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Displaying: 1-20 of 921 documents

1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Catherine M. M. Smith On Self-Conceit in Kant and the Limits of Arrogance-Centered Theories of Immorality
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I argue that we have good textual reason to read Kant’s notion of “self-conceit,” and his theory of immorality more generally as being founded on the claim that we have the tendency to think that our ability to achieve happiness is our most valuable feature. I explain how this is not the same as the claim that we are arrogant or think we are better than others. Self-conceit (and the standard of assessment it implies) can lead to the opinion that one is worth more than others, when life is going well. When life goes badly, however, it leads to the opinion that one is worth less. I explain how this reading of self-conceit also amounts to a better theory of immorality, since we ought not to hold that interpersonal arrogance is at the heart of all immorality.
symposium on misanthropy
2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Ian James Kidd Varieties of Philosophical Misanthropy
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I argue that misanthropy is systematic condemnation of the moral character of humankind as it has come to be. Such condemnation can be expressed affectively and practically in a range of different ways, and the bulk of the paper sketches the four main misanthropic stances evident across the history of philosophy. Two of these, the Enemy and Fugitive stances, were named by Kant, and I call the others the Activist and Quietist. Without exhausting the range of ways of being a philosophical misanthrope, these four suffice to justify my main claim that misanthropy should not be seen specifically in terms of hatred and violence. We should attend to the varieties of philosophical misanthropy, especially since doing so reveals a deeper phenomenon I call the misanthropic predicament.
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Kathryn J. Norlock Misanthropy and Misanthropes
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With David Cooper and others, I argue that it is conceptually and ethically good to broaden the conception of misanthropy beyond that of hatred of humans. However, I hold that not everyone with misanthropic thoughts is a misanthrope. I propose thinking of a misanthrope as one who appraises the moral perception of misanthropy to be appropriate, weighty, and governing of other aspects of one’s moral outlook or character. I conclude that pessimism without misanthropy may be more ethically appropriate for some of us with misanthropic thoughts who wish to reject the identity of a misanthrope.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
David E. Cooper Humankind, Animals and Misanthropy
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Following in the tradition of Montaigne and Rousseau, a number of recent philosophers have argued that reflection on the relationship between humankind and certain animals yields good reasons for a misanthropic verdict on the former. One reason, of course, is the terrible treatment and exploitation of animals by human beings. Another reason—the one focused on and endorsed in this paper—is that humankind does very badly in the moral comparison with animal species that Hume thought was essential to any moral verdict on our species. I argue that animals are favored by such a comparison since they are free of the vices and moral failings of human beings. To the objection that, in that case, they are also without the virtues that we have, my reply is that this objection is mistaken. (Even if it weren’t, animals would come off better than humankind, since it is morally more important to be without vices than to have virtues.) Simply put, the “innocence” of animals—perhaps like that of young children—is incompatible with being morally vicious, but it is not incompatible with manifesting and exercising certain virtues. Innocence does not exclude experiencing benign moral emotions, such as compassion.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Lisa Gerber A Word Against Misanthropy
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Ian Kidd and David Cooper each develop a revisionist conception of misanthropy as the critical judgment and moral condemnation of humanity based on entrenched, ubiquitous, and pervasive human failings. I offer two objections to this revisionist conception since it equates the imputation of humanity with misanthropy and because it fails to address the worse form of misanthropy, which is the hatred and contempt of humanity. In the final section, I argue that we should not become misanthropes or develop a misanthropic stance. Misanthropy fails to make important distinctions about vulnerability and moral responsibility among people, allows for the renunciation of moral responsibility, and undermines the moral community.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Adam Buben The Hope of Meaningful Immortality
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Ever since Bernard Williams (1993) made the character Elina Makropulos central to his case against the desirability of immortality, a debate has raged on between philosophers who join him in arguing that immortal life would lack meaning, and those who defend the prospects of meaningful everlasting existence. I will argue that a never-ending existence offers more hope for personal meaning and value than ordinary finite existence does. To illustrate the idea that having a necessary ending spoils life’s meaning, I introduce a new literary example—Leonid Andreyev’s Lazarus—to juxtapose with Elina Makropulos. Lazarus personifies the notion that the transient significance of life simply evaporates in comparison with the infinite nothingness of death. Among other things, dying means the destruction of the first-personal sense of value we build up and attribute to our lives through conscious experience, memories, and agency.
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
James Nikopoulos Our Singular Absurdities
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What is it about the concept of absurdity that allows it to be applied to everything from the nature of existence to statistical methodologies to slapstick comedy? This article seeks an answer in the structure of how we experience the phenomena regularly cited to substantiate absurdity claims, namely those putatively labeled ‘confusing,’ ‘humorous,’ or both. Taking its cue from evolutionary and phenomenological accounts of humor and confusion, and responding to the canonical statements of Albert Camus and Thomas Nagel, the essay proposes that certain structures of experience parallel the structure of absurdist arguments.
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Mathea S. Sagdahl The Relevance of Noncomparability for Agency
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In trying to decide between two choices, I might try to compare them in order to determine which alternative is better with respect to some appropriate choice value. But could it happen that the two choices fail to compare? Much of the debate about this question has centred on the issue of whether the items could be incomparable. If they are incomparable, then they fail to compare with respect to the relevant choice value. However, what has largely been neglected is the possibility that the choices fail to compare by instead being noncomparable. If they are noncomparable, then they are not covered by any appropriate choice value, such that the formal preconditions for a comparison does not obtain. This paper argues that the concept of noncomparability may be at least as important as that of incomparability for explaining why choices fail to compare, if they do.
symposium on overdoing democracy by robert b. talisse
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Robert B. Talisse Synopsis of Overdoing Democracy
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A brief synopsis of Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in its Place (Oxford University Press, 2019), which introduces the book.
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij Why We Should Stop Fethishing Democracy
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Democracy is in trouble, and it is democracy’s own fault—that is Robert Talisse’s intriguing contention is his recent book, Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in its Place (2019). What gets democracy into trouble, according to Talisse, is the idea that a democratic form of government is intrinsically valuable, which in turn entails a deliberative conception of democracy that, in combination with the social-psychological fact of social sorting, leads to rampant polarization. According to Talisse, we therefore need to put democracy in its place by resisting the expansive view of the scope of democracy and making room for non-political spaces of interaction, in which we can form civic friendships. However, in what follows, I argue that what Talisse has actually provided is an excellent reason for rejecting rather than merely mitigating the detrimental effects of the idea that democracy is intrinsically valuable. Specifically, we ought to stop fetishizing democracy and instead embrace an instrumentalist view of democracy as a social practice that is instituted and maintained for purposes external to itself. Once we do this, democracy no longer needs saving from itself.
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Catarina Dutilh Novaes Talisse’s Overdoing Democracy and the Inevitability of Conflict
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Overdoing Democracy is an important contribution to the literature on (deliberative) democracy, as it offers a sobering diagnosis of the risks and pitfalls of (overdoing) democracy in the form of internal critique. But the book does not go far enough in its diagnosis because it is not sufficiently critical towards some of the basic assumptions of deliberative conceptions of democracy. In particular, Talisse does not sufficiently attend to the inevitable power struggles in a society, where different groups and individuals must protect their own (often conflicting) interests instead of working towards a ‘common good.’ In this essay, I contrast two different visions of democracy and politics, one based on ideals of consensus and cooperation, and another on the inevitability of perennial conflict. I then briefly present an alternative to deliberative conceptions of democracy that has gained traction in recent decades, known as agonism. Next, I offer a short reconstruction of Talisse’s proposal, and finally I sketch a critical assessment of some of his main claims and assumptions from an agonistic perspective.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
C. Thi Nguyen Was it Polarization or Propaganda?
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Here are two different explanations for the apocalyptic state of American politics. According to one story, we have been subject to systemic polarization. Social mobility and media filtering have divided us into like-minded enclaves, which irrationally boosts our self-confidence. This turns out to be a deeply symmetrical story. According to the other story, we have been subject to propaganda. Certain media sources have been systematically spreading misinformation. This story is usually told asymmetrically. I argue that current evidence better supports the asymmetrical propaganda story. I then diagnose the popularity of the polarization story. Though many are eager to accept debunking accounts of the political extremes, they often fail to adequately consider analogous debunking accounts of the political center. But the mechanisms of polarization should also effect the center. And the tendency to leap to accept a systemic polarization story, without sufficient empirical evidence, itself bears the mark of motivated reasoning.
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Myisha Cherry On the Cultivation of Civic Friendship
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I examine the possibility of civic friendship to solve the problem of over-doing democracy, paying close attention to how it can counter affective polarization and social homogeneity. In Section I, I explore civic friendship as a solution to polarization. In section II, I argue that Talisse’s civic friendship—in the context of nonpolitical collaboration—is akin to Aristotle’s utility and pleasure-friendships. Given the nature of civic friendship, in Section III–VI I make amendments to Talisse’s proposal. I argue that if civic friendship is to address not only desaturation but polarization, and it has these Aristotelian features, then the cultivation of taste, equity, and ethical attentiveness are necessary.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Robert B. Talisse Replies to my Critics
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The four critical essays responding to Overdoing Democracy exhibit a thematic progression. Some take issue with the conception of democracy that underlies my book, while others emphasize my diagnostic and prescriptive accounts. This essay follows that progression in addressing my critics.
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Marianna Papastephanou Loyalty, Justice, and Limit-Situations
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Discussions of loyalty typically focus on its alleged tendency to encourage pernicious attachments to collectivities. The present article intervenes in these discussions by asking how considerations of loyalty in limit-situations (Karl Jaspers) might illuminate neglected ethico-political intricacies. Rather than suggesting that loyalty, independently of circumstances, is always a virtue or a vice this article explores how loyalty’s complex synergies in limit-situations sometimes advance rather than oppose cosmopolitan justice. This perspective, I claim, helps us see that, instead of always making us partial, as many contemporary discourses on loyalty assume, loyalty sometimes makes us partisan in an ethico-politically enabling sense.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Cristián Rettig Is there a Human Right to Subsistence Goods?: A Dilemma for Practice-based Theorists
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The much-discussed “claimability objection” holds that it is unjustified to believe that all individuals have a human right to subsistence because the bearers of the correlative duties are not sufficiently determined. This argument is based on the so-called “claimability-condition”: S has a right to P if and only if the duty-bearer is sufficiently determined. Practice-based theorists defend the human right to subsistence by arguing that if we take the existing human rights practice seriously, there is no indeterminacy about the allocation of duties. In this paper, I challenge this (apparently compelling) defense of the human right to subsistence with a dilemma. If the claimability condition is true, the practice-based defense fails to undermine the claimability objection because the duty-bearer is determined in some, but not all, cases. If practice-based theorists reject the claimability condition, they generate an account of human rights that is problematic from the practical perspective because it may contain duties that are unable to guide action.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Nicholas Tebben Assertions and Their Function
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I argue that the norms of assertion are engendered by the function of assertions, and that the function of assertions is, roughly, to facilitate the transmission of information from those who have it to those who need it. Assertions can play this role if they are governed by two norms. One norm is deontic in nature, and specifies the conditions under which a speaker may issue an assertion. I argue that the deontic norm permits A to issue an assertion to B if and only if: (1) doing so would improve B’s epistemic position with regards to the proposition thus conveyed, and (2) the proposition conveyed is justified (for A) in a way, and to a degree, appropriate to the purposes for which B is likely to use it. The other is not deontic; it says what it is for an assertion to be good, qua assertion. This is a truth norm. Assertions ought to be true, in that an assertion is good, qua assertion, when it is true.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Andrew Blitzer, Mark Lance How to Do Philosophical Things With Words
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We highlight a particular meta-philosophical assumption; namely, the philosophical “Claim-Claim” to the effect that meaningful philosophical utterances are, at least in core cases, descriptive claims. In Section I, we explain the Claim-Claim and describe its place in contemporary philosophy. In Section II, we sketch some of its stultifying implications. In Section III, we attempt to make these implications vivid by considering a case study. Specifically, we show that the Claim-Claim has had a pernicious effect on recent attempts to make sense of Martin Heidegger’s philosophical project. Section IV explains Heidegger’s positive pragmatic account, while Section V is a brief and polemical attempt to advance an alternative to the status quo.
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Konsta Kotilainen Begging the Question Against a Peer?
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A dialectical conception of justification helps conciliationists about peer disagreement establish the symmetry considerations on which their account is premised. On this conception, appeals to personal or hidden forms of evidence fail to provide a symmetry breaker that would allow one to dismiss a conflicting peer opinion. Furthermore, the act of citing the same evidence repetitively tends to illegitimately beg the question against the peer, no matter how accurate one’s own overall assessment of this evidence. However, the dialectical conception of justification does not automatically vindicate conciliationism. In many of the most interesting cases of peer disagreement there are vast bodies of dialectically sharable evidence that can ultimately provide enough non-question-begging epistemic resources to settle the dispute, even if appealing to those resources violates the independence requirement—a further premise of conciliationism. Absent modifications to the independence requirement, it would therefore be premature to embrace conciliationism.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 46
Margaret Greta Turnbull Dinosaurs and Reasonable Disagreement
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Most philosophical discussions of disagreement have used idealized disagreements to draw conclusions about the nature of disagreement. I closely examine an actual, non-idealized disagreement in dinosaur paleobiology and show that it can not only teach us about the features of some of our real world disagreements, but can help us to argue for the possibility of reasonable real world disagreement.