justice must meet are outlined and it is shown how contractarian theories attempt to meet these conditions. The great contractarian theories---those of Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Rawls, and Gauthier---are shown not to provide an adequate account of the nature of justice. The source of these failures is identified and, finally, it is shown that Plato’s version of contractarianism is immune to this sort of failure.
4. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
James W. McGray From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism: A Logical Gap
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This paper is a critique of R.M. Hare’s argument that rational universal prescriptions are equivalent to utilitarian judgments. The problem with Hare’s argument is his restrictive model of rationality. He succeeds in proving that awareness of certain facts is essential to making a fully rational universal prescription. But he fails to prove that other facts, such as the ultimate separateness of persons, are irrelevant. Once such facts are taken seriously, the utilitarian implication is invalidated.
5. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Bruce B. Settle Psychological Incapacity and Moral Incontinence: How the Former Does Not Explain the Latter
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Moral incontinence (that is, knowing what one ought to do but doing otherwise) has often been explained in terms of psychological incapacity/inability (that is, “ought but can’t”). However, Socrates and others have argued that, whenever it is physically possible to act, there can be no rupture between judgment and behavior and therefore there are no instances of “ought but can’t”.The analysis that follows will conclude either that Socrates was correct in holding that there are no ruptures between judgment and behavior or that, if there are such ruptures, then explanations in terms of psychological incapacity/inability are inappropriate.
6. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Alister Browne Is Abortion a Pseudo-Problem?
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I argue that (1) whether abortions are morally permissible depends on whether the fetus has a right to life, (2) the only point of disagreement between the possible theories on this question--the Extreme Conservative, the Middle, and the Extreme Liberal--concerns the relevant temporal proximity to, or degree of probability of actualizing, some selected potential, (3) there is in principle no non-arbitrary way of resolving this disagreement, and hence the problem of abortion is a pseudo-problem inasmuch as it is not theoretically capable of being solved, and (4) legislators should, in the light of this, act as if the Extreme Liberal Theory were true.
7. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
C. L. Sheng On the Flexible Nature of Morality
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The purpose of this essay is to study the problem of inherent obscurity of the criterion for maximal utility in utilitarianism. For the sake of convenience of analysis, situations of moral actions are classified into four categories. It is shown that morality is flexible, especially in the positive sense, in that a virtuous action can be taken in various ways and/or to various degrees. For some situations it is inherently unclear what the moral requirement is, and whether it is a maximum or a minimum. It is concluded that the schism of the principle of utility between the principle of the good and the principle of the right seems to be inevitable, and the interpretation of the ultimate criterion for maximal utility should be relaxed or interpreted separately and differently according to the situation of action.
8. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Michael Goldman Capitalism, Socialism, Objectivism
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When purged of its connection to libertarian forms of capitalism, Ayn Rand’s ethical “egoism” is not an implausible ethical theory. I argue (1) that Rand in fact fails to show the connection between her ethics and the political economy she has championed and (2) that in fact her ethics is at least as compatible with socialism as with capitalism.
9. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Richard M. Fox Motilal Shastri’s “Rule Utilitarianism”
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Motilal Shastri developed an ethical theory which closely resembles rule utilitarianism at roughly the same time as and yet in complete independence of English-speaking philosophers. The philosophic significance of his view lies in the manner in which he develops and justifies his position. Shastri contends that efficiency in action requires indifference or inattention to ends. He appears to use the same device for justifying rule-governed duties that Mill uses to justify a move from egoism to altruism: that actions first viewed as means may later become ends in themselves. However, in Shastri’s theory, ends appear to be retained as unconscious motives.
10. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Aryeh Botwinick Wittgenstein and Scepticism: An Essay in the Unity of Wittgenstein’s Thought
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A unifying perspective to bring to bear on Wittgenstein’s thought is that it represents a continual grappling with the problem of formulating a consistent version of scepticism--one that would not succumb to the charge of being self-refuting. His ultimate resolution of this problem hinges upon the precise content to be invested in his famous philosophical doctrine of the priority of Gezeigt (showing) over Gezagt (saying). I shall argue for a democratic participatory gloss of this doctrine as offering the most satisfactory resolution to the sceptical dilemmas haunting Wittgenstein.
11. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
George Rudebusch Hoffman on Kripke’s Wittgenstein
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Paul Hoffman (in “Kripke on Private Language”, Philosophical Studies 47, 1985, 23-28) argues that Kripke’s Wittgenstein fails in his solution to his own sceptical paradox. I argue that Hoffman fails to see the importance for Kripke’s Wittgenstein of the distinction between agreement in fact and judged agreement. Hoffman is right that no solution to the sceptical paradox can be based on agreement in fact, but the solution of Kripke’s Wittgenstein depends upon judged agreement. An interpretation is given: by ‘judged agreement’ Kripke’s Wittgenstein does not mean understanding oneself to judge agreement but having a feeling of agreement. On this interpretation Hoffman’s argument fails.
12. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Ronald Suter Saul Wittgenstein’s Skeptical Paradox
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Saul Kripke is struck by a skeptical argument which he says is neither Wittgenstein’s nor his own. I call this new skeptic “Saul Wittgenstein”. SW’s conclusion is that there is no such thing as following a rule. My first aim is to show that Kripke misunderstands the Investigations when he says it offers a “skeptical solution” to SW’s paradox. Wittgenstein’s view of philosophy commits him to a dissolution of the paradox. I show next that LW’s writing contains an implicit dissolution of it. Finally, I point out the main lesson to be derived from Kripke’s discussion--namely, that there is nothing which is common and peculiar to what we call following a rule.
13. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Charles E. Burlingame Wittgenstein, His Logic, and His Promethean Mission
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In paragraphs 107-108 of his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein remarks, “The preconceived idea of crystalline purity can only be removed by turning our whole examination round. (One might say: the axis of reference of our examination must be rotated, but about the fixed point of our real need.)” This paper attempts to illuminate his notion of this “real need” which is shared by that work and by his earlier Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by comparing these works with some of the writings of Tolstoy and Schopenhauer with which he was familiar. I do this not to discredit either of his writings as works on logic but to show in what manner they are, indeed, works on logic.
14. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Lorenzo Peña Notes on Bergmann’s New Ontology and Account of Relations
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Recent work of Gustav Bergmann develops an ontological framework within which an account of relations has been sketched out. The approach is a kind of new logical atomism which has some of the features of an Aristotelian hylomorphism (of sorts). It recognizes a number of categories and groups of a hylomorphic kind, chiefly “determinates” and “subdeterminates”--the latter only indirectly or implicitly. Winsome though it is, the approach is flawed by certain difficulties it gives rise to, among them inability to speak of subdeterminates and failure of a relation to be had by a referent towards a relatum. Instead of having a sense, a relation is conceived of as a determinate which enters an arrangement whose existence and nature are not properly accounted for. Finally, Bergmann’s Ideal Language is assayed and shown not to be as useful philosophically in itself as he takes it to be.
15. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Rod Bertolet Referring, Demonstrating, and Intending
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Demonstratives have been thought to provide counterexamples to theories which analyze the notion of speaker reference in terms of the intentions of the speaker. This paper is a response to three attempts to undermine my efforts to defend such theories against these putative counterexamples. It is argued that the efforts of Howard Wettstein, M. J. More and John L. Biro to show that my own attempt to defuse the putative counterexamples offered by David Kaplan fails, are themselves unsuccessful. The competing view of demonstration which I endorse is clarified further by the discussion.
16. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Adam Thompson Counterexamples to Nozick’s Account of Transmission of Knowledge via Proof
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This paper reveals and corrects a flaw in Nozick’s account of knowledge via inference. First, two counterexamples are provided by considering cases which would not typically be regarded as instances of knowledge although they are counted as such by Nozick’s theory. Then the general form of these counterexamples is given. From this it is apparent that the counterexamples show that Nozick’s theory fails to take account of cases in which the subject infers q from p, but in counterfactual situations some proposition other than p would entail q. In view of this, the theory is then revised to eliminate the counterexamples.
17. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
William E. Murnion The Logic of Learning
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A constructive analysis of reasoning as a self-corrective process of learning in which a dialectic between inquiry and anomaly, between intuition and inference, between analysis and synthesis, between induction and deduction, gradually produces a virtually unconditioned but always corrigible solution to a problem. The argument is both a synthesis of contributions from classical and modern philosophers to the interpretation of learning and an attempt to bridge the gap between critical thinking and formal logic in the analysis of reasoning. The aim is to show that learning as well as demonstration has a logic susceptible to philosophical analysis.
18. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Herman Philipse The Concept of Intentionality: Husserl’s Development from the Brentano Period to the Logical Investigations
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In this paper an attempt is made to reconstruct the development of Husserl’s conception of intentionality from 1891 up to 1900/01. It is argued that Husserl’s concept of intentionality in the Logical Investigations took shape under the influence of problems originating in two different fields: the philosophy of perception and philosophical semantics. This multiple origin of the concept of intentionality of 1900/01 is then adduced as an explanation of tensions within the text of the Investigations, tensions whieh account for the fact that various contradictory interpretations of Husserl’s concept of intentionality are supported by the texts.The paper starts with a brief and schematic interpretation of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. Next, the theory of perception of the ‘Psychological Studies for Elementary Logic’ is compared with that contained in the Investigation’s.On the basis of an analysis of Husserl’s early theory of reference to non-existing referents (‘Intentional Objects’, 1894) and of his criticism of Twardowski, it is concluded that his concept of int.entionality of 1900/01 is not free from ambiguities: Husserl wavers between a non-relational and a relational concept. Finally, it is shown why Husserl’s “official” concept in the Investigations was the non-relational version.
19. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
William M. O’Meara The Social Nature of Self and Morality for Husserl, Schutz, Marx, and Mead
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The purpose of the paper is, first, to describe how Husserl’s phenomenology begins with the transcendental ego and attempts to affirm by necessary insight the alter ego and the moral community of all rational beings, and, secondly, to evaluate this argument, using the thought of Schutz, Marx, and Mead. The paper concludes that Husserl’s and Schutz’s concepts of the social nature of the self are inadequate and that Marx and Mead offer a better analysis of how the social nature of the self leads to the universal moral community.
20. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Robert Rethy The Metaphysics of Nullity
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The place of Schopenhauer’s philosophy in the history of contemporary thought and in that of the problematic of nihilism has been relatively unexplored, despite its well-known relation to Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, two of the dominant figures of contemporary philosophy and culture. “The Metaphysics of Nullity”, after an introductory section on the connection of German idealism and nihilism, examines Schopenhauer’s philosophy, and particularly its principle of “self-negation of the will”, as a nihilistic metaphysics that is an outgrowth of traditional conceptions of desire and consciousness which becomes involved in the classical difficulties of self-reflection and self-manifestation. The incoherencies that beset Schopenhauer’s thought are fully examined and their implications are discussed.