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Displaying: 1-10 of 166 documents


1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Sally Haslanger, Racism, Ideology, and Social Movements
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Racism, sexism, and other forms of injustice are more than just bad attitudes; after all, such injustice involves unfair distributions of goods and resources. But attitudes play a role. How central is that role? Tommie Shelby, among others, argues that racism is an ideology and takes a cognitivist approach suggesting that ideologies consist in false beliefs that arise out of and serve pernicious social conditions. In this paper I argue that racism is better understood as a set of practices, attitudes, social meanings, and material conditions, that systematically reinforce one another. Attitudes play a role, but even the cognitive/affective component of ideologies should include culturally shared habits of mind and action. These habits of mind distort, obscure, and occlude important facts about subordinated groups and result in a failure to recognize their interests. How do we disrupt such practices to achieve greater justice? I argue that this is sometimes, but not always, best achieved by argument or challenging false beliefs, so social movements legitimately seek other means.
2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Aaron Cobb, The Silence of God and the Theological Virtue of Hope
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Hope is crucial human agency, but its fragility grounds a substantive challenge to Christian belief. It is not clear how a perfectly loving God could permit despairinducing experiences of divine silence. Drawing upon a distinctively Christian psychology of hope, this paper seeks to address this challenge. I contend that divine silence can act as a corrective to misplaced natural hopes. But there are risks in God’s choice to allow a person to lose all natural hope. Thus, if God is perfectly loving, God ought to find a way to demonstrate goodness to those who are tempted by theological despair. I argue that the Church demonstrates God’s goodness through its merciful care and hope for the afflicted. The local community can act to sustain or recover a person’s capacity to remain open to the gift of hope even in the midst of divine silence.
3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Peter Furlong, Aquinas and the Epistemic Condition for Moral Responsibility
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Agents are morally responsible for their actions only if they understand what they are doing. This much seems clear, but it is unclear exactly what agents must understand in order to be morally responsible; in other words, the epistemic condition for moral responsibility is difficult to discover. In this paper, I will investigate Aquinas’s discussion of knowledge, voluntariness, and moral responsibility in order to discover his views on this condition. Although he never provides a formal expression of such a condition, I will use his discussions of related issues to construct a three-part epistemic condition for moral responsibility. In the process I will raise and discuss several interpretative difficulties, arguing that while some can be resolved, others, despite recent claims to the contrary, resist resolution. Finally, I will draw out several consequences of his account, noteworthy for a variety of reasons.
4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Daniel A. Wilkenfeld, Transformative Understanding Acquisition
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Some experiences change who we are in ways we cannot understand until we have that very experience. In this paper I argue that so-called “transformative experiences” can not only bring about new understanding, but can actually be brought out by the gain of understanding itself. Coming to understand something new can change you. I argue that not only is understanding acquisition potentially a kind of transformative experience; given some of the recent philosophy of the phenomenology of understanding, it is a kind that is potentially rare in not being dependent on a particular subjective phenomenology. The goal of this paper threefold. First, I argue that coming to gain cognitive understanding of an academic subject matter can, under some circumstances, itself be a transformative experience. A second, subsidiary goal of this paper is to argue that such transformative understanding merits further study. Finally, I give a rough taxonomy of under what conditions we should expect understanding acquisition to be transformative.
5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Jordan MacKenzie, Agent-Regret and the Social Practice of Moral Luck
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Agent-regret seems to give rise to a philosophical puzzle. If we grant that we are not morally responsible for consequences outside our control (the ‘Standard View’), then agent-regret—which involves self-reproach and a desire to make amends for consequences outside one’s control—appears rationally indefensible. But despite its apparent indefensibility, agent-regret still seems like a reasonable response to bad moral luck. I argue here that the puzzle can be resolved if we appreciate the role that agent-regret plays in a larger social practice that helps us deal with bad moral luck. That agent-regret is a component in a social practice limits the questions that we can reasonably ask about it. While we can ask whether an experience of agent-regret is rational given the norms of this practice, we cannot ask the question that motivates the puzzle of agent-regret, viz. whether agent-regret is rationally defensible according to the Standard View.
6. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Julie Wulfmeyer, The Social Transmission of Direct Cognitive Relations
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Both Russell and Donnellan proposed direct, non-descriptive cognitive relations between thinkers and objects. They agreed that such relations couldn’t be initiated in evidence cases, but Donnellan, unlike Russell, thought direct cognitive relations could be transmitted from person to person. Kaplan suggests the issues of initiation and transmission are separable—allowing one to deny that evidence yields direct cognition while believing direct cognition is transmittable. Here, cases involving transmission, evidence, ordinary perception, and perception aided by technology are considered. It is concluded that the same mechanism is at work in each case, and that the initiation issue cannot be separated from the transmission issue since transmission cases are evidence cases. Finally, it is argued that this doesn’t threaten the directness of the cognitive relations involved.
7. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Dionysis Christias, Sellars's Synoptic Vision: A 'Dialectical' Ascent Toward 'Absorbed Skillful Coping'?
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The purpose of this article is to examine Sellars’s envisaged stereoscopic fusion between the manifest and the scientific image in regard to the central issue of the being of the normative. I shall propose that the best way to make sense of the notion of the Sellarsian ‘stereoscopic fusion’ is to hold both that (a) the core function of normative discourse is to point toward something that does not exist, but ought to exist, namely a regulative ideal and (b) that the raison d’être of normatively infused items is for them to be materially realized at the level of non-normative objects and processes. On this view, the effected elimination (denormativization) of the normative level itself in the Sellarsian ‘synoptic vision’ can be best understood in terms of the concrete realization of what I call ‘generalized absorbed skillful coping,’ that is, our ability for absorbed skillful coping within our—and indeed, in any possible—environment.
8. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Spencer Case, A Limited Defense of the Kalām Cosmological Argument
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The kalām cosmological argument proceeds from the claims that everything with a beginning has a cause of its existence, and that the universe has a beginning. It follows that the universe has a cause of its existence. Presumably, this cause is God. Some defenders of the argument contend that, since we don’t see things randomly coming into existence, we know from experience that everything with a beginning has a cause of its existence. Against this, some critics argue that we may not legitimately move from observations of material things within the universe to conclusions about the universe itself. I argue that these critics are mistaken. We can after all draw cosmic conclusions from everyday experiences in support of the kalām argument.
9. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey Goodman, On Inadvertently Created Abstracta, Fictional Storytelling, and Scientific Hypothesizing
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In my “Creatures of Fiction, Objects of Myth” (2014), I present and defend an argument for thinking that mythical creationism—the view that mythical objects like phlogiston and Vulcan are abstract artifacts—is false. One intriguing sort of objection to my argument has been recently put forth by Zvolenszky (2016); she claims that a crucial premise is seen to be unjustified once one considers the phenomena of inadvertently created abstracta—specifically, inadvertently created fictional characters. I argue here that even if we admit inadvertently created abstracta into our ontology, my argument survives. I ultimately defend a view on which fictional characters (if real) may be countenanced as created abstracta whether purposefully created or not, yet mythical objects are best taken to be discoverable, Platonic abstracta (if real). We can see that such a hybrid ontology is justified once we take proper note of the nature of the sorts of authorial activities involved in fictional storytelling and scientific hypothesizing.
winner of the 2016 res philosophica essay prize
10. Res Philosophica: Volume > 93 > Issue: 4
Josh Dohmen, "A Little of Her Language": Epistemic Injustice and Mental Disability
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In this essay, I argue that certain injustices faced by mentally disabled persons are epistemic injustices by drawing upon epistemic injustice literature, especially as it is developed by Miranda Fricker. First, I explain the terminology and arguments developed by Fricker, Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr., and Kristie Dotson that are useful in theorizing epistemic injustices against mentally disabled people. Second, I consider some specific cases of epistemic injustice to which mentally disabled persons are subject. Third, I turn to a discussion of severely mentally disabled persons who, because they are unable to share information or develop interpretations of shared social experiences, may fall outside Fricker’s discussion of epistemic injustice. Fourth and finally, following arguments given by Kristie Dotson and Christopher Hookway, I define and explain a type of epistemic injustice: intimate hermeneutical injustice that I believe supplements other discussions of epistemic injustice.