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Displaying: 41-60 of 899 documents

41. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
John Capps Even Worse Than It Seems: Transformative Experience and the Selection Problem
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Laurie Paul has recently proposed that transformative experiences are a distinct challenge to our ability to make rational decisions about our futures. In response, many have claimed that the situation is not as bad as it seems and that it is possible to rationally choose to undergo a transformative experience. Here I argue that the situation is actually worse because the current debate has so far only been framed in terms of comparing a transformative experience to the familiar status quo. If we instead consider choices among transformative experiences—what I call a transformative selection—then transformative experiences continue to pose a significant challenge to our rational decision-making.
42. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Wolfgang Barz Is There Anything to the Authority Thesis?
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Many philosophical theories of self-knowledge can be understood as attempts to explain why self-ascriptions enjoy a certain kind of authority that other-ascriptions lack (the Authority Thesis). The aim of this paper is not to expand the stock of existing explanations but to ask whether the Authority Thesis can be adequately specified. To this end, I identify three requirements that must be met by any satisfactory specification. I conclude that the search for an adequate specification of the Authority Thesis leads to a dilemma: it either yields an interpretation under which the thesis is philosophically interesting but false, or it produces an interpretation under which the thesis is actually true but of minor philosophical interest.
43. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Jan Narveson Bhandary on Liberal Care Provision
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According to Asha Bhandary, there is a liberal (Rawlsian) justification for including “the receipt of dependency care among the benefits of social cooperation” (“Liberal Dependency Care,” 43). The novelty is to claim that such care is among the Rawlsian circumstances of justice. I argue that liberalism does not support this extremely strong claim. Dependency care is indeed among the goods generated by social cooperation, broadly speaking—but so are virtually all goods, such as pizza provision, scarcely any of which are among the circumstances of justice. Most of us have ample inclination toward caring for dependents—but neither is this extended to everyone else’s dependents, nor is it mostly a legal duty, as indeed having children at all is not. Nor should it be on liberal principles. Neither of the two Rawlsian Principles support general dependency care. And, Bhandary’s “strong proceduralism,” calling for the training of all persons in care-giving skills, would edge up toward totalitarianism—hardly a welcome outcome of liberalism.
44. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Asha Bhandary Dependency Care before Pizza: A Reply to Narveson
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This essay responds to Jan Narveson’s libertarian commentary on my earlier work “Liberal Dependency Care.” There, I argued that the underlying logic of the circumstances of justice warrants adding care to a liberal theory of justice. In this essay, I rebut Narveson’s skeptical claims about the liberal credentials of my justificatory argument by identifying the extent to which my view shares the same reasonable constraints on liberty as those defended by John Stuart Mill. I also suggest that a libertarian refusal to add care to the core functions of the state is plausible only if women’s labor remains invisible. Finally, I refute Narveson’s contention that my strong procedural principle of care provision is incipiently totalitarian. The case for public support to teach basic levels of attentiveness and responsiveness is analogous to the case for teaching the foundational skills of arithmetic, which are legitimately taught in primary and secondary schools.
45. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Luke Maring Uncovering a Tension: Democracy, Immigration, and the Nation-State
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It is common to assume (a) that democracy is intrinsically valuable, and (b) that nation-states have the authority to exclude would-be immigrants from their territory. Are (a) and (b) in tension? This paper argues that they are. Every account of democracy’s intrinsic value suggests that nation-states lack the authority to exclude would-be immigrants. In fact, reflection on democratic values suggests an even more heterodox conclusion: nation-states should not be the privileged sites of decision-making that we often take them to be.
46. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Abe Witonsky, Sarah Whitman Objections to Jeremy Simon’s Response to Lucretius’s Symmetry Argument
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The first century B.C. poet Lucretius put forth an argument for why death is not bad for the person who has died. This argument is commonly referred to as Lucretius’s “symmetry argument” because of its assumption that the period before we were born is symmetrical to the period after we die. Jeremy Simon objects to the symmetry argument, claiming that the two periods are not relevantly symmetrical: being born earlier than we actually are born would not guarantee us more life, whereas extending our lifespan past the time we actually would die would guarantee us more life. Simon believes this difference between the two time periods also explains why it is reasonable for people to wish for a later death but not for an earlier birth. We raise several objections to Simon’s response. Our main objection is that insofar as people do not wish for an earlier birth, it is not because they fear losing more life, but rather is a result of being concerned about losing what is important about life, namely its unique content.
47. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Françoise Monnoyeur The Substance-attributes Relationship in Cartesian Dualism
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In their book on Descartes’s Changing Mind, Peter Machamer and J. E. McGuire argue that Descartes discarded dualism to embrace a kind of monism. Descartes famously proposed that there are two separate substances, mind and body, with distinct attributes of thought and extension (Principles of Philosophy). According to Machamer and McGuire, because of the limitations of our intellect, we cannot have insight into the nature of either substance. After reviewing their argument in some detail, I will argue that Descartes did not relinquish his favorite doctrine but may have actually fooled himself about the nature of his dualism. It is my contention that the problem with Cartesian dualism stems from the definition of mind and body as substances and the role of their respective attributes—thought and extension—in the definition of substances.
48. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
William Hannegan Dispositional Essentialism, Directedness, and Inclination to an End
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Dispositional essentialists U. T. Place, George Molnar, and C. B. Martin hold that dispositions are intrinsically directed to their manifestations. Thomists have noted that this directedness is similar to Thomistic directedness to an end. I argue that Place, Molnar, and Martin would benefit from conceiving of dispositional directedness as the sort of directedness associated with Thomistic inclinations. Such Thomistic directedness can help them to account for the production of manifestations; to justify their reliance on dispositional directedness; to show the causal relevance of dispositions; and to motivate their view that dispositions are not reducible to categorical bases. I argue, moreover, that Thomistic inclination to an end does not succumb to the most common objections to finality: it is not mentalistic or vitalistic, and it does not involve backwards causation. Place, Molnar, and Martin, therefore, can embrace the directedness associated with Thomistic inclination—and reap its benefits—without incurring any high metaphysical cost.
49. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Daniel Coren Making Sense of the Sentence: Nicomachean Ethics I.2.1094a18–22
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Early on in his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that there must be a single end or good desired for its own sake, for the sake of which all of our other ends are desired. The argument includes the following conditional: “If we chose everything for the sake of something else so that the process went on forever, then our desire would be empty and futile.” This paper addresses that conditional. First, I explain why the conditional appears to be false. Second, I resolve some ambiguity in it. Third, I argue that the conditional enjoys a plausible and charitable reading when understood as a claim about ordinary human lives and psychology, and when read in the context of Aristotle’s conception of ethics.
50. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Gabriela Rossi Aristotle on the Indetermination of Accidental Causes and Chance
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This article offers an interpretation of Aristotle’s tenet that chance and accidental causes are indeterminate. According to one existing reading, the predicate ‘indeterminate’ is said of the effect of chance (and of accidental causes), meaning ‘causally indeterminate.’ Another reading claims instead that the predicate ‘indeterminate’ is said of the cause of a chance event, meaning something close to ‘potentially infinite in number.’ For my part, I contend that the predicate ‘indeterminate,’ when applied to Aristotle’s concept of accidental cause and to chance, is best understood as a second-order predicate. More precisely, Aristotle uses ‘indeterminate’ to qualify a certain type of causal relation, rather than to indicate a quality of the causal power or of the effect. As a preparatory step in my argument, I contend that ‘accidental’ and ‘per se’ are also best understood as second-order predicates of ‘cause,’ and as a corollary of my main thesis I offer an interpretation of how chance involves an infinite number of possible causes.
51. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Ari Maunu On a Misguided Argument for the Necessity of Identity
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There is a certain popular argument, deriving from Ruth Barcan and Saul Kripke, from the conjunction of the Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals (PInI, for short) and the Principle of the Necessity of Self-Identity to the Thesis of the Necessity of Identity. My purpose is to show that this argument does not work, at least not in the form it is often presented. I also give a correct formulation of the argument and point out that PInI is not even needed in the argument for the necessity of identity.
52. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Antonio Capuano Kripkenstein on Belief
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I offer a skeptical reading of Saul Kripke’s “A Puzzle about Belief.” I maintain that Kripke formulates a skeptical paradox about belief that is analogous to the skeptical paradox about meaning and rule-following that, according to Kripke, Wittgenstein formulates in his Philosophical Investigations.
53. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Julie Wulfemeyer Bound Cognition
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Building upon the foundations laid by Russell, Donnellan, Chastain, and more recently, Almog, this paper addresses key questions about the basic mechanism by which we think of worldly objects, and (in contrast to many connected projects), does so in isolation from questions about how we speak of them. I outline and defend a view based on the notion of bound cognition. Bound cognition, like perception, is world-to-mind in the sense that it is generated by the item being thought of rather than by the mind doing the thinking. It is a direct, two-place, non-representational relation, and it is prior to any epistemic connection between the thinker and the object of thought. Although the paradigm case for bound cognition involves sensory perception of an individual, I argue that the cognitive relations falling under the heading of bound cognition also include non-perceptual cognitive relations (such as the relation between a thinker and a historical individual) as well as cognitive relations to non-individuals (such as pairs, pluralities, species, and features). Four illustrative cases are discussed, and anticipated worries about abstract and empty cases are addressed.
54. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Christos Kyriacou Bifurcated Sceptical Invariantism: Between Gettier Cases and Saving Epistemic Appearances
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I present an argument for a sophisticated version of sceptical invariantism that has so far gone unnoticed: Bifurcated Sceptical Invariantism (BSI). I argue that it can, on the one hand, (dis)solve the Gettier problem and address the dogmatism paradox, and, on the other hand, show some due respect to the Moorean methodological incentive of ‘saving epistemic appearances.’ A fortiori, BSI promises to reap some other important explanatory fruit that I go on to adduce. BSI can achieve this much because it distinguishes between two distinct but closely interrelated (sub)concepts of (propositional) knowledge, fallible-but-safe knowledge and infallible-and-sensitive knowledge. I conclude that BSI is a novel theory of knowledge discourse that merits serious investigation.
55. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Matthew Shea A Natural Fit: Natural Law Theory, Virtue Epistemology, and the Value of Knowledge
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I propose and defend a new combination of natural law ethics and virtue epistemology. While all contemporary natural law theories recognize knowledge as one of the basic human goods, none of them provide a detailed explanation for the value of knowledge, which would greatly enrich such theories. I show that virtue epistemology is able to deliver the required solution to the value problem, which makes this combination project very attractive. I also address two major worries about this approach: (1) it commits one to a type of virtue ethics that is incompatible with natural law theory; and (2) it results in a fragmented, pluralistic account of normativity. I attempt to alleviate both worries, arguing that the first is unfounded and the second, while true, is not a genuine cause for concern because the combination of natural law ethics and virtue epistemology is more unified than it may appear.
56. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Yong Huang Knowing-that, Knowing-how, or Knowing-to?: Wang Yangming’s Conception of Moral Knowledge (Liangzhi)
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Gilbert Ryle has made the famous distinction between intellectual knowing-that and practical knowing-how. Since knowledge in Confucianism is not merely intellectual but also practical, many scholars have argued that such knowledge is knowing-how or, at least, very similar to it. In this essay, focusing on Wang Yangming’s moral knowledge (liangzhi 良知), I shall argue that it is neither knowing-that nor knowing-how, but a third type of knowing, knowing-to. There is a unique feature of knowing-to that is not shared by either knowing-that or knowing-how: a person with knowing-to (for example, knowing to love one’s parents) will act accordingly (for example, love his or her parents), while neither knowing-that (for example, the knowing that one ought to love one’s parents) nor knowing-how (for example, the knowing how to love one’s parents), whether separately or combined, will dispose or incline its possessor to act accordingly (for example, love one’s parents).
57. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Adam Blincoe Rescue, Beneficence, and Contempt for Humanity
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Some philosophers (most prominently Peter Singer and Peter Unger) claim that there is no morally relevant distinction to be made between duties of rescue and beneficence. In this paper I will highlight an undesirable implication of this position: over-demandingness. After rejecting a prominent attempt to address this problem, I will then advance a virtue-ethical principle that adequately distinguishes the relevant duties and avoids over-demandingness. This principle links wrong actions to character by focusing on the vice of contempt for humanity. Here I will engage with Michael Slote’s similar efforts, critiquing and improving upon them. This essay addresses a gap in the literature on positive duties by appealing to relevant virtue-ethical considerations from within a Neo-Aristotelian framework.
58. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Scott M. James A New Puzzle For Hedonistic Theories of Value
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Most of us would feel awful if we discovered that our beloved had been unfaithful. But the hedonist, I argue, cannot consistently claim: (1) that a betrayal that goes undetected does not make your life worse off for you; and, at the same time, (2) that one ought to feel bad if one happens to discover that one has been betrayed. To claim that one ought to feel bad requires adducing reasons for that reaction, but the hedonist either can adduce no such reasons or cannot make sense of the reasons we intuitively think we have. For it only makes sense to feel bad about things that make your life go worse for you, but a betrayal that went undetected did not make your life go worse for you, so feeling about bad about it makes no sense. The hedonist, one might have thought, has a variety of replies at her disposal. But I show that none of these responses is satisfactory.
59. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Alexandru Volacu Heterogeneous Rationality and Reasonable Disagreement in the Original Position
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In this paper I challenge the claim that each party in the original position will have a first-ranked preference for an identical set of principles of justice. I maintain, by contrast, that the original position allows parties to choose on the basis of different conceptions of rationality, which in turn may lead to a reasonable disagreement concerning the principles of justice selected. I then argue that this reasonable disagreement should not lead us to abandon contractualism, but rather to reconstruct it in the form of a two-stage process, where parties first build individual preference rankings for alternative conceptions of justice and then work towards a reconciliation of the divergent conceptions that are chosen in the first stage. Finally, I claim that threshold prioritarianism is a strong candidate for selection in this reconciliatory stage, since it manages to address both the legitimate complaints of parties that would prefer a conception of justice focused on the most disadvantaged positions in society and the legitimate complaints of parties that would prefer a conception of justice in which less or no special weight is assigned to the worst-off positions.
60. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Randall Harp Collective Action and Rational Choice Explanations
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In order for traditional rational choice theory (RCT) to explain the production of collective action, it must be able to distinguish between two behaviorally identical possibilities: one, that all of the agents in a group are each performing behaviors in pursuit of a set of individual actions; and two, that all of those agents are performing those behaviors in pursuit of a collective action. I argue that RCT does not have the resources necessary to distinguish between these two possibilities. RCT could distinguish between these possibilities if it were able to account for commitments. I argue that successful rational choice explanations of collective action appeal to commitments, and distinguish this way of explaining collective action from a general class of explanations called plural subject (or team reasoning) theories.