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Guy Axtell [45]Guy S. Axtell [3]
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Profile: Guy Axtell (Radford University)
  1. Guy Axtell, (2011) Responsibilism: A Proposed Shared Research Program.
    Originally titled “Institutional, Group, and Individual Virtue,” this was my paper for an Invited Symposium on "Intersections between Social, Feminist, and Virtue Epistemologies," APA Pacific Division Meeting, April 2011, San Diego. -/- Abstract: This paper examines recent research on individual, social, and institutional virtues and vices; the aim is to explore and make proposals concerning their inter-relationships, as well as to highlight central questions for future research with the study of each. More specifically, the paper will focus on how these (...)
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  2. Guy Axtell (forthcoming). Bridging a Fault Line: On Underdetermination and the Ampliative Adequacy of Competing Theories. In Editor Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Synthese Library.
    This paper pursues Ernan McMullin‘s claim ("Virtues of a Good Theory" and related papers on theory-choice) that talk of theory virtues exposes a fault-line in philosophy of science separating "very different visions" of scientific theorizing. It argues that connections between theory virtues and virtue epistemology are substantive rather than ornamental, since both address underdetermination problems in science, helping us to understand the objectivity of theory choice and more specifically what I term the ampliative adequacy of scientific theories. The paper argues (...)
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  3. Guy Axtell (forthcoming). Possibility and Permission? Intellectual Character, Inquiry, and the Ethics of Belief. In Pihlstrom S. & Rydenfelt H. (eds.), William James on Religion. (Palgrave McMillan “Philosophers in Depth” Series.
    This chapter examines the modifications William James made to his account of the ethics of belief from his early ‘subjective method’ to his later heightened concerns with personal doxastic responsibility and with an empirically-driven comparative research program he termed a ‘science of religions’. There are clearly tensions in James’ writings on the ethics of belief both across his career and even within Varieties itself, tensions which some critics think spoil his defense of what he calls religious ‘faith ventures’ or ‘overbeliefs’. (...)
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  4. Guy Axtell (forthcoming). Religious Pluralism and its Discontents. Journal of Indian Philosophy.
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  5. Guy Axtell (forthcoming). Thinking Twice About Virtue and Vice: From Epistemic Situationism to Dual Process Theories. In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford University Press.
    Epistemic situationists (Alfano; Doris and Olin) urge that concerns about the empirical adequacy of different versions of virtue epistemology are to be judged in light of the situationsts’ own interpretations of social psychological studies. But these concerns, while real, should instead be judged by the consistency of virtue epistemologies with the leading psychological theory emerging from studies of heuristics and biases, which is not epistemic situationism, but rather dual process theory (Evans; Kahneman; Stanovich; West). I argue that such a shift (...)
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  6. Charles Camic, Jay Demerath, Tampa Florida, Guy Axtell & Stephan Fuchs (forthcoming). Ajournal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy. Social Epistemology.
     
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  7. Guy Axtell (2012). Achieving Knowledge: A Virtue-Theoretic Account of Epistemic Normativity. By John Greco. (Cambridge UP, 2010. Pp. X + 205. Price £17.99/US$29.99.). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):208-211.
    A Review of John Greco's book Acheiving Knowledge. The critical points I make involve three claims Greco makes that represent common ground between the reliabilists (including agent reliabilists like himself) and the character epistemologists (which would include myself): I. Such virtues are often needed to make our cognitive abilities reliable (to turn mere faculties into excellences); II. Such virtues might be essentially involved in goods other than knowledge; III. Such virtues might be valuable in themselves.
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  8. Guy Axtell (2012). (More) Springs of My Discontent. Logos and Episteme (1):131-137.
    A further reply to Trent Dougherty, author of Evidentialism and its Discontents, on a range of issues regarding a proper understanding of epistemic normativity and doxastic responsibility. The relative importance of synchronic and diachronic concerns with epistemic agency is discussed, both with respect to epistemology proper, as well as in connection to broader concerns with ‘ethics of belief’ and ‘epistemology of disagreement.’.
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  9. Guy Axtell (2012). The Dialectics of Objectivity. Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (3):339-368.
    This paper develops under-recognized connections between moderate historicist methodology and character (or virtue) epistemology, and goes on to argue that their combination supports a “dialectical” conception of objectivity. Considerations stemming from underdetermination problems motivate our claim that historicism requires agent-focused rather than merely belief-focused epistemology; embracing this point helps historicists avoid the charge of relativism. Considerations stemming from the genealogy of epistemic virtue concepts motivate our claim that character epistemologies are strengthened by moderate historicism about the epistemic virtues and values (...)
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  10. Guy Axtell & Philip Olson (2012). Recent Work in Applied Virtue Ethics. American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):183-204.
    The use of the term "applied ethics" to denote a particular field of moral inquiry (distinct from but related to both normative ethics and meta-ethics) is a relatively new phenomenon. The individuation of applied ethics as a special division of moral investigation gathered momentum in the 1970s and 1980s, largely as a response to early twentieth- century moral philosophy's overwhelming concentration on moral semantics and its apparent inattention to practical moral problems that arose in the wake of significant social and (...)
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  11. Guy Axtell (2011). From Internalist Evidentialism to Virtue Responsibilism. In Trent Dougherty (ed.), Evidentialism and its Discontents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Evidentialism as its leading proponents describe it has two distinct senses, these being evidentialism as a conceptual analysis of epistemic justification, and as a prescriptive ethics of belief—an account of what one ‘ought to believe’ under different epistemic circumstances. These two senses of evidentialism are related, but in the work of leading evidentialist philosophers, in ways that I think are deeply problematic. Although focusing on Richard Feldman’s ethics of belief, this chapter is critical of evidentialism in both senses. However, I (...)
     
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  12. Guy Axtell (2011). Reflective Knowledge: Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge – Ernest Sosa. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):203-205.
    A review of Ernest Sosa’s book Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge. While I think Sosa is quite right that knowledge lies on a spectrum, and that its higher but not its lower reaches require of knowers, when challenged, a strong degree of explanatory coherence (ability to understand and discursively defend the basis of their beliefs), I also point out problems with certain aspects of his account.
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  13. Guy Axtell (2011). Recovering Responsibility. Logos and Episteme (3):429-454..
    This paper defends the epistemological importance of ‘diachronic’ or cross-temporal evaluation of epistemic agents against an interesting dilemma posed for this view in Trent Dougherty’s recent paper “Reducing Responsibility.” This is primarily a debate between evidentialists and character epistemologists, and key issues of contention that the paper treats include the divergent functions of synchronic and diachronic (longitudinal) evaluations of agents and their beliefs, the nature and sources of epistemic normativity, and the advantages versus the costs of the evidentialists’ reductionism about (...)
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  14. Guy Axtell (2011). To Virtue Responsibilism. In T. Dougherty (ed.), Evidentialism and its Discontents. Oxford University Press. 71.
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  15. Guy Axtell (2010). Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad. Metaphilosophy 41 (1):73-94.
    Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the "generality problem" for virtue epistemologies and the "global trait problem" for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. I suggest a way to put the generality problem to work by making full and explicit use of a sliding scale--a "narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription"-- and by accounting for the various uses (...)
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  16. Guy Axtell (2009). Book Reviews:Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology. [REVIEW] Ethics 119 (2):377-382.
    This book is a major contribution to a growing literature in character-based or responsibilist epistemology. One point I criticize is the author's claim that intellectual virtues must be “indexed to world views” (318) which is line-drawing maneuver that would remove religious beliefs deemed basic in a given tradition from rational criticism. Still, the overall effect of the authors’ regulative epistemology is nevertheless to put religious believers and secularists, and again Christian and non-Christian faith traditions, on a far better path towards (...)
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  17. Guy Axtell (2009). Review of Stephen Napier, Virtue Epistemology: Motivation and Knowledge. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (7).
    A Review of S. Napiers, book Virtue Epistemology. While concerned with the nature of knowledge, Napier also wants to claim that a key implication of responsibilist VE is “a shift away from analyzing epistemic concepts (knowledge, etc.) in terms of other epistemic concepts (e.g. justification) to analyzing epistemic concepts with reference to kinds of human activity…much of analytic epistemology centers on epistemic concepts, whereas the responsibilist focuses on epistemic activity” (144).Of the main points he claims responsibilism provides us with—(i) rentention (...)
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  18. Guy Axtell & Philip Olson (2009). Three Independent Factors in Epistemology. Contemporary Pragmatism 6 (2):89–109.
    We articulate John Dewey’s “independent factors” approach to moral philosophy and then adapt and extend this approach to address contemporary debate concerning the nature and sources of epistemic normativity. We identify three factors (agent reliability, synchronic rationality, and diachronic rationality) as each making a permanent contribution to epistemic value. Critical of debates that stem from the reductionistic ambitions of epistemological systems that privilege of one or another of these three factors, we advocate an axiological pluralism that acknowledges each factor as (...)
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  19. Guy Axtell (2008). Virtue-Theoretic Responses to Skepticism. In John Greco (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter focuses on the responses that proponents of virtue epistemology (VE) make to radical skepticism and particularly to two related forms of it, Pyrrhonian skepticism and the “underdetermination-based” argument, both of which have been receiving widening attention in recent debate. Section 1 of the chapter briefly articulates these two skeptical arguments and their interrelationship, while section 2 explains the close connection between a virtue-theoretic and a neo-Moorean response to them. In sections 3 and 4 I advance arguments for improving (...)
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  20. Guy Axtell (2008). Expanding Epistemology: A Responsibilist Approach. Philosophical Papers 37 (1):51-87.
    The first part of this paper asks why we need, or what would motivate, ameaningful expansion of epistemology. It answers with three critical arguments found in the recent literature, which each purport to move us some distance beyond the preoccupations of ‘post-Gettier era’ analytic epistemology. These three—the ‘epistemic luck,’ ‘epistemic value’ and ‘epistemic reconciliation’ arguments associated with D. Pritchard, J. Kvanvig, and M. Williams, respectively—each carry this implication of needed expansion by functioning as forceful ‘internal critiques’ of the tradition. The (...)
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  21. Guy Axtell & J. Adam Carter (2008). Just the Right Thickness: A Defense of Second-Wave Virtue Epistemology. Philosophical Papers 37 (3):413-434.
    Abstract Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ?thick? evaluative concepts? There are inveterate traditions in analytic epistemology which, having legitimized a certain way of viewing the nature and scope of epistemology's subject matter, give this question a negative verdict; further, they have carried with them a tacit commitment to what we argue to (...)
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  22. Guy Axtell (2007). Two for the Show: Anti-Luck and Virtue Epistemologies in Consonance. Synthese 158 (3):363 - 383.
    This essay extends my side of a discussion begun earlier with Duncan Pritchard, the recent author of Epistemic Luck.Pritchard’s work contributes significantly to improving the “diagnostic appeal” of a neo-Moorean philosophical response to radical scepticism. While agreeing with Pritchard in many respects, the paper questions the need for his concession to the sceptic that the neo-Moorean is capable at best of recovering “‘brute’ externalist knowledge”. The paper discusses and directly responds to a dilemma that Pritchard poses for virtue epistemologies (VE). (...)
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  23. Guy Axtell (2006). Blind Man's Bluff: The Basic Belief Apologetic as Anti-Skeptical Stratagem. Philosophical Studies 130 (1):131--152.
    Today we find philosophical naturalists and Christian theists both expressing an interest in virtue epistemology, while starting out from vastly different assumptions. What can be done to increase fruitful dialogue among these divergent groups of virtue-theoretic thinkers? The primary aim of this paper is to uncover more substantial common ground for dialogue by wielding a double-edged critique of certain assumptions shared by `scientific' and `theistic' externalisms, assumptions that undermine proper attention to epistemic agency and responsibility. I employ a responsibilist virtue (...)
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  24. Guy Axtell (2006). The Present Dilemma in Philosophy. Contemporary Pragmatism 3 (1):15-35.
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  25. Guy Axtell (2004). Review of Stuart Rosenbaum, Ed. Pragmatism and Religion: Classical Sources and Original Essays. [REVIEW] Contemporary Pragmatism 1 (2):182-191.
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  26. Guy Axtell (2003). Felix Culpa: Luck in Ethics and Epistemology. Metaphilosophy 34 (3):331--352.
    Luck threatens in similar ways our conceptions of both moral and epistemic evaluation. This essay examines the problem of luck as a metaphilosophical problem spanning the division between subfields in philosophy. I first explore the analogies between ethical and epistemic luck by comparing influential attempts to expunge luck from our conceptions of agency in these two subfields. I then focus upon Duncan Pritchard's challenge to the motivations underlying virtue epistemology, based specifically on its handling of the problem of epistemic luck. (...)
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  27. Guy Axtell (2003). Review of Lynn Holt, Apprehension: Reason in the Absence of Rules. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (9).
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  28. Guy Axtell (2003). Review of Rosenbaum. [REVIEW] Contemporary Pragmatism:178-187.
    There are many books on the market about religion in American thought and history, but the idea for a collection of essays focused directly upon pragmatist reconstructions of religious belief and sentiment is overdue. Stuart Rosenbaum’s reader admirably fills this need, and is bound to bring fresh insights to students and advanced researchers alike.
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  29. Guy Axtell (2002). Charles Taylor, Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 22 (5):372-374.
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  30. Guy Axtell (2001). Epistemic Luck in Light of the Virtues. In Abrol Fairweather & Linda Zagzebski (eds.), Virtue Epistemology: Essays on Epistemic Virtue and Responsibility. Oxford University Press. 158--177.
    The presence of luck in our cognitive as in our moral lives shows that the quality of our intellectual character may not be entirely up to us as individuals, and that our motivation and even our ability to desire the truth, like our moral goodness, can be fragile. This paper uses epistemologists'responses to the problem of “epistemic luck” as a sounding board and locates the source of some of their deepest disagreements in divergent, value-charged “interests in explanation,” which epistemologists bring (...)
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  31. Guy Axtell (2001). Hunter Brown, William James on Radical Empiricism and Religion Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 21 (5):322-324.
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  32. Guy Axtell (2001). Teaching James's “The Will to Believe”. Teaching Philosophy 24 (4):325-345.
    Many readers have viewed William James's "The Will to Believe" as his most distinctive and resonating lecture. Yet for all the scholarly attention it has received, the complexities of the "pragmatic defence," and the issues it raises concerning evidential and pragmatic reasoning are still often misunderstood. In this paper I explicate a neglected "core" argument tied closely to James's thesis statement, and provide charts and other tools useful in presenting James' lecture in the philosophy classroom. This argument, based on the (...)
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  33. Guy Axtell (ed.) (2000). Knowledge, Belief, and Character: Readings in Virtue Epistemology. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  34. Guy Axtell, Francis Bacon, Miguel de Beistegui & Simon Sparks (2000). Books for Review and for Listing Here Should Be Addressed to Emily Zakin, Review Editor, Department of Philosophy, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. Teaching Philosophy 23 (3):311.
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  35. Alvin Goldman, Ernest Sosa, Hilary Kornblith, John Greco, Jonathan Dancy, Laurence Bonjour, Linda Zagrebsky, Julia Driver, James Montmarquet, Chirstopher Hookway, Ricard Paul, Guy Axtell & Casey Swank (2000). Knowledge, Belief, and Character: Readings in Contemporary Virtue Epistemology. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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  36. Guy Axtell (1999). Courage, Caution and Heaven's Gate. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1999:77-89.
    The criteria of “forced, live, and momentous options,” as William James utilized them in his pragmatic defense of religious belief, cannot, I argue, both support religious pluralism and acknowledge lessons about failure of epistemic responsibility in Heaven’s Gate-followers. But I attempt to re-vitalize the pragmatic argument, showing it capable of walking this narrow line. I proceed (1) by developing the distinction and relationship between a commitment to a particular religious system or community, and a commitment to the generic “religious hypothesis” (...)
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  37. Guy Axtell (1998). The Role of the Intellectual Virtues in the Reunification of Epistemology. The Monist 81 (3):488-508.
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  38. Guy Axtell (1997). ``Recent Work in Virtue Epistemology&Quot. American Philosophical Quarterly 34:1--27.
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  39. Guy Axtell (1997). Recent Work on Virtue Epistemology. American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (1):1 - 26.
    This article traces a growing interest among epistemologists in the intellectuals of epistemic virtues. These are cognitive dispositions exercised in the formation of beliefs. Attempts to give intellectual virtues a central normative and/or explanatory role in epistemology occur together with renewed interest in the ethics/epistemology analogy, and in the role of intellectual virtue in Aristotle's epistemology. The central distinction drawn here is between two opposed forms of virtue epistemology, virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. The article develops the shared and distinctive (...)
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  40. Guy Axtell (1996). Epistemic-Virtue Talk: The Reemergence of American Axiology? Journal of Speculative Philosophy 10 (3):172 - 198.
    This was my first paper on virtue epistemology, and already highlights the connections with epistemic value and axiology which I would later develop. Although most accounts were either internalist or externalist in an exclusive sense, I suggest an inquiry-focused version through connections with the American pragmatism.
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  41. Guy Axtell (1994). Guy Axtell. Social Epistemology 8:69.
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  42. Guy Axtell (1994). The Professional Quest for Truth by Stephan Fuchs. Social Epistemology 8 (1):69 – 80.
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  43. Guy Axtell (1993). Naturalism, Normativity, and Explanation: The Scientistic Biases of Contemporary Naturalism. Metaphilosophy 24 (3):253-274.
    The critical focus of this paper is on a claim made explicitly by Gilbert Harman and accepted implicitly by numerous others, the claim that naturalism supports concurrent defense of scientific objectivism and moral relativism. I challenge the assumptions of Harman's ‘argument from naturalism' used to support this combination of positions, utilizing. Hilary Putnam’s ‘companions in guilt’ argument in order to counter it. The paper concludes that while domain-specific anti-realism is often warranted, Harman’s own views about the objectivity of facts and (...)
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  44. Guy S. Axtell (1993). In the Tracks of the Historicist Movement: Re-Assessing the Carnap-Kuhn Connection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (1):119-146.
    Thirty years after the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, sharp disagreement persists concerning the implications of Kuhn’s "historicist" challenge to empiricism. I discuss the historicist movement over the past thirty years, and the extent to which the discourse between two branches of the historical school has been influenced by tacit assumptions shared with Rudolf Carnap’s empiricism. I begin with an examination of Carnap’s logicism --his logic of science-- and his 1960 correspondence with Kuhn. I focus on (...)
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  45. Guy S. Axtell (1991). Cognitive Economy. Newsletter of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy 19 (60):14-16.
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  46. Guy S. Axtell, Cognitive Values, Theory Choice, and Pluralism : On the Grounds and Implications of Philosophical Diversity.
    Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1991.
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  47. Guy Axtell, Religious Pluralism and its Discontents Guy Axtell.
    Unpublished draft. Let me know if you're interested to see it. See also my "Possibility and Permission? Intellectual Character, Inquiry, and the Ethics of Belief," forthcoming in H. Rydenfelt and S. Pihlstrom (eds.) William James on Religion (Palgrave McMillan “Philosophers in Depth” Series, 2012/2013).
     
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  48. Guy Axtell, Utilitarianism and Dewey's “Three Independent Factors in Morals”.
    The centennial of Dewey & Tuft’s Ethics (1908) provides a timely opportunity to reflect both on Dewey’s intellectual debt to utilitarian thought, and on his critique of it. In this paper I examine Dewey’s assessment of utilitarianism, but also his developing view of the good (ends; consequences), the right (rules; obligations) and the virtuous (approbations; standards) as “three independent factors in morals.” This doctrine (found most clearly in the 2nd edition of 1932) as I argue in the last sections, has (...)
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