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  1. Howard Darmstadter (2007). Relativism and Progress. Reason Papers (29):41-57.
    Relativism is a theory about how people organize their beliefs. We construct mental representations of the world—particular configurations of our internal brain stuff—to guide our actions. But our brains contain only a minuscule part of the world’s stuff. Given the limited brain stuff available, we can have detailed representations of some features of the world only if we simplify our representations of other parts. Our internal representational means are thus too meager to accurately represent reality in full. Which representations we (...)
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  2. Howard Darmstadter (1975). Better Theories. Philosophy of Science 42 (1):20-27.
    It is argued that a better theory neither (I) proves better at enabling us to realize our goals, nor (II) enables us to make more accurate predictions than a worse theory. (I) fails because it, tacitly, erroneously assumes, in talking of our goals, that individual preferences for theories can be aggregated into a social preference ordering; (II) fails because it cannot distinguish between important and unimportant predictions. Neither of these failures can be patched up by appealing to the notion of (...)
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  3. Howard Darmstadter (1974). Can Beliefs Correspond to Reality? Journal of Philosophy 71 (10):302-314.
    There is no reasonable sense in which beliefs can correspond to reality. Correspondence would seem to require some function that maps beliefs onto states of the world. Such a mapping must satisfy certain conditions, the most important of which is that it be an isomorphism—that is, there will be certain relations among beliefs that must be mapped into corresponding relations among world-states. But for any mapping that satisfies these conditions and any belief B, where B is mapped into world-state W, (...)
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  4. Howard Darmstadter (1971). Consistency of Belief. Journal of Philosophy 68 (10):301-310.
    A rational man’s beliefs are not logically consistent, and he does not believe all the logical consequences of his beliefs. This is because in any situational context, we only accept certain believed sentences. Within that context, we insist that sentences be logically consistent, and we accept the logical consequences of the other sentences we accept in that context. But such sentences do not have to be consistent with sentences we accept in other contexts, nor will we always accept in that (...)
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    Howard Darmstadter (1974). Indeterminacy of Translation and Indeterminacy of Belief. Philosophical Studies 26 (3-4):229 - 237.
    I argue that quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of radical translation is incorrect. the argument exploits the connections between quine's thesis and common sense notions regarding belief. a simple model of belief, taking beliefs to be sets of brain states, is used to give a rigorous restatement of quine's thesis. it is then argued that our need to project the actions of other people from their professions of belief would make the situation quine describes unstable, since persons in that situation (...)
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    Howard Darmstadter (2012). Peter Singer Says You Are a Bad Person. Philosophy Now 89 (89):24-27.
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    Howard Darmstadter (2013). Why Do Humans Reason? A Pragmatist Supplement to an Argumentative Theory. Thinking and Reasoning 19 (3-4):472-487.
    Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber have proposed an “argumentative theory of rea-soning” in which the function of reasoning is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade. Mercier and Sperber note that the theory does not work when we reason alone or with people who share our beliefs. However, the theory also fails in deliberations involving “framework beliefs”—beliefs that are only indirectly related to empirical evidence but that have a particular importance for the believer because of their centrality to a (...)
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    Howard Darmstadter (2013). Replies to Mercier and Oaksford. Thinking and Reasoning 19 (3-4):500-504.
    Replies to Hugo Mercier’s and Mike Oaksford’s comments on my paper “Why Do Humans Reason? A Pragmatic Supplement to an Argumentative Theory,” Thinking & Reasoning (August-November 2013) 472-487. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2013.802256.
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    Howard Darmstadter (2011). David Hume at 300. Philosophy Now 83:6-9.
    A general introduction to the philosophy of David Hume.
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  10. Howard Darmstadter (2015). Why We Can't Agree. Philosophy Now (107):26.
    We all have internal models (or maps) that represent the world. But all models/maps distort. Given the complexity of the world and the psychological limits to our representational ability, we must do with simplified models that work in those situations that are most important for us. But since our wants and situations differ, so will our models. When we encounter people with different models, we may try to convert them, but such conversion is unlikely if their models serve their wants (...)
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