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Profile: Don Merrell
Profile: Don A. Merrell (Northwest Arkansas Community College)
  1.  32
    Don A. Merrell, Why Catholics Should Accept Homosexuality.
    It is argued here that the Catholic position on homosexuality is inconsistent. Specifically, I submit, the Catholic Church cannot at the same time endorse evolution – which it does – and condemn homosexuality, since homosexuality is most probably an evolutionary strategy conferring adaptive advantage. Catholics face a dilemma: either give up evolution, or accept homosexuality.
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  2.  26
    Don A. Merrell, On the (Near) Impossibility of Studying Intercessory Prayers for Healing.
    The most recent and, arguably, the most scientifically rigorous study of the healing power of intercessory prayer, the so-called “STEP” (“Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Prayer”) study involved over 1,800 subjects and roughly a decade of study. Though the results did little, if anything, to lend support to the idea that prayers really can heal the sick, religious believers might remain optimistic. Two main reasons for this optimism stem from, first, a crucial missing (though practically unavoidable) study control and, (...)
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  3.  65
    Aaron Champene & Don A. Merrell (2008). The Causal Impotency Objection to Vegetarianism. Southwest Philosophy Review 24 (1):53-60.
    Alastair Norcross has argued that there is no morally relevant difference between a person who eats meat and a person who tortures puppies in order to enjoy a certain gustatory sensation. We offer an objection to his argument.
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  4.  96
    Don A. Merrell (2005). Token Physicalism is Not Immune to Kripke's Essentialist Anti-Physicalist Argument. Philosophia 32 (1-4):383-388.
    In his (1977) "Anomalous Monism and Kripke's Cartesian Intuitions," Colin McGinn argues that Donald Davidson's anomalous monism is untouched by Kripke's (1980) argument against the identity theory. The type-identity of the physical with the mental may very well fall at the feet of Kripke's powerful arguments, but a token identification, argues McGinn, is left standing due to the simple fact that token physicalism countenances a kind of imagined separation of token mental states with their corresponding token physical states. If McGinn (...)
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  5.  50
    Don A. Merrell (2011). Polger on the Illusion of Contingent Identity. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (4):593 - 602.
    Thomas Polger has argued in favour of the mind-brain type-identity theory, the view that mental states or processes are type-identical to states of the central nervous system. Acknowledging that the type-materialist must respond to Kripke's modal anti-materialist argument, Polger insists that Kripke's argument rests on dubious assumptions concerning the identity conditions of brain states. In brief, Polger claims that one knows that x and y are non-identical when one knows the identity conditions for both x and y. Replace x and (...)
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  6.  59
    Don A. Merrell (2006). Theoretical Identity, Reference Fixing, and Boyd's Defense of Type Materialism. Philosophia 34 (2):169-172.
    In his "Materialism without Reductionism: What Materialism Does not Entail," Richard Boyd answers Kripke's challenge to materialists to come up with a way to explain away the apparent contingency of mind-brain identities. Boyd accuses Kripke of an imaginative myopia manifesting itself as a failure to realize that the more theoretical term in the identity is fixed by contingent descriptions - descriptions that might pick out otherworldly kinds of neural events where C-fibres are absent. If this is something we can confuse (...)
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  7.  22
    Don A. Merrell (2009). Erring on the Side of Life: The Case of Terri Schiavo. Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):323-325.
    In debates over life and death it is often said that one should err on the side of caution—that is, on the side of life. In light of the recent case of Terri Schiavo, it is explained how the “err-on-the-side-of-life” argument proceeds, and an objection to it is offered.
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  8. Don A. Merrell, A Defense of Online Political Voting.
     
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  9. Don A. Merrell (2001). Contemporary Conceivability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mind: A Critique. Dissertation, University of Arkansas
    This dissertation assesses the value of Cartesian conceivability arguments, with particular attention given to three contemporary debates surrounding the mind-body problem. Saul Kripke's separability argument utilized new developments surrounding the nature of necessity and the reference of proper names. For all its merit, the Kripkean separability argument is open to serious criticisms. I examine several standard objections to Kripke's arguments and maintain that none are successful. I also maintain, however, that it is possible to show, contrary to what Kripke presupposes, (...)
     
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  10. Don A. Merrell, Doxastic Degrees Vs. Belief Simpliciter.
    As a matter of history, most philosophers appear to believe that beliefs come in degrees. And there are many supporting arguments for "doxastic degrees" which originate from quite different quarters – speculation about the dynamics of belief, the nature of mental states, judgments of probability, and behavior described by decision theory. Still, against them, I submit that: (a) the arguments for doxastic degrees are weak; (b) the opposing view about beliefs simpliciter can explain all the data that doxastic degrees are (...)
     
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  11. Don A. Merrell (2008). Ghosts and Ion Counters. Skeptical Inquirer 32 (6).
     
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  12. Don A. Merrell, Hume’s Analogical Argument Against Post-Mortem Survival and Kant’s Transcendental Apperception.
    Hume’s essay “Of the Immortality of the Soul” is a scathing attack on the idea of an afterlife. Though he attends to three types of argument for the immortality of the soul – metaphysical, moral, and physical – I am only interested here in Hume’s attack on metaphysical arguments. Hume’s analogy, I submit, is too weak to sustain his conclusion.
     
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  13. Don A. Merrell, Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Laws Should Be Repealed.
    Consider the following argument: (1) All things being equal, if pre-abortion ultrasound laws: (a) are blatantly sui generis, (b) do not aid informed consent; (c) require medically unnecessary procedures and; (d) cause harms of their own, then pre-abortion ultrasound laws should be repealed. (2) Pre-abortion ultrasound laws: (a) are blatantly sui generis, (b) do not aid informed consent; (c) require medically unnecessary procedures and; (d) cause harms of their own. (3) Therefore, pre-abortion ultrasound laws should be repealed. -/- I will (...)
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  14. Don A. Merrell, Remarks on Some Objections to California's Assisted Suicide Law.
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