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1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Trent Dougherty Introduction
2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Ali Hasan Internalist Foundationalism and the Sellarsian Dilemma
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According to foundationalism, some beliefs are justified but do not depend for their justification on any other beliefs. According to access internalism, a subject isjustified in believing some proposition only if that subject is aware of or has access to some reason to think that the proposition is true or probable. In this paper I discusses a fundamental challenge to internalist foundationalism often referred to as the Sellarsian dilemma. I consider three attempts to respond to the dilemma—phenomenal conservatism, BonJour’s classical foundationalism, and Fumerton’s classical foundationalism. I argue that, of these three, only the last seems to avoid getting impaled on one or the other horn of the dilemma. I end by responding to some concerns with Fumerton’s account.
3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
John Zeis Holding the Faith True
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In this paper, I argue that the objections to both doxastic volitionism and doxastic voluntarism fail. Objections to doxastic volitionism and doxastic voluntarismassume a generic notion of belief, a notion which covers both beliefs about things which we know or think we know or are evident to us, as well as beliefs which have some degree of credence but are not clearly evident to the subject. The generic notion of belief includes both sorts of beliefs, but the position against doxastic volitionism is supported only by appeal to beliefs about things which are evident or that we think we know. However, by showing that beliefs which we think we know to be true are not voluntary, the objections leaves open the question whether belief as such is voluntary. Contrary to the opponents of doxastic volitionism, I will show that if what we are after is a generic notion of belief, it ought to be construed as holding true; and if this is what constitutes belief as such, the arguments against doxastic volitionism for faith beliefs fail. The strongest argument against doxastic voluntarism is an evidentialist argument concerning the ethics of belief. That argument is basically that even if choosing belief is psychologically possible, evidentialism rules it out as epistemically irresponsible. In the last section of this article, I will argue that if religious belief is constituted by true propositions of the faith, the evidentialist objection to doxastic voluntarism fails.
4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Thomas D. Senor Justified Belief and Demon Worlds
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The New Demon World Objection claims that reliabilist accounts of justification are mistaken because there are justified empirical beliefs at demon worlds—worlds at which the subjects are systematically deceived by a Cartesian demon. In this paper, I defend strongly verific (but not necessarily reliabilist) accounts of justification by claiming that there are two ways to construct a theory of justification: by analyzing our ordinary concept of justification or by taking justification to be a theoretic term defined by its role in the theory of knowledge. The former route is not promising because of the splintered nature of our ordinary concept of justification—or perhaps because there is no single such concept. On the other hand, if justification is defined by the role it plays in the theory of knowledge, then there is good reason to think that justification must be strongly truth-conductive since the term was introduced by Edmund Gettier to play the primary role in converting true belief into knowledge. And if that is right, then there will be no justified empirical belief at demon worlds. The real lesson of the demon world is then turned on its head: justification does not supervene on what one shares with one’s deceived doppelganger.
5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Sandy Goldberg Self-Trust and Extended Trust: A Reliabilist Account
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Where most discussions of trust focus on the rationality of trust, in this paper I explore the doxastic justification of beliefs formed through trust. I examinetwo forms of trust: the self-trust that is involved when one trusts one’s own basic cognitive faculties, and the interpersonal trust that is involved when one trusts another speaker. Both cases involve regarding a source of information as dependable for the truth. In thinking about the epistemic significance regarding a source in this way, I call upon Process Reliabilism (PR). With its core idea that the epistemic goodness of a belief tracks the reliability of the process through which the belief was formed, PR suggests one way to think about the (potential) epistemic benefits and risks of trust: in cases of trust the process through which belief is formed includes reliance on an information source, where the reliability with which the source produced its information is the main determinant of the epistemic status of the beliefs formed through trusting that source. While it is much more common to find something like this picture endorsed in connection withcases of self-trust, I argue that it ought to be endorsed for cases of interpersonal trust as well. The failure to do so, I submit, reflects a commitment to an individualistic orientation that proponents of PR need not, and should not, endorse.
6. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Linda Zagzebski A Defense of Epistemic Authority
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In this paper I argue that epistemic authority can be justified in the same way as political authority in the tradition of political liberalism. I propose principlesof epistemic authority modeled on the general principles of authority proposed by Joseph Raz. These include the Content-Independence thesis, the Pre-emption thesis, the Dependency thesis, and the Normal Justification thesis. The focus is on the authority of a person’s beliefs, although the principles can be applied to the authority of another person’s testimony and the authority of epistemic communities.
7. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
E. J. Coffman, Matt Deaton Problems for Foley’s Accounts of Rational Belief and Responsible Belief
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In this paper, we argue that Richard Foley’s account of rational belief faces an as yet undefeated objection, then try to repair one of Foley’s two failed repliesto that objection. In §§I-III, we explain Foley’s accounts of all-things-considered rational belief and responsible belief, along with his replies to two pressing objections to those accounts—what we call the Irrelevance Objection(to Foley’s account of rational belief) and the Insufficiency Objection (to his account of responsible belief). In §IV, we argue that both of Foley’s replies to the Irrelevance Objection fail as currently developed, and raise the question whether either of his replies can be salvaged. In §V, we invoke cases involving religious beliefs (broadly construed) to show that one of Foley’s failed replies to the Irrelevance Objection conflicts with his reply to the Insufficiency Objection; and we provide reason to think Foley should resolve this conflict in the latter’s favor. We conclude in §VI by suggesting a way to repair Foley’s other failed reply to the Irrelevance Objection, yielding an improved overall defense of Foley’s accounts of rationaland responsible belief. We look forward to discussing the important question to what extent this improved overall defense succeeds.
8. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Robert Audi Knowledge, Justification, and the Normativity of Epistemology
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Epistemology is sometimes said to be a normative discipline, but what this characterization means is often left unclear. This paper distinguishes two kindsof normativity and thereby provides a new way of understanding attributions of normativity. Associated with this distinction are two kinds of epistemological reflection. These are shown to be parallel to two kinds of ethical reflection. In the light of what emerges in showing these points, the paper clarifies the requirements for naturalizing epistemology, the place normativity might have, given certain kinds of naturalization, and the sense in which knowledge and justification may be viewed as normative.
9. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Anne Meylan The Value Problem of Knowledge: An Axiological Diagnosis of the Credit Solution
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The value problem of knowledge is one of the prominent problems that philosophical accounts of knowledge are expected to solve. According to the creditsolution, a well-known solution to this problem, knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief because the former is creditable to a subject’s cognitive competence. But what is “credit value”? How does it connect to the already existing distinctions between values? The purpose of the present paper is to answer these questions. Its most important conclusion is that credit value is not—contrary to what the upholders of the credit solution have frequently claimed—final value.
10. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 3
Nicole Hassoun Human Rights and the Minimally Good Life
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All people have human rights and, intuitively, there is a close connection between human rights, needs, and autonomy. The two main theories about the natureand value of human rights often fail to account for this connection. Interest theories, on which rights protect individuals’ important interests, usually fail to capturethe close relationship between human rights and autonomy; autonomy is not constitutive of the interests human rights protect. Will theories, on which human rights protect individuals’ autonomy, cannot explain why the nonautonomous have a human right to meet their needs. This paper argues that it is possible to account for the close connection between human rights, needs, and autonomy if human rights at least protect individuals’ ability to live minimally good lives. It argues that people need whatever will enable them to live such lives and autonomy is partly constitutive of such a life. This argument also has importantimplications for some other key debates in the human rights literature.
11. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 3
Valerie Tiberius Why Be Moral? Can the Psychological Literature on Well-Being Shed any Light?
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In Plato’s dialogue the Republic, Glaucon challenges Socrates to prove that the just (or moral) life is better or more advantageous than the unjust one. Socrates’s answer to the challenge is notoriously unsatisfying. Could new research on well-being in philosophy and psychology allow us to do better? After distinguishing two different approaches to the question “why be moral?” I argue that while new research on well-being does not provide an answer that would satisfy Glaucon, it does shed light on the topic. Empirical research has different implications for our prudential reasons to be moral depending on which philosophical theory of well-being is accepted. Some well-being theories sustain stronger links to morality than others, but any theory of well-being can make use of empirical research to narrow the gap between prudence and morality to some extent.
12. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 3
Daniel M. Haybron The Proper Pursuit of Happiness
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What are the norms governing the pursuit of happiness? Presumably not just anything goes. But are the rules any more interesting than platitudes like “do whatworks, as long as you don’t hurt anyone”? Such questions have become especially salient in light of the development of positive psychology. Yet so far these matters have received relatively little attention, most of it from skeptics who doubt that the pursuit of happiness is an important, or even legitimate, enterprise. This paper examines the normative issues in this realm, arguing that the pursuit of happiness is indeed a legitimate and important endeavor, contra recent criticisms by Aristotelian and other skeptics. Yet it is also subject to strong, nonobvious normative constraints that extend well beyond those typically posited by commonsense and consequentialist thought.
13. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 3
Richard Kraut Human Diversity and the Nature of Well-Being: Reflections on Sumner’s Methodology
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In Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics, L. W. Sumner argues that theories of well-being must not pick out some kinds of human lives as richer in prudential valuethan others. I argue that we should reject this methodological stricture, but should embrace his insight that many kinds of lives are good for people to live. I also reject his claim that a theory of well-being would fail if it took the form of a list of things that are good for us. Nonetheless, I argue, if we construct such a list in a way that caters to the diversity of good human lives, we will be led to the conclusion that they are united by their relationship to the flourishing of our natural capacities. I distinguish between bottom-up and top-down strategies for defending this Aristotelian conception of well-being, and argue in favor of a bottom-up approach.
14. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 3
Erik Angner Is Empirical Research Relevant to Philosophical Conclusions?
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Much recent philosophical literature on happiness and satisfaction is based on the belief that empirical research is relevant to philosophical conclusions. In his2010 book What is This Thing Called Happiness? Fred Feldman begs to differ. He suggests (a) that there is no evidence that empirical research is relevant to long-standing philosophical questions; consequently, (b) that philosophers have little reason to pay attention to the work of psychologists or economists; and (c) that philosophers need not fear embarrassing themselves by being ignorant of important scientific findings that bear directly on their work. Relying on an example invoked by Feldman himself, this paper makes the case that all three theses are false. The argument suggests a picture according to which science and philosophy stand in a symbiotic relationship, with scientists and philosophers engaging in a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas for the advancement of thegeneral knowledge.
15. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 3
Tobias Hoffmann The Pleasure of Life and the Desire for Non-Existence: Some Medieval Theories
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Are there subjective or objective conditions under which human life is not worth living? Or does human life itself contain the conditions that make it worth living?To find answers to these questions, this paper explores Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Richard of Mediavilla, and John Duns Scotus, who discuss whether the damned in hell can, should, and do prefer non-existence over their existence in pain and moral evil. In light of Aristotle’s teaching that there is a certain pleasure inherent to life itself, I shall argue that even a life that is in important respects painful and unpleasant is still worth living.
16. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 4
Jason Kido Lopez Kierkegaard's View of Despair: Paradoxical Psychology and Spiritual Therapy
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Though many hold Søren Kierkegaard’s The Sickness unto Death contains psychological descriptions of those who suffer from despair, I will argue that this is not so. Kierkegaard makes three claims—the conjunction of which I call ‘the triple reduction’—that take contradictory stances on whether people in despair are aware of their despair and whether they want to be their true self. Indeed, if the triple reduction were true, people in despair would be both aware and unaware of their despair, and would both want and not want to be their true self. Unless we want to attribute to Kierkegaard this paradoxical psychological view of the despairer, then we must, I will argue, read Sickness not as a work that answers the question of what is happening in the mind of someone in despair. Instead, it is a therapeutic work meant to help its readers out of despair.
17. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 4
Robert Wyllie Kierkegaard's Eyes of Faith: The Paradoxical Voluntarism of Climacus's "Philosophical Fragments"
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Scholarly debate about Kierkegaard’s fideism focuses upon whether his voluntarism—the doctrine that religious faith can be simply willed—is practicable or credible. This paper proposes that a close reading of Philosophical Fragments and The Concept of Anxiety (1844) reveals that there is a role for both the will and the intellect in Kierkegaard’s concept of faith. Kierkegaard arrives at a compatibilism that emphasizes the roles of both the intellect and the will. The intellect perceives a “moment” that paradoxically intersects time and eternity and assents to a skeptical argument that one cannot understand how things and events come into existence. And beyond simply recognizing that belief is not unreasonable, the intellect perceives an internal logic to faith in a theological aesthetic—Johannes Climacus’s “poem” in Philosophical Fragments. Against the standard view of Kierkegaard’s voluntarism, this argument for compatibilism shows how the intellect combined with the will forms the “eyes of faith.”
18. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 4
Walter Wietzke Practical Reason and the Imagination
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I argue that Kierkegaard’s work is relevant to an issue currently being debated within Anglo-American ethical theory. Kierkegaard’s account of the transition between existence spheres maps onto discussions in the contemporary field that concern how an agent can acquire motivations for new normative obligations. Following Kierkegaard’s work, a deeper understanding of the conditions behind a transition between existence spheres suggests that an individual’s set of motivations can be revised to direct the individual towards new and different ends. From the contemporary perspective, this helps explain how agents can be led to appreciate different normative obligations (i.e., existence spheres) based on the self-conscious understanding they have of their own interests. To guide this analysis I discuss Jamie Ferreira’s work on the imagination and explain how it can illuminate Kierkegaard’s contribution to current debates in ethical theory.
19. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 4
David Diener Kierkegaard on Authority, Obedience, and the Modern Approach to Religion
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Throughout his works Kierkegaard repeatedly claims that the modern age has subverted authentic Christianity. While interpretations of Kierkegaard’s critique of the modern approach to religion abound, they generally agree that the critique is based on various conceptual distinctions regarding the limits of human reason, the epistemological differences between subjective and objective truth, or the (irrational?) nature of religious faith. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the prominent role authority plays in the critique or to the fact that according to Kierkegaard it is disobedience to authority, and not any conceptual confusion, that is the primary fault of the flawed modern approach. This paper argues that Kierkegaard’s most fundamental indictment of the modern approach to religion is its disobedience to the authority of the Christian command. Given this, the paper then examines what, for Kierkegaard, is the basis on which a person should choose to submit to an alleged religious authority.
20. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 4
Rasmus Rosenberg Larsen Schelling and Kierkegaard in Perspective: Integrating Existence into Idealism
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Søren Kierkegaard is often considered to be one of the most vocal critics of German idealism. The present paper analyzes the philosophical similarity between Friedrich Schelling’s early idealistic work and Kierkegaard’s existential writings, endeavoring to display Schelling’s epic 1809 publication Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom as a possible forerunner to Kierkegaard. This juxtaposition reveals concrete similarity that supports the thesis that Schelling’s work could have been of great inspirational value for Kierkegaard, especially Kierkegaard’s core concepts such as freedom, morality and God. However, Schelling’s early work is primarily appreciated as a philosophy of nature (metaphysics), and therefore fundamentally different from Kierkegaard’s theistic-psychological writings. The present paper tentatively opposes this distinction, concluding that if Schelling really is a forerunner to Kierkegaard, then we ought to appreciate Kierkegaard’s writings as conveying more than a theological message. The conclusion suggests that Kierkegaard’s writings should be interpreted in a broader philosophical context, closer to the metaphysical idealism he is often assumed to resist.