In this paper, we aim to clarify and evaluate the contention that immortality would be necessarily boring . It will emerge that, just as there are various importantly different kinds of immortality, there are various distinct kinds of boredom. To evaluate the Necessary Boredom Thesis, we need to specify the kind of immortality and the kind of boredom. We argue against the thesis, on various specifications of “immortality” and “boredom.”.
Near-death experiences offer a glimpse not only into the nature of death but also into the meaning of life. They are not only useful tools to aid in the human quest to understand death but are also deeply meaningful, transformative experiences for the people who have them. In a unique contribution to the growing and popular literature on the subject, philosophers John Martin Fischer and Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin examine prominent near-death experiences, such as those of Pam Reynolds, Eben Alexander and Colton (...) Burpo. They combine their investigations with critiques of the narratives' analysis by those who take them to show that our minds are immaterial and heaven is for real. In contrast, the authors provide a blueprint for a science-based explanation. Focusing on the question of whether near-death experiences provide evidence that consciousness is separable from our brains and bodies, Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin give a naturalistic account of the profound meaning and transformative effects that these experiences engender in many. This book takes the reality of near-death experiences seriously. But it also shows that understanding them through the tools of science is completely compatible with acknowledging their profound meaning. (shrink)
Sarah Buss has recently argued that endorsement theories of autonomy face three problems: they conflate autonomous agency with agency simpliciter, they face a vicious regress, and they get the extension of autonomous actions wrong. I argue that one such theory, Gary Watson’s Platonic Model, is not subject to any of these problems. I conclude that Buss has not given us reason to reject the Platonic Model and that it may be compatible with her own theory of accountability.
I defend Gary Watson's Platonic Model of free agency against two arguments by counterexample, one by J. David Velleman and the other by Michael Bratman. I claim that these arguments are unconvincing for three reasons. First, they do not accurately target the Platonic Model. Second, they do not convincingly present cases of self-governed action. Third, they call attention to issues about theoretical commitments that are not fit to be settled by appeal to cases. On the basis of this discussion, I (...) draw some general lessons for the debate about which theory of self-governance is the best. (shrink)
IN “CONSTRUCTIVISM, AGENCY, AND THE PROBLEM of Alignment,” Michael Bratman considers how lessons from the philosophy of action bear on the question of how best to construe the agent’s standpoint in the context of a constructivist theory of practical reasons. His focus is “the problem of alignment”: “whether the pressures from the general constructivism will align with the pressures from the theory of agency” (Bratman 2012: 81). He thus brings two lively literatures into dialogue with each other. This is laudable. (...) However, I shall argue that the considerations Bratman brings to bear from the literature on action do not support his conclusion that evaluative judgments are not constitutive of the agent’s standpoint in the context of constructivism. (shrink)
Aristotelian Actualism is the conjunction of the theses that absolutely everything is actual, that individuals are neither reducible to nor dependent on independently identified properties, and that some individuals are genuine contingent existents. Robert Adams and Gregory Fitch, two prominent proponents of Aristotelian Actualism, have argued that this view has a consequence that any modal logic stronger than M, and so any modal logic in which symmetry and reflexivity are frame conditions, is inadequate. We argue that this is incorrect.
This article defends the Kantian moral theory developed by Christine Korsgaard against the charge that it does not establish that immorality is always irrational because moral obligations are inescapable and overriding. My aim is to show that two versions of a well-known criticism of the view fail for the same reason. They do not recognize the role of inadequate reflection in accounting for immoral actions and, consequently, they do not fully appreciate the commitments that come with accepting the supposed structure (...) of human psychology that is bedrock to the view. I argue, first, that G. A. Cohen makes too much of the difference between Korsgaard and Kant on the source of moral norms and that we can appeal to what she says about practical reason in an early paper of hers in order to handle his Mafioso case. Next, I take up J. David Velleman’s more recent treatment of Korsgaard’s view in response to Cohen’s Mafioso case. I show that Velleman’s argument that her view is concessive conflates his own view of human agency with Korsgaard’s practical identity theory. My hope is that this discussion shows how Korsgaard’s view can be made to work as an orthodox Kantianism. (shrink)
This article revisits Bernard Williams’s influential argument that an immortal human life would be meaningless and argues for a shift in focus. There’s good reason to keep Williams’s framework for evaluating the prospects of meaning in continued life. But there’s also good reason to abandon the conception of human psychology that he, and most of the vast literature in response, uses to fill in that framework. Focusing on values, as opposed to desires, reveals that the most pressing threats to a (...) meaningful immortal human life are not repetition or satisfaction, but rather changes in what the world has to offer. (shrink)
This article argues for a shift in our thinking about racism. There are two main philosophical approaches at present: the moral view, which analyses racism in terms of individuals' attitudes, and the political view, which analyses it in terms of institutions. But neither is fully satisfactory. So I propose an alternative, genealogical account, which is better equipped to explain the phenomena associated with racism and is more in line with the historical record.Export citation.