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Displaying: 1-20 of 24 documents

1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Joshua Shaw An Error Theory for Misanthropy
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This article defends misanthropy against what I take to be an underappreciated objection. Several recent defenders of misanthropy have held that it should be understood as involving a critical judgment of humanity based on the belief that human life is saturated with moral failings. The first half of this article identifies a problem for this view: namely, most people do not experience their lives in ways that would seem to be entailed by the misanthrope’s judgment. The second half proposes a solution to this objection—an error theory for misanthropy. Several arguments are given. A common theme among them, however, is that there are good reasons to think that human beings habitually ignore and/or suppress certain displays of their moral failings. A misanthrope can also argue that beings whose lives are choked in moral failings will be more likely to overlook and to disavow them.
2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Agata Łukomska The Moral Significance of Agent-Regret
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The paper aims at defending agent-regret as a morally significant emo­tion. To this end, it reconstructs the debate about agent-regret in the context of the problem of moral luck, focusing on the solution put forward by R. Jay Wallace in his 2013 book The View From Here. A critique is proposed of Wallace’s account of the rationality of agent-regret as grounded in the objective value of what the agent lost. The paper argues that it should instead be explained in terms of the transformation of the agent and of the relationship of the agent to her own life and identity. Finally, some thoughts are offered on the ways in which agent-regret, thus construed, matters for morality.
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Manuel Almagro Polarization Measurement, First-Person Authority, and Political Meaning
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A population can be ideologically or affectively polarized. Ideological polarization relates to people’s political beliefs, while affective polarization deals with people’s feelings toward the ingroup and the outgroup. Both types of mental states, beliefs and feelings, are typically measured through direct self-report surveys. One philosophical assumption underlying this way of measuring polarization is a concrete version of the first-person authority thesis: the speaker’s sincerity guarantees the truth of their mental self-ascriptions. Based on various empirical studies, the first part of this paper argues that we are particularly bad at spotting our own mental states regarding political issues. This, in turn, raises doubts about the accuracy of direct self-report surveys in measuring polarization. In the second part, I introduce Michael Lynch’s notion of political meaning to argue that traditional surveys can still provide valuable information for detecting polarization. However, I suggest that this information pertains not to participants’ beliefs and feelings, but rather to their level of commitment to the core beliefs of the political groups they identify with, which is a relevant aspect of pernicious polarization.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Peter Bornschein Are Cultural Explanations for Racial Disparities Racist?
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Negative characteristics are sometimes attributed to racial groups on the basis of culture. Sometimes these cultural characteristics are invoked to explain racial disparities. Many antiracist activists and intellectuals argue that such attributions are racist and, in this respect, are no different than attributions of negative characteristics to a racial group based on biology. In a recent essay, Lawrence Blum provides a typology of different kinds of views that attribute negative cultural characteristics to racial groups. One of the views that Blum identifies treats the relevant cultural characteristics as malleable but does not attribute those characteristics to existing structural factors. Blum characterizes this type of thinking as a form of racist thought. I argue that Blum is mistaken in doing so and that there are good reasons for academics not to treat cultural explanations for racial disparities as too taboo to even consider.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Hamid Vahid Evidentialism, Rational Deliberation, and the Basing Relation
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Beliefs are most naturally formed in response to truth-related, epistemic reasons. But they are also said to be prompted and justified by non-epistemic reasons. For pragmatists who maintain such a view, sometimes the potential benefits of a belief might demand believing it even though it is not adequately grounded. For evidentialists, only evidential considerations constitute normative reasons for doxastic attitudes. This paper critically examines two arguments by Thomas Kelly and Nishi Shah from deliberation for evidentialism. I begin by putting these arguments in perspective by providing a context to make sense of their normative force and explain their differences. To do so, I briefly explain what I call the “dispositional” structure of epistemic reasons. This is followed by some critical remarks about Jona­than Way’s improved version of such arguments. I conclude by explaining how the dispositional account can explain why practical considerations fail to provide reasons for belief.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Seth A. Jones Leibniz and the Status of Possible Worlds
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The dispute over the exact nature and status of possible worlds in Leibniz’s philosophy has proven difficult to resolve. The standard view, that there is one unique actual world and that possible worlds exist solely as ideas within God’s understanding, sits in tension with important metaphysical and theological components of Leibniz’s system. For example, Leibniz takes possible individuals to have some “essence or reality” in themselves and to strive for existence, which allows him to ground counterfactual claims and to overcome necessitarianism. However, scholars have long seen these claims as being at odds with God’s creation of one unique actual world. Catherine Wilson (2000) challenges the standard view’s claim that possible worlds are substantially different from the actual world, arguing instead that Leibniz’s metaphysical commitments are consistent with there being more than one actual world and that Leibniz has no way to block the claim that God would generate more than one such world. In this paper, I expand on Wilson’s account and argue, contrary to the standard view, that the key theses at the heart of Leibniz’s philosophical system entail modal realism—for Leibniz, there can be no ontological difference between possible and actual worlds
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Stephen Marrone Integrity, Genericity, and the Limits of Reasons
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This paper offers a new interpretation of Bernard Williams’s infamous claim that the demands of morality violate our integrity. It begins by showing how Williams’s critique targets an underexplored demand for genericity in moral philosophy. It then argues that while this demand is currently a foundational methodological commitment in moral theorizing, it cannot always be met without distorting the very values that theorizing intends to accommodate. Through careful consideration of the importance of practical experience for appreciating the value of ground projects like human relationships, the paper reinterprets the integrity objection as a radical pushback against the way moral philosophy, by and large, represents the phenomenology of personal valuing. This conclusion offers two contributions. First, it reimagines a significant and yet poorly understood implication of Williams’s argument. Second, it raises a new challenge in an old debate: does moral philosophy fairly represent the values it purports to be about?
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Wolfgang Barz Still Pessimistic about First-Person Authority: A Response to Doyle and Winokur
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This paper aims to support my (2018) skeptical position on the possibility of a correct and philosophically significant specification of first-person authority. For this purpose, I critically examine the proposals presented by Doyle (2021) and Winokur (2022) in response to my position and argue that while these proposals contain some ingenious ideas, they ultimately fall short of providing correct and philosophically significant specifications. Ultimately, the search for an adequate specification of first-person authority remains unresolved.
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Eva Erman, Niklas Möller The Problem of Political Normativity Understood as Functional Normativity
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In recent years, some political realists have argued that there is a “distinctively political normativity” which should be used when construing and justifying political theories. Among realists focusing on a distinctively political normativity, one can identify two approaches. On the “moral view,” it is explicitly acknowledged that moral norms have a role to play in political normativity. On the “non-moral view,” distinctively political normativity is understood in terms of a non-moral kind of practical normativity. The non-moral view has received severe criticism, not least pertaining to its instrumental versions. Recently, however, Carlo Burelli has attempted to develop a realist account that is faithful to the non-moral view, but which is said to avoid the criticism directed against non-moral accounts in general, and the purely instrumental ones, in particular. Burelli offers a functional account of distinctively political normativity, according to which the function of providing binding collective decisions generates a normative standard that is independent of morality. Despite its many innovative features, however, we argue that it fails with regard to the most pressing concern, which is not whether functional normativity is genuine normativity, but whether it is the right normativity for its assigned role.
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Carlo Burelli Political Normativity as Functional Normativity: A Reply to Erman and Möller
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symposium on seeing, knowing, and doing: a perceptualist account
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Robert Audi Précis of Seeing, Knowing, and Doing: A Perceptualist Account
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12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Annalisa Coliva Perception, Justification, and Philosophical Truths: A Commentary on Robert Audi's Seeing, Knowing and Doing: A Perceptualist Account
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In this commentary, I consider some of the main themes in Robert Audi’s and raise some objections with special reference to Audi’s account of the nature of perception and perceptual justification and his claim that there exist non-trivial, self-evident philosophical truths and principles.
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Zoe Jenkin Reasoning and Perceptual Foundationalism: Comments on Robert Audi's Seeing, Knowing, and Doing: A Perceptualist Account
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This commentary considers Audi’s treatment of four fundamental topics in the epistemology of perception: inference, the basing relation, the metaphysics of reasons and grounds, and the relationship between knowledge and justification.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Peter J. Graham Does Knowledge Entail Justifications?
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Robert Audi’s Seeing, Knowing, and Doing argues that knowledge does not entail justification, given a broadly externalist conception of knowledge and an access internalist conception of justification, where justification requires the ability to cite one’s grounds or reasons. On this view, animals and small children can have knowledge while lacking justification. About cases like these and others, Audi concludes that knowledge does not entail justification. But the access internalist sense of “justification” is but one of at least two ordinary senses of the term. On a broader or looser sense, “justification” means “being in the right” where that involves meeting a standard or norm. I argue that the beliefs of animals and small children can then meet standards or norms associated with truth and knowledge such that their beliefs may count as justified in this broader or looser sense. I then question whether knowledge fails to entail justification on this broader sense.
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Robert Audi Perception, Justification, and Knowledge: A Response in Defense of Seeing, Knowing, and Doing: A Perceptualist Account
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symposium on re-imagining the quality of life
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Lorraine L. Besser Reimagining the Quality of Life
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In recent papers, I defend the intrinsic value of the interesting, and the intrinsic disvalue of the boring. My arguments introduce two claims with important implications for discussions of the quality of life. The first is that when it comes to experiences, there’s more value at stake than pleasure alone. The second is that there is value to cognitive engagement itself, even when it is unstructured by desires or reasons. This paper explores the important consequences these conclusions have for how we appraise the quality of life of subjects with dramatically impaired cognitive capacities (such as patients with advanced Alzheimer’s and patients in a persistent vegetive state). I examine whether such groups are capable of experiencing the interesting and, by extension, what degrees of self-awareness are required to experience the kind of cognitive engagement at stake in interesting experiences.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Neera K. Badhwar Do All Interesting Experiences Add to the Quality of Life?: A Response to Lorraine Besser
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In “ReImagining the Quality of Life,” Lorraine Besser challenges the frameworks typically used for evaluating the quality of people’s lives, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease or those in minimally conscious states (MCS). These frameworks rely on two standards: agency and sentience. The first assumes that the absence of agency makes a life prudentially worthless (worthless to the individual whose life it is), because cognitive activity is prudentially valuable “only when it reflects agency;” whereas the second assumes that the absence of pleasure makes a life prudentially worthless, because pleasure is the only experiential value. Besser argues, however, that cognitive engagement with an activity or experience that a patient finds interesting is also prudentially valuable, even if it doesn’t reflect agency, and even if it isn’t pleasurable. The interesting “describes a qualitative aspect of our experience of a robust form of cognitive engagement, which resonates with us in a fashion similar to pleasure.” Besser’s view is an important contribution to the literature on the quality of life, and to the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s or MCS. However, I challenge Besser’s view that interesting experiences need not have a positive resonance to such patients, even though they are similar to pleasure.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Barbara Montero Interesting Experiences
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Lorraine Besser argues that interesting experiences confer prudential value on those who have them. After summing up what Besser means by this, I question whether interesting experiences always confer such value and whether the experience of the interesting has its own distinctive phenomenal feel. Beyond this, I ponder the contours of Besser’s discussion of how people with Alzheimer’s might experience the interesting, agreeing with her that it seems likely that they can but questioning her suggestion that they may even be more prone to experience the interesting than those without the disease. I wrap up with a brief musing about whether today’s culture of constant distractions is robbing us of the value of being deeply interested in things.
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Lorraine L. Besser Engagement, Experience, and Value: Reply to Critics
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In this reply to comments by Neera Badhwar and Barbara Montero, I examine more deeply the nature of cognitive engagement and how it is distinct from other forms of cognitive activity; revisit the distinction between interesting and boring experiences; and present an analysis of all-things-considered value that illustrates the contributions that the interesting makes. I conclude by considering what all-things-considered value becomes for patients with severe cognitive impairments.
symposium on the solace: finding value in death through gratitude for life
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 48
Joshua Glasgow The Solace: A Précis
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This article summarizes the main arguments of the book The Solace: Finding Value in Death through Gratitude for Life. The main themes discussed include how death can be bad, in a concurrentist-deprivationist way, for the one who dies, and how gratitude can sometimes be holistic and target even bad objects, when those bad objects are part of what are identifiedas meaningful goods. Since life is one of those meaningful goods, and since death is a part of life, we can find value in death. Rationally affirming that value takes the form of solace rather than of other affirmations like gratitude