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1. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 7
Andrew J. Latham, Kristie Miller, James Norton An Empirical Investigation of Purported Passage Phenomenology
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It has widely been assumed, by philosophers, that most people unambiguously have a phenomenology as of time passing, and that this is a datum that philosophical theories must accommodate. Moreover, it has been assumed that the greater the extent to which people have said phenomenology, the more likely they are to endorse a dynamical theory of time. This paper is the first to empirically test these assumptions. Surprisingly, our results do not support either assumption. One experiment instead found the reverse correlation: people were more likely to report having passage phenomenology if they endorsed a non-dynamical theory of time. Given that people do not have an unambiguous phenomenology as of time passing, we conclude that this is suggestive evidence in favor of veridical non-dynamism—the view that our phenomenology is veridical, and that it does not unambiguously represent that time passes. Instead, our phenomenology veridically has some quite different content.
2. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 7
Siegfried Jaag Siegfried Jaag, Christian Loew Christian Loew Why Defend Humean Supervenience?
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Humean Supervenience (HS) is a metaphysical model of the world according to which all truths hold in virtue of nothing but the total spatiotemporal distribution of perfectly natural, intrinsic properties. David Lewis and others have worked out many aspects of HS in great detail. A larger motivational question, however, remains unanswered: As Lewis admits, there is strong evidence from fundamental physics that HS is false. What then is the purpose of defending HS? In this paper, we argue that the philosophical merit of HS is largely independent of whether it correctly represents the world’s fundamental structure. In particular, we show that insofar as HS is an apt model of the world’s higher-level structure, it thereby provides a powerful argument for reductive physicalism and explains otherwise opaque inferential relations. Recent criticism of HS on the grounds that it misrepresents fundamental physical reality is, therefore, beside the point.
3. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 7
Olli Koistinen Ursula Renz: The Explainability of Experience: Realism and Subjectivity in Spinoza’s Theory of the Human Mind
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4. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 7
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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5. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 6
Lei Zhong Intervention, Fixation, and Supervenient Causation
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A growing number of philosophers are bringing interventionism into the field of supervenient causation. Many argue that interventionist supervenient causation is exempted from the fixability condition. However, this approach looks ad hoc, inconsistent with the general interventionist requirement on fixation. Moreover, it leads to false judgments about the causal efficacy of supervenient/subvenient properties. This article aims to develop a novel interventionist account of supervenient causation that respects the fixability requirement. The treatment of intervention and fixation that I propose can accommodate some theoretical constraints on causation and deliver correct causal verdicts in classic examples. It is also worth noting that this interventionist account offers a promising defense of mental causation without postulating mental-physical overdetermination.
6. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 6
Matthew Mandelkern A Counterexample to Modus Ponenses
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McGee (1985) argued that modus ponens was invalid for the natural language conditional ‘If…then…’. Many subsequent responses have argued that, while McGee’s examples show that modus ponens fails to preserve truth, they do not show that modus ponens fails to preserve rational full acceptance, and thus modus ponens may still be valid in the latter informational sense. I show that when we turn our attention from indicative conditionals (the focus of most of the literature to date) to subjunctive conditionals, we find that modus ponens does not preserve either truth or rational full acceptance, and thus is not valid in either sense. In concluding I briefly consider how we can account for these facts.
review essays
7. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 6
Paul Conlan, Giovanni Merlo, Crispin Wright Eyes Directed Outward: Alex Byrne: Transparency and Self-Knowledge
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8. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 6
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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9. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 5
Benjamin A. Levinstein, Nate Soares Cheating Death in Damascus
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Evidential Decision Theory (EDT) and Causal Decision Theory (CDT) are the leading contenders as theories of rational action, but both face counterexamples. We present some new counterexamples, including one in which the optimal action is causally dominated. We also present a novel decision theory, Functional Decision Theory (FDT), which simultaneously solves both sets of counterexamples. Instead of considering which physical action of theirs would give rise to the best outcomes, FDT agents consider which output of their decision function would give rise to the best outcome. This theory relies on a notion of subjunctive dependence, where multiple implementations of the same mathematical function are considered (even counterfactually) to have identical results for logical rather than causal reasons. Taking these subjunctive dependencies into account allows FDT agents to outperform CDT and EDT agents in, for example, the presence of accurate predictors.
10. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 5
Jeffrey Sanford Russell On the Probability of Plenitude
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I examine what the mathematical theory of random structures can teach us about the probability of Plenitude, a thesis closely related to David Lewis's modal realism. Given some natural assumptions, Plenitude is reasonably probable a priori, but in principle it can be (and plausibly it has been) empirically disconfirmed—not by any general qualitative evidence, but rather by our de re evidence.
11. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 4
Ivan Hu Defeasible Tolerance and the Sorites
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I propose a novel solution to the Sorites Paradox. The account vindicates the tolerance of vague predicates in a way that properly addresses the normativity of vagueness while avoiding sorites contradiction, by treating sorites reasoning as a type of defeasible reasoning. I show how this can be done within the setting of a nonmonotonic deontic logic. Central to the proposal is its deontic interpretation of tolerance. I draw a key distinction between two types of tolerance, based on different deontic notions, and show how the account captures key differences between these types of sorites reasoning. I compare the resulting theory to various existing contextualist proposals and argue that it better accounts for the normative aspects of sorites reasoning.
12. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 4
Eli Alshanetsky The Meno Paradox of Reflection
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The paper introduces a new puzzle about reflection—albeit one that is reminiscent of the famous paradox about inquiry in Plato’s Meno. We often make our thoughts clear to ourselves in the process of putting them into words. Our puzzle is that, on the one hand, coming to know what we are thinking seems to require finding words that would express our thought; yet, on the other hand, finding the words seems to require already knowing what we are thinking. I argue that the puzzle cannot be solved by accounting for the knowledge that we gain in such cases on the models of self-interpretation and self-constitution. The primary purpose of introducing the puzzle is to provide a tool for systematically investigating this category of non-interpretive and non-constitutive self-knowledge, and I conclude with some words about the scope of the category and the value of finding a solution.
13. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 4
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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14. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 3
J. Dmitri Gallow The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News
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According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of "managing the news." But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of news. It can tell you that the world in which you find yourself is good, and it can tell you that the act itself is in a position to make the world better. While the first kind of news does not speak in favor of performing an act, I believe that the second kind of news does. I present a revision of causal decision theory which advises you to manage the news about the good you stand to promote, while ignoring news about the good the world has provided for you.
15. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 3
David Mark Kovacs Constitution and Dependence
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Constitution is the relation that holds between an object and what it is made of: statues are constituted by the lumps of matter they coincide with; flags, one may think, are constituted by colored pieces of cloth; and perhaps human persons are constituted by biological organisms. Constitution is often thought to be a "dependence relation." In this paper, I argue that given some plausible theses about ontological dependence, most definitions of constitution don’t allow us to retain this popular doctrine. The best option for those who want to maintain that constitution is a dependence relation is to endorse a kind of mereological hylomorphism: constituted objects have their constituters as proper parts, along with a form, which is another proper part. The upshot is that constitution theorists who think of constitution as a dependence relation but are reluctant to endorse mereological hylomorphism ought to give up one of their commitments.
16. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 3
New Books
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17. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 3
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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18. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 2
Owen Cotton-Barratt, William MacAskill, Toby Ord Statistical Normalization Methods in Interpersonal and Intertheoretic Comparisons
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A major problem for interpersonal aggregation is how to compare utility across individuals; a major problem for decision-making under normative uncertainty is the formally analogous problem of how to compare choice-worthiness across theories. We introduce and study a class of methods, which we call statistical normalization methods, for making interpersonal comparisons of utility and intertheoretic comparisons of choice-worthiness. We argue against the statistical normalization methods that have been proposed in the literature. We argue, instead, in favor of normalization of variance: we claim that this is the account that most plausibly gives all individuals or theories ‘equal say’. To this end, we provide two proofs that variance normalization has desirable properties that all other normalization methods lack, though we also show how different assumptions could lead one to axiomatize alternative statistical normalization methods.
19. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 2
Christine Tiefensee "Ought" and Error
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The moral error theory generally does not receive good press in metaethics. This paper adds to the bad news. In contrast to other critics, though, I do not attack error theorists’ characteristic thesis that no moral assertion is ever true. Instead, I develop a new counter-argument which questions error theorists’ ability to defend their claim that moral utterances are (typically) meaningful assertions. More precisely: Moral error theorists lack a convincing account of the meaning of deontic moral assertions, or so I will argue.
20. The Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 117 > Issue: 2
Call for Submissions: The Isaac Levi Prize
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