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1. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
Sophie Horowitz The Truth Problem for Permissivism
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Epistemologists often assume that rationality bears an important connection to the truth. In this paper I examine the implications of this commitment for permissivism: if rationality is a guide to the truth, can it also allow some leeway in how we should respond to our evidence? I first discuss a particular strategy for connecting permissive rationality and the truth, developed in a recent paper by Miriam Schoenfield. I argue that this limited truth-connection is unsatisfying, and the version of permissivism that supports it faces serious challenges; so, for mainstream permissivism, the truth problem is still unsolved. I then discuss a strategy available to impermissivists, according to which rationality bears a quite strong connection to truth. I argue that this second strategy is successful.
2. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
Brad Armendt Causal Decision Theory and Decision Instability
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The problem of the man who met death in Damascus appeared in the infancy of the theory of rational choice known as causal decision theory. A straightforward, unadorned version of causal decision theory is presented here and applied, along with Brian Skyrms’s deliberation dynamics, to Death in Damascus and similar problems. Decision instability is a fascinating topic, but not a source of difficulty for causal decision theory. Andy Egan’s purported counterexample to causal decision theory, Murder Lesion, is considered; a simple response shows how Murder Lesion and similar examples fail to be counterexamples, and clarifies the use of the unadorned theory in problems of decision instability. I compare unadorned causal decision theory to previous treatments by Frank Arntzenius and by Jim Joyce, and recommend a well-founded heuristic that all three accounts can endorse. Whatever course deliberation takes, causal decision theory is consistently a good guide to rational action.
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3. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
Theron Pummer All or Nothing, but If Not All, Next Best or Nothing
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Suppose two children face a deadly threat. You can either do nothing, save one child by sacrificing your arms, or save both by sacrificing your arms. Here are two plausible claims: first, it is permissible to do nothing; second, it is wrong to save only one. Joe Horton argues that the combination of these two claims has the implausible implication that if you are not going to save both children, you ought to save neither. This is one instance of what he calls the ALL OR NOTHING PROBLEM. I here present CONDITIONAL PERMISSIONS as the solution. Although saving only one child is wrong, it can be conditionally permissible, that is, permissible given what you are not going to do. You ought to save both children or save neither, but if you are not going to save both, you ought to do the next best thing (save one) or save neither.
4. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 5
New Books: Anthologies
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5. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 4
Arvid Båve Acts and Alternative Analyses
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I show that the act-type theories of Soames and Hanks entail that every sentence with alternative analyses (including every atomic sentence with a polyadic predicate) is ambiguous, many of them massively so. I assume that act types directed toward distinct objects are themselves distinct, plus some standard semantic axioms, and infer that act-type theorists are committed to saying that ‘Mary loves John’ expresses both the act type of predicating [loving John] of Mary and that of predicating [being loved by Mary] of John. Since the two properties are distinct, so are the act types. Hence, the sentence expresses two propositions. I also discuss a non-standard “pluralist” act-type theory, as well as some retreat positions, which all come with considerable problems. Finally, I extrapolate to a general constraint on theories of structured propositions, and find that Jeffrey King’s theory has the same unacceptable consequence as the act-type theory.
6. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 4
Kentaro Fujimoto Predicativism about Classes
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Classes are the objects of the second sort of second-order set theory. They have sets as their members and behave like sets, but paradoxes tell us that many classes cannot be sets. Then, what are classes? Predicativism about classes suggests that classes are predicates of sets, and this article investigates the question from the predicativist point of view in light of recent developments in the use of classes in set theory. Predicativism has been considered too restrictive and unable to accommodate the use of classes in set theory. This diagnosis, however, is only true of a certain specific type of predicativism. In this article, we propose a new type of predicativism, which we call liberal predicativism, and argue that predicativism is still a highly viable option, and our liberal version provides a sufficiently versatile and workable nominalist concept of classes for set theory.
book reviews
7. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 4
Daniel Greco Sarah Moss: Probabilistic Knowledge
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8. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 4
New Books: Translations
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9. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 3
David Shoemaker Hurt Feelings
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In introducing the reactive attitudes “of people directly involved in transactions with each other,” P. F. Strawson lists “gratitude, resentment, forgiveness, love, and hurt feelings.” To show how our interpersonal emotional practices of responsibility could not be undermined by determinism’s truth, Strawson focused exclusively on resentment, specifically on its nature and actual excusing and exempting conditions. So have many other philosophers theorizing about responsibility in Strawson’s wake. This method and focus has generated a host of quality of will theories of responsibility. What I show in this paper is that if Strawson—and his followers—had focused on hurt feelings instead of resentment, not only would quality of will theories of responsibility be disfavored, but none of our other theories of responsibility could adequately account for them. I conclude by exploring what a conundrum this poses for our methods and starting points in theorizing about responsibility.
10. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 116 > Issue: 3
Michael Ridge Relaxing Realism or Deferring Debate?
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In this paper I argue that so-called “Relaxed Realism” of the sort defended by T. M. Scanlon fails on its own terms by failing to distinguish itself from its putative rivals—in particular, from Quasi-Realism. On a whole host of questions, Relaxed Realism and Quasi-Realism give exactly the same answers, and these answers make up much of the core of the view. Scanlon offers three possible points of contrast, each of which I argue is not fit for purpose. Along the way I argue that Quasi-Realists can provide a better account of practical rationality than Relaxed Realists can, so insofar as they are distinct Quasi-Realism is superior.