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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 115, Issue 11, November 2018

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1. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 115 > Issue: 11
Chandra Sripada Addiction and Fallibility
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There is an ongoing debate about loss of control in addiction: Some theorists say at least some addicts’ drug-directed desires are irresistible, while others insist that pursuing drugs is a choice. The debate is long-standing and has essentially reached a stalemate. This essay suggests a way forward. I propose an alternative model of loss of control in addiction, one based not on irresistibility, but rather fallibility. According to the model, on every occasion of use, self-control processes exhibit a low, but non-zero, rate of failure due to error. When these processes confront highly recurrent drug-directed desires, the cumulative probability of a self-control lapse steadily grows. The model shows why the following statement—which has an air of paradox—can in fact be true: Each drug-directed desire the addict faces is fully resistible, but the addict nonetheless has significantly diminished control over eventually giving in.
2. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 115 > Issue: 11
Johan E. Gustafsson The Difference Principle Would Not Be Chosen behind the Veil of Ignorance
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John Rawls argues that the Difference Principle (also known as the Maximin Equity Criterion) would be chosen by parties trying to advance their individual interests behind the Veil of Ignorance. Behind this veil, the parties do not know who they are and they are unable to assign or estimate probabilities to their turning out to be any particular person in society. Much discussion of Rawls’s argument concerns whether he can plausibly rule out the parties’ having access to probabilities about who they are. Nevertheless, I argue that, even if the parties lacked access to probabilities about who they are in society, they would still reject the Difference Principle. I argue that there are cases where it is still clear to the parties that it is not in any of their individual interests that the Difference Principle is adopted.
3. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 115 > Issue: 11
Reuben Stern, Stephan Hartmann Two Sides of Modus Ponens
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McGee (1985) argues that it is sometimes reasonable to accept both x and x → (y → z) without accepting y → z, and that modus ponens is therefore invalid for natural language indicative conditionals. Here, we examine McGee’s counterexamples from a Bayesian perspective. We argue that the joint acceptance of x and x → (y → z) does not generally imply synchronic constraints on the acceptability of y → z, but we use the distance-based approach to Bayesian learning to show that applications of modus ponens are nevertheless guaranteed to be successful in an important diachronic sense. Roughly, if an agent becomes convinced of the premises of a modus ponens argument, then she should likewise become convinced of the argument’s conclusion. Thus we take McGee’s counterexamples to disentangle and reveal two distinct ways in which arguments can convince. Any general theory of argumentation must take stock of both.
4. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 115 > Issue: 11
New Books
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5. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 115 > Issue: 11
New Books: Anthologies
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