ABSTRACT: A detailed presentation of Stoic logic, part one, including their theories of propositions (or assertibles, Greek: axiomata), demonstratives, temporal truth, simple propositions, non-simple propositions(conjunction, disjunction, conditional), quantified propositions, logical truths, modal logic, and general theory of arguments (including definition, validity, soundness, classification of invalid arguments).
Recent work on the evidential argument from evil offers us sundry considerations which are intended to weigh against this form of atheological arguments. By far the most provocative is that on a priori grounds alone, evil can be shown to be evidentially impotent. This astonishing thesis has been given a vigorous defense by Keith Yandell. In this paper, we shall measure the prospects for an a priori dismissal of evidential arguments from evil.
The Language of Thought Hypothesis is often taken to have the fatal flaw that it generates an explanatory regress. The language of thought is invoked to explain certain features of natural language (e.g., that it is learned, understood, and is meaningful), but, according to the regress argument, the language of thought itself has these same features and hence no explanatory progress has been made. We argue that such arguments rely on the tacit assumption that the entire motivation for the (...) language of thought consists in explaining the explanandum that allegedly generates the regress. But this tacit assumption is simply false. The Language of Thought Hypothesis is a cogent view and one with considerable explanatory advantages. (shrink)
Recent debate in metaethics over evolutionary debunking arguments against morality has shown a tendency to abstract away from relevant empirical detail. Here, I engage the debate about Darwinian debunking of morality with relevant empirical issues. I present four conditions that must be met in order for it to be reasonable to expect an evolved cognitive faculty to be reliable: the environment, information, error, and tracking conditions. I then argue that these conditions are not met in the case of our (...) evolved faculty for moral judgement. (shrink)
In the political arena, lesbian and gay issues have been contested typically on grounds of human rights, but with variable success. Using a moral developmental framework, the purpose of this study was to explore preferences for different types of moral arguments when thinking about moral dilemmas around lesbian and gay issues. The analysis presented here comprised data collected from 545 students at UK universities who completed a questionnaire, part of which comprised a moral dilemma task. Findings of the study (...) showed that respondents do not apply moral reasoning consistently, and do not (clearly) favour human rights reasoning when thinking about lesbian and gay issues. Respondents tended to favour reasoning supporting existing social structures and frameworks, therefore this study highlights the importance of structural change in effecting widespread attitude change in relation to lesbian and gay rights issues. The implications of the findings for moral education are also discussed. (shrink)
This paper compares and contrasts two infinite regress arguments against higher-order theories of consciousness that were put forward by the Buddhist epistemologists Dignāga (ca. 480–540 CE) and Dharmakīrti (ca. 600–660). The two arguments differ considerably from each other, and they also differ from the infinite regress argument that scholars usually attribute to Dignāga or his followers. The analysis shows that the two philosophers, in these arguments, work with different assumptions for why an object-cognition must be cognised: for (...) Dignāga it must be cognised in order to enable subsequent memory of it, for Dharmakīrti it must be cognised if it is to cognise an object. (shrink)
We develop conceptions of arguments and of argument types that will, by serving as the basis for developing a natural classification of arguments, benefit work in artificial intelligence. Focusing only on arguments construed as the semantic entities that are the outcome of processes of reasoning, we outline and clarify our view that an argument is a proposition that represents a fact as both conveying some other fact and as doing so wholly. Further, we outline our view that, (...) with respect to arguments that are propositions, (roughly) two arguments are of the same type if and only if they represent the same relation of conveyance and do so in the same way. We then argue for our conceptions of arguments and argument types, and compare them to alternative positions. We also illustrate the need for, and some of the strengths of, our approach to classifying arguments through an examination of aspects of two prominent and recent attempts to classify arguments using argumentation schemes, namely those of M. Kienpointner and D. Walton. Finally, we clarify how our conception of arguments and of argument types can assist in developing an exhaustive classification of arguments. (shrink)
It is widely suspected that arguments from conceivability, at least in some of their more notorious instances, are unsound. However, the reasons for the failure of conceivability arguments are less well agreed upon, and it remains unclear how to distinguish between sound and unsound instances of the form. In this paper I provide an analysis of the form of arguments from conceivability, and use this analysis to diagnose a systematic weakness in the argument form which reveals all (...) its instances to be, roughly, either uninformative or unsound. I illustrate this conclusion through a consideration of David Chalmers. (shrink)
Three studies of human nonmonotonic reasoning are described. The results show that people find such reasoning quite difficult, although being given problems with known subclass-superclass relationships is helpful. The results also show that recognizing differences in the logical strengths of arguments is important for the nonmonotonic problems studied. For some of these problems, specificity – which is traditionally considered paramount in drawing appropriate conclusions – was irrelevant and so should have lead to a “can’t tell” response; however, people could (...) give rational conclusions based on differences in the logical consequences of arguments. The same strategy also works for problems where specificity is relevant, suggesting that in fact specificity is not paramount. Finally, results showed that subjects’ success at responding appropriately to nonmonotonic problems involving conflict relies heavily on the ability to appreciate differences in the logical strength of simple, non-conflicting, statements. (shrink)
Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather how we can justify our beliefs.
Constitutive arguments for the principles of practical reason attempt to justify normative requirements by claiming that we already accept them in so far as we are believers or agents. In two constitutive arguments for the requirement that we must will universally, Korsgaard attempts first to arrive at the requirement that we will universally from observations about the causality of the will, and secondly to establish that willing universally is constitutive of having a self. Some rational requirements may be (...) established by some version of this second argument, but the strategy does not seem promising when it comes to establishing the requirement that we will universally. I draw on the discussion of Korsgaard to highlight a challenge facing constitutive arguments in general. (shrink)
There is currently a significant amount of interest in understanding and developing theories of realization. Naturally arguments have arisen about the adequacy of some theories over others. Many of these arguments have a point. But some can be resolved by seeing that the theories of realization in question are not genuine competitors because they fall under different conceptual traditions with different but compatible goals. I will first describe three different conceptual traditions of realization that are implicated by the (...)arguments under discussion. I will then examine the arguments, from an older complaint by Norman Malcolm against a familiar functional theory to a recent argument by Thomas Polger against an assortment of theories that traffic in inherited causal powers, showing how they can be resolved by situating the theories under their respective conceptual traditions. (shrink)
It is argued in this paper that recent work on immanence and transcendence in Whitehead scholarship, notably by Basile and Nobo, provides helpful guidelines and ideas for work on problems regarding immanence in Deleuze's philosophy. By following arguments on theism and naturalism in the reception of Whitehead, it argues that Deleuze's philosophy depends on reciprocal relations between that actual and the virtual such that they cannot be considered as separate without also being incomplete. It is then shown that Deleuze's (...) philosophy allows for metaphysical terms such as ‘pure’ without having to concede a separate and self-sufficient pure realm. (shrink)
This paper examines critically Kretzmann's reconstruction of the project of natural theology as exemplified by Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles. It is argued that the notion of natural theology, as understood and advocated by Kretzmann, is particularly indebted to the epistemologically biased natural theology of modernity with its focus on rational justification of theistic belief. As a consequence, Kretzmann's view of the arguments for the existence of God and their place within Aquinas's theological project is insufficiently sensitive to the ontological (...) conception of truth and intelligibility which underlies the argumentation. From his epistemological point of view Kretzmann differs from Aquinas in two aspects. First, he contends that it is not necessary to establish the existence of God with absolute certainty at the outset; one may begin with the hypothesis that there is a God. Second, the arguments do not yet conclude to the existence of God in the specific theistic sense; they show at most the existence of a primary explanatory entity, which may be identified with God later on. Both claims are criticized in the light of a discussion of Aquinas's theological method. (shrink)
This paper presents a theory of reasoning with evidence in order to determine the facts in a criminal case. The focus is on the process of proof, in which the facts of the case are determined, rather than on related legal issues, such as the admissibility of evidence. In the literature, two approaches to reasoning with evidence can be distinguished, one argument-based and one story-based. In an argument-based approach to reasoning with evidence, the reasons for and against the occurrence of (...) an event, e.g., based on witness testimony, are central. In a story-based approach, evidence is evaluated and interpreted from the perspective of the factual stories as they may have occurred in a case, e.g., as they are defended by the prosecution. In this paper, we argue that both arguments and narratives are relevant and useful in the reasoning with and interpretation of evidence. Therefore, a hybrid approach is proposed and formally developed, doing justice to both the argument-based and the narrative-based perspective. By the formalization of the theory and the associated graphical representations, our proposal is the basis for the design of software developed as a tool to make sense of the evidence in complex cases. (shrink)
Methodological analysis shows that the concepts of fitness and adaptation are more complex than the literature suggests. Various arguments against adaptationism are inadequate since they are couched in terms of unduly simplistic notions.
Arguments have been much misunderstood. Not only has it been assumed that they must be deductive, but it has been assumed also that, although often expressed in loose and elliptical form, they must be capable, if they are valid at all, of being expressed with absolute precision, as a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the action in question to be appropriate. Mathematical arguments are capable of being stated precisely, and it has long been a reproach to (...) workers in other disciplines that they do not manage to achieve equal precision in their work. The assumption is made that absolute precision is in principle available, and it is only a lack of rigour by practitioners in the non-mathematical disciplines that prevents them casting their arguments in satisfactory form, and the philosopher should, therefore, reconstruct arguments to conform with these requirements, evaluating those that do, and rejecting any that do not. (shrink)
The best judge of the soundness of a philosophical argument is the philosopher with the greatest philosophical aptitude, the deepest knowledge of the relevant subject matter, the most scrupulous character, and a disinterested position with respect to the subject matter. This last feature is important because even a highly intelligent and scrupulous judge may find it hard to reach the right conclusion about a subject in which he or she has a vested interest. When the subject of inquiry is the (...) soundness of theistic arguments, the best judge will be the most intelligent and scrupulous philosopher who is also disinterested in the soundness of the theistic argument under consideration. I argue that, in this case, the disinterestedness requirement is best satisfied by the theist whose belief in God is “properly basic”, and in the course of defending this argument I uncover a little-recognized desideratum for theistic arguments. (shrink)
Prompted by questions raised in the public arena concerning the validity of arguments for the existence of God based on "design" in the universe, I explore traditional teleological argument for the existence of God. Using the arguments offered by Thomas Aquinas as fairly representative of this classical line of argumentation going back to Aristotle, I attempt to uncover the hidden premises and construct arguments for the existence of God which are deductive in nature. To justify the premises (...) of Aquinas’s argument, I begin by presenting an argument to justify the existence of "final causes," with a focus on answering questions about the biological implications of these causes for evolutionary theory. Then, I attempt to construct two teleological proofs for the existence of God. Finally, I offer some implications of this reasoning for the contemporary disputes over ID/evolution in education. (shrink)
Gary Gutting argues, in his recent book What Philosophers Know, that analytic philosophy provides a sizable collection of exemplary arguments that effectively yield a “disciplinary body of philosophical knowledge”—“metaphilosophy,” he names it—that is, specimens that define in a notably perspicuous way what we should understand as philosophical knowledge itself. He concedes weaknesses in the best-known specimens, and he admits that, generally, even the best specimens do not provide answers to the usual grand questions. I admire his treatment of the (...) matter but argue that the metaphilosophical issues are, normally, of a much grander gauge than that of his sort of specimen; that they require a much more open, informal sort of inquiry and exchange than that of the distinctive rigor of the classic specimens themselves; that analytic philosophy, not uncharacteristically, tends to ignore the metaphilosophical issue or takes the validity of its method of argument for granted; and that the issue itself invites an appraisal of competing second-order conceptions of how philosophical argument proves fruitful. I proceed by way of the examination of cases drawn from Quine and Kripke. (shrink)
This article – which includes a complete translation of Mūlamadhyamakakārikā chapter 2 together with Candrakīrti’s commentary thereon – argues that notwithstanding the many different and often arcane interpretations that have been offered of Nāgārjuna’s arguments against motion, there is really just one straightforward kind of argument on offer in this vexed chapter. It is further argued that this basic argument can be understood as a philosophically interesting one if it is kept in mind that the argument essentially has to (...) do with whether a personal level of description will admit of an exhaustively impersonal explanation. (shrink)
One class of argument against cloning human beings in the contemporary literature focuses on the bad consequences that will befall the clone or “later-twin.” In this paper I consider whether this line of argumentation can be blocked by invoking Parfit’s non-identity problem. I canvass two general strategies for solving the non-identity problem: a consequentialist strategy and a non-consequentialist, rights based strategy. I argue that while each general strategy offers a plausible solution to the non-identity problem as applied to the cases (...) most frequently discussed in the non-identity problem literature, neither provides a reason for puttingaside the non-identity problem when applied to cloning. I conclude (roughly) that the non-identity problem does serve to block this class of argument against cloning. (shrink)
Two types of philosophical arguments are employed by the defenders and critics of the Copenhagen Interpretation. One type of argument is a confrontation of an opponent's interpretation with criteria of demarcation and criteria of acceptability. The purpose of such arguments is either to exclude an opponent's interpretation from the range of permissible discourse in quantum physics, or to establish the inadequacy of an opponent's interpretation. A second type of argument is a justification of the value, or utility, of (...) the criteria selected. (shrink)
The paper aims to cast light on the kind of proof involved in central transcendental arguments. It is suggested that some of the difficulty associated with such arguments may result from the tendency to construe them simply as articulating relations between concepts or propositional contents. A different construal, connected with phenomenological description, is outlined, as a way of bringing out the force of these arguments. It is suggested that it can be fruitful to think in terms of (...) this construal in understanding some of Kant's transcendental proofs. The recommended construal also helps to understand the nature of the link between transcendental arguments and transcendental idealism. (shrink)
Transcendental arguments have been described as undogmatic or non-dogmatic arguments. This paper examines this contention critically and addresses the question of what is required from an argument for which the characterization is valid. I shall argue that although transcendental arguments do in certain respects meet what one should require from non-dogmatic arguments, they - or more specifically, what I shall call 'general transcendental arguments' - involve an assumption about conceptual unity that constitutes a reason for (...) not attributing to them the status of non-dogmatic arguments. As a solution to this problem I distinguish general transcendental arguments from what I shall call 'specific transcendental arguments' and seek to explain how by limiting the use of transcendental arguments to the latter type it would be possible to avoid dogmatism. This methodological adjustment also opens up a possibility of re-interpreting transcendental arguments from the past in a novel non-dogmatic fashion. (shrink)
Manipulation arguments for incompatibilism all build upon some example or other in which an agent is covertly manipulated into acquiring a psychic structure on the basis of which she performs an action. The featured agent, it is alleged, is manipulated into satisfying conditions compatibilists would take to be sufficient for acting freely. Such an example used in the context of an argument for incompatibilism is meant to elicit the intuition that, due to the pervasiveness of the manipulation, the agent (...) does not act freely and is not morally responsible for what she does. It is then claimed that any agent's coming to be in the same psychic state through a deterministic process is no different in any relevant respect from the pertinent manner of manipulation. Hence, it is concluded that compatibilists' proposed sufficient conditions for free will and moral responsibility are inadequate, and that free will and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism. One way for compatibilists to resist certain manipulation arguments is by appealing to historical requirements that, they contend, relevant manipulated agents lack. While a growing number of compatibilists advance an historical thesis, in this paper, I redouble my efforts to show, in defense of nonhistorical compatibilists like Harry Frankfurt, that there is still life left in a nonhistorical view. The historical compatibilists, I contend, have fallen shy of discrediting their nonhistorical compatibilist rivals. (shrink)
The present paper explores some pre-Vibhāṣika sources including the Kathāvatthu, *Śāriputrābhidharma, and Vijñānakāya. These sources suggest an early origin of the concept of the cognition of nonexistent objects (asad-ālambana-jñāna) among the Mahāsāṃghikas and some of its sub-schools. These scattered sources also indicate some different aspects of this theory from that held by the Dārṣṭāntikas and the Sautrāntikas. In particular, some Mahāsāṃghika arguments for the cognition of nonexistent objects reveal how a soteriologically-oriented issue gradually develops into a sophisticated philosophical concept.
abstract This paper re-examines some well-known and commonly accepted arguments for the non-individuality of the embryo, due mainly to the work of John Harris. The first concerns the alleged non-differentiation of the embryoblast from the trophoblast. The second concerns monozygotic twinning and the relevance of the primitive streak. The third concerns the totipotency of the cells of the early embryo. I argue that on a proper analysis of both the empirical facts of embryological development, and the metaphysical importance or (...) otherwise of those facts, all three arguments are found wanting. None of them establishes that the embryo is not an individual human being from the moment of conception. (shrink)
Instances of explanatory reduction are often advocated on metaphysical grounds; given that the only real things in the world are subatomic particles and their interaction, we have to try to explain everything in terms of the laws of physics. In this paper, we show that explanatory reduction cannot be defended on metaphysical grounds. Nevertheless, indispensability arguments for reductive explanations can be developed, taking into account actual scientific practice and the role of epistemic interests. Reductive explanations might be indispensable to (...) address some epistemic interest answering a specific explanation-seeking question in the most accurate, adequate and efficient way. Just like explanatory pluralists often advocate the indispensability of higher levels of explanation pointing at the pragmatic value of the explanatory information obtained on these higher levels, we argue that explanatory reduction—traditionally understood as the contender of pluralism—can be defended in a similar way. The pragmatic value reductionist, lower level explanations might have in the biomedical sciences and the social sciences is illustrated by some case studies. (shrink)
Many commentators have suggested that the metaphysical portions of Emilie du Châtelet's Institutions de physique are a mere retelling of Leibniz's views. I argue that a close reading of the text shows that du Châtelet's cosmological argument and discussion of God's nature contains both Lockean and Leibnizian elements. I discuss where she follows Locke in her arguments, what Leibnizian elements she brings in, and how this enables her to avoid some of the mistakes commonly attributed to Locke's formulation of (...) the cosmological argument. I show that while du Châtelet accepts the causal principle ex nihilo nihil fit, she does not utilize Locke's stronger causal principle. I also discuss her use of the principle of sufficient reason in both improving the Lockean cosmological argument and in proving the attributes of God. (shrink)
Two experiments are reported which investigate the factors that influence how persuaded mathematicians are by visual arguments. We demonstrate that if a visual argument is accompanied by a passage of text which describes the image, both research-active mathematicians and successful undergraduate mathematics students perceive it to be significantly more persuasive than if no text is given. We suggest that mathematicians’ epistemological concerns about supporting a claim using visual images are less prominent when the image is described in words. Finally (...) we suggest that empirical studies can make a useful contribution to our understanding of mathematical practice. (shrink)
The first aim of this paper is to adduce a framework for understanding theory-ladenness of perception arguments. The second aim is to begin to assess an important cluster of theory-ladenness arguments-those that begin with some psychological phenomenon and conclude that scientific controversies are resolved without appeal to theory-neutral observations. Three of the arguments (from expectation effects, ambiguous figures, and inverting lenses) turn out to be either irrelevant to or subversive of theory-ladenness. And even if we grant the (...) premises of the fourth argument (from the penetrability of the visual system), it will support at best a mild version of theory-ladenness. (shrink)
A major debate in the philosophy of biology centers on the question of how we should understand the causal structure of natural selection. This debate is polarized into the causal and statistical positions. The main arguments from the statistical side are that a causal construal of the theory of natural selection's central concept, fitness, either (i) leads to inaccurate predictions about population dynamics, or (ii) leads to an incoherent set of causal commitments. In this essay, I argue that neither (...) the predictive inaccuracy nor the incoherency arguments successfully undermine the causal account of fitness. (shrink)
This investigation uses the technique of the profile of dialogue as a tool for the evaluation of arguments from ignorance (also called lack-of-evidence arguments, negative evidence, ad ignorantiam arguments and ex silentio arguments). Such arguments have traditionally been classified as fallacies by the logic textbooks, but recent research has shown that in many cases they can be used reasonably. A profile of dialogue is a connected sequence of moves and countermoves in a conversational exchange of (...) a type that is goal-directed and can be represented in a normative model of dialogue. Selected case studies are used to probe special features of using the profile technique as applied to arguments from ignorance of a kind that occur frequently in everyday conversational exchanges. One of these special features is the use of Gricean implicature. Another is the need to use negative profiles of argument. (shrink)
Russell takes his paper ?On denoting? to have achieved the repudiation of the theory of denoting concepts and Frege?s theory of sense, and the invention of the notion of incomplete symbols.This means that Russell attempts to solve the set theoretic and semantic paradoxes without making use of a theory of sense.Instead, his strategy is to revise his logical ontology by arguing that certain symbols should be treated as incomplete.In constructing such arguments Russell, at various points, makes use of epistemological (...) and metaphysical considerations.These arguments do not form themselves into a systemic set of considerations to be used in appraising a logical system.Finally, the vicious circle principle is argued for on the basis of considerations, which are presumed evident, about the nature of propositional functions.The stringency of this principle is a basic problem for the system of Principia mathematica.However, even given the terms of the argument, ?On denoting? does not offer a complete repudiation of the notion of sense.This allows the possibility of retaining some of the insights of Principia mathematica whilst rejecting the stringency of the vicious circle principle.The basis of such a system is the theory of sense. (shrink)
Each science has its own domain of investigation, but one and the same science can be formalized in different languages with different universes of discourse. The concept of the domain of a science and the concept of the universe of discourse of a formalization of a science are distinct, although they often coincide in extension. In order to analyse the presuppositions and implications of choices of domain and universe, this article discusses the treatment of omega arguments in three very (...) different formalizations of arithmetic. In Peano's formalization the domain is a restricted class of individuals, while the universe of discourse is the unrestricted class of all individuals. In Gödel's formalization the domain is a restricted class of individuals as in Peano's formalization, but the universe of discourse coincides with the domain. In Whitehead-Russell's formalization the domain is a class of logical notions in Tarski's sense, that are necessarily not individuals, whereas the universe of discourse is the unrestricted class of individuals as in Peano's formalization. The present approach emphasizes the viewpoint that the universe of discourse of a given discourse is important in determining which propositions are expressed by which sentences. (shrink)
This paper examines the concept of a 'standard of care' as it has been used in recent arguments over the ethics of international human-subjects research. It argues that this concept is ambiguous along two different axes, with the result that there are at least four possible standard of care arguments that have not always been clearly distinguished. As a result, it has been difficult to assess the implications of opposing standard of care arguments, to recognize important differences (...) in their supporting rationales, and even to locate the crux of the disagreement in some instances. The goal of the present discussion, therefore, is to disambiguate the concept of a 'standard of care' and to highlight the areas of genuine disagreement among different standards. In the end it is argued that one standard of care argument in particular is more complex than either its proponents or its critics may have recognized and that understanding this possibility opens up a potentially promising avenue of inquiry that remains to be carefully explored. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper, two arguments, one by Chomsky, and one by Bar-Hillel and Shamir, are examined in detail and rejected. Both arguments purport to show that the structure of English precludes its having a finite state grammar which correctly enumerates just the well formed sentences of English. In the latter part of the paper I consider the problem of supporting claims about the structure and properties of a natural language when no grammar for the (...) language has yet been accepted. (shrink)
Bettina Schöne-Seifert and Marco Stier present a host of detailed and intriguing arguments to the effect that potentiality arguments have to be viewed as outdated due to developments in stem cell research, in particular the possibility of re-setting the development potential of differentiated cells, such as skin cells. However, their argument leaves them without an explanation of the intuitive difference between skin cells and human beings, which seems to be based on the assumption that a skin cell is (...) merely part of a human organism, while an embryo is at some point a human organism. An appropriately designed concept of the human organism can explain the difference, but also has the potential of re-dividing the argumentative landscape along familiar lines. (shrink)
Many of the most popular liberal arguments for cultural rights all note that the world is formed into groups. But in the attempt to universalise these arguments, it is too often assumed that the nation is the most important of these groups. This focus upon the nation ignores the many and varying bases of self?respect. It overlooks the fact that self?respect may be tied to many different kinds of groups. Further, most discussions of cultural rights are fuelled by (...) the experience of particular groups. Which groups depends on the theorist and issue at hand. The discussion may be sound for the particular group being discussed. But then many cultural rights theorists, in generalising from one case to others, may not have good reason to do so, leading into a mistaken universalism. The study of cultural rights arguments, with closer reference to the case studies that underpin them, should serve to limit illicit generalisation and to illuminate the true value of cultural rights arguments. (shrink)
In introductory logic courses the authors often limit their considerations to the truth-value operators. Then they write that conditionals and biconditionals of natural language ("if" and "if and only if") may be represented as material implications and equivalences ("⊃" and "≡"), respectively. Yet material implications are not suitable for conditionals. Lewis' strict implications are much better for this purpose. Similarly, strict equivalences are better for representing biconditionals (than material equivalences). In this paper we prove that the methods from standard first (...) courses in logic can be used for testing arguments with strict implications, strict equivalences and other operators which may represent connectives from natural language. (shrink)
We prove optimal lower bounds on the computation time for several well-known test problems on a quite realistic computational model: the random access machine. These lower bound arguments may be of special interest for logicians because they rely on finitary analogues of two important concepts from mathematical logic: inaccessible numbers and order indiscernibles.
This chapter argues that the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation undermined the Christian consensus that unaided human reason could prove God’s existence. As a consequence the issue of the provability of God in principle gained new prominence and had to be addressed in the first instance before entering the discussion of specific proofs of His existence. On the basis of the answers given to the preliminary question of the provability of God’s existence, the chapter discusses eighteenth-century reformulations of a priori (...) and a posteriori arguments for the existence of God, as well as new directions taken by natural theology in the late eighteenth century. (shrink)
Three questions are highlighted concerning the scope and force of indispensability arguments supporting classical, infinitistic mathematics. The first concerns the need for non-constructive reasoning for scientifically applicable mathematics; the second concerns the need for impredicative set existence principles for finitistic and scientifically applicable mathematics, respectively; and the third concerns the general status of such arguments in light of recent work in mathematical logic, especially that of Friedman et al. and Feferman et al. Some recent results (of Pour-El and (...) Richards and of the author) are then presented bearing on the first question on the need for non-constructive analysis, especially for quantum physics. Despite the impressive work of Bishop et al. in constructive analysis, Hilbert's objection to intuitionism still carries significant force, and may be decisive depending in part on one's conception of "physics". (shrink)
Argumentation theory underwent a significant development in the Fifties and Sixties: its revival is usually connected to Perelman's criticism of formal logic and the development of informal logic. Interestingly enough it was during this period that Artificial Intelligence was developed, which defended the following thesis (from now on referred to as the AI-thesis): human reasoning can be emulated by machines. The paper suggests a reconstruction of the opposition between formal and informal logic as a move against a premise of an (...) argument for the AI-thesis, and suggests making a distinction between a broad and a narrow notion of algorithm that might be used to reformulate the question as a foundational problem for argumentation theory. (shrink)
I argue that any broadly dispositional analysis of probability will either fail to give an adequate explication of probability, or else will fail to provide an explication that can be gainfully employed elsewhere (for instance, in empirical science or in the regulation of credence). The diversity and number of arguments suggests that there is little prospect of any successful analysis along these lines.
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. (shrink)
One of the most fundamental questions in the philosophy of mathematics concerns the relation between truth and formal proof. The position according to which the two concepts are the same is called deflationism, and the opposing viewpoint substantialism. In an important result of mathematical logic, Kurt Gödel proved in his first incompleteness theorem that all consistent formal systems containing arithmetic include sentences that can neither be proved nor disproved within that system. However, such undecidable Gödel sentences can be established to (...) be true once we expand the formal system with Alfred Tarski s semantical theory of truth, as shown by Stewart Shapiro and Jeffrey Ketland in their semantical arguments for the substantiality of truth. According to them, in Gödel sentences we have an explicit case of true but unprovable sentences, and hence deflationism is refuted. -/- Against that, Neil Tennant has shown that instead of Tarskian truth we can expand the formal system with a soundness principle, according to which all provable sentences are assertable, and the assertability of Gödel sentences follows. This way, the relevant question is not whether we can establish the truth of Gödel sentences, but whether Tarskian truth is a more plausible expansion than a soundness principle. In this work I will argue that this problem is best approached once we think of mathematics as the full human phenomenon, and not just consisting of formal systems. When pre-formal mathematical thinking is included in our account, we see that Tarskian truth is in fact not an expansion at all. I claim that what proof is to formal mathematics, truth is to pre-formal thinking, and the Tarskian account of semantical truth mirrors this relation accurately. -/- However, the introduction of pre-formal mathematics is vulnerable to the deflationist counterargument that while existing in practice, pre-formal thinking could still be philosophically superfluous if it does not refer to anything objective. Against this, I argue that all truly deflationist philosophical theories lead to arbitrariness of mathematics. In all other philosophical accounts of mathematics there is room for a reference of the pre-formal mathematics, and the expansion of Tarkian truth can be made naturally. Hence, if we reject the arbitrariness of mathematics, I argue in this work, we must accept the substantiality of truth. Related subjects such as neo-Fregeanism will also be covered, and shown not to change the need for Tarskian truth. -/- The only remaining route for the deflationist is to change the underlying logic so that our formal languages can include their own truth predicates, which Tarski showed to be impossible for classical first-order languages. With such logics we would have no need to expand the formal systems, and the above argument would fail. From the alternative approaches, in this work I focus mostly on the Independence Friendly (IF) logic of Jaakko Hintikka and Gabriel Sandu. Hintikka has claimed that an IF language can include its own adequate truth predicate. I argue that while this is indeed the case, we cannot recognize the truth predicate as such within the same IF language, and the need for Tarskian truth remains. In addition to IF logic, also second-order logic and Saul Kripke s approach using Kleenean logic will be shown to fail in a similar fashion. (shrink)
This paper argues for the idea that the logic of questions should focus its attention on the analysis of arguments in which questions play the role of conclusions. The relevant concepts of validity are discussed and the concept of the logic of questions of a semantically interpreted formalized language is introduced.
This paper develops the view that in arguing informally individuals construct a dual representation in which there is a coupling of arguments and the structure of the qualitative (mental) causal model to which these refer. Invited to consider a future possibility, individuals generate a causal model and mentally simulate the consequences of certain actions. Their arguments refer to the causal paths in the model. Correspondingly, faced with specific arguments about a policy option they generate a model with (...) particular causal paths and mentally simulate the outcomes. The results of Experiment 1 are consistent with this notion. Decisions on the percentage of funds to be allocated to genetically modified (GM) crop research depended on the structure of the arguments elicited in response to imagining a future state of affairs. Specifically, the presence of a dissuasive argument eliminated the impact of any persuasive argument. The non-monotonic properties of everyday informal argument can then be seen as a corollary of change to causal structure in the model. The dual representation view predicts that the impact of a dissuasive argument will depend on the structure of the causal model. Experiment 2 tested and confirmed this prediction by requiring individuals to judge the relative persuasiveness of two cases referring either to a model with two independent causal paths or to a model in which one causal path depended on the other. In contrast to Experiment 1, prior opinion on GM crop research did not affect allocation decisions. An advisory role in contrast to a participant role may encourage a more decontextualised mode of thinking. According to the dual representation view, ease of mental simulation should exert wide-ranging effects on judgements and the rhetoric of arguments should also be important. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of these expectations. (shrink)
I criticize the particular argument for evolutionary progressivism which is based on the concept of a series of "dominant life forms." My procedure is to show that there is no rigorous definition for the concept of "dominant life form." I examine several attempts to define this concept by Julian Huxley and a new formulation of the concept by G. G. Simpson and show that none of the criteria either of these men develop for determining which groups of organisms can be (...) classified as dominant are adequate to exclude any groups of organisms from the classification. The concept proves so broad as to be meaningless. Since it is a key concept in the particular argument for progressivism that I discuss, the criticism of the concept demonstrates the argument to be invalid. (shrink)
In the wake of the First World War, a new form of commemoration emerged internationally, but in each case focused upon a new kind of national “hero”—the unknown soldier or warrior. The first instances appeared in France and Britain in 1920, followed by the United States in 1921, and Belgium in 1922. Other nations followed suit over the years, with the most recent WWI Unknown Soldier monument dedicated in 2004, in New Zealand. The motivational calculus of these national tombs was, (...) of course, the massive number of combatant dead whose remains could not be identified. This paper takes up the two very different arguments composed by these commemorative sites. The first argument was directed to surviving family members and was articulated most explicitly by the French as a hypothetical enthymeme “this could be your husband, your father, your brother,” etc. The second argument has been directed to national and international collectives as a constitutive proclamation of legitimated nation-state or Empire Although this argument is particularly explicit in postcolonial gestures of independence on the part of former dominions of old empires, it was evident in even the earliest cases of the tombs of the unknown. (shrink)
I aim to show that (i) there are good ways to argue about what has intrinsic value; and (ii) good ethical arguments needn't make ethical assumptions. I support (i) and(ii) by rebutting direct attacks, by discussing nine plausible ways to argue about intrinsic value, and by arguing for pains intrinsic badness without making ethical assumptions. If (i) and (ii) are correct, then ethical theory has more resources than many philosophers have thought: empirical evidence, and evidence bearing on intrinsic value. (...) With more resources, we can hope to base all of our moral beliefs on evidence rather than on, say, emotion or mere intuition. (shrink)
Some people report that they argue for play. We question whether and how often such arguments are mutually entertaining for both participants. Play is a frame for (...) class='Hi'> arguing, and the framing may not always be successful in laminating the eristic nature of interpersonal argumentation. Previous research and theory suggest that playfulness may be associated with aggression. Respondents (N = 199) supplied self-report data on their arguing behaviors and orientations. We found support for the hypothesis that self-reported playfulness and aggression are directly associated. We found less evidence for our hypothesized inverse association between self-reported playfulness and indices of cooperation and avoidance. Self-reports of playfulness are not significantly associated with expert coders’ ratings of either playfulness or aggressiveness. The claim that an argument is playful should be met with skepticism, although playful arguments are possible. (shrink)
Review of Harald Wohlrapp’s “Der Begriff des Arguments” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s10503-012-9268-5 Authors Michael J. Hoppmann, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X.
Many different arguments against the possibility of perfect rationality have appeared in the literature, and these target several different conceptions of perfect rationality. It is not clear how these different conceptions of perfect rationality are related, nor is it clear how the arguments showing their impossibility are related, and it is especially unclear what the impossibility results show when taken together. This paper gives an exposition of the different conceptions of perfect rationality, an the various sorts of argument (...) against them; clarifies which conceptions of perfect rationality are targeted by which arguments; and finally attempts to systematize the results available to date. (shrink)
There is no such thing as the cosmological argument. Rather, there are several arguments that all proceed from facts or alleged facts concerning causation, change, motion, contingency, or Hnitude in respect of the universe as a whole or processes within it. From them, and from general principles said to govern them, one is led to deduce or infer as highly probable the existence of a cause of the universe (as opposed, say, to a designer or a source of value). (...) Such arguments have a venerable history. A cosmological argument from heavenly motion to a ‘world soul’ is found in Plato’s Laws, bk. l0. This kind of argument is given extended elaboration and defense by Aristotle, both in the Physics (bks. 7-8) and the Metaphysics (hk. 12/lambda), where he argues for an ‘unmoved mover` from the existence of motion within the cosmos (again, primarily astronomical). Cosmological arguments abound in medieval Arabic philosophy. There are arguments to the existence of a necessary cause of the universe from the existence of contingent beings (due to the falsafa (‘philosophy’) scholars, a school heavily influenced by Greek thought) and arguments to the existence of a iirst cause of the universe from the temporal frnitude of the universe (due to the lcalarri (‘discourse’) scholars, a rival school of more traditional Qufanic theology) (Craig 1980: ch. 3). Defenders of the contingency argument include al-Farabi/Abu Nast (c.870—950), ibn Sina/Avicenna (980—lO3Y), and [bn Rushcl/Averroes (1i26e98). Supporters of what is now known as the kalam cosmological argument include al·lshrink)
This paper offers a general reply to arguments from perceptual distortion (e.g. blur, perspective, double vision) against the representationalist thesis that the phenomenal characters of experiences supervene on their intentional contents. It has been argued that distorted and undistorted experiences are counterexamples to this thesis because they can share contents without sharing phenomenal characters. In reply, I suggest that cases of perceptual distortion do not constitute counterexamples to the representationalist thesis because the contents of distorted experiences are always impoverished (...) in some way compared to those of normal experiences. This is can be shown by considering limit cases of perceptual distortion, for example, maximally blurry experiences, which manifestly lack detailed content. I argue that since there is no reasonable way to draw the line between distorted experiences that have degraded content and distorted experiences that don't, we should allow that an increase in distortion is always accompanied by a degradation in content. I also discuss the prospects for a positive account of the contents specific to distorted experiences, which I argue are dim, but for reasons that should not throw doubt on the representationalist thesis. (shrink)
The truth-condition theory of meaning is, naturally, thought of an as explanatory theory whose explananda are the meaning facts. But there are at least two deductive arguments that purport to establish the truth of the theory irrespective of its explanatory virtues. This paper examines those arguments and concludes that they succeed.
This paper considers the empirical evidence that we currently have for various kinds of determinism that might be relevant to the thesis that human beings possess libertarian free will. Libertarianism requires a very strong version of indeterminism, so it can be refuted not just by universal determinism, but by some much weaker theses as well. However, it is argued that at present, we have no good reason to believe even these weak deterministic views and, hence, no good reason—at least from (...) this quarter—to doubt that we are libertarian free. In particular, the paper responds to various arguments for neural and psychological determinism, arguments based on the work of people like Honderich, Tegmark, Libet, Velmans, Wegner, and Festinger. (shrink)
The paper begins with a restatement of Chalmers's "hard problem of consciousness". It is suggested that an interactionist approach is one of the possible solutions of this problem. Some fresh arguments against the identity theory and epiphenomenalism as main rivals of interactionism are developed. One of these arguments has among its colloraries a denial of local supervenience, although not of the causal closure principle. As a result of these considerations a version of "local interactionism" (compatible with causal closure) (...) is proposed. (shrink)
Putnam famously attempted to use model theory to draw metaphysical conclusions. His Skolemisation argument sought to show metaphysical realists that their favourite theories have countable models. His permutation argument sought to show that they have permuted models. His constructivisation argument sought to show that any empirical evidence is compatible with the Axiom of Constructibility. Here, I examine the metamathematics of all three model-theoretic arguments, and I argue against Bays (2001, 2007) that Putnam is largely immune to metamathematical challenges.
I argue that relations between non-identical times, such as the relations, earlier than, later than, or 10 seconds apart, involve contradiction, and only co-temporal relations are non-contradictory, which would leave presentism the only non-contradictory theory of time. The arguments I present are arguments that I have not seen in the literature.
Recent arguments for relativist semantic theories have centered on the phenomenon of “faultless disagreement.” This paper offers independent motivation for such theories, based on the interpretation of predicates of personal taste in certain attitude contexts and presuppositional constructions. It is argued that the correct interpretation falls out naturally from a relativist theory, but requires special stipulation in a theory which appeals instead to the use of hidden indexicals; and that a hidden indexical analysis presents problems for contemporary syntactic theory.
Kalam cosmological arguments have recently been the subject of criticisms, at least inter alia, by physicists---Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking---and philosophers of science---Adolf Grunbaum. In a series of recent articles, William Craig has attempted to show that these criticisms are “superficial, iII-conceived, and based on misunderstanding.” I argue that, while some of the discussion of Davies and Hawking is not philosophically sophisticated, the points raised by Davies, Hawking and Grunbaum do suffice to undermine the dialectical efficacy of kalam cosmological (...) class='Hi'>arguments. (shrink)
Cosmological arguments have received more attention in the past ten years. One reason for this is that versions with restricted or even no reliance on the principle of sufficient reason (PSR) have been formulated. By not relying on PSR – what many consider to be a necessary falsehood – philosophers have been able to escape many of the old criticisms of cosmological arguments. In this essay I survey two recent attempts at presenting a sound version of a (...) cosmological argument. I spend more time on Robert Koons' since his has not yet received the kind of quality attention that the other has. (shrink)
AristotleÕs central argument for teleologyÑthough not necessarily his conclusionÑis repeated in the teleological arguments of Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, William Paley, and Charles Darwin. To appreciate AristotleÕs argument and its influence I assert, first, that AristotleÕs naturalistic teleology must be distinguished from PlatoÕs anthropomorphic one; second, the form of AristotleÕs arguments for teleology should be read as instances of inferences to the best explanation. On my reading, then, both NewtonÕs and PaleyÕs teleological arguments are Aristotelian while (...) their conclusions are Platonic. Kant and DarwinÕs arguments are likewise Aristotelian while their conclusions are unique. (shrink)
It is often thought that, although Spinoza develops a bold and distinctive conception of God (the unique substance, or Natura Naturans, in which all else inheres and which possesses infinitely many attributes, including extension), the arguments that he offers which purport to prove God’s existence contribute nothing new to natural theology. Rather, he is seen as just another participant in the seventeenthcentury revival of the ontological argument initiated by Descartes and taken up by Malebranche and Leibniz among others. (...) That this is the case is both puzzling and unfortunate. It is puzzling because although Spinoza does offer an ontological proof for the existence of God, he also offers three other non-ontological proofs. It is unfortunate because these other non-ontological proofs are both more convincing and more interesting than his ontological proof. In this paper, I offer reconstructions and assessments of all of Spinoza’s arguments and argue that Spinoza’s metaphysical rationalism and his commitment to something like a Principle of Sufficient Reason are the driving force behind Spinoza’s non-ontological arguments. (shrink)
This paper begins by tracing the Hobbesian roots of `representationalism:' the thesis that reality is accessible to mind only through representations, images, signs or appearances that indicate a reality lying `behind' them (e.g. as unperceived causes of perceptions). This is linked to two kinds of absolute realism: the `naive' scientific realism of British empiricism, which provoked Berkeley's idealist reaction, and the noumenal realism of Kant. I argue that Husserl defined his position against both Berkeleyian idealism and these forms of absolute (...) realism by way of two arguments: a pragmatic argument against skepticism about the external world (as described by Karl Ameriks) and a distinctively phenomenological argument against the representationalism implied by absolute realism. (shrink)
The commercial trading of human organs, along withvarious related activities (for example, advertising)was criminalised throughout Great Britain under theHuman Organ Transplants Act 1989.This paper critically assesses one type of argumentfor this, and similar, legal prohibitions:commodification arguments.Firstly, the term `commodification' is analysed. Thiscan be used to refer to either social practices or toattitudes. Commodification arguments rely on thesecond sense and are based on the idea that having acommodifying attitude to certain classes of thing(e.g. bodies or persons) is wrong. The (...) commodifyingattitude consists of three main elements: denial ofsubjectivity, instrumentality, and fungibility.Secondly, in the light of this analysis, the claimthat organ sale involves commodifying the human bodyis examined. This claim is found to be plausible butinsufficient to ground an argument against organ sale,because the very same commodifying attitude is likelyto be present in cases of (unpaid) organ donation. Itis also argued that commodifying bodies per semay not be wrong.Thirdly, the view that organ sale involvescommodifying persons is examined. Although this andthe claim that it is wrong to commodify persons areprobably true, there is â it is argued â littlereason to regard organ sale as worse in this respectthan other widely accepted practices, such as thebuying and selling of labour.The conclusion is that although commodification is auseful ethical concept and although commodificationarguments may sometimes be successful, thecommodification argument against organ sale is notpersuasive. This is not to say, though, that thereare no arguments for prohibition â simply that thisparticular justificatory strategy is flawed. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the received view that the anti-nativist arguments of Book I of Locke’s Essay conclusively challenge nativism. I begin by reconstructing the chief argument of Book I and its corollary arguments. I call attention to their dependence on (what I label) “the Awareness Principle”, viz., the view that there are no ideas in the mind of which the mind either isn’t currently aware or hasn’t been aware in the past. I then argue that (...) the arguments’ dependence on this principle is question begging on two counts. Unless this principle is defended, Locke’s arguments beg the question against Descartes and Leibniz because their nativism implies the denial of the Awareness Principle. And even when Locke defended the principle, his arguments remain question begging because they presuppose the empiricism they aim to prove. The disclosure of the question-begging status of these arguments debunks a seemingly powerful way of attacking nativism. (shrink)
In a recent editorial, Raymond Spier expresses skepticism over claims that climate change is driven by human actions and that humanity should act to avoid climate change. This paper responds to this skepticism as part of a broader review of the science and ethics of climate change. While much remains uncertain about the climate, research indicates that observed temperature increases are human-driven. Although opinions vary regarding what should be done, prominent arguments against action are based on dubious factual and (...) ethical positions. Thus, the skepticisms in the recent editorial are unwarranted. This does not diminish the general merits of skeptical intellectual inquiry. (shrink)
I offer ten arguments to demonstrate why student plagiarism is unethical. In sum, plagiarism may be theft; involve deception that treats professors as a mere means; violate the trust upon which the professor-student relationship depends; be unfair to other students in more than one way; diminish the student’s education; indulge vices such as indolence and cowardice; foreclose access to the internal goods of the discipline; diminish the value of a university degree; undercut creative self-expression and acceptance of epistemic limitations; (...) and undermine the vital interpersonal component of higher education. Plagiarism warrants severe penalties that effectively combat the student’s presumptive competitive strategy for individual success. (shrink)
As of 2009, the number of donors in Japan is the lowest among developed countries. On July 13, 2009, Japan's Organ Transplant Law was revised for the first time in 12 years. The revised and old laws differ greatly on four primary points: the definition of death, age requirements for donors, requirements for brain-death determination and organ extraction, and the appropriateness of priority transplants for relatives.In the four months of deliberations in the National Diet before the new law was established, (...) various arguments regarding brain death and organ transplantation were offered. An amazing variety of opinions continue to be offered, even after more than 40 years have elapsed since the first heart organ transplant in Japan. Some are of the opinion that with the passage of the revised law, Japan will finally become capable of performing transplants according to global standards. Contrarily, there are assertions that organ transplants from brain-dead donors are unacceptable because they result in organs being taken from living human beings.Considering the current conditions, we will organize and introduce the arguments for and against organ transplants from brain-dead donors in contemporary Japan. Subsequently, we will discuss the primary arguments against organ transplants from brain-dead donors from the perspective of contemporary Japanese views on life and death. After introducing the recent view that brain death should not be regarded as equivalent to the death of a human being, we would like to probe the deeply-rooted views on life and death upon which it is based. (shrink)
In this paper I show and discuss the relevance of Wittgenstein´s arguments as to the spatial nature of sight for recent issues in the philosophy of mind. The first, bearing upon the dimensionality of the manifolds at play in depiction, plays a critical role in Clark´s attempt to provide an independent account of qualia and of their differentiative properties. The second, pertaining to the properly spatial structure formed by the data of sight, is explicitly appealed to in the debate (...) on the realistic character of any genuinely spatial conceptual scheme. I argue that if Wittgenstein rightly assumes that the simultaneous presence of sensible places in vision is a key condition on objectivity, he fails however to warrant the allegedly realistic character of the conceptual scheme employed in his own search for a phenomenological description of the visual field. (shrink)
Analogical arguments -- Philosophical theories -- Computational theories -- The articulation model -- Analogies in mathematics -- Similarity and patterns of generalization -- Analogy and epistemic values -- Analogy and symmetry -- A wider role for analogies.
Both arguments are based on the breakdown of normal criteria of identity in certain science-fictional circumstances. In one case, normal criteria would support the identity of person A with each of two other persons, B and C; and it is argued that, in the imagined circumstances, A=B and A=C have no truth value. In the other, a series or spectrum of cases is tailored to a sorites argument. At one end of the spectrum, persons A and B are such (...) that A=B is clearly true; at the other end, A and B are such that the identity is clearly false. In between, normal criteria of identity leave the truth or falsehood of A=B undecided, and it is argued that in these circumstances A=B has no truth value.These arguments are to be understood counterfactually. My claim is that, so understood, neither establishes its conclusion. The first involves a pair of counterfactual situations that are equally possible or tied. If A=B and A=C have no truth value, a counterfactual conditional with one of them as consequent and an antecedent that is true in circumstances in which either is true should have no truth value. Intuitively, however, any such counterfactual is false. The second argument can be seen to invite an analogous response. If this is right, however, there is an important disanalogy between this and the classical paradox of the heap. If the disanalogy is only apparent, the argument shows at most that the existence of persons can be indeterminate. (shrink)
Since the cloned sheep Dolly was born, reproductive cloning of humans (i.e. the cloning of complete human individuals) has seemed to be â at least in principle â achievable. The technical possibility of reproductive cloning leaves the question unanswered of whether the actual production of a clone would be morally acceptable. Considering several arguments against reproductive cloning â which claim that the moral status of a cloned individual and its clone respectively renders it morally objectionable to carry out cloning (...) â we defend the thesis that these arguments are not apodictic (i.e. relative to all ends and means of cloning humans) but are only hypothetical (i.e. relative to some ends and means of cloning humans). Although at present we think it is difficult to find a plausible aim of cloning that is not an instrumentalisation of the cloned (and, therefore, morally objectionable), it could, nevertheless, be that in the future there might be ends and means that justify reproductive cloning. We conclude by criticising the apodictic ban on reproductive cloning declared by most international resolutions and much national legislation. (shrink)
Anti-materialist thought experiments as, e.g., zombie arguments, have posed some of the most vexing problems for materialist accounts of phenomenal consciousness. I doubt, however, that arguments of this kind can refute the core thesis of materialism. Although I do not question that there is something very special about an adequate explanation of phenomenal consciousness, and although I accept the epistemic irreducibility of phenomenal consciousness, I deny that modal arguments reach far enough to establish essentialism about consciousness. I (...) will draw upon a relativistic conception of modal space and suggest to strictly separate between varieties of metaphysical possibility - depending on which world is considered as actual, and depending on accessibility relations. It is shown that the modal argument cannot endanger the reductive explanation of the mind-brain relation if one distinguishes carefully between possibility according to primary intensions (epistemic possibility) and possibility according to secondary intensions (meta-physical possibility). Modal arguments are strong enough to make an epistemological point but not an ontological one. (shrink)
The arguments that Fodor (1987: 150-52) gives in support of a Language of Thought are apparently straightforward. (1) Linguistic capacities are "systematic", in the sense that if one understands the words 'John loves Mary' one also understands the form of words 'Mary loves John'. In other words, sentences have a combinatorial semantics, because they have constituent structure. (2) If cognitive capacities are systematic in the same way, they must have constituent structure also. Thus there is a Language of Thought. (...) The essential connection between language and thought that the argument requires is: Since the function of language is to express thought, to understand a sentence is to grasp the thought that its utterance standardly conveys. So from the systematicity of sentences it follows that anyone who can grasp the thought that John loves Mary can grasp the thought that Mary loves John. Thought must be as systematic as language, for the best empirical explanation of the psychological fact that one who grasps the thought that John loves Mary can grasp the thought that Mary loves John is that grasping a thought is standing in some thinking relation to a complex entity whose constituents are MARY, X LOVES Y, and JOHN and semantic relations among MARY, X LOVES Y, and JOHN. So sayeth Fodor (1987). (shrink)
In a recent article, Azzouni has argued in favor of a version of formalism according to which ordinary mathematical proofs indicate mechanically checkable derivations. This is taken to account for the quasi-universal agreement among mathematicians on the validity of their proofs. Here, the author subjects these claims to a critical examination, recalls the technical details about formalization and mechanical checking of proofs, and illustrates the main argument with aanalysis of examples. In the author's view, much of mathematical reasoning presents genuine (...) meaning-dependent mathematical characteristics that cannot be captured by formal calculi. ‘...there is a conflict between mathematical practice and the formalist doctrine.’ [Kreisel, 1969, p. 39]. (shrink)
Possession and transitivity -- The indirect object, its status and place -- Categories and arguments -- The active-passive configuration -- Verbal affixation -- Why Kaatje was not heard sing a song (with Hans Bennis) -- T-chains and auxiliaries (with Jacqueline Guéron) -- Clitics in romance and the study of head-movement -- ECP, tense and islands -- Bracketing paradoxes do not exist (with Harry van der Hulst and Frans van der Putten) -- The nominal infinitive (with Pim Wehrmann) -- Parallels (...) between nominal and verbal projections -- Complex verbs (with Monic Lansu and Marion Westerduin) -- Small clauses everywhere. (shrink)
This paper is principally devoted to comparing and contrasting poverty of stimulus arguments for innate cognitive apparatus in relation to language and in relation to folk psychology. These days one is no longer allowed to use the term ‘innate’ without saying what one means by it. So I will begin by saying what I mean by ‘innate’. Sections 2 and 3 will discuss language and theory of mind, respectively. Along the way, I will also briefly discuss other arguments (...) for innate cognitive apparatus in these areas. (shrink)
This new and expanded edition of The Logic of Real Arguments explains a distinctive method for analysing and evaluating arguments. It discusses many examples, ranging from newspaper articles to extracts from classic texts, and from easy passages to much more difficult ones. It shows students how to use the question 'What argument or evidence would justify me in believing P?', and also how to deal with suppositional arguments beginning with the phrase 'Suppose that X were the case.' (...) It aims to help students to think critically about the kind of sustained, theoretical arguments which they commonly encounter in the course of their studies, including arguments about the natural world, about society, about policy, and about philosophy. It will be valuable for students and their teachers in a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, law and the social sciences. (shrink)
This paper explores consequences of the claim that phenomenal experiences are physical events of great descriptive complexity. This claim is attractive both because it can explain our most perplexing intuitions about the quality of consciousness and also because it is suggestive of very productive research opportunities. I illustrate the former by showing that two of the most compelling anti-physicalist arguments about phenomenal experience – the modal argument of Kripke and the conceivability argument of Chalmers – are not sound if (...) this claim is true. I illustrate the latter by showing that significant empirical predictions are a consequence of this claim. (shrink)
Substantial research efforts have been devoted to developing a cure for autism, but some advocates of people with autism claim that these efforts are misguided and even harmful. They claim that there is nothing wrong with people with autism, so there is nothing to cure. Others argue that autism is a serious and debilitating disorder and that a cure for autism would be a wonderful medical breakthrough. Our goal in this essay is to evaluate what assumptions underlie each of these (...) positions. We evaluate the arguments made on each side, reject those that are implausible and then highlight the key assumptions of those that remain. (shrink)
This paper presents a novel objection to ontological arguments. This objection aims at showing that ontological arguments in general, given the intrinsic nature of their conclusion, are of an impossible nature. The argument rests on the fact that conclusive ontological arguments would contradict the very nature of God.
The central recommendation of this article is that philosophers trained in the analytic tradition ought to add the sensibilities and skills of the historian to their methodological toolkit. The value of an historical approach to strictly philosophical matters is illustrated by a case study focussing on the medieval origin of conceivability arguments and contemporary views of modality. It is shown that common metaphilosophical views about the nature of the philosophical enterprise as well as certain inference patterns found in thinkers (...) from Descartes to Chalmers have their origin in the theological concerns of the Scholastics. Since these assumptions and inference patterns are difficult to motivate when shorn of their original theological context, the upshot is that much post-Cartesian philosophy is cast in an altogether unfamiliar, and probably unwelcome, light. The methodological point, however, is that this philosophical gain is born of acquaintance with the history of ideas. (shrink)
This book is about the nature of skeptical arguments and their role in philosophical inquiry. John Greco delineates three main theses: that a number of historically prominent skeptical arguments make no obvious mistake, and therefore cannot be easily dismissed; that the analysis of skeptical arguments is philosophically useful and important, and should therefore have a central place in the methodology of philosophy; and that taking skeptical arguments seriously requires us to adopt an externalist, reliabilist epistemology. Greco (...) argues that the importance of skeptical arguments is methodological. It is further argued that taking skeptical arguments seriously requires us to adopt a version of 'virtue epistemology', or a theory of knowledge that makes intellectual virtue central in the analysis of knowledge. The above methodology has consequences for moral and religious epistemology; in particular, a theory of moral perception is defended. (shrink)
It is nowadays taken for granted that the core radical sceptical arguments all pivot upon the principle that the epistemic operator in question is 'closed' under known entailments. Accordingly, the standard anti-sceptical project now involves either denying closure or retaining closure by amending how one understands other elements of the sceptical argument. However, there are epistemic principles available to the sceptic which are logically weaker than closure but achieve the same result. Accordingly the contemporary debate fails to engage with (...) the sceptical problem in its strongest form. (shrink)
In this paper a candidate for a rational reconstruction of skeptical arguments is presented and defended against a competitor called ‘The Argument from Ignorance’. On the basis of this defense, Michael Williams’ claims that foundationalism and epistemological realism serve as presuppositions for skepticism are criticized. It is argued that rejecting these two theses, as his version of contextualism does, is not sufficient for answering the skeptical challenge.
John Locke's theory of toleration has been criticized as having little relevance for politics today because it rests on controversial theological foundations. Although there have been some recent attempts to develop secular; or publicly accessible, arguments out of Locke's writings, these tend to obscure and distort the religious arguments that Locke used to defend toleration. More importantly, these efforts ignore the role that religious arguments may play in supporting the development of a normative consensus on the legitimacy (...) of liberal political principles. Bracketing the search for publicly accessible justifications makes it possible to appreciate the continued relevance of Locke's religious arguments for toleration. (shrink)
The theory of evolution has beenused in arguments regarding animalexperimentation. Two such arguments areanalyzed, one against and one in favor. Eachargument stresses the relevance of the theoryof evolution to normative ethics but attemptsexplicitly to avoid the so-called naturalisticfallacy.According to the argument against animalexperimentation, the theory of evolution`undermines' the idea of a special humandignity and supports `moral individualism'. Thelatter view implies that if it is wrong to usehumans in experiments, then it is also wrong touse animals, unless there are (...) relevantdifferences between them that justify adifference in treatment. No such differencescan be found with regard to animals which lead`biographical lives'.The argument in favor of animal experimentationis based on evolutionary psychology. It statesthat humans, as all social animals, arespeciesist by nature and stresses that thisshould be taken seriously in normative ethics.This does not mean that animal interests shouldnot be considered, only that vital humaninterests may outweigh them.In order to assess the arguments, one has totake a stand on certain more basic issues: `is'versus `ought', impartiality versus specialobligations, and feelings/intuitions versusreason. Given the author's own position withregard to these more basic considerations, theevolutionary argument in favor of animalexperimentation is judged to be more convincingthan the one against but not decisive. It isalso maintained that not all animal experimentsare acceptable. Which animal experiments areacceptable and which are not has to be decidedon a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
The paper begins with a restatement of Chalmers’s “hard problem of consciousness.” It is suggested that an interactionist approach is one of the possible solutions of this problem. Some fresh arguments against the identity theory and epiphenomenalism as main rivals of interactionism are developed. One of these arguments has among its corollaries a denial of local supervenience, although not of the causal closure principle. As a result of these considerations a version of “local interactionism” (compatible with causal closure) (...) is proposed. It is argued that local interactionism may offer a fruitful path for resolving the “hard problem.”. (shrink)
It is nowadays taken for granted that the core radical sceptical arguments all pivot upon the principle that the epistemic operator in question is 'closed' under known entailments. Accordingly, the standard anti-sceptical project now involves either denying closure or retaining closure by amending how one understands other elements of the sceptical argument. However, there are epistemic principles available to the sceptic which are logically weaker than closure but achieve the same result. Accordingly the contemporary debate fails to engage with (...) the sceptical problem in its strongest form. (shrink)