Magical ersatzism is the view that possible worlds are primitive abstract entities. In On the Plurality of Worlds, David Lewis presented what appeared to many to be a devastating argument against magical ersatzism. In this paper, I show that Lewis’ central argument does not succeed. Magical ersatzism remains a viable theory of possible worlds.
Despite broad agreement that forgiveness involves overcoming resentment, the small philosophical literature on this topic has made little progress in determining which of the many ways of overcoming resentment is forgiveness. In a recent paper, however, Pamela Hieronymi proposed a way forward by requiring that accounts of forgiveness be “articulate” and “uncompromising.” I argue for these requirements, but also claim that Hieronymi’s proposed articulate and uncompromising account must be rejected because it cannot accommodate the fact that only some agents have (...) the standing to forgive. I end by sketching an alternative account which, I claim, explains the phenomenon of standing. (shrink)
The standard philosophical view is that compulsive behaviors are caused by “irresistible” desires. Gary Watson famously argued that this view conflates compulsion with weakness of the will, and proposed differentiating weakness and compulsion by appealing to the normal strength-of-will of members of the community. This extrinsic distinction leaves no room for phenomenological differences between weakness and compulsion. Evidence from clinical psychology shows, however, that compulsion is associated with certain phenomenological features that are absent in cases of weakness. I therefore reject (...) the irresistible desire account. Instead, I propose that psychological compulsions “wear down” an individual’s normal faculty of self-control, i.e., the will. The recurrent inhibition of the behavior by the will overexerts this faculty, causing the psychological stress noted by psychologists. This stress raises the cost of resistance until it is unbearable. The subject abandons resistance and therefore performs the behavior. (shrink)
Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about (...) it now than at any time in the past. Many contemporary philosophers have come to the conclusion that the intractability of the old argument about free will and determinism is caused by deep rooted illusions and inconsistencies in our unreflective attitudes about moral responsibility and freedom to act. Kevin Magill challenges this view and argues that the philosophical stalemate about free will has arisen through lack of attention to the content of the experiences that shape our understanding of free will and agency and through a mistaken belief that the concept of moral responsibility requires a moral and metaphysical justification. The book sets out an original account of the various ways we experience choosing, deciding and acting, which reconciles the apparently opposing intuitions that have fuelled the traditional dispute. (shrink)
As a general claim, most philosophers of science accept that science is not value-free. The disagreements lie in the proverbial details. The essays in Current Controversies in Values and Science, edited by Kevin Elliott and Daniel Steel focus on such details. Like other volumes in the Routledge Current Controversies in Philosophy’s series, this one asks ten well-known philosophers of science to engage with various questions. Each question receives roughly positive and negative responses, though the authors’ nuanced answers make clear (...) that the contrasting views also involve significant agreement.The first question asks whether we can distinguish epistemic from nonepistemic values. Hugh Lacey argues that such... (shrink)