Moral Skepticism

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. added 2018-10-08
    Third Factor Explanations and Disagreement in Metaethics.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    Several moral objectivists try to explain the reliability of moral beliefs by appealing to a third factor, a substantive moral claim that explains, first, why we have the moral beliefs that we have and, second, why these beliefs are true. Folke Tersman has recently suggested that moral disagreement constrains the epistemic legitimacy of third-factor explanations. Apart from constraining third-factor explanations, Tersman’s challenge could support the view that the epistemic significance of debunking explanations depends on the epistemic significance of disagreement. This (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-08
    Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?Michael Klenk - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248.
    I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I (...)
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  3. added 2018-09-16
    Responsibility, Naturalism and ‘the Morality System'.Paul Russell - 2013 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. New York, IA 50238, USA: pp. 184-204.
    In "Freedom and Resentment" P.F. Strawson, famously, advances a strong form of naturalism that aims to discredit kcepticism about moral responsibility by way of approaching these issues through an account of our reactive attitudes. However, even those who follow Strawson's general strategy on this subject accept that his strong naturalist program needs to be substantially modified, if not rejected. One of the most influential and important efforts to revise and reconstruct the Strawsonian program along these lines has been provided by (...)
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  4. added 2018-08-13
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics.Diego E. Machuca - 2018 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
    There are at least three different genealogical accounts of morality: the ontogenetic, the sociohistorical, and the evolutionary. One can thus construct, in principle, three distinct genealogical debunking arguments of morality, i.e., arguments that appeal to empirical data, or to an empirical hypothesis, about the origin of morality to undermine either its ontological foundation or the epistemic credentials of our moral beliefs. The genealogical account that has been, particularly since the early 2000s, the topic of a burgeoning line of inquiry in (...)
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  5. added 2018-08-11
    Précis of Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - forthcoming - Behavioral and Brain Sciences:1-20.
    Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind argues that a careful examination of the scientific literature reveals a foundational role for reasoning in moral thought and action. Grounding moral psychology in reason then paves the way for a defense of moral knowledge and virtue against a variety of empirical challenges, such as debunking arguments and situationist critiques. The book attempts to provide a corrective to current trends in moral psychology, which celebrate emotion over reason and generate pessimism about the psychological (...)
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  6. added 2018-08-01
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Meet Evolutionary Science.Arnon Levy & Yair Levy - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments appeal to selective etiologies of human morality in an attempt to undermine moral realism. But is morality actually the product of evolution by natural selection? Although debunking arguments have attracted considerable attention in recent years, little of it has been devoted to whether the underlying evolutionary assumptions are credible. In this paper, we take a closer look at the evolutionary hypotheses put forward by two leading debunkers, namely Sharon Street and Richard Joyce. We raise a battery of (...)
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  7. added 2018-06-15
    Skeptical Theism: New Essays.Trent Dougherty & Justin P. McBrayer (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    This collection of 22 newly-commissioned essays presents cutting-edge work on skeptical theistic responses to the problem of evil and the persistent objections that such responses invite.
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  8. added 2018-06-04
    Against Minimalist Responses to Moral Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    Moral debunking arguments are meant to show that, by realist lights, moral beliefs are not explained by moral facts, which in turn is meant to show that they lack some significant counterfactual connection to the moral facts (e.g., safety, sensitivity, reliability). The dominant, “minimalist” response to the arguments—sometimes defended under the heading of “third-factors” or “pre-established harmonies”—involves affirming that moral beliefs enjoy the relevant counterfactual connection while granting that these beliefs are not explained by the moral facts. We show that (...)
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  9. added 2018-06-03
    Moral Disagreement and Moral Skepticism.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):302-333.
    The fact of moral disagreement when conjoined with Conciliationism, an independently attractive view about the epistemic significance disagreement, seems to entail moral skepticism. This worries those who like Conciliationism, the independently attractive view, but dislike moral skepticism. Others, equally inclined against moral skepticism, think this is a reductio of Conciliationism. I argue that they are both wrong. There is no reductio and nothing to worry about.
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  10. added 2018-03-03
    When Do Replies to the Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism Beg the Question?Justin Morton - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    Some proponents of the evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism believe that replies that assume substantive moral claims beg the question. In this paper, I give a new account of what’s wrong with such replies. On this account, many realists beg the question when they rely on substantive moral claims in their replies to the argument, but naturalists do not. While this account generalizes to some other domains, it allows perceptual and inductive realism to go un-debunked.
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  11. added 2018-03-02
    Dismissing the Moral Sceptic: A Wittgensteinian Approach.Sasha Lawson-Frost - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1235-1251.
    Cartesian scepticism poses the question of how we can justify our belief that other humans experience consciousness in the same way that we do. Wittgenstein’s response to this scepticism is one that does not seek to resolve the problem by providing a sound argument against the Cartesian sceptic. Rather, he provides a method of philosophical inquiry which enables us to move past this and continue our inquiry without the possibility of solipsism arising as a philosophical problem in the first place. (...)
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  12. added 2018-03-02
    Levinas on Skepticism, Moral and Otherwise.Jennifer Rosato - 2015 - Philosophy Today 59 (3):429-450.
    At the start of Totality and Infinity, Emmanuel Levinas announces his project as one that will respond to the challenge of moral skepticism. Meanwhile, in a section titled “Skepticism and Reason” near the end of Otherwise than Being, Levinas interprets the recurrence of skepticism within philosophical reflection as a positive sign of the saying that refuses to be absorbed in the said. Here, I discuss the relationship between these two discussions of skepticism, and argue that Levinas’s appeal to a variety (...)
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  13. added 2018-03-02
    On the Sceptical 'Foundation' of Ethics.Sami Pihlström - 2004 - Humanitas 17 (1-2):159-187.
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  14. added 2018-03-02
    Marx's Moral Skepticism.George E. Panichas - 1981 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (sup1):45-66.
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  15. added 2018-03-02
    Moral Scepticism.Leonard-G. Miller - 1961 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 22:239-245.
    THE MORAL SCEPTIC IS ONE WHO BELIEVES MORALITY CANNOT BE\nJUSTIFIED AND THEREFORE THERE ARE GOOD REASONS FOR BEING\nSUSPICIOUS OF IT, AND FURTHER, THAT ONE WHO CONTINUES TO\nMAINTAIN A MORAL POSITION IS BEING UNREASONABLE. THE AUTHOR\nMAINTAINS THAT EVEN THOUGH THE CONCEPT OF JUSTIFICATION\nDOES NOT APPLY, THE SCEPTIC IS MISTAKEN IN DRAWING THE\nCONCLUSIONS HE DOES. THE SCEPTIC CONTENDS THAT IN THE\nABSENCE OF REASONS, IT IS UNREASONABLE TO BELIEVE. IT IS\nCONCLUDED THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO REASON US FROM MORALITY\nINTO SCEPTICISM. (STAFF).
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  16. added 2018-02-27
    Moral Skepticism: An Introduction and Overview.Diego E. Machuca - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism: New Essays. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-31.
    In this introductory chapter, I not only present the essays that make up this volume but also I offer an extensive critical overview of moral skepticism with the hope that it will turn out to be useful particularly to the uninitiated reader. I first provide a taxonomy of varieties of moral skepticism, then discuss the main arguments advanced in their favor, and finally summarize the ten essays here collected, which deal with one or more of those skeptical stances and arguments.
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  17. added 2018-02-27
    Moral Skepticism, Fictionalism, and Insulation.Diego E. Machuca - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism: New Essays. New York: Routledge. pp. 213-234.
    It has been claimed that a key difference between ancient and contemporary skepticism is that, unlike the ancient skeptics, contemporary skeptics consider ordinary beliefs to be insulated from skeptical doubt. In the case of metaethics, this issue is related to the following question: what attitude towards ordinary moral thought and discourse should one adopt if one is a moral skeptic? Whereas moral abolitionists claim that one should do away with ordinary moral thought and discourse altogether, moral fictionalists maintain that, given (...)
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  18. added 2018-02-18
    The Evolution of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2005 - Bradford.
    Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow (...)
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  19. added 2018-02-17
    How to Prove That Some Acts Are Wrong.Christian Coons - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (1):83-98.
    I first argue that there are many true claims of the form: x-ing would be morally required, if anything is. I then explain why the following conditional-type is true: If x-ing would be morally required, if anything is, then x-ing is actually morally required. These results allow us to construct valid proofs for the existence of some substantive moral facts—proofs that some particular acts really are morally required. Most importantly, none of my argumentation presupposes any substantive moral claim; I use (...)
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  20. added 2018-02-17
    The Relativism of Blame and Williams's Relativism of Distance.Miranda Fricker - 2010 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 84 (1):151-177.
    Bernard Williams is a sceptic about the objectivity of moral value, embracing instead a qualified moral relativism—the ‘relativism of distance’. His attitude to blame too is in part sceptical. I will argue that the relativism of distance is unconvincing, even incoherent; but also that it is detachable from the rest of Williams's moral philosophy. I will then go on to propose an entirely localized thesis I call the relativism of blame, which says that when an agent's moral shortcomings by our (...)
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  21. added 2018-02-17
    Hume's 'a Treatise of Human Nature': An Introduction.John P. Wright - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
    David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature presents the most important account of skepticism in the history of modern philosophy. In this lucid and thorough introduction to the work, John P. Wright examines the development of Hume's ideas in the Treatise, their relation to eighteenth-century theories of the imagination and passions, and the reception they received when Hume published the Treatise. He explains Hume's arguments concerning the inability of reason to establish the basic beliefs which underlie science and morals, as (...)
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  22. added 2018-02-17
    A distinctively moral scepticism?David McNaughton - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (3):207-217.
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  23. added 2018-02-17
    Moral Responsibility: The Ways of Scepticism.Carlos Moya - 2006 - Routledge.
    We are strongly inclined to believe in moral responsibility - the idea that certain human agents truly deserve moral praise or blame for some of their actions. However, recent philosophical discussion has put this natural belief under suspicion, and there are important reasons for thinking that moral responsibility is incompatible with both determinism and indeterminism, therefore potentially rendering it an impossibility. Presenting the major arguments for scepticism about moral responsibility, and subjecting them to sustained and penetrating critical analysis, _Moral Responsibility_ (...)
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  24. added 2018-02-17
    G. E. Moore's Ethical Theory: Resistance and Reconciliation.Brian Hutchinson - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    This 2001 book is a comprehensive study of the ethics of G. E. Moore, the most important English-speaking ethicist of the twentieth century. Moore's ethical project, set out in his seminal text Principia Ethica, is to preserve common moral insight from scepticism and, in effect, persuade his readers to accept the objective character of goodness. Brian Hutchinson explores Moore's arguments in detail and in the process relates the ethical thought to Moore's anti-sceptical epistemology. Moore was, without perhaps fully realizing it, (...)
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  25. added 2017-12-31
    Socratic Metaethics Imagined.Steven Ross & Lisa Warenski - 2017 - S.Ph. Essays and Explorations:1-8.
    This is an imagined dialogue between one of the more famous skeptics regarding moral attribution, Thrasymachus, and an imagined Socrates who, through the convenient miracle of time travel, returns to Athens after exposure to contemporary metaethics, now a devoted and formidable quasi-realist expressivist. The dialogue focuses on the characterization of moral conflict and moral justification available to the expressivist, and the authors attempt to lay out the distinctive strengths and weaknesses of the expressivist view.
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  26. added 2017-11-08
    No Coincidence?Matthew Bedke - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:102-125.
    This paper critically examines coincidence arguments and evolutionary debunking arguments against non-naturalist realism in metaethics. It advances a version of these arguments that goes roughly like this: Given a non-naturalist, realist metaethic, it would be cosmically coincidental if our first order normative beliefs were true. This coincidence undermines any prima facie justification enjoyed by those beliefs.
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  27. added 2017-11-07
    From Isolation to Skepticism.Scott Hill - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):649-668.
    If moral properties lacked causal powers, would moral skepticism be true? I argue that it would. Along the way I respond to various arguments that it would not.
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  28. added 2017-11-07
    Moral Scepticism.R. F. Holland & Jonathan Harrison - 1967 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 41 (1):185-214.
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  29. added 2017-11-03
    Essays in Moral Skepticism. [REVIEW]Jonas Olson - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism.
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  30. added 2017-11-03
    Darwinism in Metaethics: What If the Universal Acid Cannot Be Contained?Eleonora Severini & Fabio Sterpetti - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):1-25.
    The aim of this article is to explore the impact of Darwinism in metaethics and dispel some of the confusion surrounding it. While the prospects for a Darwinian metaethics appear to be improving, some underlying epistemological issues remain unclear. We will focus on the so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) which, when applied in metaethics, are defined as arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs so as to undermine their epistemic justification. The point is that an epistemic disanalogy (...)
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  31. added 2017-10-25
    Beatrix Himmelmann/ Robert B. Louden (Hg.): Why Be Moral? [REVIEW]Lukas Naegeli - 2016 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 70 (3):456-460.
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  32. added 2017-10-16
    Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence, Written by Jonas Olson.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (1):57-61.
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  33. added 2017-10-16
    Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution, Edited by Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain.J. L. Schellenberg - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (1):62-67.
  34. added 2017-06-20
    Review of Leibowtiz and Sinclair (Eds.) Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. [REVIEW]Karl Schafer - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2017.
  35. added 2017-05-24
    Review of Richard Joyce's Essays in Moral Skepticism. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Perspectives 24 (1):158-162.
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  36. added 2017-05-01
    P. F. Strawson’s Free Will Naturalism.Joe Campbell - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (1):26-52.
    _ Source: _Page Count 27 This is an explication and defense of P. F. Strawson’s naturalist theory of free will and moral responsibility. I respond to a set of criticisms of the view by free will skeptics, compatibilists, and libertarians who adopt the _core assumption_: Strawson thinks that our reactive attitudes provide the basis for a rational justification of our blaming and praising practices. My primary aim is to explain and defend Strawson’s naturalism in light of criticisms based on the (...)
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  37. added 2017-04-21
    LET'S FAKE MORALITY and ETHICS (the Pretence of Ethics and Morality in Philosophy and Life).de Balbian Ulrich - 2017 - Oxford: Academic Publishers.
    Download FREE book here Fake Morality and Ethics (in philosophy and Life) https://www.academia.edu/32532069/LETS_FAKE_MORALITY_and_ETHICS_the_pretence_of_ethics_and_morality_ in_philosophy_and_life_ -/- Institutionalized and internalized,‭ ‬competence intersubjectivity contain many user-illusions and an imaginary or manifest image of reality,‭ ‬including of themselves‭ (‬Dennett and Sellars‭)‬,.‭ ‬This can be contrasted we a comprehension or comprehensive,‭ ‬understanding intersubjectivity.‭ ‬It is possible and perhaps even necessary to transform or replace the competence intersubjectivity to a comprehension or understanding‭ (‬scientific,‭ ‬Dennett and Sellars‭) ‬image of reality and themselves.Ethics and morality and studies of ethics (...)
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  38. added 2017-04-05
    Business Principles, Life Principles.Cruz Cora - manuscript
    This paper introduces (or reiterates) a paradox: if humanist (rational and egalitarian) principles of social organization are attendant upon the evolution of an educated, leisured class (be it feudal or bourgeois), how can these norms be applied from the “bottom up”? It is the paradox of democratic liberalism, the spectre behind the ideal of “participatory parity” which both entails and presupposes equality of capability, and hence of socioeconomic status. By way of a very brief genealogy of enlightenment values, against contemporary (...)
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  39. added 2017-04-04
    Old Wine in New Bottles.Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):781-795.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to show that robust moral realism, the metaethical view that there are non-natural and mind-independent moral properties and facts that we can know about, is incompatible with evolutionary explanations of morality. One of the most prominent evolutionary debunking arguments is advanced by Sharon Street, who argues that if moral realism were true, then objective moral knowledge is unlikely because realist moral properties are evolutionary irrelevant and moral beliefs about those properties would not be selected for. However, (...)
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  40. added 2017-03-02
    Explaining Our Moral Reliability.Sinan Dogramaci - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):71-86.
    I critically examine an evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism. The key premise of the argument is that there is no adequate explanation of our moral reliability. I search for the strongest version of the argument; this involves exploring how ‘adequate explanation’ could be understood such that the key premise comes out true. Finally, I give a reductio: in the sense in which there is no adequate explanation of our moral reliability, there is equally no adequate explanation of our inductive (...)
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  41. added 2017-02-07
    Skepticism and the Basis of Morality.Thomas McClintock - 1984 - Philosophy Research Archives 10 (9999):185-333.
    Part I contains analyses of the basic varieties of ethical skepticism and culminates in the idea that the refutation of ethical skepticism--or, what is the same thing, the discovery of the rational basis of morality--consists of a proof of the factual thesis that there exists in human beings a common underivative moral self that consists of an innate normative-practical source of human moral judgment and behavior. Part 2 develops the methodology for establishing this factual thesis and develops as well an (...)
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  42. added 2017-02-07
    Book Review:The Problem of Theism, and Other Essays. A. C. Pigou. [REVIEW]David Phillips - 1909 - Ethics 19 (4):510-.
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  43. added 2017-02-06
    God and Moral Skepticism.Joe Milburn - 2014 - Quaestiones Disputatae 5 (1):118-129.
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  44. added 2017-02-06
    Slightly Beyond Skepticism: Social Science and the Search for Morality. [REVIEW]Ralph Rosnow - 1988 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 9 (2).
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  45. added 2017-02-03
    Yudhishthira's Doubt.R. S. Bhatnagar - 2004 - In Kusuma Jaina (ed.), Foundations of Indian Moral Thought. Dept. Of Philosophy, University of Rajasthan. pp. 11--1.
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  46. added 2017-01-27
    [Book Review] Skepticism in Ethics. [REVIEW]Panayot Butchvarov - 1989 - Ethics 100 (4):934-938.
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  47. added 2017-01-22
    Sinnott's Philosophy of Organism.Alfred P. Stiernotte - 1958 - Review of Metaphysics 12 (4):654 - 661.
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  48. added 2017-01-22
    Sinnott's Philosophy of Purpose.David L. Miller - 1957 - Review of Metaphysics 11 (4):637 - 647.
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  49. added 2017-01-19
    Does 'Ought' Conversationally Implicate 'Can'?Bart Streumer - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):219–228.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues that 'ought' does not entail 'can', but instead conversationally implicates it. I argue that Sinnott-Armstrong is actually committed to a hybrid view about the relation between 'ought' and 'can'. I then give a tensed formulation of the view that 'ought' entails 'can' that deals with Sinnott-Armstrong's argument and that is more unified than Sinnott-Armstrong's view.
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  50. added 2017-01-19
    Theism and Other Minds: On the Falsifiability of Non-Theories.James F. Sennett - 1995 - Topoi 14 (2):149-160.
    In this paper I consider three necessary conditions for a proposition counting as a theory: that the proposition be posited for its explanatory power; that it derive its feasibility from the extent to which it provides such explanatory power; and that it be empirically falsifiable. I then argue that some propositions might fail as theories because they do not satisfy the first two conditions, yet still satisfy the third condition. Such propositions I label falsifiable non-theories. I offer folk psychology (the (...)
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