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1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Abraham S. Roth Reasons Explanations of Actions: Causal, Singular, and Situational
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Davidson held that the explanation of action in terms of reasons was a form of causal explanation. He challenged anti-causalists to identify a non-causal relation underlying reasons---explanation which could distinguish between merely having a reason and that reason being the one for which one acts. George Wilson attempts to meet Davidson’s challenge, but the relation he identifies can serve only in explanations of general facts, whereas reasons explanation is often of particular acts. This suggests that the relation underlying reasons explanation is not only causal, but singular as well. A further proposal, extracted from Fred Dretske’s views, characterizes this singular causal relation in terms of non-mental triggers. But this suggestion underestimates the explanatory role of the environment at the time of action, and shares with Wilson’s proposal the inability to account for the rationalization of particular acts. A situational environmentalist conception of reasons explanation, however, does not face these difficulties.
2. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Sergio Tenenbaum The Judgment of a Weak Will
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In trying to explain the possibility of akrasia (weakness of will), it seems plausible to deny that there is a conceptual connection between motivation (what one wants) and evaluation (what one judges to be good); akrasia occurs when the agent is (most) motivated to do something that she does not judge to be good (all things considered). However, it is hard to see how such accounts could respect our intuition that the akratic agent acts freely, or that there is a difference between akrasia and compulsion. It is also hard to see how such accounts could be extended to the realm of theoretical reason, but this is generally not taken Ito be a problem, because it is generally assumed that there is no similar phenomenon in the realm of theoretical reason. This paper argues that there is such a thing as theoretical akrasia, and that we can find a characterization of this phenomenon in Descartes’s Meditations. Drawing on certain passages in the Meditations, we can construct an account of theoretical akrasia; this account can then be adapted to resolve the original problem of akrasia in the realm of practical reason. The account asserts that there is a conceptual connection between motivation and evaluation in free action; it also enables us to show how the akratic agent is still acting freely when he does something that he does not judge to be the best all things considered.
3. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Theodore Sider Global Supervenience and Identity across Times and Worlds
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The existence and importance of supervenience principles for identity across times and worlds have been noted, but insufficient attention has been paid to their precise nature. Such attention is repaid with philosophical dividends. The issues in the formulation of the supervenience principles are two. The first involves the relevant variety of supervenience: that variety is global, but there are in fact two versions of global supervenience that must be distinguished. The second involves the subject matter: the names “identity over time” and “identity across worlds” are misnomers, for in neither case is identity at issue. The philosophical dividends then follow. Nathan Salmon’s argument that identity over time needs no “grounds” in matters of qualitative fact can be answered, as can an argument offered by many, that coincident objects (such as statues and lumps of clay) would require objectionably ungrounded differences in identities across times and worlds.
4. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Gerard O’Brien, Jonathan Opie A Defense of Cartesian Materialism
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One of the principal tasks Dennett sets himself in Consciousness Explained is to demolish the Cartesian theater model of phenomenal consciousness, which in its contemporary garb takes the form of Cartesian materialism: the idea that conscious experience is a process of presentation realized in the physical materials of the brain. The now standard response to Dennett is that, in focusing on Cartesian materialism, he attacks an impossibly naive account of consciousness held by no one currently working in cognitive science or the philosophy of mind. Our response is quite different. We believe that, once properly formulated, Cartesian materialism is no straw man. Rather, it is an attractive hypothesis about the relationship between the computational architecture of the brain and phenomenal consciousness, and hence one that is worthy of further exploration. Consequently, our primary aim in this paper is to defend Cartesian materialism from Dennett’s assault. We do this by showing that Dennett’s argument against this position is founded on an implicit assumption (about the relationship between phenomenalexperience and information coding in the brain), which while valid in the context of classical cognitive science, is not forced on connectionism.
5. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra Resemblance Nominalism and the Imperfect Community
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The object of this paper is to provide a solution to Nelson Goodman’s Imperfect Community difficulty as it arises for Resemblance Nominalism, the view that properties are classes of resembling particulars. The Imperfect Community difficulty consists in that every two members of a class resembling each other is not sufficient for it to be a class such that there is some property common to all their members, even if ‘x resembles y’ is understood as ‘x and y share some property’. In the paper I explain and criticise several solutions to the difficulty. Then I develop my own solution, which is not subject to the objections I make to the other solutions, and which accords completely with the basic tenets of Resemblance Nominalism.
6. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Trenton Merricks Endurance, Psychological Continuity, and the Importance of Personal Identity
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This paper argues that if persons last over time by “enduring”, then no analysis or reduction of personal identity over time in tenus of any sort of psychological continuity can be correct. In other words, any analysis of personal identity over time in tenus of psychological continuity entails that persons are four-dimensional and have temporal parts. The paper then shows that if we abandon psychological analyses of personal identity---as we must if persons endure---Parfit’s argument for the claim that identity does not matter in survival is easily undenuined. The paper then suggests that this offers support for the claim that persons endure. Along the way the paper tries to clarify the contrast between the doctrine that persons endure and its rival, four-dimensionalism.
7. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Samuel C. Wheeler, III Derrida’s Differance and Plato’s Different
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This essay shows that Derrida’s discussion of “Differance,” is remarkably parallel to Plato’s discussion of Difference in the Parmenides. Plato’s presentation of “Parmenides’” discussion of generation from a One which Is is a version of Derrida’s preconceptual spacing. Derrida’s implicit reference to Plato both interprets Plato and explains the obscure features of “Differance.” Derrida’s paradoxical remarks about Differance are very like what Plato implies about Difference.Derrida’s Differance addresses the puzzle that concepts are required to construct the beings in a plurality of objects, but concepts cannot differentiate unless there is already a plurality of objects. Plato’s version of the same problem is a notational variant of Derrida’s Husserlian dilemma.Derrida, following Davidson, is not only skeptical about the project of founding metaphysics on simple entities, but also holds that necessity has no foundation in the “world.” Plato, on the other hand, retains the idea that necessity has an objective basis in the self-evident truths of mereology.
8. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Paul O’Grady Carnap and Two Dogmas of Empiricism
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There is a general consensus that Quine’s assault on analyticity and verificationism in ‘Two Dogma of Empiricism’ has been successful and that Carnap’s philosophical position has been vanquished. This paper so characterises Carnap’s position that it escapes Quine’s criticisms. It shows that the disagreement is not a first order dispute about analyticity or verificationism, but rather a deeper dispute about philosophical method.
9. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Morton White Peirce’s Summum Bonum and the Ethical Views of C. I. Lewis and John Dewey
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I am primarily concerned here with C. I. Lewis’s suggestion in a letter to me that some admitted defects in his ethical views might be removed by appealing to Peirce’s views on the summum bonum, which Peirce identified as the evolutionary process whereby the universe becomes more and more orderly. Since Lewis held in his published writings that what is morally obligatory can never be determined by empirical facts alone, I argue that since the alleged growing orderliness of the universe must be established empirically, Lewis cannot analyze an obligatory action as one that contributes to that process without abandoning his view that obligatoriness cannot be established empirically. I also argue that if Lewis were to abandon his opposition to a naturalistic theory of obligation, appealing to Peirce’s summum bonum would not help Lewis out of what he called his predicament in ethics.
book symposium:
10. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Keith Lehrer Précis of Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge and Autonomy
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