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Displaying: 1-20 of 35 documents

1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Bruce Aune Against Moderate Rationalism
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This paper criticizes the epistemological doctrine of moderate rationalism that has been defended in recent years by such writers as Laurence BonJour, Alvin Plantinga, and George Bealer. It is argued that this new form of rationalism is really no better than the old one and that the key claim common to both---that intuition or rational insight provides a satisfactory basis for a priori knowledge---is untenable. Most of the criticism is directed specifically against Laurence BonJour’s recent “dialectical” defense of the doctrine. Since BonJour’s defense is essentially an attempt to show how a priori knowledge is possible, an alternative, empiricist view of a priori knowledge is presented that eludes his objections and is supported by the criticism brought against moderate rationalism.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Mark McCullagh Wittgenstein on Rules and Practices
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Some readers of Wittgenstein think that his writings contain a regress argument showing that in explanations of linguistic correctness, the notion of participating in a practice is more basic than the notion of following a rule. But the regress argument bears equally on both of these notions; if there is an explanatory regress of rules, then there is an explanatory regress of practices as well. Why then does Wittgenstein invoke the notion of a practice, apparently by way of diagnosing the error on which the regress argument rests? I suggest that he invokes that notion to emphasize certain aspects of rule following which we are apt to neglect when we forget that rule following is—not rests upon—participating in a practice. When we appreciate those aspects of rule/practice following we see the flaw in both regress arguments.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Jane Chamberlain Thinking Time: Ricoeur’s Husserl in Time and Narrative
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Paul Ricoeur holds that the “principal ambition” characterising Husserl’s phenomenology of internal time-consciousness is that of “making time itself appear.” Ricoeur thinks that ambition is doomed to run up against an unbridgeable gulf between Husserl’s approach and that of Kant. I raise a number of doubts about Ricoeur’s reading of Husserl. After a preliminary section introducing Husserl’s understanding of his phenomenological project in relation to the work of Kant, I sketch the main lines of his analysis of time-consciousness, and then go on to evaluate Ricoeur’s interpretation of it. Having shown Husserl’s work on this matter to be more subtle than Ricoeur supposes, I explain how Ricoeur’s own inquiry into the consciousness of time lacks an adequate account of the time of consciousness. The way in which Husserl’s analysis might resolve this difficulty is indicated in the closing remarks.
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Robin Jeshion The Fallibility of Rational Insight
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In In Defense of Pure Reason [IDPR], BonJour advances a version of moderate rationalism, the thesis that rational insight is an independent, though fallible, source of a priori epistemic justification. To demonstrate that this thesis must obtain, BonJour argues that rational insight is truth conducive and that no infallibilist rationalist theory could be correct. This article aims to establish two points: (1) BonJour’s argument for the fallibilist thesis is problematic because it invokes implausible conditions on justification, conditions that even BonJour rejects; (2) BonJour’s argument for the truth conduciveness of rational insight fails because it does not (and cannot) account for the truth-conduciveness of fallible rational insights.
16. 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.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Michael Huemer Fumerton’s Principle of Inferential Justification
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Richard Fumerton’s “Principle of Inferential Justification” holds that, in order to be justified in believing P on the basis of E, one must be justified in believing that E makes P probable. I argue that the plausibility of this principle rests upon two kinds of mistakes: first, a level confusion; and second, a fallacy of misconditionalisation. Furthermore, Fumerton’s principle leads to skepticism about inferential justification, for which reason it should be rejected. Instead, the examples Fumerton uses to motivate his principle can be accounted for using a different principle: in order for S to be justified in believing P on the basis of E, it must be true that E makes P probable. The latter principle can be independently motivated and does not lead to skepticism.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Gilbert LaRochelle Préjugé et Éthique dans L’Épistémologie Poststructuraliste
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La déconstruction des représentations modernes se réclame aujourd’hui de plus en plus de la suspension des critères du jugement non pas à l’instar des règles de la morale chrétienne (“qui es-tu pour juger?”), mais plutôt par une destitution des finalités de tout arrière-monde. Dans cette optique de reconfiguration des catégories, parler du préjugé revient, d’entrée de jeu, à s’exposer dans le cadre d’une métaphysique de la modernité et à évoquer un report possible à l’objectivité. Or, les basculements contemporains dans l’ère du soupçon appellent malgré tout une interrogation: Où est donc passé le préjugé? De quelle histoire restet-il la trace? Cet exposé montre que, loin d’être nié ou confiné à un champ de représentations archaïques, il est plutôt en voie d’être réhabilité, pourvu d’une nouvelle dignité sans le nom, d’ailleurs péjoratif, voire transformé en catégorie épistémique au nom du relativisme et de l’incommensurabilité des univers de sens. Il semble passer de nos jours par un accueil acritique de la contingence ou par l’abandon à une compréhension préréflexive du monde comme possibilité maximale de toute entreprise cognitive. Le propos tente de dégager les difficultés théoriques que pose le projet de la suspension du jugement dans l’épistémologie poststructuraliste.
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Michael J. Cholbi Dialectical Refutation as a Paradigm of Socratic Punishment
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Evidence from the Apology, Crito, Protagoras, and Gorgias is mustered in defense of the claim that for Socrates, dialectic typifies just punishment: Dialectic benefits the punished by making her more just, since it disabuses her of the false beliefs that stand in the way of her acquiring knowledge of justice. Though painful and disorienting to the interlocutor, having one’s opinions refuted by Socrates—who is wiser than his interlocutors due to his awareness of the vastness of his ignorance—is in fact a benefit. Socrates’ attitude toward his own pending death sentence, his claim that the virtues are unified around wisdom, and his opposition to vengeance or retaliation as a moral motive, all underscore how dialectical engagement is a paradigm instance of just Socratic punishment.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 27
Jeeloo Liu Physical Externalism and Social Externalism: Are They Really Compatible?
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In this paper I examine the foundations of physical externalism and social externalism and argue that these foundations are incompatible. Physical externalism is based on a direct reference theory of natural-kind terms, while social externalism is based on a description theory of natural-kind terms. Thus, physical externalism and social externalism are incompatible just in the same way that the direct reference theory of proper names is incompatible with the description theory of proper names. My argument will proceed as follows. In Section One, I shall explain what the two theses say and spell out my suspicion. In Section Two, I shall take a look at the initial setups for physical externalism and social externalism by examining Putnam’s and Burge’s original arguments. Finally in Section Three, I shall explain that the real incompatibility comes to lie in the different assumptions on which the two theories are based. I will present some thought experiments to highlight this incompatibility.