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281. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Kenneth Westphal Freedom and the Distinction Between Phenomena and Noumena: Is Allison’s View Methodological, Metaphysical, or Equivocal?
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Henry Allison criticizes and rejects naturalism because the idea of freedom is constitutive of rational spontaneity, which alone enables and entitles us to judge or to act rationally, and only transcendental idealism can justify our acting under the idea of freedom. Allison’s critique of naturalism is unclear because his reasons for claiming that free rational spontaneity requires transcendental idealism are inadequate and because his characterization of Kant’s idealism is ambiguous. Recognizing this reinforces the importance of the question of whether only transcendental idealism “can ground the right to the conceptual space” that we occupy when thinking spontaneously or acting under the idea of freedom. Only with a clear answer to this question can Kant’s idea of freedom provide a basis for assessing today’s naturalist orthodoxy.
282. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
A. Minh Nguyen A Critique of Dretske’s Conception of State Consciousness
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In his recent work, Dretske offers a new account of what it is for a mental state, in particular, a sensory experience, to be conscious. According to Dretske’sproposal, subject S’s experience of object O is conscious if and only if it makes S aware of O. This proposal is argued to be open to only two serious interpretations. The first takes it to mean that S’s experience of O is conscious if and only if it constitutes S’s awareness of O, whereas the second takes it to mean that S’s experience of O is conscious if and only if it causes S’s awareness of O. It is argued that neither is a plausible way to understand the nature of state consciousness, because the constitutive interpretation implausibly denies the existence of unconscious veridical experiences, whereas the causal interpretation implausibly casts S’s veridical experience of O, rather than O or a certain external event involving O, as the relevant cause of S’s awareness of O.
283. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Robert B. Talisse On the Supposed Tension in Peirce’s “Fixation of Belief”
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Recent commentaries on “The Fixation of Belief” have located and emphasized an inconsistency or “tension” in Peirce’s central argument. On the one hand, Peirce maintains that “the settlement of opinion is the sole object of inquiry”; on the other, he wants to establish that the method of science is superior to all other methods of inquiry. The tension arises from the fact that whereas Peirce dismisses the methods of tenacity, authority, and a priority on the grounds that they cannot fulfill the “sole object of inquiry,” his defense of the scientific method makes no appeal to its ability to “settle opinion.” In this paper, the author reconstructs Peirce’s argument in a way that resolves this tension.
284. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Jennifer McCrickerd Moral Judgments and the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction
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Hare shares with other critics an objection to the use of moral judgments in the method of reflective equilibrium. However, the reasoning behind his criticismdistinguishes it from the more common criticisms that the use of moral judgments is unwarranted because of their suspect origin. While these objections challenge the epistemic worth of moral beliefs, Hare’s objection goes beyond to also critique the deeper theoretical commitments of the method. Hare’s acceptance of a strict differentiation between the meaning and applications of words and consequent rejection of holistic justification follow from his acceptance of the analytic/synthetic distinction, while Rawls’s holistic method of theory justification requires a rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction. In this essay, I explain how Hare’s criticism of the method of reflective equilibrium and his acceptance of the meaning/application distinction result from his acceptance of the analytic/synthetic distinction and draw from this specific discussion more general conclusions regarding the implications of accepting or rejecting the analytic/synthetic distinction for the use of moral judgments in moral theory justification. I conclude that an acceptance of the distinction precludes the use of moral judgments, while its rejection leaves open the possibility that they could be used, if the issue of their epistemic status can be successfully resolved.
285. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
James O. Young A Defence of the Coherence Theory of Truth
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Recent critics of the coherence theory of truth (notably Ralph Walker) have alleged that the theory is incoherent, since its defence presupposes the correctness of the contrary correspondence theory of truth. Coherentists must specify the system of propositions with which true propositons cohere (the specified system). Generally, coherentists claim that the specified system is a system composed of propositions believed by a community. Critics of coherentism maintain that the coherentist’s assertions about which system is the specified system must be true, not because they cohere with a system of beliefs, but because of facts about what a community believes. I argue that coherentists can admit that there are facts about what systems of beliefs communities accept, without being committed to the claim that these facts are the truth conditions of sentences about what communities accept.
286. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
L. Nathan Oaklander Is There a Difference Between the Metaphysics of A- and B-Time?
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Clifford Williams has recently argued that the dispute between A- and B-theories, or tensed and tenseless theories of time, is spurious because once the confusions between the two theories are cleared away there is no real metaphysical difference between them. The purpose of this paper is to dispute Williams’s thesis. I argue that there are important metaphysical differences between the two theories and that, moreover, some of the claims that Williams makes in his article suggest that he is sympathetic with a B-theoretic ontology.
287. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
A. C. Genova How Wittgenstein Escapes the Slingshot
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The paper attempts to do the following: (1) provide a reconstruction of a valid argument for Frege’s thesis that a truth-apt sentence refers to its truth value---an argument that is the implicit argument of Frege’s original text, based on premises explicitly stated or clearly implied in “On Sense and Reference”; (2) examine a standard version (essentially Davidson’s) of the recent counterpart of the Fregean Argument (the so-called Slingshot) designed to refute, quite generally, fact-based correspondence theories of truth; and (3) show exactly why Wittgenstein’s correspondence theory in the Tractatus is not subject to the Slingshot Argument. If so, then, contra Davidson, it is neither the case that a correspondence theory need be nonexplanatory of truth, nor the case that a “strategy of facts” cannot be sustained. Indeed, for Wittgenstein, the Slingshot cannot even come into play, unless we attempt to say what can only be shown.
288. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Sarah Stroud Moral Commitment and Moral Theory
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This paper examines the nature of what I call moral commitment: that is, a standing commitment to live up to moral demands. I first consider what kind of psychological state moral commitment might be, arguing that moral commitment is a species of commitment to a counterfactual condition. I explore the general structural features of attitudes of this type in order to shed light on how moral commitment might function in an agent’s motivational economy. I then use this understanding of moral commitment to respond to charges raised by prominent critics of moral theory; I argue that the counterfactual-condition account of moral commitment can successfully defuse the worries they express about the effects of moral commitment on one’s other attachments. In the final section, I suggest that these attractive general results may not be available to the consequentialist, which, if true, is a count against consequentialism.
289. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Robert Buckley Physicalism and the Problem of Mental Causation
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In this paper I argue that the problem of mental causation can be solved by distinguishing between classificatory mental properties, like being a pain, and instances of those properties.Antireductive physicalism allows only that the former be irreducibly mental. Consequently, properties like being a pain cannot have causal commerce with the physical without violating causal closure. But instances of painfulness, according to the token identity thesis, are identical with various physical tokens and can therefore have causal efficacy in the physical world. Since we expect particular mental phenomena, not types or classes of mental phenomena to be involved in causal interactions, it is argued that antireductive physicalism can explain satisfactorily mental causation, despite the protests of Kim, Sosa, Honderich, and others. Being a mental state of a certain sort may have no causal efficacy, but the intentional and phenomenal properties of such states should, if my argument is correct.
290. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 26
Marcus Verhaegh Hypothetical and Psychoanalytic Interpretation
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I develop the concept of hypothetical interpretation to give an account of certain problematic interpretive practices within a broadly Gricean framework. These practices attempt to find neither speaker nor linguistic meaning but rather, seek to discover such things as the unconscious beliefs of a text’s producer. In developing the concept of hypothetical interpretation, I consider in particular the question of their plausibility. I show how the plausibility of a hypothetical interpretation can be taken as providing evidence about a speaker’s noncommunicative mental state, and how psychoanalytic interpretive practices and similar “hermeneutics of suspicion” rely upon such evidence.
291. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Katarzyna Paprzycka Flickers of Freedom and Frankfurt-Style Cases in the Light of the New Compatibalism of the Stit Theory
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It is widely assumed that Frankfurt-style cases provide a reason for rejecting incompatibilism because they provide a reason for rejecting the requirement that the agent be able to do otherwise. One compatibilist strategy for dealing with the cases, pursued by Fischer and Ravizza, is to weaken the mentioned requirement. An analogous strategy on the part of the incompatibilist, which appears to be unexplored in the literature on moral responsibility, is exemplified in Belnap and Perloff ’s logic of agency. I show how their stit theory can handle Frankfurt-style cases and defend it from Fischer’s criticism of “flicker-of-freedom” strategies. I also note some of the limitations of the stit rendition of the cases.
292. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Eldon Soifer, Béla Szabados Hypocricy and Privacy
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Hypocrisy and privacy are commonly thought to be completely different, yet it turns out to be surprisingly difficult to distinguish them. We consider various ways in which they might be differentiated, especially the attempt to do so on the basis of their moral standing. We argue, by case and through discussion, that there is more moral ambiguity about each concept than generally acknowledged. Finally, we offer some additional speculations about the similarities and differences between the two, with a view to aid moral discernment.
293. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Jeeloo Liu Physical Externalism and Social Externalism: Are They Really Compatible?
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In this paper I examine the foundations of physical externalism and social externalism and argue that these foundations are incompatible. Physical externalism is based on a direct reference theory of natural-kind terms, while social externalism is based on a description theory of natural-kind terms. Thus, physical externalism and social externalism are incompatible just in the same way that the direct reference theory of proper names is incompatible with the description theory of proper names. My argument will proceed as follows. In Section One, I shall explain what the two theses say and spell out my suspicion. In Section Two, I shall take a look at the initial setups for physical externalism and social externalism by examining Putnam’s and Burge’s original arguments. Finally in Section Three, I shall explain that the real incompatibility comes to lie in the different assumptions on which the two theories are based. I will present some thought experiments to highlight this incompatibility.
294. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Mark McCullagh Wittgenstein on Rules and Practices
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Some readers of Wittgenstein think that his writings contain a regress argument showing that in explanations of linguistic correctness, the notion of participating in a practice is more basic than the notion of following a rule. But the regress argument bears equally on both of these notions; if there is an explanatory regress of rules, then there is an explanatory regress of practices as well. Why then does Wittgenstein invoke the notion of a practice, apparently by way of diagnosing the error on which the regress argument rests? I suggest that he invokes that notion to emphasize certain aspects of rule following which we are apt to neglect when we forget that rule following is—not rests upon—participating in a practice. When we appreciate those aspects of rule/practice following we see the flaw in both regress arguments.
295. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Gilbert LaRochelle Préjugé et Éthique dans L’Épistémologie Poststructuraliste
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La déconstruction des représentations modernes se réclame aujourd’hui de plus en plus de la suspension des critères du jugement non pas à l’instar des règles de la morale chrétienne (“qui es-tu pour juger?”), mais plutôt par une destitution des finalités de tout arrière-monde. Dans cette optique de reconfiguration des catégories, parler du préjugé revient, d’entrée de jeu, à s’exposer dans le cadre d’une métaphysique de la modernité et à évoquer un report possible à l’objectivité. Or, les basculements contemporains dans l’ère du soupçon appellent malgré tout une interrogation: Où est donc passé le préjugé? De quelle histoire restet-il la trace? Cet exposé montre que, loin d’être nié ou confiné à un champ de représentations archaïques, il est plutôt en voie d’être réhabilité, pourvu d’une nouvelle dignité sans le nom, d’ailleurs péjoratif, voire transformé en catégorie épistémique au nom du relativisme et de l’incommensurabilité des univers de sens. Il semble passer de nos jours par un accueil acritique de la contingence ou par l’abandon à une compréhension préréflexive du monde comme possibilité maximale de toute entreprise cognitive. Le propos tente de dégager les difficultés théoriques que pose le projet de la suspension du jugement dans l’épistémologie poststructuraliste.
296. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Walter R. Ott Locke and Signification
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This paper addresses the following questions: (a) what did Locke mean when he said that ‘words signify ideas’? and (b) what is Locke’s argument for this thesis, and how successful is it? The paper argues that the two most prominent interpretations, those of Norman Kretzmann and E. J. Ashworth, attribute to Locke an argument for his semantic thesis that is fallacious, and that neither can make good sense of two key passages in book 3 of the Essay concerning Human Understanding. An alternative understanding of signification, drawn from the works of Hobbes and the Port-Royal logicians, is explored and shown to provide both a satisfactory interpretation of these two passages and an understanding of Locke’s argument for the thesis that absolves him of fallacy.
297. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Christopher Hughes Conn Locke on Natural Kinds and Essential Properties
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The two opinions concerning real essences that Locke mentions in III.iii.17 represent competing theories about the way in which naturally occurring objects are divided into species. In this paper I explain what these competing theories amount to, why he denies the theory of kinds that is embodied in the first of these opinions, and how this denial is related to his general critique of essentialism. I argue first, that we cannot meaningfully ask whether Locke accepts the existence of natural kinds, per se, since he affirms the theory of kinds that is embodied in the second opinion, while he denies the theory that is embodied in the first opinion. Second, I show that his denial of this theory is not solely or even primarily directed against the scholastic/Aristotelian theory of substantial forms, since he is most interested in refuting a corpuscularian version of this theory. And third, I argue that Locke’s anti-essentialism does not follow solely from his denial of (deeply objective) natural kinds, since one could consistently make this denial and affirm the existence of de re essential properties.
298. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Jane Chamberlain Thinking Time: Ricoeur’s Husserl in Time and Narrative
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Paul Ricoeur holds that the “principal ambition” characterising Husserl’s phenomenology of internal time-consciousness is that of “making time itself appear.” Ricoeur thinks that ambition is doomed to run up against an unbridgeable gulf between Husserl’s approach and that of Kant. I raise a number of doubts about Ricoeur’s reading of Husserl. After a preliminary section introducing Husserl’s understanding of his phenomenological project in relation to the work of Kant, I sketch the main lines of his analysis of time-consciousness, and then go on to evaluate Ricoeur’s interpretation of it. Having shown Husserl’s work on this matter to be more subtle than Ricoeur supposes, I explain how Ricoeur’s own inquiry into the consciousness of time lacks an adequate account of the time of consciousness. The way in which Husserl’s analysis might resolve this difficulty is indicated in the closing remarks.
299. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Michael Huemer Fumerton’s Principle of Inferential Justification
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Richard Fumerton’s “Principle of Inferential Justification” holds that, in order to be justified in believing P on the basis of E, one must be justified in believing that E makes P probable. I argue that the plausibility of this principle rests upon two kinds of mistakes: first, a level confusion; and second, a fallacy of misconditionalisation. Furthermore, Fumerton’s principle leads to skepticism about inferential justification, for which reason it should be rejected. Instead, the examples Fumerton uses to motivate his principle can be accounted for using a different principle: in order for S to be justified in believing P on the basis of E, it must be true that E makes P probable. The latter principle can be independently motivated and does not lead to skepticism.
300. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Bruce Aune Against Moderate Rationalism
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This paper criticizes the epistemological doctrine of moderate rationalism that has been defended in recent years by such writers as Laurence BonJour, Alvin Plantinga, and George Bealer. It is argued that this new form of rationalism is really no better than the old one and that the key claim common to both---that intuition or rational insight provides a satisfactory basis for a priori knowledge---is untenable. Most of the criticism is directed specifically against Laurence BonJour’s recent “dialectical” defense of the doctrine. Since BonJour’s defense is essentially an attempt to show how a priori knowledge is possible, an alternative, empiricist view of a priori knowledge is presented that eludes his objections and is supported by the criticism brought against moderate rationalism.