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Displaying: 21-40 of 885 documents

21. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Quassim Cassam Epistemic Insouciance
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This paper identifies and elucidates a hitherto unnamed epistemic vice: epistemic insouciance. Epistemic insouciance consists in a casual lack of concern about whether one’s beliefs have any basis in reality or are adequately supported by the best available evidence. The primary intellectual product of epistemic insouciance is bullshit in Frankfurt’s sense. This paper clarifies the notion of epistemic insouciance and argues that epistemic insouciance is both an epistemic posture and an epistemic vice. Epistemic postures are attitudes towards epistemic objects such as knowledge, evidence, or inquiry. Epistemic vices are defined as character traits, attitudes, or thinking styles that systematically obstruct the gaining, keeping or sharing of knowledge. Epistemic insouciance is not just a posture but an affective posture. Such postures are distinguished from epistemic stances, which are policies that one can adopt or reject. Epistemic malevolence is an example of an epistemically vicious epistemic stance that issues in active attempts to undermine the knowledge possessed by a specified group of individuals. An example of epistemic malevolence in action is the so-called ‘tobacco strategy.’ I argue that epistemic malevolence undermines knowledge by instilling doubts about respectable sources of evidence.
22. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Alessandra Tanesini Intellectual Servility and Timidity
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Intellectual servility is a vice opposing proper pride about one’s intellectual achievements. Intellectual timidity is also a vice; it is manifested in a lack of proper concern for others’ esteem. This paper offers an account of the nature of these vices and details some of the epistemic harms that flow from them. I argue that servility, which is often the result of suffering humiliation, is a form of damaged self-esteem. It is underpinned by attitudes serving social-adjustive functions and causes ingratiating behaviors. Timidity, which is habituated through self-silencing, is underpinned by negative attitudes toward the intellectual worth of the self, which serve a defensive function. Like servility, timidity is an obstacle to the acquisition and transmission of knowledge and especially knowledge about oneself.
23. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Ian James Kidd Deep Epistemic Vices
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Although the discipline of vice epistemology is only a decade old, the broader project of studying epistemic vices and failings is much older. This paper argues that contemporary vice epistemologists ought to engage more closely with these earlier projects. After sketching some general arguments in section one, I then turn to deep epistemic vices: ones whose identity and intelligibility depends on some underlying conception of human nature or the nature of reality. The final section then offers a case study from a vice epistemic tradition that emerged in early modern English natural philosophy.
24. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Paul Bloomfield The Character of the Hypocrite
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A distinction is made between acting hypocritically and the character trait of being a hypocrite. The former is understood as resulting from the employment of a double standard in order to obtain a wrongful advantage, while a particular problem with the latter is that hypocrites do not give trustworthy testimony.
25. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Yotam Benziman What Is Wrong With a Thumping Liar
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I address the puzzle of the supposed wrongness of “a thumping liar” (a term I borrow from a story by Henry James.) On the one hand, it seems that the more you lie, the more wrong you commit. On the other hand, the more you lie, the more people are aware that you are not telling the truth, the less can you deceive them, the less can you wrong them. The liar who is known as such seems to cause no harm. I show how according to some analyses such a person would not even be considered to be lying, which is surely mistaken. I claim that he is both lying and bullshitting, thus challenging Frankfurt’s distinction between the two terms. The thumping liar excludes himself from being a meaningful part in the joint venture of conversation. It is himself that he mainly harms.
26. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Shane Ryan Epistemic Environmentalism
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I motivate and develop a normative framework for undertaking work in applied epistemology. I set out the framework, which I call epistemic environmentalism, explaining the role of social epistemology and epistemic value theory in the framework. Next, I explain the environmentalist terminology that is employed and its usefulness. In the second part of the paper, I make the case for a specific epistemic environmentalist proposal. I argue that dishonest testimony by experts and certain institutional testifiers should be liable to the sanction of inclusion on a register of epistemic polluters. In doing so, I explain the special role that experts and the relevant institutional testifiers play in the epistemic environment and how the proposal is justified on the basis of that special role.
27. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
John Capps Even Worse Than It Seems: Transformative Experience and the Selection Problem
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Laurie Paul has recently proposed that transformative experiences are a distinct challenge to our ability to make rational decisions about our futures. In response, many have claimed that the situation is not as bad as it seems and that it is possible to rationally choose to undergo a transformative experience. Here I argue that the situation is actually worse because the current debate has so far only been framed in terms of comparing a transformative experience to the familiar status quo. If we instead consider choices among transformative experiences—what I call a transformative selection—then transformative experiences continue to pose a significant challenge to our rational decision-making.
28. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Wolfgang Barz Is There Anything to the Authority Thesis?
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Many philosophical theories of self-knowledge can be understood as attempts to explain why self-ascriptions enjoy a certain kind of authority that other-ascriptions lack (the Authority Thesis). The aim of this paper is not to expand the stock of existing explanations but to ask whether the Authority Thesis can be adequately specified. To this end, I identify three requirements that must be met by any satisfactory specification. I conclude that the search for an adequate specification of the Authority Thesis leads to a dilemma: it either yields an interpretation under which the thesis is philosophically interesting but false, or it produces an interpretation under which the thesis is actually true but of minor philosophical interest.
29. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Jan Narveson Bhandary on Liberal Care Provision
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According to Asha Bhandary, there is a liberal (Rawlsian) justification for including “the receipt of dependency care among the benefits of social cooperation” (“Liberal Dependency Care,” 43). The novelty is to claim that such care is among the Rawlsian circumstances of justice. I argue that liberalism does not support this extremely strong claim. Dependency care is indeed among the goods generated by social cooperation, broadly speaking—but so are virtually all goods, such as pizza provision, scarcely any of which are among the circumstances of justice. Most of us have ample inclination toward caring for dependents—but neither is this extended to everyone else’s dependents, nor is it mostly a legal duty, as indeed having children at all is not. Nor should it be on liberal principles. Neither of the two Rawlsian Principles support general dependency care. And, Bhandary’s “strong proceduralism,” calling for the training of all persons in care-giving skills, would edge up toward totalitarianism—hardly a welcome outcome of liberalism.
30. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 43
Asha Bhandary Dependency Care before Pizza: A Reply to Narveson
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This essay responds to Jan Narveson’s libertarian commentary on my earlier work “Liberal Dependency Care.” There, I argued that the underlying logic of the circumstances of justice warrants adding care to a liberal theory of justice. In this essay, I rebut Narveson’s skeptical claims about the liberal credentials of my justificatory argument by identifying the extent to which my view shares the same reasonable constraints on liberty as those defended by John Stuart Mill. I also suggest that a libertarian refusal to add care to the core functions of the state is plausible only if women’s labor remains invisible. Finally, I refute Narveson’s contention that my strong procedural principle of care provision is incipiently totalitarian. The case for public support to teach basic levels of attentiveness and responsiveness is analogous to the case for teaching the foundational skills of arithmetic, which are legitimately taught in primary and secondary schools.
31. 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.
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. 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.
38. 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.
39. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Julie Wulfemeyer Bound Cognition
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Building upon the foundations laid by Russell, Donnellan, Chastain, and more recently, Almog, this paper addresses key questions about the basic mechanism by which we think of worldly objects, and (in contrast to many connected projects), does so in isolation from questions about how we speak of them. I outline and defend a view based on the notion of bound cognition. Bound cognition, like perception, is world-to-mind in the sense that it is generated by the item being thought of rather than by the mind doing the thinking. It is a direct, two-place, non-representational relation, and it is prior to any epistemic connection between the thinker and the object of thought. Although the paradigm case for bound cognition involves sensory perception of an individual, I argue that the cognitive relations falling under the heading of bound cognition also include non-perceptual cognitive relations (such as the relation between a thinker and a historical individual) as well as cognitive relations to non-individuals (such as pairs, pluralities, species, and features). Four illustrative cases are discussed, and anticipated worries about abstract and empty cases are addressed.
40. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 42
Christos Kyriacou Bifurcated Sceptical Invariantism: Between Gettier Cases and Saving Epistemic Appearances
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I present an argument for a sophisticated version of sceptical invariantism that has so far gone unnoticed: Bifurcated Sceptical Invariantism (BSI). I argue that it can, on the one hand, (dis)solve the Gettier problem and address the dogmatism paradox, and, on the other hand, show some due respect to the Moorean methodological incentive of ‘saving epistemic appearances.’ A fortiori, BSI promises to reap some other important explanatory fruit that I go on to adduce. BSI can achieve this much because it distinguishes between two distinct but closely interrelated (sub)concepts of (propositional) knowledge, fallible-but-safe knowledge and infallible-and-sensitive knowledge. I conclude that BSI is a novel theory of knowledge discourse that merits serious investigation.