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1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Valerie Gray Hardcastle On the Matter of Minds and Mental Causation
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There is a difference between someone breaking a glass by accidentally brushing up against it and smashing a glass in a fit of anger. In the first case, the person’s cognitive state has little to do with the event, but in the second, the mental state qua anger is quite relevant. How are we to understand this difference? What is the proper way to understand the relation between the mind, the brain, and the resultant behavior? This paper explores the popular “middle ground” reply in which mental phenomena are claimed to be “as real as” other higher level properties. It argues that this solution fails to answer epistemological difficulties surrounding how to chose the appropriate factors in an explanation. A more sophisticated understanding of scientific theorizing and of the relation between ontology and explanation give us a framework in which we can determine when we should refer to mental states as being the causally efficacious agents for some behavior.
2. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Eugene Mills The Unity of Justification
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The thesis that practical and epistemic justification can diverge---that it can be reasonable to believe something, all things considered, even when believing is epistemically unjustified, and the reverse---is widely accepted. I argue that this acceptance is unfounded. I show, first, that examples of the sort typically cited as straightforwardly illustrative of the “divergence thesis” do not, in fact, support it. The view to the contrary derives from conflating the assessment of acts which cause one to believe with the assessment of believing itself. I argue, too, that the divergence thesis cannot be rescued by appeal to the possibility of doxastic voluntarism. Finally, I argue that the general acceptance of the divergence thesis rests on a conception of justification, both practical and epistemic, which is seriously flawed.
3. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Martine Nida-Rümelin On Belief About Experiences: An Epistemological Distinction Applied to the Knowledge Argument Against Physicalism
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The article introduces two kinds of belief-phenomenal belief and nonphenomenal belief---about color experiences and examines under what conditions the distinction can be extended to belief about other kinds of mental states. A thesis of the paper is that the so-called Knowledge Argument should not be formulated---as usual---using the locution of ‘knowing what it’s like’ but instead using the concept of phenomenal belief and explains why ‘knowing what it's like’ does not serve the purposes of those who wish to defend the Knowledge Argument. The article distinguishes two rival accounts of the phenomenal/nonphenomenal distinction and explains how the result of the Knowledge Argument depends upon which of these accounts one wishes to accept.
4. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Roy A. Sorensen Self-Strengthening Empathy
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Stepping into the other guy’s shoes works best when you resemble him. After all, the procedure is to use yourself as a model: in goes hypothetical beliefs and desires, out comes hypothetical actions and revised beliefs and desires. If you are structurally analogous to the empathee, then accurate inputs generate accurate outputs---just as with any other simulation. The greater the degree of isomorphism, the more dependable and precise the results. This sensitivity to degrees of resemblance suggests that the method of empathy works best for average people. The advantage of being a small but representative sample of the population will create a bootstrap effect. For as average people prosper, there will be more average descendants and so the degree of resemblance in subsequent generations will snowball. Each increment in like-mindedness further enhances the reliability and validity of mental simulation. With each circuit along the spiral, there is tighter and tighter bunching and hence further empowerment of empathy. The method is self-strengthening and eventually molds a population of hyper-similar individuals---which partly solves the problem of other minds.
5. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
George M. Wilson Semantic Realism and Kripke’s Wittgenstein
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This article argues, first, that the fundamental structure of the skeptical argument in Kripke’s book on Wittgenstein has been seriously misunderstood by recent commentators. Although it focuses particularly on recent commentary by John McDowell, it emphasizes that the basic misunderstandings are widely shared by other commentators. In particular, it argues that, properly construed, Kripke offers a fully coherent reading of PI #201 and related passages. This is commonly denied, and given as a reason for rejecting Kripke’s reading of Wittgenstein’s text. Second, it is pretty universally accepted that Kripke’s Wittgenstein is a ‘non-factualist’ about ascriptions of meaning. The article argues that, when Kripke’s discussion is rightly understood and the content of ‘non-factualism’ is clarified, there is an important sense in which the skeptical solution is not committed to non-factualism.
6. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
William E. Mann Piety: Lending a Hand to Euthyphro
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Many philosophers take the point of Plato’s Euthyphro to be an indictment of attempts to ground morality in religion, specifically in the attitudes of a deity or deities. It has been argued cogently in recent essays that Plato’s case is far from conclusive. This essay suggests instead that the Euthyphro can be read more narrowly as raising critical questions about a specific religious virtue, Piety. Then it presents the ingredients of a reply to those questions. The reply proceeds by suggesting that one need not accept the standards of definition used by Plato, and that one can provide an explanation of what Piety is by embedding Piety in a more comprehensive picture of the human, the divine, and the relations between the two. The picture makes use of a doctrine of divine sovereignty and a doctrine concerning love between God and humans.
7. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Stewart Cohen Two Kinds of Skeptical Argument
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This paper compares two kinds of epistemic principles---an underdetermination principle and a deductive closure principle. It argues that each principle provides the basis for an independently motivated skeptical argument. It examines the logical relations between the premises of the two kinds of skeptical argument and concludes that the deductive closure argument cannot be refuted without refuting the underdetermination argument. The underdetermination argument, however, can be refuted without refuting the deductive closure argument. In this respect, the deductive closure argument is the stronger of the two.
book symposium:
8. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Gilbert Harman Précis of Part One
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9. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Judith Jarvis Thomson Précis of Part Two
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10. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Peter Railton Moral Explanation and Moral Objectivity
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