Moti Mizrahi St. John's University
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  1. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive? International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-13.
    In this paper, I argue that Constructive Empiricism (CE) is ambiguous between two interpretations: CE as a normative epistemology of science and CE as a descriptive philosophy of science. When they present CE, constructive empiricists write as if CE is supposed to be more than a normative epistemology of science and that it is meant to be responsible to actual scientific practices. However, when they respond to objections, constructive empiricists fall back on a strictly normative interpretation of CE. This ambiguity (...)
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  2. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Don't Believe the Hype: Why Should Philosophical Theories Yield to Intuitions? Teorema.
    In this paper, I argue that, contrary to common opinion, a counterexample against a philosophical theory does not amount to conclusive evidence against that theory. Instead, the method of counterexamples allows for the derivation of a disjunction, i.e., ‘either the theory is false or an auxiliary assumption is false’, not a negation of the target theory. This is so because, whenever the method of counterexamples is used in an attempt to refute a philosophical theory, there is a crucial auxiliary assumption (...)
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  3. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument? Social Epistemology.
    In this paper, I argue that there is neither valid deductive support nor strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis. There is no valid deductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis because, from the fact that the reference of the same kind terms changes or discontinues from one theoretical framework to another, it does not necessarily follow that these two theoretical frameworks are taxonomically incommensurable. There is no strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, since there are rebutting defeaters against it (...)
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  4. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Phenomenal Conservatism and Self-Defeat Arguments: A Reply to Huemer. Logos and Episteme.
    In this paper, I respond to Michael Huemer’s reply to my objection against Phenomenal Conservatism (PC). I have argued that Huemer’s Self-defeat Argument for PC does not favor PC over competing theories of basic propositional justification, since analogous self-defeat arguments can be constructed for competing theories. Huemer responds that such analogous self-defeat arguments are unsound. In this paper, I argue that Huemer’s reply does not save his Self-defeat Argument for PC from my original objection.
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  5. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Simulation Hypothesis. Think.
    In this paper, I propose that, in addition to the multiverse hypothesis, which is commonly taken to be an alternative explanation for fine-tuning, other than the design hypothesis, the simulation hypothesis is another explanation for fine-tuning. I then argue that the simulation hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘designer’ and ‘supernatural designer of immense power and knowledge’ in much the same way that the multiverse hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘fine-tuning’ and ‘fine-tuner’ (or ‘designer’). If this is (...)
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  6. Moti Mizrahi (2014). Against Phenomenal Conservatism: A Reply to Moretti. The Reasoner 8 (3):26.
    In this paper, I reply to Moretti's objection to my reductio against Phenomenal Conservatism.
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  7. Moti Mizrahi (2014). Are Seemings Trustworthy? A Reply to Piazza. The Reasoner 8 (9):100-101.
    I reply to Piazza's objection to my reductio against phenomenal conservatism.
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  8. Moti Mizrahi (2014). Does the Method of Cases Rest on a Mistake? Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):183-197.
    In this paper, I argue that the method of cases (namely, the method of using intuitive judgments elicited by intuition pumps as evidence for and/or against philosophical theories) is not a reliable method of generating evidence for and/or against philosophical theories. In other words, the method of cases is unlikely to generate accurate judgments more often than not. This is so because, if perception and intuition are analogous in epistemically relevant respects, then using intuition pumps to elicit intuitive judgments is (...)
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  9. Moti Mizrahi (2014). Essentialism: Metaphysical or Psychological? Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (40):65-72.
    In this paper, I argue that Psychological Essentialism (PE), the view that essences are a heuristic or mental shortcut, is a better explanation for modal intuitions than Metaphysical Essentialism (ME), the view that objects have essences, or more precisely, that (at least some) objects have (at least some) essential properties. If this is correct, then the mere fact that we have modal intuitions is not a strong reason to believe that objects have essential properties.
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  10. Moti Mizrahi (2014). Phenomenal Conservatism, Justification, and Self-Defeat. Logos and Episteme 5 (1):103-110.
    In this paper, I argue that Phenomenal Conservatism (PC) is not superior to alternative theories of basic propositional justification insofar as those theories that reject PC are self-defeating. I show that self-defeat arguments similar to Michael Huemer’s Self-Defeat Argument for PC can be constructed for other theories of basic propositional justification as well. If this is correct, then there is nothing special about PC in that respect. In other words, if self-defeat arguments can be advanced in support of alternatives to (...)
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  11. Moti Mizrahi (2014). The Problem of Natural Inequality: A New Problem of Evil. Philosophia 42 (1):127-136.
    In this paper, I argue that there is a kind of evil, namely, the unequal distribution of natural endowments, or natural inequality, which presents theists with a new evidential (not logical or incompatibility) problem of evil. The problem of natural inequality is a new evidential problem of evil not only because, to the best of my knowledge, it has not yet been discussed in the literature, but also because available theodicies, such the free will defense and the soul-making defense, are (...)
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  12. Moti Mizrahi & Wesley Buckwalter (2014). The Role of Justification in the Ordinary Concept of Scientific Progress. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 45 (1):151-166.
    Alexander Bird and Darrell Rowbottom have argued for two competing accounts of the concept of scientific progress. For Bird, progress consists in the accumulation of scientific knowledge. For Rowbottom, progress consists in the accumulation of true scientific beliefs. Both appeal to intuitions elicited by thought experiments in support of their views, and it seems fair to say that the debate has reached an impasse. In an attempt to avoid this stalemate, we conduct a systematic study of the factors that underlie (...)
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  13. Moti Mizrahi & David R. Morrow (2014). Does Conceivability Entail Metaphysical Possibility? Ratio 26 (4).
    In this paper, we argue that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’, which is the view that ideal primary positive conceivability entails primary metaphysical possibility, is self-defeating. To this end, we outline two reductio arguments against ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’. The first reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that conceivability both is and is not conclusive evidence for possibility. The second reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that it is possible (...)
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  14. Moti Mizrahi (2013). Against Phenomenal Conservatism. The Reasoner 7 (10):117-118.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Phenomenal Conservatism. If sound, this reductio shows that the phenomenal conservative is committed to the claim that appealing to appearances is not a trustworthy method of fixing belief.
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  15. Moti Mizrahi (2013). Why the Argument From Zombies Against Physicalism is Question-Begging. The Reasoner 7 (8):94-95.
    I argue that the argument from zombies against physicalism is question-begging unless proponents of the argument from zombies can justify the inference from the metaphysical possibility of zombies to the falsity of physicalism in an independent and non-circular way, i.e., a way that does not already assume the falsity of physicalism.
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  16. Moti Mizrahi (2013). More Intuition Mongering. The Reasoner 7 (1):5-6.
    In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are weak arguments because intellectual intuition is an unreliable belief-forming process, since it yields incompatible verdicts in response to the same cases, and since the inference from 'It seems to S that p' to 'p' is unreliable. Since the reliability of intellectual intuition is a necessary condition for strong appeals to intuition, it follows that appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
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  17. Moti Mizrahi (2013). New Puzzles About Divine Attributes. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (2):147-157.
    According to traditional Western theism, God is maximally great (or perfect). More explicitly, God is said to have the following divine attributes: omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence. In this paper, I present three puzzles about this conception of a maximally great (or perfect) being. The first puzzle about omniscience shows that this divine attribute is incoherent. The second puzzle about omnibenevolence and omnipotence shows that these divine attributes are logically incompatible. The third puzzle about perfect rationality and omnipotence shows that these (...)
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  18. Moti Mizrahi (2013). On Proving Too Much. Acta Analytica 28 (3):353-358.
    It is quite common to object to an argument by saying that it “proves too much.” In this paper, I argue that the “proving too much” charge can be understood in at least three different ways. I explain these three interpretations of the “proving too much” charge. I urge anyone who is inclined to level the “proving too much” charge against an argument to think about which interpretation of that charge one has in mind.
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  19. Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Argument From Underconsideration and Relative Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):393-407.
    In this article, through a critical examination of K. Brad Wray's version of the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism, I articulate a modest version of scientific realism. This modest realist position, which I call ‘relative realism’, preserves the scientific realist's optimism about science's ability to get closer to the truth while, at the same time, taking on board the antirealist's premise that theory evaluation is comparative, and thus that there are no good reasons to think that science's best theories (...)
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  20. Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far. Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226.
    In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then (...)
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  21. Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Problem of Unconceived Objections. Argumentation:1-12.
    In this paper, I argue that, just as the problem of unconceived alternatives provides a basis for a New Induction on the History of Science to the effect that a realist view of science is unwarranted, the problem of unconceived objections provides a basis for a New Induction on the History of Philosophy to the effect that a realist view of philosophy is unwarranted. I raise this problem not only for skepticism’s sake but also for the sake of making a (...)
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  22. Moti Mizrahi (2013). Why Arguments From Expert Opinion Are Weak Arguments. Informal Logic 33 (1):57-79.
    In this paper, I argue that arguments from expert opinion, i.e., inferences from “Expert E says that p” to “p,” where the truth value of p is unknown, are weak arguments. A weak argument is an argument in which the premises, even if true, provide weak support—or no support at all—for the conclusion. Such arguments from expert opinion are weak arguments unless the fact that an expert says that p makes p significantly more likely to be true. However, research on (...)
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  23. Moti Mizrahi (2013). Why Hypothetical Syllogism is Invalid for Indicative Conditionals. Thought 1 (4):40-43.
    In this article, I present a schema for generating counterexamples to the argument form known as Hypothetical Syllogism (HS) with indicative conditionals. If my schema for generating counterexamples to HS works as I think it does, then HS is invalid for indicative conditionals.
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  24. Moti Mizrahi (2013). What is Scientific Progress? Lessons From Scientific Practice. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 44 (2):375-390.
    Alexander Bird argues for an epistemic account of scientific progress, whereas Darrell Rowbottom argues for a semantic account. Both appeal to intuitions about hypothetical cases in support of their accounts. Since the methodological significance of such appeals to intuition is unclear, I think that a new approach might be fruitful at this stage in the debate. So I propose to abandon appeals to intuition and look at scientific practice instead. I discuss two cases that illustrate the way in which scientists (...)
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  25. Moti Mizrahi (2012). A Decision Procedure for Evaluating Natural Language Arguments. APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy 12 (1):11-12.
    In this paper, I present a decision procedure for evaluating arguments expressed in natural language. I think that other instructors of informal logic and critical thinking might find this decision procedure to be a useful addition to their teaching resources.
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  26. Moti Mizrahi (2012). Does 'Ought' Imply 'Can' From an Epistemic Point of View? Philosophia 40 (4):829-840.
    In this paper, I argue that the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle, as it is employed in epistemology, particularly in the literature on epistemic norms, is open to counterexamples. I present a counterexample to OIC and discuss several objections to it. If this counterexample works, then it shows that it is possible that S ought to believe that p, even though S cannot believe that p. If this is correct, then OIC, considered from an epistemic point of view, is false, (...)
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  27. Moti Mizrahi (2012). Idealizations and Scientific Understanding. Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.
    In this paper, I propose that the debate in epistemology concerning the nature and value of understanding can shed light on the role of scientific idealizations in producing scientific understanding. In philosophy of science, the received view seems to be that understanding is a species of knowledge. On this view, understanding is factive just as knowledge is, i.e., if S knows that p, then p is true. Epistemologists, however, distinguish between different kinds of understanding. Among epistemologists, there are those who (...)
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  28. Moti Mizrahi (2012). Intuition Mongering. The Reasoner 6 (11):169-170.
    In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are strong arguments just in case there is an agreement among the relevant philosophers concerning the intuition in question. Otherwise, appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
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  29. Moti Mizrahi (2012). Why the Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism Ultimately Fails. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):132-138.
    In this paper, I argue that the ultimate argument for Scientific Realism, also known as the No-Miracles Argument (NMA), ultimately fails as an abductive defence of Epistemic Scientific Realism (ESR), where (ESR) is the thesis that successful theories of mature sciences are approximately true. The NMA is supposed to be an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) that purports to explain the success of science. However, the explanation offered as the best explanation for success, namely (ESR), fails to yield independently (...)
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  30. Moti Mizrahi (2011). A Pedagogical Challenge in Teaching Arguments for the Existence of God. APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy 11 (1):10-12.
    In this paper, I describe the way in which I introduce arguments for the existence of God to undergraduate students in Introduction to Philosophy.
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  31. Moti Mizrahi (2010). Take My Advice—I Am Not Following It: Ad Hominem Arguments as Legitimate Rebuttals to Appeals to Authority. Informal Logic 30 (4):435-456.
    In this paper, I argue that ad hominem arguments are not always fallacious. More explicitly, in certain cases of practical reasoning, the circumstances of a person are relevant to whether or not the conclusion should be accepted. This occurs, I suggest, when a person gives advice to others or prescribes certain courses of action but fails to follow her own advice or act in accordance with her own prescriptions. This is not an instance of a fallacious tu quoque provided that (...)
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  32. Moti Mizrahi (2009). ‘Ought’ Does Not Imply ‘Can’. Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):19-35.
    According to the Ought-Implies-Can principle (OIC), an agent ought to perform a certain action only if the agent can perform that action. Proponents of OIC interpret this supposed implication in several ways. Some argue that the implication in question is a logical one, namely, entailment. Some think that the relation between ‘ought’ and ‘can’ is a relation of presupposition. Still others argue that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. Opponents of OIC offer a variety of counterexamples in an attempt to show that (...)
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