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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 2014-07-23
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). How You Can Reasonably Form Expectations When You're Expecting. Res Philosophica.
    L.A. Paul has argued that an ordinary, natural way of making a decision -- by reflecting on the phenomenal character of the experiences one will have as a result of that decision -- cannot yield rational decision in certain cases. Paul's argument turns on the (in principle) epistemically inaccessible phenomenal character of certain experiences. In this paper I argue that, even granting Paul a range of assumptions, her argument doesn't work to establish its conclusion. This is because, as I argue, (...)
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  2. added 2014-07-23
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). Problems for Pure Probabilism About Promotion (and a Disjunctive Alternative). Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    Humean promotionalists about reasons think that whether there is a reason for an agent to ϕ depends on whether her ϕ-ing promotes the satisfaction of at least one of her desires. Several authors have recently defended probabilistic accounts of promotion, according to which an agent’s ϕ-ing promotes the satisfaction of one of her desires just in case her ϕ-ing makes the satisfaction of that desire more probable relative to some baseline. In this paper I do three things. First, I formalize (...)
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  3. added 2014-07-23
    Sven Nyholm (forthcoming). Ingmar Persson, From Morality to the End of Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) Pp. 336. [REVIEW] Utilitas 2014.
    Persson argues that common sense morality involves various “asymmetries” that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny. (One example is that intentionally harming others is commonly thought to be worse than merely allowing harm to happen, even if the harm involved is equal in both cases.) A wholly rational morality would, Persson argues, be wholly symmetrical. He also argues, however, that when we get down to our most basic attitudes and dispositions, we reach the “end of reason,” at which point we (...)
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  4. added 2014-07-20
    Seth Shabo (2014). Review of J. M. Fischer's Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Value. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):523-526.
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  5. 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 (5):n/a-n/a.
    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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  6. added 2014-07-17
    David Palmer (ed.) (forthcoming). Libertarian Free Will: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press.
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  7. added 2014-07-17
    Brian Epstein (2010). The Diviner and the Scientist: Revisiting the Question of Alternative Standards of Rationality. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 78 (4):1048-1086.
    Are the standards of reasoning and rationality in divination, religious practice, and textual exegesis different from those in the sciences? Can there be different standards of reasoning and rationality at all? The intense “rationality debate” of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s focused on these questions and the related problems of relativism across cultures and systems of practice. Although philosophers were at the center of these debates at the time, they may appear to have abandoned the question in recent years. On (...)
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  8. added 2014-07-16
    David Palmer (forthcoming). Deterministic Frankfurt Cases. Synthese.
    According to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), people are morally responsible for what they do only if they could have done otherwise. Over the last few decades, this principle has dominated discussions of free will and moral responsibility. One important strand of this discussion concerns the Frankfurt-type cases or Frankfurt cases, originally developed by Frankfurt (J Philos 66:829–839, 1969), which are alleged counterexamples to PAP. One way in which proponents of PAP have responded to these purported counterexamples is by (...)
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  9. added 2014-07-15
    B. Cutter & M. Tye (forthcoming). Pains and Reasons: Why It is Rational to Kill the Messenger. Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this paper, we defend the representationalist theory of phenomenal consciousness against a recent objection due to Hilla Jacobson, who charges representationalism with a failure to explain the role of pain in rationalizing certain forms of behavior. In rough outline, her objection is that the representationalist is unable to account for the rationality of certain acts, such as the act of taking pain killers, which are aimed at getting rid of the experience of pain rather than its intentional object. If (...)
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  10. added 2014-07-14
    Christian Piller (2013). The Bootstrapping Objection. Organon F 20 (4):612-631.
    If our mental attitudes were reasons, we could bootstrap anything into rationality simply by acquiring these mental attitudes. This, it has been argued, shows that mental attitudes cannot be reasons. In this paper, I focus on John Broome’s development of the bootstrapping objection. I distinguish various versions of this objection and I argue that the bootstrapping objection to mind-based accounts of reasons fails in all its versions.
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  11. added 2014-07-13
    Eric Cator & Klaas Landsman (2014). Constraints on Determinism: Bell Versus Conway–Kochen. Foundations of Physics 44 (7):781-791.
    Bell’s Theorem from Physics 36:1–28 (1964) and the (Strong) Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen from Notices AMS 56:226–232 (2009) both exclude deterministic hidden variable theories (or, in modern parlance, ‘ontological models’) that are compatible with some small fragment of quantum mechanics, admit ‘free’ settings of the archetypal Alice and Bob experiment, and satisfy a locality condition akin to parameter independence. We clarify the relationship between these theorems by giving reformulations of both that exactly pinpoint their resemblance and their (...)
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  12. added 2014-07-10
    Danny Frederick, What Free Will Is.
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  13. added 2014-07-10
    James Cain (forthcoming). The Kane-Widerker Objection to Frankfurt Examples. Philosophia:1-9.
    I will argue that the Kane-Widerker objection to Frankfurt examples is much weaker than is generally recognized. The Kane-Widerker objection holds that proponents of Frankfurt examples beg the question against incompatibilist accounts of free and responsible action by constructing examples that tacitly assume a compatibilist account of moral responsibility; that is, they assume that one can have non-derivative responsibility for choices that were not undetermined prior to their occurrence. The notion of an event, E, being ‘undetermined prior to its occurrence’ (...)
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  14. added 2014-07-10
    Michael McKenna & Derk Pereboom (2015). Free Will: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge.
    If my ability to react freely is constrained by forces beyond my control, am I still morally responsible for the things I do? The question of whether, how and to what extent we are responsible for our own actions has always been central to debates in philosophy and theology, and has been the subject of much recent research in cognitive science. And for good reason- the views we take on free will affect the choices we make as individuals, the moral (...)
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  15. added 2014-07-10
    Robert Kane (2014). Acting 'of One's Own Free Will': Modern Reflections on an Ancient Philosophical Problem. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (1pt1):35-55.
    Over the past five decades, I have been developing a distinctive view of free will according to which it requires that agents be to some degree ultimately responsible for the formation of their own wills (characters, motives and purposes). To act ‘of one's own free will’ in this sense is to act ‘from a will’ that is to some extent ‘of one's own free making’. A free will of this ultimate kind (often called ‘incompatibilist’ or ‘libertarian’) has been under attack (...)
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  16. added 2014-07-10
    Ishtiyaque Haji & Justin Caouette (2013). Introduction: Mapping the Terrain. In Ishtiyaque Haji & Justin Caouette (eds.), Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Press. 1-25.
    Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack "responsibility-grounding" control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. (...)
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  17. added 2014-07-09
    Ezio Di Nucci (2014). Ethics Without Intention. Bloomsbury.
    Ethics Without Intention tackles the questions raised by difficult moral dilemmas by providing a critical analysis of double effect and its most common ethical and political applications. The book discusses the philosophical distinction between intended harm and foreseen but unintended harm. This distinction, which, according to the doctrine of double effect, makes a difference to the moral justification of actions, is widely applied to some of the most controversial ethical and political questions of our time: collateral damages in wars and (...)
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  18. added 2014-07-07
    Markus E. Schlosser (forthcoming). Manipulation and the Zygote Argument: Another Reply. Journal of Ethics.
    Alfred Mele's zygote argument is widely considered to be the strongest version of the manipulation argument against compatibilism (about free will and determinism). Opponents have focused largely on the first of its two premises and on the overall dialectic. My focus here will be on the underlying thought experiment—the Diana scenario—and on the second premise of the argument. I will argue that reflection on the Diana scenario shows that the second premise does not hold, and we will see that my (...)
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  19. added 2014-07-07
    Stuart Kauffman (2014). Beyond the Stalemate: Conscious MInd -Body - Quantum Mechanics - Free Will - Possible Panpsychism - Possible Interpretation of Quantum Enigma. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 10 (1):149-169.
    I wish to discuss a large, interwoven set of topics pointed at in the title above. Much of what I say is highly speculative, some is testable, some is, at present, surely not. It is, I hope, useful, to set these ideas forth for our consideration. What I shall say assumes quantum measurement is real, and that Bohm's interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is not true. The Stalemate: In our contemporary neurobiology and much of the philosophy of mind post Descartes we (...)
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  20. added 2014-07-07
    Florian Cova & Yasuko Kitano (2013). Experimental Philosophy and the Compatibility of Free Will and Determinism: A Survey. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science:17-37.
    The debate over whether free will and determinism are compatible is controversial, and produces wide scholarly discussion. This paper argues that recent studies in experimental philosophy suggest that people are in fact “natural compatibilists”. To support this claim, it surveys the experimental literature bearing directly (section 1) or indirectly (section 2) upon this issue, before pointing to three possible limitations of this claim (section 3). However, notwithstanding these limitations, the investigation concludes that the existing empirical evidence seems to support the (...)
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  21. added 2014-07-03
    Benjamin Bagley (forthcoming). Loving Someone in Particular. Ethics.
    People loved for their beauty and cheerfulness are not loved as irreplaceable, yet people loved for “what their souls are made of” are. Or so literary romance implies; leading philosophical accounts, however, deny the distinction, holding that reasons for love either do not exist or do not include the beloved’s distinguishing features. In this, I argue, they deny an essential species of love. To account for it while preserving the beloved’s irreplaceability, I defend a model of agency on which people (...)
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  22. added 2014-07-02
    Chrisoula Andreou (2011). Choosing Well: Value Pluralism and Patterns of Choice. In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics.
  23. added 2014-07-02
    Chrisoula Andreou (2010). Coping with Procrastination. In Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White (ed.), The Thief of Time.
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  24. added 2014-07-02
    Chrisoula Andreou (2007). There Are Preferences and Then There Are Preferences. In Barbara Montero and Mark D. White (ed.), Economics and the Mind.
  25. added 2014-06-29
    Brian Gordon & Georg Theiner (forthcoming). Scaffolded Joint Action as a Micro–Foundation of Organizational Learning. In Charles B. Stone & Lucas Bietti (eds.), Contextualizing Human Memory: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding How Individuals and Groups Remember the Past. Psychology Press.
    Organizational learning, at the broadest levels, as it has come to be understood within the organization theory and management literatures, concerns the experientially driven changes in knowledge processes, structures, and resources that enable organizations to perform skillfully in their task environments (Argote and Miron–Spektor, 2011). In this chapter, we examine routines and capabilities as an important micro–foundation for organizational learning. Adopting a micro–foundational approach in line with Barney and Felin (2013), we propose a new model for explaining how routines and (...)
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  26. added 2014-06-26
    Rasmus Thybo Jensen (2013). Merleau-Ponty and the Transcendental Problem of Bodily Agency. In Rasmus Thybo Jensen Dermot Moran (ed.), The Phenomenology of Embodied Subjectivity, Contributions to Phenomenology 71. 43-61.
    I argue that we find the articulation of a problem concerning bodily agency in the early works of the Merleau-Ponty which he explicates as analogous to what he explicitly calls the problem of perception. The problem of perception is the problem of seeing how we can have the object given in person through it perspectival appearances. The problem concerning bodily agency is the problem of seeing how our bodily movements can be the direct manifestation of a person’s intentions in the (...)
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  27. added 2014-06-25
    Anne Schwenkenbecher (forthcoming). Joint Moral Duties. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38.
    There are countless circumstances under which random individuals could act together to prevent something morally bad from happening or to remedy a morally bad situation. But when ought individuals to act together in order to bring about a morally important outcome? This paper seeks to answer that question. Building on Philip Pettit’s and David Schweikard’s account of joint action, I will put forward the notion of joint duties: duties to perform an action together that individuals in so-called random or unstructured (...)
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  28. added 2014-06-25
    Benjamin Kiesewetter (2013). The Normativity of Rationality. Dissertation, Humboldt University of Berlin
    Sometimes our intentions and beliefs exhibit a structure that proves us to be irrational. This dissertation is concerned with the question of whether we ought (or have at least good reason) to avoid such irrationality. The thesis defends the normativity of rationality by presenting a new solution to the problems that arise from the common assumption that we ought to be rational. The argument touches upon many other topics in the theory of normativity, such as the form and the content (...)
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  29. added 2014-06-23
    Amir Saemi (forthcoming). The Guise of the Good and the Problem of Over-Intellectualism. Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (2):1-13.
    Abstract – I will argue that Raz’s defense of the doctrine of the guise of the good rests on a over-intellectualized account of action. Raz holds that attributing evaluative beliefs to agents is justified on explanatory grounds. I argue that this account fails to do justice to the first-personal character of action explanation. Moreover, I will argue that Raz’s account of action has its root in his restrictive and over-intellectualized understanding of normative explanation. I will suggest that we can have (...)
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  30. added 2014-06-22
    Matthew Silverstein (forthcoming). The Shmagency Question. Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    Constitutivists hope to locate the foundations of ethics in the nature of action. They hope to find norms that are constitutive of agency. Recently David Enoch has argued that even if there are such norms, they cannot provide the last word when it comes to normativity, since they cannot tell us whether we have reason to be agents rather than shmagents. I argue that the force of the shmagency objection has been considerably overestimated, because philosophers on both sides of the (...)
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  31. added 2014-06-18
    Hanno Sauer (forthcoming). It's the Knobe Effect, Stupid! Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-19.
    People asymmetrically attribute various agential features such as intentionality, knowledge, or causal impact to other agents when something of normative significance is at stake. I will argue that three questions are of primary interest in the debate about this effect. A methodological question about how to explain it at all; a substantive question about how to explain it correctly: and a normative question about whether to explain it in terms of an error or a legitimate judgmental pattern. The problem, I (...)
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  32. added 2014-06-16
    Constantine Sandis & Giuseppina D'Oro (2013). Reasons and Causes. Palgrave Macmillan.
  33. added 2014-06-09
    John R. Welch (forthcoming). Moral Strata. Springer.
    This volume recreates the received notion of reflective equilibrium. It reconfigures reflective equilibrium as both a cognitive ideal and a method for approximating this ideal. The ideal of reflective equilibrium is restructured using the concept of discursive strata, which are formed by sentences and differentiated by function. Sentences that perform the same kind of linguistic function constitute a stratum. The book shows how moral discourse can be analyzed into phenomenal, instrumental, and teleological strata, and the ideal of reflective equilibrium reworked (...)
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  34. added 2014-06-08
    Robert Lockie (forthcoming). Three Recent Frankfurt Cases. Philosophia:1-28.
    Three recent ‘state of the art’ Frankfurt cases are responded to: Widerker’s Brain-Malfunction-W case and Pereboom’s Tax Evasion cases (2 & 3). These cases are intended by their authors to resurrect the neo-Frankfurt project of overturning the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) in the teeth of the widespread acceptance of some combination of the WKG (Widerker-Kane-Ginet) dilemma, the Flicker of Freedom strategy and the revised PAP response (‘Principle of Alternative Blame’, ‘Principle of Alternative Expectations’). The three neo-Frankfurt cases of Pereboom (...)
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  35. added 2014-06-04
    Kristin Mickelson & Christian Lee, Redefining 'Determinism' [Temporarily Unavailable].
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  36. added 2014-06-04
    Facundo M. Alonso (forthcoming). What is Reliance? Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    In this article I attempt to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about reliance in a systematic way. I argue that reliance is a cognitive attitude that has a tighter connection to the guidance of our thought and action than ordinary belief does. My main thesis is that reliance has a ?constitutive aim?: namely, it aims at guiding our thought and action in a way that is sensible from the standpoint of practical or theoretical ends. This helps explain why reliance (...)
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  37. added 2014-06-04
    Ben Gibran (2014). Causal Realism in the Philosophy of Mind. Essays in Philosophy 15 (2):299-313.
    Causal realism is the view that causation is a structural feature of reality; a power inherent in the world to produce effects, independently of the existence of minds or observers. This article suggests that certain problems in the philosophy of mind are artefacts of causal realism; because they presuppose the existence or possibility of a mind-independent causal nexus between the ‘physical’ and the ‘mental’. These dilemmas include the 'hard problem' of consciousness, and the problems of free will and mental causality. (...)
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  38. added 2014-06-03
    Kristin Mickelson, A Critique of Vihvelin's "Three-Fold Classification&Quot;.
    The standard definitions of “incompatibilism” and “compatibilism” are problematic because these definitions do not capture the robust metaphysical and explanatory commitments of the historical views associated with these terms. As a result, equivocation on these terms is commonplace and the dialectic of the free-will debate has been obscured. Kadri Vihvelin (2013, 2011, 2008) proposes that philosophers replace the standard taxonomy of free-will views with her “Three-fold Classification.” In this essay, I argue that Vihvelin’s proposed taxonomy is also untenable. Among other (...)
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  39. added 2014-05-28
    Cian Dorr, Against Counterfactual Miracles.
    This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that then the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals (...)
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  40. added 2014-05-24
    Joshua Shepherd (forthcoming). Conscious Control Over Action. Mind and Language.
    The extensive involvement of nonconscious processes in human behaviour has led some to suggest that consciousness is much less important for the control of action than we might think. In this paper I push against this trend, developing an understanding of conscious control that is sensitive to our best models of overt (that is, bodily) action control. Further, I assess the cogency of various zombie challenges – challenges that seek to demote the importance of conscious control for human agency. I (...)
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  41. added 2014-05-23
    Susanna Rinard (forthcoming). A Decision Theory for Imprecise Credences. Philosophers' Imprint.
    Those who model doxastic states with a set of probability functions, rather than a single function, face a pressing challenge: can they provide a plausible decision theory compatible with their view? Adam Elga (2010) and others claim that they cannot, and that the set of functions model should be rejected for this reason. This paper aims to answer this challenge. The key insight is that the set of functions model can be seen as an instance of the supervaluationist approach to (...)
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  42. added 2014-05-22
    Tomasz Zuradzki (forthcoming). Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Rational Choice Under Risk or Uncertainty. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    In this paper I present an argument in favour of a parental duty to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). I argue that if embryos created in vitro were able to decide for themselves in a rational manner, they would sometimes choose PGD as a method of selection. Couples, therefore, should respect their hypothetical choices on a principle similar to that of patient autonomy. My thesis shows that no matter which moral doctrine couples subscribe to, they ought to conduct the PGD (...)
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  43. added 2014-05-20
    Marion Godman, Michiru Nagatsu & Mikko Salmela (forthcoming). The Social Motivation Hypothesis for Prosocial Behavior. Philosophy of the Social Sciences:0048393114530841.
    Existing economic models of prosociality have been rather silent in terms of proximate psychological mechanisms. We nevertheless identify the psychologically most informed accounts and offer a critical discussion of their hypotheses for the proximate psychological explanations. Based on convergent evidence from several fields of research, we argue that there nevertheless is a more plausible alternative proximate account available: the social motivation hypothesis. The hypothesis represents a more basic explanation of the appeal of prosocial behavior, which is in terms of anticipated (...)
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  44. added 2014-05-17
    Andrew Sepielli, Intertheoretic Comparisons of Value.
    A new solution to the problem of intertheoretic comparisons of value. This is the view I currently accept, and should be regarded as superseding the view presented in What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do.
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  45. added 2014-05-17
    Andrew Sepielli (forthcoming). Subjective and Objective Reasons. In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford.
    NOTE: This is a first draft. Please do not cite. Suggestions welcome./.
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  46. added 2014-05-16
    Simon Rippon (forthcoming). Were Kant's Hypothetical Imperatives Wide-Scope Oughts? Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    I defend the claim that Kant held a wide-scope view of hypothetical imperatives against objections raised by Mark Shroeder [2005]. There is an important objection, now commonly known as the ‘bootstrapping’ problem, to the alternative, narrow-scope, view which Schroeder attributes to Kant. Schroeder argues that Kant has sufficient resources to reply to the bootstrapping problem, and claims this leaves us with no good reason to attribute to Kant the wide-scope view. I show that Schroeder’s Kantian reply to the bootstrapping problem (...)
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  47. added 2014-05-16
    David Coady & Richard Corry (2013). The Climate Change Debate: An Epistemic and Ethical Enquiry. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Two kinds of philosophical questions are raised by the current public debate about climate change; epistemic questions (Whom should I believe? Is climate science a genuine science?), and ethical questions (Who should bear the burden? Must I sacrifice if others do not?). Although the former have been central to this debate, professional philosophers have dealt almost exclusively with the latter. This book is the first to address both the epistemic and ethical questions raised by the climate change debate and examine (...)
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  48. added 2014-05-12
    Adrian M. S. Piper, The Money Pump Is Necessarily Diachronic. Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin/Philosophy.
    In “The Irrelevance of the Diachronic Money-Pump Argument for Acyclicity,” The Journal of Philosophy CX, 8 (August 2013), 460-464, Johan E. Gustafsson contends that if Davidson, McKinsey and Suppes’ diachronic money-pump argument in their "Outlines of a Formal Theory of Value, I," Philosophy of Science 22 (1955), 140-160 is valid, so is the synchronic argument Gustafsson himself offers. He concludes that the latter renders irrelevant diachronic choice considerations in general, and the two best-known diachronic solutions to the money pump problem (...)
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  49. added 2014-05-12
    Asger Kirkeby-Hinrup (2014). How to Get Free Will From Positive Reinforcement. SATS 15 (1):20-38.
    I will start by noting that Harry Frankfurt’s concept of wholeheartedness is in conflict with the intuition that free will should be efficacious in general rather than pertain only to a small subset of decisions. To replace wholeheartedness I introduce a heuristic account for deliberation and decisions. I will show that introspective activity can lead to the individual having two types of “introspective revelations”. By the onset of the introspective revelations, a self-perpetuating loop is initiated. The loop consists of two (...)
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  50. added 2014-05-01
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). May Belief Outstrip Evidence? Ethics.
    In his "May Belief Outstrip Evidence?" (1916) Durant Drake argues that beliefs may sometimes permissibly outstrip evidence. Drake's novel idea is that epistemic reasons are not the final arbiter of the justificatory status of beliefs. In this short note I motivate Drake's idea by suggesting an analogy between the epistemic justification of belief and the moral justification of intention.
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