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Displaying: 51-60 of 11797 documents

51. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 7
Alfred R. Mele, Luck, Control, and Free Will: Answering Berofsky
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This article answers a question about luck, control, and free will that Bernard Berofsky raises in Nature’s Challenge to Free Will. The article focuses on a positive element of a typical libertarian view: namely, the thesis (LFT) that there are indeterministic agents who sometimes act freely when their actions—and decisions in particular—are not deterministically caused by proximal causes. LFT is the target of what I call “the problem of present luck”—indeterministic luck at the time of decision. The bearing of such luck on LFT is explored.
52. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 7
Susan Wolf, Character and Responsibility
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Many philosophers have been persuaded that if we don’t create our own characters, we cannot be responsible for acts that flow from our characters; they also raise doubts about whether acts that do not flow from our characters can fairly be attributed to us. Both these concerns, however, reflect a simplistic and implausible conception of character and of its relation to our actions and our selves. I suggest a different relationship between character and responsibility: We can be responsible for acts that are in character and also for acts that are out of character, but to be capable of being responsible at all is closely related to the capacity to have a character. I relate this capacity to the exercise of active intelligence—a capacity that is manifested in actions in or out of character, but not in the display of many psychological conditions or disorders.
53. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 7
Bernard Berofsky, Freedom as Creativity
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Determinism poses a prima facie problem about free will only if the latter is understood as counterfactual power, understood categorically, rather than self-determination. A key premise of the defense of incompatibilism provided by the Consequence Argument, namely, that laws are unalterable, presupposes that laws include more than the fundamental laws of physics. This premise is challenged by appeal to actual cases. The necessitarian assumptions embodied in that premise can be successfully challenged by a new and improved version of the regularity theory. Other defenses of the latter, including a defense of Humean Supervenience, are offered. The picture that the compatibilist offers of a decision maker, in part responsible for the laws of psychology, unconcerned about the deterministic or indeterministic nature of the world, is of a more creative individual than the incompatibilist, for whom one’s freedom depends upon the nature of a world about which one has no control.
54. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 7
New Books: Anthologies
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55. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 6
J. Dmitri Gallow, The Emergence of Causation
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Several philosophers have embraced the view that high-level events—events like Zimbabwe's monetary policy and its hyper-inflation—are causally related if their corresponding low-level, fundamental physical events are causally related. I dub the view which denies this without denying that high-level events are ever causally related causal emergentism. Several extant philosophical theories of causality entail causal emergentism, while others are inconsistent with the thesis. I illustrate this with David Lewis's two theories of causation (1973, 2000), one of which entails causal emergentism, the other of which entails its negation. I then argue for causal emergentism on the grounds that it provides the only adequate means of squaring the apparent plenitude of causal relations between low-level events with the apparent scarcity of causal relations between high-level events. This tension between the apparent abundance of low-level causation and the apparent scarcity of high-level causation has been noted before. However, it has been thought that various theses about the semantics or the pragmatics of causal claims could be used to ameliorate the tension without going in for causal emergentism. I argue that none of the suggested semantic or pragmatic strategies meet with success, and recommend emergentist theories of causality in their stead. As Lewis's 1973 account illustrates, causal emergentism is consistent with the thesis that all facts reduce to microphysical facts.
56. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 6
Craig Warmke, Modal Intensionalism
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We sometimes say things like this: “being an animal is part of being a dog.” We associate the part with a precondition for exemplifying the whole. A new semantics for modal logic results when we take this way of speaking seriously. We need not treat necessary truths as truths in all possible worlds. Instead, we may treat them as preconditions for the existence of any world at all. I present this semantics for modal propositional logic and argue that it operates on a more basic level of modal reality than possible world semantics.
57. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 6
In Memoriam: Leigh S. Cauman
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58. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 5
Alex Worsnip, Possibly False Knowledge
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Many epistemologists call themselves ‘fallibilists’. But many philosophers of language hold that the meaning of epistemic usages of ‘possible’ ensures a close knowledge-(epistemic) possibility link (KPL): a subject’s utterance of ‘it’s possible that not-p’ is true only if the subject does not know that p. This seems to suggest that whatever the core insight behind fallibilism is, it can’t be that a subject could have knowledge which is, for them, possibly false. I argue that, on the contrary, subjects can have such possibly false knowledge. My ultimate aim, then, is to vindicate a very robust form of fallibilism. Uniquely, however, the account I offer does this while also allowing that concessive knowledge attributions – sentences of the form 'I know that p, but it’s possible that not-p' – are not only infelicitous but actually false whenever uttered. The account predicts this result without conceding KPL. I argue that my account has the resources to explain some related cases for which the KPL account yields the wrong predictions. Taken as a whole, the linguistic data not only do not support the proposal that subjects cannot have possibly false knowledge, but indeed positively favor the proposal that they can.
59. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 5
T. Parent, Rule Following and Metaontology
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Wittgenstein’s rule-following argument suggests that linguistic understanding does not consist in knowing interpretations, whereas Kripkenstein’s version suggests that meaning cannot be metaphysically fixed by interpretations. In the present paper, rule-following considerations are used to suggest that certain ontological questions cannot be answered by interpretations. Specifically, if the aim is to specify the ontology of a language, an interpretation cannot answer what object an expression of L denotes, if the interpretations (e.g., “ ‘Hesperus’ denotes Hesperus” or “ ‘Hesperus’ denotes the evening star”) are themselves L-expressions. Briefly, that’s because the ontology of such interpretations would naturally be in question as much as the expressions they interpret. So in order to settle the question of ontology, the interpretations themselves would need to be interpreted, and thus a regress. I conclude that knowing the answer to what ontology underlies L cannot be a matter of knowing interpretations. The paper ends with a quietist conclusion; the slogan is that empirical science is ontology enough, or rather, it is about all the ontology one should expect.
60. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 112 > Issue: 5
Michael C. Rea, Time Travelers Are Not Free
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In this paper I defend two conclusions: that time travel journeys to the past are not undertaken freely and, more generally, that nobody is free between the earliest arrival time and the latest departure time of a time travel journey to the past. Time travel to the past destroys freedom on a global scale.