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Displaying: 81-100 of 344 documents

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81. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
J. L. Dowell Truth-assessment Methodology and the Case against the Relativist Case against Contextualism about Deontic Modals
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Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of this methodological practice.Here I argue that not all assessments are fit to play this evidential role. To play it, we need reason to think that speakers’ assessments can be reasonably expected to be reliable. Minimally, having such grounds requires that assessments are given against the background of non-defectively characterized points of evaluation. Assessing MacFarlane’s central challenge case to contextualism about deontic modals in light of this constraint shows that his judgments do not have the needed evidential significance. In addition, new experimental data shows that once the needed scenario is characterized non-defectively, none of the resulting range of cases provides data that cannot be accommodated by a Kratzer-style contextualism.
82. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Brian Leftow The Nature of Necessity
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I give an account of the nature of absolute or metaphysical necessity. Absolute-necessarily P, I suggest, just if it is always the case that P and there never is or was a power with a chance to bring it about, bring about a power to bring it about, etc., that not P. I display both advantages and a cost of this sort of definition.
83. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Gillian Russell Indexicals and Sider's Neo-Linguistic Account of Necessity
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Sider offers a new take on a linguistic account of necessity. In this paper, I assess his view’s vulnerability to objections made against more traditional linguistic accounts, especially an argument I call the “indexical problem.” I conclude that the indexical problem has no force against Sider’s approach because the view is able to attribute modal properties directly to propositions, rather than indirectly via analytic sentences that express them. However, Sider also argues that traditional linguistic accounts fail because of two well-known problems, and I argue that the same two problems undermine his own account.
84. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Timothy Williamson Modality as a Subject for Science
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Section 1 introduces the category of objective (non-epistemic) modality, closely related to linguists’ category of circumstantial or dynamic modals, and explains metaphysical modality as its maximal element. Section 2 discusses various kinds of skepticism about modality, as in Hume and recent authors, and argues that it is illmotivated to apply such skepticism to metaphysical modality but not to more restricted objective modalities, including nomic modality. Section 3 suggests that the role of counterfactual conditionals in applications of scientific theories involves an objective modal dimension. Section 4 briefly discusses the role of objective probabilities in scientific theories as exemplifying the scientific study of objective modality. Section 5 summarizes a case study of dynamical systems theory, widely used in natural science, as a mathematical theory whose intended applications are objectively modal, as perspicuously articulated in a language with modal and temporal operators and propositional quantification. State spaces in natural science characterize objective possibilities. Section 6 argues that, although those possibilities are usually more restricted than metaphysical possibility, their scientific study is a partial study of metaphysical possibility too.
85. Res Philosophica: Volume > 94 > Issue: 3
Meghan Sullivan Boring Ontological Realism
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Boring ontological realists hold that objects exist at times and persist over time without having substantive essences. Boring realism is a consequence of the minimal A-theory of time and the most sensible formulations of necessitism. This kind of realism is at odds with a ubiquitous realist thesis, which I call the persistenceessence link. This essay surveys some examples of the persistence-essence link and argues that it is best understood as a thesis about grounding. If we understand the link in terms of grounding, there are new options for denying it—and for better understanding boring realism.
86. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Timothy Pawl In Defense of Divine Truthmaker Simplicity
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In his recent article “Against Divine Truthmaker Simplicity,” Noël Saenz has provided two careful arguments for the falsity of a theory of divine simplicity which he dubs “Divine Truthmaker Simplicity.” In this brief response, I criticize his two arguments, arguing that neither is sound.
87. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Adam Green The Transmission of Understanding
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There is a substantial literature in epistemology concerning whether knowledge can be transmitted. So-called generative cases of testimony seem to show that testimony cannot transmit knowledge. This article defends the thesis that knowledge transmission by testimony is possible. Once one thinks more carefully about the model of transmission we are employing, however, the stage is set for two surprising results. Supposed counter-examples to knowledge transmission feature transmission in the relevant sense, and, more surprisingly, it is possible to transmit understanding, even when we are construing understanding as an internalist good.
88. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Victor Salas Rodrigo de Arriaga, S.J. (1592-1667), on Analogy and the Concept of Being
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This paper considers Rodrigo de Arriaga’s account of the nature of the concept of being, which he construes in terms of univocity in opposition to analogy. I argue that the reason for his preference of univocity follows from his commitment to formal (as opposed to objective) precision. This commitment to formal precision comes at a price, however. Though Arriaga insists on restricting the concept of being to ‘real being’ only, it is not clear how he is able to maintain that restriction in a principled way. Like his contemporary and confrere, Richard Lynch, Arriaga seems to be on a trajectory that will lead to a supertranscendental conception of metaphysical science.
89. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Eleonore Stump Introduction
90. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Andrew Pinsent Spell-Breaking with Revitalizing Metaphors
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Growing public interest in the dark arts, and the fact that even some philosophers have been accused of casting spells with their own writings, suggest that philosophers should not wholly neglect the topics of spells and spell-breaking. In this paper, written in honor of an effective spell-breaker in social and leadership contexts, Fr Theodore Vitali, I set out a taxonomy of spells and ways in which some philosophers may be said to cast them in a naturalistic sense. I also examine ways of breaking a spell, with reference to the will and second-person relationship. I conclude with a brief observation about the desire for intellectual completeness, the root of a disordered appeal of at least some spells to their victims, suggesting an alternative scenario for a good satisfaction of this desire.
91. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Kevin Timpe Moral Ecology, Disabilities, and Human Agency
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This paper argues that human agency is not simply a function of intrinsic properties about the agent, but that agency instead depends on the ecology that the agent is in. In particular, the paper examines ways that disabilities affect agency and shows how, by paying deliberate attention to structuring the social environment around people with disabilities, we can mitigate some of the agential impact of those disabilities. The paper then argues that the impact of one’s social environment on agency isn’t restricted only to those agents that have disabilities, but also characterizes all human agency. All of our agency is environmentally dependent.
92. Res Philosophica: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Jennifer Hart Weed Thomas Aquinas and the Baptism of Desire
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Thomas Aquinas argues that baptism is necessary for salvation. However, he entertains a scenario described by Ambrose of Milan, such that Emperor Valentinian II converted to Christianity and was intending to be baptized but died before the sacrament could be performed. Aquinas argues that the Emperor could have achieved salvation without being baptized with water because he desired baptism and that desire was the result of his faith in God. In this paper, I offer a short treatment of Aquinas’s view of baptism, his handling of the Valentinian II case, and his arguments concerning the efficacy of the baptism of desire. I conclude with a brief discussion of Aquinas’s treatment of the case of Cornelius the centurion, which illustrates how Aquinas’s view of baptism of desire and implicit faith can apply to those individuals who have no access to or connection with the Church.
93. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Ross P. Cameron Critical Study of Kris McDaniel's The Fragmentation of Being
94. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Mark Boespflug Robert Holcot on Doxastic Voluntarism and the Ethics of Belief
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In the Middle Ages, the view that agents are able to exercise direct voluntary control over their beliefs—doxastic voluntarism—was pervasive. It was held by Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, and Buridan, among many others. Herein, I show that the somewhat neglected Oxford Dominican, Robert Holcot (†1349), rejected doxastic voluntarism with a coherence and plausibility that reflects and anticipates much contemporary thought on the issue. I, further, suggest that Holcot’s rejection of the idea that agents can voluntarily control their beliefs is intimately connected to his, likewise, aberrant views regarding the nature of belief, evidence, and faith. Finally, I examine Holcot’s attempt to show how involuntarism and doxastic responsibility are compatible. The issue of faith figures prominently throughout, given that an act of faith was conceived to be a voluntary operation whereby one believes religious propositions, and a paradigm case of belief for which we are responsible.
95. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Ben Page Fine-Tuned of Necessity?
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This paper seeks to explicate and analyze an alternative response to fine-tuning arguments from those that are typically given—namely, design or brute contingency. The response I explore is based on necessity, the necessitarian response. After showing how necessity blocks the argument, I explicate the reply I claim necessitarians can give and suggest how its three requirements can be met: firstly, that laws are metaphysically necessary; secondly, that constants are metaphysically necessary; and thirdly, that the fundamental properties that determine the laws and constants are necessary. After discussing each in turn, I end the paper by assessing how the response fares when running the fine-tuning argument in two ways, as an inference to best explanation and as a Bayesian argument.
96. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
David Hershenov, Rose Hershenov Health, Moral Status, and a Minimal Speciesism
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The potential for healthy development is the key to determining the moral status of mindless and minimally minded organisms. It even provides the basis for a defense of speciesism. Mindless and minimally minded human beings have interests in the healthy development of sophisticated mental capacities, which explains why they are greatly harmed when death, disease, and other events frustrate those interests. Since the healthy development of members of non-human species doesn’t produce the same sophisticated mental capacities, mindless and minimally minded non-human beings lack the interests of mindless and minimally minded human beings. The absence of such interests in developing valuable mental capabilities means non-humans can’t be benefited and harmed to the same degree as human beings. This results in mindless and minimally minded non-humans having lower moral status than human beings. This doesn’t mean that any member of our species is more valuable than any other member of any other possible species. We instead claim that human beings with undeveloped or impaired minds have greater moral status than any member of any other known species that has manifested equivalent mental capacities.
97. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Wayne J. Hankey Placing the Human: Establishing Reason by Its Participation in Divine Intellect for Boethius and Aquinas
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We begin with the kinds of knowing and ignorance in Plato’s allegory of the Line in the Republic, and go on to the problem of the relation of human reason and divine intellection in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, I and XII, De anima, II and III, and, especially, Nicomachean Ethics X, 7 and 8. Plato and Aristotle do not establish the human firmly vis-à-vis the divine and leave the Platonic tradition with a deep philosophical, theological, and religious ambiguity. Passing to Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy and Aquinas in his Summa theologiae and Aristotelian commentaries, we consider how they take up the Platonic-Aristotelian problematic and define the human in relation to the divine, partly by way of the notion of participation which Aristotle rejected. Aquinas is the most determined humanist among the thinkers considered. After outlining features of his position, we conclude with reflections on medieval humanism.
98. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Shaun Gallagher The Therapeutic Reconstruction of Affordances
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I argue that a variety of physical disabilities, and neurological and psychiatric disorders can be understood in terms of changes to the subject’s affordance space. Understanding disorders in this way also has some implications for therapy. On the basis of a phenomenological- and pragmatist-inspired enactivism I propose an affordance-based approach to therapy with a focus on changing physical, social, and cultural environments, and I consider the role of virtual and mixed realities in this context.
99. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Julie Walsh Locke’s Last Word on Freedom: Correspondence with Limborch
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John Locke’s 1700–1702 correspondence with Dutch Arminian Philippus van Limborch has been taken by commentators as the motivation for modifications to the fifth edition of “Of Power,” the chapter in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding that treats freedom. In this paper, I offer the first systematic and chronological study of their correspondence. I argue that the heart of their disagreement is over how they define “freedom of indifference.” Once the importance of the disagreement over indifference is established, it is clear that when Locke altered parts of “Of Power” as a reaction to Limborch’s questioning, he did so in the interest of further clarifying and solidifying his view, not changing it. Seeing how they disagree over indifference also allows us to see the correspondence as showcasing the conflict between intellectualism, the view that cognitive states determine the will, and voluntarism, the view that the will alone determines action.
100. Res Philosophica: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Susanna Siegel Précis to The Rationality of Perception