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Displaying: 141-160 of 871 documents

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141. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Gvozden Flego Thinking the Post-Socialism: From Socialist Community to Pluralistic Society
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The author discusses some aspects of the problem how to transform the former socialist into democratic states. In the first part he argues that the ‘socialist societies’ were not societies in the modern sense but organized in the way of traditional community without (civil) society---with the absolute domination of politics over all spheres of societal activities, in which the only permitted (Communist) Party, mostly reduced to the power of the secretary general, used to decide over almost everything. The psychic functional basis of socialism was happy consciousness and collective narcissism. In the second part the author warns that the realization of the “European way of Iife,” as a basic program of changes in Europe in 1989, was misunderstood because it was conceived as a fixed content and not as a procedure of attaining agreement. In the third part he concludes that nationalism and fervent religiosity, which predominate in several ex-socialist countries, are main obstacles of the transformation of the former socialism because of their exclusion of the different. This tends to continue the societyless community, filled with again absolutized (national or religious) contents, namely with new forms of collective narcissism.
142. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
James Fieser Hume’s Concealed Attack on Religion and His Early Critics
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Like Hume scholars today, Hume’s 18th century critics recognized his use of literary devices in his religious writings. Indeed, the early commentaries on Hume’s religious writings are dominated by attempts to identify and decode Hume’s concealed religious views. Little work has been done in Hume scholarship to understand the nature and scope of this aspect of his early critics. The purpose of the present essay is to resurrect the discussions of the “Natural History” and the Dialogues in which Hume’s 18th century critics attempt to uncover his concealed meanings. I begin by discussing the limited value of 18th century anecdotes about Hume’s personal religious views. After examining Hume’s general strategy of concealment in his religious writings, I catalog and interpret individual passages from Hume’s critics which acknowledge Hume’s technique of concealment. I conclude by noting that their overall assessment of Hume’s concealed religious views was more skeptical than the assessment of many contemporary commentators.
143. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Myles Brand Hornsby on Trying
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In “Reasons for Trying” (JPR, 1995), Jennifer Homsby rejects several views about trying, including the volitional account, which identifies trying with an ‘inner’ uniform mental occurrence leading to action and the instrumental view, which explicates trying as doing one thing in order to accomplish something else. She proffers, rather, an explication, which I label ‘the capacity view,’ that identifies trying with the agent doing all that she can to accomplish the goal. In this note, I argue, first, that Hornsby’s approach more nearly captures our intuitions on trying, but, second, only if it is amended and expanded in critical ways. In particular, trying also involves overcoming perceived resistance.
144. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Andrew Pessin In Defense of Conceptual Holism: Reply to Fodor & Lepore
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In their recent book Holism, Jerry Fodor & Ernest Lepore (F&L) argue that various species of content holism face insuperable difficulties. In this paper I reply to their claims. After describing the version of holism to which I subscribe, I follow them in addressing, in turn, its implications for these related topics: interpersonal understanding, false beliefs and reference, psychological explanation, content sirnilarity and identity, the analytic-synthetic distinction, and empirical evidence. The most prominent theme in my response to F&L is that while holism does suffer from the problems they note in principle, it’s able to avoid them in practice. Holism’s implications, in short, are not only not fatal, but not even so bad --- and very possibly desirable.
145. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Mark Lance Two Concepts of Entailment
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What is the logic of entailment? The latter half of the twentieth century has seen, for even the simplest languages, a proliferation of distinct formal entailment systems, each having those willing to defend its status as the answer. Among those defenders, and among the most adamant and mutually critical, are the champions of strict implication and relevance logic. To an outsider, this debate must seem singularly odd. Here we have a group of philosophers who cannot agree on the validity of a simple, easily comprehensible inference scheme. They seem to think that they are not talking past one another---that there is some reality each seeks to describe---for they continue to write articles declaring that the opposing view is wrong. Yet they cannot seem to convince the other side that their view is even remotely plausible, thus leading some to an instrumentalist dismissal of the whole debate.I argue that the defenders of the two systems are right to suggest that something deeper is at issue between them than mere usefulness in particular applied contexts. Once we see what this is, however, we will see that they are, after all, talking past one another. When we succeed in clarifying the crucial underlying issue, we can then succeed in clarifying the crucial distinction between two dimensions of the underlying concept. Both the classicalist and the relevantist, then, will be seen to have accurately captured one dimension of the root concept.
146. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Herbert Hochberg Particulars As Universals: Russell’s Ontological Assay of Particularity and Phenomenological Space-Time
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Russell’s elimination of basic particulars, in An lnquiry into Meaning and Truth and Human Knowledge: lts Scope and Limits, by purportedly construing them as “bundles” or “complexes” of universal qualities has been attacked over the years by A. J. Ayer, M. Black, D. M. Armstrong, M. Loux, and others. These criticisms of Russell’s ontological assay of “particularity” have been based on misconstruals of his analysis. The present paper interprets Russell’s analysis, rebuts arguments of his critics, and sets out a different criticism of “bundle” analyses of particulars of the Russellian kind.
147. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Stefan Sencerz Personal Goodness and Moral Facts
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Peter Railton argues that normative realism is justified because the non-moral goodness of an individual has explanatory uses. After having equated moral rightness with a kind of impersonal social rationality, he argues that rightness, so defined, helps to explain various social phenomena. If he is right, then moral realism would be justified, too. Railton’s argument fails, however, on both counts. Several crucial steps in his reasoning are unsupported and are likely to be false. The explanations he proposes may be dismissed in favor of better explanations that do not use any normative or moral terms. Some of us may share RaiIton’s moral standards. There is no reason, however, to embrace his metaethical position as welI. His arguments do not support either normative or moral facts.
148. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Kirk A. Ludwig Trying the Impossible: Reply to Adams
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This paper defends the autonomy thesis, which holds that one can intend to do something even though one believes it to be impossible, against attacks by Fred Adams. Adams denies the autonomy thesis on the grounds that it cannot, but must, explain what makes a particular trying, a trying for the aim it has in view. If the autonomy thesis were true, it seems that I could try to fly across the Atlantic ocean merely by typing out this abstract, a palpable absurdity. If we deny the autonomy thesis, we have an easy explanation: one simply cannot try to do something which one believes to be impossible. In response, I argue, first, by means of examples, that one clearly can try and intend to do what one believes to be impossible; and then l show how we can provide an answer to Adams’s challenge even so.
149. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
William P. Alston Reply to Critics
150. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Michael Scanlan Wittgenstein, Truth-Functions, and Generality
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Although it is eommon to attribute to Wittgenstein in the Tractatus a treatment of general propositions as equivalent to eonjunctions and disjunctions of instance propositions, the evidence for this is not perfeetly clear. This article considers Wittgenstein’s comments in 5.521, which can be read as rejecting such a treatment. It argues that properly situating the Tractatus historically allows for a revised reading of 5.521 and other parts of the Tractatus relevant to Wittgenstein’s theory of generality. The result is that 5.521 does not conflict with the view that general propositions are truth-functions of instance propositions. Common problems with such a view are to some extent obviated by the fact that Wittgenstein, following Russell and Moore, was not concerned with a syntactically defined language, but with propositions conceived as independent of a fixed language.
151. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Kenneth R. Westphal Kant’s Dynamic Constructions
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According to Kant, justifying the application of mathematics to objects in natural science requires metaphysically constructing the concept of matter. Kant develops these constructions in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MAdN). Kant’s specific aim is to develop a dynamic theory of matter to replace corpuscular theory. In his Preface Kant claims completely to exhaust the metaphysical doctrine of body, but in the General Remark to MAdN ch. 2, “Dynamics,” Kant admits that once matter is reconceived as basic forces, it is no longer possible to construct the concept of matter. I argue that Kant’s admission is only the tip of the problem, and that none of Kant’s commentators has fully grasped the problems infecting the MAdN that underlie Kant’s admission. I show that Kant’s proof that matter consists of forces is fallacious. I then re-analyze the circularity in Kant’s definition of density, criticizing both Adickes’ formulations and his later dissolution of it. I also show that a third circularity infects the relations between Kant’s treatment of “Dynamics” and “Mechanics” (MAdN ch. 3). These three fundamental problems demonstrate the untenability of Kant’s metaphysical method, and they require the radical revision of the relation between mathematics and metaphysics Kant undertakes in his opus postumum. I show that some of Kant’s most surprising and critical later claims about the Critical philosophy are correct, and that they require the sorts of remedies Kant contemplates in the opus postumum. (I defend the essentially correct analyses offered by Burkhard Tuschling and Eckart Forster against criticisms by Michael Friedman.)
152. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Dan Passell Natural Fact, Moral Reason
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In his book Ethics J. L. Mackie says that moral facts would have to be queer facts. I argue that an act’s hurting somebody is necessarily a reason, though not necessarily a conclusive reason, not to do that act; and that such hurting is a natural fact, not a queer fact. I try to defend this externalist position about this particular reason against internalists such as Mackie, and in particular against the position of Stephen Darwall in Impartial Reason.
153. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Hugh McCann Intention and Motivational Strength
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One of the principal preoccupations of action theory is with the role of intention in the production of action. It should be expected that this role would be important, since an item of behavior appears to count as action just when there is some respect in which it is intended by the agent. This being the case, an account of the function of intention should provide insight into how human action might differ from other sorts of events, what the foundations of human autonomy may be, etc. But the claim that intention plays an important role in action is implicitly opposed to another thesis held by many action theorists: that whenever she acts, an agent always follows her strongest motive or desire. If this is so, there may be no need for special states of intending, since these might just intervene between motive and action. Rather, it can be argued, intention conceived as an independent state should be gotten out of action theory, and its functional role imputed to the agent’s strongest desire. The tension between this reductivist view and views which credit intention with a distinctive functional role in the genesis of action is what I wish to explore in this paper. The first two sections are devoted to showing how the conflict arises. In sections III and IV I shall consider two ways of trying to resolve the conflict, neither of which seems to me adequate. Finally, I shall urge briefly that if the conflict cannot be resolved, we should favor a theory which maintains a nonreductive view of intention.
154. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Andrew Melnyk Physicalism, Ordinary Objects, and Identity
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Any philosopher sympathetic to physicaIism (or materiaIism) will allow that there is some sense in which ordinary objects---tables and chairs, etc.---are physicaI. But what sense, exactly? John Post holds a view implying that every ordinary object is identical with some or other spatio-temporal sum of fundamental entities. I begin by deploying a modal argument intended to show that ordinary objects, for example elephants, are not identical with spatio-temporal sums of such entities. Then I claim that appeal to David Lewis’s counterpart theory, even if acceptable in principle, would not permit Post to make a plausible reply to this argument. Finally, I sketch an alternative account of ordinary objects, which does not require identity with spatio-temporal sums of fundamental physical entities, and argue that, despite Post’s protestations, this account is acceptably physicalist: his identity claims are not required for physicalism.
155. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 20
Robert Audi Perceptual Experience, Doxastic Practice, and the Rationality of Religious Commitment
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This paper is a constructive critical study of William P. Alston’s Perceiving God. It explores his account of perception of God, his doxastic practice epistemology, and his overall integration of faith and reason. In dealing with the first, it distinguishes some possible cases of theistic perception that have not generally been sorted out in the literature. In examining doxastic practices, it explores both the sense in which it is rational to engage in them and the epistemic status of beliefs formed through them. Concerning the integration between faith and reason, it proposes a conception of faith in which, contrary to the prevailing tradition, belief is not central; distinguishes rationality from justification; and argues that the rationality of faith so conceived need not meet the same standard appropriate to the justification, or even the rationality, of the corresponding religious beliefs.
156. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 21
John A. Humphrey Kripke’s Wittgenstein and the Impossibility of Private Language: The Same Old Story?
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A common complaint against Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language is that whereas the aim of “the real” Wittgenstein’s private language argument is to establish the impossibility of a necessarily private language, the communitarian account of meaning proposed by Kripke’s Wittgenstein (KW), if successful, would establish the impossibility of a contingently private language. I show that this common complaint is based on a failure of Kripke’s critics (a failure that is justified, in part, by Kripke’s text) to recognize and understand his distinction between a “physically isolated” individual (PII) and an individual “considered in isolation” (ICl) . It is only an ICI for whom rule following and language are rendered impossible by KW. l then show that an lel speaks a necessarily private language. Thus, KW’s private language argument gives us, at best, the same story about the impossibility of private language as pre-Kripke accounts of Wittgenstein’s private language argument.
157. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 21
Stephen Griffith Could it have been Reasonable for the Disciples to have Believed that Jesus had Risen from the Dead?
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It cannot be reasonable to beIieve in the resurrection unless we can overcome certain a priori objections. It is argued that these objections can in fact be overcome. It is further argued that, whether or not it is reasonabIe for us to believe in the resurrection, it couId have been not onIy reasonabIe for the discipIes to believe that it had, but unreasonabIe for them not to believe this.
158. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 21
Chad Allen Smith’s The Felt Meanings of the World and the Pure Appreciation of Being Simpliciter
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In The Felt Meanings of the World, Quentin Smith lays the groundwork for a metaphysical worldview that is meant to stand as an alternative to nihilism. Smith finds fault with nihilism inasmuch as it fails to account for the possibility that faculties other than reason, namely feelings or intuition, may be the source of important metaphysical insight. From this observation, Smith builds his “metaphysics of feeling,” which is not concemed with rational explanations of the world’s existence, but rather with the relationship between the world and our own feelings. This information, Smith says, can satisfy our metaphysical longings inasmuch as we can become more aware of “what” the world is, even if we can never know “why” it exists. Smith’s metaphysic is a viable one, but it is not without its problems. Most notable of these is Smith’s conclusion that “joy” is the proper affective response to the pure existence of the world, or Being simpliciter. It is my intent to show not only that joy cannot be an affective response to Being simpliciter; but also that the metaphysics of feeling renders incoherent any notion of affective response to Being simpliciter.
159. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 21
B. Richard Beatch The Radical Nature of Margolis’ Relativism
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Joseph Margolis advances a view which he purports to be relativist in both the book and the article “The Truth About Relativism”. He develops this view in opposition to what he calls “relationalism”. Relationalism, however, is very much like what has traditionally been called “relativism”. Thus, in developing his view, Margolis distances himself from relativism as traditionally understood. Given this, the present article aims to determine the following: a) whether and how Margolis’ position is a relativist position; and b) whether Margolis’ position is substantially different from the relationalist view from which he purports to depart. I argue that Margolis’ position is only relativist in part and that the relativistic aspect of his theory is essentially the relationalist position he is determined to avoid.
160. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 21
James Hardy Burdens of Proof: Why Modal Ontological Arguments Aren’t Convincing
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Proponents of modal versions of the ontological argument have traditionally defended the prernise that God possibly exists by arguing that such a premise is more plausible than its negation. In this paper I argue that such a defense is insufficient to justify acceptance of the premise within the scope of a modal proof, and that this insufficiency accounts for the lack of probative force of these versions of the ontological argument. Rather, I claim that what is needed is a defense of the claim of God’s possibility against the claim that He possibly does not exist. I give reasons for suspecting that no such defense is possible within the scope of modal ontological arguments.