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About me
Studied at: London School of Economics, Lancaster University, Birkbeck College London. Taught at: King's College London. Current Situation: Taking a career break, reading, thinking, and doing some academic research.
My works
47 items found.
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  1. Danny Frederick, Ceteris-Paribus Law-Statements and Testability.
  2. Danny Frederick, Ethical Intuitionism: A Structural Critique.
    I present a structural critique of ethical intuitionism. Ethical intuitionists regard moral knowledge as deriving from moral intuition, moral observation, moral emotion and inference. However, moral intuitions, observations and emotions are cultural artefacts which often differ starkly between cultures. Intuitionists attribute uncongenial moral intuitions, observations or emotions to bias or to intellectual or moral failings; but that leads to sectarian ad hominen attacks. Intuitionists try to avoid this by restricting epistemically genuine intuitions, observations or emotions to those which are widely (...)
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  3. Danny Frederick, Haack's Defective Discussion of Popper and the Courts.
    Susan Haack criticises the US courts' use of Karl Popper's epistemology in discriminating acceptable scientific testimony. She claims that acceptable testimony should be reliable and that Popper's epistemology is useless in discriminating reliability. She says that Popper's views have been found acceptable only because they have been misunderstood and she indicates an alternative epistemology which she says can discriminate reliable theories. However, her account of Popper's views is a gross and gratuitous misrepresentation. Her alternative epistemology cannot do what she claims (...)
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  4. Danny Frederick, Theoretical and Practical Reason: A Critical Rationalist View.
    If the task of theoretical reason is to discover truth or reasons for belief, then theoretical reason is impossible. Attempts to circumvent this by appeal to probabilities are self-defeating. If the task of practical reason is to discover what we ought to do or what actions are desirable or valuable, then practical reason is impossible. Appeal to the subjective ought is self-defeating and often gives either a wrong answer or a self-contradictory one. I argue that the task of theoretical reason (...)
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  5. Danny Frederick, The Unsatisfactoriness of Unsaturatedness.
    Frege proposed his doctrine of unsaturatedness as a solution to the problems of the unity of the proposition and the unity of the sentence. I show that Frege’s theory is mystical, ad hoc, ineffective, paradoxical and entails that singular terms cannot be predicates. I explain the traditional solution to the problem of the unity of the sentence, as expounded by Mill, which invokes a syncategorematic sign of predication and the connotation and denotation of terms. I streamline this solution, bring it (...)
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  6. Danny Frederick (forthcoming). The Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority: A Critique of Huemer’s Critique. Reason Papers.
    How could a state have the moral authority to promulgate and enforce laws that citizens are thereby obliged to obey? That is the problem of political authority. The Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority contends that great social benefits depend upon there being a state with political authority. In his book, The Problem of Political Authority, Michael Huemer considers different types of explanation of political authority and he rejects them all. I show that the objections he raises to consequentialist accounts are (...)
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  7. Danny Frederick (forthcoming). The Possibility of Contractual Slavery. Philosophical Quarterly.
    In contrast to eminent historical philosophers, almost all contemporary philosophers maintain that slavery is impermissible. In the enthusiasm of the Enlightenment, a number of arguments gained currency which were intended to show that contractual slavery is not merely impermissible but impossible. Those arguments are influential today in moral, legal and political philosophy, even in discussions that go beyond the issue of contractual slavery. I explain what slavery is, giving historical and other illustrations. I examine the arguments for the impossibility of (...)
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  8. Danny Frederick (2015). Book Review: Robert Audi, 'Moral Perception'. [REVIEW] Reason Papers 37 (1):164-69.
    I summarise Robert Audi's 'Moral Perception.' I concede that there is such a thing as moral perception. However, moral perceptions are culturally-relative, which refutes Audi’s claims that moral perception may ground moral knowledge and that it provides inter-subjectively accessible grounds which make ethical objectivity possible. Audi's attempt to avoid the refutation tends to convert rational disputes into ad hominem ones. I illustrate that with the example of the ethics of prostitution.
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  9. Danny Frederick (2015). Pro-Tanto Obligations and Ceteris-Paribus Rules. Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (3):255-266.
    I summarize a conception of morality as containing a set of rules which hold ceteris paribus and which impose pro-tanto obligations. I explain two ways in which moral rules are ceteris-paribus, according to whether an exception is duty-voiding or duty-overriding. I defend the claim that moral rules are ceteris-paribus against two qualms suggested by Luke Robinson’s discussion of moral rules and against the worry that such rules are uninformative. I show that Robinson’s argument that moral rules cannot ground pro-tanto obligations (...)
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  10. Danny Frederick (2015). Reply to Mark Friedman. Reason Papers 37 (1):85-87.
    I reply to Mark Friedman's response to my review of his book, 'Nozick's Libertarian Project.' I restate what I take to be the key mistakes in Friedman’s arguments for individual rights and the minimal state. I outline the explanation of the right to freedom in terms of the human capacity for critical rationality, and the explanation of the poliitcial authority of the state in rule-consequentialist terms which do not appeal to consent.
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  11. Danny Frederick (2015). The Contrast Between Dogmatic and Critical Arguments. Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 22 (1):9-20.
    Karl Popper lamented the prevalence of dogmatic argument in philosophy and commended the kind of critical argument that is found in the sciences. David Miller criticises the uncritical nature of so-called critical thinking because of its attachment to dogmatic arguments. I expound and clarify Popper’s distinction between critical and dogmatic arguments and the background to it. I criticise some errors in Miller’s discussion. I reaffirm the need for philosophers to eschew dogmatic arguments in favour of critical ones.
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  12. Danny Frederick (2014). Deduction and Novelty Again. The Reasoner 8 (5):51-52.
    It is commonly claimed that the conclusion of a valid deductive argument is contained in its premises and says nothing new. In 'Deduction and Novelty,' in The Reasoner 5 (4), pp. 56-57, I refuted that claim. In The Reasoner, 8 (3), pp. 24-25, David McBride criticised my refutation. I show that McBride’s arguments are unsound.
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  13. Danny Frederick (2014). Moral Laws, Laws of Nature and Dispositions. Prolegomena: Journal of Philosophy 13 (2):303-14.
    It appears that light may be thrown on the nature of moral principles if they are construed as moral laws analogous to ceteris-paribus laws of nature. Luke Robinson objects that the analogy either cannot explain how moral principles are necessary or cannot explain how obligations can be pro-tanto; and that a dispositional account of moral obligation has explanatory superiority over one in terms of moral laws. I explain the analogy, construing laws of nature as necessary relationships after the fashion of (...)
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  14. Danny Frederick (2014). Pro‐Tanto Versus Absolute Rights. Philosophical Forum 45 (4):375-394.
    Judith Jarvis Thomson and others contend that rights are pro-tanto rather than absolute, that is, that rights may permissibly be infringed in some circumstances. Alan Gewirth maintains that there are some rights that are absolute because infringing them would amount to unspeakable evil. However, there seem to be possible circumstances in which it would be permissible to infringe even those rights. Specificationists, such as Gerald Gaus, Russ Shafer-Landau, Hillel Steiner and Kit Wellman, argue that all rights are absolute because they (...)
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  15. Danny Frederick (2014). Review Essay: Mark D. Friedman, 'Nozick’s Libertarian Project: An Elaboration and Defense'. [REVIEW] Reason Papers 36 (1):132-42.
    Review of Mark Friedman's book 'Nozick’s Libertarian Project,' which is a defence of Robert Nozick's 'Anarchy, State, and Utopia.'.
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  16. Danny Frederick (2014). Voluntary Slavery. Las Torres de Lucca 4:115-37.
    The permissibility of actions depends upon facts about the flourishing and separateness of persons. Persons differ from other creatures in having the task of discovering for themselves, by conjecture and refutation, what sort of life will fulfil them. Compulsory slavery impermissibly prevents some persons from pursuing this task. However, many people may conjecture that they are natural slaves. Some of these conjectures may turn out to be correct. In consequence, voluntary slavery, in which one person welcomes the duty to fulfil (...)
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  17. Danny Frederick (2013). A Critique of Lester's Account of Liberty. Libertarian Papers 5 (1):45-66.
    In Escape from Leviathan, Jan Lester sets out a conception of liberty as absence of imposed cost which, he says, advances no moral claim and does not premise an assignm..
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  18. Danny Frederick (2013). A Puzzle About Natural Laws and the Existence of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):269-283.
    The existence of natural laws, whether deterministic or indeterministic, and whether exceptionless or ceteris paribus, seems puzzling because it implies that mindless bits of matter behave in a consistent and co-ordinated way. I explain this puzzle by showing that a number of attempted solutions fail. The puzzle could be resolved if it were assumed that natural laws are a manifestation of God’s activity. This argument from natural law to God’s existence differs from its traditional counterparts in that, whereas the latter (...)
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  19. Danny Frederick (2013). Doxastic Voluntarism: A Sceptical Defence. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (1):24-44.
    Doxastic voluntarism maintains that we have voluntary control over our beliefs. It is generally denied by contemporary philosophers. I argue that doxastic voluntarism is true: normally, and insofar as we are rational, we are able to suspend belief and, provided we have a natural inclination to believe, we are able to rescind that suspension, and thus to choose to believe. I show that the arguments that have been offered against doxastic voluntarism fail; and that, if the denial of doxastic voluntarism (...)
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  20. Danny Frederick (2013). Free Will and Probability. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):60-77.
    The chance objection to incompatibilist accounts of free action maintains that undetermined actions are not under the agent's control. Some attempts to circumvent this objection locate chance in events posterior to the action. Indeterministic-causation theories locate chance in events prior to the action. However, neither type of response gives an account of free action which avoids the chance objection. Chance must be located at the act of will if actions are to be both undetermined and under the agent's control. This (...)
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  21. Danny Frederick (2013). Hoppe’s Derivation of Self-Ownership From Argumentation: Analysis and Critique. Reason Papers 35 (1):92-106.
    Hans-Hermann Hoppe contends that the fact that a person has the capacity to argue entails that she has the moral right of exclusive control over her own body. Critics of Hoppe’s argument do not appear to have pinpointed its flaws. I expose the logical structure of Hoppe’s argument, distinguishing its pragmatic-contradiction and its mutual-recognition components. I provide three counterexamples to show that Hoppe’s mutual-recognition argument is invalid and I argue that the truth that appears to motivate the argument is simply (...)
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  22. Danny Frederick (2013). Singular Terms, Predicates and the Spurious 'Is' of Identity. Dialectica 67 (3):325-343.
    Contemporary orthodoxy affirms that singular terms cannot be predicates and that, therefore, ‘is’ is ambiguous as between predication and identity. Recent attempts to treat names as predicates do not challenge this orthodoxy. The orthodoxy was built into the structure of modern formal logic by Frege. It is defended by arguments which I show to be unsound. I provide a semantical account of atomic sentences which draws upon Mill's account of predication, connotation and denotation. I show that singular terms may be (...)
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  23. Danny Frederick (2013). Popper, Rationality and the Possibility of Social Science. Theoria 28 (1):61-75.
    Social science employs teleological explanations which depend upon the rationality principle, according to which people exhibit instrumental rationality. Popper points out that people also exhibit critical rationality, the tendency to stand back from, and to question or criticise, their views. I explain how our critical rationality impugns the explanatory value of the rationality principle and thereby threatens the very possibility of social science. I discuss the relationship between instrumental and critical rationality and show how we can reconcile our critical rationality (...)
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  24. Danny Frederick (2013). Social Contract Theory Should Be Abandoned. Rationality, Markets and Morals 4:178-89.
    I argue that social-contract theory cannot succeed because reasonable people may always disagree, and that social-contract theory is irrelevant to the problem of the legitimacy of a form of government or of a system of moral rules. I note the weakness of the appeal to implicit agreement, the conflation of legitimacy with stability, the undesirability of “public justification” and the apparent blindness to the evolutionary critical-rationalist approach of Hayek and Popper. I employ that approach to sketch answers to the theoretical, (...)
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  25. Danny Frederick (2012). Critique of an Argument for the Reality of Purpose. Prolegomena 11 (1):25-34.
    Schueler has argued, against the eliminativist, that human purposive action cannot be an illusion because the concept of purpose is not theoretical. He argues that the concept is known directly to be instantiated, through self-awareness; and that to maintain that the concept is theoretical involves an infinite regress. I show that Schueler’s argument fails because all our concepts are theoretical in the sense that we may be mistaken in applying them to our experience. As a consequence, it is conceivable that (...)
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  26. Danny Frederick (2011). Confusion About the Right to Life. The Reasoner 5 (1):4-5.
    I defend the consistency of affirming the right to life while rejecting universal healthcare and liveable income programmes. I also defend the rationality of accepting inconsistency.
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  27. Danny Frederick (2011). Deduction and Novelty. The Reasoner 5 (4):56-57.
    It is often claimed that the conclusion of a deductively valid argument is contained in its premises. Popper refuted this claim when he showed that an empirical theory can be expected always to have logical consequences that transcend the current understanding of the theory. This implies that no formalisation of an empirical theory will enable the derivation of all its logical consequences. I call this result ‘Popper-incompleteness.’ This result appears to be consistent with the view of deductive reasoning as a (...)
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  28. Danny Frederick (2011). Pornography and Freedom. Kritike: An Online Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):84-95.
    I defend pornography as an important aspect of freedom of expression, which is essential for autonomy, self-development, the growth of knowledge and human flourishing. I rebut the allegations that pornography depraves and corrupts, degrades women, is harmful to children, exposes third parties to risk of offence or assault, and violates women’s civil rights and liberties. I contend that suppressing pornography would have a range of unintended evil consequences, including loss of beneficial technology, creeping censorship, black markets, corruption and extensive social (...)
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  29. Danny Frederick (2011). P. F. Strawson on Predication. Polish Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):39-57.
    Strawson offers three accounts of singular predication: a grammatical, a category and a mediating account. I argue that the grammatical and mediating accounts are refuted by a host of counter-examples and that the latter is worse than useless. In later works Strawson defends only the category account. This account entails that singular terms cannot be predicates; it excludes non-denoting singular terms from being logical subjects, except by means of an ad hoc analogy; it depends upon a notion of identification that (...)
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  30. Danny Frederick (2011). Scarcity and Saving Lives. The Reasoner 5 (6):89-90.
    I argue that, because of scarcity, the right to life cannot imply an obligation on others to save the life of the right-holder, and that collectivising resources for health care not only ensures that resources are used inefficiently and inappropriately but also removes from people the authority to make decisions for themselves about matters of health, life and death.
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  31. Danny Frederick (2010). A Competitive Market in Human Organs. Libertarian Papers 2 (27):1-21.
    I offer consequentialist and deontological arguments for a competitive market in human organs, from live as well as dead donors. I consider the objections that a market in organs will frustrate altruism, coerce the desperate, expose under-informed agents to unacceptable risks, exacerbate inequality, degrade those who participate in it, involve a kind of slavery, impose invidious costs, and impair third-party choice sets. I show that each of these objections is without merit and that, in consequence, the opposition to markets in (...)
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  32. Danny Frederick (2010). Popper and Free Will. Studia Philosophica Estonica 3 (1):21-38.
    Determinism seems incompatible with free will. However, even indeterminism seems incompatible with free will, since it seems to make free actions random. Popper contends that free agents are not bound by physical laws, even indeterministic ones, and that undetermined actions are not random if they are influenced by abstract entities. I argue that Popper could strengthen his account by drawing upon his theories of propensities and of limited rationality; but that even then his account would not fully explain why free (...)
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  33. Danny Frederick (2010). Two Concepts Of Rationality. Libertarian Papers 2 (5):1-21.
    The dominant tradition in Western philosophy sees rationality as dictating. Thus rationality may require that we believe the best explanation and simple conceptual truths and that we infer in accordance with evident rules of inference. I argue that, given what we know about the growth of knowledge, this authoritarian concept of rationality leads to absurdities and should be abandoned. I then outline a libertarian concept of rationality, derived from Popper, which eschews the dictates and which sees a rational agent as (...)
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  34. Danny Frederick (2010). Unmotivated Intentional Action. Philosophical Frontiers 5 (1):21-30.
    In opposition to the tenet of contemporary action theory that an intentional action must be done for a reason, I argue that some intentional actions are unmotivated. I provide examples of arbitrary and habitual actions that are done for no reason at all. I consider and rebut an objection to the examples of unmotivated habitual action. I explain how my contention differs from recent challenges to the tenet by Hursthouse, Stocker and Pollard.
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  35. Danny Frederick (2010). Why Universal Welfare Rights Are Impossible and What It Means. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 9 (4):428-445.
    Cranston argued that scarcity makes universal welfare rights impossible. After showing that this argument cannot be avoided by denying scarcity, I consider four challenges to the argument which accept the possibility of conflicts between the duties implied by rights. The first denies the agglomeration principle; the second embraces conflicts of duties; the third affirms the violability of all rights-based duties; and the fourth denies that duties to compensate are overriding. I argue that all four challenges to the scarcity argument are (...)
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  36. Danny Frederick (2009). To Follow the Argument Wherever It Leads. The Reasoner 3 (11):5-6.
    This paper rejects the claim that, rationally, we should follow the argument wherever it leads.
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  37. Danny Frederick, Adversus Homo Economicus: Critique of Lester’s Account of Instrumental Rationality.
    In Chapter 2 of Escape from Leviathan, Jan Lester defends two hypotheses: that instrumental rationality requires agents to maximise the satisfaction of their wants and that all agents actually meet this requirement. In addition, he argues that all agents are self-interested (though not necessarily egoistic) and he offers an account of categorical moral desires which entails that no agent ever does what he genuinely feels to be morally wrong. I show that Lester’s two hypotheses are false because they cannot accommodate (...)
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  38. Danny Frederick, A Regimented and Concise Exposition of Karl Popper’s Critical Rationalist Epistemology.
  39. Danny Frederick, Entrepreneurship: Alertness, Judgment and Conjecture.
    I criticise, from a critical rationalist perspective, Israel Kirzner's notion of entrepreneurial alertness and Matthew McCaffrey's endorsement of Joseph Salerno's rival account of entrepreneurial judgment.
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  40. Danny Frederick, Defective Equilibrium.
    I argue that the static conception of reflective equilibrium that is standard in contemporary philosophy is defective and should be replaced with a dynamic conception which prohibits ad hoc manoeuvres, encourages temporary reflective disequilibrium, and eschews all justification in favour of continuous improvement. I show how the dynamic conception can be applied to moral theory to encourage progress in moral knowledge and to make moral theory empirically testable, and how it can improve our understanding of human action.
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  41. Danny Frederick, Flaws in Dummett’s Syntactical Account of Singular Terms.
    Dummett defines a ‘predicate’ as that which combines with one or more singular terms to form a sentence. His account of ‘singular term’ is syntactical, involving three necessary conditions. He discusses a fourth, ‘Aristotelian’, criterion before propounding a criterion of predicate quantification which he claims to be superior to it. He tentatively proposes that the three necessary conditions plus the criterion of predicate quantification yield sufficient conditions for being a singular term. I show that Dummett’s necessary conditions fail with regard (...)
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  42. Danny Frederick, The Philosophical Case For Pornography.
  43. Danny Frederick, Values in Education and the Community.
    The UK School Curriculum and Assessment Authority proposes a set of values to which everyone can subscribe, which can provide schools with a secure basis for the provision of spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. The proposal is misguided. The code would be determined by political negotiation, which would bring the whole idea of moral education into disrepute, and it would be an impediment to moral advancement, which requires trial and error experimentation. Imposing a code on all state schools would (...)
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  44. Danny Frederick, What Free Will Is.
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  45. Danny Frederick, Why It is Ethical to Eat Meat.
    One-page summary of the case for why it is not wrong to eat meat.
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  46. Danny Frederick, Why People Should Be Free to Sell Their Organs.
  47. Danny Frederick, Why the UK National Health Service Should Be Privatised.
    It is an article of almost religious faith in the United Kingdom that the National Health Service is far superior to a competitive market in health care services. In this brief and informal paper I show that the opposite is true. In contrast to market provision, the existence of the National Health Service entails the following. First, consumer sovereignty is virtually destroyed, since what services the consumer receives and how much he pays (through taxation) are determined by the government of (...)
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