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41. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Alan S. Rosenbaum On the Philosophical Foundations of the Conception of Human Rights
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In this paper I shall defend the thesis that differing concepts of human nature (or “personhood”) lead to different ideas about what “human rights” are, about what types there are, and how rights are to be ranked according to priority. Though some correlation is obvious, as evidenced in the literature, political forums, and in case studies of many nation-states, the question that we will consider is whether this correlation is a causal relationship or whether it is merely accidental and hence, not worthy of any but passing notice. But if, as I believe, some definite causal connection, perhaps in combination with other factors does exist, we are quite right in focusing attention on the disparate “personhood” concepts or foundation level which lies uncovered and central to such disagreements about human rights.
42. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Jack Temkin Singer, Moore, and the Metaphysics of Morals
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In this paper, I argue that Marcus G. Singer’s attack on Actual Consequence Utilitarianism, as held by G.E. Moore, is inconclusive. Singer contends that Moore’s view is incoherent because it cannot provide a criterion of moral rightness and wrongness. Singer makes the historical claim that Moore intended his theory to provide such a criterion and the philosophical claim that any moral theory must provide such a criterion.I contend that Singer’s historical claim is false. While Moore uses the terms ‘criterion’ and ‘test’ in connection with his moral theory, an examination of Moore’s use of the terms shows that this notion does not involve the verifiability that is at the heart of Singer’s understanding of ‘criterion’.I then argue that Singer’s claim that moral judgments be verified begs the question against Moore’s realism. I argue that Singer must either reject semantic realism in general or give up the view that moral judgments are objectively true or false.
43. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Jeffrey Gold Socratic Definition: Real or Nominal?
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In Plato’s early dialogues, Socrates frequently asks questions of the form “What is X?” seeking definitions of the substitution instances of X (e.g., Justice, Piety, and Courage). In attempting to elucidate Socratic definition, a number of interpreters have invoked a distinction between real and nominal definition (the distinction between the definition of a thing and the definition of a word. In using that distinction, several interpreters have pointed out that, when Socrates asked his “What is X” question (e.g., “What is Justice?”), he was not seeking a nominal definition (a definition of the word ‘διχαιοσύνή’), but rather a real definition (a definition of the thing, Justice). My purpose in this paper is to argue that the preceding interpretation of Socratic thought is mistaken, i.e., I shall argue that there is no real/nominal distinction to be found in the Socratic dialogues.
44. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Jeffery L. Geller Wittgenstein on the “Charm” of Psychoanalysis
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This paper presents Freud’s argument that the clinical process of psychoanalysis must continually combat the patient’s resistance to the analyst’s interpretations. It also presents systematically Wittgenstein’s counterargument. Wittgenstein contends that psychoanalytic interpretations are enormously attractive and that their “charm” predisposes the patient to accept them. He traces their charm to six sources, each of which is discussed.
45. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Sheldon Wein Liberal Egalitarianism
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This paper provides a systematic statement of Ronald Dworkin’s political (as opposed to legal) philosophy. Dworkin’s defence of democratic institutions constrained by civil rights is shown to be linked to his defence of the economic market constrained by economic welfare rights. The theory is defended against attacks from H.L.A. Hart and L. Haworth. The possibility that the theory can be given a Kantian grounding is explored.
46. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
John O. Nelson How and Why Seeing is Not Believing
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In this paper I attempt to show, first, that doxastic theories of seeing must be rejected on at least two counts: paradoxically, they commit us on the one hand to pyrrhonic skepticism and on the other they fail to account for cases of defeasibility that a theory of perceiving ought to account for. So much for the “why”. As for the “how” I attempt to show that a non-doxastic conception of seeing can be formulated, with the aid of theoretic interpretations of the perceiving of brute animals, which succeeds in overcoming the above two failings of doxastic theories.
47. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Robert Hambourger Moore’s Paradox and Epistemic Justification
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The author discusses solutions to Moore’s Paradox by Moore and Wittgenstein and then offers one of his own: ‘I believe that P’ and ‘not-P’ can both be true but nonetheless are not epistemically compatible; that is, it is logically impossible simultaneously to have sufficient evidence to justify assertions of each. The author then argues that similar transgressions are committed by other “paradoxical” utterances whose paradoxicality cannot be explained by the Moore or Wittgenstein solutions and also that this provides a technique that can be useful in studying the epistemic requirements for justified assertion.
48. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
T.F. Morris The Proof of Pauline Self-Predication in the Phaedo
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This article shows that Plato is discussing Pauline predication and Pauline self-predication in the Phaedo. The key is the recognition that the “something else” of Phaedo 103e2-5 cannot be a sensible object because any such object which participates in Form ‘X’ can sometimes appear not to be x. It is argued that Plato has not written in a straightforward manner, but rather has written a series of riddles for the reader to solve. Thus this dialogue is an example of the playful use of the written word discussed at Phaedrus 275ff.
49. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Steven L. Ross Weakness and Dignity in Conrad’s Lord Jim
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Conrad’s Lord Jim presents not only a paradigmatic case of weakness of will, but an equally paradigmatic case of the enormous difficulties that attend fitting weakness of will into our other moral attitudes, particularly those relating to moral worth and moral shame. Conrad’s general conception of character and morality is deeply Aristotelian in many respects, somewhat Kantian in others. The essay traces out the intuitive strengths and philosophical difficulties that both an Aristotelian and a Kantian conception will have before the problem of weakness of will, and argues that the ambiguity in Conrad’s treatment of Jim’s case is the reflection of the clash between these two equally compelling, incompatible conceptions of the self and moral worth.
50. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Robert J. Levy Conjectures and Rational Preferences
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I survey the difficulties of several probabilistic views of non-deductive argument and of inductive probability and propose to explicate non-deductive reasoning in terms of rational preference. Following a critical examination of Popper’s allegedly deductive theory of rational preference, I draw upon the work of Popper and Rescher to present my view which includes: (i) the conjecturing of a set of alternative answers to or theories or hypotheses about the questions prompting the inquiry and (ii) the “reduction” of this set via plausibilistic principles of rational preference.
51. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Lawrence Alexander Another Look at Moral Blackmail
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In this paper I describe cases of moral blackmail as cases where A is told by B that if A does not commit an otherwise immoral act, B will commit an immoral act of equal or greater gravity. I describe cases of moral dilemma as cases where A must commit an otherwise immoral act to avert a natural disaster of equal or greater gravity. I then argue that cases of moral blackmail are structurally identical to cases of moral dilemma in all respects but one: In cases of moral blackmail, A is predicting the free actions of a moral agent (B), whereas in cases of moral dilemma, A is predicting natural events. I conclude that cases of moral blackmail are more problematic than otherwise similar cases of moral dilemma for this reason alone.
52. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Joe F. Jones III Striking ‘Commensurate’ from the Oxford Translation of An Post A24
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This paper argues that G.R.G. Mure’s use of ‘commensurate universal’ to translate ‘katholou’ is mistaken in An. Post. A24, and that throughout this chapter whenever the word ‘katholou’ appears it is to be translated ‘universal’ simpliciter. Establishing this requires a short commentary on Aristotle’s use of the word ‘katholou’, which apparently he coined, and used none too carefully.
53. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Frederic L. Bender Heidegger’s Hermeneutical Grounding of Science: A Phenomenonological Critique of Positivism
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It is argued that, despite the neglect which Heidegger’s writings on science have generally received, the “fundamental ontology” of Being and Time reveals certain structures of experience crucial for our understanding of science; and that, as these insights cast considerable doubt upon the validity of the empiricist/positivist conception of science, Heidegger deserves considerably better treatment as an incipient philosopher of science than has been the case thus far. His arguments for the distortive effects of the alleged “change over” from praxis to theoria, for the circularity of all human understanding (including scientific understanding), for the necessity of interpreting scientific method in terms of the hermeneutic circle, and for viewing scientific “crises” in ontological terms, are examined and evaluated. The article concludes with some reflections on the later Heidegger’s views on the limits of his earlier idea of science.
54. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10 > Issue: Supplement
David N. James What is Professional Ethics?
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After distinguishing professional ethic s from legal and aesthetic norms I argue that a version of rule-utilitarianism is best able to account for professional ethics. The alleged relativism of role-specific duties is a badly posed issue, I argue, since how morality comes to one critically depends upon one's occupation. Alternative theories of the foundations of professional ethics are criticized, both consent theories and the views of those who object to the legalism implicit in a rule-based theory. A mixed theory of virtue is defended to include the most important aspects of an ethic of virtue in the overall rule-utilitarian framework.
55. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10 > Issue: Supplement
Thomas McClintock Skepticism and the Basis of Morality
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Part I (Skepticism) contains analyses of the basic varieties of ethical skepticism and culminates in the idea that the refutation of ethical skepticism--or, what is the same thing, the discovery of the rational basis of morality--consists of a proof of the factual thesis that there exists in human beings a common underivative moral self that consists of an innate normative-practical source (or principle-spring) of human moral judgment and behavior. Part 2 (The Basis of Morality) develops the methodology for establishing this factual thesis and develops as well an argument employing this methodology that actually establishes it. This argument is to the effect that nature through the process of evolution-by-natural-selection built into us humans the following principle as the rational basis of morality: We ought to act only in those ways whose universal performance is both possible and consistent with the rational self-interest of every member of our species.
56. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee Reverse Discrimination and Social Justice
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Tom Beauchamp has pointed out that there are three major positions advocated on the issue of “reverse discrimination”. In this article, I will argue that all three of these positions overlook a central issue which is at stake in this controversy and I will suggest that a fourth position exists. Furthermore, I will argue that the programs usually supported by those in favor of preferential treatment (e.g., the setting of educational or employmental goals or quotas) are, while unquestionably worthwhile in their aims, in fact only superficial “band-aid” type solutions to a problemwhich requires much more fundamental changes in our attitudes concerning the distribution of wealth and opportunities in our society.
57. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael R. Baumer Sketch for a Modal Interpretation of Descartes’ Cogito
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In his logical exegesis of Descartes’ cogito, Hintikka has claimed that, formulated as an inference, it would be question--begging and that it is best understood as a performance, But (1), Hintikka’s discussion of an inferential interpretation omits reference to the possible relevance ofmodalities, and (2), Hintikka assumes that to beg the question is to assume what one is trying to prove. Question-begging is better understood in terms of how evident the premisses are in relation to the conclusion. In this paper I construct a modal inferential interpretation, defend itagainst any charge of question-begging, and outline a system of quantified modal logic which would validate it.
58. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Natika Newton Acting and Perceiving in Body and Mind
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In this paper I sketch an account of (a) the origin of the terms and concepts of folk psychology, and (b) the true nature of mental states. I argue that folk psychology is built on metaphors for the functioning physical body, and that mental states are neurological traces which serve as schematic ‘mental images’ of those same functions. Special attention is paid to the folk psychology of self-consciousness. In particular, I argue that the notion of introspection is mistaken, and I criticize recent claims of Patricia and Paul Churchland on this subject. I conclude by discussingrecent empirical evidence in support of my approach.
59. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee Existential Themes in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock
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The auteur theory of film-making (usually attributed in film to the French director Francais Truffaut) is explored with specific reference to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is argued that Hitchcocks’s films, in particular his later films, present a common theme which is in fact quite consistent with the outlook of Phenomenological Existentialism, especially as it was espoused by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger.To support this position, textual analyses of various films directed and produced by Hitchcock are presented, including Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong Man, and Vertigo. The effects of this approach and its philosophical implications far the film-going audience are also examined.
60. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Robert D. Heslep Gewirth and the Voluntary Agent’s Esteem of Purpose
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This paper discusses Alan Gewirth’s claim that the agent of a voluntary action necessarily values his purpose. It holds that not only is Gewirth wrong in making the claim but that his mistake is of serious importance for his moral theory. The criticism proceeds through an examination of the five arguments advanced by Gewirth, explicitly and implicitly, in support of the proposition that any agent necessarily esteems his goal. A key point in the criticism is that an agent of voluntary action might have his goal capriciously and for that reason might not appreciate the goal. The paper concludes by specifying how Gewirth’s inadequate defense of his claim undercuts certain principles of his moral theory, including the Principle of Generic Consistency.