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201. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Wendell Stephenson The Love of God and Neighbor in Simone Weil’s Philosophy
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Simone Weil recognized that there is a problem reconciling the Iove of God/Good with the Iove of neighbor, and she probabIy believed that she never successfully resoIved it. A quotation from her ‘New York Notebook’ sets the probIem niceIy:OnIy God is the good, therefore, onIy He is a worthy object of care, solicitude, anxiety, longing, and efforts of thought. OnIy He is a worthy object of all those movements of the souI which are reIated to some vaIue.From this and other quotes, I construct various arguments showing that one cannot consistently both Iove God and one’s neighbor. The buIk of the paper is taken up with a critical consideration of these arguments. The upshot of this is that there is no pIausibIe way to reject all of these arguments; hence one must tentativeIy conclude that the Iove of God/Good is irreconciIabIe with the Iove of neighbor in Weil’s philosophy.
202. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Ishtiyaque Haji Liberating Constraints
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Roughly, when an agent performs an action under liberating constraints, the agent could not avoid perfonning that action, her inability to do otherwise stems from her not being able to will to do otherwise, yet in perfonning the action, the agent may well regard herself as having acted freely or autonomously, or “in character” (as opposed to “out of character”), or in conformity with her “deep self.” As action under liberating constraints issues from one’s “deep self,” it seems reasonable to suppose, as some have recommended, that whenever a person acts under such constraints, she is morally responsible for her action. I first argue against this recommendation. Then I develop a sketch of an account of control---the sort required for the moral responsibility---which implies that, frequently, those who act under liberating constraints are not morally responsible for their (germane) actions.
203. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
John Lemos Virtue, Happiness, and Intelligibility
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In such works as A Short History of Ethics, Against the Self-lmages of the Age, and After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre has argued that the intelligibility of the moral life hinges upon viewing the moral life as essential to the happy life, or eudaimonia. In my article I examine the reasons he gives for saying this, arguing that this thesis is not sufficiently defended by MacIntyre. I also draw connections between this thesis about the intelligibility of the moral life and other aspects of MacIntyre’s thought, such as his communitarianism. In concluding I note that several of MacIntyre’s more significant claims about morality might well be true even if his thesis about the intelligibility of the moral life is false.
204. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Nick Zagwill Explaining Supervenience: Moral and Mental
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I defend the view that supervenience relations need not be explained. My view is that some supervenience relations are brute, and explanatorily ultimate. I examine an argument of Terrence Horgan and Mark Timmons. They aim to rehabilitate John Mackie’s metaphysical queerness argument. But the explanations of supervenience that Horgan and Timmons demand are semantic explanations. I criticize their attempt to explain psychophysical supervenience in this fashion. I then turn to their ‘Twin Earth’ argument against naturalist moral realism. I reconstruct their argument in a charitable spirit. But then I show that the argument mutates into an epistemological argument. That is where the real problems for moral realism lie.
205. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
William F. Vallicella The Hume-Edwards Objection to the Cosmological Argument
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One sort of cosmological argument for the existence of God starts from the fact that the universe exists and argues to a transcendent cause of this fact. According to the Hume-Edwards objection to this sort of cosmological argument, if every member of the universe is caused by a preceding member, then the universe has an intemal causal explanation in such a way as to obviate the need for a transcendent cause. The Hume-Edwards objection has recently come under attack by atheists and theists alike; if I am right, however, the real flaw in this objection lies deep and has yet to be isolated. This paper accordingly divides into two main parts. The fírst discusses three recent failed critiques of the objection. The second presents the beginnings of what I hope is a sound critique. I argue that there is no extant theory of causation according to which it could be true both that (i) each state of the universe is caused by a preceding state, and that (ii) each state is caused to exist by a preceding state. Here we go only part of the way in substantiating this ambitious thesis: we argue that no nomological theory of causation satisfies both (i) and (ii).
206. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Michael Williams Still Unnatural: A Reply to Vogel and Rorty
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Professor Vogel claims that my responses to scepticism leave the traditional problems standing . I argue in reply that he fails to take sufficiently seriously the diagnostic character of my enterprise. My aim is not to offer direct refutations of sceptical arguments, taking such arguments at face value, but to undermine their plausibility by revealing their dependence on unacknowledged and contentious theoretical presuppositions. Professor Rorty is much more sympathetic to my approach but thinks that there is a simpler and more direct way to get the job done: that sketched by Davidson, who argues that scepticism fails because belief is intrinsically veridical. I doubt this. My approach is to identify the distinctively epistemological presuppositions of sceptical argumentation. If this remains undone, Davidsonian reflections on belief and meaning will seem only to transform sceptical problems about knowledge of the world into problems about knowledge of meaning.
207. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Richard Rorty Comments on Michael WIlliams’ Unnatural Doubts
208. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Kam-Yuen Cheng Davidson’s Action Theory and Epiphenomenalism
209. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 22
Gene Fendt The Others In/Of Aristotle’s Poetics
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This paper aims at interpreting (primarily) the first six chapters of Aristotle’s Poetics in a way that dissolves many of the scholarly arguments conceming them. It shows that Aristotle frequently identifies the object of his inquiry by opposing it to what is other than it (in several different ways). As a result aporiai arise where there is only supposed to be illuminating exclusion of one sort or another. Two exemplary cases of this in chapters 1-6 are Aristotle’s account of mimesis as other than enunciative speech (speech that makes truth claims, or representation) and his account of the final cause of tragedy in itself as plot, vis a vis its final cause as regards the audience, which is katharsis. Confusions arising from failure to see the otherness of representation and katharsis leads to an overly intellectualist understanding of the purpose of tragedy.
210. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Odysseus Makridis An Inquiry into Book VI of Plato’s Republic
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This essay scrutinizes certain cardinal themes of Book VI of Plato’s Republic. After a brief inquiry into, and defense of the cogency of, the preliminary methodological groundwork for the study of Platonic dialogues and their sections, the essay probes into the VIth book.
211. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Richard Duble In Defense of the Smart Aleck: A Reply to Ted Honderich
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In “Honderich on the Consequences of Determinism” I argued that contrary to Ted Honderich’s thesis in his How Free Are You? determinism has no consequences, whether logical, moral, or psychological, about how we must view persons we beIieve to be determined. Honderich replied in “Compatibilism, Incompatibilism, and the Smart Aleck” that there is a sense in which our belief in determinism has consequences that any reasonable human being must recognize. My present paper examines Honderich’s reply.
212. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Newton Garver Vagueness and Analysis
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Analytic philosophy generally follows Frege in insisting that concepts be defined so as to eliminate vagueness. In practice, however, context often provides the clarit y that definitions fail to supply. Wittgenstein’s later work stressed context (use) rather than definition, at least for philosophical (as opposed to scientific) discourse. In this Wittgenstein’s development was opposite to Frege’s.Richard Robinson notes the looseness in original language learning, and that precision is often nevertheless achieved, especially in sciences. Hence Robinson’s paradox: the inevitability of vagueness at the roots of precision. Analytic explanations contrast with contextual ones. We can sometimes explain meaning analytically, but we must sometimes use contextual explanations. Vagueness cannot be eliminated, and wholesale analysis is a chimerical ideal in philosophy. We need, as Wittgenstein came to see, a broader, more general, conception of cIarity, within which analytic (Iogical) clarity is only one special case.
213. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Richard R. Askay A Philosophical Dialogue Between Heidegger and Freud
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This essay presents imaginary philosophical debates between Heidegger and Freud exploring their views on science, philosophy, their interrelationship and the fundamental philosophical presuppositions of Freud’s metapsychology. In the final section, Heidegger presents a series of criticisms of Freud’s theory, to which ‘Freud’ posthumously responds.
214. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Louis P. Pojman Equality: A Plethora of Theories
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The dominant contemporary political theory is egalitarianism, yet egalitarians seldom give a clear justification of their position. In this paper I examine such questions as, What is egalitarianism all about? What is so attractive about equality? And what is the proper criterion? What do egalitarians want to equalize and why? My primary hypothesis is that current egalitarian theories either illicitly attempt to derive substantive conclusions from formal notions or, if they are substantive, are beset with weighty objections. A corollary is the hypothesis that the idea of equality is an empty, rhetorical notion, one that, with one possible exception, does no useful philosophical work.
215. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Christopher Williams Pictures, Photographs, and Causes
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I argue that photographic pictures need not depict their causes. The argument proceeds by an examination of puzzle cases in which the visible content of a photograph appears to diverge from its cause. I discuss an objection to the foregoing thought experiment, and also various sources of, and reinforcements for, the causal intuition.
216. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Patrick Francken, Heimir Geirsson Regresses, Sufficient Reasons, and Cosmological Arguments
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Most of the historically salient versions of the Cosmological Argument rest on two assumptions. The first assumption is that some contingeney (i.e., contingent fact) is such that a necessity is required to explain it. Against that assumption we will argue that necessities alone cannot explain any contingency and, furthermore, that it is impossible to explain the totality of contingencies at all.The second assumption is the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Against the Principle of Sufficient Reason we will argue that it is unreasonable to require, as the Principle of Sufficient Reason does, that any given whole of contingent facts has an explanation. Instead, it depends on the results of empirical investigation whether or not one should ask for an explanation of the given whole.We argue that if a cosmological argument invokes either of the two assumptions, then it fails to prove that a necessity is needed to explain the universe of contingent facts.
217. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Struan Jacobs Thoughts on Political Sources of Karl Popper’s Philosophy of Science
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How did Karl Popper arrive at his theory of science? Popper believed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity and his attitudes of modesty and self-criticism were all important.This paper challenges details in Popper’s account and suggests an alternative interpretation of the formation of his theory. It is held that his disillusionment with Marxism predated and conditioned his understanding of Einstein, and that the liberalism of J. S. Mill may have exercised an influence . Political ideas and practice paved the way for Popper’s philosophy of science.
218. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Robert W. Lurz Animal Consciousness
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The question of the possibility of conscious experience in animals has had a rebirth recentIy in both philosophy and psychology. I argue that there is an account of consciousness that is perfectly consistent with many animals enjoying conscious experiences. In defending my thesis, I examine a recent account of consciousness by Peter Carruthers which denies animals conscious experiences. I argue that Carruthers’ account should be rejected on the grounds that it is unnecessarily complex, and that it fails to provide either a sufficient or a necessary condition for conscious experience. A better account of consciousness, I maintain, is an Armstrongian account. I defend this account against a number of objections, and go on to show how it is consistent with a wide range of animals enjoying conscious experiences.
219. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Donald L. M. Baxter The Discernibility of Identicals
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I argue via examples that there are cases in which things that are not two distinct things qualitatively differ without contradiction. In other words, there are cases in which something differs from itself. Standard responses to such cases are to divide the thing into distinct parts, or to conceive of the thing under different descriptions, or to appeal to different times, or to deny that the property had is the property lacked. I show these responses to be unsatisfactory. I then gather and systematize available ways of talking about such cases with phrases like ‘insofar as’ , ‘qua’ , ‘to the extent that’, ‘in some respect’, etc., while paying special attention to the scope of ‘not’ when used with these phrases. This allows me to show how we can speak of self-differing without contradiction.
220. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Venanzio Raspa Łukasiewicz on the Principle of Contradiction
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Łukasiewicz distinguishes three formulations of the principle of contradiction in Aristotle’s works: ontological, logical, and psychological. The first two formulations are equivalent though not synonymous, but neither of them is equivalent to the psychological one, which expresses not a principle but only an empirical law. Furthermore, the principle of contradiction is neither a simple and ultimate law nor is it necessary for conducting an inference, because the syllogism is independent of it. The further explanation of this concept leads Łukasiewicz to formulate the idea of a non-Aristotelian logic, that is, a logic operating without the principle of contradiction. If the principle of contradiction shall be valid, it must be proved. A proof can be supplied only on the basis of a definition of object, as something that cannot have and not have the same property at the same time. However, this definition does not hold for all objects, i.e., for contradictory objects. In virtue of its ontological character the Aristotelian principle of contradiction is then different from that of symbolic logic.