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Profile: Scott Aikin (Vanderbilt University)
  1. Scott F. Aikin, A Self-Defeat Problem for the Rhetorical Theory of Argument.
    The rhetorical theory of argument, if held as a conclusion of an argument, is self-defeating. The rhetorical theory can be refined, but these refinements either make the theory subject to a second self-defeat problem or tacitly an epistemic theory of argument.
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  2. Scott F. Aikin, Don't Fear the Regress: Epistemic Infinitism and Cognitive Value.
    This essay is an introductory overview of the considerations in favor of epistemic infinitism, the view that the demands of justification are that one must have non-terminating series of reasons for one's beliefs if they are to be knowledge.
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  3. Scott F. Aikin, What is the Significance of Al Gore's Purported Hypocrisy?
    This paper is a survey of a variety of hypocrisy charges levied against Al Gore. Understood properly, these hypocrisy charges actually support Gore's case.
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  4. Scott F. Aikin (forthcoming). The Problem of the Criterion and Hegel's Model for Epistemic Infinitism. History of Philosophy Quarterly.
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  5. Scott F. Aikin & John P. Casey (forthcoming). Straw Men, Iron Men, and Argumentative Virtue. Topoi:1-10.
    The straw man fallacy consists in inappropriately constructing or selecting weak versions of the opposition’s arguments. We will survey the three forms of straw men recognized in the literature, the straw, weak, and hollow man. We will then make the case that there are examples of inappropriately reconstructing stronger versions of the opposition’s arguments. Such cases we will call iron man fallacies. The difference between appropriate and inappropriate iron manning clarifies the limits of the virtue of open-mindedness.
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  6. Scott F. Aikin (2014). Environmental Ethics and the Expanding Problem of Evil. Think 13 (36):33-39.
    The problem of evil is that morally gratuitous suffering and destruction is evidence against a benevolent and potent god. Often cases of this evil are restricted to human suffering, but if the moral universe is expanded in the fashion associated with environmental ethics, the scope of morally significant suffering and destruction grows. Consequently, the wider the scope of the moral universe, the problem of evil becomes harder for theists to solve.
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  7. Scott F. Aikin (2014). Prospects for Moral Epistemic Infinitism. Metaphilosophy 45 (2):172-181.
    This article poses two regresses for justification of moral knowledge and discusses three models for moral epistemic infinitism that arise. There are moral infinitisms dependent on empirical infinitism, what are called “piggyback” moral infinitisms. There are substantive empiricist moral infinitisms, requiring infinite chains of descriptive facts to justify normative rules. These empiricist infinitisms are developed either as infinitist egoisms or as infinitist sentimentalisms. And, finally, there are substantive rationalist moral infinitisms, requiring infinite chains of normative reasons to justify moral rules. (...)
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  8. Scott F. Aikin (2014). Xenophanes the High Rationalist. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (1):1-14.
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  9. Scott F. Aikin (2014). Xenophanes the High Rationalist: The Case of F1:17-8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (1):1-14.
    Scholarship on Xenophanes’s F1 has had two foci, one on the rules of the symposium and the other on the religious program posed at its close. Thus far, the two areas of focus have been treated as either separate issues or as the religious program proposed in the service of the sympotic objectives. Instead, I will argue that the sympotic norms Xenophanes espouses are in the service of the broader program of rational theology.
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  10. Scott Aikin & Jason Aleksander (2014). All Philosophers Go to Hell: Dante and the Problem of Infernal Punishment. Sophia 53 (1):19-31.
    We discuss the philosophical problems attendant to the justice of eternal punishments in Hell, particularly those portrayed in Dante’s Inferno. We conclude that, under Dante’s description, a unique version of the problem of Hell (and Heaven) can be posed.
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  11. Scott Aikin & Michael Hodges (2014). St. Anselm's Ontological Argument as Expressive: A Wittgensteinian Reconstruction. Philosophical Investigations 37 (2):130-151.
    We offer a reading of Anselm's Ontological Argument inspired by Wittgenstein which focuses on the fact that the “argument” occurs in a prayer addressed to God, making it a strange argument since as a prayer it seems to presuppose its conclusion. We reconstruct the argument as expressive. Within the religious perspective, the issues are to be focused on the right object not to present an argument for the existence of God. While this sort of reading lets us understand much about (...)
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  12. Jeanne Peijnenburg & Scott F. Aikin (2014). Introduction. Metaphilosophy 45 (2):139-145.
    This introduction presents selected proceedings of a two-day meeting on the regress problem, sponsored by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and hosted by Vanderbilt University in October 2013, along with other submitted essays. Three forms of research on the regress problem are distinguished: metatheoretical, developmental, and critical work.
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  13. Scott F. Aikin (2013). A Justification of Faith? Philosophical Papers 42 (1):107 - 125.
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  14. Scott F. Aikin (2013). Responsible Sports Spectatorship and the Problem of Fantasy Leagues. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (2):195-206.
    Given a variety of cases of failed spectatorship, a set of criteria for properly attending to a sporting event are defined. In light of these criteria, it is shown that Fantasy League participation occasions a peculiar kind of failure of sports spectatorship.
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  15. Scott F. Aikin (2013). Stoicism's Integration Problem and Epictetus' Metaphors. Southwest Philosophy Review 29 (1):185-193.
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  16. Scott F. Aikin & Jason Aleksander (2013). Nicholas of Cusa's De Pace Fidei and the Meta-Exclusivism of Religious Pluralism. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (2):219-235.
    In response to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Nicholas of Cusa wrote De pace fidei defending a commitment to religious tolerance on the basis of the notion that all diverse rites are but manifestations of one true religion. Drawing on a discussion of why Nicholas of Cusa is unable to square the two objectives of arguing for pluralistic tolerance and explaining the contents of the one true faith, we outline why theological pluralism is compromised by its own meta-exclusivism.
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  17. Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2013). Matters of Conscience. The Philosophers' Magazine 61 (61):113-114.
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  18. Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2013). Why We Argue : A Guide to Political Disagreement. Routledge.
    Why We Argue : A Guide to Political Disagreement presents an accessible and engaging introduction to the theory of argument, with special emphasis on the way argument works in public political debate. The authors develop a view according to which proper argument is necessary for one’s individual cognitive health; this insight is then expanded to the collective health of one’s society. Proper argumentation, then, is seen to play a central role in a well-functioning democracy. Written in a lively style and (...)
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  19. Brian Ribeiro & Scott Aikin (2013). Skeptical Theism, Moral Skepticism, and Divine Commands. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (2):77-96.
    Over the last twenty-five years skeptical theism has become one of the leading contemporary responses to the atheological argument from evil. However, more recently, some critics of skeptical theism have argued that the skeptical theists are in fact unwittingly committed to a malignant form of moral skepticism. Several skeptical theists have responded to this critique by appealing to divine commands as a bulwark against the alleged threat of moral skepticism. In this paper we argue that the skeptical theists’ appeal to (...)
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  20. Scott F. Aikin (2012). Greek Philosophy (T.A.) Blackson Ancient Greek Philosophy. From the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Philosophers. Pp. Xvi + 271. Malden, MA and Oxford: Wiley–Blackwell, 2011. Paper, £19.99, €24, US$34.95 (Cased, £55, €66, US$89.95). ISBN: 978-1-4443-3573-6 (978-1-4443-3572-9 Hbk). [REVIEW] The Classical Review 62 (2):394-396.
  21. Scott F. Aikin (2012). John Dewey's Quest for Unity By Richard Gale. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (2):242-245.
  22. Scott F. Aikin (2012). John Dewey's Quest for Unity (Review). Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy 48 (2):242-245.
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  23. Scott F. Aikin (2012). Pregnant Premise Arguments. Informal Logic 32 (3):357-363.
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  24. J. Aaron Simmons & Scott F. Aikin (2012). Prospects for A Levinasian Epistemic Infinitism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (3):437-460.
    Abstract Epistemic infinitism is certainly not a majority view in contemporary epistemology. While there are some examples of infinitism in the history of philosophy, more work needs to be done mining this history in order to provide a richer understanding of how infinitism might be formulated internal to different philosophical frameworks. Accordingly, we argue that the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas can be read as operating according to an ?impure? model of epistemic infinitism. The infinite obligation inaugurated by the ?face to (...)
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  25. Scott Aikin (2011). A Defense of War and Sport Metaphors in Argument. Philosophy and Rhetoric 44 (3):250-272.
    There is a widely held concern that using war and sport metaphors to describe argument contributes to the breakdown of argumentative processes. The thumbnail version of this worry about such metaphors is that they promote adversarial conceptions of argument that lead interlocutors with those conceptions to behave adversarially in argumentative contexts. These actions are often aggressive, which undermines argument exchange by either excluding many from such exchanges or turning exchanges more into verbal battles. These worries are legitimate as far as (...)
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  26. Scott Aikin (2011). The Regress Argument for Skepticism. In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  27. Scott F. Aikin (2011). Epistemology and the Regress Problem. Routledge.
    The regress problem -- Infinitism defended -- Metaepistemic varieties of epistemic infinitism -- Foundationalism, infinitism, and the given -- Argumentation and anti-dogmatism.
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  28. Scott F. Aikin (2011). Reasonable Atheism: A Moral Case for Respectful Disbelief. Prometheus Books.
    Arguing in mixed company -- What atheism is -- On the new atheism -- Ethics without God -- A moral case for atheism -- Religion in politics.
     
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  29. Scott F. Aikin (2011). The Ad Hominem Argument against'Knowledge is True Belief': A Reply to Martens. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (1):5-10.
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  30. Scott Aikin & John Casey (2011). Straw Men, Weak Men, and Hollow Men. Argumentation 25 (1):87-105.
    Three forms of the straw man fallacy are posed: the straw, weak, and hollow man. Additionally, there can be non-fallacious cases of any of these species of straw man arguments.
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  31. Scott Aikin & Robert Talisse (2011). Argument in Mixed Company: Mom's Maxim Vs. Mill's Principle. Think 10 (27):31-43.
    It is impolite to discuss matters of religion or politics in mixed company. So goes the popular adage which all of us were supposed to have learned as children from our mothers. Let's call it Mom's Maxim . We tend to accept Mom's Maxim. But is it philosophically sound? In this short essay, we raise some objections to Mom's Maxim and make a case for an alternative which we call Mill's Principle.
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  32. Scott Aikin & Robert Talisse (2011). Politics, for God's Sake. The Philosophers' Magazine 54 (54):106-107.
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  33. David Randall, Paul Stob, Scott Aikin, Beth Innocenti & Michael Bernard–Donals (2011). 1. Front Matter Front Matter (Pp. I-Iv). Philosophy and Rhetoric 44 (3).
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  34. Scott Aikin (2010). Invariantism, Skepticism, and Two Senses of Pragmatism. Southwest Philosophy Review 26 (2):5-7.
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  35. Scott F. Aikin (2010). John Dewey's Quest for Unity: The Journey of a Promethean Mystic (Review). Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (4):656-659.
    There is what should be called the Curious George Model of Analysis, wherein the internal conflicts of some protagonist or program are the most revealing and significant features of the story. Take George. He is a good little monkey, but he's curious. These are virtues of sorts, but George's curiosity drives him first to investigate a yellow hat, then to try to fly like the seagulls, to investigate the telephone, and finally to try holding a large bunch of balloons. In (...)
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  36. Scott F. Aikin (2010). John Dewey's Quest for Unity: The Journey of a Promethean Mystic By Richard Gale. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (4):656-659.
  37. Scott F. Aikin (2010). ’KNOWLEDGE IS TRUE BELIEF’ REBUTTED. European Journal of Analytic Philosohy 6 (2):5 - 13.
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  38. Scott F. Aikin (2010). The Problem of Worship. Think 9 (25):101-113.
    Theism is a cluster of views. The first of which is that God exists. Others are that God has all the relevant omni-attributes, that He created the world, and that He communicates with and performs miracles on behalf of humans. There is one additional view that is often overlooked. It is that humans are obligated to worship God. Importantly, this issue of worship is of central importance to traditional theism. And it extends into pagan thought that predates Christianity. Take, for (...)
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  39. Scott F. Aikin & J. Caleb Clanton (2010). Developing Group-Deliberative Virtues. Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (4):409-424.
    In this paper, the authors argue for two main claims: first, that the epistemic results of group deliberation can be superior to those of individual inquiry; and, second, that successful deliberative groups depend on individuals exhibiting deliberative virtues. The development of these group-deliberative virtues, the authors argue, is important not only for epistemic purposes but political purposes, as democracies require the virtuous deliberation of their citizens. Deliberative virtues contribute to the deliberative synergy of the group, not only in terms of (...)
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  40. Scott F. Aikin, Michael Harbour, Jonathan A. Neufeld & Robert B. Talisse (2010). Epistemic Abstainers, Epistemic Martyrs, and Epistemic Converts. Logos and Episteme 1 (2):211-219.
    An intuitive view regarding the epistemic significance of disagreement says that when epistemic peers disagree, they should suspend judgment. This abstemious view seems to embody a kind of detachment appropriate for rational beings; moreover, it seems to promote a kind of conciliatory inclination that makes for irenic and cooperative further discussion. Like many strategies for cooperation, however, the abstemious view creates opportunities for free-riding. In this essay, the authors argue that the believer who suspends judgment in the face of peer (...)
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  41. Scott F. Aikin, Michael Harbour & Robert B. Talisse (2010). Nagel on Public Education and Intelligent Design. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:209-219.
    In a recent article, Thomas Nagel argues against the court’s decision to strike down the Dover school district’s requirement that biology teachers in Dover public schools inform their students about Intelligent Design. Nagel contends that this ruling relies on questionable demarcation between science and nonscience and consequently misapplies the Establishment Clause of the constitution. Instead, he argues in favor of making room for an open discussion of these issues rather than an outright prohibition against Intelligent Design. We contend that Nagel’s (...)
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  42. Scott Aikin, Michael Harbour & Robert Talisse (2010). Evolution, Intelligent Design and Public Education: A Comment on Thomas Nagel. Spontaneous Generations 3 (1):35-40.
    Thomas Nagel recently proposed that the exclusion of Intelligent Design from science classrooms is inappropriate and that there needs to be room for “noncommittal discussion.” It is shown that Nagel’s policy proposals do not ?t the conclusions of his arguments.
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  43. Scott Aikin (2009). A Consistency Challenge for Moral and Religious Beliefs. Teaching Philosophy 32 (2):127-151.
    What should individuals do when their firmly held moral beliefs are prima facie inconsistent with their religious beliefs? In this article weoutline several ways of posing such consistency challenges and offer a detailed taxonomy of the various responses available to someone facing a consistency challenge of this sort. Throughout the paper, our concerns are primarily pedagogical: how best to pose consistency challenges in the classroom, how to stimulate discussion of the various responses to them, and how to relate such consistency (...)
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  44. Scott Aikin (2009). Don't Fear the Regress: Cognitive Values and Epistemic Infinitism. Think 8 (23):55-61.
    We are rational creatures, in that we are beings on whom demands of rationality are appropriate. But by our rationality it doesn't follow that we always live up to those demands. In those cases, we fail to be rational , but it is in a way that is different from how rocks, tadpoles, and gum fail to be rational. For them, we use the term ‘arational.’ They don't have the demands, but we do. The demands of rationality bear on us (...)
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  45. Scott Aikin (2009). Pragmatism, Experience, and the Given. Human Affairs 19 (1).
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  46. Scott F. Aikin (2009). Prospects for Peircian Epistemic Infinitism. Contemporary Pragmatism 6 (2):71-89.
    Epistemic infinitism is the view that infinite series of inferential relations are productive of epistemic justification. Peirce is explicitly infinitist in his early work, namely his 1868 series of articles. Further, Peirce's semiotic categories of firsts, seconds, and thirds favors a mixed theory of justification. The conclusion is that Peirce was an infinitist, and particularly, what I will term an impure infinitist. However, the prospects for Peirce's infinitism depend entirely on the prospects for Peirce's early semantics, which are not good. (...)
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  47. Scott F. Aikin & J. Aaron Simmons (2009). Levinasian Otherism, Skepticism, and the Problem of Self-Refutation. Philosophical Forum 40 (1):29-54.
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  48. Brian Ribeiro & Scott Aikin (2009). A Consistency Challenge for Moral and Religious Beliefs. Teaching Philosophy 32 (2):127-151.
    What should individuals do when their firmly held moral beliefs are prima facie inconsistent with their religious beliefs? In this article we outline several ways of posing such consistency challenges and offer a detailed taxonomy of the various responses available to someone facing a consistency challenge of this sort. Throughout the paper, our concerns are primarily pedagogical: how best to pose consistency challenges in the classroom, how to stimulate discussion of the various responses to them, and how to relate such (...)
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  49. Scott Aikin (2008). Kevin Scharp and Robert Brandom, Eds., In the Space of Reasons: Selected Essays of Wilfrid Sellars. [REVIEW] Transactions of the Charles s Peirce Society 44 (2):363-366.
     
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