Elise Springer Wesleyan University

  • Faculty, Wesleyan University
  • PhD, University of Connecticut, 2000.

Areas of specialization

Areas of interest

My philosophical views


My philosophical views

The answers shown here are not necessarily the same provided as part of the 2009 PhilPapers Survey. These answers can be updated at any time.

See also:

A priori knowledge: yes or no?The question is too unclear to answerNothing fits the profile that "a priori" knowledge was supposed to have. On the other hand, saying it's all "a posteriori" is also confused. Let's say there's probably lots of a priori knowledge, but having it doesn't imply *knowing* that we have it, or being able to access any of it with certainty. So it won't do the work of grounding arguments or getting everyone to agree about anything.
Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?Accept another alternativeThere are lots of abstract objects, and they don't all deserve the same account! But I'll spring for a cross of Nietzsche's historicist nominalism and Peirce's sifting-toward-the-end-of-inquiry.
Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?Accept both
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?Lean toward: noIs this a matter of potentially relevant contrast and difference, yes. Dichotomy, no.
Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?Accept: externalism
External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?Accept: non-skeptical realismWorlds don't come in external and internal flavors.
Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?Lean toward: compatibilismCompatibilists are often complacent that conventional attitudes such as resentment tend to work out well, and they portray our repertoire of attitudes as timeless. Knowledge of human patterns has led people to revise those attitudes, and much more radical revisions are surely in order.
God: theism or atheism?Lean toward: atheismCharitable interpretation requires that we map as much actually-encountered theistically-framed discourse as we can onto attitudes and expectations that we can make sense of.
Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?Accept another alternative
Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?Lean toward: contextualism
Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?Accept another alternative
Logic: classical or non-classical?Lean toward: non-classical
Mental content: internalism or externalism?Accept: externalismI embrace "externalism" (among these forced options) only because I vehemently reject "internalism about mental content". But sufficient anti-internalism requires that we not call it "mental content" anyway -- and "the external" is a misleading label for what's *beyond* any notion of the internal.
Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?Accept an intermediate view
Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?Lean toward: naturalism
Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?Lean toward: physicalismnon-reductive physicalism. No mysterious non-physical "stuff"...
Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?Lean toward: cognitivismBut whatever your "non-cognitive" is supposed to cover, my guess is that I embrace it as part of cognition.
Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?Lean toward: internalismI find this debate to be mired in misunderstandings...
Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?Lean toward: two boxesI cannot take the hypothesis seriously.
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?Lean toward: virtue ethicsI lean pragmatically toward virtue ethics because it is (at its best) the least foundationalist. Moral concerns need not admit of a single reductive measure; concerns about consequences and about principles need not be explained away by virtue ethics.
Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?Accept another alternative
Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?Accept another alternativenormative view
Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?Lean toward: communitarianismI don't think this contrast-class is well-structured. Libertarianism and egalitarianism are social ideals whose intelligibility comes alive only in communities. Communitarianism can embrace the best of the other two.
Proper names: Fregean or Millian?Accept another alternative
Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?Accept an intermediate view
Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?The question is too unclear to answerThe very hypothesis depends on a matter vs form dichotomy -- presumably the old form is replicated with "new matter". But yet we are to imagine some casual process by which the person's structural template is "transported". I'm not sure how that informational transmission could happen without material continuity. Show me a teletransporter and then we can talk about the details...
Time: A-theory or B-theory?Agnostic/undecided
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?Lean toward: switchThis fixation on tidy trolley dilemmas is an embarrassment to philosophy.
Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?Lean toward: epistemic
Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?Lean toward: inconceivable