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Displaying: 21-38 of 38 documents


21. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Maurice Mandelbaum The Determinants of Choice
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This paper assumes that human choices are determined, and distinguishes among the views of some classical modern philosophers regarding what determines choice.Hobbes and Hume are taken as representatives of choice as determined by subjective propensities; the differences between their views is discussed. Descartes is taken as a major representative of the view that choice is determined by an apprehension of that which is objectively good, and Spinoza, Malebranche, and Leibniz are discussed insofar as they share that view. It is then shown that interpretations of Locke and Mill whieh assimilate their views to those of Hobbes and Hume are mistaken.As a third alternative, the self-determinist positions of Green and Dewey are discussed. The views of James, in which attention and effort are key concepts, are traced, and that aspect of his view whieh stresses attention is accepted, while his emphasis on effort is rejected.
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22. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Robert D. Heslep Gewirth and the Voluntary Agent’s Esteem of Purpose
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This paper discusses Alan Gewirth’s claim that the agent of a voluntary action necessarily values his purpose. It holds that not only is Gewirth wrong in making the claim but that his mistake is of serious importance for his moral theory. The criticism proceeds through an examination of the five arguments advanced by Gewirth, explicitly and implicitly, in support of the proposition that any agent necessarily esteems his goal. A key point in the criticism is that an agent of voluntary action might have his goal capriciously and for that reason might not appreciate the goal. The paper concludes by specifying how Gewirth’s inadequate defense of his claim undercuts certain principles of his moral theory, including the Principle of Generic Consistency.
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23. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Timo Airaksinen Absolutely Certain Beliefs: Odegard, Rescher and Klein
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This paper presents a critical review and discussion of three recent major theories of epistemic scepticism. Odegard and Rescher both agree that real knowledge entails certain beliefs. But they both fail to see how beliefs could be absolutely certain. Klein’s book, Certainty: A Refutationof Scepticism, presents the strongest possible view in favor of absolute certainty. I pay attention to its technical details and development by Klein. My conclusion is that Klein’s theory rests on some presupposed ideas that are either counterintuitive or then make the theory trivial: one’s certainty of truth becomes the same as the truth itself.
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24. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Natika Newton Acting and Perceiving in Body and Mind
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In this paper I sketch an account of (a) the origin of the terms and concepts of folk psychology, and (b) the true nature of mental states. I argue that folk psychology is built on metaphors for the functioning physical body, and that mental states are neurological traces which serve as schematic ‘mental images’ of those same functions. Special attention is paid to the folk psychology of self-consciousness. In particular, I argue that the notion of introspection is mistaken, and I criticize recent claims of Patricia and Paul Churchland on this subject. I conclude by discussingrecent empirical evidence in support of my approach.
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25. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Louis G. Lombardi The Nature of Rights
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The paper seeks to explain rights by first uncovering their specific place in the moral realm. Accounts of rights as claims or entitlements are criticized for attempting to explain the moral concept of rights in terms that are primarily non-moral. Rights are then described as a form ofprescriptive presumption, that is, as requirements on deliberations that yield justifiable expectations of certain types of treatment. Similarities and differences between rights and moral rules or principles are examined to uncover the specific role of rights in moral analysis.
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26. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Robert L. Greenwood C.I. Lewis and the Issue of Phenomenalism
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According to the received view, the philosophy of C.I. Lewis is a form of phenomenalism. The first part of this paper is an argument designed to show that Lewis does not support one of the necessary conditions for ontological phenomenalism; namely, the sense-datum theory. The secondpart is an argument designed to show that Lewis’ theory is incompatible with linguistic phenomenalism, a view according to which there is an equivalence of meaning between physical object statements and sense-data statements. The argument is not merely that terminating judgments are not sense-data statements, but that they cannot be equivalent to objective statements.
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27. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Harold Zellner Spinoza’s Causal Likeness Principle
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Axiom 4 of the Ethics of Spinoza runs:The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.Since this is in the ancestry of some of Spinoza’s most important and characteristic claims, a clarification of its meaning would be highly desirable (in the literature it is left unhelpfully vague.) I argue that A4 is a causal likeness principle, according to which causal relationships always feature a property which in some sense is “passed” from the cause to the effect. This interpretation provides a key to understanding some darker passages.
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28. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Douglas N. Walton, Deborah C. Hobbs Non-Treatment of Spina Bifida Babies
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This article presents a philosophical framework for physician-family ethical decision-making for the controversial cases of withdrawal, initiation, or continuation of treatment for spina bifida infants. The well-known criteria for selective treatment proposed by Lorber are shown to be ethically sub-optimal on the grounds that they are based on a general conception of the decision framework that is open to serious criticisms and questioning.We propose a model of joint physician-family decision-making that we think represents a more rational method of balancing patient autonomy with the professional expertise and international moral norms of physicians. We raise serious reservations about the wisdom of allowing the state to intervene too strenously in this type of decision, in many cases.
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29. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Peter Nicholls, Dan Passell Kripke’s Contingent A Priori and Necessary A Posteriori
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We think that Kripke’s arguments that there are contingent a priori truths and that there are necessary a posteriori truths about named and essentially described entities fail. They fail for the reasons that there are ambiguities in each of the three eases. In the first ease, what is known apriori is not what is contingent. In the latter two cases, what is necessary or essential is not what is known a posteriori.
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30. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Douglas Low The Existential Dialectic of Marx and Merleau-Ponty
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Our work represents the culmination of a study that is a search for a method. It is a search that has led us away from the remnants of Cartesianism that are found in Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason, which we do not deal with here, and toward a comparative study of Karl Marx and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which we do take up in detail. The present manuscript argues, in fact, that both Marx and Merleau-Ponty operate with a method that may be called an existential dialectic.By means of careful and extended analysis of The Structure of Behavior we attempt to uncover Merleau-Ponty’s method, calling special attention to its sometimes ignored dialectical character. We then proceed to argue that Marx is operating with a type of phenomenological/existential method, and this is true not only of the young Marx but also of the mature Marx of the Grundrisse and Capital. Finally, with the assistance of Lukacs’ History and Class Consciousness, we point up the dialectical character of Marx’s method. Thus, it is by uncovering this approach in the text of each of these thinkers and by comparing the method of each man with that of the other that we show that both Marx and Merleau-Pontyoperate with an existential dialectical method.This in depth methodological comparison of Marx and Merleau-Ponty represents the first study of its kind. It is hoped that “The Existential Dialectic of Marx and Merleau-Ponty” will contribute to the on-going and important dialogue between Marxists and existentialists.
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31. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee The Failure of Love and Sexual Desire in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre
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For Jean-Paul Sartre, both love and sexual desire are necessarily doomed to failure. In this paper, I wish to briefly explain why Sartre takes this position. Both love and sexual desire fail, as do all patterns to conduct towards the other, because they involve an attempt to simultaneouslycapture the other-as-subject and as-object. This, for Sartre, involves an ontological contradiction which I demonstrate.Furthermore, I wish to offer the outline of a criticism of this position, a criticism made from the perspective of an acceptance of the basic Sartrian approach taken in Being and Nothingness. Sartre’s description of love implies an attempt to overcome ontological aspects of the human condition which are fundamentally insurmountable. I will show that this description is flawed even within the confines of a Sartrian ontology by pointing out unwarranted assumptions on Sartre’s part as to the goals of these activities and their worth, as well as the worth of the emotional consciousness itself.
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32. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Harold H. Kuester The Dependence of Stephen Toulmin’s Epistemology on a Description/Prescription Dichotomy
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Toulmin is one of the three or four best-known philosophers of science who, beginning in the late 1950’s, attempted a thoroughgoing criticism of logical positivism (the philosophy of science which predominated at that time). The paper argues that Toulmin depends upon the same sort oftheory-observation dichotomy which resulted in many of the difficulties which bedeviled logical positivism. Thus Toulmin’s criticism is neither as radical nor as trouble-free as many suppose.
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33. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael Davis Interested Vegetables, Rational Emotions, and Moral Status
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Many discussions of the moral status of “mindless beings” such as the permanently comatose, the dead, trees, and human fetuses seem to take for granted the thesis that it is improper to appeal to emotions to establish the fundamental distinction between “persona” (beings capableof rights “in their own right”) and “things” (beings not capable of rights except in some fictional or iIlusory sense). Persons are persons, however we may feel about them.That thesis seems to be a major obstacle to any nonutilitarian account of the personhood of mindless beings.I argue that the thesis of independence is true, if at aIl, only for one class of persons (“rational agents”). Beyond that class, our emotional response to a being can be relevant to its moral status. Acting on some consideration (or believing something in virtue of it) can be rational inthe “constitutive”, “regulative”, or “associative” sense. A consideration is a good reason if it is rational in any of these senses. The importance of this claim is shown by briefly examining Feinberg’s weIl-known argument that it is a conceptual truth that mindless beings are incapable ofrights. His argument assumes that our emotions cannot be rational in the appropriate sense and coIlapses without that assumption.
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34. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
William M. Goodman Structures and Procedures: Carnap’s Construction in the Aufbau
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This paper takes up the challenge which Carnap poses in his Aufbau: to make of it a basis for continued epistemological research. I try to close some gaps in Carnap’s original presentation and to make at least the first few steps of his constructional outline more accessible to the modern reader. Particularly emphasized is Carnap’s implicit recognition that, to be effective, “structural” models of epistemology (using logical symbols) must be complemented with “procedural” models (his “fictitious operations”). The paper shows how a procedural model, a computer program,can “bypass” Nelson Goodman’s counter example to Carnap’s logical construction of “similarity circles”.
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35. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Stephen Pollard Plural Quantification and the Iterative Concept of Set
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Arecent paper by George Boolos suggests that it is philosophically respectable to use monadic second order logic in one’s explication of the iterative concept of set. I shall here give a partial indication of the new range of theories of the iterative hierarchy which are thus madeavailable to philosophers of set theory.
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36. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Frank G. Verges On Having Your Marx and Deconstructing Him Too
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In this paper I examine some logical features of Marxist/Christian compatibilist projects. I use Arthur McGovern’s Marxism: An American Christian Perspective as my chief stalking horse. As an heuristic device, I distinguish the views in Marx’s early writings (Marxist humanism--M-I)from the more mature theory of historical materialism (M-2), where the latter is construed primarily as a social scientific method for the explanation of historical change. I also distinguish C-1, the moral teachings of Jesus, from C-2, Christian theology. I argue that the logic of Christian compatibilism requires the acceptance of C-1, C-2, and M-2, while it must reject or downplay M-l, Marxist humanism. Similarly, the logic of a Marxist compatibilism requires the acceptance of M-1, M-2, end C-1, while it must reject C-2, Christian theology. I conclude that, while Christian and Marxist compatibilists can work together in seeking to overcome capitalism and imperialism, it is more difficult to see how thedisagreements over Marxist humanism vs. Christian theology could ever be transcended.
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37. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Charles T. Hagen Rationality in Plato’s Republic
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This paper distinguishes six elements in the Platonic concept of rationality as it appears in the Republic: (a) being fully informed; (b) thinking logically; (c) having the single correct ultimate end; (d) determining the appropriate means; (e) matching action to thought; and (f) promotingone’s own interest. The evidence linking the rational part of the soul (the logistikon) to each of these aspects is discussed. The philosopher-guardians are shown to exemplify full and complete “Platonic rationality”, whereas the unjust men in books 8 and 9 exhibit different degrees of failure to conform to the six elements listed above.
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38. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael R. Baumer Sketch for a Modal Interpretation of Descartes’ Cogito
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In his logical exegesis of Descartes’ cogito, Hintikka has claimed that, formulated as an inference, it would be question--begging and that it is best understood as a performance, But (1), Hintikka’s discussion of an inferential interpretation omits reference to the possible relevance ofmodalities, and (2), Hintikka assumes that to beg the question is to assume what one is trying to prove. Question-begging is better understood in terms of how evident the premisses are in relation to the conclusion. In this paper I construct a modal inferential interpretation, defend itagainst any charge of question-begging, and outline a system of quantified modal logic which would validate it.
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