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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 (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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  6. 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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  7. Scott F. Aikin (2014). Xenophanes the High Rationalist. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (1):1-14.
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  8. 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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  9. Scott F. Aikin (2013). A Justification of Faith? Philosophical Papers 42 (1):107 - 125.
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  10. Scott F. Aikin (2013). Responsible Sports Spectatorship and the Problem of Fantasy Leagues. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (2):195-206.
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  11. Scott F. Aikin (2013). Stoicism's Integration Problem and Epictetus' Metaphors. Southwest Philosophy Review 29 (1):185-193.
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  12. 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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  13. Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2013). Matters of Conscience. The Philosophers' Magazine 61 (61):113-114.
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  14. Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2013). Why We Argue (and How We Should): A Guide to Political Disagreement. Routledge.
    Why We Argue (And How We Should): 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 (...)
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  15. 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.
  16. Scott F. Aikin (2012). John Dewey's Quest for Unity By Richard Gale. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (2):242-245.
  17. 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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  18. Scott F. Aikin (2012). Pregnant Premise Arguments. Informal Logic 32 (3):357-363.
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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.
  25. Scott F. Aikin (2010). ’KNOWLEDGE IS TRUE BELIEF’ REBUTTED. European Journal of Analytic Philosohy 6 (2):5 - 13.
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  26. Scott F. Aikin (2010). The Problem of Worship. Think 9 (25):101-113.
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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Scott F. Aikin (2008). Evidentialism and James' Argument From Friendship. Southwest Philosophy Review 24 (1):173-180.
    William James' main argument in “The Will to Believe” against evidentialism is that there are facts that cannot come to be without a preliminary faith in their coming. James primarily makes this case with the argument from friendship. I will critically present James' argument from friendship and show that the argument does not yield a counter-example to evidentialism and is in the end unsound.
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  33. Scott F. Aikin (2008). Holding One's Own. Argumentation 22 (4):571-584.
    There is a tension with regard to regulative norms of inquiry. One’s commitments must survive critical scrutiny, and if they do not survive, they should be revised. Alternately, for views to be adequately articulated and defended, their proponents must maintain a strong commitment to the views in question. A solution is proposed with the notion of holding one’s own as the virtue of being reason-responsive with the prospects of improving the view in question.
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  34. Scott F. Aikin (2008). In the Space of Reasons: Selected Essays of Wilfrid Sellars (Review). Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (2):pp. 363-367.
  35. Scott F. Aikin (2008). Meta-Epistemology and the Varieties of Epistemic Infinitism. Synthese 163 (2):175 - 185.
    I will assume here the defenses of epistemic infinitism are adequate and inquire as to the variety standpoints within the view. I will argue that infinitism has three varieties depending on the strength of demandingness of the infinitist requirement and the purity of its conception of epistemic justification, each of which I will term strong pure, strong impure, and weak impure infinitisms. Further, I will argue that impure infinitisms have the dialectical advantage.
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  36. Scott F. Aikin (2008). Perelmanian Universal Audience and the Epistemic Aspirations of Argument. Philosophy and Rhetoric 41 (3):pp. 238-259.
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  37. Scott F. Aikin (2008). The Dogma of Environmental Revelation. Ethics and the Environment 13 (2):pp. 23-34.
    Environmental revelationism is the view that there are preferred means of knowing the value and structure of nature, and these means are characterized by experiences of awe or ceremonial feelings of reverence. This paper outlines the dogmatic consequences of this view.
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  38. Scott F. Aikin (2008). Three Objections to the Epistemic Theory of Argument Rebutted. Argumentation and Advocacy 44:130-142.
    Three objections to the epistemic theory of argument are presented and briefly rebutted. In light of this reply, a case for argumentative eclecticism is made.
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  39. Scott F. Aikin (2008). Tu Quoque Arguments and the Significance of Hypocrisy. Informal Logic 28 (2):155-169.
    Though textbook tu quoque arguments are fallacies of relevance, many versions of arguments from hypocrisy are indirectly relevant to the issue. Some arguments from hypocrisy are challenges to the authority of a speaker on the basis of either her sincerity or competency regarding the issue. Other arguments from hypocrisy purport to be evidence of the impracticability of the opponent’s proposals. Further, some versions of hypocrisy charges from impracticability are open to a counter that I will term tu quoque judo.
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  40. Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2008). Modus Tonens. Argumentation 22 (4):521-529.
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  41. Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2008). Rockmore on Analytic Pragmatism. Metaphilosophy 39 (2):155–162.
    Aikin and Talisse reply to Rockmore's case against the 'analytic pragmatist' tradition.
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  42. Scott F. Aikin (2007). Bar Room Knowledge and Epistemic Pragmatism. Southwest Philosophy Review 23 (2):55-57.
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  43. Scott F. Aikin (2007). Prospects for Skeptical Foundationalism. Metaphilosophy 38 (5):578-590.
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  44. Scott F. Aikin (2006). Commentary on Democratic “Deliberation, Public Reason, and Environmental Politics”. Environmental Philosophy 3 (2):59-63.
    Editors’ Note: We decided that a commentary to the original Aikin essay from the perspective of humanities policy would be beneficial. We then invited Scott Aikin to respond to this commentary. What follows is (a) the Briggle/Frodeman commentary and (b) the Aikin response. We present the discussion in its entirety in the conviction that this transparency will help the reader to critically assess the viability of these arguments and to draw his/her own conclusion as to the efficacy of such reasoning (...)
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  45. Scott F. Aikin (2006). Contrastive Self-Attribution of Belief. Social Epistemology 20 (1):93 – 103.
    A common argument for evidentialism is that the norms of assertion, specifically those bearing on warrant and assertability, regulate belief. On this assertoric model of belief, a constitutive condition for belief is that the believing subject take her belief to be supported by sufficient evidence. An equally common source of resistance to these arguments is the plausibility of cases in which a speaker, despite the fact that she lacks warrant to assert that p, nevertheless attributes to herself the belief that (...)
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  46. Scott F. Aikin (2006). Democratic Deliberation, Public Reason, and Environmental Politics. Environmental Philosophy 3 (2):52-58.
    The activity of democratic deliberation is governed by the norm of public reason – namely, that reasons justifying public policy must both be pursuant of shared goods and be shareable by all reasonable discussants. Environmental policies based on controversial theories of value, as a consequence, are in danger of breaking the rule that would legitimate their enforcement.
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  47. Scott F. Aikin (2006). Modest Evidentialism. International Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):327-343.
    Evidentialism is the view that subjects should believe neither more than nor contrary to what their current evidence supports. I will critically present two arguments for the view. A common source of resistance to evidentialism is that there are intuitive cases where subjects should believe contrary to their evidence. I will present modest evidentialism as the view that subjects should believe in accord with what their evidence supports, but that this norm may be overridden under certain conditions. As such, a (...)
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  48. Scott F. Aikin (2006). Pragmatism, Naturalism, and Phenomenology. Human Studies 29 (3):317 - 340.
    Pragmatism’s naturalism is inconsistent with the phenomenological tradition’s anti-naturalism. This poses a problem for the methodological consistency of phenomenological work in the pragmatist tradition. Solutions such as phenomenologizing naturalism or naturalizing phenomenology have been proposed, but they fail. As a consequence, pragmatists and other naturalists must answer the phenomenological tradition’s criticisms of naturalism.
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  49. Scott F. Aikin & Michael P. Hodges (2006). Wittgenstein, Dewey, and the Possibility of Religion. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 20 (1):1-19.
    John Dewey points out in A Common Faith (1934) that what stands in the way of religious belief for many is the apparent commitment of Western religious traditions to supernatural phenomena and questionable historical claims. We are to accept claims that in any other context we would find laughable. Are we to believe that water can be turned into wine without the benefit of the fermentation process? Are we to swallow the claim that there is such a phenomenon as the (...)
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  50. Robert Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (2006). Two Forms of the Straw Man. Argumentation 20 (3):345-352.
    The authors identify and offer an analysis of a new form of the Straw Man fallacy, and then explore the implications of the prevalence of this fallacy for contemporary political discourse.
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