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101. 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.
102. 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.
103. 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.
104. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Anthony J. Graybosch No-Fault Theories of Regulative Justification
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Several epistemologists (Levi, Harman, Pollock) have recently urged the adoption of what I call a “no-fault” approach to the justification of beliefs. I argue that these views fall prey to objections raised by Alvin Goldman against internalism, specifically: they assume an initial set of regulative principles. It is also suggested that the way to avoid Goldman’s objections is through a psychologistic account of initial warrant.
105. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Gerard T. Ferrari The Resolution of Hume’s Problem, and New Russellian Antinomies of Induction, Determinism, Relativism, and Skepticism
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A necessary refinement of the concept of circular reasoning is applied to the self-and-universally-referential inductive justification of induction. It is noted that the assumption necessary for the circular proof of a principle of induction is that one inference is valid, not that the entire principle or rule of induction governing that inference is true. The circularity in an ideal case is demonstrated to have a value of lin where n represents the number of inferences asserted valid by the conclusion of the justifying argument, and the ‘I’ represents the inference necessarily assumed valid.An induction antinomy modeled after Russell’s antinomy of the set of all and only non-self-containing sets is derived. Isomorphic antinomies are noted to be derivable for other arguments of philosophical interest, including those purported to undermine theories of determinism, relativism, and skepticism, and including the one that Descartes reduced and converted to ‘Cogito, ergo sum’.
106. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Harmon R. Holcomb III Causes, Ends, and the Units of Selection
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This paper inquires into the very possibility of the units of selection debate’s origin in the problem of altruism, function in articulating the evolutionary synthesis, and philosophical status as a problem in clarifying what makes something a level or unit of selection. What makes the debate possible? In terms of origins, there are a number of logically possible ways to deviate from the model of Darwinian individual selection to explain evolved traits. In terms of function, adherence to the evolutionary synthesis yields norms which restrict these possibilities to a manageable few. In terms of philosophical status, the abstract structure of selection mechanisms permits a causal construal, on which the unit of selection is identified with the “unit of possession”, that which possesses the causally efficacious trait selected for. It also allows a teleological interpretation, on which the unit of selection is identified with the “unit of benefit”, that for the sake of which the causally efficacious trait is selected. It is proposed that a unit of selection is really a pair of units, consisting of both a unit of possession and a unit of benefit.
107. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Douglas P. Lackey Fame as a Value Concept
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This essay distinguishes personal from generic fame and accurate from inaccurate fame, and claims that only accurate personal fame could possess intrinsic value. Nevertheless, three common arguments why accurate personal fame might possess intrinsic value are shown to be unsound. After rejecting two Aristotelian arguments to the effect that no sort of fame possesses value, the author suggests that fame is valueless if one assumes a modern axiology in which the good life consists of self-regulation and self-expression.
108. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Wayne A. Davis Warner on Enjoyment: A Rejoinder
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In ‘Davis on Enjoyment: A Reply’, Richard Warner replies to three objections against his ‘Enjoyment’ that I raised in my ‘A Causal Theory of Enjoyment’, and concludes that one of my examples in fact demonstrates a serious deficiency of my own account. I argue that Warner’s replies to my objections are unsatisfactory, and that his objection to my account had a ready solution.
109. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
John D. Jones Poverty as a Living Death: Toward a Phenomenology of Skid Row
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I argue that stigmatization and inferiorization constitute the most destructive form of everyday poverty, the meaning of which is shown through a phenomenological interpretation of skid row. There are three parts to the paper. First, there is a brief discussion of poverty as a philosophical problem. Second, and ancillary to the analysis of skid row, there are discussions of the character of human dignity, everyday meaningful action and the psycho-social dynamics of stigmatization. Third, there is an analysis of skid row which, drawing on Heidegger’s death-analysis in Being and Time, concludes by characterizing skid row poverty as a kind of living death.
110. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Index of Articles and Monographs, 1982-87
111. 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.
112. 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.
113. 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.
114. 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.
115. 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.
116. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Aryeh Botwinick Wittgenstein and Scepticism: An Essay in the Unity of Wittgenstein’s Thought
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A unifying perspective to bring to bear on Wittgenstein’s thought is that it represents a continual grappling with the problem of formulating a consistent version of scepticism--one that would not succumb to the charge of being self-refuting. His ultimate resolution of this problem hinges upon the precise content to be invested in his famous philosophical doctrine of the priority of Gezeigt (showing) over Gezagt (saying). I shall argue for a democratic participatory gloss of this doctrine as offering the most satisfactory resolution to the sceptical dilemmas haunting Wittgenstein.
117. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
George Rudebusch Hoffman on Kripke’s Wittgenstein
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Paul Hoffman (in “Kripke on Private Language”, Philosophical Studies 47, 1985, 23-28) argues that Kripke’s Wittgenstein fails in his solution to his own sceptical paradox. I argue that Hoffman fails to see the importance for Kripke’s Wittgenstein of the distinction between agreement in fact and judged agreement. Hoffman is right that no solution to the sceptical paradox can be based on agreement in fact, but the solution of Kripke’s Wittgenstein depends upon judged agreement. An interpretation is given: by ‘judged agreement’ Kripke’s Wittgenstein does not mean understanding oneself to judge agreement but having a feeling of agreement. On this interpretation Hoffman’s argument fails.
118. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Ronald Suter Saul Wittgenstein’s Skeptical Paradox
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Saul Kripke is struck by a skeptical argument which he says is neither Wittgenstein’s nor his own. I call this new skeptic “Saul Wittgenstein”. SW’s conclusion is that there is no such thing as following a rule. My first aim is to show that Kripke misunderstands the Investigations when he says it offers a “skeptical solution” to SW’s paradox. Wittgenstein’s view of philosophy commits him to a dissolution of the paradox. I show next that LW’s writing contains an implicit dissolution of it. Finally, I point out the main lesson to be derived from Kripke’s discussion--namely, that there is nothing which is common and peculiar to what we call following a rule.
119. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Charles E. Burlingame Wittgenstein, His Logic, and His Promethean Mission
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In paragraphs 107-108 of his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein remarks, “The preconceived idea of crystalline purity can only be removed by turning our whole examination round. (One might say: the axis of reference of our examination must be rotated, but about the fixed point of our real need.)” This paper attempts to illuminate his notion of this “real need” which is shared by that work and by his earlier Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by comparing these works with some of the writings of Tolstoy and Schopenhauer with which he was familiar. I do this not to discredit either of his writings as works on logic but to show in what manner they are, indeed, works on logic.
120. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 12
Lorenzo Peña Notes on Bergmann’s New Ontology and Account of Relations
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Recent work of Gustav Bergmann develops an ontological framework within which an account of relations has been sketched out. The approach is a kind of new logical atomism which has some of the features of an Aristotelian hylomorphism (of sorts). It recognizes a number of categories and groups of a hylomorphic kind, chiefly “determinates” and “subdeterminates”--the latter only indirectly or implicitly. Winsome though it is, the approach is flawed by certain difficulties it gives rise to, among them inability to speak of subdeterminates and failure of a relation to be had by a referent towards a relatum. Instead of having a sense, a relation is conceived of as a determinate which enters an arrangement whose existence and nature are not properly accounted for. Finally, Bergmann’s Ideal Language is assayed and shown not to be as useful philosophically in itself as he takes it to be.