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research articles
1. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Ward Blondé EMAAN: An Evolutionary Multiverse Argument against Naturalism
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In this paper, an evolutionary multiverse argument against naturalism (EMAAN) is presented: E1. In an evolutionary multiverse, phenomena have variable evolutionary ages. E2. After some time T, the development of the empirical sciences will be evolutionarily conserved. E3. The phenomena with an evolutionary age above T are methodologically supernatural. Entities are classified according to whether they are (1) physical and spatiotemporal, (2) causally efficacious, and (3) either observed by or explanatorily necessary for the empirical sciences. While the conjunction of (1) and (2) is taken to be sufficient for existence in reality, the negation of (3) defines methodological supernaturalness. EMAAN uses a generalization of evolutionary theory, namely cosmological natural selection, to argue that phenomena evolve that fulfill conditions (1) and (2), but not (3). This shows that methodologically supernatural phenomena have a clear epistemology according to a theory that is grounded in the commitments of naturalism. Supernatural phenomena are not observed by the empirical sciences because the empirical sciences themselves are supernaturally guided and predestined to develop according to an evolutionarily conserved plan. In spite of this scientific plan, there is room for afterlives and supernaturality in the everyday experience.
2. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
David Hernández Castro Empedocles without Horseshoes: Delphi’s Criticism of Large Sacrifices
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Scholars have generally analysed Empedocles’ criticism of sacrifices through a Pythagorean interpretation context. However, Empedocles’ doctrinal affiliation with this school is problematic and also not needed to explain his rejection of the ‘unspeakable slaughter of bulls.’ His position is consistent with the wisdom tradition that emanated from the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi, an institution that underwent significant political and religious changes at the end of the 6th Century B.C., the impact of which was felt all over Magna Graecia. The ritual practice of sacrifice played an important role in Delphi, but the sanctuary also gave birth to a school of wisdom that was highly critical of the arrogance (hybris) of large sacrifices. Asocio-cultural analysis of the Akragas of the first half of the 5th Century B.C. provides new arguments that support this interpretation. The work of Empedocles contains more evidence of being influenced by the Delphi school of wisdom than by Orphism or Pythagoreanism.
3. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Landon Frim Impartiality or Oikeiôsis?: Two Models of Universal Benevolence
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‘Universal benevolence’ may be defined as the goal of promoting the welfare of every individual, however remote, to the best of one’s ability. Currently, the commonest model of universal benevolence is that of ‘impartiality,’ the notion promoted by Peter Singer, Roderick Firth, and others, that every individual (including oneself) is of equal intrinsic worth. This paper contends that the impartialist model is seriously flawed. Specifically, it is demonstrated that impartialist accounts of benevolence (1) attempt to draw positive moral conclusions from negative premises, (2) draw actual conclusions from merely counterfactual premises, (3) fail to live up to stated claims of naturalism, and (4) give no compelling account of moral motivation. By contrast, I propose an alternate model of universal benevolence, grounded in the Stoic, cosmopolitan theory of oikeiôsis, i.e. ‘appropriation.’ Such a model, in contradistinction to impartiality, would see benevolence as the positive identification between moral agent and moral patient, rather than a charitable sacrifice of oneself for a distinct but equal other. An ethics of oikeiôsis has the further benefit of avoiding each of the four abovementioned conceptual pitfalls common to impartialist theories.
4. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Kazi A S M Nurul Huda The Expansionist View of Systematic Testimonial Injustice: South Asian Context
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In this paper, I offer an expansionist view of the Frickerian central case of testimonial injustice, citing examples from the South Asian context. To defend this expansionist position, I provide an argument in three parts. First, I argue that credibility deficit and credibility excess are entangled with each other in such a way that often, one produces the other. Secondly, I contend that we should not say that systematic testimonial injustice is a consequence of credibility deficit only because of the entanglement between them. I also contend that for being the central case of testimonial injustice, identity prejudice should not be necessarily negative; it can be positive as well. Propounding a twofold condition of the status of a knower, the last part claims that testimonial injustice occurs when one of the two conditions remains unmet.
5. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Seungbae Park The Exemplar Approach to Science and Religion
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We can judge whether some activities are scientific or religious, depending on how similar they are to exemplar scientific activities or to exemplar religious activities, even if we cannot specify the necessary and sufficient conditions for science and religion. The absence of the demarcation between science and religion does not justify the school policy of teaching the creationist hypothesis that God created the universe any more than it justifies the religious policy of teaching evolutionary theory, quantum mechanics, and the Big Bang theory in religious institutions.
6. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Rajesh Sampath The Dissolution of the Social Contract in to the Unfathomable Perpetuity of Caste: Questions of Nature, the State, Inequality, and Sovereignty in Hobbes, Hegel, and Ambedkar
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This paper examines Ambedkar’s critical view of certain distortions, contradictions, and instabilities in democratic norms, constitutional validity, and citizens’ rights in India’s secular, constitutional, legal, pluralistic democracy. Through a strident deconstruction utilizing Hegelian resources, the paper exposes the contortions and contradictions underpinning Hindu metaphysics in some of its most abstract texts, namely the ancient Upanishads. Through this deconstructive lens we unpack various aporias embedded in concepts of selfhood that render a truly liberal democratic political notion of citizenship impossible. The paper concludes with the necessity of further research on comparative philosophies of religion and political philosophy to better understand the limits of secular democracy, particularly for minority rights, in different metaphysical and civilizational traditions.
7. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
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8. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
About the Journal
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9. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Author Guidelines
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research articles
10. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Radoslav Baltezarevic, Borivoje Baltezarevic, Piotr Kwiatek, Vesna Baltezarevic The Impact of Virtual Communities on Cultural Identity
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The emergence of the Internet and various forms of virtual communities has led to the impact of a new social space on individuals who frequently replace the real world with alternative forms of socializing. In virtual communities, new ‘friendships’ are easily accepted; however, how this acceptance influences cultural identity has not been investigated. Based on the data collected from 443 respondents in the Republic of Serbia, authors analyze this connexion, as well as how the absorption of others’ cultural values is reflected on the local cultural values. The results show that the adoption of others’ cultural values diminished the bond with the local community. The present paper adds to the theory of virtual communities by examining the relationship between the acceptance of an unknown person in a virtual community and its effects on cultural identity. This study contributes to the clarification of the impact that virtual networking has on cultural identity.
11. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
James Cargile The First Person
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Many languages have a first person singular subject pronoun (‘I’ in English). Fewer also have a first person singular object pronoun (‘me’ in English). The term ‘I’ is commonly used to refer to the person using the term. It has a variety of other uses. A normal person is able to refer to theirself and think about their self and this is of course an important feature of being a person. For any person x, no one other than x can possibly think about x and by that alone, qualify as thinking about theirself. Perhaps this is special. However, there is a strong tendency to conflate this important capacity with capacities of grammar, such as thinking first person thoughts or ‘I thoughts.’ This leads to attempts to establish necessary truths about persons on the basis of rules of grammar which are not logically necessary. Thinking about oneself does not logically require a first person linguistic capacity. This essay is criticizing various tendencies to overlook this.
12. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Jerome Gellman Ersatz Belief and Real Belief
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Philosophers have given much attention to belief and knowledge. Here I introduce an epistemic category close to but different from belief, that I call ‘ersatz’ belief. Recognition of this category refines our catalogue of epistemic attitudes in an important way.
13. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Bonita Lee Existential Habit: The Role of Value in Praxis
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This exposition focuses on purposeful behaviours as efforts toward self-actualization. I introduce habit as a set of value-based behaviours that is different than the typical habit of physical movements. Each of those praxis is controlled by cognition driven by values – both personal and societal, and their following habits are the result of complex learning. I will then elaborate on three important topics: (1) awareness and efficacy with respect to habit, (2) collective habit, and (3) implications of existential habit on the individual’s as well as the society’s wellbeing.
14. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Rajesh Sampath A Hegelian Reading of Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign, Vol. I, to Philosophically Expound Ambedkar’s Critique of Caste in his 1932 “Statement of Gandhji’s Fast”
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This paper will attempt a Hegelian reading of Derrida’s Beast and the Sovereign Vol 1 lectures to unpack certain apories and paradoxes in Ambedkar’s brief 1932 statement on modern India’s founding figure, Gandhi. In that small text Ambedkar is critical of Gandhi’s seemingly saintly attempt at fasting himself to death. Ambedkar diagnoses that Gandhi’s act of self-sacrifice conceals a type of subtle coercion of certain political decisions during India’s independent movement from British colonialism. In order to unpack philosophical assumptions in Ambedkar’s statement, this paper examines Derrida’s startlingly original insights into animality, law, and sovereignty in confronting two of the Western tradition’s giants in political philosophy, namely Hobbes and Schmitt. My intuition is that Derridean deconstruction can be expanded further by deploying certain Hegelian resources. My ultimate aim is to show how Western notions of man, soul, God, the sovereign, and the state begin to dissolve when examining the Hindu metaphysical cosmology of the caste system. My thesis and concluding reflections argue that only by destroying that cosmological system of politico-metaphysical inequality can a true democratic notion of the sovereign state emerge in the Indian context.
15. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
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16. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
About the Journal
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17. Symposion: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Author Guidelines
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18. Symposion: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Scott Aikin, Tempest Henning Introduction: Skeptical Problems in Political Epistemology
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19. Symposion: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Emily McGill Is Liberalism Disingenuous?: Truth and Lies in Political Liberalism
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Rawlsian political liberalism famously requires a prohibition on truth. This has led to the charge that liberalism embraces non-cognitivism, according to which political claims have the moral status of emotions or expressions of preference. This result would render liberalism a non-starter for liberatory politics, a conclusion that political liberals themselves disavow. This conflict between what liberalism claims and what liberalism does has led critics to charge that the theory is disingenuous and functions as political ideology. In this paper, I explore one way that this charge unfolds: critics charge that liberalism utilizes an individualistic and identity-insensitive social ontology, which in turn yields epistemic deficiencies that render it incapable of detecting oppression. The theory’s claim to freestandingness then shields it from necessary critique. I argue that this objection relies on constructing a conflict between liberalism’s professed non-cognitivism and its actual cognitivist commitments. By demonstrating that Rawlsian political liberalism explicitly endorses substantive moral truths, and that the method of avoidance applies only to public justification for coercive state action, I show that the theory is openly and foundationally cognitivist, and thus that the charge of disingenuousness does not stick.
20. Symposion: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Eric T. Morton Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Burdens of Judgment
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Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin have argued that substantive versions of value pluralism are incompatible with pragmatism, and that all such versions of pluralism must necessarily collapse into versions of strong metaphysical pluralism. They also argue that any strong version of value pluralism is incompatible with pragmatism’s meliorist commitment and will block the road of inquiry. I defend the compatibility of a version of value pluralism (the strong epistemic pluralism of John Rawls) with pragmatism, and offer counterarguments to all of these claims.