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81. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
David-Hillel Ruben Actions and Their Parts
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The Causal Theory of Action (CTA) is the view that x is person p’s token action if x is a movement of p’s body caused in the right way by p’s mental states which rationalise x. But there seem to be many actions which are part of a ‘larger’ action, like some particular movement executed in shaving, which are preceded by nosuch rationalising mental states. To cover these cases, the amended CTA says that some item x is a person p’s action if either the above account is true of x or x is part of a whole such that the above account is true of the whole. I discuss various senses of ‘part’ which might make the amended account plausible and conclude that the account is overly permissive; it will count as actions many items which clearly are not actions.
82. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Fred Dretske Mental Causation
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Materialist explanations of cause and effect tend to embrace epiphenomenalism. Those who try to avoid epiphenomenalism tend to deny either the extrinsicness of meaning or the intrinsicness of causality. I argue that to deny one or the other is equally implausible. Rather, I prefer a different strategy: accept both premises, but deny that epiphenomenalism is necessarily the conclusion. This strategy is available because the premises do not imply the conclusion without the help of an additional premise—namely, that behavior explained by reasons is caused by the reasons that explain it—and this premise is false.
83. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Peter M. Simons Does the Sun Exist?: The Problem of Vague Objects
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Here is a dilemma. By robust common sense, the sun exists. Yet the sun is a vague object, lacking exact identity conditions, and therefore by widely accepted standards of objecthood does not exist. What goes for it goes for almost all other material things. Standard solutions to the problem of vagueness for predicates fall flat for vague objects. This paper attempts a theory which accounts for our common beliefs about vague objects by taking them as well-founded phenomena, founded on collections of more exact objects. The key notions allowing us to assign sensible truth-values to propositions about vague objects are those of truth-value density and expected truth-value. These will be illustrated in use.
84. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Brian Loar Should the Explanatory Gap Perplex Us?
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In what follows, I argue that the disturbing effect of the explanatory gap arises from an illusion, an implicit expectation that all “direct grasps of the essence” of a property are achieved by a homogeneous concept-forming faculty. But there is no such faculty. The truth is that our concepts form a mixed bag, drawing on experiential states, verbal conceptions, theoretical conceptual roles, and other concept-making factors. It should not be too surprising then if some pairs of concepts, even when they directly capture the same essence, are not conceptually convertible. That would place conceptual—psychological—limits on explanation.
85. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Philip Percival The Explanation of Chance Events
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Quantum mechanics gives us reason to think both that the world is indeterministic, and that there are irreducibly statistical laws governing objectively chancy processes. Lewis notes that this raises a two-horned dilemma between two options deemed unacceptable: severely curtail our explanatory practices with respect to macro events, or revise our conception of the essence of chance. He maintains, however, that we can escape this dilemma by making a distinction between ‘plain’ why-questions of the simple form ‘Why did D occur?’ and ‘contrastive’ why-questions of the more complex form ‘Why did E occur rather than E*?’ I will argue that even if a chance event receives a nontrivial explanation, there is still a sense in which it happens for no reason if there is a time prior to its occurrence at which the change of its happening when it does is fixed.
86. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Robert van Gulick Taking a Step Back from the Gap
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In this paper, I reflect on the assumptions implicit in the psychophysical explanatory gap metaphor. There are clearly gaps in our current understanding of the psycho-physical link, but how great are they? Are they different in kind from other gaps in our understanding of the world that cause us less metaphysical and epistemological distress? Further, why are we supposed to regard the gaps in our psychological understanding differently? Rather than assess such theories of why a special gap exists, I want to take a somewhat skeptical look at the underlying assumption that the gap is all that special.
87. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Robert Kane New Directions on Free Will
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Libertarian or incompatibilist conceptions of free will (according to which free will is incompatible with determinism) have been under withering attack in the modern era of Western philosophy as obscure and unintelligible and have been dismissed as outdated by many twentieth century philosophers and scientists because of their supposed lack of fit with modern images of human beings in the natural and human sciences. In a recent book (The Significance of Free Will), I attempt to reconcile incompatibilist free will with new images of human beings emerging in the physical, biological, behavioral, cognitive, and neuro-sciences—avoiding the usual libertarian appeals to obscure or mysterious forms of agency or causation. In this paper, I extend that effort with special attention to the relation of libertarian free will to recent research on neural networks and cognition and to recent philosophical debates about freedom, control, rationality and responsibility.
88. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Saul Smilansky Free Will: The Positive Role of Illusion
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In the following essay, I attempt to defend a novel position on ‘the free will problem’. In particular, I intend to provide (in outline) a position based on the descriptively central and normatively crucial role of illusion in the free will issue. Illusion, I claim, is the vital but neglected key to the free will problem. The proposed position, which can be called ‘Illusionism’, can be defended independently from its derivation from P. F. Strawson’s ‘reactive-naturalism’. However, since the role of illusion emerges only at a late stage of the train of arguments pertaining to free will, we will get to our destination by ‘free-riding’ most of the way on Strawson’s train, and then continue a bit further by ourselves, into the uncharted and dangerous Land Of Illusion.
89. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Ludger Honnefelder Reconsidering the Tradition of Metaphysics: The Medieval Example (Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Ockham)
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In what follows, I argue that the thinkers of the twelfth to thirteenth century rediscovered and passed on the questions of metaphysics; in what I call the second beginning of metaphysics they also developed those questions in such a way that they could be received into the thinking of the modern era in the first place. It was precisely the theological context which forced this development and lead the theologians of the Latin West, inspired by their Arabic predecessors, to redesign metaphysics according to the rules of Aristotle’s logic and philosophy of science. Put differently, through the challenge of theology medieval metaphysics was forced to become what it had claimed to be from the onset: first philosophy.
90. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Arda Denkel Transience and Identity
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Mellor’s theory of time includes the doctrines that (a) objectively, time does not embody tense or temporal properties other than those contained in the B-series, (b) particular objects are endurers, and (c) objectively, time does not flow. I show that these theses cannot all be true together, and that one must be rejected. Since (a) is basic to Mellor’s approach, then assuming that he would not adopt a perdurantist ontology, it follows that he should give up (c). Denying (c), however, is compatible with the essentials of his position. The falsity of (c) does not imply any version of the A-theory, and the B-theory can allow for the motion of diachronically identical entities through the dates over which their careers extend.
91. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Loretta Torrago Vagueness and Identity
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The view that identity can be vague is the view that there are statements of identity which are neither true or false. The view that composition can be vague is the view that unities can have borderline-constituents—elements that are neither parts nor non-parts of some larger unity. The case for vague identity is typically made by way of an argument for the vagueness of composition. In what follows, I argue that vague identity does not depend on the vagueness of composition; furthermore, the thesis that composition can be vague is actually incompatible with the thesis of vague identity.
92. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Roger Wertheimer Identity Syntax
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Like ‘&’, ‘=’ is no term; it represents no extrasentential property. It marks an atomic, nonpredicative, declarative structure, sentences true solely by codesignation. Identity (its necessity and total reflexivity, its substitution rule, its metaphysical vacuity) is the objectual face of codesignation. The syntax demands pure reference, without predicative import for the asserted fact. ‘Twain is Clemens’ is about Twain, but nothing is predicated of him. Its informational value is in its ‘metailed’ semantic content: the fact of codesignation (that ‘Twain’ names Clemens) that explains what fact it asserts and why it is necessary. Critques of concepts of rigidity and elimination of singular terms result.
93. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Tom Rockmore Volume Introduction
94. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Matthew Lipman What is Happening with P4C?
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The aim of philosophy for children (P4C) is to stimulate children to think carefully, to develop better reasoning and judgments, and to engage in the analysis of some general but ill-defined concepts. A different sort of approach is exemplified by Gareth Matthews, who demonstrates how adults attuned to philosophy can engage children in conversations that disclose and enlarge upon the philosophical dimension of children’s thinking. There are still other approaches. In this essay, I outline many of the highlights in the development of philosophy for children of the last twenty years, and conclude with comments about a philosophy of childhood.
95. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Tu Wei-ming Self-Cultivation as Education Embodying Humanity
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The primary purpose of Confucian education is character-building, and the starting point and source of inspiration for character-building is self-cultivation. This deceptively simple assertion is predicated on the vision of the human as a learner, who is endowed with the authentic possibility of transforming given structural constraints into dynamic processes of self-realization. The true function of education as characterbuilding is learning to be human. Paideia or humanitas is, in its core concern, educating the art of embodiment. Through embodiment we realize ourselves (body, mind-heart, soul, and spirit) in community, nature, and Heaven.
96. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Mark D. Gedney Rousseau’s Émile: Home Schooling Or Education Behind Closed Doors
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Rousseau’s discussion of education in Émile has for its essential background his rejection of a truly public education in modern society on the one hand and the rejection of the possibility of modern human beings developing in a state of natural innocence on the other hand. His suggestion in Émile is that a form of private education (“home-schooling”) is possible that preserves the inherent goodness of the natural state while at the same time providing the instruction necessary for the student to become a successful social, and thus moral, person. The possibility of such an education on Rousseau’s own terms will be the central focus of this essay; though implications for education today will also be raised.
97. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
James Garrison Philosophy as the General Theory of Critical Education
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Dewey blurs the distinction between poetry and philosophy. This is clearest in his aesthetics where he affirms Matthew Arnold’s dictum that “poetry is criticism of life.” The maxim, though, fails to say “how poetry is a criticism.” The role of art in general is imagining and creating images of the actual beyond the possible that (from a moral perspective) ought to exist. One can derive an ought from an is if one understands the is of poetic possibility. Dewey asserts that “poetry teaches us as friends and life teach, by being, and not by express intent.” He affirms that it is “by way of communication that art becomes the incomparable organ of instruction.” Blurring the distinction between poetry and philosophy requires reconsidering the character—especially the moral character—of education as cultural criticism.
98. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Paul Woodruff Paideia and Good Judgment
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Good judgment (euboulia) was the principal reward Protagoras promised from his teaching, and he was the foremost teacher to whom students went for paideia in fifth-century Greece. I begin with a theoretical exposition of the nature of good judgment in the contexts relevant to fifth-century paideia—in deliberative bodies, in the law courts, among generals discussing tactics, and among private citizens managing their households. I then turn to review what teachers like Protagoras taught, and ask whether it is reasonable to expect such teaching to foster good judgment. I will show that it meets the problem of relevance by attempting to bring every possible factor into an adversarial discussion before a matter is put to judgment.
99. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
John R. Silber Philosophy and the Future of Education
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Predicting the future is a difficult and uncertain activity in which one is far more likely to be wrong than right. To predict the contribution of philosophy to education in the next century is an especially dubious enterprise because we cannot even predict the direction philosophy itself will take in the future. If, however, we follow the precedent of Immanuel Kant—who did not ask “Is knowledge possible?” but rather “What must we presuppose to account for the possibility of knowledge?”-- we can then hope for an answer. We must ask, “What must the contribution of philosophy to future education be if philosophy and future education are to benefit humankind?” This question, I believe, can be answered.
100. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Richard Feldman Epistemology, Argumentation, and Citizenship
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In this paper I will examine two issues concerning the nature of arguments, one having to do with the goal of argumentation and the criteria for a good or successful argument and the other having to do with the role of the informal fallacies in effective argument analysis.