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1. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
Sophie Horowitz The Truth Problem for Permissivism
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Epistemologists often assume that rationality bears an important connection to the truth. In this paper I examine the implications of this commitment for permissivism: if rationality is a guide to the truth, can it also allow some leeway in how we should respond to our evidence? I first discuss a particular strategy for connecting permissive rationality and the truth, developed in a recent paper by Miriam Schoenfield. I argue that this limited truth-connection is unsatisfying, and the version of permissivism that supports it faces serious challenges; so, for mainstream permissivism, the truth problem is still unsolved. I then discuss a strategy available to impermissivists, according to which rationality bears a quite strong connection to truth. I argue that this second strategy is successful.
2. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
Brad Armendt Causal Decision Theory and Decision Instability
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The problem of the man who met death in Damascus appeared in the infancy of the theory of rational choice known as causal decision theory. A straightforward, unadorned version of causal decision theory is presented here and applied, along with Brian Skyrms’s deliberation dynamics, to Death in Damascus and similar problems. Decision instability is a fascinating topic, but not a source of difficulty for causal decision theory. Andy Egan’s purported counterexample to causal decision theory, Murder Lesion, is considered; a simple response shows how Murder Lesion and similar examples fail to be counterexamples, and clarifies the use of the unadorned theory in problems of decision instability. I compare unadorned causal decision theory to previous treatments by Frank Arntzenius and by Jim Joyce, and recommend a well-founded heuristic that all three accounts can endorse. Whatever course deliberation takes, causal decision theory is consistently a good guide to rational action.
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3. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
Theron Pummer All or Nothing, but If Not All, Next Best or Nothing
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Suppose two children face a deadly threat. You can either do nothing, save one child by sacrificing your arms, or save both by sacrificing your arms. Here are two plausible claims: first, it is permissible to do nothing; second, it is wrong to save only one. Joe Horton argues that the combination of these two claims has the implausible implication that if you are not going to save both children, you ought to save neither. This is one instance of what he calls the ALL OR NOTHING PROBLEM. I here present CONDITIONAL PERMISSIONS as the solution. Although saving only one child is wrong, it can be conditionally permissible, that is, permissible given what you are not going to do. You ought to save both children or save neither, but if you are not going to save both, you ought to do the next best thing (save one) or save neither.
4. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
New Books: Anthologies
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