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1. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Nicholas Brown, Tadhg Larabee Editors' Introduction
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2. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Justin Wong, Woojin Lim, Michelle Lara, Benjamin Simon, David Chalmers An Interview with David Chalmers
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3. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Romy Aran, Nathan Beaucage, Melissa Kwan, Peter Carruthers An Interview with Peter Carruthers
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4. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Felipe De Brigard The Explanatory Indispensability of Memory Traces
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During the first half of the twentieth century, many philosophers of memory opposed the postulation of memory traces based on the claim that a satisfactory account of remembering need not include references to causal processes involved in recollection. However, in 1966, an influential paper by Martin and Deutscher showed that causal claims are indeed necessary for a proper account of remembering. This, however, did not settle the issue, as in 1977 Malcolm argued that even if one were to buy Martin and Deutscher’s argument for causal claims, we still don’t need to postulate the existence of memory traces. This paper reconstructs the dialectic between realists and anti-realists about memory traces, suggesting that ultimately realists’ arguments amount to inferences to the best explanation. I then argue that Malcolm’s anti-realist strategy consists in the suggestion that causal explanations that do not invoke memory traces are at least as good as those that do. But then, Malcolm, I argue that there are a large number of memory phenomena for which explanations that do not postulate the existence of memory traces are definitively worse than explanations that do postulate them. Next, I offer a causal model based on an interventionist framework to illustrate when memory traces can help to explain memory phenomena and proceed to substantiate the model with details coming from extant findings in the neuroscience of memory.
5. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Frank Jackson Learning from What Color Experiences Are Good For
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Color is an incredibly controversial topic. Here is a sample of views taken seriously: colors are dispositions to look coloured; colors are physical properties of surfaces or of light; colors are properties of certain mental states, which get projected onto the surfaces of objects or onto reflected or transmitted light; colors are an illusion; colors are sui generis. One hopes to break the impasse by finding a compelling starting point—one drawing on obvious points that are common ground—which naturally evolves into the theory of color one likes. I start with remarks about the utility of having mental states with a phenomenology, remarks which are, I urge, non-controversial. I develop them into the theory of color I favor. According to it, colors are properties of objects as objective as their shapes. The final section explains how the theory handles the best argument for subjectivism about color.
6. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Michael Tye Filling In and the Nature of Visual Experience
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This essay begins with a discussion of the phenomenon of filling in. It is argued that filling in is naturally accounted for by taking visual experiences to be importantly like drawn pictures of the world outside. An alternative proposal is then considered, one that models visual experiences on incomplete descriptions. It is shown that introspection does not favor the pictorial view. It is also shown that the phenomenon of blurriness in visual experience does not provide a good reason for favoring the pictorial view either. Why, then, be a pictorialist? It is argued that visual experiences conform to what have been called “the laws of appearance” and that their conformity to these laws gives us an excellent reason for preferring the pictorial account.
7. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Eli Alshanetsky Making Our Thoughts Clear
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We often get clear on our thoughts in the process of putting them into words. I investigate the nature of this process by posing the question, “Do you know which thought you are trying to articulate, before successfully articulating it?” and rejecting two answers to the dilemma it yields. The first is that the answer is yes, and that articulation is either the recollection of prior knowledge or the mere acquisition of a skill or ability rather than of propositional knowledge. The second is that the answer is no, and that your thought is unknown in that it is not yet fully realized. Clarity, according to this response, is a metaphysical property of the thought rather than the thinker’s epistemic relation to it. I offer a third solution: you start out with implicit knowledge of your thought but lack explicit knowledge of it. The process of articulation moves you from implicit to explicit knowledge.
8. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Will Davies Colour Relations in Black and White
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I argue that it is possible to perceptually represent colour relations between two objects, without perceptually representing their colours. Such primitive relational colour representation (PRCR) goes against the orthodox view that we represent colour relations by virtue of representing colours. I first argue that under certain assumptions, PRCR is conceptually and even nomically possible. I then compare two possible models of PRCR: the linguaform model and chromatic edge model, the latter involving iconic rather than discursive representation. I argue that the chromatic edge model gives a better account of putative cases of PRCR in cerebral achromatopsia, a rare disorder of colour consciousness.
9. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Hans-Johann Glock Determinacy of Content: The Hard Problem about Animal Intentionality
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Few arguments against intentional states in animals have stood the test of time. But one objection by Stich and Davidson has never been rebutted. In my reconstruction it runs: Ascribing beliefs to animals is vacuous, unless something counts as an animal believing one specific “content” rather than another; Nothing counts as an animal believing one specific content rather than another, because of their lack of language; Ergo: Ascribing beliefs to animals is vacuous. Several attempts to block the argument challenge the first premise, notably the appeals to “naked” belief ascriptions and alternative representational formats. This essay defends the first premise and instead challenges the second premise. There are non-linguistic “modes of presentation”; these can be determined by attributing to animals specific needs and capacities—a “ hermeneutic ethology” based on lessons from the debate about radical translation/interpretation in the human case. On that basis we can narrow down content by exclusion. What remains is an “imponderability of the mental” which does not rule out attributions of intentional states to animals.
10. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Søren Overgaard How Not to Think of Perception
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Perception seems like it puts us directly in touch with real things in our environment. But according to a popular view, perception actually does no such thing. Perceptual experiences are internally generated imagery, and we don’t see what is really out there. I call this view “the Hard-Nosed View,” and I argue that it is deeply problematic. In fact, the view is self-defeating: it undermines the very evidence supposed to establish or support the view. Indeed, if perceptual experiences are just internally generated images that generally don’t reflect what is really out there, the very notion of a scientific finding is put in jeopardy. So, the Hard-Nosed View had better be false.
book review
11. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Justin Wong Donna Jackson Nakazawa, The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell that Changed the Course of Medicine
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12. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Richard P. Wang Introduction
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13. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Tommie Shelby Thinking about Race, Responding to Racial Inequality
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14. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Elizabeth Anderson, Tadhg Larabee, Nicholas Brown Elizabeth Anderson Interview for The Harvard Review of Philosophy
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15. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Paul C. Taylor The Influence of Dewey on Race Theory
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I once planned to write an essay detailing the advantages of a Deweyan approach to philosophical race theory. This essay would have developed my views in a way that highlighted their distinctly Deweyan resonances and debts. A recent essay by Ron Mallon gave me the opportunity to set this plan in motion, as Mallon’s reflections on social constructionism seemed likely to benefit from Deweyan insights. Unfortunately, or fortunately, setting to work on the project led to the distressing but edifying realization that this plan carried with it certain risks, risks made particularly dire by the race-theoretic context. “The Influence of Dewey on Race Theory” will credit this background with an argument that unfolds in two intertwined registers. It will interrogate (and resist) the impulse to work through Dewey, and it will use the lessons from this exercise—lessons, broadly, about parochialism and politics—as resources for critically engaging Mallon’s argument.
16. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Lawrence Blum Reflections on Brown vs. Board of Education and School Integration Today
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The Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954 mandated school integration. The decision also to recognize that inequalities outside the schools, of both a class- and race-based nature, prevent equality in education. Today, the most prominent argument for integration is that disadvantaged students benefit from the financial, social, and cultural “capital” of middle class families when the children attend the same schools. This argument fails to recognize that disadvantaged students contribute to advantaged students’ educational growth, and sends demeaning messages to the disadvantaged students and messages of unwarranted superiority to the advantaged. Parents, teachers, and schools can adopt a justice perspective that avoids these deleterious aspects of the capital argument, and helps create a community of equals inside the integrated school. Struggles for educational justice must remain closely linked with struggles of both a class- and race-based nature for other forms of justice in the wider society.
17. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Frank J. Costa The Restorative Proportionality Theory: A New Approach to Affirmative Action
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This article offers a normative framework for affirmative action. It argues that affirmative action is not about diversity, but correcting historical injustice. The theory’s presumption is that racial groups would perform equally if not for history, because talent and hard work do not vary by race. The article explores the implications of that premise in answering the most provocative criticisms of affirmative action. Should white students pay for historical wrongs? Should African immigrants benefit from affirmative action? Are Asian Americans unfairly disadvantaged? The article proposes proportional representation as a limiting principle of affirmative action, because preferential treatment beyond proportionality contradicts the theory’s presumption of equal performance. The article proceeds to argue that some groups, like Asian Americans, rebut the presumption by fairly outperforming others and should not be penalized. Finally, the article argues that groups should not be classified on race per se, rather on a shared experience of injustice.
18. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Naomi Zack Intersection Theory as Progressive: Philosophy of Race, Feminism, and Antisemitism
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Many are already familiar with the idea of intersectionality. Intersection Theory can be conceived as encompassing other progressive theories, such as Philosophy of Race and Feminism. In Philosophy of Race, the ultimate explanatory concept is race; in Feminism, the ultimate explanatory term is gender. This discrepancy has given rise to Black Feminism. Intersection Theory can also be contextualized and expanded to include more detailed intersections when there is inequality within intersected groups. But, intersectionality does not yet address unpredictable violence, either against blacks or normally advantaged groups, such as United States Jews. For such cases, it is useful to posit a new intersectional factor of regressive violence, to account for counter-revolutionary response to decades of progress for minorities. Overall, the flexibility of Intersection Theory allows for creative analysis. However, not all intersections yield politically viable identities and those that would might require governmental recognition of group rights.
19. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Michael O. Hardimon Four Ways of Thinking about Race
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This essay presents four ways of thinking about race. They consist of four related but distinct race concepts: the racialist concept of race, which is the traditional, pernicious, essentialist, and hierarchical concept of race; the concept of socialrace, which is the antiracist concept of race as a social construction; the minimalist concept of race, which is the deflationary concept of biological race that represents race as a matter of color, shape and geographical ancestry; and the populationist concept of race, the race concept that represents races as populations, deriving from geographically separated and reproductive isolated founding populations. Taken together, the four concepts can help us better navigate our way through the murky conceptual domain of “race.”
20. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
J. L. A. Garcia Race as a Social Construction: Some Difficulties
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This paper raises serious problems for the commonly held claim that races are socially constructed. The first section sketches out an approach to our construction of institutional phenomena that, taking Searle’s general approach, restricts social construction proper to cases where we adopt rules that bind relevant parties to treat things of a type in certain ways, thus constituting important roles in, and parts of, our social lives. I argue this conception, construction-by-rules, helps distinguish genuine construction from other activities and relations and also solves a problem raised against simplistic conceptions. The second shows why and how Sally Haslanger, Linda Alcoff, and Glenn Loury have explained race as a social construct. The next points out problems for their and other accounts, including circularity, difficulties arising from conceptual and linguistic history, and non sequiturs. After returning to Haslanger in more detail, I proceed critically to engage work by Ian Hacking, Lawrence Blum, Luc Faucher and Edouard Machery, and Charles Mills. The following sections move from specific accounts in the literature to offer general arguments that viewing races as products of social construction threatens to mislead in numerous ways. At the end, I discuss the significance of the issue and challenge whether social constructionist accounts are genuinely liberating.