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Profile: Scott Aikin (Vanderbilt University)
  1. Scott F. Aikin & Nicholaos Jones (2015). An Atheistic Argument From Ugliness. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (1):209-217.
    The theistic argument from beauty has what we call an 'evil twin', the argument from ugliness. The argument yields either what we call 'atheist win', or, when faced with aesthetic theodicies, 'agnostic tie' with the argument from beauty.
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Scott F. Aikin, Poe's Law, Group Polarization, and the Epistemology of Online Religious Discourse.
    Poe's Law is roughly that online parodies of religious extremism are indistinguishable from instances of sincere extremism. Poe's Law may be expressed in a variety of ways, each highlighting either a facet of indirect discourse generally, attitudes of online audiences, or the quality of online religious material. As a consequence of the polarization of online discussions, invocations of Poe's Law have relevance in wider circles than religion. Further, regular invocations of Poe's Law in critical discussions have the threat (...)
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  5.  50
    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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  6. 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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  7.  83
    Scott F. Aikin (2005). Who is Afraid of Epistemology's Regress Problem? Philosophical Studies 126 (2):191 - 217.
    What follows is a taxonomy of arguments that regresses of inferential justification are vicious. They fall out into four general classes: (A) conceptual arguments from incompleteness, (B) conceptual arguments from arbitrariness, (C) ought-implies-can arguments from human quantitative incapacities, and (D) ought-implies can arguments from human qualitative incapacities. They fail with a developed theory of “infinitism” consistent with valuational pluralism and modest epistemic foundationalism.
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  8.  93
    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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11.  18
    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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  12.  14
    Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2015). Reply to Joshua Anderson. The Pluralist 10 (3):335-343.
    We are pleased to find that our 2005 paper “Why Pragmatists Cannot Be Pluralists” continues to draw critical attention. It seems to us that despite the many responses to our paper, its central challenge has not been met. That challenge is for pragmatists to articulate a genuine pluralism that is consistent with their broader commitments. Unfortunately, much of the wrangling over our paper has aimed to capture the word “pluralism” for pragmatist deployment; little has been done to clarify what that (...)
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  13. 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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  14.  16
    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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  15. Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (2005). Still Searching for a Pragmatist Pluralism. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 41 (1):145 - 160.
  16. 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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  17.  95
    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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  18.  24
    Scott F. Aikin (forthcoming). Does Divine Hiding Undermine Positive Evidential Atheism? Religious Studies:1-8.
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  19. 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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  20.  8
    Scott F. Aikin (2012). Pregnant Premise Arguments. Informal Logic 32 (3):357-363.
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  21.  58
    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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  22.  15
    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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25.  43
    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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  26.  8
    Scott F. Aikin (forthcoming). So What If Horses Would Draw Horse Gods? Sophia:1-15.
    Xenophanes famously noted that if horses could draw, they would draw their gods as horses. This connection between those who depict the gods and how the gods are depicted is posed as part of a critical theological program. What follows is an argumentative reconstruction of how these observations determine the extent and content of Xenophanes’ theological reforms. In light of the strength of the critical epistemic program, it is likely Xenophanes posed ambitious theological reforms.
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  27.  25
    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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  28.  28
    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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  29.  11
    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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  30.  42
    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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  31.  26
    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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  32.  51
    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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  33.  19
    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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  34.  9
    Scott F. Aikin (2013). Stoicism's Integration Problem and Epictetus' Metaphors. Southwest Philosophy Review 29 (1):185-193.
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  35.  11
    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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  36.  13
    Scott F. Aikin (forthcoming). The Problem of the Criterion and Hegel's Model for Epistemic Infinitism. History of Philosophy Quarterly.
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  37.  3
    Scott F. Aikin (2015). Modest Transcendental Arguments. Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (1):69-79.
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  38.  46
    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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  39.  10
    Scott F. Aikin (2014). Xenophanes the High Rationalist. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (1):1-14.
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  40.  12
    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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  41.  8
    Scott F. Aikin (2012). John Dewey's Quest for Unity (Review). Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (2):242-245.
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  42.  18
    Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2013). Matters of Conscience. The Philosophers' Magazine 61 (61):113-114.
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  43.  4
    Scott F. Aikin & Robert B. Talisse (2008). Modus Tonens. Argumentation 22 (4):521-529.
    Restating an interlocutor’s position in an incredulous tone of voice can sometimes serve legitimate dialectical ends. However, there are cases in which incredulous restatement is out of bounds. This article provides an analysis of one common instance of the inappropriate use of incredulous restatement, which the authors call “modus tonens.” The authors argue that modus tonens is vicious because it pragmatically implicates the view that one’s interlocutor is one’s cognitive subordinate and provides a cue to like-minded onlookers that dialectical opponents (...)
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  44.  5
    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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  45.  14
    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.
  46.  10
    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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  47.  3
    Colin Anderson, Scott F. Aikin, John Casey & Christoph Lumer, Tu Quoque Arguments, Subjunctive Inconsistency, and Questions of Relevance.
    Tu quoque arguments regard inconsistencies in some speaker‘s performance. Most tu quoque arguments depend on actual inconsistencies. However, there are forms of tu quoque arguments that key, instead, on the conflicts a speaker would have, were some crucial contingent fact different. These, we call subjunctive tu quoque arguments. Finally, there are cases wherein the counterfactual inconsistencies of a speaker are relevant to the issue.
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  48.  28
    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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  49.  17
    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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  50.  14
    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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