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121. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael Davis Interested Vegetables, Rational Emotions, and Moral Status
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Many discussions of the moral status of “mindless beings” such as the permanently comatose, the dead, trees, and human fetuses seem to take for granted the thesis that it is improper to appeal to emotions to establish the fundamental distinction between “persona” (beings capableof rights “in their own right”) and “things” (beings not capable of rights except in some fictional or iIlusory sense). Persons are persons, however we may feel about them.That thesis seems to be a major obstacle to any nonutilitarian account of the personhood of mindless beings.I argue that the thesis of independence is true, if at aIl, only for one class of persons (“rational agents”). Beyond that class, our emotional response to a being can be relevant to its moral status. Acting on some consideration (or believing something in virtue of it) can be rational inthe “constitutive”, “regulative”, or “associative” sense. A consideration is a good reason if it is rational in any of these senses. The importance of this claim is shown by briefly examining Feinberg’s weIl-known argument that it is a conceptual truth that mindless beings are incapable ofrights. His argument assumes that our emotions cannot be rational in the appropriate sense and coIlapses without that assumption.
122. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Maurice Mandelbaum The Determinants of Choice
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This paper assumes that human choices are determined, and distinguishes among the views of some classical modern philosophers regarding what determines choice.Hobbes and Hume are taken as representatives of choice as determined by subjective propensities; the differences between their views is discussed. Descartes is taken as a major representative of the view that choice is determined by an apprehension of that which is objectively good, and Spinoza, Malebranche, and Leibniz are discussed insofar as they share that view. It is then shown that interpretations of Locke and Mill whieh assimilate their views to those of Hobbes and Hume are mistaken.As a third alternative, the self-determinist positions of Green and Dewey are discussed. The views of James, in which attention and effort are key concepts, are traced, and that aspect of his view whieh stresses attention is accepted, while his emphasis on effort is rejected.
123. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Charles T. Hagen Rationality in Plato’s Republic
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This paper distinguishes six elements in the Platonic concept of rationality as it appears in the Republic: (a) being fully informed; (b) thinking logically; (c) having the single correct ultimate end; (d) determining the appropriate means; (e) matching action to thought; and (f) promotingone’s own interest. The evidence linking the rational part of the soul (the logistikon) to each of these aspects is discussed. The philosopher-guardians are shown to exemplify full and complete “Platonic rationality”, whereas the unjust men in books 8 and 9 exhibit different degrees of failure to conform to the six elements listed above.
124. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Germain Kopaczynski A Real Distinction in St. Thomas Aquinas?: 20th Century Opponents and the Linguistic Turn
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The objective of this study is to analyze the writing of three neo-scholastic writers of the twentieth century -- Marcel Chossat, Pedro Descoqs, and Francis Cunningham -- who happen to dispute the prevailing view of Thomists that St. Thomas Aquinas does indeed hold a doctrine of thereal distinction of essence and existence in created being. The approach utilized will be basically historical: we start with the year 1910, the year in which Marcel Chossat rekindled the ever-smoldering embers of the essence-existence controversy with his claim that Aquinas never held such a doctrine. In order to justify another treatment of what has been called “the endlessly rehashed question”, we try to show that the arguments put forth by the three thinkers in question an are based on considerable and weighty linguistic grounds which others in the debate have tended to dismiss. We conclude by saying that any discussion of the real distinction controversy must take a “linguistic turn” if it is to have any hope of being fruitful.
125. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Carl Cranor Billy Budd and the Duty to Enforce the Law: A Sketch of Some of the Major Moral Issues
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Herman Melville’s Billy Budd presents a classic example of a legal official legally required to enforce a law he believes or knows to be unjust. Although there has been considerable discussion of a citizen’s moral duty to obey unjust laws, there has been little consideration of a legalofficial’s duty to enforce unjust laws.In this paper I take the central moral dilemma of the novel -- a legal official’s moral duty to enforce a valid law of a legal system vs. his moral duty not to do or to contribute to injustice -- and discuss various moral considerations that would bear on this dilemma. By doing this I hope to contribute both to the moral issues involved as weIl as, to some extent, the literary criticism with regard to Billy Budd.
126. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Karl Pfeifer A Consideration of Modifications to the Multiplying Account
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A sequel to “A Problem of Motivation for Multipliers”, SJPhil 20, 209-24. It is argued that Goldman’s account of act and event individuation cannot be modified to escape criticisms previously raised. Augmentation generation and the counterfactual basis of the account are featured inthe discussion.
127. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Robert L. Greenwood C.I. Lewis and the Issue of Phenomenalism
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According to the received view, the philosophy of C.I. Lewis is a form of phenomenalism. The first part of this paper is an argument designed to show that Lewis does not support one of the necessary conditions for ontological phenomenalism; namely, the sense-datum theory. The secondpart is an argument designed to show that Lewis’ theory is incompatible with linguistic phenomenalism, a view according to which there is an equivalence of meaning between physical object statements and sense-data statements. The argument is not merely that terminating judgments are not sense-data statements, but that they cannot be equivalent to objective statements.
128. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
John A. Barker, Thomas D. Paxson Jr. Aristotle vs. Diodorus: Who Won the Fatalism Debate?
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We develop a modified system of standard logic, Augmented Standard Logic (ASL), and we employ ASL in an effort to show that, contrary to prevailing opinion, both Aristotle and Diodorus presented impressive arguments, having valid structures and highly plausible premisses, in their famous fatalism debate. We argue that ASL, which contains standard logic and a full system of modal and temporal logic emanating from a modicum of primitives, should not only enable one to appreciate the sophisticated philosophizing which characterized this ancient debate, but should prove to be quite useful in application to contemporary issues.
129. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
William M. Goodman Structures and Procedures: Carnap’s Construction in the Aufbau
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This paper takes up the challenge which Carnap poses in his Aufbau: to make of it a basis for continued epistemological research. I try to close some gaps in Carnap’s original presentation and to make at least the first few steps of his constructional outline more accessible to the modern reader. Particularly emphasized is Carnap’s implicit recognition that, to be effective, “structural” models of epistemology (using logical symbols) must be complemented with “procedural” models (his “fictitious operations”). The paper shows how a procedural model, a computer program,can “bypass” Nelson Goodman’s counter example to Carnap’s logical construction of “similarity circles”.
130. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
T. F. Morris Plato’s Lysis
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It is shown that Plato’s Lysis is full of positive content between the lines. At the close of the dialogue Socrates says that he considers Lysis, Menexenus, and himself to be friends of one another. Following up on the questions which the dialogue leads us to ask yields an explanation ofwhy each of these instances of friendship is, in fact, an instance of friendship. In addition, the dialogue shows that there are five types of motivation for desiring something.
131. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
George Englebretsen Semantic Considerations for Sommers’ Logic
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During the last twenty-five years Fred Sommers has developed a series of inter-related theories of language structure, ontological structure, logical syntax, and truth. Each theory has naturally contained valuable suggestions concerning semantic issues. But Sommers has not yet offered a specifically semantic theory. I attempt here to fill that gap by sketching a theory of semantics based upon his logical theses. The theory holds that terms, as used in statement making sentences, have both denotation and signification. Terms denote objects and signify properties. Terms, when quantified, refer to some or all of their denotations, and, when qualified, characterize the subjects to which they are predicated as having or lacking the properties they signify. The semantic, syntactic, and ontological theses presented in this theory are contrasted with those found in classical, scholastic, Leibnizian, Fregean, and Quinean theories.
132. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
John Kilcullen Bayle on the Rights of Conscience
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This is a critical study of the arguments of Pierre Bayle’s Commentaire philosophique by which he tries to show that someone whose conscience is in error has a moral right (of a limited kind) to do what it commands, and that the act may be morally good; and that others, such as the government, may nevertheless have the right, and a duty, to prevent the act by force.
133. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Lawrence R. Carleton Levels in Description and Explanation
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Various authors insist that some body of natural phenomena are legitimately describable or explainable only on one level of description, and would disqualify any description not confined to that level. None offers an acceptable definition explicitly. I extract such a definition I find implicit in the work of two such authors, J.J. Gibson and Hubert Dreyfus, and modify the result to render it more defensible philosophically. I also criticize the definition Shaw and Turvey offer, demonstrate some applications of my definition, and try to forestall certain misunderstandings of those presuppositions and that definition.
134. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Theodore W. Schick, Jr. In Defense of the Correspondence Theory
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The correspondence theory of truth has often been attacked on the grounds that the notion of correspondence is too vague to do any serious philosophical work. More recently it has been attacked on the grounds that the sort of correspondence required by the theory does not exist.I argue, on the contrary, that there are no compelling reasons for believing that the requisite sort of correspondence does not exist and that the notion of correspondence can be made clear enough to yield an adequate theory of truth. After critically examining Tarkski’s theory of truth, Ishow how a correspondence theory which applies to the statements of any language can be constructed. Then Davidson’s claim that all true statements correspond to the same thing and Putnam’s claim that there is no fact of the matter concerning what the terms of a language correspond to are shown to be untenable.
135. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Joan C. Callahan The Silent Scream: A New, Conclusive Case Against Abortion?
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The Silent Scream, a videotape which includes footage of a real time sonogram of an abortion in progress, has been receiving considerable attention in America as the anti-abortion movement’s latest argument. The tape has been enthusiastically endorsed by President Reagan and has been distributed to every member of Congress and to each of the Supreme Court justices. It is produced and narrated by Bernard N. Nathanson, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, and it includes a number of implicit and explicit claims which are highly controversial. Chief among these are: (1) the claim that since we can draw no morally significant line during the stages of fetal development, the fetusmust be recognized as a person from conception onward, (2) the claim that the film is a high tech, state of the art proof that abortion is the brutal murder of an innocent human being, (3) the claim that in abortion the fetus experiences terror and pain, and (4) the claim that as long as abortion is legal, showing this film (or one relevantly similar) must be made part of the informed consent procedure for abortion. My purpose in this paper is to examine these claims to see if The Silent Scream adds anything to the moral case for making abortion illegal. I give particular attention to two claims which are seldom addressed in the abortion debate, viz., that the fetus experiences terror and pain during an abortion, and that women have not had the information they need (but which this film provides) to give an adequately informed consent to abortion. Since there is so much confusion in the abortion debate, and since this film trades on that confusion, my broader purpose is to add some clarificationto the public discussion of this issue, which is daily becoming a more divisive issue of public policy.
136. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Peter Nicholls, Dan Passell Kripke’s Contingent A Priori and Necessary A Posteriori
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We think that Kripke’s arguments that there are contingent a priori truths and that there are necessary a posteriori truths about named and essentially described entities fail. They fail for the reasons that there are ambiguities in each of the three eases. In the first ease, what is known apriori is not what is contingent. In the latter two cases, what is necessary or essential is not what is known a posteriori.
137. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Timo Airaksinen Absolutely Certain Beliefs: Odegard, Rescher and Klein
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This paper presents a critical review and discussion of three recent major theories of epistemic scepticism. Odegard and Rescher both agree that real knowledge entails certain beliefs. But they both fail to see how beliefs could be absolutely certain. Klein’s book, Certainty: A Refutationof Scepticism, presents the strongest possible view in favor of absolute certainty. I pay attention to its technical details and development by Klein. My conclusion is that Klein’s theory rests on some presupposed ideas that are either counterintuitive or then make the theory trivial: one’s certainty of truth becomes the same as the truth itself.
138. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Fay Horton Sawyier Philosophy as Autobiography: John Stuart Mill’s Case
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I consider the general question of whether a study of the life of a philosopher can help us to understand his/her philosophical principles. This topic is narrowed to the consideration of principles of moral and political philosophy, especially in instances in which the philosopher deliberately uses the experiences of his/her own life in formulating his/her views. Such use raises the problem of justification of the self as sampIe. As part of my general defense of the merits of studying a life to grasp a philosophy, I argue that the meaning of a principle in the philosophy of X can be illuminated by trying to recognize what that principIe meant to X. All of these general issues are deployed in my study of the philosophy of John Stuart Mill. In particular I focus on five points, the understanding of which I feel is deepened by studying how they involved his own life. These five are: a change in tone in ch. III of On Liberty, his conviction about free will, his commitment to a principle of vigorous action, his principle of balanced growth, and his fundamental axiom of Individualism.
139. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Larry A. Alexander Fair Equality of Opportunity: John Rawls’ (Best) Forgotten Principle
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Although discussions of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice generally refer to Rawls’ two principles of justice, and although Rawls himself labels his principles “the two principles of justice”, Rawls actually sets forth three distinct principles in the following lexical order: the liberty principle, the fair equality of opportunity principle, and the difference principle. Rawls argues at some length for the priority of the liberty principle over the other two. On the other hand, Rawls offers hardly any argument at all for the priority of the fair equality of opportunity principle over the difference principle. In this article I will argue that making the fair equality of opportunity principle separate from and lexically prior to the difference principle is both intuitively unattractive and inconsistent with Rawls’ method of deriving principles of justice from the choices of rational contractors in the original position.
140. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Harold H. Kuester The Dependence of Stephen Toulmin’s Epistemology on a Description/Prescription Dichotomy
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Toulmin is one of the three or four best-known philosophers of science who, beginning in the late 1950’s, attempted a thoroughgoing criticism of logical positivism (the philosophy of science which predominated at that time). The paper argues that Toulmin depends upon the same sort oftheory-observation dichotomy which resulted in many of the difficulties which bedeviled logical positivism. Thus Toulmin’s criticism is neither as radical nor as trouble-free as many suppose.