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Journal of Philosophical Research

Philosophy as Inquiry and Way of Life

Volume 40
Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

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Displaying: 1-20 of 79 documents


1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Konstantine Boudouris Preface to Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy
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2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
William L. McBride Foreword to Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress Of Philosophy
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3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Mark D. White A Modest Comment on McMullin: A Kantian Account of Modesty
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In “A Modest Proposal: Accounting for the Virtuousness of Modesty,” Irene McMullin characterizes the modest person as striking a delicate balance between accurate self-assessment and sensitivity to the feelings of others. She criticizes ‘egalitarian’ understandings of this process as unrealistically demanding, and instead proposes an account based on Sartrean facticity and self-awareness. In this brief comment, I defend the egalitarian accounts, arguing for a specifically Kantian explanation of modesty that combines the best of both the egalitarian and Sartrean views, and is based on basic Kantian concepts of dignity and autonomy. On this account, the modest person honestly assesses her own successes according to her autonomously determined standards, yet exhibits modesty to others out of the recognition of the equal worth and dignity of all persons.
philosophical method
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Evandro Agazzi The Methodological Turn in Philosophy
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Controversies have always characterized philosophy as expression of its typical critical attitude that depends on the complexity of the fundamental philosophical issues. Traditionally these discrepancies regarded the answers given to certain questions and, therefore, the content of the opposite doctrines, as all legitimately belonging to philosophy. With modernity the determination of the correct method of thinking becomes the necessary precondition for philosophizing and represents the core of the philosophical activity itself. As a consequence people adopting a certain method of thinking often qualify as non-philosophical the discourse of those who do not belong to their methodological school, independently of the content of the doctrine they defend. This dominance of the methodological concern, on the contrary, has produced the discovery and deepening of several “thinking methods,” whose plurality must be considered a wealth and not a reason for skepticism, since it can offer to philosophy the tools for better coping with the increasing complexity of its fundamental issues.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Irene McMullin A Response to Mark D. White’s “A Modest Comment on McMullin: A Kantian Account of Modesty”
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In response to Mark D. White’s Kantian critique of my article “A Modest Proposal: Accounting for the Virtuousness of Modesty,” I argue that invoking Kant’s notions of dignity and respect in order to provide an egalitarian account of modesty brings with it conceptual commitments that are not always easy to reconcile with the moral phenomenology of that virtue. In light of this I question White’s claim that a Kantian account of modesty offers a better explanation than the existential phenomenological approach that I endorse.
philosophical method
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Souleymane Bachir Diagne La Traduction Comme Methode
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According to Maurice Merleau-Ponty, in the pluralistic world in which we now live, there cannot be an overarching and vertical universal (universel de surplomb) anymore: we have now to find paths, methods, towards what he called, by contrast, a “lateral universality” (universalité latérale). When we consider the human tongues in their de facto plurality, none of them being by essence the language of the universal, that of philosophy and logos, we can see that one meaning of what is called “lateral universal” is translation. It could be said then, somehow, that, “translation is the language of languages” as the Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o wrote. The significance of translation as a method or path towards the “lateral universal” is the notion to be explored in this contribution.
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Savas L. Tsohatzidis The Distance Between “Here” and “Where I Am”
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This paper argues that Michael Dummett’s proposed distinction between a declarative sentence’s “assertoric content” and “ingredient sense” is not in fact supported by what Dummett presents as paradigmatic evidence in its support.
philosophical method
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Dagfinn Føllesdal The Role of Arguments in Philosophy
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Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have been studied, commented upon and praised for more than 2000 years. What made their work so excellent? And what has made the philosophy produced by so many great philosophers after them insightful, inspiring and well worth studying? Their arguments. Arguments give insights, they help us see how “all weaves into one whole” to speak with Goethe, they “give unity to what was previously dispersed.” It is this “weaving together of what was dispersed” which is the core of arguments.This leads to a very inclusive notion of philosophy, where some of the finest works of art are philosophical. However, this openness to a wide variety of approaches to philosophy does not make all philosophy good philosophy. There are numerous kinds of weaknesses. Three examples are given, that illustrate the following three rules for good scholarship: (1) give proper credit, (2) familiarize yourself with fields outside philosophy that are pertinent to the problems you work on, (3) pay attention to work that has been done by others, especially when this work points to difficulties that you have not considered. These are trivial weaknesses, which should be spotted by editors and referees. Once they have been eliminated, we can concentrate on the arguments. It is the quality of arguments that distinguishes good philosophy from bad, and arguments come in many forms. We philosophers have a special responsibility for developing in ourselves and in others an ability to construct good arguments and to distinguish good arguments from bad ones. This is what Plato and Aristotle did, and it is a special challenge in our time when opinions more and more are shaped by mass media and not by arguments. We must teach good argumentation, and we must practice what we teach in our own philosophical work.
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Diego E. Machuca Agrippan Pyrrhonism and the Challenge of Disagreement
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This paper argues for the following three claims. First, the Agrippan mode from disagreement does not play a secondary role in inducing suspension of judgment. Second, the Pyrrhonist is not committed to the criteria of justification underlying the Five Modes of Agrippa, which nonetheless does not prevent him from non-doxastically assenting to them. And third, some recent objections to Agrippan Pyrrhonism raised by analytic epistemologists and experimental philosophers fail to appreciate the Pyrrhonist’s ad hominem style of argumentation and the real challenge posed by the mode from disagreement.
philosophical method
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
John McDowell Philosophical Method: Remarks For a Symposium on Philosophical Method at the World Congress of Philosophy
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I do not believe that it is in general a good thing for philosophers to concern themselves with philosophical method. But in these remarks I discuss an exception, which arises in the interpretation of Wittgenstein. What Wittgenstein does in his Philosophical Investigations cannot be properly understood except in the context of appreciating his explicitly methodological remarks, in which he in effect disclaims any intention to say anything that might be open to dispute. I try to explain how that can be consistent with helpfulness in dealing with philosophical puzzlements.
philosophy and the sciences
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Alberto Cordero On Scientific Realism and Naturalism
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This paper looks at the current realism/antirealism debate in philosophy of science as a dispute between two objectivist interpretations of modern empirical success: Scientific realism and scientific antirealism. The paper traces the debate to a split in responses to the historicist relativism that gained force in the 1960s; it concentrates on the discussions that led to selectivism, a promising realist strategy that focuses on theory-parts rather than whole theories. The paper examines the merits and difficulties of selectivism and argues for a naturalist approach to its present deficiencies, particularly regarding the need for a more precise identification of theory—parts worthy of realist interpretation.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Emmett L. Holman Russellianism and the Quotational Model of Phenomenal Concepts
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A popular defense of physicalist theories of consciousness against anti-physicalist arguments is the “phenomenal concept strategy” (PCS). According to PCS there are phenomenal concepts that designate phenomenal properties, and whose use requires adopting the first person perspective with respect to those properties, thus allowing an epistemic gap between the phenomenal and the physical without requiring a metaphysical gap. One version of PCS is the quotational version, according to which phenomenal concepts are in part constituted by the very properties they designate. The advertising for this version of PCS is that it does better justice to the phenomenology of consciousness than alternative versions. But in doing so, I argue, it threatens to reintroduce dualism. This can be avoided by adopting a Russellian account of physical concepts, but even with this we seem to be committed to a non-physicalist Russellian account of consciousness, and perhaps even a Russellian panpsychism. This can be avoided only by holding that, even though we now cannot see how the phenomenal supervenes on the physical, it does anyway, and perhaps future developments will make this clear. Thus, what starts out as a Type B physicalist strategy becomes a Type C strategy (following David Chalmers 2002 on this typology).
philosophy and the sciences
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Maria Carla Galavotti From the Philosophy of Science to the Philosophy of the Sciences
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The philosophy of science took shape as an autonomous discipline in the first decades of the Twentieth Century in connection with the movement known as logical positivism or logical empiricism. According to logical empiricists philosophy of science ought to perform a “rational reconstruction” aimed at exhibiting the logical structure of scientific theories and inferential processes involved in the acquisition of scientific knowledge. While focusing on the syntactical and semantical aspects of scientific language, logical empiricists left out of the realm of the philosophy of science the sociological and psychological aspects of theory formation, as well as all methodological aspects belonging to experimentation. Starting from the early Sixties this conception gradually changed, and philosophy of science underwent a radical transformation, leading to a significant broadening of its scope. New issues and problems were addressed, belonging to fields neglected by the traditional approach. This paper sketches the main features of the discipline as it is understood today as opposed to its traditional outlook, and suggests that the term “philosophy of the sciences” is better suited than “philosophy of science” to describe its present state.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Keiichi Noe Philosophy and Science after the East Japan Disaster
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The severe accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant caused by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 was a typical disaster in the age of “trans-science,” which means the situation that science and politics are closely connected and inseparable. The stage of trans-science requires a philosophy of trans-science instead of a philosophy of science such as logical positivism. I would like to characterize norms for techno-scientists in the risk society as RISK, which includes Regulatory deliberation, Intergenerational ethics, Social accountability and Knowledge-product liability.
philosophy as practical wisdom
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Juliana González The Socratic Phronesis Today
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One can say that the historical Socrates cannot be interpreted as an “intellectualist” and an “enemy of life.” On the contrary: Socrates’s actuality lies precisely in the fact that wisdom implies knowledge of one’s own ignorance, the self-birthing and the daily improvement of myself using all the rational and irrational potentialities of life.This conception of the ethical soul in Socrates can be compared today with the moral brain of neuroscience, which is understood in its integral unity as the locus of the body-soul in its complex unity: reason-emotion-instinct. However, in spite of the analogies, there is a clear opposition between the Socratic encephalon and the moral brain of neurobiology. The Socratic one is free, internal, personal. The neuronal can be induced and manipulated through technology. The Socratic lesson is that virtue cannot be taught—and even less artificially provoked—from the outside. Nevertheless, in today’s world, we cannot think about ethics without both: Socrates as well as the advances in neuroethics.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Roberto Frega Beyond Morality and Ethical Life: Pragmatism and Critical Theory Cross Paths
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This article critically examines two central concepts in normative theory—ethical life and morality—by comparing the pragmatist approach with that of Critical Theory. This is done by way of a close scrutiny of Axel Honneth’s reading of the pragmatist philosophers John Dewey and George H. Mead. This focus on Honneth’s use of pragmatism serves as a port of entry to provide a comparative analysis of pragmatism and Critical Theory’s approaches to normativity. As I intend to show, Honneth’s troubles with making sense of the pragmatist approach to normativity are a litmus test of some persistent ambiguities at the heart of his understanding of normativity. I set the stage by reconstructing Honneth’s reading of Dewey (§ II) and Mead (§ III). That will provide the background against which to set up a comparison between the pragmatist conception of normativity and that of Critical Theory, with a view to assessing their relative validity. I then relate Honneth’s reading of the pragmatists to his own philosophical project and to the important place occupied in it by the same dualism of ethical life and morality (§ IV).
philosophy as practical wisdom
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Chen Lai Practical Wisdom in Confucian Philosophy
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Confucianism, since the time of Confucius, emphasizes “practical wisdom” as the realization of philosophy. This approach accentuates the practical aspects of wisdom rather than the analytical rationale of the intellect. Emphasis on practical wisdom persistently reinforces a moral foundation that is not differentiated from personal virtue. At the same time, practical wisdom in Confucianism stresses self-cultivation, or the complete transformation of the self, derived from the internal state of the heart/mind (xin 心). Finally, Confucian insists that practical wisdom must be transformed into practical action.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Alexander Nehamas Is Living an Art that Can be Taught?
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Along with our inordinate emphasis on managing our lives on the basis of impartial principles and rules, we have lost the sense that some of the greatest human achievements are accomplished precisely by going beyond anything that existing rules and principles allow. Along with our fixation on the values of morality and politics, which apply to everyone on the basis of our similarities to one another, we have lost the sense that there are also values that depend on our differences and distinguish us from the rest of the world. Philosophical Individualism is a theory that considers the values of difference and distinction to be of crucial importance to life, and models successful lives on successful works of art. That is what is meant by “the art of living.” But such an art is manifested in the abilities of successful leaders in any field: leadership always requires going at least one step beyond wherever what has been already codified can take them.
philosophy and public life
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Abdusalam A. Guseynov Philosophy as an Ethical Project
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Philosophy is often understood in terms of public benefit as being synonymous with its application to other domains of public life such as politics, economics, education etc. The question I would like to raise is of an altogether different nature—namely, it is the question of whether philosophy can be seen as having any public or social value per se, before there is any further thought of application or usage. In particular, it is the question of whether it contains anything universally significant, something that could make it of interest to anyone as seen in the context of one’s personal evolution. And in order to answer that question, first we have to find out what philosophy is to the philosophers themselves and how it benefits them.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40
Joe Mintoff Gaita on Philosophy, Corruption, and Justification
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Does moral philosophy corrupt? Socrates spent his days talking with many others about goodness and virtue and suchlike, and, partly as a result of showing them how very ignorant they were about such things, he was eventually charged with corrupting the youth. Much more recently, Raimond Gaita has claimed that there are some things it is evil to believe or even to think, and that academic philosophy nevertheless instructs us to seriously consider such things. He lays two charges, that this is corrupt in itself, and corrupt in the effects it risks—anyone who seriously considers whether evil is an illusion is already morally corrupt, he claims, not to mention the risk that they might end up actually believing it. The aim of this paper is to examine whether moral philosophy as practiced today is susceptible to Gaita’s charges.