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Metaphilosophy

Edited by Jonathan Ichikawa (University of British Columbia)
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  1. added 2014-09-27
    Timothy Perrine (forthcoming). Undermining Truthmaker Theory. Synthese:1-16.
    Truthmaker theorists hold that there is a metaphysically explanatory relation that holds between true claims and what exists. While some critics (e.g. Merricks 2007) try to provide counterexamples to truthmaker theory, that response quickly leads to a dialectical standoff. The aim of this paper is to move beyond that standoff by attempting to undermine some standard arguments for truthmaker theory. Using realism about truth and a more pragmatic account of explanation, I show how some of those arguments can be undermined.
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  2. added 2014-09-24
    Adrianna C. Jenkins, David Dodell-Feder, Rebecca Saxe & Joshua Knobe, The Neural Bases of Directed and Spontaneous Mental State Attributions to Group Agents.
    In daily life, perceivers often need to predict and interpret the behavior of group agents, such as corporations and governments. Although research has investigated how perceivers reason about individual members of particular groups, less is known about how perceivers reason about group agents themselves. The present studies investigate how perceivers understand group agents by investigating the extent to which understanding the ‘mind’ of the group as a whole shares important properties and processes with understanding the minds of individuals. Experiment 1 (...)
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  3. added 2014-09-14
    David Rose (forthcoming). Persistence Through Function Preservation. Synthese.
    When do the folk think that material objects persist? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view which fits with folk intuitions, yet there is little agreement about what the folk intuit. I provide a range of empirical evidence which suggests that the folk operate with a teleological view of persistence: the folk tend to intuit that a material object survives alterations when its function is preserved. Given that the folk operate with a teleological view of persistence, I argue for a debunking (...)
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  4. added 2014-09-11
    Eddy Nahmias, Jason Shepard & Shane Reuter (2014). It's OK If 'My Brain Made Me Do It': People's Intuitions About Free Will and Neuroscientific Prediction. Cognition 133 (2):502-516.
    In recent years, a number of prominent scientists have argued that free will is an illusion, appealing to evidence demonstrating that information about brain activity can be used to predict behavior before people are aware of having made a decision. These scientists claim that the possibility of perfect prediction based on neural information challenges the ordinary understanding of free will. In this paper we provide evidence suggesting that most people do not view the possibility of neuro-prediction as a threat to (...)
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  5. added 2014-09-07
    Peter Blouw, Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri, Gettier Cases: A Taxonomy.
    The term “Gettier Case” is a technical term frequently applied to a wide array of thought experiments in contemporary epistemology. What do these cases have in common? It is said that they all involve a justified true belief which, intuitively, is not knowledge, due to a form of luck called “Gettiering.” While this very broad characterization suffices for some purposes, it masks radical diversity. We argue that the extent of this diversity merits abandoning the notion of a “Gettier case” in (...)
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  6. added 2014-09-05
    Jamin Asay & S. Seth Bordner (forthcoming). A Modest Defense of Manifestationalism. Synthese:1-15.
    As the debate between realists and empiricists in the philosophy of science drags on, one point of consensus has emerged: no one wants to be a manifestationalist. The manifestationalist is a kind of radical empiricist who argues that science provides theories that aim neither at a true picture of the entire world, nor even an empirically adequate picture that captures the world in all its observable respects. For manifestationalists, science aims only at providing theories that are true to the observed (...)
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  7. added 2014-09-04
    Paul Egré & Florian Cova (forthcoming). Moral Asymmetries and the Semantics of Many. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    We present the results of four experiments concerning the evaluation people make of sentences involving “many”, showing that two sentences of the form “many As are Bs” vs. “many As are Cs” need not be equivalent when evaluated relative to a background in which B and C have the same cardinality and proportion to A, but in which B and C are predicates with opposite semantic and affective values. The data provide evidence that subjects lower the standard relevant to ascribe (...)
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  8. added 2014-09-04
    Thomas D. Carroll (2014). Wittgenstein Within the Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan.
    The commonly held view that Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion entails an irrationalist defense of religion known as 'fideism' loses plausibility when contrasted with recent scholarship on Wittgenstein's corpus, biography, and other sources. This book reevaluates the place of Wittgenstein in the philosophy of religion and charts a path forward for the subfield by advancing three themes. The first is that philosophers of religion should question received interpretations of philosophers, such as Wittgenstein, as well as the meanings of key terms used (...)
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  9. added 2014-09-02
    T. Parent, Neo-Sellarsian Metaphilosophy.
    Science often conflicts with our everyday experience. For instance, we typically assume the existence of agency, norms, etc.—yet such things are absent from scientific theory. For Sellars, philosophy’s aim is to resolve these discrepancies between the “manifest” and “scientific” images. However, some might protest that philosophers should not “negotiate” ontology with science—the scientific image should instead claim hegemony. I defend the Sellarsian by arguing that we are simply unable to jettison central parts of the “manifest image.” That is so, even (...)
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  10. added 2014-08-27
    Brent Strickland, Matthew Fisher, Frank Keil & Joshua Knobe (2014). Syntax and Intentionality: An Automatic Link Between Language and Theory-of-Mind. Cognition 133 (1):249–261.
    Three studies provided evidence that syntax influences intentionality judgments. In Experiment 1, participants made either speeded or unspeeded intentionality judgments about ambiguously intentional subjects or objects. Participants were more likely to judge grammatical subjects as acting intentionally in the speeded relative to the reflective condition (thus showing an intentionality bias), but grammatical objects revealed the opposite pattern of results (thus showing an unintentionality bias). In Experiment 2, participants made an intentionality judgment about one of the two actors in a partially (...)
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  11. added 2014-08-23
    Adam Feltz & Florian Cova (forthcoming). Moral Responsibility and Free Will: A Meta-Analysis. Consciousness and Cognition.
    Fundamental beliefs about free will and moral responsibility are often thought to shape our ability to have healthy relationships with others and ourselves. Emotional reactions have also been shown to have an important and pervasive impact on judgments and behaviors. Recent research suggests that emotional reactions play a prominent role in judgments about free will, influencing judgments about determinism’s relation to free will and moral responsibility. However, the extent to which affect influences these judgments is unclear. We conducted a metaanalysis (...)
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  12. added 2014-08-18
    Michaela Rehm (2012). Aufklärung Über Fortschritt: Warum Rousseau Kein “Zurück Zur Natur” Propagiert. In Pascal Delhom & Alfred Hirsch (eds.), Rousseaus Ursprungserzählungen. Fink. 49-66.
    The claim of this paper is to show that the “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences” does not propose a general critique of progress as such, but a critique of the idea of progress as promoted by the 18th century “philosophers”. It is argued that Rousseau is no proponent of a Counter-Enlightenment, on the contrary he aims to go further than other thinkers of his time by scrutinizing even progress itself, Enlightenment’s pet notion. In defining arts and sciences as the (...)
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  13. added 2014-08-12
    Yuri Cath (forthcoming). Knowing How and 'Knowing How'. In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave Macmillan.
    What is the relationship between the linguistic properties of knowledge-how ascriptions and the nature of knowledge-how itself? In this chapter I address this question by examining the linguistic methodology of Stanley and Williamson (2011) and Stanley (2011a, 2011b) who defend the intellectualist view that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. My evaluation of this methodology is mixed. On the one hand, I defend Stanley and Williamson (2011) against critics who argue that the linguistic premises they appeal to—about the syntax and (...)
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  14. added 2014-08-09
    Eric S. Nelson (2013). Between Nature and Spirit: Naturalism and Anti-Naturalism in Dilthey. In Anthropologie und Geschichte. Studien zu Wilhelm Dilthey aus Anlass seines 100. Todestages.
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  15. added 2014-08-08
    Michael Hannon, The Universal Core of Knowledge.
    Many epistemologists think we can derive important theoretical insights by investigating the English word ‘know’ or the concept it expresses. However, fewer than six percent of the world’s population are native English speakers, and some empirical evidence suggests that the concept of knowledge is culturally relative. So why should we think that facts about the word ‘know’ or the concept it expresses have important ramifications for epistemology? In this paper, I argue that the concept of knowledge is universal (expressed by (...)
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  16. added 2014-08-06
    James Andow (forthcoming). How 'Intuition' Exploded. Metaphilosophy.
    Recent decades have seen a surge in interest in metaphilosophy. In particular there has been an interest in philosophical methodology. Various questions have been asked about philosophical methods. Are our methods any good? Can we improve upon them? However, prior to such evaluative and ameliorative concerns, is the matter of what methods philosophers actually use. Worryingly, our understanding of philosophical methodology is impoverished in various respects. I consider one particular respect in which we seem to be missing an important part (...)
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  17. added 2014-08-06
    Jim Hopkins (forthcoming). Kantian Neuroscience and Radical Interpretation. In Festschfrift for Mark Platts.
    This is an unedited version of a paper written in 2012 accepted for publication in a forthcoming Festschrift for Mark Platts. In it I argue that the Helmholtz/Bayes tradition of free energy neuroscience begun by Geoffrey Hinton and his colleagues, and now being carried forward by Karl Friston and his, can be seen as a fulfilment of the Quine/Davidson program of radical interpretation, and also of Quine’s conception of a naturalized epistemology. -/- This program, in turn, is rooted in Helmholtz’s (...)
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  18. added 2014-08-03
    Jason Shepard & Joshua May (forthcoming). Does Belief in Dualism Protect Against Maladaptive Psycho-Social Responses to Deep Brain Stimulation? An Empirical Exploration. American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience.
    We provide empirical evidence that people who believe in dualism are more likely to be uncomfortable with Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and to view it as threatening to their identity, humanity, or self. It is (neurocentric) materialists—who think the mind just is the brain—that are less inclined to fear DBS or to see it as threatening. We suggest various possible reasons for this connection. The inspiration for this brief report is a target article that addresses this issue from a theoretical (...)
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  19. added 2014-07-23
    Wesley Buckwalter (forthcoming). Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Experimental philosophers have empirically challenged the connection between intuition and philosophical expertise. This paper reviews these challenges alongside other research findings in cognitive science on expert performance and argues for three claims. First, evidence taken to challenge philosophical expertise may also be explained by the well-researched failures and limitations of genuine expertise. Second, studying the failures and limitations of experts across many fields provides a promising research program upon which to base a new model of philosophical expertise. Third, a model (...)
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  20. added 2014-07-18
    George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe (2014). Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment. Cognitive Science 38 (7).
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about (a) what a person values, (b) whether a person is happy, (c) whether a person has shown weakness of will, and (d) whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true (...)
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  21. added 2014-07-08
    James R. Beebe & Ryan J. Undercoffer (forthcoming). Moral Valence and Semantic Intuitions. Erkenntnis:1-22.
    Despite the swirling tide of controversy surrounding the work of Machery et al. (Cognition 92:B1–B12, 2004), the cross-cultural differences they observed in semantic intuitions about the reference of proper names have proven to be robust. In the present article, we report cross-cultural and individual differences in semantic intuitions obtained using new experimental materials. In light of the pervasiveness of the Knobe effect (Analysis 63:190–193, 2003, Philos Psychol 16:309–324, 2003, Behav Brain Sci 33:315–329, 2010; Pettit and Knobe in Mind Lang 24:586–604, (...)
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  22. added 2014-07-08
    Jeremy Dunham (2014). Was James Ward a Cambridge Pragmatist? British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (3):557-581.
    Although the Cambridge Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic James Ward was once one of Britain's most highly regarded Psychologists and Philosophers, today his work is unjustly neglected. This is because his philosophy is frequently misrepresented as a reactionary anti-naturalistic idealist theism. In this article, I argue, first, that this reading is false, and that by viewing Ward through the lens of pragmatism we obtain a fresh interpretation of his work that highlights the scientific nature of his philosophy and his (...)
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  23. added 2014-07-06
    Steven A. Miller (2011). Review of An Ethics for Today: Finding Common Ground Between Philosophy and Religion. [REVIEW] Contemporary Pragmatism 8 (1):222-225.
  24. added 2014-07-02
    Joshua May (forthcoming). Moral Judgment and Deontology: Empirical Developments. Philosophy Compass.
    A traditional idea has it that moral judgment involves more than calculating the consequences of actions; it also requires an assessment of the agent’s intentions, the act’s nature, and whether the agent uses another person as a means to her ends. I survey experimental developments suggesting that ordinary people often tacitly reason in terms of such deontological rules. It’s now unclear whether we should posit a traditional form of the Doctrine of Double Effect. However, further research suggests that a range (...)
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