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Profile: John R. Welch (Saint Louis University - Madrid Campus)
  1. John R. Welch (2014). Plausibilistic Coherence. Synthese:1-15.
    Why should coherence be an epistemic desideratum? One response is that coherence is truth-conducive: mutually coherent propositions are more likely to be true, ceteris paribus, than mutually incoherent ones. But some sets of propositions are more coherent, while others are less so. How could coherence be measured? Probabilistic measures of coherence exist; some are identical to probabilistic measures of confirmation, while others are extensions of such measures. Probabilistic measures of coherence are fine when applicable, but many situations are so information-poor (...)
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  2. John R. Welch (2013). New Tools for Theory Choice and Theory Diagosis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 44 (3):318-329.
    Theory choice can be approached in at least four ways. One of these calls for the application of decision theory, and this article endorses this approach. But applying standard forms of decision theory imposes an overly demanding standard of numeric information, supposedly satisfied by point-valued utility and probability functions. To ameliorate this difficulty, a version of decision theory that requires merely comparative utilities and plausibilities is proposed. After a brief summary of this alternative, the article illustrates how comparative decision theory (...)
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  3. John R. Welch (2012). Real-Life Decisions and Decision Theory. In Sabine Roeser, Rafaela Hillerbrand, Per Sandin & Martin Peterson (eds.), Handbook of Risk Theory. Springer.
    Some decisions result in cognitive consequences such as information gained and information lost. The focus of this study, however, is decisions with consequences that are partly or completely noncognitive. These decisions are typically referred to as ‘real-life decisions’. According to a common complaint, the challenges of real-life decision making cannot be met by decision theory. This complaint has at least two principal motives. One is the maximizing objection that to require agents to determine the optimal act under real-world constraints is (...)
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  4. John R. Welch (2011). Decision Theory and Cognitive Choice. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):147-172.
    The focus of this study is cognitive choice: the selection of one cognitive option (a hypothesis, a theory, or an axiom, for instance) rather than another. The study proposes that cognitive choice should be based on the plausibilities of states posited by rival cognitive options and the utilities of these options' information outcomes. The proposal introduces a form of decision theory that is novel because comparative; it permits many choices among cognitive options to be based on merely comparative plausibilities and (...)
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  5. John Lemos, Thomas J. McPartland, John C. Médaille, Robert J. Spitzer, Runar M. Thorsteinsson, John R. Welch & Notre Dame (2010). American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 842. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4).
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  6. John R. Welch (ed.) (2010). Other Voices: Readings in Spanish Philosophy. University of Notre Dame Press.
    Other Voices: Readings in Spanish Philosophy represents high points of nearly two millennia of Spanish philosophy, from first-century thinkers in Roman Hispania to those of the twentieth century. John R. Welch has selected, and in several cases translated, excerpts from the works of thirteen philosophers: Seneca, Quintilian, Isidore of Seville, Ibn Rushd (Averroës), Moses Maimonides, Ramón Llull, Juan Luis Vives, Francisco de Vitoria, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Francisco Suárez, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo, Miguel de Unamuno, and José Ortega y Gasset. Welch (...)
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  7. John R. Welch (2009). The Art and Logic of Ramon Llull: A User's Guide (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (2):pp. 313-314.
  8. John R. Welch (2007). Vagueness and Inductive Molding. Synthese 154 (1):147 - 172.
    Vagueness is epistemic, according to some. Vagueness is ontological, according to others. This article deploys what I take to be a compromise position. Predicates are coined in specific contexts for specific purposes, but these limited practices do not automatically fix the extensions of predicates over the domain of all objects. The linguistic community using the predicate has rarely considered, much less decided, all questions that might arise about the predicate’s extension. To this extent, the ontological view is correct. But a (...)
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  9. John R. Welch (2005). Gruesome Predicates. In Roberto Festa, Atocha Aliseda & Jeanne Peijnenburg (eds.), Confirmation, Empirical Progress and Truth Approximation: Essays in Debate with Theo Kuipers. Rodopi. 129-137.
    This chapter examines gruesome predicates, the most notorious of which is 'grue'. It proceeds by extending the analysis of Theo A. F. Kuipers' From Instrumentalism to Constructive Realism in three directions. It proposes an amplified typology of grue problems, first of all, and argues that one such problem is the root of the rest. Second, it suggests a solution to this root problem influenced by Kuipers' Bayesian solution to a related problem. Finally, it expands the class of gruesome predicates by (...)
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  10. John R. Welch (ed.) (2004). Ethics and Perplexity: Toward a Critique of Dialogical Reason. Rodopi.
    Javier Muguerza’s Ethics and Perplexity makes a highly original contribution to the debate over dialogical reason. The work opens with a letter that establishes a parallel between Ethics and Perplexity and Maimonides’s classic Guide of the Perplexed. It concludes with an interview that repeatedly strikes sparks on Spanish philosophy’s emergence from its “long quarantine,” as Muguerza puts it. These informal pieces—witty, informative, conversational—orbit the nucleus of the work: a formidable critique of dialogical reason. The result is a volume by turns (...)
     
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  11. John R. Welch (ed.) (2004). Memory of the West: The Contemporaneity of Forgotten Jewish Thinkers. Rodopi.
    Reyes Mate's Memory of the West looks back in order to look forward. It is a sustained reflection on the great disillusion Europe experienced after World War I. Europeans understood that bombs had buried the Enlightenment. They knew that, to avoid catastrophe, they had to think anew. The catastrophe came, but Cohen, Benjamin, Kafka, and Rosenzweig had sounded the warning.
     
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  12. John R. Welch (2001). Cleansing the Doors of Perception: Aristotle on Induction. In Konstantine Boudouris (ed.), Greek Philosophy and Epistemology. International Association for Greek Philosophy.
    This chapter has two objectives. The first is to clarify Aristotle’s view of the first principles of the sciences. The second is to stake out a critical position with respect to this view. The paper sketches an alternative to Aristotle’s intuitionism based in part on the use of quantitative inductive logics.
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  13. John R. Welch (2001). Two Types of Moral Dilemma. In Matti Häyry & Tuija Takala (eds.), The Future of Value Inquiry. Rodopi.
    This chapter identifies two types of moral dilemma. The first type is described as ethical clash: whether affirmative action is just or unjust, for example, or whether withholding information from an inquisitive relative is honest or dishonest. In these cases the dilemma takes the form of conflict between an ethical predicate and its complement. The second type of moral dilemma is ethical overlap. Instead of a clash between a single predicate and its complement, here two or more predicates apply. Dilemmas (...)
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  14. John R. Welch (1999). Singular Analogy and Quantitative Inductive Logics. Theoria 14 (2):207-247.
    The article explores the handling of singular analogy in quantitative inductive logics. It concentrates on two analogical patterns coextensive with the traditional argument from analogy: perfect and imperfect analogy. Each is examined within Carnap’s λ-continuum, Carnap’s and Stegmüller’s λ-η continuum, Carnap’s Basic System, Hintikka’s α-λ continuum, and Hintikka’s and Niiniluoto’s K-dimensional system. Itis argued that these logics handle perfect analogies with ease, and that imperfect analogies, while unmanageable in some logics, are quite manageable in others. The paper concludes with a (...)
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  15. John R. Welch (1997). Analogy in Ethics: Pragmatics and Semantics. In Paul Weingartner, Gerhard Schurz & Georg Dorn (eds.), The Role of Pragmatics in Contemporary Philosophy. Die Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft. Vol. II, 1016-1021.
    This chapter explores arguments from analogy containing ethical predicates like 'just', 'courageous', and 'honest'. The approach is Wittgensteinian in a double sense. The role of paradigm cases in ethical discourse is emphasized, first of all, and the inductive logics to be employed spring from Wittgenstein's remarks on probability (1922). Although these logics rely on a semantic concept of range, they yield results for the ethical problems treated here only if grounded in certain kinds of pragmatic consensus.
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  16. John R. Welch (1997). Animal Minds and Human Morals (Review). [REVIEW] Philosophia 25:473-480.
  17. John R. Welch (1997). James L. Kastely, Rethinking the Rhetorical Tradition: From Plato to Postmodernism Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 17 (4):262-264.
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  18. John R. Welch (1997). Rethinking the Rhetorical Tradition: From Plato to Postmodernism (Review). [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 17:262-264.
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  19. John R. Welch (1994). Hacia Una Lógica de Analogía. Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofía 20:161-167.
    How do we distinguish good and bad analogies? Luis A. Camacho proposed that false analogies be construed as false material conditionals. This article offers a counter-proposal: analogies of all sorts can be understood as singular inductive inferences. For the sake of simplicity, this proposal is illustrated with reference to Carnap's favorite inductive method c*.
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  20. John R. Welch (1994). Science and Ethics: Toward a Theory of Ethical Value. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 25 (2):279 - 292.
    This article sketches descriptive and normative components of a theory of ethical value. The normative component, which receives the lion’s share of attention, is developed by adapting Laudan’s levels of scientific discourse. The resulting levels of ethical discourse can be critically addressed through the use of inductive inference, falsification, and causal inference. These techniques are likewise appropriate to the corresponding levels of scientific discourse.
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  21. John R. Welch (1993). La antiteoría y la filosofía del Renacimiento. Cuadernos Salmantinos de Filosofía 20:173-178.
    This article defends the philosophy of the Renaissance against a critique by Ortega y Gasset. Renaissance philosophy, it is argued, was a rebirth of the Hellenistic and Roman conviction that theory should not be pursued for its own sake; rather, it should be kept on a short leash controlled by practical ends. This Renaissance view is a precursor to the contemporary anti-theory of thinkers like Aranguren, Toulmin, and Williams.
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  22. John R. Welch (1992). Responsabilidad Colectiva y Reduccionismo. Pensamiento 48:49–68.
    This is the Spanish translation of "Corporate Agency and Reduction," The Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1989), 409–424.
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  23. John R. Welch (1991). Reconstructing Aristotle: The Practical Syllogism. Philosophia 21 (1-2):69-88.
    This article tackles a number of puzzles related to Aristotle’s practical syllogism, notably the relationship between deliberation and the practical syllogism, the distinction between deliberative and reconstructive practical syllogisms, and the nature of the conclusion of the practical syllogism.
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  24. John R. Welch (1990). Llull and Leibniz: The Logic of Discovery. Catalan Review 4:75-83.
    Llull and Leibniz both subscribed to conceptual atomism, the belief that the majority of concepts are compounds constructed from a relatively small number of primitive concepts. Llull worked out techniques for finding the logically possible combinations of his primitives, but Leibniz criticized Llull’s execution of these techniques. This article argues that Leibniz was right about things being more complicated than Llull thought but that he was wrong about the details. The paper attempts to correct these details.
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  25. John R. Welch (1989). Apuntes Sobre El Pensamiento Matemático de Ramón Llull. Theoria 4 (2):451-459.
    This paper attempts to clarify some of the mathematical details of Ramón Llull's combinatorial logic.
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  26. John R. Welch (1989). Corporate Agency and Reduction. Philosophical Quarterly 39 (157):409-424.
    Individual people are morally responsible. But can groups of people - corporations and nations, for example - be morally responsible as well? An affirmative answer has been defended by appealing to two criteria, here identified as the turnover test and the distribution test. The article argues for a Scotch verdict: neither criterion proves the point.
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  27. John R. Welch (1984). Referential Inscrutability: Coming to Terms Without It. Southern Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):263-273.
    According to Quine, terms of divided reference like 'rabbit' have two sorts of problems: problems of direct and deferred ostension. Hence the reference of these terms is inscrutable. This article holds that the problems of deferred ostension can be handled by Goodman's theory of projection, and that the problems of direct ostension turn out to be pedestrian problems of signs.
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