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Displaying: 1-20 of 12152 documents


1. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 9
David Mark Kovacs Self-Making and Subpeople
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On many currently popular ontologies of material objects, we share our place with numerous shorter-lived things ("subpeople," to borrow a term from Eric Olson) that came into existence after we did or will go out of existence before we will. Subpeople are intrinsically indistinguishable from possible people, and as several authors (Eric Olson, Mark Johnston, A. P. Taylor) pointed out, this raises grave ethical concerns: it threatens to make any sacrifice for long-term goals impermissible, as well as to undermine our standard practices of punishment, reward, grief, and utility calculation. The aim in this paper is to offer a unified set of solutions to these problems. The paper’s starting point is the "self-making view," according to which our de se beliefs help determine our own spatiotemporal boundaries. This paper argues that the self-making view also plays a key role in the best treatment of the moral problems of subpeople.
2. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 9
Justin Sytsma Crossed Wires: Blaming Artifacts for Bad Outcomes
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Philosophers and psychologists often assume that responsibility and blame only apply to certain agents. But do our ordinary concepts of responsibility and blame reflect these assumptions? I investigate one recent debate where these assumptions have been applied—the back-and-forth over how to explain the impact of norms on ordinary causal attributions. I investigate one prominent case where it has been found that norms matter for causal attributions, but where it is claimed that responsibility and blame do not apply because the case involves artifacts. Across six studies (total N=1,492) more carefully investigating Hitchcock and Knobe’s (2009) Machine Case, I find that the same norm effect found for causal attributions is found for responsibility and blame attributions, with participants tending to ascribe both to a norm-violating artifact. Further, the evidence suggests that participants do so because they are using these terms in a broadly normative, but not distinctively moral, way.
3. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 8
Sam Roberts Pluralities as Nothing Over and Above
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This paper develops an account of pluralities based on the following simple claim: some things are nothing over and above the individual things they comprise. For some, this may seem like a mysterious statement, perhaps even meaningless; for others, like a truism, trivial and inferentially inert. I show that neither reaction is correct: the claim is both tractable and has important consequences for a number of debates in philosophy.
4. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 8
Montgomery Link The Dispute between Two Accounts of the Continuum
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The topic of this paper is the debate between two accounts of the continuum. On one account the continuum has discrete elements. On the other it has no discrete elements. Each account has its own strengths and weaknesses. The paper introduces several different explications of continuity before stating and discussing an antinomy and some options to resolve it. An assessment follows in which certain astute philosophical views are vetted. If the dispute concerns the reality of the continuum, there seems to be nothing that could further decide the matter. If the dispute concerns our access to the continuum, there are many adequate options. But, in either case, the dispute is not merely verbal.
5. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 8
Eric Mandelbaum Everything and More: The Prospects of Whole Brain Emulation
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Whole Brain Emulation (WBE) has been championed as the most promising, well-defined route to achieving both human-level artificial intelligence and superintelligence. It has even been touted as a viable route to achieving immortality through brain uploading. WBE is not a fringe theory: the doctrine of Computationalism in philosophy of mind lends credence to the in-principle feasibility of the idea, and the standing of the Human Connectome Project makes it appear to be feasible in practice. Computationalism is a popular, independently plausible theory, and Connectomics a well-funded empirical research program, so optimism about WBE is understandable. However, this optimism may be misplaced. This article argues that WBE is, at best, no more compelling than any of the other far-flung routes to achieving superintelligence. Similarly skeptical conclusions are found regarding immortality. The essay concludes with some positive considerations in favor of the Biological Theory of consciousness, as well as morals about the limits of Computationalism in both artificial intelligence and the philosophy of mind more generally.
6. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 8
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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7. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 7
Øystein Linnebo Generality Explained
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What explains the truth of a universal generalization? Two types of explanation can be distinguished. While an ‘instance-based explanation’ proceeds via some or all instances of the generalization, a ‘generic explanation’ is independent of the instances, relying instead on completely general facts about the properties or operations involved in the generalization. This intuitive distinction is analyzed by means of a truthmaker semantics, which also sheds light on the correct logic of quantification. On the most natural version of the semantics, this analysis vindicates some claims made—without a proper defense—by Michael Dummett, Solomon Feferman, and others. Where instance-based explanations are freely available, classical logic is shown to be warranted. By contrast, intuitionistic logic (or slightly more) remains warranted regardless of what explanations are available.
8. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 7
Simon M. Huttegger Rethinking Convergence to the Truth
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The Bayesian theorem on convergence to the truth states that a rational inquirer believes with certainty that her degrees of belief capture the truth about a large swath of hypotheses with increasing evidence. This result has been criticized as showcasing a problematic kind of epistemic immodesty when applied to infinite hypotheses that can never be approximated by finite evidence. The central point at issue—that certain hypotheses may forever be beyond the reach of a finite investigation no matter how large one’s reservoir of evidence—cannot be captured adequately within standard probability theory. As an alternative, I propose a nonstandard probabilistic framework that, by using arbitrarily small and large numbers, makes room for the type of fine-grained conceptual distinctions appropriate for a deeper analysis of convergence to the truth. This framework allows for the right kind of modesty about attaining truth in the limit.
9. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 7
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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10. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 6
Eleonora Cresto Ungrounded Payoffs: A Tale of Perfect Love and Hate
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I explore a game-theoretic analysis of social interactions in which each agent’s well-being depends crucially on the well-being of another agent. As a result of this, payoffs are interdependent and cannot be fixed, and hence the overall assessment of strategies becomes ungrounded. A paradigmatic example of this general phenomenon occurs when both players are ‘reflective altruists’, in a sense to be explained. I argue that ungroundedness cannot be captured by standard games with incomplete information, but that it requires the concept of an underspecified game; underspecified games have radically underdetermined matrices. Players locked in ungroundedness will be assumed to engage simultaneously in an implicit second-order game in which they try to coordinate their first-order matrices. If they fail to coordinate, their first-order interaction cannot be recast as a game in the first place.
11. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 6
Byron Simmons Should an Ontological Pluralist Be a Quantificational Pluralist?
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Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different fundamental ways of being. Recent defenders of this view—such as Kris McDaniel and Jason Turner—have taken these ways of being to be best captured by semantically primitive quantifier expressions ranging over different domains. They have thus endorsed, what I shall call, quantificational pluralism. I argue that this focus on quantification is a mistake. For, on this view, a quantificational structure—or a quantifier for short—will be whatever part or aspect of reality’s structure that a quantifier expression carves out and reflects. But if quantificational pluralism is true, then a quantifier should be more natural than its corresponding domain; and since it does not appear to be the case that a quantifier is more natural than its corresponding domain, quantificational pluralism does not appear to be true. Thus, I claim, an ontological pluralist should not be a quantificational pluralist.
12. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 6
New Books: Anthologies
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13. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 6
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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14. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 5
Trevor Teitel How to Be a Spacetime Substantivalist
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The consensus among spacetime substantivalists is to respond to Leibniz’s classic shift arguments, and their contemporary incarnation in the form of the hole argument, by pruning the allegedly problematic metaphysical possibilities that generate these arguments. Some substantivalists do so by directly appealing to a modal doctrine akin to anti-haecceitism. Other substantivalists do so by appealing to an underlying hyperintensional doctrine that implies some such modal doctrine. My first aim in this paper is to pose a challenge for all extant forms of this consensus position. My second aim is to show what form substantivalism must take in order to uphold the consensus while addressing this challenge. The result is a novel “plenitudinous” substantivalist view, which predicts that certain modal facts about spacetime are vague or indeterminate. I then argue against this view on independent grounds, concluding that substantivalists should reject the consensus position. The paper also discusses the way forward for substantivalists in light of this conclusion.
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15. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 5
Caleb Perl Formulating Moral Error Theory
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This paper shows how to formulate moral error theories given a contextualist semantics like the one that Angelika Kratzer pioneered, answering the concerns that Christine Tiefensee developed.
16. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 5
New Books
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17. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 5
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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18. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 4
Helen E. Longino What's Social about Social Epistemology?
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A thin conception of the social pervades much philosophical writing in social epistemology. A thicker form of sociality is to be found in scientific practice, as represented in much recent history and philosophy of science. Typical social epistemology problems, such as disagreement and testimony, take on a different aspect when viewed from the perspective of scientific practice. Here interaction among researchers is central to their knowledge making activities and disagreement and testimony are resources, not problems. Whereas much of the disagreement and testimony literature assumes some conception of evidence, or that it is obvious what evidence is, a focus on scientific practice reveals that determining what counts as evidence and for what is determined through the discursive interactions among researchers. This paper concludes with questions about the assumptions about knowledge, cognitive agents, and the right starting point for epistemological reflection that shape the mainstream social epistemological approaches.
19. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 4
David Boylan, Ginger Schultheis The Qualitative Thesis
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The Qualitative Thesis says that if you leave open P, then you are sure of if P, then Q just in case you are sure of the corresponding material conditional. We argue the Qualitative Thesis provides compelling reasons to accept a thesis that we call Conditional Locality, which says, roughly, the interpretation of an indicative conditional depends, in part, on the conditional’s local embedding environment. In the first part of the paper, we present an argument—due to Ben Holguín—showing that, without Conditional Locality, the Qualitative Thesis is in tension with a margin for error principle on rational sureness. We show Conditional Locality reconciles the Qualitative Thesis with the margin for error principle. In the second part, we argue the full range of data supports what we call the Strong Qualitative Thesis. Without Conditional Locality, the Strong Qualitative Thesis has unacceptable consequences. But with Conditional Locality, it is tenable.
20. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 119 > Issue: 4
New Books
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