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41. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Alan S. Rosenbaum On the Philosophical Foundations of the Conception of Human Rights
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In this paper I shall defend the thesis that differing concepts of human nature (or “personhood”) lead to different ideas about what “human rights” are, about what types there are, and how rights are to be ranked according to priority. Though some correlation is obvious, as evidenced in the literature, political forums, and in case studies of many nation-states, the question that we will consider is whether this correlation is a causal relationship or whether it is merely accidental and hence, not worthy of any but passing notice. But if, as I believe, some definite causal connection, perhaps in combination with other factors does exist, we are quite right in focusing attention on the disparate “personhood” concepts or foundation level which lies uncovered and central to such disagreements about human rights.
42. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Jack Temkin Singer, Moore, and the Metaphysics of Morals
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In this paper, I argue that Marcus G. Singer’s attack on Actual Consequence Utilitarianism, as held by G.E. Moore, is inconclusive. Singer contends that Moore’s view is incoherent because it cannot provide a criterion of moral rightness and wrongness. Singer makes the historical claim that Moore intended his theory to provide such a criterion and the philosophical claim that any moral theory must provide such a criterion.I contend that Singer’s historical claim is false. While Moore uses the terms ‘criterion’ and ‘test’ in connection with his moral theory, an examination of Moore’s use of the terms shows that this notion does not involve the verifiability that is at the heart of Singer’s understanding of ‘criterion’.I then argue that Singer’s claim that moral judgments be verified begs the question against Moore’s realism. I argue that Singer must either reject semantic realism in general or give up the view that moral judgments are objectively true or false.
43. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Jeffrey Gold Socratic Definition: Real or Nominal?
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In Plato’s early dialogues, Socrates frequently asks questions of the form “What is X?” seeking definitions of the substitution instances of X (e.g., Justice, Piety, and Courage). In attempting to elucidate Socratic definition, a number of interpreters have invoked a distinction between real and nominal definition (the distinction between the definition of a thing and the definition of a word. In using that distinction, several interpreters have pointed out that, when Socrates asked his “What is X” question (e.g., “What is Justice?”), he was not seeking a nominal definition (a definition of the word ‘διχαιοσύνή’), but rather a real definition (a definition of the thing, Justice). My purpose in this paper is to argue that the preceding interpretation of Socratic thought is mistaken, i.e., I shall argue that there is no real/nominal distinction to be found in the Socratic dialogues.
44. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Jeffery L. Geller Wittgenstein on the “Charm” of Psychoanalysis
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This paper presents Freud’s argument that the clinical process of psychoanalysis must continually combat the patient’s resistance to the analyst’s interpretations. It also presents systematically Wittgenstein’s counterargument. Wittgenstein contends that psychoanalytic interpretations are enormously attractive and that their “charm” predisposes the patient to accept them. He traces their charm to six sources, each of which is discussed.
45. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Sheldon Wein Liberal Egalitarianism
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This paper provides a systematic statement of Ronald Dworkin’s political (as opposed to legal) philosophy. Dworkin’s defence of democratic institutions constrained by civil rights is shown to be linked to his defence of the economic market constrained by economic welfare rights. The theory is defended against attacks from H.L.A. Hart and L. Haworth. The possibility that the theory can be given a Kantian grounding is explored.
46. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
John O. Nelson How and Why Seeing is Not Believing
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In this paper I attempt to show, first, that doxastic theories of seeing must be rejected on at least two counts: paradoxically, they commit us on the one hand to pyrrhonic skepticism and on the other they fail to account for cases of defeasibility that a theory of perceiving ought to account for. So much for the “why”. As for the “how” I attempt to show that a non-doxastic conception of seeing can be formulated, with the aid of theoretic interpretations of the perceiving of brute animals, which succeeds in overcoming the above two failings of doxastic theories.
47. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Robert Hambourger Moore’s Paradox and Epistemic Justification
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The author discusses solutions to Moore’s Paradox by Moore and Wittgenstein and then offers one of his own: ‘I believe that P’ and ‘not-P’ can both be true but nonetheless are not epistemically compatible; that is, it is logically impossible simultaneously to have sufficient evidence to justify assertions of each. The author then argues that similar transgressions are committed by other “paradoxical” utterances whose paradoxicality cannot be explained by the Moore or Wittgenstein solutions and also that this provides a technique that can be useful in studying the epistemic requirements for justified assertion.
48. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
T.F. Morris The Proof of Pauline Self-Predication in the Phaedo
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This article shows that Plato is discussing Pauline predication and Pauline self-predication in the Phaedo. The key is the recognition that the “something else” of Phaedo 103e2-5 cannot be a sensible object because any such object which participates in Form ‘X’ can sometimes appear not to be x. It is argued that Plato has not written in a straightforward manner, but rather has written a series of riddles for the reader to solve. Thus this dialogue is an example of the playful use of the written word discussed at Phaedrus 275ff.
49. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Steven L. Ross Weakness and Dignity in Conrad’s Lord Jim
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Conrad’s Lord Jim presents not only a paradigmatic case of weakness of will, but an equally paradigmatic case of the enormous difficulties that attend fitting weakness of will into our other moral attitudes, particularly those relating to moral worth and moral shame. Conrad’s general conception of character and morality is deeply Aristotelian in many respects, somewhat Kantian in others. The essay traces out the intuitive strengths and philosophical difficulties that both an Aristotelian and a Kantian conception will have before the problem of weakness of will, and argues that the ambiguity in Conrad’s treatment of Jim’s case is the reflection of the clash between these two equally compelling, incompatible conceptions of the self and moral worth.
50. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Robert J. Levy Conjectures and Rational Preferences
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I survey the difficulties of several probabilistic views of non-deductive argument and of inductive probability and propose to explicate non-deductive reasoning in terms of rational preference. Following a critical examination of Popper’s allegedly deductive theory of rational preference, I draw upon the work of Popper and Rescher to present my view which includes: (i) the conjecturing of a set of alternative answers to or theories or hypotheses about the questions prompting the inquiry and (ii) the “reduction” of this set via plausibilistic principles of rational preference.