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101. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Robert J. Levy Conjectures and Rational Preferences
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I survey the difficulties of several probabilistic views of non-deductive argument and of inductive probability and propose to explicate non-deductive reasoning in terms of rational preference. Following a critical examination of Popper’s allegedly deductive theory of rational preference, I draw upon the work of Popper and Rescher to present my view which includes: (i) the conjecturing of a set of alternative answers to or theories or hypotheses about the questions prompting the inquiry and (ii) the “reduction” of this set via plausibilistic principles of rational preference.
102. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Lawrence Alexander Another Look at Moral Blackmail
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In this paper I describe cases of moral blackmail as cases where A is told by B that if A does not commit an otherwise immoral act, B will commit an immoral act of equal or greater gravity. I describe cases of moral dilemma as cases where A must commit an otherwise immoral act to avert a natural disaster of equal or greater gravity. I then argue that cases of moral blackmail are structurally identical to cases of moral dilemma in all respects but one: In cases of moral blackmail, A is predicting the free actions of a moral agent (B), whereas in cases of moral dilemma, A is predicting natural events. I conclude that cases of moral blackmail are more problematic than otherwise similar cases of moral dilemma for this reason alone.
103. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Joe F. Jones III Striking ‘Commensurate’ from the Oxford Translation of An Post A24
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This paper argues that G.R.G. Mure’s use of ‘commensurate universal’ to translate ‘katholou’ is mistaken in An. Post. A24, and that throughout this chapter whenever the word ‘katholou’ appears it is to be translated ‘universal’ simpliciter. Establishing this requires a short commentary on Aristotle’s use of the word ‘katholou’, which apparently he coined, and used none too carefully.
104. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Frederic L. Bender Heidegger’s Hermeneutical Grounding of Science: A Phenomenonological Critique of Positivism
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It is argued that, despite the neglect which Heidegger’s writings on science have generally received, the “fundamental ontology” of Being and Time reveals certain structures of experience crucial for our understanding of science; and that, as these insights cast considerable doubt upon the validity of the empiricist/positivist conception of science, Heidegger deserves considerably better treatment as an incipient philosopher of science than has been the case thus far. His arguments for the distortive effects of the alleged “change over” from praxis to theoria, for the circularity of all human understanding (including scientific understanding), for the necessity of interpreting scientific method in terms of the hermeneutic circle, and for viewing scientific “crises” in ontological terms, are examined and evaluated. The article concludes with some reflections on the later Heidegger’s views on the limits of his earlier idea of science.
105. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10 > Issue: Supplement
David N. James What is Professional Ethics?
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After distinguishing professional ethic s from legal and aesthetic norms I argue that a version of rule-utilitarianism is best able to account for professional ethics. The alleged relativism of role-specific duties is a badly posed issue, I argue, since how morality comes to one critically depends upon one's occupation. Alternative theories of the foundations of professional ethics are criticized, both consent theories and the views of those who object to the legalism implicit in a rule-based theory. A mixed theory of virtue is defended to include the most important aspects of an ethic of virtue in the overall rule-utilitarian framework.
106. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10 > Issue: Supplement
Thomas McClintock Skepticism and the Basis of Morality
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Part I (Skepticism) contains analyses of the basic varieties of ethical skepticism and culminates in the idea that the refutation of ethical skepticism--or, what is the same thing, the discovery of the rational basis of morality--consists of a proof of the factual thesis that there exists in human beings a common underivative moral self that consists of an innate normative-practical source (or principle-spring) of human moral judgment and behavior. Part 2 (The Basis of Morality) develops the methodology for establishing this factual thesis and develops as well an argument employing this methodology that actually establishes it. This argument is to the effect that nature through the process of evolution-by-natural-selection built into us humans the following principle as the rational basis of morality: We ought to act only in those ways whose universal performance is both possible and consistent with the rational self-interest of every member of our species.
107. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee Reverse Discrimination and Social Justice
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Tom Beauchamp has pointed out that there are three major positions advocated on the issue of “reverse discrimination”. In this article, I will argue that all three of these positions overlook a central issue which is at stake in this controversy and I will suggest that a fourth position exists. Furthermore, I will argue that the programs usually supported by those in favor of preferential treatment (e.g., the setting of educational or employmental goals or quotas) are, while unquestionably worthwhile in their aims, in fact only superficial “band-aid” type solutions to a problemwhich requires much more fundamental changes in our attitudes concerning the distribution of wealth and opportunities in our society.
108. 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.
109. 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.
110. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee Existential Themes in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock
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The auteur theory of film-making (usually attributed in film to the French director Francais Truffaut) is explored with specific reference to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is argued that Hitchcocks’s films, in particular his later films, present a common theme which is in fact quite consistent with the outlook of Phenomenological Existentialism, especially as it was espoused by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger.To support this position, textual analyses of various films directed and produced by Hitchcock are presented, including Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong Man, and Vertigo. The effects of this approach and its philosophical implications far the film-going audience are also examined.
111. 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.
112. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Viorica Farkas Dreaming in Descartes à la Wilson
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Descartes argues that since there are no certain marks to distinguish waking experiences from dreams, we need to justify our belief that waking experiences are veridical experiences of physical objects while dreams are illusions. He resolves this problem by arguing that the absence of marks distinguishing dreams from waking experiences notwithstanding, we are justified in ascribing different cognitive values to waking experiences and dreams. For, our belief in God rules out any other explanation of the agreement of all our faculties in supporting the instinctive belief that waking experiences are caused by physical objects.
113. 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.
114. 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.
115. 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.
116. 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.
117. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Stephen Griffith How Not to Argue About Abortion
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The most important contribution which professional philosophers could make to the debate concerning abortion would be to produce a detailed conceptual analysis of the sorts of situations in which abortion is typically contemplated and/or performed and a set of moral considerations and/or principles which would be applicable to any such case. I argue that the sorts of hypothetical cases and fanciful analogies typically used by philosophers in their discussions of abortion can be either appropriate or inappropriate for this purpose, and attempt to illustrate this difference by considering several possible interpretations of some of the scenarios diacussed in J.J. Thomson’s classic paper “A Defense of Abortion” together with some of my own.
118. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Richard A. Blanke The Motivation to be Moral in the Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals
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Kant maintained that in order for an act to have moral worth it is necessary that it be done from the motive of duty. On the traditional view of Kant, the motive of duty is constituted solely by one’s belief or cognition that some act is one’s duty. Desire must be ruled out as forming partof the moral motive. On this view, if an agent’s act is to have moral worth, then it must be the ease that his belief that he has a duty has, on its own, motivational force.I attempt to argue that this view is mistaken, that for Kant desire does have a place in moral motivation, and that for Kant it is not possible that we can have an obligation, sincerely assert that we have, and at the same time have no desire to perform that obligation.
119. 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.
120. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael A. Principe Is Universalization in Ethics Significant for Choosing A Theory of Identity Across Possible Worlds?
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Can Lewisian counterpart theory adequately account for the deliberation involved in universalizing moral judgments? In this paper, the dispute between Shalom Lappin and Yehudah Freunlich over the answer to this question is examined and clarified. Then it is argued that Lappin andFreunlich do not join issue in a way which allows for satisfactory adjudication of their dispute. Specifically, they are unaware of the different models of role projection which each employs. By making these models explicit, it can be seen that, regardless of how universalization is construed, a Lewisian can indeed offer an adequate account of moral deliberation.