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Displaying: 1-10 of 113 documents


1. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Cameron McNeely, Letter from the Editor
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2. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Gina Schouten, Letter from the Founder
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3. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Corey Baron, In Defense of Strong AI: Semantics as Second-Order Rules
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This paper argues against John Searle in defense of the potential for computers to understand language (“Strong AI”) by showing that semantic meaning is itself a second-order system of rules that connects symbols and syntax with extralinguistic facts. Searle’s Chinese Room Argument is contested on theoretical and practical grounds by identifying two problems in the thought experiment, and evidence about “machine learning” is used to demonstrate that computers are already capable of learning to form true observation sentences in the same way humans do. Finally, sarcasm is used as an example to extend the argument to more complex uses of language.
4. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Lixing Mida Chu, Semantic Ambiguity Explained in the Framework of Cognitive Economy
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In “Context and Communication,” Stephen Neale argues that the referential use of descriptions differs from the attributive use only in the pragmatics, making referential descriptions applicable to Russellian analysis. Marga Reimer disagrees with Neale’s view and argues that the difference is in the semantics, making referential descriptions semantically ambiguous. In this paper, I argue that Neale’s Modified Occam’s Razor overlooks the behavioral data of how we actually use language. I attempt to accommodate the strength of both Neale’s and Reimer’s explanations, putting them in a framework governed by the principle of cognitive economy.
5. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Ried Gustafson, Epistemologies of Henry David Thoreau & the Lakota Sioux
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Western individualism and Indigenous communalism are contradicting epistemologies. This paper provides a comparative analysis of these epistemologies found in the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Lakota Sioux philosopher, Robert Bunge. Taking a comparative look into these epistemologies is beneficial to understanding the fundamental difference in knowledge existing between Western and Indigenous peoples. Ultimately, Western individualism has created an environment of competition to establish boundaries and define oneself. In contrast, the Lakota knowledge of community operates to sustain life through reciprocity and adjustment to one another and the natural world.
6. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Caleb Hazelwood, Synthetic Biology and Natural Kinds: Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory in the Post-Genomic Era
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In the life sciences, biologists and philosophers lack a unifying concept of species—one that will reconcile intuitive demarcations of taxa with the fluidity of phenotypes found in nature. One such attempt at solving this “species problem” is known as Homeostatic Property Cluster theory (HPC), which suggests that species are not defined by singular essences, but by clusters of properties that a species tends to possess. I contend that the arbitrary nature of HPC’s kind criteria would permit a biological brand of functionalism to inform species boundaries, thereby validating synthetic organisms as members of a species that do not belong.
7. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Haiyu Jiang, Cognition and Evolution: A Reply to Nagel’s Charges on the Evolutionary Explanation of Cognition
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In this paper, I examine one of Nagel’s arguments against evolutionary theory, that the evolutionary conception of nature is incompatible with our understanding of cognition. I reconstruct Nagel’s two charges that the evolutionary conception of nature is at odds with our ability to acquire objective knowledge of the external world and that evolutionary theory is insufficient to explain logic’s absolute reliability. I reply to the first charge by suggesting that we should understand our ability to logically reason as a by-product instead of a direct product of the evolutionary processes. Then I reply to the second charge by denying that logic’s reliability is an appropriate subject of inquiry for evolutionary theory.
8. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
David McKerracher, Virtual Enframing: Social Media’s Subsumption of the Other into Theyness
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Sherry Turkle’s “virtuous circle” will be used to bring insights from Heidegger and Levinas into accord. Turkle argues that the distraction and escape made possible by our devices tend to undermine achieving solitude and genuine sociality, thus posing a danger to the interdependent possibilities of authenticity and ethical living. For Heidegger, the call of conscience is one’s ownmost possibility, death. Levinas argues that the call of conscience is instead ethical, instigated by the face of the Other. Rather than conflicting, these two phenomenological accounts of conscience will be shown to be mutually affirming once brought into harmony via Turkle’s framework.
9. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Janice Perri, Making Sense of Epicurean Friendship: An Intended Audience Approach
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This paper argues that Epicurean friendship is instrumental in value, and Epicurus’s varied claims about friendship can be understood as teaching strategies that are tailored to different levels of students. After rejecting an argument that presents Epicurean friendship as intrinsic, I outline Epicurus’s methodology of teaching and examine his specific claims regarding friendship as intended for either novice, intermediate, or advanced students. This approach allows Epicurus’s weaker and stronger claims regarding friendship to be viewed as gradually progressing students towards the good life without deviating from the ethical hedonism that frames his entire philosophical project.
10. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 10
Russ Shafer-Landau, The Philosopher’s Role: An Interview with Dr. Russ Shafer-Landau
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