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241. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Henry E. Cline The Priority of Democratic Autonomy Over Discriminatory Religion
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This paper attempts to nudge the reader in the direction of an enlightened account of democratic choice, a sense of reflective choice which undermines our present support of discriminatory sectarian doctrine. I use Gutmann’s and Altman’s views as prologues to my own, though they might well reject my conclusions about discriminatory religion. I contrast my view with Macedo’s, Gray’s, Larmore’s, Rosenblum’s, and Galston’s.My argument utilizes common sense and relatively uncontroversial metaphysical principles to make it more difficult to dismiss as being on an ontic par with the discriminatory doctrines which it challenges. I argue that discriminatory religion might be allowed to continue to be practiced and expressed by those who would pay their own way, much as with hate groups generally, but I view our continued public subsidization of it as a failure to recognize it for what it is.
242. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Dennis R. Cooley Readjusting Utility for Justice
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Despite the best efforts of utilitarians, justice remains a serious problem for consequentialism. Many counterexamples have been described which show that an agent may be obligated to do a gross injustice, according to hedonic utilitarianism, just because it maximizes utility. Fred Feldman attempts to avoid this result by adjusting utility for justice.In this paper, I examine Feldman’s axiology and his normative theory of world utilitarianism, and show that, ultimately, he is not successful in his endeavor. Though Feldman’s theories may not fall prey to exactly the same counterexamples that others do, they are still susceptible to versions of them.
243. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Remi Odedoyin Overlapping Consensus: Objectivizing a Subjective Standpoint
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“Justice as fairness” understood as a political conception of justice is, according to Rawls, objective. It is claimed to be objective by being autonomous from any of the conflicting reasonable comprehensive doctrines held by the citizens, and by, at the same time, being consistent with all such doctrines. There is the need to look for an object of such overlapping consensus because, according to Rawls, reasonable disagreement is inevitable in modern democratic society. And the permanence of reasonable disagreement itself is caused by what Rawls describes as the burdens of judgement.In this article, I demonstrate, against the background of Rawls’ burdens of judgement, how it could be argued that reasonable agreement is impossible. In this respect, I explore what I consider to be the resources available to Rawls to show how his point could be made. But I subsequently argue that his position in this respect can be coherent only against a background of an epistemic conception which is defective, and which goes beyond the political idea of freedom and equality which Rawls claims to be the basis of Justice as fairness. It is my contention that Rawls’ suggestion of how to handle so-called reasonable disagreement is itself no more than a contentious viewpoint which silences other contending reasonable views.
244. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Ken Akiba Logic and Truth: A Fictionalist View
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It is usually held that what distinguishes a good inference from a bad one is that a good inference is truth-preserving. Against this view, this paper argues that a logical inference is good or bad depending not on whether it is truth-preserving or not, but whether it belongs to a logical system the addition of which makes a deductively conservative extension of the derivation relations among the atomic statements. To so argue, the paper first contends that the meaning of the logical operators of classical logic is determined not by their connections to truth, but by their inferential roles. It is claimed in conclusion that there is no genuine issue over which logic, classical or intuitionistic, is the correct logic, for they are both conservative in the relevant sense.
245. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
John Post, Derek Turner Sic Transitivity: Reply to McGrew and McGrew
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In order to defend the regress argument for foundationalism against Post’s objection that relevant forms of inferential justification are not transitive, Lydia McGrew and Timothy McGrew define a relation E of positive evidence, which, they contend, has the following features: It is a necessary condition for any inferential justification; it is transitive and irreflexive; and it enables both a strengthened regress argument proof against Post’s objection and an argument that nothing can ever appear in its own justificational ancestry. In reply, we construct in their own terms both a counterexample to the would-be transitivity of E, and a related objection to their never-in-its-own-ancestry argument. We also rebut their rejection of certain counterexamples to the would-be transitivity of some forms of inferential justification. By doing so, and by questioning their transitivity claim for E, we aim to further the project of undermining the circularity arguments advanced by a zoo of skeptics, relativists, antirealists and internalists against realism and externalism.
246. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Kenneth R. Westphal Hegel’s Internal Critique of Naïve Realism
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This article reconstructs Hegel’s chapter “Sense Certainty” (Phenomenology of Spirit, chap. 1) in detail in its historical and philosophical context. Hegel’s chapter develops a sound internal critique of naive realism that shows that sensation is necessary but not sufficient for knowledge of sensed particulars. Cognitive reference to particulars also requires using a priori conceptions of space, spaces, time, times, self, and individuation. Several standard objections to and misinterpretations of Hegel’s chapter are rebutted. Hegel’s protosemantics is shown to accord in important regards with Gareth Evans’ view in “Identity and Predication.”
247. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
David Reiter Plantinga on the Epistemic Implications of Naturalism
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In the final chapter of Warrant and Proper Function, Alvin Planting a presents an “evolutionary argument against naturalism” (where naturalism is the claim that there are no supernatural beings). According to this argument, the conjunction of naturalism and evolution cannot be rationally believed by anyone who understands its epistemic implications. In this paper, I argue that if Plantinga’s evolutionary argument is sound, it follows that (what I call) perceptive naturalists have no propositional knowledge. Since it is plausible that perceptive naturalists do have some propositional knowledge, I infer that the evolutionary argument (EA) is unsound. However, I conclude the paper with the suggestion that even if EA is unsound, it may still provide important insights about the epistemic shortcomings of naturalism.
248. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Joseph Margolis Back to the Future at the End of the Century
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In offering an overview of late twentieth-century philosophy, I consider the import of three questions: the classic topics of reference and predication and the modern question of the historicity of thought. I show the sense in which a large part of analytic philosophy is “fatigued,” in recycling philosophical programs and theories known to be unworkable already in the ancient and premodern world or at least by the time of the post-Kantians; and in resting programs and theories on presumed solutions of the problems of reference and predication that could not support them. The solutions that are possible would lead us in an altogether different direction that, among other things, would restore a sense of fruitful exchange between Anglo-American and continental European philosophy.
249. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Robert Arp Freud’s Wretched Makeshift and Scheler’s Religious Act
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Freud finds it impossible to accept the existence of a Supreme Being because he thinks that there is no way to scientifically demonstrate or prove the existence of a being so defined. Consequently, Freud maintains that individuals who claim to have a religious experience of God suffer from a delusion. Such individuals remain in an infantile state of neurotic denial, fooling themselves about the reality of extramental existence.In contradistinction, Max Scheler, a student of Husserlian phenomenology, can accept the existence of God because he finds that God. understood as the summum bonum, is the superlative value to which humanity can give assent in the religious act. Within the context of the religious act, an individual can come to discover or realize God. But this discovery is not made through a scientific demonstration or proof. Unlike Freud, Scheler shows that this discovery comes about via a phenomenological methodology which endorses a broader view of experience. Scheler ultimately makes the further claim that those individuals, like the scientist, who choose not to engage in the religious act are, in fact, involved in a delusional state.So, both thinkers claim that the other is in a delusional state. The task I undertake in this paper is to place these two thinkers into dialogue with one another in order to evaluate their specific methodologies. First, I explicate Freud’s view of religion. In doing so, I make explicit Freud’s empirical methodology and mechanistic materialism which is the root for his claim that God exists as an illusion or “wretched makeshift” of the neurotic unconscious mind. Next, I present the Schelerian response to Freud and positivistic science by making explicit the parameters of the religious act which recognizes God as the superlative value. Finally, I assess the views of Freud and Scheler, and in so doing, show that Scheler’s phenomenological methodology, with its emphasis upon bracketing empirical presuppositions, has merit in that it broadens experience beyond merely what is scientifically observed. We see that Freud’s claim that all experience needs to be scientifically demonstrated is too narrow a view of experience. And so, by denying other types of possible epistemologies and methodologies, he and his followers of the empirical methodology of strict positivism involve themselves in a delusional state by not accepting these approaches to extramental reality. However, I maintain that the psychoanalytic method advocated by Freud has merit in that it can be a useful aid to a person involved in or seeking to be involved in the religious act. In the end I show how it is possible to view the empirical methodology of Freud and the phenomenological methodology of Scheler as coexisting and harmonizing with one another.
250. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Paul D. Forster Problems with Rorty’s Pragmatist Defense of Liberalism
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Richard Rorty’s attempts to defend liberalism by appeal to pragmatism fail primarily as a result of his conflation of epistemological and political concepts. It is this confusion that leads him to defend unpalatable political views. Once the question of pragmatism is properly distinguished from the question of liberalism, it becomes clear that criticisms of Rorty’s politics have no bearing on his views of philosophy and, similarly, that acceptance of Rorty’s critique of philosophy does not commit pragmatists to his political views.
251. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
S. E. Ney Are Grandfathers an Endangered Species?
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This paper aims to establish that time travel into the past is, at best, highly improbable. It does this by first establishing the causal dependency of identity relations for a person or object travelling into the past. The paper then goes on to show how hard it is to avoid a closed causal loop in time travel experiments, and the inherently contradictory nature of said loops. It then raises the question of how such loops could be avoided without affecting the identity requirements of the traveller, thus drawing the conclusion that while, strictly speaking, time travel has not been proved impossible, the combination of circumstance required to avoid contradiction is so unlikely as to render such activity highly improbable.
252. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
James R. Mensch An Objective Phenomenology: Husserl Sees Colors
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This paper proposes an explanatory bridge between structures of processing and qualia. It shows how the process of their arising is such that qualia are nonpublic objects, i.e., are only accessible to the person experiencing them. My basic premise is that the subjective “felt” character of qualia is a function of this first-person character. The account I provide is basically Husserlian. Thus, I use Husserl’s analyses to show why qualia always refer to a single point of view, that of a subjective “center” of experience. The very processes that set up this center yield qualia in their first-person quality. These processes involve the temporal sequencing of experience in the perspectivally arranged patterns that center experience about a given “here.” They also include the processes of retention and protention that center it about a given “now.” The paper concludes with a discussion of the ontological status of qualia.
253. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Brian MacPherson Egocentric Omniscience and Self-Ascriptive Belief
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David Lewis’s property-centered account of belief falls prey to the problem of egocentric omniscience: In self-ascribing the property of being an eye doctor, an agent is thereby self-ascribing the property of being an oculist. It is argued that the problem of egocentric omniscience can be made palatable for Lewis’s property-centered account of belief, at least for the case of linguistic beliefs. Roughly, my solution is as follows: An agent can believe that he or she has the property of being an eye doctor/oculist under the description ‘eye doctor’ without believing that he or she has this property under the description ‘oculist’. Believing that one has a property P under a description D involves the additional self-ascription of the propositional property of inhabiting a world with respect to which that description denotes the property P. This is not the same sort of solution as the one proposed for singular beliefs by Nathan Salmon. Unlike Salmon’s account, belief on the account I am defending is regarded as a two place-relation rather than a three-place relation. Since, on Lewis’s account, self-ascriptive belief subsumes de dicto belief, my solution also sheds light on the problem of logical omniscience.
254. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Robert Audi Philosophical Naturalism at the Turn of the Century
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This paper examines the nature and varieties of philosophical naturalism. A central question it pursues is whether there is any unifying conception of naturalism and, if so, whether it is substantive or methodological. Another question addressed is the extent to which naturalism is motivated by or depends on empiricism. The paper explores the connection between naturalism and scientific method---often taken as central in defining it---and critically discusses naturalistic positions in metaphysics (including philosophical theology), epistemology, and ethics. Given the ambitions of philosophical naturalism---which extend to construing philosophy itself as broadly empirical in the way that natural science is---and given some of the difficulties that confront naturalism, its success remains a matter of lively controversy.
255. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Kurt Torell, Alan G. Marshall Socrates Meets Two Coyotes
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In this paper, we compare one Nez Perce myth, namely lepuu ’Iceyeeye, or “Two Coyotes,” to some passages from Plato’s dialogues. Our point is to show how “Two Coyotes,” like Plato’s dialogues, serves as an instrument of philosophical reflection by engaging the listener/reader in aporia and paradox that motivate multiple reflections on the One, the Many, the nature and relation of kinds to instances, and thus the process and meaning of naming. If we are correct about the uses of “Two Coyotes,” this might warrant a reevaluation of other first Nations’ myths.
256. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Andrew Latus Moral and Epistemic Luck
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The aim of this paper is to offer a diagnosis. It focuses on the problem of moral luck, but, unlike most papers on that topic, offers no solution to the problem. Instead, what I do is discuss a number of attempts to show there is no such thing as moral luck, argue that they fail and, more importantly, that we should not be surprised they fail. I then suggest that the difficulty of the problem posed by moral luck is paralleled by another problem about luck, namely the problem of coming up with an account of propositional knowledge that does not count certain lucky guesses as knowledge. The comparison is instructive. It brings home how hard it is to eliminate luck. As such, we should not expect a solution to either problem to be forthcoming. I also note an important disanalogy between the two problems. While we can quite easily accept that luck plays a role in knowledge, the existence of moral luck threatens to cause a good deal more trouble.
257. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 25
Bryan G. Wiebe Unavoidable Blameworthiness
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The Kantian ethical position, especially as represented in Alan Donagan, rejects the possibility of unavoidable blameworthiness. Donagan also holds that morality is learned by participation. But consider: there must be some first instance of an agent’s being held blameworthy. To hold the agent blameworthy in that instance supposes that the agent could have known what morality required so as to be able to avoid blameworthiness. But before experiencing blameworthiness the agent can have no real understanding of the significance of morality’s requiring anything, if morality is learned by participation. Hence the agent could not have known to avoid violating morality’s requirement. The agent could not have knowingly avoided being blameworthy in the first instance of blameworthiness, as he or she would not understand the significance of doing so. This is unavoidable blameworthiness.
258. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Lawrence J. Hatab The Ecstatic Nature of Empathy: A Heideggerian Opening for Ethics
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This paper ventures an analysis of empathy along the lines of Heidegger’s ecstatic structure of being-in-the-world. Empathy is construed as a mode of attunement disclosing the existential weal and woe of others, and as such it serves a basic ethical function of opening up moral import, interest, and motivation. The following conclusions will be drawn: 1) empathy is a genuine possibility in human experience and should not be understood as a “subjective” phenomenon; 2) empathy is “natural” in a way that can trump psychological egoism and open up alternatives to ethical egoism; 3) the role of empathy shows the limits of rationality in ethics and the structural defects in utilitarian and deontological theories; 4) findings in social psychology reinforce Heidegger’s phenomenology, and the latter can help surmount flawed assumptions in the former; 5) empathy is not sufficient for an ethics but it may be a necessary condition for human moral development.
259. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Joe Mintoff Buridan’s Ass and Reducible Intentions
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Unlike Buridan’s ass, most of us have the capacity to deal with situations in which there is more than one maximally preferable option. According to supporters of a prominent conception of intention, making a decision in this type of case involves coming to prefer, or judge preferable, one of the relevant options over the other. The purpose of this paper is to argue that accounts that reduce intentions to preferences or preferability judgments cannot explain how it is possible to rationally form and to reason from such intentions in Buridan cases. Such accounts commit us to rejecting long-standing philosophical commitments to the relation between: judgment and evidence; reconsideration and new information; preference and judgments of preferability; and (in some versions) commit us to attributing overly complex forms of motivation.
260. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Stephen Hetherington A Fallibilist and Wholly Internalist Solution to the Gettier Problem
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How can a person avoid being Gettiered? This paper provides the first answer to that question that is both fallibilist and purely internalist. It is an answer that allows the justified-true-belief analysis of knowledge to survive Gettier’s attack (albeit as a nonreductionist analysis of knowledge).