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Philosophy of Action

Edited by Constantine Sandis (Oxford Brookes University)
Assistant editor: István Zárdai (University of Pécs, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy, Oxford Brookes University)
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  1. added 2015-07-31
    Hannes Rakoczy, Tanya Behne, Annette Clüver, Stephanie Dallmann, Sarah Weidner & Michael Waldmann (2015). The Side-Effect Effect in Children Is Robust and Not Specific to the Moral Status of Action Effects. PLoS ONE 10:1-10.
    Adults’ intentionality judgments regarding an action are influenced by their moral evaluation of this action. This is clearly indicated in the so-called side-effect effect: when told about an action (e.g. implementing a business plan) with an intended primary effect (e.g. raise profits) and a foreseen side effect (e.g. harming/helping the environment), subjects tend to interpret the bringing about of the side effect more often as intentional when it is negative (harming the environment) than when it is positive (helping the environment). (...)
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  2. added 2015-07-31
    Elise Cardinale, Elizabeth Finger, Julia Schechter, Ilana Jurkowitz, R. J. R. Blair & Abigail Marsh (2014). The Moral Status of an Action Influences its Perceived Intentional Status in Adolescents with Psychopathic Traits. In Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy: Volume 1. Oxford University Press 131-151.
    Moral judgments about an action are influenced by the action’s intentionality. The reverse is also true: judgments of intentionality can be influenced by an action’s moral valence. For example, respondents judge a harmful side-effect of an intended outcome to be more intentional than a helpful side-effect. Debate continues regarding the mechanisms underlying this “side-effect effect” and the conditions under which it will persist. The research behind this chapter tested whether the side-effect effect is intact in adolescents with psychopathic traits, who (...)
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  3. added 2015-07-30
    Nicholas Almendares & Dimitri Landa (forthcoming). Mixed Motives in the Equilibrium View of Joint Intention. Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    We develop a theory of joint intention in contexts in which participants have mixed motives that can manifest in all-things-considered reasons to deviate from contributing to the desired project, e.g., contexts with collective action problems. Our theory is based on strategic equilibrium-based reasoning, which links the characterization of joint intention in terms of individual intentions with conditions on strategy profiles of the underlying strategic games. We use elements of equilibrium reasoning to construct a counterfactual account of joint intention in the (...)
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  4. added 2015-07-29
    Caroline T. Arruda & Daniel J. Povinelli (forthcoming). Chimps as Secret Agents. Synthese.
    We provide an account of chimpanzee-specific agency within the context of philosophy of action. We do so by showing that chimpanzees are capable of what we call reason-directed action, even though they may be incapable of more full-blown action, which we call reason-considered action. Although chimpanzee agency does not possess all the features of typical adult human agency, chimpanzee agency is evolutionarily responsive to their environment and overlaps considerably with our own. As such, it is an evolved set of capacities (...)
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  5. added 2015-07-29
    Bruno Guindon (forthcoming). Sources, Reasons, and Requirements. Philosophical Studies.
    This paper offers two competing accounts of normative requirements, each of which purports to explain why some—but not all—requirements are normative in the sense of being related to normative reasons in some robust way. According to the reasons-sensitive view, normative requirements are those and only those which are sensitive to normative reasons. On this account, normative requirements are second-order statements about what there is conclusive reason to do, in the broad sense of the term. According to the reasons-providing view—which I (...)
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  6. added 2015-07-28
    Todd Davies & Seeta Peña Gangadharan (eds.) (2009). Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice. CSLI Publications/University of Chicago Press.
    Can new technology enhance purpose-driven, democratic dialogue in groups, governments, and societies? Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice is the first book that attempts to sample the full range of work on online deliberation, forging new connections between academic research, technology designers, and practitioners. Since some of the most exciting innovations have occurred outside of traditional institutions, and those involved have often worked in relative isolation from each other, work in this growing field has often failed to reflect the full (...)
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  7. added 2015-07-26
    Ittay Nissan-Rozen (forthcoming). Against Moral Hedging. Economics and Philosophy.
    It has been argued by several philosophers that a morally motivated rational agent who has to make decisions under conditions of moral uncertainty ought to maximize expected moral value in his choices, where the expectation is calculated relative to the agent's moral uncertainty. I present a counter-example to this thesis and to a larger family of decision rules for choice under conditions of moral uncertainty. Based on this counter-example, I argue against the thesis and suggest a reason for its failure (...)
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  8. added 2015-07-25
    Geert Keil (2014). Wie fängt (man) eine Handlung an? In Anne-Sophie Spann & Daniel Wehinger (eds.), Vermögen und Handung. Mentis 135-157.
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  9. added 2015-07-22
    Alex Worsnip (forthcoming). The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    For many epistemologists, and for many philosophers more broadly, it is axiomatic that rationality requires you to take the doxastic attitudes that your evidence supports. Yet there is also another current in our talk about rationality. On this usage, rationality is a matter of the right kind of coherence between one’s mental attitudes. Surprisingly little work in epistemology is explicitly devoted to answering the question of how these two currents of talk are related. But many implicitly assume that evidence-responsiveness guarantees (...)
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  10. added 2015-07-22
    Takuo Aoyama, Shogo Shimizu & Yuki Yamada (2015). Free Will and the Divergence Problem. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 23:1-18.
    This paper presents what the authors call the ‘divergence problem’ regarding choosing between different future possibilities. As is discussed in the first half, the central issue of the problem is the difficulty of temporally locating the ‘active cause’ on the modal divergent diagram. In the second half of this paper, we discuss the ‘second-person freedom’ which is, strictly, neither compatibilist negative freedom nor incompatibilist positive freedom. The divergence problem leads us to two hypothetical views (i.e. the view of single-line determination (...)
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  11. added 2015-07-21
    Cheng-Hung Tsai (forthcoming). Ethical Expertise and the Articulacy Requirement. Synthese:1-18.
    Recently virtue ethicists, such as Julia Annas and Matt Stichter, in order to explain what a moral virtue is and how it is acquired, suggest modeling virtue on practical expertise. However, a challenging issue arises when considering the nature of practical expertise especially about whether expertise requires articulacy, that is, whether an expert in a skill is required to possess an ability to articulate the principles underlying the skill. With regard to this issue, Annas advocates the articulacy requirement, while Stichter (...)
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  12. added 2015-07-20
    Shannon Spaulding (forthcoming). Imagination, Rationality, and Desire. Journal of Philosophy.
    We often have affective responses to fictional events. We feel afraid for Desdemona when Othello approaches her in a murderous rage. We feel disgust toward Iago for orchestrating this tragic event. What mental architecture could explain these affective responses? In this paper I consider the claim that the best explanation of our affective responses to fiction involves imaginative desires. Some theorists argue that accounts that do not invoke imaginative desires imply that consumers of fiction have irrational desires. I argue that (...)
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  13. added 2015-07-20
    Markku Roinila (2015). Affects and Activity in Leibniz's De Affectibus. In Adrian Nita (ed.), Leibniz’s Metaphysics and Adoption of Substantial Forms: Between Continuity and Transformation. Springer 73-88.
    In this paper I will discuss the doctrine of substance which emerges from Leibniz’s unpublished early memoir De affectibus of 1679. The memoir marks a new stage in Leibniz’s views of the mind. The motivation for this change can be found in Leibniz’s rejection of the Cartesian theory of passion and action in the 1670s. His early Aristotelianism and some features of Cartesianism persisted to which Leibniz added influences from Hobbes and Spinoza. His nascent dynamical concept of substance is seemingly (...)
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  14. added 2015-07-20
    Paul K. Moser (ed.) (1990). Rationality in Action: Contemporary Approaches. Cambridge University Press.
    This anthology is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in such disciplines as philosophy, psychology, economics, and political science. It includes twenty-one selections falling under three main categories: individual decision theory; game theory and group decision-making; reasons, desires and intentionality. All the pieces have been published before in journals and have proven long term importance to theoretical work in rational action. The volume includes a general introduction on decision theory and a topical bibliography.
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  15. added 2015-07-19
    Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin (2015). Aligning with the Good. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy:1-8.
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  16. added 2015-07-17
    Roland Mees (2015). Sustainable Action and Moral Corruption. In Dieter Birnbacher & May Thorseth (eds.), The Politics of Sustainability: Philosophical perspectives. Routledge 109-126.
    The concept of moral corruption has been pointed at as the root cause of our failure to make progress with acting towards a sustainable future. This chapter defines moral corruption as the agent’s strategy not to form the intentions needed to overcome the motivational obstacles of sustainable action. Moral corruption is considered similar to Kant’s radical evil; it causes our practical identities to be divided. The question then arises: how could we possibly strive for moral integrity, while simultaneously being infected (...)
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  17. added 2015-07-17
    Susanne Bobzien (2014). Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 3.5, 1113b7-8 and Free Choice. In R. Salles P. Destree (ed.), What is up to us? Studies on Causality and Responsibility in Ancient Philosophy. Academia Verlag
    ABSTRACT: This is a short companion piece to my ‘Found in Translation – Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics III.5 1113b7-8 and its Reception’ in which I examine in close textual analysis the philosophical question whether these two lines from the Nicomachean Ethics provide any evidence that Aristotle discussed free choice – as is not infrequently assumed. The result is that they do not, and that the claim that they do tends to be based on a mistranslation of the Greek. (There is some (...)
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  18. added 2015-07-16
    Amod Lele (2015). The Metaphysical Basis of Śāntideva's Ethics. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 22:249-283.
    Western Buddhists often believe and proclaim that metaphysical speculation is irrelevant to Buddhist ethics or practice. This view is problematic even with respect to early Buddhism, and cannot be sustained regarding later Indian Buddhists. In Śāntideva’s famous Bodhicaryāvatāra, multiple claims about the nature of reality are premises for conclusions about how human beings should act; that is, metaphysics logically entails ethics for Śāntideva, as it does for many Western philosophers. This article explores four key arguments that Śāntideva makes from metaphysics (...)
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  19. added 2015-07-14
    Ezio Di Nucci (forthcoming). Strategic Bombing, Causal Beliefs, and Double Effect. Journal of Value Inquiry.
    I argue against the Doctrine of Double Effect’s explanation of the moral difference between terror bombing and strategic bombing. I show that the standard thought-experiment of terror bombing and strategic bombing which dominates this debate is underdetermined with regards to the agents’ psychologies: (a) if Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber have the same causal beliefs, then why does Terror Bomber set out to kill the children? It may then be this unwarranted and immoral choice and not the Doctrine of Double (...)
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  20. added 2015-07-10
    Cristina Bicchieri & Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara (eds.) (2011). Knowledge, Belief, and Strategic Interaction. Cambridge University Press.
    There has been a great deal of interaction among game theorists, philosophers and logicians in certain foundational problems concerning rationality, the formalization of knowledge and practical reasoning, and models of learning and deliberation. This volume brings together the work of some of the pre-eminent figures in their respective disciplines, all of whom are engaged in research at the forefront of their fields. Together they offer a conspectus of the interaction of game theory, logic and epistemology in the formal models of (...)
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  21. added 2015-07-10
    Eddy Nahmias (2010). Scientific Challenges to Free Will. In C. Sandis & T. O'Connor (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action. Wiley-Blackwell 345-356.
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  22. added 2015-07-10
    T. R. Harrison (2010). Rational Action. Cambridge University Press.
    This volume is concerned with the concept of rationality and the interrelations between rationality, belief and desire in the explanation and evaluation of human action. The book is conceived and structured to represent some of the most important general differences of approach to these problems, and also to connect them with problems about the relation of individual to social behaviour which are of central interest to historians, social theorists and economists as well as to philosophers. The essays have all been (...)
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  23. added 2015-07-09
    Steven Swartzer (2015). Humean Externalism and the Argument From Depression. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-16.
    Several prominent philosophers have argued that the fact that depressed agents sometimes make moral judgments without being appropriately motivated supports Humean externalism – the view that moral motivation must be explained in terms of desires that are distinct from or “external” to an agent’s motivationally inert moral judgments. This essay argues that such motivational failures do not, in fact, provide evidence for this view. I argue that, if the externalist argument from depression is to undermine a philo-sophically important version of (...)
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  24. added 2015-07-08
    Howard J. Simmons, Why You Should One-Box in Newcomb's Problem.
    I consider a familiar argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's Problem and find it defective because it involves a type of divergence from standard Baysian reasoning, which, though sometimes justified, conflicts with the stipulations of the Newcomb scenario. In an appendix, I also find fault with a different argument for two-boxing that has been presented by Graham Priest.
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  25. added 2015-07-07
    Olle Blomberg (forthcoming). Common Knowledge and Reductionism About Shared Agency. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
    Most reductionist accounts of intentional joint action include a condition that it must be common knowledge between participants that they have certain intentions and beliefs that cause and coordinate the joint action. However, this condition has typically simply been taken for granted rather than argued for. The condition is not necessary for ensuring that participants are jointly responsible for the action in which each participates, nor for ensuring that each treats the others as partners rather than as social tools. It (...)
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  26. added 2015-07-07
    Roger Frantz & Leslie Marsh (eds.) (forthcoming). MINDS, MODELS AND MILIEUX: COMMEMORATING THE CENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF HERBERT SIMON. Palgrave Macmillan.
  27. added 2015-07-03
    Amir Saemi (2015). Aiming at the Good. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):197-219.
    This paper shows how we can plausibly extend the guise of the good thesis in a way that avoids intellectualist challenge, allows animals to be included, and is consistent with the possibility of performing action under the cognition of their badness. The paper also presents some independent arguments for the plausibility of this interpretation of the thesis. To this aim, a teleological conception of practical attitudes as well as a cognitivist account of arational desires is offered.
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  28. added 2015-07-02
    Sabine Döring & Bahadir Eker (forthcoming). Desires Without Guises: Why We Need Not Value What We Want. In Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press
    Evaluativism about desire, the view that desires just are, or necessarily involve, positive evaluations of their objects, currently enjoys widespread popularity in many philosophical circles. This chapter argues that evaluativism, in both of its doxastic and perceptual versions, overstates and mischaracterises the connection between desires and evaluations. Whereas doxastic evaluativism implausibly rules out cases where someone has a desire, despite evaluating its object negatively, being uncertain about its value, or having no doxastic attitude whatsoever towards its evaluative status at all, (...)
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  29. added 2015-07-01
    John Bishop (forthcoming). On the Prospects for a Naturalistic Incompatibilist Metaphysics of Agency. Analysis:anv048.
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  30. added 2015-06-30
    Nathaniel Sharadin (2015). A Partial Defense of Permissivism. Ratio 28 (2).
    Permissivism is the view that sometimes an agent's total evidential state entails both that she is epistemically permitted to believe that P and that she is epistemically permitted to believe that Q, where P and Q are contradictories. Uniqueness is the denial of Permissivism. Permissivism has recently come under attack on several fronts. If these attacks are successful, then we may be forced to accept an unwelcome asymmetry between epistemic and practical rationality. In this essay I clarify the debate by (...)
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  31. added 2015-06-29
    Daniel Whiting (2015). Knowledge is Not Belief for Sufficient (Objective and Subjective) Reason. Logos and Episteme 6:237-243.
    Mark Schroeder has recently proposed a new analysis of knowledge. I examine that analysis and show that it fails. More specifically, I show that it faces a problem all too familiar from the post-Gettier literature, namely, that it is delivers the wrong verdict in fake barn cases.
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  32. added 2015-06-24
    Paul Benson (2005). Authority and Voice in Autonomous Agency. In Anderson Joel & Christman John (eds.), Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism. Cambridge University Press 101-126.
    How can any of my actions genuinely be my own? How can they be more than just intentional performances, with whatever investment of my will that involves, but also belong to me in the special way that makes me autonomous in performing them? How, in other words, can any of my actions be my own in such a way that they arise from or manifest my capacities for self-governance? -/- The literature on (locally) autonomous agency employs a number of metaphors (...)
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  33. added 2015-06-23
    Sabina Lovibond (2002). Chapter One. The Practical Reason View of Ethics. In Ethical Formation. Harvard University Press 3-23.
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  34. added 2015-06-22
    Robyn Repko Waller & Russell L. Waller (forthcoming). Forking Paths and Freedom: A Challenge to Libertarian Accounts of Free Will. Philosophia:1-14.
    The aim of this paper is to challenge libertarian accounts of free will. It is argued that there is an irreconcilable tension between the way in which philosophers motivate the incompatibilist ability to do otherwise and the way in which they formally express it. Potential incompatibilist responses in the face of this tension are canvassed, and it is argued that each response is problematic. It is not claimed that incompatibilist accounts in general are incoherent, but rather that any incompatibilist account (...)
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  35. added 2015-06-21
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). Nothing but the Evidential Considerations? Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-19.
    A number of philosophers have claimed that non-evidential considerations cannot play a role in doxastic deliberation as motivating reasons to believe a proposition. This claim, interesting in its own right, naturally lends itself to use in a range of arguments for a wide array of substantive philosophical theses. I argue, by way of a counterexample, that the claim to which all these arguments appeal is false. I then consider and reply to seven objections to my counterexample. Finally, as a way (...)
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  36. added 2015-06-17
    Eddy Nahmias (2015). Why We Have Free Will. Scientific American 312 (1):77-79.
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  37. added 2015-06-17
    Caspar Hare & Brian Hedden (2015). Self‐Reinforcing and Self‐Frustrating Decisions. Noûs 49 (3).
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  38. added 2015-06-17
    Eddy Nahmias (2011). Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? The New York Times 11.
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  39. added 2015-06-17
    Takahiro Osumi & Hideki Ohira (2010). The Positive Side of Psychopathy: Emotional Detachment in Psychopathy and Rational Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game. Personality and Individual Differences 49:451–456.
    An emotional deficit in individuals with psychopathy has been regarded as a potential factor in the disinhibition of selfish behaviors, which can be an impediment to a successful life in human society. However, recent studies in the field of economics have made clear that emotional function is associated with irrational decision-making. In the present study, to test whether psychopathy may have a positive aspect in a social setting, we examined the decision-making of college students with high and low tendencies for (...)
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  40. added 2015-06-15
    Anne Margaret Baxley (2014). Virtue, Self-Mastery, and the Autocracy of Practical Reason. In Lara Denis & Oliver Sensen (eds.), Kant’s Lectures on Ethics: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press 223-238.
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  41. added 2015-06-14
    Randolph Clarke (2011). Alternatives for Libertarians. In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd edition. 329-48.
    This essay examines several varieties of libertarian accounts of free will. Some require free actions to be uncaused, some require agent causation, and some require non-deterministic event causation. Difficulties are raised for all of these varieties.
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  42. added 2015-06-13
    James Dreier (2015). Can Reasons Fundamentalism Answer the Normative Question? In Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.), Motivational Internalism. Oxford University Press
  43. added 2015-06-12
    Tim Klaassen, Nature's Providence: The Representational Role of Vision.
    In this paper, I propose that visual perception is a straightforward case of (mental) representation. The phenomenology of vision is key here: as we see, we are directly presented with aspects of the environment that are at various distances away from us. Through the process of vision, aspects of the environment that would otherwise still be unavailable or “absent”, are made (quasi-)available, or (quasi-)present. This already by itself makes vision deserving of the name ‘representational’. Moreover, all of this holds true, (...)
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  44. added 2015-06-12
    Ralph Wedgwood (forthcoming). The Pitfalls of 'Reasons'. Philosophical Issues 25.
    Many philosophers working on the branches of philosophy that deal with the normative questions have adopted a "Reasons First" program. This paper criticizes the foundational assumptions of this program. In fact, there are many different concepts that can be expressed by the term 'reason' in English, none of which are any more fundamental than any others. Indeed, most of these concepts are particularly fundamental in any interesting sense.
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  45. added 2015-06-12
    Holly Lawford-Smith (forthcoming). What 'We'? Journal of Social Ontology.
    The objective of this paper is to explain why certain authors - both popular and academic - are making a mistake when they attribute obligations to uncoordinated groups of persons, and to argue that it is particularly unhelpful to make this mistake given the prevalence of individuals faced with the difficult question of what morality requires of them in a situation in which there's a good they can bring about together with others, but not alone. I'll defend two alternatives to (...)
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  46. added 2015-06-08
    Elizabeth S. Radcliffe (2015). The Inertness of Reason and Hume's Legacy (On-Line Publication 2015, Issue Backdated to 2012). Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (S1):117-33.
    Hume argues against the seventeenth-century rationalists that reason is impotent to motivate action and to originate morality. Hume's arguments have standardly been considered the foundation for the Humean theory of motivation in contemporary philosophy. The Humean theory alleges that beliefs require independent desires to motivate action. Recently, however, new commentaries allege that Hume's argument concerning the inertness of reason has no bearing on whether beliefs can motivate. These commentaries maintain that for Hume, beliefs about future pleasurable and painful objects on (...)
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  47. added 2015-06-08
    Seth Shabo (2015). Review of Bruce Waller's The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015 (April).
  48. added 2015-06-05
    Philippe Mongin (2015). Ranking Multidimensional Alternatives and Uncertain Prospects. Journal of Economic Theory 157.
    We introduce a ranking of multidimensional alternatives, including uncertain prospects as a particular case, when these objects can be given a matrix form. This ranking is separable in terms of rows and columns, and continuous and monotonic in the basic quantities. Owing to the theory of additive separability developed here, we derive very precise numerical representations over a large class of domains (i.e., typically notof the Cartesian product form). We apply these representationsto (1)streams of commodity baskets through time, (2)uncertain social (...)
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  49. added 2015-06-04
    Gregg D. Caruso (forthcoming). Free Will Skepticism and Criminal Behavior: A Public Health-Quarantine Model. Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1).
    One of the most frequently voiced criticisms of free will skepticism is that it is unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior and that the responses it would permit as justified are insufficient for acceptable social policy. This concern is fueled by two factors. The first is that one of the most prominent justifications for punishing criminals, retributivism, is incompatible with free will skepticism. The second concern is that alternative justifications that are not ruled out by the skeptical view per (...)
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  50. added 2015-06-04
    David-Hillel Ruben (forthcoming). The Physical Action Theory of Trying. Methode 2015 (Oct.).
    Metaphysically speaking, just what is trying? There appear to be two options: to place it on the side of the mind (or brain) or on the side of the world (where the latter includes the agent’s body). Volitionists, who think that to try is to engage in a mental act, perhaps identical to willing and perhaps not, take the mind-side option. The second, or world-side option identifies trying to do something with one of the more basic actions by which one (...)
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