In Analysis, Vol. 45, June 1984, George Rea published a paper attacking my claim that there could be ‘indeterminate minds'. This paper is a reply to his attack. I claim, again, that such ‘minds’ are possible – entities such that it is indeterminate whether or not these entities are people with minds. -/- .
Parfit’s well known book, Reasons and Persons, argues, among other things, that ‘what matters’ in regard to ‘survival’ is not personal identity but something he calls ‘relation R.’ On this basis, plus other considerations, he rejects the ‘Self-interest’ theory as to what should be our aim in life. Here I show, or try to show, that his over-all argument is seriously defective. In particular, he fails to prove that personal identity is not what matters for survival.
In 1974 Putnam was a ‘realist’ in regard to the physical world. By 1981 he had become a 'non-realist' in this regard. (I don’t know where he stands today.) In this paper I argue that his realism was more plausible than his non-realism. The physical world is what it is independently of any rational being’s interpretation of it.
In this book I try to defend a traditional kind of dualism in regard to ethical theory. The idea is that Conscience and Self-love offer distinct but rational and reasonable objectives in our decision-making. When they conflict, pure reason does not resolve the issue. With this picture in mind, I argue that a kind of Platonistic realism in regard to morality is (still) intellectually permissible – has not yet been defeated. That is to say, it is permissible to hold that (...) we ought to do what is morally right simply because it is morally right. We ought to do this even when Self-love is strongly opposed. (shrink)
This was an attempt to show what is wrong with Anselm’s ‘Ontological Argument’ for the existence of God. My present view is that Peter Millican has given us a similar, but much better line of attack in his “The One Fatal Flaw….” Paper.
Almost everyone believes in modality de dicto. Necessarily, puppies are young dogs. The necessity here derives from the meaning of “puppy.” The term means young dog. Essentialism is belief in a more exotic sort of modality, one that does not derive from meaning in this direct and simple way. In the first two sections of this paper, I consider indexical and nonindexical kind terms and the sort of modality applicable to each. In the last section, I consider individuals and proper (...) names. (shrink)
I have been told that for some twenty minutes after reading this paper Kripke believed I had shown that proper names could be non-rigid designators. (Then, apparently, he found a crucial error in the set-up.) I take great pride in this (alleged) fact.
This is a boiled down version of my doctoral dissertation. Ryle wouldn’t publish it, claiming that it is like ‘a well sharpened pencil that no one will ever use.’ I guess he turned to be right. Nevertheless I think it was, and is, a good paper.