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141. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Daniel Shaw Absurdity and Suicide: A Reexamination
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Camus’ central thesis in The Myth of Sisyphus is that suicide is not the proper response to, nor is it the solution of, the problem of absurdity. Yet many of his literary protagonists either commit suicide or are self-destructive in other ways. I argue that the protagonists that best live up to the characteristics of the absurd man that Camus outlines in the Myth uniformly either commit suicide or consent to their destruction by behaving in such a manner as to invite death. It is my contention that this raises serious questions abuut the validity of Camus’ arguments that suicide is not the proper response to the recognition that life is absurd.
142. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Douglas Low The Existential Dialectic of Marx and Merleau-Ponty
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Our work represents the culmination of a study that is a search for a method. It is a search that has led us away from the remnants of Cartesianism that are found in Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason, which we do not deal with here, and toward a comparative study of Karl Marx and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which we do take up in detail. The present manuscript argues, in fact, that both Marx and Merleau-Ponty operate with a method that may be called an existential dialectic.By means of careful and extended analysis of The Structure of Behavior we attempt to uncover Merleau-Ponty’s method, calling special attention to its sometimes ignored dialectical character. We then proceed to argue that Marx is operating with a type of phenomenological/existential method, and this is true not only of the young Marx but also of the mature Marx of the Grundrisse and Capital. Finally, with the assistance of Lukacs’ History and Class Consciousness, we point up the dialectical character of Marx’s method. Thus, it is by uncovering this approach in the text of each of these thinkers and by comparing the method of each man with that of the other that we show that both Marx and Merleau-Pontyoperate with an existential dialectical method.This in depth methodological comparison of Marx and Merleau-Ponty represents the first study of its kind. It is hoped that “The Existential Dialectic of Marx and Merleau-Ponty” will contribute to the on-going and important dialogue between Marxists and existentialists.
143. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Frank G. Verges On Having Your Marx and Deconstructing Him Too
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In this paper I examine some logical features of Marxist/Christian compatibilist projects. I use Arthur McGovern’s Marxism: An American Christian Perspective as my chief stalking horse. As an heuristic device, I distinguish the views in Marx’s early writings (Marxist humanism--M-I)from the more mature theory of historical materialism (M-2), where the latter is construed primarily as a social scientific method for the explanation of historical change. I also distinguish C-1, the moral teachings of Jesus, from C-2, Christian theology. I argue that the logic of Christian compatibilism requires the acceptance of C-1, C-2, and M-2, while it must reject or downplay M-l, Marxist humanism. Similarly, the logic of a Marxist compatibilism requires the acceptance of M-1, M-2, end C-1, while it must reject C-2, Christian theology. I conclude that, while Christian and Marxist compatibilists can work together in seeking to overcome capitalism and imperialism, it is more difficult to see how thedisagreements over Marxist humanism vs. Christian theology could ever be transcended.
144. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11 > Issue: Supplement
Richard A. Talaska The Emergence of the Early Modern Concept of System
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This study is meant to provide a means of understanding the change of philosophic perspective from the naive classical view that natures manifest themselves to mind to the modern view that they do so only as mediated by thought or speech. It does so by tracing the emergence of the early modern concept that philosophy must be presented as a system of propositions or laws in order to be scientific. It is argued that certain early moderns adopted the term system from the Stoic definition of art, and that they clearly delineated the essential characteristics of systematicity but spoke only of systems of individual sciences. Régis first applied the term to philosophy as a whole, but Hobbes before him conceived of system in Régis's sense. The conclusion is a more precise understanding of the origin of the modern use of the term and of the meaning of the early modern concept of philosophic system.
145. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Rod Bertolet Referring, Demonstrating, and Intending
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Demonstratives have been thought to provide counterexamples to theories which analyze the notion of speaker reference in terms of the intentions of the speaker. This paper is a response to three attempts to undermine my efforts to defend such theories against these putative counterexamples. It is argued that the efforts of Howard Wettstein, M. J. More and John L. Biro to show that my own attempt to defuse the putative counterexamples offered by David Kaplan fails, are themselves unsuccessful. The competing view of demonstration which I endorse is clarified further by the discussion.
146. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Adam Thompson Counterexamples to Nozick’s Account of Transmission of Knowledge via Proof
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This paper reveals and corrects a flaw in Nozick’s account of knowledge via inference. First, two counterexamples are provided by considering cases which would not typically be regarded as instances of knowledge although they are counted as such by Nozick’s theory. Then the general form of these counterexamples is given. From this it is apparent that the counterexamples show that Nozick’s theory fails to take account of cases in which the subject infers q from p, but in counterfactual situations some proposition other than p would entail q. In view of this, the theory is then revised to eliminate the counterexamples.
147. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
William E. Murnion The Logic of Learning
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A constructive analysis of reasoning as a self-corrective process of learning in which a dialectic between inquiry and anomaly, between intuition and inference, between analysis and synthesis, between induction and deduction, gradually produces a virtually unconditioned but always corrigible solution to a problem. The argument is both a synthesis of contributions from classical and modern philosophers to the interpretation of learning and an attempt to bridge the gap between critical thinking and formal logic in the analysis of reasoning. The aim is to show that learning as well as demonstration has a logic susceptible to philosophical analysis.
148. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Herman Philipse The Concept of Intentionality: Husserl’s Development from the Brentano Period to the Logical Investigations
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In this paper an attempt is made to reconstruct the development of Husserl’s conception of intentionality from 1891 up to 1900/01. It is argued that Husserl’s concept of intentionality in the Logical Investigations took shape under the influence of problems originating in two different fields: the philosophy of perception and philosophical semantics. This multiple origin of the concept of intentionality of 1900/01 is then adduced as an explanation of tensions within the text of the Investigations, tensions whieh account for the fact that various contradictory interpretations of Husserl’s concept of intentionality are supported by the texts.The paper starts with a brief and schematic interpretation of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. Next, the theory of perception of the ‘Psychological Studies for Elementary Logic’ is compared with that contained in the Investigation’s.On the basis of an analysis of Husserl’s early theory of reference to non-existing referents (‘Intentional Objects’, 1894) and of his criticism of Twardowski, it is concluded that his concept of int.entionality of 1900/01 is not free from ambiguities: Husserl wavers between a non-relational and a relational concept. Finally, it is shown why Husserl’s “official” concept in the Investigations was the non-relational version.
149. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
William M. O’Meara The Social Nature of Self and Morality for Husserl, Schutz, Marx, and Mead
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The purpose of the paper is, first, to describe how Husserl’s phenomenology begins with the transcendental ego and attempts to affirm by necessary insight the alter ego and the moral community of all rational beings, and, secondly, to evaluate this argument, using the thought of Schutz, Marx, and Mead. The paper concludes that Husserl’s and Schutz’s concepts of the social nature of the self are inadequate and that Marx and Mead offer a better analysis of how the social nature of the self leads to the universal moral community.
150. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Robert Rethy The Metaphysics of Nullity
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The place of Schopenhauer’s philosophy in the history of contemporary thought and in that of the problematic of nihilism has been relatively unexplored, despite its well-known relation to Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, two of the dominant figures of contemporary philosophy and culture. “The Metaphysics of Nullity”, after an introductory section on the connection of German idealism and nihilism, examines Schopenhauer’s philosophy, and particularly its principle of “self-negation of the will”, as a nihilistic metaphysics that is an outgrowth of traditional conceptions of desire and consciousness which becomes involved in the classical difficulties of self-reflection and self-manifestation. The incoherencies that beset Schopenhauer’s thought are fully examined and their implications are discussed.
151. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
James Bogen, J. E. McGuire Aristotle’s Great Clock: Necessity, Possibility and the Motion of the Cosmos in De Caelo I.12
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This paper offers a detailed account of arguments in De Caelo I by which Aristotle tried to demonstrate the necessity of the perpetual existence and the perpetual rotation of the cosmos. On our interpretation, Aristotle’s arguments are naturalistic. Instead of being based (as many have thought) on rules of logic and language, they depend, we argue, on natural science theories about abilities (δυνάμεις), e.g., to move and to change, which things have by nature and about the conditions under which these abilities can be exercised. Our interpretation locates the De Caelo arguments in the context of some central doctrines of the Organon, the Metaphysics, the Physics, and other texts. The De Caelo arguments fit a number of views developed in these texts. Aristotle’s treatments of local motion, of natural motion and change, of necessity and possibility, and of abilities and their exercises are examples. But, as we interpret them, the De Caelo arguments raise serious questions about the role of (and the need for) Metaphysics A’s soulful Unmoved Mover in Aristotle’s overall natural-scientific picture.
152. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Sheldon Wein Plato and the Social Contract
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This paper argues that Plato’s version of the contractarian theory of justice is superior to all other statements of that theory. The conditions any adequate theory of justice must meet are outlined and it is shown how contractarian theories attempt to meet these conditions. The great contractarian theories---those of Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Rawls, and Gauthier---are shown not to provide an adequate account of the nature of justice. The source of these failures is identified and, finally, it is shown that Plato’s version of contractarianism is immune to this sort of failure.
153. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
James W. McGray From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism: A Logical Gap
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This paper is a critique of R.M. Hare’s argument that rational universal prescriptions are equivalent to utilitarian judgments. The problem with Hare’s argument is his restrictive model of rationality. He succeeds in proving that awareness of certain facts is essential to making a fully rational universal prescription. But he fails to prove that other facts, such as the ultimate separateness of persons, are irrelevant. Once such facts are taken seriously, the utilitarian implication is invalidated.
154. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Bruce B. Settle Psychological Incapacity and Moral Incontinence: How the Former Does Not Explain the Latter
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Moral incontinence (that is, knowing what one ought to do but doing otherwise) has often been explained in terms of psychological incapacity/inability (that is, “ought but can’t”). However, Socrates and others have argued that, whenever it is physically possible to act, there can be no rupture between judgment and behavior and therefore there are no instances of “ought but can’t”.The analysis that follows will conclude either that Socrates was correct in holding that there are no ruptures between judgment and behavior or that, if there are such ruptures, then explanations in terms of psychological incapacity/inability are inappropriate.
155. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Anthony J. Graybosch No-Fault Theories of Regulative Justification
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Several epistemologists (Levi, Harman, Pollock) have recently urged the adoption of what I call a “no-fault” approach to the justification of beliefs. I argue that these views fall prey to objections raised by Alvin Goldman against internalism, specifically: they assume an initial set of regulative principles. It is also suggested that the way to avoid Goldman’s objections is through a psychologistic account of initial warrant.
156. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Gerard T. Ferrari The Resolution of Hume’s Problem, and New Russellian Antinomies of Induction, Determinism, Relativism, and Skepticism
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A necessary refinement of the concept of circular reasoning is applied to the self-and-universally-referential inductive justification of induction. It is noted that the assumption necessary for the circular proof of a principle of induction is that one inference is valid, not that the entire principle or rule of induction governing that inference is true. The circularity in an ideal case is demonstrated to have a value of lin where n represents the number of inferences asserted valid by the conclusion of the justifying argument, and the ‘I’ represents the inference necessarily assumed valid.An induction antinomy modeled after Russell’s antinomy of the set of all and only non-self-containing sets is derived. Isomorphic antinomies are noted to be derivable for other arguments of philosophical interest, including those purported to undermine theories of determinism, relativism, and skepticism, and including the one that Descartes reduced and converted to ‘Cogito, ergo sum’.
157. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Harmon R. Holcomb III Causes, Ends, and the Units of Selection
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This paper inquires into the very possibility of the units of selection debate’s origin in the problem of altruism, function in articulating the evolutionary synthesis, and philosophical status as a problem in clarifying what makes something a level or unit of selection. What makes the debate possible? In terms of origins, there are a number of logically possible ways to deviate from the model of Darwinian individual selection to explain evolved traits. In terms of function, adherence to the evolutionary synthesis yields norms which restrict these possibilities to a manageable few. In terms of philosophical status, the abstract structure of selection mechanisms permits a causal construal, on which the unit of selection is identified with the “unit of possession”, that which possesses the causally efficacious trait selected for. It also allows a teleological interpretation, on which the unit of selection is identified with the “unit of benefit”, that for the sake of which the causally efficacious trait is selected. It is proposed that a unit of selection is really a pair of units, consisting of both a unit of possession and a unit of benefit.
158. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Douglas P. Lackey Fame as a Value Concept
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This essay distinguishes personal from generic fame and accurate from inaccurate fame, and claims that only accurate personal fame could possess intrinsic value. Nevertheless, three common arguments why accurate personal fame might possess intrinsic value are shown to be unsound. After rejecting two Aristotelian arguments to the effect that no sort of fame possesses value, the author suggests that fame is valueless if one assumes a modern axiology in which the good life consists of self-regulation and self-expression.
159. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Wayne A. Davis Warner on Enjoyment: A Rejoinder
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In ‘Davis on Enjoyment: A Reply’, Richard Warner replies to three objections against his ‘Enjoyment’ that I raised in my ‘A Causal Theory of Enjoyment’, and concludes that one of my examples in fact demonstrates a serious deficiency of my own account. I argue that Warner’s replies to my objections are unsatisfactory, and that his objection to my account had a ready solution.
160. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
John D. Jones Poverty as a Living Death: Toward a Phenomenology of Skid Row
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I argue that stigmatization and inferiorization constitute the most destructive form of everyday poverty, the meaning of which is shown through a phenomenological interpretation of skid row. There are three parts to the paper. First, there is a brief discussion of poverty as a philosophical problem. Second, and ancillary to the analysis of skid row, there are discussions of the character of human dignity, everyday meaningful action and the psycho-social dynamics of stigmatization. Third, there is an analysis of skid row which, drawing on Heidegger’s death-analysis in Being and Time, concludes by characterizing skid row poverty as a kind of living death.