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  1. Alexander Pruss, Animalism and Brains.
    I argue that it is possible for a human animal to survive the loss of all bodily parts other than the brain.
     
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  2. Alexander Pruss, Identity and the Copying of Minds.
    I argue against psychological theories of identity that claim that in cases where one’s personality and memories are moved into the brain of another, we move with them. I am not entirely convinced by my arguments here, I must confess, but I think they deserve some thought.
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  3. Alexander Pruss, Plans and Their Accomplishment.
    Maritain Society Group Meeting, Eastern APA, 2006.
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  4. Alexander Pruss, Processes, Marks and Light-Spots.
    I give a simple counterexample to Salmon’s account of causal processes in terms of mark transmission. The example has the advantage that not only does it appear to qualify as transmission of a mark under Salmon’s definition of mark transmission, but it appears to actually be an instance of mark transmission.
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  5. Alexander Pruss, Special Relativity and Endurantism.
    I identify a fallacy in Hales and Johnson’s argument that endurantism is incompatible with special relativity and argue that an improvement on their argument also does not succeed.
     
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  6. Alexander Pruss, Should We Prevent Evil If Sceptical Theism is Right?
    I argue that the answer is affirmative, pace Oppy.
     
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  7. Alexander R. Pruss, Freedom, Determinism and Gale's Principle.
    In simplified form, the argument that I am defending holds that the incompatibility of our freedom with determinism follows from the conjunction of (1) a plausible supervenience claim which says that whether a human agent is free depends only on what happens during the agent’s life and (2) a freedom-cancellation principle of Richard Gale which says that an agent is not free if all of her actions are intentionally brought about by another agent. Improved versions of (1) and (2) are (...)
     
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  8. Stephen J. Montgomery-Smith & Alexander R. Pruss, A Comparison Inequality for Sums of Independent Random Variables.
    We give a comparison inequality that allows one to estimate the tail probabilities of sums of independent Banach space valued random variables in terms of those of independent identically distributed random variables. More precisely, let X1, . . . , Xn be independent Banach-valued random variables. Let I be a random variable independent of X1, . . . , Xn and uniformly distributed over {1, . . . , n}. Put ˜.
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  9. Alexander R. Pruss, Causation and the Arrow of Time.
    “We are always already thrown into concrete factual circumstances, facing possibilities that we need to come to grips with. By choosing some we exclude others, thus making them no longer possible. What we are thrown into is the past and present, and the possibilities loom ahead of us, though we may try to turn our back on them. The future is the home of the possibilities while the present and past define the circumstances in which we make our choices, circumstances (...)
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  10. Alexander R. Pruss, Can Two Equal Infinity? The Attributes of God in Spinoza.
    SpinozaÂ’s God is a being with infinite attributes, each of which expresses infinite essence. Does this mean that God has infinitely many attributes, each of which expresses infinite essence, or does God simply have attributes, each of which is infinite and expresses infinite essence? SpinozaÂ’s argumentation in Letter 9 and the Scholium to Prop. I.10 clearly indicates that it is not just each individual attribute that is infinite, but there are in some sense infinitely many of them. This would seem (...)
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  11. Alexander R. Pruss, Cooperation with Past Evil and Use of Cell-Lines Derived From Aborted Fetuses.
              The production of a number of vaccines involves the use of cell-lines originally derived from fetuses directly aborted in the 1960s and 1970s. Such cell-lines, indeed sometimes the very same ones, are important to on-going research, including at Catholic institutions. The cells currently used are removed by a number of decades and by a significant number of cellular generations from the original cells. Moreover, the original cells extracted from the bodies (...)
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  12. Alexander R. Pruss, Eight Tempting Big-Picture Errors in Ethics.
              Despite the fact that the strength of argument is clearly on the pro-life side—nobody except a handful of academics would question the grave wrongness of abortion were pregnancy never inconvenient—somehow ordinary intelligent people, like our students, often remain unconvinced. There are many reasons for this, of course. For instance, a number of students have had their children aborted while many know others who have had abortions, and one does not want (...)
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  13. Alexander R. Pruss, From the P ´ Olya-Szeg ¨ O Symmetrization.
    Let Mm k be the simply connected constant curvature space form of dimension m. • Mm 0 is Rm with euclidean metric • Mm k for k > 0 is an m-sphere of radius k−1/2 • Mm k for k < 0 is m dimensional hyperbolic space modelled on the m-ball of radius (−k)−1/2.
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  14. Alexander R. Pruss, I Was Once a Fetus: An Identity-Based Argument Against Abortion.
              First an outline of the argument Assume that I once was a fetus. Who will deny this —surely a fetus was what I once was? Yet, though it is hard to deny, much of this paper will be work to bolster up this portion of the argument. For now assume this. But now if the right-to-life (understood as the right not to be deprived of life by human decision unless one (...)
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  15. Alexander R. Pruss, I Was Once a Fetus: That is Why Abortion is Wrong.
              I am going to give an argument showing that abortion is wrong in exactly the same circumstances in which it is wrong to kill an adult. To argue further that abortion is always wrong would require showing that it is always wrong to kill an adult or that the circumstances in which it is not wrong--say, capital punishment--never befall a fetus. Such an argument will be beyond the scope of this (...)
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  16. Alexander R. Pruss, Kantian Maxims and Lying.
              Kant has claimed that lying is always wrong, even in response to a question from a murderer about the whereabouts of his intended victim. Christine Korsgaard has argued that although Kant’s second and third formulations in terms of respect for the humanity in persons and in terms of the Kingdom of Ends of the Categorical Imperative (CI) commit him to this claim, the first formulation in terms of universalizability does..
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  17. Alexander R. Pruss, Some Recent Progress on the Cosmological Argument.
    In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us that the power and deity of God are evident from what he has created. One reading of this is that there is an argument from the content of what has been created. Thus, the Book of Wisdom, which may well have been the source of Paul’s ideas here, says that “from the greatness and beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (13:5, NAB). This is a kind of (...)
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  18. Alexander R. Pruss, The Cosmos as a Work of Art.
              The cosmos is filled with evil that seemingly has no redeeming value. Granted, some evils do lead to greater goods, sometimes goods that could not exist without the evils. Thus, the exercise of courage is a good that requires either an actual evil to stand firm in the face of or the illusion of an evil—and an illusion is a kind of evil, too. But many evils appear to serve no (...)
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  19. Alexander Pruss, A Religious Experience Argument for the Existence of a Holy Transcendent Being.
    Much of the discussion had focussed on the question of whether religious experiences are veridical, but then Richard M. Gale asked a more fundamental question: Are they even cognitive? An experience is cognitive if it takes an intentional accusative, such as “red cube” in “I see a red cube,” as opposed to the cognate accusative exemplified by the use of the word “waltz” in “I am dancing a waltz” which is synonymous with “I am dancing waltzily.” Cognitive experiences are objective (...)
     
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  20. Alexander Pruss, Altruism, Teleology and God.
    There is a long tradition of arguments for the existence of God. Early examples include Aristotle’s cosmological argument in Book Lambda of the Metaphysics, arguing that if there is change, there must be at least one unchanging and perfect being that originates all change, while the first chapter of Romans and chapter 13 of the Book of Wisdom insist that “from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (Wis. 13:5, NAB). This tradition (...)
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  21. Alexander Pruss, B-Theory, Language and Ethics.
    The A-theory of time states that there is an absolute fact of the matter about what events are, respectively, in the past, present and future. The B-theory says that all there is to temporality are the relations of earlier-than, later-than and simultaneous-with, and the past, present and future are merely relative.
     
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  22. Alexander Pruss, Comments on Alvin Plantinga's “Games Scientists Play”.
    Plantinga starts by outlining an apparent conflict between certain claims of methodologically naturalist science and Christian faith. The conflict is not a logical contradiction, at least not once we are dealing with the more cautious “minus” versions of the doctrines, but some weaker relation such as the rational impossibility of believing both. 2. Scepticism about Simonian science..
     
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  23. Alexander Pruss, Comments on John Haldane's “the Soul”.
    Yea, and amen. I am inclined to think everything John said is true, when interpreted appropriately. So what I am going to do is two things. First, I will critically comment on the third of the arguments for the immateriality of the soul. Second, I will give a different argument for the immateriality of the soul that at the same time should somewhat clarify what alternative to dualism and materialism that John and I find plausible.
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  24. Alexander Pruss, Cooperation with Past Evil and Use of Cell-Lines Derived From Aborted Fetuses Alexander R. Pruss May 25, 2004.
    The production of a number of vaccines involves the use of cell-lines originally derived from fetuses directly aborted in the 1960s and 1970s. Such cell-lines, indeed sometimes the very same ones, are important to on-going research, including at Catholic institutions. The cells currently used are removed by a number of decades and by a significant number of cellular generations from the original cells. Moreover, the original cells extracted from the bodies of the aborted fetuses were transformed to produce the cell (...)
     
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  25. Alexander Pruss, 1. Double Effect.
    Suppose that one initiates a causal sequence leading to a basically evil state of affairs, but does not intend the evil effect, and the good effects of the action are proportionate to the bad. A state of affairs is a “basic evil” provided it is evil in virtue of itself and not in virtue of its connection with other states of affairs. The classic form of the Principle of Double Effect (PDE) can be taken to state that then the action (...)
     
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  26. Alexander Pruss, Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit: Arguments New and Old for the Principle of Sufficient Reason Alexander R. Pruss November 1, 2002 1. Introduction. [REVIEW]
    “Ex nihilo nihil fit,” goes the classic adage: nothing comes from nothing. Parmenides used the Principle of Sufficient Reason to argue that there was no such thing as change: If there was change, why did it happen when it happened rather than earlier or later? “Nothing happens in vain, but everything for a reason and under necessitation,” claimed Leucippus. Saint Thomas insisted in the..
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  27. Alexander Pruss, February 5, 2007.
    Animalism is the view that we are animals and, thus, satisfy the criteria of identity proper to animals. This is highly plausible, for instance because it accepts at face value what appears to be the obvious facts that we are mammals—after all, we have the hair, the inner ear bones and the milk that mammals do—and that being a mammal is a way of being an animal. On the main opposing view, one has to hold that associated with each of (...)
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  28. Alexander Pruss, Functionalism and the Number of Minds Alexander R. Pruss January 27, 2004.
    I argue that standard functionalism leads to absurd conclusions as to the number of minds that would exist in the universe if persons were duplicated. Rather than yielding the conclusion that making a molecule-by-molecule copy of a material person would result in two persons, it leads to the conclusion that three persons, or perhaps only one person, would result. This is absurd and standard functionalism should be abandoned. Social varieties of functionalism fare no better, though there is an Aristotelian variety (...)
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  29. Alexander Pruss, Faith, Paradox, Reason and the Argumentum Spiritus Sancti in Climacus and Kierkegaard.
    The pseudonymous author of this article argues that neither Kierkegaard nor Climacus in the Concluding Unscientific Postscript are claiming that Christian beliefs are nonsense or contradictory, but that it is contrary to universal epistemic norms to believe these beliefs or even to believe they can be believed. In an appendix for which the rest of the article is a preparation the author gives an interpretation of the pseudonymity and form-content contradiction and of how Kierkegaard in a sense agrees with all (...)
     
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  30. Alexander Pruss, How Not to Reconcile Evolution and Creation Alexander R. Pruss.
    It is widely accepted that divine creation of human beings is compatible with evolutionary theory, except perhaps in regard of the human soul, and that neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory provides an explanation of speciation and of complex features of organisms that undercuts Paley-style teleological arguments, whether or not the evolutionary mechanisms are truly random or deterministic. I will argue that a plausible understanding of the doctrine of creation of human beings is either logically or rationally incompatible with full evolutionary theory, even (...)
     
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  31. Alexander Pruss, 1. Introduction.
    Assume for simplicity that human mental states are constituted by brain states (if dualism holds, copying of brain states may need to be replaced with copying of soul states). According to psychological continuity theories of personal identity, if the personality and memories of a human person A were copied into the brain of B while the brain of A were destroyed, and no other copies were made, then A would survive in the B-body and would be identical with the post-operative (...)
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  32. Alexander Pruss, 1. Intuitions.
    “We are always already thrown into concrete factual circumstances, facing possibilities that we need to come to grips with. By choosing some we exclude others, thus making them no longer possible. What we are thrown into is the past and present, and the possibilities loom ahead of us, though we may try to turn our back on them. The future is the home of the possibilities while the present and past define the circumstances in which we make our choices, circumstances (...)
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  33. Alexander Pruss, Love and Double Effect.
    Case 1 (transplant) . You are a surgeon doing an appendectomy on Fred, who is otherwise healthy. You know from his file that, just by chance, his heart, lungs, bone marrow, liver and two kidneys are a perfect match for fifteen patients in your hospital who need various organs or bone marrow, of both of which there is a severe shortage of these organs; Fred, however, has refused to donate anything. If the fifteen patients do not receive the transplants today, (...)
     
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  34. Alexander Pruss, Love and Obedience.
    As Mark Murphy has recently shown, standard justifications of universal divine authority are insufficient. [1] By “divine authority” I shall mean the doctrine that obedience is morally owed to God by all. God would not give us a command that we did not have a reason to act in accordance with, Murphy argues, but it does not follow that we would be obliged, much less morally obliged, to have the fact of God’s having commanded the action be among our practical (...)
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  35. Alexander Pruss, Maternal Love and Abortion.
    Some people are opposed to abortion in general because they loved their children when these were fetuses. While this may be a psychological explanation of why these people believe thus, and perhaps an argument for these people not to abort the children they love, it does not at first sight seem to be an argument for the..
     
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  36. Alexander Pruss, Meyer's (or Putnam's) Proof of the Existence of God.
    Let S be the set of all entities that exist (or have existed). Define the relation <= on S by saying that x<=y if and only y is a cause of x. By verbal fiat we will define x to be a cause of x for all x in S (if we do not accept this definition, our assumptions will be slightly different; however, it is clear that the existence of x is necessary and sufficient for the existence of x, (...)
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  37. Alexander Pruss, Programs, Bugs, DNA and a Design Argument Alexander R. Pruss May 27, 2004.
    I argue that an examination of the analogy between the notion of a bug and that of a genetic defect supports an analogy not just between a computer program and DNA, but between a computer program designed by a programmer and DNA. This provides an analogical teleological argument for the existence of a highly intelligent designer.
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  38. Alexander Pruss, Possible Worlds: What They Are Good for and What They Are.
    This thesis examines the alethic modal concepts of possibility and necessity. It is argued that one cannot do justice to all our modal talk without possible worlds, i.e., complete ways that a cosmos might have been. I argue that not all of the proposed applications of possible worlds succeed but enough remain to give one good theoretical reason to posit them. The two central problems now are: (1) What feature of reality makes correct alethic modal claims true and (2) What (...)
     
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  39. Alexander Pruss, Recombinations, Alien Properties and Laws of Nature Alexander R. Pruss March 16, 2002.
    A recombinationist like the earlier Armstrong (1989) claims that logically possible worlds are recombinations of items found in the actual world, with some items reduplicated if need be and others deleted. An immediate consequence of this is that if an..
     
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  40. Alexander Pruss, The Cosmos as a Work of Art Alexander R. Pruss November 22, 2004.
    The cosmos is filled with evil that seemingly has no redeeming value. Granted, some evils do lead to greater goods, sometimes goods that could not exist without the evils. Thus, the exercise of courage is a good that requires either an actual evil to stand firm in the face of or the illusion of an evil—and an illusion is a kind of evil, too. But many evils appear to serve no such purpose. Philosophers call an evil that a supremely good (...)
     
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  41. Alexander Pruss, The Subjunctive Conditional Law of Excluded Middle.
    p and q, one of “were p true, q would be true” and “were p true, not- q would be true” is true. Therefore, even if Curley is not offered the bribe, either he would take it were he offered it or he would not take it were he offered it.
     
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  42. Alexander Pruss, What Are Aristotelian Forms?
    We may have a bit of a handle on roughly what kinds of entities the Platonic Forms are. We can think of them as analogous to a number of notions in contemporary philosophy that are denominated “Platonic abstracta”, e.g., propositions, concepts, mathematicals, and the like. We may think them queer, but we have some idea what their queerness consists in. We may even believe that some of these kinds of entities actually exist.
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  43. Alexander R. Pruss, Functionalism and Counting Minds.
    I argue that standard functionalism leads to absurd conclusions as to the number of minds that would exist in the universe if persons were duplicated.
     
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  44. Trent Dougherty & Alexander R. Pruss (forthcoming). Evil and the Problem of Anomaly. Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
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  45. Alexander R. Pruss (forthcoming). Popper Functions, Uniform Distributions and Infinite Sequences of Heads. Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-13.
    Popper functions allow one to take conditional probabilities as primitive instead of deriving them from unconditional probabilities via the ratio formula P(A|B)=P(A∩B)/P(B). A major advantage of this approach is it allows one to condition on events of zero probability. I will show that under plausible symmetry conditions, Popper functions often fail to do what they were supposed to do. For instance, suppose we want to define the Popper function for an isometrically invariant case in two dimensions and hence require the (...)
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  46. Alexander R. Pruss (forthcoming). Regular Probability Comparisons Imply the Banach–Tarski Paradox. Synthese:1-16.
    Consider the regularity thesis that each possible event has non-zero probability. Hájek challenges this in two ways: (a) there can be nonmeasurable events that have no probability at all and (b) on a large enough sample space, some probabilities will have to be zero. But arguments for the existence of nonmeasurable events depend on the axiom of choice (AC). We shall show that the existence of anything like regular probabilities is by itself enough to imply a weak version of AC (...)
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  47. Alexander R. Pruss (2014). Infinitesimals Are Too Small for Countably Infinite Fair Lotteries. Synthese 191 (6):1051-1057.
    We show that infinitesimal probabilities are much too small for modeling the individual outcome of a countably infinite fair lottery.
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  48. Alexander R. Pruss (2014). Independent Tests and the Log‐Likelihood‐Ratio Measure of Confirmation. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (2):124-135.
    I shall offer some very plausible assumptions for the measure of confirmation and show that they imply that E confirms H relative to background K to degree f(PK(E|H)/PK(E| ∼ H)), where f is a strictly increasing function. An additional assumption about how measures of confirmation combine then makes f be proportional to a logarithm.
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  49. Marc Lange, Peter Vickers, John Michael, Miles MacLeod, Alexander R. Pruss, David John Baker, Clark Glymour & Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). 1. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift (Pp. 169-188). Philosophy of Science 80 (2).
     
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  50. Alexander R. Pruss (2013). Incompatibilism Proved. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (4):430-437.
    (2013). Incompatibilism proved. Canadian Journal of Philosophy. ???aop.label???
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