Much of the discussion surrounding the ethics of abortion has centered around the notion of personhood. This is because many philosophers hold that the morality of abortion is contingent on whether the fetus is a person - though, of course, some famous philosophers have rejected this thesis (e.g. Judith Thomson and Don Marquis). In this article, I construct a novel argument for the immorality of abortion based on the notion of impairment. This argument does not assume that the (...) fetus is a person - indeed, I concede (for the sake of argument) that the fetus is not a person - and hence the morality of abortion is not contingent on whether the fetus is a person. I finish by answering a plethora of objections to my argument, concluding that none of them are successful. (shrink)
The knowledge argument is something that is both an ideal for philosophy and yet surprisingly rare: a simple, valid argument for an interesting and important conclusion, with plausible premises. From a compelling thought-experiment and a few apparently innocuous assumptions, the argument seems to give us the conclusion, a priori, that physicalism is false. Given the apparent power of this apparently simple argument, it is not surprising that philosophers have worried over the argument and its proper (...) diagnosis: physicalists have disputed its validity, or soundness or both; in response, non-physicalists have attempted to reformulate the argument to show its real anti-physicalist lesson. (shrink)
Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument is that because self-creation is required to be truly morally responsible and self-creation is impossible, it is impossible to be truly morally responsible for anything. I contend that the Basic Argument is unpersuasive and unsound. First, I argue that the moral luck debate shows that the self-creation requirement appears to be contradicted and supported by various parts of our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility, and that this ambivalence undermines the only reason that Strawson gives (...) for the self-creation requirement. Second, I argue that the self-creation requirement is so demanding that either it is an implausible requirement for a species of true moral responsibility that we take ourselves to have or it is a plausible requirement of a species of true moral responsibility that we have never taken ourselves to have. Third, I explain that Strawson overgeneralizes from instances of constitutive luck that obviously undermine moral responsibility to all kinds of constitutive luck. (shrink)
Few these days dispute that the knowledge argument demonstrates an epistemic gap between the physical facts and the facts about experience. It is much more contentious whether that epistemic gap can be used to demonstrate a metaphysical gap of a kind that is inconsistent with physicalism. In this paper I will explore two attempts to block the inference from an epistemic gap to a metaphysical gap – the first from the phenomenal concept strategy, the second from Russellian monism – (...) and suggest how the proponent of the knowledge argument might respond to each of these challenges. In doing so, I will draw on recent discussions of grounding and essence in the metaphysics literature. (shrink)
Rodden writes, “How do stories persuade us? How do they ‘move’—and move us? The short answer: by analogies.” Rodden’s claim is a natural first view, also held by others. This chapter considers the extent to which this view is true and helpful in understanding how fictional narratives, taken as wholes, may be argumentative, comparing it to the two principal (though not necessarily exclusive) alternatives that have been proposed: understanding fictional narratives as exhibiting the structure of suppositional argument, or the (...) structure of a kind of transcendental argument. Three key aspects of understanding a fictional narrative as an argument from analogy are identified. First, the argument will be relativistic or depend in an essential way upon the circumstances or intentions of the auditor or author. Second, in view of the first aspect, the argument will be loose and subjective, and accordingly less likely to yield knowledge. Third, the argument will not exhibit a distinctive structure applicable only to fictional narratives. I find that the third, and sometimes the first and second, of these same three aspects apply to understanding fictional narratives as suppositional arguments. I present considerations that point to a way of establishing that some extended fictions exhibit the structure of a kind of transcendental argument that is neither relativistic nor subjective, is knowledge-generating, and is uniquely applicable to fictional narratives. This supports literary cognitivism—the thesis that “literary fiction can be a source of knowledge in a way that depends crucially on its being fictional.”. (shrink)
According to Peter van Inwagen, C. S. Lewis failed in his attempt to undermine naturalism with his Argument from Reason. According to van Inwagen, Lewis provides no justification for his central premise, that naturalism is inconsistent with holding beliefs for reasons. What is worse, van Inwagen argues that the main premise in Lewis's argument from reason is false. We argue that it is not false. The defender of Lewis's argument can make use of the problem of mental (...) causal drainage, a longstanding issue in philosophy of mind, to show how van Inwagen's objection fails. (shrink)
In this paper I seek to defend libertarianism about free will and moral responsibility against two well-known arguments: the luck argument and the Mind argument. Both of these arguments purport to show that indeterminism is incompatible with the degree of control necessary for free will and moral responsibility. I begin the discussion by elaborating these arguments, clarifying important features of my preferred version of libertarianism—features that will be central to an adequate response to the arguments—and showing why a (...) strategy of reconciliation (often referred to as “deliberative libertarianism”) will not work. I then consider four formulations of the luck argument and find them all wanting. This discussion will place us in a favorable position to understand why the Mind argument also fails. (shrink)
I argue that the best interpretation of the general theory of relativity (GTR) has need of a causal entity (i.e., the gravitational field), and causal structure that is not reducible to light cone structure. I suggest that this causal interpretation of GTR helps defeat a key premise in one of the most popular arguments for causal reductionism, viz., the argument from physics.
Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid. At most, its premises entail the negative thesis that free action is incompossible with deterministic laws, but its conclusion asserts the positive thesis that deterministic laws preclude free action. The original, explanatory conclusion of the Zygote Argument can be defended only by supplementing the Zygote Argument with a best-explanation argument that identifies deterministic laws as menacing. Arguably, though, the best explanation for the manipulation victim’s lack of freedom and responsibility (...) is his constitutive luck, which is a problem irrespective of the natural laws that obtain. This proposed explanation leads to a new “diagnostic” version of the Zygote Argument which concludes that free action is impossible even though deterministic laws pose no threat whatsoever to free will. (shrink)
Many philosophers, psychologists, and medical practitioners believe that killing is no worse than letting die on the basis of James Rachels's Bare-Difference Argument. I show that his argument is unsound. In particular, a premise of the argument is that his examples are as similar as is consistent with one being a case of killing and the other being a case of letting die. However, the subject who lets die has both the ability to kill and the ability (...) to let die while the subject who kills lacks the ability to let die. Modifying the latter example so that the killer has both abilities yields a pair of cases with morally different acts. The hypothesis that killing is worse than letting die is the best explanation of this difference. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Kant's famous objection to the ontological argument: existence is not a determination. Previous commentators have not adequately explained what this claim means, how it undermines the ontological argument, or how Kant argues for it. I argue that the claim that existence is not a determination means that it is not possible for there to be non-existent objects; necessarily, there are only existent objects. I argue further that Kant's target is not merely ontological arguments (...) as such but the larger ‘ontotheist’ metaphysics they presuppose: the view that God necessarily exists in virtue of his essence being contained in, or logically entailed by, his essence. I show that the ontotheist explanation of divine necessity requires the assumption that existence is a determination, and I show that Descartes and Leibniz are implicitly committed to this in their published versions of the ontological argument. I consider the philosophical motivations for the claim that existence is a determination and then I examine Kant's arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason against it. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the ultimate argument for Scientific Realism, also known as the No-Miracles Argument (NMA), ultimately fails as an abductive defence of Epistemic Scientific Realism (ESR), where (ESR) is the thesis that successful theories of mature sciences are approximately true. The NMA is supposed to be an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) that purports to explain the success of science. However, the explanation offered as the best explanation for success, namely (ESR), fails to (...) yield independently testable predictions that alternative explanations for success do not yield. If this is correct, then there seems to be no good reason to prefer (ESR) over alternative explanations for success. (shrink)
Evolutionary debunking arguments claim that evolution has influenced our moral faculties in such a way that, if moral realism is true, then we have no positive moral knowledge. I present several popular objections to the standard version of this argument, then give a new EDA that has clear advantages in responding to these objections. Whereas the Standard EDA argues that evolution has selected for many moral beliefs with certain contents, this New EDA claims that evolution has selected for one (...) belief: belief in the claim that categorical reasons exist. If moral realism is true, then this claim is entailed by all positive moral claims, and belief in it is defeated due to evolutionary influence. This entails that if realism is true, then we have no positive moral knowledge. While there may be objections against this New EDA, it is much stronger than the Standard EDA, and one realists ought to worry about. (shrink)
Derk Pereboom's Four-Case Argument is among the most famous and resilient manipulation arguments against compatibilism. I contend that its resilience is not a function of the argument's soundness but, rather, the ill-gotten gain from an ambiguity in the description of the causal relations found in the argument's foundational case. I expose this crucial ambiguity and suggest that a dilemma faces anyone hoping to resolve it. After a thorough search for an interpretation which avoids both horns of this (...) dilemma, I conclude that none is available. Rather, every metaphysically coherent interpretation invites either a hard- or soft-line reply to Pereboom's argument. I then consider a recharacterization of the dilemma which seems to clear the way for the defence of a revised Four-Case Argument. I address this rejoinder by identifying a still more fundamental problem shared by all viable interpretations of the manipulation cases, showing that each involves a type of manipulation which undermines the victim's agency. Because this diagnosis supports a soft-line reply to every viable interpretation of the argument and can be endorsed by any compatibilist, I consider it the final piece of the Soft-line Solution to the Four-Case Argument. Finally, I suggest a new taxonomy of manipulation arguments, arguing that none that employs the suppressive variety of manipulation found in Pereboom's argument offers a threat to compatibilism. (shrink)
In this paper, I articulate an argument for incompatibilism about moral responsibility and determinism. My argument comes in the form of an extend story, modeled loosely on Peter van Inwagen's "rollback argument" scenario. I thus call it "the replication argument." As I aim to bring out, though the argument is inspired by so-called "manipulation" and "original design" arguments, the argument is not a version of either such argument -- and plausibly has advantages over (...) both. The result, I believe, is a more convincing incompatibilist argument than those we have considered previously. (shrink)
The luck argument raises a serious challenge for libertarianism about free will. In broad outline, if an action is undetermined, then it appears to be a matter of luck whether or not one performs it. And if it is a matter of luck whether or not one performs an action, then it seems that the action is not performed with free will. This argument is most effective against event-causal accounts of libertarianism. Recently, Franklin (Philosophical Studies 156:199–230, 2011) has (...) defended event-causal libertarianism against four formulations of the luck argument. I will argue that three of Franklin’s responses are unsuccessful and that there are important versions of the luck challenge that his defense has left unaddressed. (shrink)
Alfred Mele’s zygote argument is widely considered to be the strongest version of the manipulation argument against compatibilism (about free will and determinism). Opponents have focused largely on the first of its two premises and on the overall dialectic. My focus here will be on the underlying thought experiment—the Diana scenario—and on the second premise of the argument. I will argue that reflection on the Diana scenario shows that the second premise does not hold, and we will (...) see that my objection to the second premise helps to defend the claim that manipulation arguments face, in general, a dilemma. (shrink)
I argue that a certain type of naturalist should not accept a prominent version of the no-miracles argument (NMA). First, scientists (usually) do not accept explanations whose explanans-statements neither generate novel predictions nor unify apparently disparate established claims. Second, scientific realism (as it appears in the NMA) is an explanans that makes no new predictions and fails to unify disparate established claims. Third, many proponents of the NMA explicitly adopt a naturalism that forbids philosophy of science from using any (...) methods not employed by science itself. Therefore, such naturalistic philosophers of science should not accept the version of scientific realism that appears in the NMA. (shrink)
Virtue argumentation theory has been charged of being incomplete, given its alleged inability to account for argument cogency in virtue-theoretical terms. Instead of defending VAT against that challenge, I suggest it is misplaced, since it is based on a premise VAT does not endorse, and raises an issue that most versions of VAT need not consider problematic. This in turn allows distinguishing several varieties of VAT, and clarifying what really matters for them.
By appealing to the similarity between pre-vital and post-mortem nonexistence, Lucretius famously tried to show that our anxiety about death was irrational. His so-called Symmetry Argument has been attacked in various ways, but all of these strategies are themselves problematic. In this paper, I propose a new approach to undermining the argument: when Parfit’s distinction between identity and what matters is applied, not diachronically (as he uses it) but across possible worlds, the alleged symmetry can be broken. Although (...) the pre-vital and posthumous time spans that we could have experienced are indeed analogous with respect to our identity, they are not analogous with respect to psychological continuity, which forms the basis of prudential concern. Lucretius even anticipated the Parfitian distinction. He did not, however, notice the significance that it has for his Symmetry Argument. (shrink)
Argumentation is pervasive in everyday life. Understanding what makes a strong argument is therefore of both theoretical and practical interest. One factor that seems intuitively important to the strength of an argument is the reliability of the source providing it. Whilst traditional approaches to argument evaluation are silent on this issue, the Bayesian approach to argumentation (Hahn & Oaksford, 2007) is able to capture important aspects of source reliability. In particular, the Bayesian approach predicts that argument (...) content and source reliability should interact to determine argument strength. In this paper, we outline the approach and then demonstrate the importance of source reliability in two empirical studies. These experiments show the multiplicative relationship between the content and the source of the argument predicted by the Bayesian framework. (shrink)
The ability to analyze arguments is critical for higher-level reasoning, yet previous research suggests that standard university education provides at best modest improvements in students’ analytical reasoning abilities. What techniques are most effective for cultivating these skills? Here we investigate the effectiveness of a 12-week undergraduate seminar in which students practice a software-based technique for visualizing the logical structures implicit in argumen- tative texts. Seminar students met weekly to analyze excerpts from contemporary analytic philosophy papers, completed argument visualization problem (...) sets, and received individualized feedback on a weekly basis. We found that Seminar students improved substantially more on LSAT Logical Reasoning test forms than Control students (d = .71, p < .001), suggesting that learning how to visualize arguments in the seminar led to large generalized improvements in students’ analytical reasoning skills. Moreover, blind scoring of final essays from Seminar students and Control students, drawn from a parallel lecture course, revealed large differences in favor of seminar students (d = 0.87, p = .005). Seminar students understood the arguments better, and their essays were more accurate and effectively structured. Taken together, these findings deepen our understanding of how visualizations support logical reasoning, and provide a model for improving analytical reasoning pedagogy. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the inferential configuration of arguments, generally referred to as argument scheme. After outlining our approach, denominated Argumentum Model of Topics , we compare it to other modern and contemporary approaches, to eventually illustrate some advantages offered by it. In spite of the evident connection with the tradition of topics, emerging also from AMT’s denomination, its involvement in the contemporary dialogue on argument schemes should not be overlooked. The model builds in particular on the theoretical (...) and methodological perspective of pragma-dialectics in its extended version, reconciling dialectic and rhetoric; nevertheless, it also takes into account numerous other contributions to the study of argument schemes. Aiming at a representation of argument schemes able to monitor the inferential cohesion and completeness of arguments, AMT focuses on two components of argument scheme that could be distinguished, readapting pragma-dialectical terms, as procedural and material respectively. The procedural component is based on the semantic-ontological structure, which generates the inferential connection from which the logical form of the argument is derived. The material component integrates into the argument scheme the implicit and explicit premises bound to the contextual common ground . In this paper, the comparison of the AMT to other approaches focuses on the inferential configuration of arguments and not on the typologies of argument schemes and on the principles they are based on, which the authors intend to tackle in a further paper. (shrink)
Pereboom’s Four-Case Argument was once considered to be the most powerful of the manipulation arguments against compatibilism. However, because of Demetriou’s :595–617, 2010) response, Pereboom has significantly weakened his argument. Manipulation arguments in general have also been challenged by King : 65–83, 2013). In this paper, I argue that the Four-Case Argument resists both these challenges. One upshot is that Pereboom doesn’t need weaken his argument. Another is that compatibilists still need a response the Four-Case (...) class='Hi'>Argument. And another is that we get a much better understanding of the Four-Case Argument, and of manipulation arguments more generally, than is currently available in the literature. (shrink)
In this article, through a critical examination of K. Brad Wray's version of the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism, I articulate a modest version of scientific realism. This modest realist position, which I call ‘relative realism’, preserves the scientific realist's optimism about science's ability to get closer to the truth while, at the same time, taking on board the antirealist's premise that theory evaluation is comparative, and thus that there are no good reasons to think that science's best (...) theories are close to the truth. (shrink)
Structural realists claim that we should endorse only what our scientific theories say about the structure of the unobservable world. But according to Newman’s Objection, the structural realist’s claims about unobservables are trivially true. In recent years, several theorists have offered responses to Newman’s Objection. But a common complaint is that these responses “give up the spirit” of the structural realist position. In this paper, I will argue that the simplest way to respond to Newman’s Objection is to return to (...) one of the standard motivations for adopting structural realism in the first place: the No Miracles Argument. Far from betraying the spirit of structural realism, the solution I present is available to any theorist who endorses this argument. (shrink)
Alfred Mele’s zygote argument for incompatibilism is based on a case involving an agent in a deterministic world whose entire life is planned by someone else. Mele’s contention is that Ernie (the agent) is unfree and that normal determined agents are relevantly similar to him with regards to free will. In this paper, I examine four different ways of understanding this argument and then criticize each interpretation. I then extend my criticism to manipulation arguments in general. I conclude (...) that the zygote argument is no threat to compatibilism. (shrink)
Although many aspects of Inference to the Best Explanation have been extensively discussed, very little has so far been said about what it takes for a hypothesis to count as a rival explanatory hypothesis in the context of IBE. The primary aim of this article is to rectify this situation by arguing for a specific account of explanatory rivalry. On this account, explanatory rivals are complete explanations of a given explanandum. When explanatory rivals are conceived of in this way, I (...) argue that IBE is a more plausible and defensible rule of inference than it would otherwise be. The secondary aim of the article is to demonstrate the importance of accounts of explanatory rivalry by examining a prominent philosophical argument in which IBE is employed, viz. the so-called Ultimate Argument for scientific realism. In short, I argue that a well-known objection to the Ultimate Argument due to Arthur Fine fails in virtue of tacitly assuming an account of explanatory rivalry that we have independent reasons to reject. (shrink)
An analysis of the Third Man Argument, especially in light of Constance Meinwald's book Plato's Parmenides. I argue that her solution to the TMA fails. Then I present my own theory as to what Plato's solution was.
This paper offers a probabilistic treatment of the conditions for argument cogency as endorsed in informal logic: acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. Treating a natural language argument as a reason-claim-complex, our analysis identifies content features of defeasible argument on which the RSA conditions depend, namely: change in the commitment to the reason, the reason’s sensitivity and selectivity to the claim, one’s prior commitment to the claim, and the contextually determined thresholds of acceptability for reasons and for claims. Results (...) contrast with, and may indeed serve to correct, the informal understanding and applications of the RSA criteria concerning their conceptual dependence, their function as update-thresholds, and their status as obligatory rather than permissive norms, but also show how these formal and informal normative approachs can in fact align. (shrink)
In his recent book Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence, Jonas Olson attempts to revive the argument from queerness originally made famous by J.L. Mackie. In this paper, we do three things. First, we eliminate four untenable formulations of the argument. Second, we argue that the most plausible formulation is one that depends crucially upon considerations of parsimony. Finally, we evaluate this formulation of the argument. We conclude that it is unproblematic for proponents of moral non-naturalism—the target of (...) the argument from queerness. (shrink)
The article examines Kant's various criticisms of the broadly Cartesian ontological argument as they are developed in the Critique of Pure Reason. It is argued that each of these criticisms is effective against its intended target, and that these targets include—in addition to Descartes himself—Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten. It is argued that Kant's most famous criticism—the charge that being is not a real predicate—is directed exclusively against Leibniz. Kant's argument for this thesis—the argument proceeding from his example (...) of a hundred thalers—although it may seem to beg the question, in fact succeeds against Leibniz. It does so because the charge of begging the question can be rebutted if one makes certain Leibnizian assumptions. (shrink)
Recently a number of works in meta-ontology have used a variant of J.H. Harris's collapse argument in the philosophy of logic as an argument against Eli Hirsch's quantifier variance. There have been several responses to the argument in the literature, but none of them have identified the central failing of the argument, viz., the argument has two readings: one on which it is sound but doesn't refute quantifier variance and another on which it is unsound. (...) The central lesson I draw is that arguments against quantifier variance must pay strict attention to issues of translation and interpretation. The paper also has a substantial appendix in which I prove the equivalence of plural mereological nihilism and standard first-order atomistic mereology; results of this kind are often appealed to in the literature on quantifier variance but without many details on the nature or proof of the result. (shrink)
The transcendental approach to understanding narrative argument derives from the idea that for any believable fictional narrative, we can ask—what principles or generalizations would have to be true of human nature in order for the narrative to be believable? I address two key issues: whether only realistic or realist fictional narratives are believable, and how could it be established that we have an intuitive, mostly veridical grasp of human nature that grounds believability?
A generally ignored feature of Aristotle’s famous function argument is its reliance on the claim that practitioners of the crafts (technai) have functions: but this claim does important work. Aristotle is pointing to the fact that we judge everyday rational agency and agents by norms which are independent of their contingent desires: a good doctor is not just one who happens to achieve his personal goals through his work. But, Aristotle argues, such norms can only be binding on individuals (...) if human rational agency as such is governed by objective teleological norms. . (shrink)
Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? (...) Many have thought that, intuitively, you should not. Recently, Alfred Mele has employed this line of thought to mount what many have taken to be a powerful argument for incompatibilism: the “Zygote Argument”. However, in interesting new papers, John Martin Fischer and Stephen Kearns have each independently argued that the Zygote Argument fails. As I see it, the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns reveal some important questions about how the argument is meant to be—or how it would best be—understood. Once we make a slight (but important) modification to the argument, however, I think we will be able to see that the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns do not detract from its substantial force. (shrink)
The Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism assumes Ramsey's Thesis (RT), which purports to determine the prices an agent is rationally required to pay for a bet. Recently, a new objection to Ramsey's Thesis has emerged (Hedden 2013, Wronski & Godziszewski 2017, Wronski 2018)--I call this the Expected Utility Objection. According to this objection, it is Maximise Subjective Expected Utility (MSEU) that determines the prices an agent is required to pay for a bet, and this often disagrees with Ramsey's Thesis. (...) I suggest two responses to Hedden's objection. First, we might be permissive: agents are permitted to pay any price that is required or permitted by RT, and they are permitted to pay any price that is required or permitted by MSEU. This allows us to give a revised version of the Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism, which I call the Permissive Dutch Book Argument. Second, I suggest that even the proponent of the Expected Utility Objection should admit that RT gives the correct answer in certain very limited cases, and I show that, together with MSEU, this very restricted version of RT gives a new pragmatic argument for Probabilism, which I call the Bookless Pragmatic Argument. (shrink)
We reconstruct Hegel’s implicit version of the ontological argument in the light of his anti-representationalist idealist metaphysics. For Hegel, the ontological argument had been a peculiarly modern form of argument for the existence of God, presupposing a ‘representationalist’ account of the mind and its concepts. As such, it was susceptible to Kant’s famous refutation, but Kant himself had provided a model for an alternative conception of concept, one developed by Fichte with his notion of the I=I. We (...) reconstruct an Hegelian version of the ontological argument by considering the possibility of a Fichtean version, and then subjecting it to a critique based on Hegel’s critical appropriation of Fichte’s I=I. (shrink)
There is no concept more central to logic and critical thinking than the concept of an argument. I here address the definition of ‘argument’ in the logical sense of the term and defend the claim that many current proposals, once they are interpreted in a way that makes them sufficiently precise, are extensionally inadequate. Definitions found in some contemporary, prominent critical thinking textbooks will serve as a springboard. I claim that each may be interpreted in an absolutist way (...) or a relativistic way, yet all turn out to be objectionable no matter which route is taken. I finish with a proposal on which the definition of ‘argument’ is an absolutist one, yet one that avoids the problems discussed for the earlier proposals. (shrink)
The no miracles argument is one of the main arguments for scientific realism. Recently it has been alleged that the no miracles argument is fundamentally flawed because it commits the base rate fallacy. The allegation is based on the idea that the appeal of the no miracles argument arises from inappropriate neglect of the base rate of approximate truth among the relevant population of theories. However, the base rate fallacy allegation relies on an assumption of random sampling (...) of individuals from the population which cannot be made in the case of the no miracles argument. Therefore the base rate fallacy objection to the no miracles argument fails. I distinguish between a “local” and a “global” form of the no miracles argument. The base rate fallacy objection has been leveled at the local version. I argue that the global argument plays a key role in supporting a base-rate-fallacy-free formulation of the local version of the argument. (shrink)
Howson famously argues that the no-miracles argument, stating that the success of science indicates the approximate truth of scientific theories, is a base rate fallacy: it neglects the possibility of an overall low rate of true scientific theories. Recently a number of authors has suggested that the corresponding probabilistic reconstruction is unjust, as it concerns only the success of one isolated theory. Dawid and Hartmann, in particular, suggest to use the frequency of success in some field of research R (...) to infer a probability of truth for a new theory from R. I here shed doubts on the justification of this and similar moves and suggest a way to directly bound the probability of truth. As I will demonstrate, my bound can become incompatible with the assumption specific testing and Dawid and Hartmann’s estimate for success. (shrink)
This paper is to argue that conductive arguments could be understood from a rhetorical perspective. It contends that conductive arguments can be regarded as a particular mode of strategic maneuvering, rather than a new type of argument. Moreover, it demonstrates that the use of conductive arguments can be adequately analyzed and evaluated by adopting the theoretical tools developed in the extended Pragma-Dialectics.
The argument from species overlap has been widely used in the literature on animal ethics and speciesism. However, there has been much confusion regarding what the argument proves and what it does not prove, and regarding the views it challenges. This article intends to clarify these confusions, and to show that the name most often used for this argument (‘the argument from marginal cases’) reflects and reinforces these misunderstandings. The article claims that the argument questions (...) not only those defences of anthropocentrism that appeal to capacities believed to be typically human, but also those that appeal to special relations between humans. This means the scope of the argument is far wider than has been thought thus far. Finally, the article claims that, even if the argument cannot prove by itself that we should not disregard the interests of nonhuman animals, it provides us with strong reasons to do so, since the argument does prove that no defence of anthropocentrism appealing to non-definitional and testable criteria succeeds. (shrink)
The truthmaker literature has recently come to the consensus that the logic of truthmaking is distinct from classical propositional logic. This development has huge implications for the free will literature. Since free will and moral responsibility are primarily ontological concerns (and not semantic concerns) the logic of truthmaking ought to be central to the free will debate. I shall demonstrate that counterexamples to transfer principles employed in the direct argument occur precisely where a plausible logic of truthmaking diverges from (...) classical logic. Further, restricted transfer principles (like the ones employed by McKenna, Stump, and Warfield) are as problematic as the original formulation of the direct argument. (shrink)
This paper reviews the history of AI & Law research from the perspective of argument schemes. It starts with the observation that logic, although very well applicable to legal reasoning when there is uncertainty, vagueness and disagreement, is too abstract to give a fully satisfactory classification of legal argument types. It therefore needs to be supplemented with an argument-scheme approach, which classifies arguments not according to their logical form but according to their content, in particular, according to (...) the roles that the various elements of an argument can play. This approach is then applied to legal reasoning, to identify some of the main legal argument schemes. It is also argued that much AI & Law research in fact employs the argument-scheme approach, although it usually is not presented as such. Finally, it is argued that the argument-scheme approach and the way it has been employed in AI & Law respects some of the main lessons to be learnt from Toulmin’s The Uses of Argument. (shrink)
New developments in cosmology make it unlikely that life on Earth is unique. The Cosmic Perspective Argument states that given these developments we should not be concerned with the Earth’s environmental degradation. In this paper, we argue that although scaling our analysis upwards into the cosmos provides the Cosmic Perspective with its strength, when we apply the Cosmic Perspective downwards, the view appears to be terribly flawed. After examining the Cosmic Perspective at an individual level the problems that arise (...) intensify and seemingly not only break the argument at an individual level but also on a much larger scale as well. These problems show the need for a framework that takes into full account the complex and interconnected nature of the environment, thus one that only deep ecology may provide. (shrink)
In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they are to play the role in our intellectual activities that we (...) take them to play, then the laws of logic are best construed as necessarily existent thoughts -- more specifically, as divine thoughts about divine thoughts. We conclude by highlighting some implications for both theistic arguments and antitheistic arguments. (shrink)
One of Kripke's fundamental objections to descriptivism was that the theory misclassifies certain _a posteriori_ propositions expressed by sentences involving names as _a priori_. Though nowadays very few philosophers would endorse a descriptivism of the sort that Kripke criticized, many find two-dimensional semantics attractive as a kind of successor theory. Because two-dimensionalism needn't be a form of descriptivism, it is not open to the epistemic argument as formulated by Kripke; but the most promising versions of two-dimensionalism are open to (...) a close relative of that argument. (shrink)
This paper offers a short extension of the dialogue between Anselm and the Fool that is contained in "The Ontological Argument Simplified" by Gary Matthews and Lynne Rudder Baker. My extension of the dialogue ends with the Fool proclaiming that "what looks like an argument of elegant simplicity turns out to be no argument at all".
In this paper, I argue that Kant's famous critique of the Ontological Argument largely begs the question against that argument, and is no better when supplemented by the modern quantificational analysis of "exists." In particular, I argue that the claim, common to Hume and Kant, that conceptual truths can never entail substantive existential claims is false,and thus no ground for rejecting the Ontological Argument.