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Displaying: 1-18 of 18 documents


1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Luke Maring Uncovering a Tension: Democracy, Immigration, and the Nation-State
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It is common to assume (a) that democracy is intrinsically valuable, and (b) that nation-states have the authority to exclude would-be immigrants from their territory. Are (a) and (b) in tension? This paper argues that they are. Every account of democracy’s intrinsic value suggests that nation-states lack the authority to exclude would-be immigrants. In fact, reflection on democratic values suggests an even more heterodox conclusion: nation-states should not be the privileged sites of decision-making that we often take them to be.
2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Abe Witonsky, Sarah Whitman Objections to Jeremy Simon’s Response to Lucretius’s Symmetry Argument
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The first century B.C. poet Lucretius put forth an argument for why death is not bad for the person who has died. This argument is commonly referred to as Lucretius’s “symmetry argument” because of its assumption that the period before we were born is symmetrical to the period after we die. Jeremy Simon objects to the symmetry argument, claiming that the two periods are not relevantly symmetrical: being born earlier than we actually are born would not guarantee us more life, whereas extending our lifespan past the time we actually would die would guarantee us more life. Simon believes this difference between the two time periods also explains why it is reasonable for people to wish for a later death but not for an earlier birth. We raise several objections to Simon’s response. Our main objection is that insofar as people do not wish for an earlier birth, it is not because they fear losing more life, but rather is a result of being concerned about losing what is important about life, namely its unique content.
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Françoise Monnoyeur The Substance-attributes Relationship in Cartesian Dualism
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In their book on Descartes’s Changing Mind, Peter Machamer and J. E. McGuire argue that Descartes discarded dualism to embrace a kind of monism. Descartes famously proposed that there are two separate substances, mind and body, with distinct attributes of thought and extension (Principles of Philosophy). According to Machamer and McGuire, because of the limitations of our intellect, we cannot have insight into the nature of either substance. After reviewing their argument in some detail, I will argue that Descartes did not relinquish his favorite doctrine but may have actually fooled himself about the nature of his dualism. It is my contention that the problem with Cartesian dualism stems from the definition of mind and body as substances and the role of their respective attributes—thought and extension—in the definition of substances.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
William Hannegan Dispositional Essentialism, Directedness, and Inclination to an End
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Dispositional essentialists U. T. Place, George Molnar, and C. B. Martin hold that dispositions are intrinsically directed to their manifestations. Thomists have noted that this directedness is similar to Thomistic directedness to an end. I argue that Place, Molnar, and Martin would benefit from conceiving of dispositional directedness as the sort of directedness associated with Thomistic inclinations. Such Thomistic directedness can help them to account for the production of manifestations; to justify their reliance on dispositional directedness; to show the causal relevance of dispositions; and to motivate their view that dispositions are not reducible to categorical bases. I argue, moreover, that Thomistic inclination to an end does not succumb to the most common objections to finality: it is not mentalistic or vitalistic, and it does not involve backwards causation. Place, Molnar, and Martin, therefore, can embrace the directedness associated with Thomistic inclination—and reap its benefits—without incurring any high metaphysical cost.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Daniel Coren Making Sense of the Sentence: Nicomachean Ethics I.2.1094a18–22
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Early on in his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that there must be a single end or good desired for its own sake, for the sake of which all of our other ends are desired. The argument includes the following conditional: “If we chose everything for the sake of something else so that the process went on forever, then our desire would be empty and futile.” This paper addresses that conditional. First, I explain why the conditional appears to be false. Second, I resolve some ambiguity in it. Third, I argue that the conditional enjoys a plausible and charitable reading when understood as a claim about ordinary human lives and psychology, and when read in the context of Aristotle’s conception of ethics.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Gabriela Rossi Aristotle on the Indetermination of Accidental Causes and Chance
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This article offers an interpretation of Aristotle’s tenet that chance and accidental causes are indeterminate. According to one existing reading, the predicate ‘indeterminate’ is said of the effect of chance (and of accidental causes), meaning ‘causally indeterminate.’ Another reading claims instead that the predicate ‘indeterminate’ is said of the cause of a chance event, meaning something close to ‘potentially infinite in number.’ For my part, I contend that the predicate ‘indeterminate,’ when applied to Aristotle’s concept of accidental cause and to chance, is best understood as a second-order predicate. More precisely, Aristotle uses ‘indeterminate’ to qualify a certain type of causal relation, rather than to indicate a quality of the causal power or of the effect. As a preparatory step in my argument, I contend that ‘accidental’ and ‘per se’ are also best understood as second-order predicates of ‘cause,’ and as a corollary of my main thesis I offer an interpretation of how chance involves an infinite number of possible causes.
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Ari Maunu On a Misguided Argument for the Necessity of Identity
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There is a certain popular argument, deriving from Ruth Barcan and Saul Kripke, from the conjunction of the Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals (PInI, for short) and the Principle of the Necessity of Self-Identity to the Thesis of the Necessity of Identity. My purpose is to show that this argument does not work, at least not in the form it is often presented. I also give a correct formulation of the argument and point out that PInI is not even needed in the argument for the necessity of identity.
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Antonio Capuano Kripkenstein on Belief
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I offer a skeptical reading of Saul Kripke’s “A Puzzle about Belief.” I maintain that Kripke formulates a skeptical paradox about belief that is analogous to the skeptical paradox about meaning and rule-following that, according to Kripke, Wittgenstein formulates in his Philosophical Investigations.