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221. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Mariam Thalos Knowledge in an Age of Individual Economy: A Prolegomenon to Epistemology
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This essay identifies foundational questions, all metaphysical in character, which must be answered before the enterprise of epistemology proper can begin to prosper, and in the process draws attention to fundamental conflicts between the demands of epistemology and the demands of prudence. It concludes that knowledge is not, as such, a directive of prudence, and thus that the enterprise of knowledge does not fall under the category of what is practically required.
222. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Paul Raymont The Know-How Response to Jackson’s Knowledge Argument
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I defend Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant (in spite of her exhaustive knowledge of truths about the physical world). I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities.
223. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Michael B. Wakoff Alston’s Practical Rationality Argument
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William AIston has argued that the prospects are dim for demonstrating with out epistemic circularity that any of our fundamental doxastic practices are reliable. In response to this predicament, he supplies a pragmatic rationale for our continued engagement in these practices. I argue that either he relativizes the practical rationality of engaging in a doxastic practice to participants, which ill suits his aim of providing a realist account of the practice that provides nonparticipants with are as on to trust that the practice is reliable, or he provides participants with no reason to trust their own practice in the face of actual or possible rival practices that issue in incompatible beliefs, unless they take as such a reason the bare fact that this practice is the one they happen to have. This too does not accord well with the need to provide an account of our practices that provides room for critical scrutiny of them.
224. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Michael Levine Rational Emotion, Emotional Holism, True Love, and Charlie Chaplin
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This paper begins with an examination of Amelie Rorty’s claim that although “emotions cannot be rational in the narrow sense of being logically derived from accepted premises, they can be deemed rational . . . as ‘appropriately formed to serve our thriving.’” This is the background against which (i) I develop a notion of ‘emotional holism’ based on the aetiology of emotion in infantile phantasy; and (ii) introduce a dark corollary about the likelihood that our emotions do not, on the whole, match the myths we use to describe them to ourselves. The paper has five sections: (1) The Rationality of Kinds of Emotion and the Argument Against the Rationality of Particular Emotions; (2) Alternative Views of the Rationality of Emotions; (3) Is EmotionaI Behavior RationaI?; (4) Do Particular Emotions Generally Serve Our Thriving?; and (5) Are There Emotions Not Worth Having?: EmotionaI Holism and Manipulating One’s Emotional Repertoire.
225. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Charles Landesman Moore’s Proof of an External World and the Problem of Skepticism
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Moore’s proof consists of the inference of both “Two hands exist at this moment” and “At least two external objects exist at this moment” from the premise “Here is one hand and here is another.” The paper claims that the proof succeeds in refuting both idealism (“There are no external objects”) and skepticism (“Nobody knows that there are external objects”). The paper defends Moore’s proof against the following objections: Idealism does not deny that there is an external world so Moore’s proof is beside the point; Moore may be mistaken about the premise; Moore has failed to prove the premise; Moore has failed to show how he knows the premise; the proof leads to an infinite regress; the proof begs the question because the premise assumes what needs to be proved; the premise depends upon a shaky inference; the premise rests upon evidence of the senses and thus begs the question; the proof fails to convince the skeptic .
226. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
John Peterson Natural Law, End, And Virtue In Aquinas
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Natural law in Aquinas shares the essential features of law in general: it belongs to mind and stands between end and activity. The mind here is the human mind, the end is happiness which is the natural end of persons as persons and the activity is virtuous activity. The latter is activity that accords with reason. Virtue is called for by the natural law. That is because a) virtue is the habit that inclines persons to rational activity, b) persons are naturally inclined to rational activity and e) to the natural law belong all those things to which persons are naturally inclined. And so the ideas of virtue, rational activity, happiness and natural end are all of them inextricably linked in the Thomistic natural law ethics.
227. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Aleksandar Jokic Eithics and Ontology: Present Rights of Future Individuals and Property Instantiation
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In this century technology, production, and their consequent environmental impact have advanced to the point where unrectifiable and uncontroIlable global imbalances may emerge. Hence, decisions made by existing human beings are capable of dramaticaIly affecting the welfare of future generations. Current controversy about environmental protection involves the question of whether our present obligations to future generations can be grounded in their present rights. Many philosophers would question the very intelligibility of the idea that future individuals might have present rights. They do not see how a non-existing object could be said to have anything, let alone rights. Others see no obstacle to attributing properties to such objects. Thus, the controversy about the rights of future individuals shifted to a different, that is, ontological level. What is the proper method for resolving conflicts on this “deeper” level? This essay has two inter-dependent goals: (1) to suggest and assess a testing procedure for ontological claims, through the use of an example of conflicting ontological theses; and (2) to illuminate the concept of a right, through a discussion of the most general features of the requirements for the possible possession of rights.
228. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Lynn Holt Aristotle on the ΑΡΧΗ of Practical Reasoning
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With a historicist sensibility and attention to the ancient language, this paper attempts to sort out the question of how the ultimate end, and therefore how the starting point, of Aristotelian practical reasoning is determined. Some have argued that AristotIe’s practical reasoning must begin with desire in order to be motivational, beginning with his psychological works and interpreting his ethical works from that standpoint. I counter with the claim that an appropriate and sufficiently motivational form of reason grasps the end, beginning with the ethical works and interpreting the psychological works from that aIternative standpoint. Along the way, I sort out questions of interpretive strategy and the relationship between AristotIe’s psychological and ethical works.
229. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Dale E. Burrington Blameworthiness
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In a way that harks back to Anglo-American philosophy of the 1950s and 1960s, this essay contends that the traditional “free will” problem is a spurious problem generated by systematic misuse of the terms employed in discussing moral responsibility. Illustrations of these misuses from sources old and new are provided, mainly in the footnotes. Attention is called to the proper use of the terms, which allows us to frame the questions pertinent to the determination of someone’s moral responsibility for a particular action or omission. No attempt is made to answer these questions because the justifications for the answers would require reference to the particular facts surrounding any given case, as well as estimations of their relevance and importance. The value of the essay lies rather in redirecting attention away from irrelevant matters and towards those that do count.
230. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Joyce L. Jenkins The Advantages of Civic Friendship
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Aristotle distinguishes three types of friendship: virtue or character friendship, advantage friendship, and pleasure friendship. He also holds that the civic relation is a friendship, but it is unclear to which of the three types it belongs. There appear to be two candidates. It is either a character friendship, or an advantage friendship. I argue that it cannot be a character friendship, since that would entail that citizens have active goodwill toward one another, and Aristotle claims that such goodwill can exist only among a few relatively rare character friends. However, if the relation is not a character friendship, Aristotle’s claim that the city is more than alliance for security and exchange becomes puzzling. I argue that Aristotle’s view is that the civic friendship is a special type of advantage friendship in that one of its advantages is that it makes character friendships possible. This explains why rulers and citizens should want their fellows not only to act virtuously, but also to be virtuous.
231. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 24
Philip Dwyer Cooking the Books: John W. Cook On Wittgenstein's Purported Metaphysics
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In his book Wittgenstein’s Metaphysics, John Cook argues that from 1912 until his death Wittgenstein was a proponent of neutral monism. This involves, according to Cook, Wittgenstein’s espousal of phenomenalism---the view that there can be nothing beyond immediate experience---and the consequent elimination of matter, causality, and other minds. I argue that this conflicts with almost everything that Wittgenstein wrote after 1932, including the passages cited and systematicalIy misinterpreted by Cook.
232. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
A. Minh Nguyen On a Searlean Objection to Rosenthal’s Theory of State Consciousness
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In a series of closely connected papers, Rosenthal has defended what has come to be known as “the higher-order thought theory of state-consciousness.” According to this theory, a mental state which one instantiates is conscious if and only if one is conscious of being in it in some relevant way, and one’s being conscious of being in the state which is conscious consists in one’s having a contemporaneous thought to the effect that one is in that state. The main aim of this paper is to disarm a Searle-style objection to Rosenthal’s account of state-consciousness, one that takes mentality, in particular intentionality, to presuppose state-consciousness. It is argued that the Searlean attempt to convict Rosenthal’s hypothesis of circularity fails, because the postulation of what Searle called “subjective ontology,” as well as the requirement that there be an uncancelable connection between mode of representation and state-consciousness, is unreasonable. While defending Rosenthal against Searle, this paper also aims to develop a fresh objection to the higher-order thought conception of state-consciousness.
233. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Candice S. Goad Leibniz’s Early Views on Matter, Modes, and God
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Although scholars have often settled upon 1686 as the year in which the central elements of Leibniz’s philosophy first appear in systematic form, certain of his positions appear to have been firmly in place at least ten years earlier. Papers written in 1676 reveal that Leibniz had already by that time established the fundamental feature of his single-substance metaphysics: the insubstantiality of matter. As he defines it, matter is a mode, but a mode of peculiar status, a sort of “top mode,” which, together with change, is requisite to the existence of any other modes, or “things.” Things for Leibniz include all bodies and their qualities, and in some places also appear to include minds, although Leibniz for religious reasons equivocates here, and wants to resist. Nevertheless, Leibniz’s desire to move toward a version of the Aristotelian notion of matter as the principle of individuation is clearly in evidence as he works to set out a view which can accommodate mechanistic physics while avoiding the perceived atheistic threat inherent in both Cartesian dualism and Spinozistic monism.
234. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
John Lemos The Problems with Emotivism: Reflections on Some MacIntyrean Arguments
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This article provides a defense of a variety of MacIntyrean arguments against emotivism. In After Virtue MacIntyre explains that emotivism might be understood either as a theory about the meaning or about the function of moral language. He also argues that emotivism is false either way. I argue that MacIntyre is right about this by explaining and then answering the recent defenses of emotivism that have appeared in the literature. I conclude by reminding the reader that according to MacIntyre his attacks on emotivism also serve as attacks on other subjectivist ethical theories, such as prescriptivism and existentialism. Thus, if he is right about this, then his critique of emotivism has more far ranging implications than one might initially suppose.
235. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Phillip Goggans A Minimalist Ethic of Duty
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It is proposed that an act is morally wrong just in case it is a violation of a duty not to perform that particular act. This is equivalent to the claim that acts have their moral status essentially. This theory preserves some main deontological intuitions without making problematic claims about kinds of acts.
236. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
James A. Ryan Coherentist Naturalism in Ethics
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After briefly arguing that neither (Kantian or utilitarian) rule-based ethics nor virtue ethics offers promise as a moral theory, I state that argument by analogy (i.e., deliberation within coherence constraints) is a satisfactory form of moral deliberation. I show that what is right must be whatever corresponds to the largest and most coherent set of a society’s moral values. Since we would not know how to interpret the claim that what is right might be repugnant to all our shared moral values, I argue that a definitional naturalist position passes Moore’s open question test. “X is right” just means “performing X satisfies the largest and most coherent set of our altruistic and self-interested desires.” On this view, moral properties are real relational properties. I raise and respond to several objections.
237. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Panayot Butchvarov Letter from the Editor
238. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew Foundationalism, Transitivity and Confirmation
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John Post has argued that the traditional regress argument against nonfoundational justificatory structures does not go through because it depends on the false assumption that “justifies” is in general transitive. But, says Post, many significant justificatory relations are not transitive. The authors counter that there is an evidential relation essential to all inferential justification, regardless of specific inference form or degree of carried-over justificatory force, which is in general transitive. They respond to attempted counterexamples to transitivity brought by Watkins and Salmon as well as to Post’s, arguing that none of these counterexamples apply to the relation they are describing. Given the revived transitivity assumption using this relation, the regress argument does indeed demonstrate the need for foundational stopping points in inferential justification.
239. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Jill Sigman How Dances Signify: Exemplification, Representation, and Ordinary Movement
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Goodman gave us resources for recognizing art; he enumerated “symptoms of the aesthetic” or features which explain something’s functioning as a work of art. But that’s not enough to tell us how a work of art signifies or bears meaning. I apply Goodman’s notion of exemplification to address the question of how dances signify. It is too often assumed that if dance doesn’t fit the model of natural language then it can’t have cognitive content; this essay is concerned with showing how it can. I consider Yvonne Rainer’s dance Trio A, an archetype of the pedestrian postmodem dance of the 1960s. Although at first sight it appears to be an instance of ordinary movement, Trio A is not ordinary movement simpliciter. I argue that Trio A conveys what it does by representing something we take to be pedestrian movement, and it represents by exemplifying certain features we associate with ordinary movement. Representation and signification cannot be equated and what is signified depends not only on what is represented but on how it comes to be represented by the work.
240. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Phil Gosselin Can the Potentiality Argument Survive the Contraception Reduction?
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Many philosophers believe that the main reason it is wrong to kill people is that killing them deprives them of all the experiences and activities that would otherwise have constituted their futures. Some of these philosophers have also argued that killing potential people is wrong for the same reason, and have used this as support for a conservative position on abortion. Critics have countered by arguing that if zygotes are potential people so too are gamete pairs, and that the potentialist is therefore committed to saying that contraception is very seriously wrong.The first part of this paper examines critically three potentia!ist lines of defense against the (above) contraception reductio and argues that they all fail. The second part of the paper discusses three attempts to finger the flaw in the (above) deprivation argument that is used by the potentialist, and points to significant problems facing each attempt. It concludes that while there is good reason to believe the potentialist’s deprivation argument is unsound, the flaw in the argument has not yet been convincingly identified.