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301. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Torin Alter Nagel on Imagination and Physicalism
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In “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” Thomas Nagel argues that we cannot imagine what it is like to be a bat or presently understand how physicalism might be true. Both arguments have been seriously misunderstood. I defend them against various objections, point out a problem with the argument against physicalism, and show how the problem can be solved.
302. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Charles W. Sayward, Jr. Is an Unpictorial Mathematical Platonism Possible?
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In his book Wittgenstein on the Foundations of Mathematics, Crispin Wright notes that remarkably little has been done to provide an unpictorial, substantial account of what mathematical platonism comes to. Wright proposes to investigate whether there is not some more substantial doctrine than the familiar images underpinning the platonist view. He begins with the suggestion that the essential platonist claim is that mathematical truth is objective. Although he does not demarcate them as such, Wright proposes several different tests for objectivity. The paper finds problems with each of these tests.
303. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Kam-Yuen Cheng Narrow Content and Historical Accounts: Can Fodor Live WIthout Them?
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Fodor’s Informational Semantics states that the content of a representation depends on the counterfactual relation between the representation and the represented. However, his theory suffers from the psychological explanation problem and the indeterminacy problem raised by twin cases. In response to these problems, Fodor has introduced narrow content and a mixed theory of content that combines a historical account with the counterfactual account. In The Elm and the Expert, he drops both of them for the reason that twin cases are nomologically impossible. I argue that Fodor underestimates the persistence of the problems raised by twin cases. Consequently, I contend that Fodor has to keep both the narrow content and the historical account.
304. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Susan M. Purviance Ethical Externalism and the Moral Sense
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This paper examines Hutcheson’s moral sense theory’s attack on internalism and his defense of an innovative version of externalism. I show that Hutcheson’s distinction between exciting and justifying reasons supports a type of externalist theory not anticipated by Brink, Smith, or McDowell. In Moral Sense Externalism, moral judgment relies upon the perceptions of a moral sense, and the felt quality of these perceptions introduces to judgment an affective dimension. Thus feeling is a constituitive part of what it is to have a justifying reason for a moral act even when it is not the direct motive to action.
305. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Martin Henn What Kind of Universal is Being Qua Being in the Aristotelian Metaphysics?
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This essay attempts to redefine the role and functioning of Aristotle’s πρός έν universals in a way that reveals the structural and thematic unity of the Metaphysics. In particular, I argue five points: (1) that πρός έν universals are analogical, but not four-term analogical; (2) things are πρός έν analogous when they share a transgenic λόγος (3) that four-term analogies may foster discovery of πρός έν analogies; (4) that analogy reveals God as supremely One and Universal; and (5) that the same table of contraries headed by One and many in Met. Γ 2 surfaces again in Met. Λ 7 to describe the properties of the divine nature; and that this parallel between Γ 2 and Λ 7 accounts for much of the literary unity of the Metaphysics.
306. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Halla Kim Has Kant Committed the Fallacy of Circularity in Foundations III?
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The third section of the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals presents a particularly acute interpretative problem that has perplexed generations of Kant commentators. Having devoted the two preceding sections of the work to identifying the supreme principle of morality, Kant, in this section, turns to the task of justifying the principle for rational yet sensually affected beings like humans. However, in the middle of this famous “deduction,” he suddenly confesses that “there is a hidden circle” from which “there is no escape.” Kant’s abrupt confession of the circle leaves the reader deeply puzzled, partly because Kant has so confidently presented his arguments for our subjection to the constraints of the supreme principle of morality up to that point, and partly because no clues are readily apparent as to what the mistake in the arguments might be. Where is the circle located? In this paper I tackle Kant’s problem of the hidden circle in the Foundations. In particular, I will identify and critically discuss three influential interpretations of the fallacy of circularity and offer an alternative reading of Kant’s way out of the problem.
307. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
D. Anthony LaRivière, Thomas M. Lennon The History and Significance of Hume’s Burning Coal Example: Time, Identity, and Individuation
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This paper examines the function of Hume’s use of a peculiar example from A Treatise of Human Nature. The example in question is that of a burning piece of coal that is whirled around at a sufficient speed to present to a viewer an image of a circle of fire. The example is a common one; and Hume himself points to Locke as his source in this case. Hume’s reference appears accurate since both Locke and Hume seem to marshal the example in order to bolster a case for an upper and lower temporal threshold for perception. But several philosophical problems inherent in Hume’s appeal to the example make the case for Locke as Hume’s sole or even primary source difficult to sustain. The paper sketches a history of uses of the example from the seventeenth century through the twentieth century. An argument is presented that Pierre Bayle’s use of the example is most in accord with Hume’s, and that for this and other reasons, Bayle is his likeliest source. Further, making sense in this way of Hume’s use of the burning coal example illuminates Hume’s interesting contributions to the notions of time, identity, and individuation.
308. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Giovanna Hendel Psychophysical Supervenience: Digging in Its Foundations
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I put forward and defend the thesis (Th) that psychophysical supervenience (PS) in its full generality can be satisfactorily supported if and only if one is willing to make one or another of some substantial assumptions (the Assumptions) about the nature of mental and physical properties. I first deal with the “if” part of the claim by presenting and considering the Assumptions. I then argue for the inadequacy of suggestions of support for PS that do not require any of the Assumptions. Finally, I show that as a result of (Th) a PS claim is made potentially stronger than what it would be if (Th) were false.
309. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Bruce W. Price The Worthwhileness Theory of the Prudentially Rational Life
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Two main questions are addressed: (1) What standard defines the nonmoral good for humans, the prudentially rational life? (2) How is this standard applied in guiding and in assessing lives? The standard presented is “The Worthwhileness Principle,” which asserts that if one’s life situation is sufficiently fortunate, the aim is to maximize worthwhileness, the net balance of benefits over costs; but if one’s life situation is chronically, and substantially unfortunate, the aim is to minimize nonworthwhileness, the net balance of costs over benefits. The principle is based on a two-sided, positivity and negativity, or cost-and-benefit-centered viewpoint, rather than a one-sided, good-centered viewpoint. Specifically, it includes negative ends, harms to be avoided, negative means, resource costs to be minimized, and negative luck, misfortune, unfortunate lives.Regarding the second question, the standard is applied prospectively in guiding lives and activities by means of prudential deliberation, prudential habits, and prudential spontaneity. It is applied retrospectively in assessing whole or partial lives using the Worthwhileness Scale.
310. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Jane Singleton Virtue Ethics, Kantian Ethics, and Consequentialism
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Contemporary theories of Virtue Ethics are often presented as being in opposition to Kantian Ethics and Consequentialism. It is argued that Virtue Ethics takes as fundamental the question, “What sort of character would a virtuous person have?” and that Kantian Ethics and Consequentialism take as fundamental the question, “What makes an action right?” I argue that this opposition is misconceived. The opposition is rather between Virtue Ethics and Kantian Ethics on the one hand and Consequentialism on the other. The former two are concerned with, respectively, the development of a virtuous character and a good will, whereas Consequentialism is essentially a doctrine that just provides a justification of the right option without specifying how this is to be achieved. Furthermore, I show that Consequentialism, interpreted as a justificatory doctrine, is both an impoverished doctrine and one that cannot be enriched by taking a “pick and mix” approach to other ethical theories in the way that Consequentialists advocate. I argue that there is at least one reason to prefer Kantian Ethics: Kantian Ethics necessarily avoids the objection of selfcenteredness, whereas the avoidance of this objection is only contingent in the case of Virtue Ethics.
311. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Linda Wetzel On Types and Words
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Peirce illustrated the type-token distinction by means of the definite article: there is only one word type “the,” but there are likely to be about twenty tokens of it on this page. Not all tokens are inscriptions; some are sounds, whispered or shouted, and some are smoke signals. The type “the” is neither written ink nor spoken sound; it is an abstract object. Or consider the Grizzly Bear, Ursus arctos horribilis. At one time its U.S. range was most of the area west of the Missouri River and it numbered 10,000 in California alone. Today it numbers less than 1,000. Of course no particular bear numbers 1,000 and no particular bear ever had a range comprising most of the area west of the Missouri. It is a type of bear, a species of bear, that has both properties.We are all familiar with this way of talking about types of things. But—aside from being universals—what are types? What makes a token of one type rather than another? How do we know it is a token of that type? Do some types fail to have tokens? What, if anything, do all and only tokens of a particular type have in common other than being tokens of that type? The first half of the paper answers the last question (“Nothing beyond being a token of the type”). The second half contains sketches of answers to the other questions.
312. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Daniel A. Kaufman Composite Objects and the Abstract/Concrete Distinction
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In his latest book, Realistic Rationalism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998), Jerrold J. Katz proposes an ontology designed to handle putative counterexamples to the traditional abstract/concrete distinction. Objects like the equator and impure sets, which appear to have both abstract and concrete components, are problematic for classical Platonism, whose exclusive categories of objects with spatiotemporal location and objects lacking spatial or temporal location leave no room for them. Katz proposes to add a “composite” category to Plato’s dualistic ontology, which is supposed to include all those objects with both abstract and concrete components.But every concrete object stands in an indefinite number of relations to abstract ones. Thus, Katz must offer principled criteria describing just those relations that produce a composite object, lest all concrete objects turn out to be composite. The trouble that he has in specifying such a “creative” relationship results from his clinging to the traditional definitions of “abstract” and “concrete.” The substance dualism that results renders the articulation of any relations between abstract and concrete difficult, and a category such as Katz’s “composite objects” impossible.
313. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
H. M. Zellner Pale, Smooth, and Musical You: Metaphysics 1029b13-22
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Commentators are divided on the interpretation of Metaphysics Z4 1029b13–22. For one thing, it is unclear whether the passage rejects a claim about the essence of surface, or about the essence of pale. It is usually thought that the claim is disavowed because it involves a circular definition. However, this is conjectural, since Aristotle does not explicitly say anything about circularity in the lines in question. I argue here for an alternative account, which reads the disputed lines as an extension of the immediately preceding remarks. If correct, this also solves the problem as to just what Aristotle is denying. As will emerge, my story is helped by St. Thomas’ reading of lines 21–22, an account that has been curiously ignored in the recent literature.
314. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Raimo Tuomela Collective Goals and Communicative Action
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This paper gives an account of communicative action from the point of view of communication as a cooperative enterprise. It is argued that this is communication both on the basis of shared collective goals and without them. It is also argued that people can communicate without specifically formed illocutionary communicative intentions. The paper concludes by comparing the account given in the paper with Habermas’s theory of communicative action.
315. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
John Justice Mill-Frege Compatibalism
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It is generally accepted that Mill’s classification of names as nonconnotative terms is incompatible with Frege’s thesis that names have senses. However, Milldescribed the senses of nonconnotative terms—without being aware that he was doing so. These are the senses for names that were sought in vain by Frege. When Mill’s and Frege’s doctrines are understood as complementary, they constitute a fully satisfactory theory of names.
316. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Dan D. Crawford Ultra-Strong Internalism and the Reliabilist Insight
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When someone believes something that is justified for her, what part does the subject play in her state of being justified? I will answer this question by developing a strong internalist account of justification according to which the justification of a believing for a subject consists in her having grounds for her belief, and holding the belief in recognition of those grounds. But the internalist theory I defend incorporates key elements of reliabilism into its account. Using perception as a model for justification, I show how ordinary perceivers would appeal to external factors to support their perceptual beliefs, and normally suppose that their beliefs are reliably connected to the objects their beliefs are about. I find in this feature of our common justificatory practice a sufficient basis for positing an externalist condition on justification—namely that subjects are only justified if their beliefs are reliably connected to their objects.
317. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Kenneth L. Anderson Transformations of Subjectivity in Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason
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Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason depends upon an ideal of subjectivity that operates linguistically. The subject of the Critique progresses through three transformations: first, the organic subject; second, the serial subject; third, the common subject. Each stage reveals different configurations of the expressive possibilities inherent in Sartre’s late conception of subjectivity and his materialistic view of language. The organic subject emerges in the initial contradiction between the human organism and its material environment. This contradiction results in the primordial movement of signification that projects a future structured in response to the material system. The serial subject then emerges within the system of language and a social structure of antagonistic struggle. Finally, the common subject emerges out of the dissolution of the serial subject by means of a repetition of the original expressive gesture. This common subjectivity is the site of a complete communication occurring within the group-in-fusion.
318. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Edward Slowik Descartes’ Forgotten Hypotheses on Motion: Kinematic Logic and Relational Transfer
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This essay explores two of the more neglected hypotheses that comprise, or supplement, Descartes’ relationalist doctrine of bodily motion. These criteria are of great importance, for they would appear to challenge Descartes’ principal judgment that motion is a purely reciprocal change of a body’s contiguous neighborhood. After critiquing the work of the few commentators who have previously examined these forgotten hypotheses, mainly, D. Garber and M. Gueroult, the overall strengths and weaknesses of Descartes’ supplementary criteria will be assessed. Overall, despite their ingenuity, it will be demonstrated that Descartes’ criteria cannot rescue his brand of natural laws from the inherent limitations of his strong relational account of motion.
319. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Charles J. Kelly S4 and Aristotle on Three Syllogisms with Contingent Premisses
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Aristotle assesses as valid three first figure syllogisms, each of which contains at least one premiss expressing a de re contingency. In fact, all three of these moods (namely, Barbara-QQQ, Barbara-XQM, and Barbara-LQM) are invalid. Utilizing the concept of ampliation, this paper shows how the mood Barbara-QQQ must be refined if it is to be deemed valid. It can then become clear as to how Barbara-XQM and Barbara-LQM can be disambiguated and ultimately validated. In treating all three moods, some theses from S4 will be exploited in the context of distinguishing de dicto and de re modes of attributing possibility and necessity. Various Aristotelian propositional forms and rules of inference, including argumentation by ecthesis, will shape the presentation. The viability of Aristotle’s views on the convertibility of universal negative apodeictic propositions will emerge as decisive in evaluating the success of his modal syllogistic.
320. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Allan Bäck The Role of Qualification
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I give an analysis of the logical structure of statements describing duties in social roles. Role terms like ‘doctor’ should not be treated as simple predicates, as natural kind terms, like ‘human being’, are. When role terms are treated as simple predicates, fallacies may result. Rather, treat role terms (M) as complex predicates with a simple subject, a person (S), as a base; ‘S qua M’, and then analyze their reduplicative structure. I illustrate and support this analysis by considering sophisms, traditionally known as committing the fallacy of secundum quid et simpliciter, about conflicts of duties in different roles. I end with some remarks about personal integrity.