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121. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 19
Douglas Lind Kant on Criminal Punishment
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Kant maintains that retribution is the only morally sound justification for criminal punishment. He claims that all just criminal punishment must conform to the “principle of equality,” an inflexible juridical rule which takes the form of a categorical imperative. Focusing on his further claim that the principle of equality establishes that capital punishment is the only suitable punishment for murder, I question Kant’s contention that the principle of equality is a categorical imperative. Following two lines of inquiry drawing upon the nature of a categorical imperative, I suggest that the principle of equality is a principle conditioned by experience, a hypothetical imperative which Kant only shows to be consistent with, not necessarily mandated by, the idea of a just civil state.
122. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 19
Struan Jacobs Laws of Nature, Corpuscules, and Concourse: Non-Occasionalist Tendencies in the Natural Philosophy of Robert Boyle
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It has been said that Robert Boyle gave in the century of The Scientific Revolution the “fullest expression” of the view that laws of nature are continually impressed by God (“occasionalism”). So regarded, the universe is anything but an autonomous machine, its ordered operation depending on God’s continuous imposition of lawful, patterned relations between phenomena and his continuous provision of motion for them to actually enter relations. The present paper contests this treatment of Boyle. Evidence is elicited to show that, for Boyle, most physical relations issue from intrinsic dispositions of phenomena, not divine impositions, dispositions determined by corpuscular textures. Members of classes of phenomena have capacities to make specific changes which members of other classes have capacities to receive, these correlative capacities being necessarily connected, subjects in principle of a priori synthetic necessary knowledge. The same view is found in John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. It is additionally argued that Boyle’s God, the quintessentially active being, imparted motion at the creation, whereafter the motion of (at least most) natural phenomena has derived from natural, not supernatural, impulsion.
123. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 19
Paul Vincent Spade How to Start and Stop: Walter Burley on the INstant of Transition
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Mediaeval logicians often wrote about changes between contradictory states, for example a switch’s changing from being on to not being on. One of the questions discussed in these writings was whether at the moment the change occurs the changing thing is in the earlier or the later state. The present paper investigates the general setting for that question, and discusses the answer given by Walter Burley, an important early-fourteenth century author whose theory was a standard one. Burley’s theory at first seems arbitrary, and moreover committed to serious theoretical problems. The last part of the paper therefore considers what unspoken factors may have motivated Burley. Certain causal principles are suggested that would remove the apparent arbitrariness and avoid the theoretical problems with his theory, but only at the expense of revising it in a substantive way.
124. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 19
John Hare Puffing Up the Capacity
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This paper is about the failure of a particular strategy to overcome the problem of the gap between the moral demand and natural human capacities to meet that demand. The strategy is that of the optimist, who thinks that humans do in fact have the resources to empower themselves to Iive by the moral demand. A conspicuous optimist of this sort is Shelly Kagan, in his book The Limits of Morality. The optimist makes a counterfactual claim about morality: If all our beliefs were vivid, including especially our beliefs about the interests of others, we would tend to conform to the impartial standpoint (to what the utilitarian principle requires). This paper argues that the counterfactual claim is faIse.
125. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 19
James R. Mensch Husserl and Sartre: A Question of Reason
126. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Jennifer Hornsby Reasons for Trying
127. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Danielle MacBeth The Logic of Relations and the Ideality of Space
128. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Don Ross Minimal Strong Functionalism
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This paper is motivated by the concern that increasingly fewer philosophers of mind seem prepared to call themselves ‘functionalists’ these days. I suggest that this has less to do with explicit arguments presented against functionalism than with a gradual decay in the clarity of the term’s reference. This decay has two sources: functionalism has involved several different, logically independent research commitments, and it has become tightly associated, to an unnecessary degree, with classical computationalism, a program which is now under severe pressure from connectionist and other bottom-up methodologies in Al. After diagnosing the causes of this drift, I seek to arrest it by sketching a version of functionalism---Minimal Strong Functionalism---that is strong enough to have ontological and methodological bite, but that is sufficiently minimal in its empirical commitments so as to not be hostage to the outcome of the current dispute in Al between connectionists and classicists.
129. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Harold Zellner “Is Relativism Self-Defeating?”
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Plato seems to have claimed that epistemological relativism is self-defeating in two ways. As reformulated by Siegel: arguments for relativism must be advanced as either relativistically or non-relativistically sound. In either case they are dialectically ineffective for the relativist. Second, relativism is either relativistically or non-relativistically true. Either choice commits the relativist to major concessions to her opponent, or so the story goes. But the relativist can advance her arguments as non-relativistically sound, for the consumption of the non-relativist. Moreover, relativists can claim that relativism is true not only for the relativist, but for her non-relativist opponent as well. Relativism is not self-defeating in either of these ways, for much the same reasons that skepticism is not self-defeating. But we cannot live as relativists, because relativism leads to epistemic paralysis, as the example of prediction shows.
130. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Susan Leigh Anderson Being Morally Responsible for an Action Versus Acting Responsibly or Irresponsibly
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In her article “Asymmetrical Freedom,” and more recently in her book Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf claims to have given us a new theory to account for when we can be held morally responsible for our actions. I believe that she has confused “being morally responsible for an action” with “acting responsibly or irresponsibly.” I will argue that Wolf has given us a nice analysis of the latter concepts, but not of the former one as she intended. I do not believe that she is alone in not appreciating the distinction between these different concepts, but I wiII focus on her work as being a particularly good example of how confusing them can lead to an incorrect account of moral responsibility.
131. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Robert Titiev Causal Troubles
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The focus of this article is upon just one particularly problematic condition among seven espoused by Honderich in A Theory of Determinism, where he sets forth a counterfactual theory of causality using certain kinds of nomic conditionals. Analysis of his fifth requirement shows it not only to be subject to a variety of counterexamples, but also to be in conflict with Honderich’s remarks about experimental testability in connection with claims expressed using nomic conditionals. Honderich has acknowledged that some fine tuning is needed in order to reach a suitable formal rendition of his requirement, but the nature of the new troubles pointed out here indicates that serious flaws lie at the heart of his requirement.
132. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Frederick Adams Trying: You’ve Got to Believe
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Sue knows that, unaided, she cannot lift the 1,000 pound weight, but surely she can try. Can she not? For even if she believes it is impossible to succeed in lifting the weight, trying to lift the weight need not involve success. So surely, it would seem that nothing could be easier than for Sue to give lifting the weight a try. In this paper, I agrue that, appearances aside, it is not possible for someone to try to do what that person believes to be impossible. So, on this view, perhaps surprisingly, not only would it be impossible for Sue to lift the weight, but it would be impossible for her to try (as long as she believed her lifting it to be impossible). I defend this view in the context of a package of related claims and a functional accoung of trying and intentional action.
133. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
William F. Vallicella Do Individuals Exist?
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Is there room for a metaphysics of existence above and beyond the logic of ‘exists’? This paper defends an affirmative answer. It takes its point of departure from a recent polemic of Paul Edwards against Heidegger. According to Edwards, following Frege and Russell, Heidegger mistakenly assumes that existence belongs to individuals. I argue that although Heidegger does indeed make this assumption, he is not mistaken in so doing. My main concern, however, is neither to defend Heidegger nor to reply to Edwards; it is to vindicate the metaphysics of existence against the most damaging objection it faces.
134. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Norman Kretzmann St. Teresa, William Alston, and the Broadminded Atheist
135. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Michael J. Zimmerman Actions and Events
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Kent Bach has argued that certain traditional problems of action theory (conceming the individuation of actions, their timing, their location, and the manner in which they enter into causal relations) arise only on the supposition that actions are events, and he has argued further that actions are not events. In this paper these arguments are examined and rejected.
136. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
David-Hillel Ruben Mental Overpopulation and the Problem of Action
137. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Arthur E. Falk Essay on Nature’s Semeiosos
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In this two-part essay I develop a theory of natural signs. Since even primordial signs signify values, in the first part I develop the theory’s valuative aspect. Goods are as primary in nature as facts are, and together facts and values generate semeiosis in all life without excess extrapolation from human psychology. To ward off over-extrapolating on values, I defend a major discontinuity between man and nature on the goods of ethics. In the essay’s second part I develop the semeiotic dimensions of the negative feedback model of purposive systems. I provide tests for the truth and falsity of the primitive representations in these systems. I account for the holism of representational systems and their non-extensionality, and I define functions. I solve this important definitional problem by inverting the usual mode of thinking: Functions do not explain signs; signs explain functions. Finally I defend this theory’s way of understanding the continuity between human beings and the rest of living nature against several criticisms.
138. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Alvin Plantinga What’s The Question?
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Two kinds of critical questions have been asked about the propriety or rightness of Christian beliefs. The first is the de facto question: is Christian belief true? The second is the de jure question: is it rational, or reasonable, or intellectually acceptable, or rationally justifiable? This second question is much harder to locate than you’d guess from looking at the literature. In “Perceiving God” William AIston suggests that the (or a) right question here is the question of “the practical rationality,” construed as he construes it. I argue that the question is ambiguous: and one of the disambiguees is too easy to answer, while the other is such that its answer is really irrelevant to any sensible version of the de jure question. I conclude by venturing a suggestion as to what a sensible de jure question might be.
139. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
John O. Nelson Pragmatism According to Rorty: A Disaster Area
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The limited objectives of this paper are to show that A), what seem to be merely superficial incoherencies in Rorty’s preferred pragmatism [according to which, “the only constraints on inquiry are conversational ones”] really are not but B), along with every assertion of Rorty’s defining his system and its consequences, belie an intrinsic incoherency resulting from that system’s intended conflation of “correspondence truth” and “pragmatic truth.” Then C), I shall argue that should we ask of a philosophy that denies to its own statements of purported fact correspondence truth what use it is, the answer has to be, “Worse than no use at all”---at least, if like Rorty’s preferred pragmatism it demonstrably concludes in the conceptual annihilation of all inquiry.
140. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Mark Addis Criteria: The State of the Debate
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The article presents a review of the current literature on Wittgenstein’s notion of a criterion. It essentially deals with developments since Lycan’s survey article on the topic and examines the most important pieces contemporary with or prior to it. Different views on various aspects of criteria are considered and summarised. Particular attention is paid to the role criteria play in the philosophy of mind. A framework in which criteria are regarded as states of affairs is used to provide uniformity in the presentation of the accounts. The connections between and implications of varlous positions on aspects of criteria are assessed. No overall perspective on criteria is given and the question of whether the proposed accounts in the literature are adequate interpretations of Wittgenstein’s texts is not covered.