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Displaying: 61-80 of 423 documents


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61. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Thomas W. Satre Contracting for Punishment
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This paper argues that the general practice of punishment cannot be successfully defended by appeals to social contract arguments based upon the work of John Rawls. Several attempts to present such justifications are discussed, including those by Murphy, Morris, Sterba, and Hoekema. It is argued that social contractors would not choose a practice of punishment because such a practice is a symbolic expression of society’s disapproval of offenses against the law. Social contractors would instead choose a practice which might have some deterrent effect upon crime but would lack the feature of social contract theory.
62. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Gregory Mellema On Bloom’s Taxonomies of Educational Objectives
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Without question the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, by Benjamin Bloom and associates, is currently the most influential work in the theory of curriculum. Here I summarize Bloom’s taxonomies, survey a variety of criticisms raised by others, and conclude that there are serious philosophical problems remainmg to be addressed concerning both the structure and scope of the taxonomies.
63. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Jane Duran Russell on Names
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In this paper I describe a shift in Russell’s views on names from the time of “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism” to An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. It is the burden of the paper that the shift arose because Russell saw an ontological and epistemological problem created by his previous account of names, and because he then tried to correct it, while simultaneously endeavoring to establish an account consistent with science. Two lines of argument are employed to support this conclusion. In the first I cite the “Occam’s Razor” ontology of “Logical Atomism” and contrast it with the more fully developed ontology of the later work, incidentally citing the remarks of commentators such as Ayer. In the second line of argument I specifically adduce material designed to show the metaphysical and epistemic import of the change in view on the status of names, noting that the significance of the change goes far beyond mere usage of terms. Finally, in a subsidiary line of argument, I sketch Russell’s generally foundationalist approach to epistemology.
64. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Jeffery L. Geller Introspection in Psychology and Philosophy
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This article analyzes Wittgenstein’s position on the grammatical incorrigibility of psychological self-ascriptions and shows how introspective statements can be of use to philosophers. In Wittgenstein On Rules and Private Language, Kripke notes Wittgenstein’s puzzling ambivalence toward introspection. On the one hand Wittgenstein repudiates introspection and on the other he uses it in his own philosophical investigations. To resolve the paradox, this paper distinguishes between introspective methodology in psychological and philosophical investigations. Wittgenstein’s arguments against introspection are specifically directed at introspective methodology in psychology. He argues that the use of introspection to discover “inner causes” commits one to a conception of “direct inner awareness”. On that conception, psychological self-ascriptions are considered highly reliable due to the superiority of the subjective vantage point in ascertaining one’s own mental contents. As an alternative, Wittgenstein maintains that this reliability stems from the grammar of the ascription. The paper places Wittgenstein’s alternative conception of incorrigibility into the context of his argument against the use of introspection in psychology.
65. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Robert Frederick Berkeley and the Argument from Conceiving
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In both the Principles and the Dialogues Berkeley argues that physical objects cannot exist independently of minds. In this paper I suggest an interpretation of the argument in the Dialogues that shows that his argument either relies on an invalid inference or begs the question. I conclude that his attempt to defeat scepticism by making physical objects mind-dependent is unsuccessful.
66. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Edward T. Bartlett Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Sensory Deprivation
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Elizabeth Anscombe and Anthony Kenny disagree on whether or not it is possible to doubt the existence of one’s own body. Anscombe believes that such doubt makes sense while Kenny argues that it could make sense only if one supposed that he had become a bodyless Cartesian ego. To resolve the issue I explore the knowledge one acquires of himself, and thus the manner in which such knowledge might be weakened into doubt. Siding with Anscombe, I argue that under the conditions of sensory deprivation some very basic questions asked of oneself such as, “Which body?” cannot be answered. Without such answers, one can be uncertain about his own body. Such uncertainty, however, is to be explained by the autonomy of the relevant ‘J-thoughts’ and not because one had become a Cartesian ego.
67. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Pedro Amaral Harmony in Descartes and the Medical Philosophers
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Among late Renaissance and early Modern philosophers, the concepts of “sympathy” or “harmony” are a recurring theme. My goal is to show that theories which rely on such concepts, far from being an attempt to avoid the emerging mechanistic or empirical trends, are actually the form which these trends took in the wake of an increasing disenchantment with Aristotelian psychology. Fracastorius, Suarez and Descartes provide the texts: their accounts of the interaction between cognitive faculties exhibit a growing awareness that the conception of causality had to be supplemented. And while each appears to share the general belief that aspects of the Thomistic-Aristotelian framework can survive the necessary changes, they disagree about how much dogmatic psychology has to be discarded. What they decide to leave in and the reasons given for discarding the rest provide insight into the history of explanation. It is in the metaphysics of harmony that we can trace the early growth of Rationalism.
68. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Gary J. Percesepe Aspects of Community in Descartes’ Meditationes de Prima Philosophia: With Reference to the First and Second Set of Objections and Replies
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There is a certain ambiguity in Descartes’ Meditations, as there is any great sphere of endeavor. How, after all, does one bridge the gap between the autobiographical “I” of the Discourse and the Meditations, and the world of learned scholarship; the “guardians of tradition”, both religious and temporal? How does one mediate the way in which one is received by the tradition which has so eloquently been put out of play in the pursuit of one’s personal project? In short, how can Descartes ensure that his pioneering work is not misunderstood; that it is not viewed as a threat to religious and national institutions?In reflecting on these questions, I believe Descartes arrived at a concept of community which sought to balance personal autonomy with institutional obligation in such a way that the scientist’s ultimate judgment was preserved, while proximately acknowledgement was made of the prevailing scientific and religious “world picture”, and only challenged obliquely.Thus, there is a certain tension in Descartes’ theorizing about community, a tension which was quite naturally carried over into his practical community relationships. Furthermore, I will argue that Descartes’ “tool” for getting around in these tension filled community situations is what I shall call his doctrine of “order and intention”. Ultimately, it is this reliance upon intentionality which throws his “balance” out of balance, and gives rise to repeated charges of “dissimulation”. How this situation came to pass, and Descartes’ tortuous attempts at resolving the emerging problems, is largely the subject of the following pages.
69. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Alicia Juarrero Roqué Does Action Theory Rest on a Mistake?
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The overwhelming majority of action theories have relied on a Humean model of causality and of explanation; even those theories that explicitly reject aspects of that model uncritically adopt others. The atomistic presuppositions embodied in the model are unable to account for either the dynamic and fabric-like nature of action or the features of control and meaning present therein. It is these atomistic presuppositions that give rise to the “Gettier-like vexations” that are common counterexamples in action theory. The Humean requirement that cause and effect be only contingently connected and generalizable into a covering law is also discussed with respect to the explanation of action.Representatives of the three major approaches to the problem of action: causal (including intentional, volitional, as well as agent causation and reasons-as-causes theories), behaviorist, so-called “contextual”, and teleological theories are examined.
70. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Kelly Alberts Intentionality and First Person Reference
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Roderick Chisholm contrasts semantic theories that presuppose “the primacy of the intentional” with those that presuppose “the primacy of the linguistic”. In The First Person he attempts to develop an analysis of first person singular reference that presupposes the primacy of the intentional. In this paper I attempt to develop a semantics of first person singular reference (what I call ‘I-reference’) that presupposes the primacy of the linguistic. I do three things in the paper. First, I criticize Chisholm’s (and Frege’s) account. Second, I attempt to answer the general criticism that is commonly leveled against an analysis of ‘I’ that presupposes the primacy of the linguistic. Third and finally, building upon insights of David Kaplan, I present an interpretation of meaning-rule under which ‘I’ operates in its first person use.
71. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Robert McKim What Is God Doing in the Quad?
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I begin with an examination of Berkeley’s various suggestions about how to account for the continued existence of physical objects which are unperceived by finite spirits. After dismissing some of these suggestions I attempt to combine others in a unified theory which involves an appeal to what finite perceivers would perceive if they were in the right conditions, to the operation of the will of God, and to the perception of God. I assess the merits, both philosophical and textual, of the unified theory. In the final section I comment on the implications of this theory of continuity for our conception of a Berkeleian physical object.
72. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Leigh B. Kelley Impartiality and Practical Reason
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The paper constitutes a detailed critical commentary on Stephen Darwall’s Impartial Reason (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983). Its central thesis is that Darwall’s attempt to integrate a naturalist theory of substantive reasons for acting with a neo-rationalist derivation of moral requirements from the very concept of practical rationality is faced with insurmountable theoretic problems. The author argues that anyone who would accept a plausible internalist account of reasons, that justificatory reasons for an agent to act are facts which must be capable of motivating that agent under certain conditions, cannot establish on an a priori or rationalist basis claims for the intersubjective validity of reasons or substantive normative requirements of any kind, but rather must acknowledge that such claims are both irreducibly empirical and epistemically risky.
73. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12 > Issue: Supplement
James T. Culbertson A Neural Theory of Percepts and Mental Images
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This essay is an analysis of conscious perception and conscious memory. It tries to show that percepts and mental images (roughly, experientially, the same as Hume's "impressions and ideas") are sets of particles at the perceived stimulus objects and at the remembered stimulus objects. It is thus a theory of direct perception and direct memory, and a materialism but not a central state materialism. The percept (we claim) is an "appearance" of the stimulus object particles (perceived object particles) which is due to the way the particles at the perceived object are interconnected (interrelated) by the networks of stimuli-plus-neuron-impulses starting from them. The same is true of the mental image. This essay is primarily an analysis of such networks--to show, we claim, how they make the sets of object particles seem to have sense qualities and gestalts and other properties of percepts and mental images.
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74. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Sheldon Wein Plato and the Social Contract
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This paper argues that Plato’s version of the contractarian theory of justice is superior to all other statements of that theory. The conditions any adequate theory of justice must meet are outlined and it is shown how contractarian theories attempt to meet these conditions. The great contractarian theories---those of Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Rawls, and Gauthier---are shown not to provide an adequate account of the nature of justice. The source of these failures is identified and, finally, it is shown that Plato’s version of contractarianism is immune to this sort of failure.
75. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
James W. McGray From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism: A Logical Gap
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This paper is a critique of R.M. Hare’s argument that rational universal prescriptions are equivalent to utilitarian judgments. The problem with Hare’s argument is his restrictive model of rationality. He succeeds in proving that awareness of certain facts is essential to making a fully rational universal prescription. But he fails to prove that other facts, such as the ultimate separateness of persons, are irrelevant. Once such facts are taken seriously, the utilitarian implication is invalidated.
76. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Bruce B. Settle Psychological Incapacity and Moral Incontinence: How the Former Does Not Explain the Latter
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Moral incontinence (that is, knowing what one ought to do but doing otherwise) has often been explained in terms of psychological incapacity/inability (that is, “ought but can’t”). However, Socrates and others have argued that, whenever it is physically possible to act, there can be no rupture between judgment and behavior and therefore there are no instances of “ought but can’t”.The analysis that follows will conclude either that Socrates was correct in holding that there are no ruptures between judgment and behavior or that, if there are such ruptures, then explanations in terms of psychological incapacity/inability are inappropriate.
77. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Alister Browne Is Abortion a Pseudo-Problem?
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I argue that (1) whether abortions are morally permissible depends on whether the fetus has a right to life, (2) the only point of disagreement between the possible theories on this question--the Extreme Conservative, the Middle, and the Extreme Liberal--concerns the relevant temporal proximity to, or degree of probability of actualizing, some selected potential, (3) there is in principle no non-arbitrary way of resolving this disagreement, and hence the problem of abortion is a pseudo-problem inasmuch as it is not theoretically capable of being solved, and (4) legislators should, in the light of this, act as if the Extreme Liberal Theory were true.
78. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
C. L. Sheng On the Flexible Nature of Morality
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The purpose of this essay is to study the problem of inherent obscurity of the criterion for maximal utility in utilitarianism. For the sake of convenience of analysis, situations of moral actions are classified into four categories. It is shown that morality is flexible, especially in the positive sense, in that a virtuous action can be taken in various ways and/or to various degrees. For some situations it is inherently unclear what the moral requirement is, and whether it is a maximum or a minimum. It is concluded that the schism of the principle of utility between the principle of the good and the principle of the right seems to be inevitable, and the interpretation of the ultimate criterion for maximal utility should be relaxed or interpreted separately and differently according to the situation of action.
79. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Michael Goldman Capitalism, Socialism, Objectivism
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When purged of its connection to libertarian forms of capitalism, Ayn Rand’s ethical “egoism” is not an implausible ethical theory. I argue (1) that Rand in fact fails to show the connection between her ethics and the political economy she has championed and (2) that in fact her ethics is at least as compatible with socialism as with capitalism.
80. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Richard M. Fox Motilal Shastri’s “Rule Utilitarianism”
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Motilal Shastri developed an ethical theory which closely resembles rule utilitarianism at roughly the same time as and yet in complete independence of English-speaking philosophers. The philosophic significance of his view lies in the manner in which he develops and justifies his position. Shastri contends that efficiency in action requires indifference or inattention to ends. He appears to use the same device for justifying rule-governed duties that Mill uses to justify a move from egoism to altruism: that actions first viewed as means may later become ends in themselves. However, in Shastri’s theory, ends appear to be retained as unconscious motives.