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61. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Peter G. Woolcock Naturalistic Metaethics, External Reasons, and the Nature of Moral Argument
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Desire-based accounts of practical argument about incompatible ends seem limited either to advice about means or to coercive threats. This paper argues that this can be avoided if the parties to the dispute desire its resolution by means other than force more than they desire the satisfaction of any particular ends. In effect, this means they must argue as if in a position of equal power. This leads to an explanation of the apparent objectivity of moral claims and of why moral reasons appear to be categorical and external. It also explains how notions such as reciprocal altruism and TIT-FOR-TAT can play a role in an evolutionary account of morality. The paper concludes with an argument to the effect that a desire-based metaethic must accept the is-ought gap and explains why there may appear to be no is-ought gap from within a given normative perspective.
62. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Elly Vintiadis Why Certainty is Not a Mansion
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In this paper I address Peter Klein’s criticism of Wittgenstein in Certainty: A Refutation of Scepticism. Klein claims that, according to Wittgenstein, we attribute knowledge of a proposition p to a person only if that person is not certain of p. I argue that a careful reading of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty reveals that there are two kinds of objective certainty, propositional objective certainty and normative objective certainty, that Wittgenstein had in mind. Klein fails to distinguish between the two and uses what I call propositional objective certainty to make his point against Wittgenstein. I claim that when Wittgenstein said that knowledge and certainty belong to different categories he was talking of normative objective certainty and, therefore, that Klein’s criticism is misplaced and attributes to Wittgenstein a position that is not his.
63. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Louis P. Pojman The Case for World Government
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The world is becoming an ever-shrinking global village in which the events of one neighborhood tend to reverberate through the whole. In this essay I examine the best arguments available for both nationalist commitments and for moral cosmopolitanism and then try to reconcile them within a larger framework of institutional cosmopolitanism or World Government. My thesis is that in an international Hobbesian world like ours, increasingly threatened by global problems related to the environment, trade, injustice, crime, migration, health, terrorism, and war, institutional cosmopolitanism offers the best prospect for world peace with justice.
64. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Paul Studtmann Prime Matter and Extension in Aristotle
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In this paper, I address both the interpretive and philosophical issues concerning prime matter. My aim is to show that a philosophically interesting account of prime matter can be articulated that strongly coheres with, even if it is not necessitated by, Aristotle’s texts. In articulating the interpretation, I first examine a view defended by both Richard Sorabji and Robert Sokolowski according to which prime matter is extension. Such a view, I argue, is problematic for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, it provides a convenient starting point for the view I defend according to which prime matter is intimately linked to, though not identical with, extension.
65. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
B. C. Postow A Partial Application Procedure for Ross’s Ethical Theory
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W. D. Ross’s ethical theory requires us somehow to compare the metaphorical “weights” of different prima facie duties, but it leaves mysterious how this might be done. The formulation of a procedure to achieve such a comparison would be desirable on practical, theoretical, and pedagogical grounds. I formulate a procedure that is congenial to Ross’s theory. Central to my procedure are instructions to characterize the weight of each prima facie duty with respect to (a) the general stringency of this kind of duty, (b) the stringency of this particular duty relative to other duties of its own kind, and (c) the degree to which the duty specifically demands the particular action that it favors in a given case. The procedure leads to a determination of one’s actual, all-things-considered duty in some cases but not in all.
66. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Antony Aumann Sartre’s View of Kierkegaard as Transhistorical Man
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This paper illuminates the central arguments in Sartre’s UNESCO address, “The Singular Universal.” The address begins by asking whether objective facts tell us everything there is to know about Kierkegaard. Sartre’s answer is negative. The question then arises as to whether we can lay hold of Kierkegaard’s “irreducible subjectivity” by seeing him as alive for us today, i.e., as transhistorical. Sartre’s answer here is affirmative. However, a close inspection of this answer exposes a deeper level to the address. The struggle to find a place for Kierkegaard within the world of objective knowledge is an allegory. It mirrors Sartre’s struggle to find a place for his existentialism within the Marxism that dominates his later thinking.
67. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Sonia Sikka Kantian Ethics in Being and Time
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Heidegger’s Being and Time has been accused of espousing empty decisionism and relativism. I argue, first, that in fact Being and Time’s stress on the situated character of human judgment is supplemented by a very Kantian account of being human that defi nes appropriate behavior towards all entities possessing a certain character. Its analysis of conscience and guilt attempts to uncover the existential basis for the distinction Kant draws between the phenomenal and the noumenal aspects of the self. Building on this analysis, I claim, Being and Time reaffirms the second version of Kant’s categorical imperative, which states that humanity should never be treated merely as a means, but always also as an end in itself. In the second part of the paper, however, I argue that this proximity to Kant is part of the problem with Being and Time, that some of this work’s shortcomings and dangers in relation to ethics rest precisely in its very Kantian view of what makes an entity worthy of moral concern, and what is owed to others in virtue of their being such worthy entities. As a consequence of this view, not only are all nonhuman animals excluded from moral concern, but, strangely, the intrinsic value of human well-being is itself threatened.
68. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Noell Birondo Moral Realism Without Values
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In this paper I draw on some of the work of John McDowell in order to develop a “realist” account of normative reasons for action. On the view defended here, there can be correct moral judgments that capture the reasons there are for acting in certain ways; and the reasons themselves are just some of the morally relevant facts of the situation about which the judgment is made. Establishing this account relies crucially, I argue, on an appeal to substantive ethical theory, to a theory that allows for the attribution of truth to the judgments in question. The account defended here can in fact be equally well supported by ethical theories as otherwise diverse as those of Aristotle and Kant. The resulting account is a version of moral realism, but one that is not committed to defending a realist account of the nature of moral value.
69. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Paul Franceschi Situations Probabilistes Pour N-Univers Goodmaniens
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I describe several applications of the theory of n-universes through several different probabilistic situations. I describe fi rst how n-universes can be used as an extension of the probability spaces used in probability theory. The extended probability spaces thus defined allow for a finer modeling of complex probabilistic situations and fi ts more intuitively with our intuitions related to our physical universe. I illustrate then the use of n-universes as a methodological tool, with two thought experiments described by John Leslie. Lastly, I model Goodman’s paradox in the framework of n-universes while also showing how these latter appear finally very close to goodmanian worlds.
70. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Reza Lahroodi Evaluational Internalism, Epistemic Virtues, and the Significance of Trying
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While there is general agreement about the list of epistemic virtues, there has been much controversy over what it is to be an epistemic virtue. Three competing theories have been offered: evaluational externalism, evaluational internalism, and mixed theories. A major problem with internalism, the focus of this paper, is that it disconnects the value of epistemic virtue from actual success in the real world (the Disconnection Problem). Relying on a novel thesis about the relation of “trying” and “exercise of virtue,” James Montmarquet (1993; 2000) has offered, to my knowledge, the only solution to this problem. In this paper, I evaluate this solution by deriving from it an important implication and arguing that, if examined in the light of the recent work on self-control in philosophy and psychology, this implication proves problematic. I conclude by drawing a general lesson about the prospects of internalism and suggesting that in the absence of a satisfactory solution to the disconnection problem, externalism and mixed theories become more attractive.
71. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Jing Long The Body and the Worldhood of the World
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In Being and Time, Heidegger proposes that the worldhood (essential structure) of the world is constituted by significance, which is what enables us to discover things within-the-world and put them to use. But this conception of worldhood does not take the role of the body in constituting the phenomenon of the world into account. Inspired by Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of the body in Phenomenology of Perception, I have tried to develop a new conception of worldhood in terms of the body using his methodology. I conclude that the possibility of moving (the body) is an essential structure of the world that is equally primordial with the significance of the world, and that together they make up the world we live in. In addition, I suggest that Heidegger has come close to developing such a new conception of worldhood in his Zollikon Seminars.
72. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Caleb Liang Phenomenal Character and the Myth of the Given
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In “Sellars and the ‘Myth of the Given,’” Alston argues against Sellars’s position in “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” (EPM) that there is no nonconceptual cognition. According to him, Sellars ignores phenomenal look-concepts that capture the phenomenal character of experience. I contend that the Sellarsian can agree that the phenomenal aspect of looks should be accommodated, but he is not thereby forced to concede a form of the nonconceptual Given. I examine some of Alston’s arguments, especially the Fineness of Grain Argument, for the view that the phenomenal character of experience is both nonconceptual and epistemic. I try to show that none of them can be said to have undermined Sellars’s position.
73. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Douglas Low Merleau-Ponty Between Sartre and Postmodernism
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Jean-Paul Sartre develops perhaps the most radical view of individual freedom in the entire history of Western philosophy. The subject is free to create all meaning and to interpret the world, society, and self in anyway he or she wishes. The structuralist and postmodernist philosophies that succeeded Sartre’s philosophy in France and elsewhere rejected this view and put in its place linguistic and social structures that frame all human meaning, including the meaning that the subject experiences with respect to him or herself. It is the characteristically balanced thought of Merleau-Ponty that comes between these extremes and in fact integrates them, that integrates self and society, perception and language, and even human consciousness, the body, and the world—as this essay will attempt to show.
74. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Dawn M. Phillips Clear as Mud
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In both the Tractatus and the Investigations, Wittgenstein claimed that the aim of philosophy is to achieve clarity: to see clearly the logic or grammar of our language. However, his view of clarity underwent an important change, one of many changes that led Wittgenstein to write, in the preface to the Investigations, that his new ideas “could be seen in the right light only by contrast with and against the background of my old way of thinking.” I argue that certain “grave mistakes” of the Tractatus were due to an idealised conception of clarity, and that a revised understanding of clarity is one of the main achievements of the Investigations. In the Tractatus Wittgenstein wrongly assumed that when we see language clearly, what we see will be determinate, exact, and complete. In the Investigations he realised that when we see language clearly we cannot specify in advance whether what we see will be determinate or vague, exact or inexact, complete or incomplete. I characterise this insight as a truism: when we see clearly, what we see might not be clear. Wittgenstein wants the Tractatus to serve as a warning to the reader of the Investigations; his own past mistakes are instructive and this is why we should read the Investigations against the background of his old way of thinking.
75. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Andrew J. Peach “A Quite Different System of Payment”: A Defense of the Old Wittgenstein’s Wood Sellers
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In contrast to recent trends that depict the later Wittgenstein’s work as wholly therapeutic in nature, this essay argues that the famous wood sellers scenario of Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics is evidence of the later Wittgenstein’s linguistic naturalism and relativism. This scenario, like many others, is intended to show the naturalistic and arbitrary character of our own concepts, as well as the possibility of different forms of life with different concepts. David R. Cerbone’s more therapeutic take on these passages, that the purpose of the wood sellers is to demonstrate the impossibility of logically alien practices, is then addressed. It is shown that such a read is incompatible with numerous passages in Wittgenstein’s writings, overlooks the nexus of remarks within which this scenario appears, and ignores much of what Wittgenstein actually states about the wood sellers.
76. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Tom Rockmore Heidegger and Kantian Ethics: Response to Sikka
77. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 31
Rod Bertolet Modes of Presentation and Modes of Determination in Frege
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Michael Beaney has argued that Frege’s characterization of the senses of names as modes of presentation early in “On Sense and Reference” is problematic, but the problem disappears if we use the notion of modes of determination as that was deployed in the Begriffsschrift to characterize senses. It is argued that there is no philosophically interesting difference between the two notions, and no problem posed by modes of presentation that would be resolved by appeal to modes of determination.
78. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 32
Jeffrey R. Post The Productionist Metaphysics: The Heart of the Dewey/Heidegger Debate
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In this essay, the philosophies of John Dewey and Martin Heidegger are compared specifically on the topic of the productionist metaphysics. In this comparison, the readings of Larry Hickman and Michael E. Zimmerman are utilized to highlight the noted philosophers’ views. In Hickman’s reading of Dewey, production is the key virtue of the entire pragmatic theory and the evolution of humanity through the improvement of technique and productivity the focus of human life.Hickman’s reading of Dewey, deemed the “technological” reading of Dewey, provides proof of support of the productionist metaphysics view of the West that Heidegger deemed as the root of the “darkening” of the world. To illustrate the historical calamity that Heidegger deemed directly connected to this brand of metaphysics, which he believed began with the ancient Greeks and since has expanded to all areas of human life, the reading of Zimmerman is applied.
79. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 32
Christopher Knapp Trading Quality for Quantity
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This paper deals with problems that vagueness raises for choices involving evaluative tradeoffs. I focus on a species of such choices, which I call ‘qualitative barrier cases.’ These are cases in which a qualitatively significant tradeoff in one evaluative dimension for a given improvement in another dimension could not make an option better all things considered, but a merely quantitative tradeoff for the given improvement might. Trouble arises, however, when one of the options constitutes a borderline case of an evaluative kind. I argue that in such cases we can neither affirm nor deny that trading off losses in one evaluative dimension for gains in another yields a better outcome. Theoretically, this result provides a way to defuse an argument that has been presented by both Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels that purports to show that the ‘better than’ relation is intransitive. Practically, it allows us to undermine the claim that rational agents are better off withholding their contribution to a public good in certain instances of the free-rider problem, and thus to take an important step towards solving these problems.
80. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 32
John N. Williams Moore’s Paradoxes and Iterated Belief
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I give an account of the absurdity of Moorean beliefs of the omissive form(om) p and I don’t believe that p,and the commissive form(com) p and I believe that not-p,from which I extract a definition of Moorean absurdity. I then argue for an account of the absurdity of Moorean assertion. After neutralizing two objections to my whole account, I show that Roy Sorensen’s own account of the absurdity of his ‘iterated cases’(om1) p and I don’t believe that I believe that p,and(com1) p and I believe that I believe that not-p,is unsatisfactory. I explain why it is less absurd to believe or assert (om1) or (com1) than to believe or assert (om) or (com) and show that despite appearances, subsequent iterations of (om1) or (com1) do not decrease the absurdity of believing or asserting them.