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Displaying: 1-20 of 20 documents


1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Weston Mudge Ellis, Justin McBrayer A Phenomenal Defense of Reflective Equilibrium
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The method of reflective equilibrium starts with a set of initial judgments about some subject matter and refines that set to arrive at an improved philosophical worldview. However, the method faces two, trenchant objections. The Garbage-In, Garbage-Out Objection argues that reflective equilibrium fails because it has no principled reason to rely on some inputs to the method rather than others and putting garbage-in assures you of getting garbage-out. The Circularity Objection argues that reflective equilibrium fails because it has no principled, non-circular way of sorting whatever is put into the method. The moves required to avoid both objections are instructive. Reflective equilibrium requires a meta-justification, and we offer one that appeals to the epistemic goods that underwrite a view known as phenomenal conservatism. Reflective equilibrium calls on us to start with what seems most likely to be true and to alter that collection of judgments in the ways that seem most likely to get us to the truth. Proceeding in this way is epistemically defensible and unavoidable. Hence, reflective equilibrium is not just good, it’s phenomenal.
2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Tracy Llanera Disavowing Hate: Group Egotism From Westboro to the Klan
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This article tracks how group egotists disavow their hate group identity. Group egotists are individuals born and raised in hate groups. The well-documented exit cases of Megan Phelps-Roper (Westboro Baptist Church) and Derek Black (White Nationalism) prove that hate group indoctrination can be undermined. A predominantly epistemic approach, which focuses on argument and conversational virtues, falls short in capturing the complexity of their apostasies. I turn to pragmatism for conceptual support. Using the work of Richard Rorty and William James, I explain how redemptive relationships and alternative lifeworlds participate in weakening belief-systems, leading to the disavowal of the hate group.
symposium on responsible belief: a theory in ethics and epistemology by rik peels
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Stephen J. White Against Voluntarism about Doxastic Responsibility
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According to the view Rik Peels defends in Responsible Belief (2017), one is responsible for believing something only if that belief was the result of choices one made voluntarily, and for which one may be held responsible. Here, I argue against this voluntarist account of doxastic responsibility and in favor of the rationalist position that a person is responsible for her beliefs insofar as they are under the influence of her reason. In particular, I argue that the latter yields a more plausible account of the conditions under which ignorance may serve as an excuse for wrongdoing.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Rik Peels Responsible Belief, Influence, and Control: Response to Stephen White
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I reply to Stephen White’s criticisms of my Influence View. First, I reply to his worry that my Appraisal Account of responsibility cannot make sense of doxastic responsibility. Then, I discuss in detail his stolen painting case and argue that the Influence View can make sense of it. Next, I discuss various other cases that are meant to show that acting in accordance with one’s beliefs does not render one blameless. I argue that in these cases, even though the subjects act in accordance with their own beliefs, there is plenty of reason to think that at some previous point in time they violated certain intellectual obligations that led to them to hold those beliefs. Even on a radically subjective account of responsibility, then, we can perfectly well hold these people responsible for their beliefs. I go on to defend the idea that reasons-responsiveness will not do for doxastic responsibility: we need influence on our beliefs as well. Thus, doxastic compatibilism or rationalism is untenable. Subsequently, I defend my earlier claim that there is a crucial difference between beliefs and actions in that actions are often subject to the will, whereas beliefs are not. Finally, I respond to White’s worry that if one has a subjective epistemic obligation just because one believes that certain actions are epistemically bad, some people will have a wide range of absurd epistemic obligations, such as the obligation to listen to Infowars.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Sanford C. Goldberg Doxastic Responsibility is Owed to Others: Against Subjectivism
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In this paper I argue that Rik Peels’s account of doxastic responsibility (in his 2017 book Responsible Belief) is too subjectivist, as it fails to deliver the correct verdicts in some cases in which one’s responsibilities derive from a social role and where one has misleading higher-order evidence about the first-order evidence. The take-home point is that the notion of responsibility in doxastic responsibility is something that is owed to others.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Rik Peels The Social Dimension of Responsible Belief: Response to Sanford Goldberg
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Goldberg has argued in several writings of his that our social context is crucial in determining whether we believe responsibly or not. In this reply to his criticisms, I explore whether my Influence Account of responsible belief can do justice to this social dimension of responsible belief. I discuss the case of Nancy the scientist, that of Fernando the doctor, and that of Janice who promises Ismelda to shovel her lane. I argue that the core solution to the challenges these cases provide is to distinguish between different kinds of intellectual obligations, such as epistemic, moral, and professional obligations. My Influence Account leaves plenty of room to make these distinctions. Even though my account is not primarily meant as an account of epistemically justified belief but rather as an account of responsible belief, I also argue that it can accommodate our intuitions about various important cases of epistemically (un)justified belief.
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Takuya Niikawa Classification of Disjunctivism about the Phenomenology of Visual Experience
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This paper proposes a classificatory framework for disjunctivism about the phenomenology of visual perceptual experience. Disjunctivism of this sort is typically divided into positive and negative disjunctivism. This distinction successfully reflects the disagreement amongst disjunctivists regarding the explanatory status of the introspective indiscriminability of veridical perception and hallucination. However, it is unsatisfactory in two respects. First, it cannot accommodate eliminativism about the phenomenology of hallucination. Second, the class of positive disjunctivism is too coarse-grained to provide an informative overview of the current dialectical landscape. Given this, I propose a classificatory framework which preserves the positive-negative distinction, but which also includes the distinction between eliminativism and non-eliminativism, as well as a distinction between two subclasses of positive disjunctivism. In describing each class in detail, I specify who takes up each position in the existing literature, and demonstrate that this classificatory framework can disambiguate some existing disjunctivist views.
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
René van Woudenberg, Naomi Kloosterboer Three Transparency Principles Examined
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This paper derives, from Richard Moran’s work, three different accounts of doxastic Transparency—roughly, the view that when a rational person wants to know whether she believes that p, she directs her attention to the truth-value of p, not to the mental attitude she has vis-à-vis p. We investigate which of these is the most plausible of the three by discussing a number of (classes of) examples. We conclude that the most plausible account of Transparency is in tension with the motivation behind Transparency accounts: it is disconnected from the deliberative stance.
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Bob Fischer, Eric Gilbertson How Lewis Can Meet the Integration Challenge
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We show that Lewis’s modal realism, and his serviceability-based argument for it, cohere with his epistemological contextualism. Modal realism explains why serviceability-based reasoning in metaphysics might be reliable, while Lewis’s contextualism explains why Lewis can properly ignore the possibility that serviceability isn’t reliable, at least when doing metaphysics. This is because Lewis’s contextualism includes a commitment to a kind of pragmatic encroachment, so that whether a subject knows can depend on how much is at stake with respect to whether the belief is true or false. Accordingly, we suggest that Lewis can count as knowing that serviceability is a reliable guide to truth in metaphysics, since the stakes are generally low there, and so can be justified in believing that modal realism is true based on its serviceability.
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Brannon McDaniel On Armstrong’s Difficulties with Adequate Truthmaking Restrictions
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D. M. Armstrong rejects various ontologies that posit truths without truthmakers. But, lest proponents of such questionable ontologies postulate suspicious truthmakers in a bid to regain ontological respectability, Armstrong requires a plausible restriction on truthmaking that eliminates such ontologies. I discuss three different candidate restrictions: categorical, natural, and intrinsic difference-making. While the categorical and natural restrictions eliminate the questionable ontologies, they also eliminate Armstrong’s own ontology. The intrinsic difference-making restriction, on the other hand, fails to eliminate any of them. Thus Armstrong lacks a principled reason for rejecting such ontologies.
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Caroline T. Arruda What the Humean Theory of Motivation Gets Wrong
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I show that defenses of the Humean theory of motivation (HTM) often rely on a mistaken assumption. They assume that desires are necessary conditions for being motivated to act because desires (and other non-cognitive states) themselves have a special, essential, necessary feature, such as their world-to-mind direction of fit, that enables them to motivate. Call this the Desire-Necessity Claim. Beliefs (and other cognitive states) cannot have this feature, so they cannot motivate. Or so the story goes. I show that: (a) when pressed, a proponent of HTM encounters a series of prima facie counterexamples to this Claim; and (b) the set of claims that seem to naturally complement the Desire-Necessity Claim as well as provide successful responses to these counterexamples turn out to deny the truth of this same claim. As a result, the Humean implicitly grants that it is at least equally plausible, if not more plausible, to claim that desires are not able to motivate in virtue of what they necessarily possess. Instead, desires contingently possess features that enable them to motivate.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Matteo Morganti, Attila Tanyi Reasons and Beliefs
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The present paper identifies a challenge for a certain view of practical reasons, according to which practical reasons (both normative and motivating) are states of affairs. The problem is that those who endorse such a view seem forced to maintain both (a) that the contents of beliefs are states of affairs and (b) that the conception according to which the contents of beliefs are states of affairs is outlandish. The suggestion is put forward that, by distinguishing the content of a belief (as a proposition) from its object (as a state of affairs), the conflict between (a) and (b) can be neutralized.
symposium on the character gap: how good are we? by christian b. miller
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Christian B. Miller Précis of The Character Gap: How Good Are We?
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To provide some background for the commentaries by Nancy Snow and Jennifer Cole Wright, I summarize the main ideas from the three parts of my book, The Character Gap: How Good Are We?
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Nancy E. Snow Commentary On The Character Gap: Situational Influences and Helping Behavior
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This book is an important example of how philosophers can make their work better known to the nonacademic public without sacrificing too much by way of rigor. Miller’s academic work stands at the intersection of philosophy and psychology: he draws on a wide array of psychological studies to help make the case for ‘mixed traits.’ He does the same here, though in a very accessible way. Here I remark on ways in which I think the book might have been stronger, and engage with some of the psychological studies. Finally, I introduce a recent meta-analysis of 24,512 controlled psychological studies of helping behavior (Lefevor et al., “To What Degree Do Situational Influences Explain Spontaneous Helping Behaviour?” 2017). I am curious whether Lefevor et al.’s conclusions will induce Miller to rethink his approach to helping studies or will have other implications for his future research.
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Jennifer Cole Wright Commentary On The Character Gap : A Case For Vice
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The Character Gap by Christian Miller is an excellent discussion of how the empirical research conducted on virtue bears upon the larger question of whether or not people are virtuous, especially when we consider the question through the lens of a philosophically rigorous account of virtue. His conclusion is that overall people are not virtuous—but then, neither are they vicious. In this commentary, I challenge the latter. I explore two alternative ways of conceiving of vice and utilize a range of empirical findings—on topics ranging from bullying, to sexual assault, to factory farming—to argue that perhaps vice is much more prevalent than Miller believes, a worry that deserves our attention and concern.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Christian B. Miller Replies to Nancy E. Snow and Jennifer Cole Wright
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I reply to the excellent commentaries by Nancy Snow and Jennifer Cole Wright on my book, The Character Gap: How Good Are We? Topics discussed include the criteria of virtue, kinds of virtuous motives, vicious motivation and behavior, continence and incontinence, the possibility of widespread vice, and a recent meta-analysis of helping behavior.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Jeff D’Souza Welfare-Prior Eudaimonism, Excellence-Prior Eudaimonism, and the Self-Absorption Objection
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One of the longest standing objections levied against virtue ethics is the Self-Absorption Objection. Proponents of this objection state that the main problem with neo-Aristotelian accounts is that the virtuous agent’s motive is to promote her own eudaimonia. In this paper, I examine Christopher Toner’s attempt to address this objection by arguing that we should understand the virtuous agent as acting virtuously because doing so is what it means to live well qua human. I then go on to defend Toner’s view from two of Anne Baril’s criticisms: that his account is un-Aristotelian, and that his account does not take seriously the importance of the virtuous agent organizing her life in a way that is good for her. In doing so, I pave the way for neo-Aristotelian virtue ethicists to develop an adequate response to the self-absorption objection along Toner’s lines.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Christopher Toner Home and Our Need For It
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Aviezer Tucker claims that “home-searching is a basic trait of being human,” yet as a rule the concept of home has not been central in recent Anglophonic ethics. I will argue, though, that giving an important place to the concept of home should be far more common. I begin by showing that ‘home’ is a particular kind of concept, what Daniel Russell calls a model concept. I then turn to the main task of the paper, the construction of a theoretical model of ‘home,’ bringing various treatments of the concept—linguistic, literary, and social scientific—into reflective equilibrium. Security, comfort, and belonging will turn out to be key features of the model. I close by noting some ways in which the concept of home is much more important to moral theory, and especially to virtue ethics, than has generally been recognized. The title refers both to our need for home, as humans, and to our need for ‘home,’ as moral theorists.
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Elizabeth C. Hupfer Distributing Welfare and Resources: A Multi-Currency View
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Should theories of distribution focus solely on subjective welfare or solely on objective resources? While both of these ‘currencies’ have well-known objections that make each of them implausible alone, I argue that neither currency should be jettisoned entirely. Instead, I construct a multi-currency distributive theory involving both welfare and resources. While I think that such a heterogeneous theory is able to mitigate objections to both pure resourcism and pure welfarism, it also creates a new concern, which I call the precedence concern, in which a theorist must determine which currency takes precedence in a given situation. I argue that to answer the precedence concern, altering the currency should result in altering the site of distribution as well. As a result, moral value between individuals should be measured in terms of welfare while state justice should be measured in terms of resources.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 44
Tufan Kiymaz What Gary Couldn’t Imagine
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In this paper, I propose and defend an antiphysicalist argument, namely, the imagination argument, which draws inspiration from Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument, or rather its misinterpretation by Daniel Dennett and Paul Churchland. They interpret the knowledge argument to be about the ability to imagine a novel experience, which Jackson explicitly denies. The imagination argument is the following. Let Q be a visual phenomenal quality that is imaginable based on one’s phenomenal experience. (1) It is not possible to imagine Q solely based on complete physical knowledge. (2) If it is not possible to imagine Q solely based on complete physical knowledge, then physicalism is false. (3) Therefore, physicalism is false. Even though objections have been raised to this argument in the literature, there is, as far as I know, no explicit defense of it. I argue that the imagination argument is more plausible than the knowledge argument in some respects and less plausible in others. All things considered, it is at least as interesting and serious a challenge to physicalism as the knowledge argument is.