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Displaying: 51-60 of 231 documents


51. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 4
John Lawless Agency in Social Context
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Many political philosophers argue that interference (or vulnerability to interference) threatens a person’s agency. And they cast political freedom in opposition to interpersonal threats to agency, as non-interference (or non-subjection). I argue that this approach relies on an inapt model of agency, crucial aspects of which emerge from our relationships with other people. Such relationships involve complex patterns of vulnerability and subjection, essential to our constitution as particular kinds of agents: as owners of property, as members of families, and as participants in a market for labor. We should construct a conception of freedom that targets the structures of our interpersonal relations, and the kinds of agents these relations make us. Such a conception respects the interpersonal foundations of human agency. It also allows us to draw morally significant connections between diverse species of unfreedom—between, for instance, localized domination and structural oppression.
52. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 4
Daniel Fogal Descartes and the Possibility of Enlightened Freedom
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This paper offers a novel interpretation of Descartes’s conception of freedom that resolves an important tension at the heart of his view. It does so by appealing to the important but overlooked distinction between possessing a power, exercising a power, and being in a position to exercise a power.
53. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 4
Alex Silverman The Nature and Scope of Spinoza's "One and the Same" Relation
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I argue that we should rethink the nature and scope of Spinoza’s “one and the same” relation (E2p7s). Contrary to the standard reading, the nature of this relation is not identity but a union, and its scope includes all idea-object pairs, even God and the idea of God. A crucial reason we should adopt this dual picture is that the idea of God must be one and the same as something found when Nature is conceived under each of the other attributes. If “one and the same” is interpreted as a relation of identity, this requirement cannot be met. However, maintaining that God and the idea of God are one and the same not only fulfills this requirement, but also is independently motivated. I also briefly consider how the thesis that God and the idea of God are one and the same affords us with positive insights concerning the nature of this relation.
54. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 4
Daniel Watts The Problem of Kierkegaard's Socrates
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This essay re-examines Kierkegaard’s view of Socrates. I consider the problem that arises from Kierkegaard’s appeal to Socrates as an exemplar for irony. The problem is that he also appears to think that Socrates cannot be represented as an exemplar for irony. Part of the problem is the paradox of self-reference that immediately arises from trying to represent x as unrepresentable. On the solution I propose, Kierkegaard does not hold that Socrates is in no way representable as an exemplar for irony. Rather, he holds that Socrates cannot be represented as an exemplar for irony in a purely disinterested way. I show how, in The Concept of Irony, Kierkegaard makes use of “limiting cases” of representation in order to bring Socrates into view as one who defies purely disinterested representation. I also show how this approach to Socrates connects up with Kierkegaard’s more general interest in the problem of ethical exemplarity, where the problem is how ethical exemplars can be given as such—that is, in such a way that purely disinterested contemplation is not the appropriate response to them.
55. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
J. L. Dowell Truth-assessment Methodology and the Case against the Relativist Case against Contextualism about Deontic Modals
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Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of this methodological practice.Here I argue that not all assessments are fit to play this evidential role. To play it, we need reason to think that speakers’ assessments can be reasonably expected to be reliable. Minimally, having such grounds requires that assessments are given against the background of non-defectively characterized points of evaluation. Assessing MacFarlane’s central challenge case to contextualism about deontic modals in light of this constraint shows that his judgments do not have the needed evidential significance. In addition, new experimental data shows that once the needed scenario is characterized non-defectively, none of the resulting range of cases provides data that cannot be accommodated by a Kratzer-style contextualism.
56. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Brian Leftow The Nature of Necessity
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I give an account of the nature of absolute or metaphysical necessity. Absolute-necessarily P, I suggest, just if it is always the case that P and there never is or was a power with a chance to bring it about, bring about a power to bring it about, etc., that not P. I display both advantages and a cost of this sort of definition.
57. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Gillian Russell Indexicals and Sider's Neo-Linguistic Account of Necessity
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Sider offers a new take on a linguistic account of necessity. In this paper, I assess his view’s vulnerability to objections made against more traditional linguistic accounts, especially an argument I call the “indexical problem.” I conclude that the indexical problem has no force against Sider’s approach because the view is able to attribute modal properties directly to propositions, rather than indirectly via analytic sentences that express them. However, Sider also argues that traditional linguistic accounts fail because of two well-known problems, and I argue that the same two problems undermine his own account.
58. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Meghan Sullivan Boring Ontological Realism
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Boring ontological realists hold that objects exist at times and persist over time without having substantive essences. Boring realism is a consequence of the minimal A-theory of time and the most sensible formulations of necessitism. This kind of realism is at odds with a ubiquitous realist thesis, which I call the persistenceessence link. This essay surveys some examples of the persistence-essence link and argues that it is best understood as a thesis about grounding. If we understand the link in terms of grounding, there are new options for denying it—and for better understanding boring realism.
59. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Timothy Williamson Modality as a Subject for Science
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Section 1 introduces the category of objective (non-epistemic) modality, closely related to linguists’ category of circumstantial or dynamic modals, and explains metaphysical modality as its maximal element. Section 2 discusses various kinds of skepticism about modality, as in Hume and recent authors, and argues that it is illmotivated to apply such skepticism to metaphysical modality but not to more restricted objective modalities, including nomic modality. Section 3 suggests that the role of counterfactual conditionals in applications of scientific theories involves an objective modal dimension. Section 4 briefly discusses the role of objective probabilities in scientific theories as exemplifying the scientific study of objective modality. Section 5 summarizes a case study of dynamical systems theory, widely used in natural science, as a mathematical theory whose intended applications are objectively modal, as perspicuously articulated in a language with modal and temporal operators and propositional quantification. State spaces in natural science characterize objective possibilities. Section 6 argues that, although those possibilities are usually more restricted than metaphysical possibility, their scientific study is a partial study of metaphysical possibility too.
60. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 2
Kenny Easwaran The Tripartite Role of Belief: Evidence, Truth, and Action
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Belief and credence are often characterized in three different ways—they ought to govern our actions, they ought to be governed by our evidence, and they ought to aim at the truth. If one of these roles is to be central, we need to explain why the others should be features of the same mental state rather than separate ones. If multiple roles are equally central, then this may cause problems for some traditional arguments about what belief and credence must be like. I read the history of formal and traditional epistemology through the lens of these functional roles, and suggest that considerations from one literature might have a role in the other. The similarities and differences between these literatures may suggest some more general ideas about the nature of epistemology in abstraction from the details of credence and belief in particular.