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  1. Popper, Rationality and the Possibility of Social Science.Danny Frederick - 2013 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 28 (1):61-75.
    Social science employs teleological explanations which depend upon the rationality principle, according to which people exhibit instrumental rationality. Popper points out that people also exhibit critical rationality, the tendency to stand back from, and to question or criticise, their views. I explain how our critical rationality impugns the explanatory value of the rationality principle and thereby threatens the very possibility of social science. I discuss the relationship between instrumental and critical rationality and show how we can reconcile our critical rationality (...)
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  2.  19
    Critique of Brian Earp’s Writing Tips for Philosophers.Danny Frederick - forthcoming - Think.
    I criticise Brian Earp’s ‘Some Writing Tips for Philosophy.’ Earp’s paper is useful for someone who wishes to do well in analytic philosophy as currently practised but it also casts doubt on why such analytic philosophy would be of interest to someone who wants to learn something new. In addition to its good tips, Earp’s paper contains two bad tips which, if followed, will tend to produce a paper that says next-to-nothing. I list the two faulty tips, show how the (...)
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  3. Popper and Free Will.Danny Frederick - 2010 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 3 (1):21-38.
    Determinism seems incompatible with free will. However, even indeterminism seems incompatible with free will, since it seems to make free actions random. Popper contends that free agents are not bound by physical laws, even indeterministic ones, and that undetermined actions are not random if they are influenced by abstract entities. I argue that Popper could strengthen his account by drawing upon his theories of propensities and of limited rationality; but that even then his account would not fully explain why free (...)
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  4. Pro‐Tanto Versus Absolute Rights.Danny Frederick - 2014 - Philosophical Forum 45 (4):375-394.
    Judith Jarvis Thomson and others contend that rights are pro-tanto rather than absolute, that is, that rights may permissibly be infringed in some circumstances. Alan Gewirth maintains that there are some rights that are absolute because infringing them would amount to unspeakable evil. However, there seem to be possible circumstances in which it would be permissible to infringe even those rights. Specificationists, such as Gerald Gaus, Russ Shafer-Landau, Hillel Steiner and Kit Wellman, argue that all rights are absolute because they (...)
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  5.  64
    Why Neil Levy is Wrong to Endorse No-Platforming.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    Neil Levy defends no-platforming people who espouse dangerous or unacceptable views. I reject his notion of higher-order evidence as authoritarian and dogmatic. I argue that no-platforming frustrates the growth of knowledge.
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  6. Moral Laws, Laws of Nature and Dispositions.Danny Frederick - 2014 - Prolegomena: Journal of Philosophy 13 (2):303-14.
    It appears that light may be thrown on the nature of moral principles if they are construed as moral laws analogous to ceteris-paribus laws of nature. Luke Robinson objects that the analogy either cannot explain how moral principles are necessary or cannot explain how obligations can be pro-tanto; and that a dispositional account of moral obligation has explanatory superiority over one in terms of moral laws. I explain the analogy, construing laws of nature as necessary relationships after the fashion of (...)
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  7. P. F. Strawson on Predication.Danny Frederick - 2011 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):39-57.
    Strawson offers three accounts of singular predication: a grammatical, a category and a mediating account. I argue that the grammatical and mediating accounts are refuted by a host of counter-examples and that the latter is worse than useless. In later works Strawson defends only the category account. This account entails that singular terms cannot be predicates; it excludes non-denoting singular terms from being logical subjects, except by means of an ad hoc analogy; it depends upon a notion of identification that (...)
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  8. Unmotivated Intentional Action.Danny Frederick - 2010 - Philosophical Frontiers 5 (1):21-30.
    In opposition to the tenet of contemporary action theory that an intentional action must be done for a reason, I argue that some intentional actions are unmotivated. I provide examples of arbitrary and habitual actions that are done for no reason at all. I consider and rebut an objection to the examples of unmotivated habitual action. I explain how my contention differs from recent challenges to the tenet by Hursthouse, Stocker and Pollard.
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  9. A Critique of Lester's Account of Liberty.Danny Frederick - 2013 - Libertarian Papers 5:45-66.
    In Escape from Leviathan, Jan Lester sets out a conception of liberty as absence of imposed cost which, he says, advances no moral claim and does not premise an assignm..
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  10. Confusion About the Right to Life.Danny Frederick - 2011 - The Reasoner 5 (1):4-5.
    I defend the consistency of affirming the right to life while rejecting universal healthcare and liveable income programmes. I also defend the rationality of accepting inconsistency.
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  11. Deduction and Novelty Again.Danny Frederick - 2014 - The Reasoner 8 (5):51-52.
    It is commonly claimed that the conclusion of a valid deductive argument is contained in its premises and says nothing new. In 'Deduction and Novelty,' in The Reasoner 5 (4), pp. 56-57, I refuted that claim. In The Reasoner, 8 (3), pp. 24-25, David McBride criticised my refutation. I show that McBride’s arguments are unsound.
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  12.  6
    A Regimented and Concise Exposition of Karl Popper’s Critical Rationalist Epistemology (Version 2).Danny Frederick - manuscript
    Criticisms of Karl Popper’s critical rationalist epistemology are often confused and misleading. In part that is due to Popper’s somewhat lax use of language, in which technical terms are used in more than one sense. I attempt to clarify Popper’s views by regimenting his terminology. The result is offered as a clear and concise exposition of the main points of Popper’s epistemology. This is an updated version of a paper that was published in Cosmos + Taxis 6 (6+7): 49-54 (2019).
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  13. Two Concepts Of Rationality.Danny Frederick - 2010 - Libertarian Papers 2:1-21.
    The dominant tradition in Western philosophy sees rationality as dictating. Thus rationality may require that we believe the best explanation and simple conceptual truths and that we infer in accordance with evident rules of inference. I argue that, given what we know about the growth of knowledge, this authoritarian concept of rationality leads to absurdities and should be abandoned. I then outline a libertarian concept of rationality, derived from Popper, which eschews the dictates and which sees a rational agent as (...)
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  14. To Follow the Argument Wherever It Leads.Danny Frederick - 2009 - The Reasoner 3 (11):5-6.
    This paper rejects the claim that, rationally, we should follow the argument wherever it leads.
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  15. Doxastic Voluntarism: A Sceptical Defence.Danny Frederick - 2013 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (1):24-44.
    Doxastic voluntarism maintains that we have voluntary control over our beliefs. It is generally denied by contemporary philosophers. I argue that doxastic voluntarism is true: normally, and insofar as we are rational, we are able to suspend belief and, provided we have a natural inclination to believe, we are able to rescind that suspension, and thus to choose to believe. I show that the arguments that have been offered against doxastic voluntarism fail; and that, if the denial of doxastic voluntarism (...)
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  16.  82
    Voluntary Slavery.Danny Frederick - 2014 - Las Torres de Lucca: Revista Internacional de Filosofía Política 3 (4):115-137.
    The permissibility of actions depends upon facts about the flourishing and separateness of persons. Persons differ from other creatures in having the task of discovering for themselves, by conjecture and refutation, what sort of life will fulfil them. Compulsory slavery impermissibly prevents some persons from pursuing this task. However, many people may conjecture that they are natural slaves. Some of these conjectures may turn out to be correct. In consequence, voluntary slavery, in which one person welcomes the duty to fulfil (...)
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  17. The Unsatisfactoriness of Unsaturatedness.Danny Frederick - 2017 - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophy and Logic of Predication. Peter Lang.
    Frege proposed his doctrine of unsaturatedness as a solution to the problems of the unity of the proposition and the unity of the sentence. I show that Frege’s theory is mystical, ad hoc, ineffective, paradoxical and entails that singular terms cannot be predicates. I explain the traditional solution to the problem of the unity of the sentence, as expounded by Mill, which invokes a syncategorematic sign of predication and the connotation and denotation of terms. I streamline this solution, bring it (...)
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  18. Deduction and Novelty.Danny Frederick - 2011 - The Reasoner 5 (4):56-57.
    It is often claimed that the conclusion of a deductively valid argument is contained in its premises. Popper refuted this claim when he showed that an empirical theory can be expected always to have logical consequences that transcend the current understanding of the theory. This implies that no formalisation of an empirical theory will enable the derivation of all its logical consequences. I call this result ‘Popper-incompleteness.’ This result appears to be consistent with the view of deductive reasoning as a (...)
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  19. A Competitive Market in Human Organs.Danny Frederick - 2010 - Libertarian Papers 2:1-21.
    I offer consequentialist and deontological arguments for a competitive market in human organs, from live as well as dead donors. I consider the objections that a market in organs will frustrate altruism, coerce the desperate, expose under-informed agents to unacceptable risks, exacerbate inequality, degrade those who participate in it, involve a kind of slavery, impose invidious costs, and impair third-party choice sets. I show that each of these objections is without merit and that, in consequence, the opposition to markets in (...)
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  20.  39
    The Liberal Defence of Immigration Control.Danny Frederick & Mark D. Friedman - 2020 - Cosmos + Taxis 8 (2+3):23-38.
    Contemporary liberal theorists generally support open borders and some argue that liberalism is incompatible with substantive immigration control. We argue that it has not been shown that there is an inconsistency in the idea of a liberal state enforcing such controls and that it may be obligatory for a liberal state to impose substantive restrictions on immigration. The immigration control on which we focus is that concerning people from societies that resemble closed societies, particularly those in which Islamic fundamentalism is (...)
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  21.  34
    Karl Popper: Conjectures and Refutations.Danny Frederick - manuscript
  22. A Puzzle About Natural Laws and the Existence of God.Danny Frederick - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):269-283.
    The existence of natural laws, whether deterministic or indeterministic, and whether exceptionless or ceteris paribus, seems puzzling because it implies that mindless bits of matter behave in a consistent and co-ordinated way. I explain this puzzle by showing that a number of attempted solutions fail. The puzzle could be resolved if it were assumed that natural laws are a manifestation of God’s activity. This argument from natural law to God’s existence differs from its traditional counterparts in that, whereas the latter (...)
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  23. Ethical Intuitionism: A Structural Critique.Danny Frederick - 2016 - Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (3):631-47.
    Ethical intuitionists regard moral knowledge as deriving from moral intuition, moral observation, moral emotion and inference. However, moral intuitions, observations and emotions are cultural artefacts which often differ starkly between cultures. Intuitionists attribute uncongenial moral intuitions, observations or emotions to bias or to intellectual or moral failings; but that leads to sectarian ad hominen attacks. Intuitionists try to avoid that by restricting epistemically genuine intuitions, observations or emotions to those which are widely agreed. That does not avoid the problem. It (...)
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  24. Singular Terms, Predicates and the Spurious ‘Is’ of Identity.Danny Frederick - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (3):325-343.
    Contemporary orthodoxy affirms that singular terms cannot be predicates and that, therefore, ‘is’ is ambiguous as between predication and identity. Recent attempts to treat names as predicates do not challenge this orthodoxy. The orthodoxy was built into the structure of modern formal logic by Frege. It is defended by arguments which I show to be unsound. I provide a semantical account of atomic sentences which draws upon Mill's account of predication, connotation and denotation. I show that singular terms may be (...)
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  25. Why It is Ethical to Eat Meat.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    One-page summary of the case for why it is not wrong to eat meat.
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  26.  95
    The Possibility of Contractual Slavery.Danny Frederick - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (262):47-64.
    In contrast to eminent historical philosophers, almost all contemporary philosophers maintain that slavery is impermissible. In the enthusiasm of the Enlightenment, a number of arguments gained currency which were intended to show that contractual slavery is not merely impermissible but impossible. Those arguments are influential today in moral, legal and political philosophy, even in discussions that go beyond the issue of contractual slavery. I explain what slavery is, giving historical and other illustrations. I examine the arguments for the impossibility of (...)
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  27.  34
    Searle’s Contradictory Theory of Social Reality.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    John Searle, in several articles and books, has contended that institutions incorporating status functions with deontic powers are created by collective acceptance that is not analysable into individual acceptance. I point out three self-contradictions in Searle’s exposition.
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  28. Scarcity and Saving Lives.Danny Frederick - 2011 - The Reasoner 5 (6):89-90.
    I argue that, because of scarcity, the right to life cannot imply an obligation on others to save the life of the right-holder, and that collectivising resources for health care not only ensures that resources are used inefficiently and inappropriately but also removes from people the authority to make decisions for themselves about matters of health, life and death.
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  29.  27
    Is Every Deductively Valid Argument Circular?Danny Frederick - manuscript
    David Miller claims that every valid deductive argument begs the question. Other philosophers and logicians have made similar claims. I show that the claim is false. Its appeal depends on the existence of logical terminology, particularly concerning what a proposition 'contains' or its 'logical content,' that is best understood as metaphoric and that, given its aptness to mislead, would be better eschewed. I show how the terminology appears to derive from early modern theories of the nature of mind, ideas and (...)
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  30.  84
    Book Review: Robert Audi, 'Moral Perception'. [REVIEW]Danny Frederick - 2015 - Reason Papers 37 (1):164-69.
    I summarise Robert Audi's 'Moral Perception.' I concede that there is such a thing as moral perception. However, moral perceptions are culturally-relative, which refutes Audi’s claims that moral perception may ground moral knowledge and that it provides inter-subjectively accessible grounds which make ethical objectivity possible. Audi's attempt to avoid the refutation tends to convert rational disputes into ad hominem ones. I illustrate that with the example of the ethics of prostitution.
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  31.  89
    Identity Politics, Irrationalism, and Totalitarianism: The Relevance Of Karl Popper’s ‘Open Society’.Danny Frederick - 2019 - Cosmos + Taxis 6 (6-7):33-42.
    In ‘The Open Society and its Enemies,’ Karl Popper contrasts closed and open societies. He evaluates irrationalism and the different kinds of rationalism and he argues that critical rationalism is superior. Living in an open society bestows great benefits but involves a strain that may in some people engender a longing to return to a closed society of tribal submission and an attraction for irrationalism. Attempts to recreate a closed society lead to totalitarianism. In the light of Popper’s arguments I (...)
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  32. Pro-Tanto Obligations and Ceteris-Paribus Rules.Danny Frederick - 2015 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (3):255-266.
    I summarize a conception of morality as containing a set of rules which hold ceteris paribus and which impose pro-tanto obligations. I explain two ways in which moral rules are ceteris-paribus, according to whether an exception is duty-voiding or duty-overriding. I defend the claim that moral rules are ceteris-paribus against two qualms suggested by Luke Robinson’s discussion of moral rules and against the worry that such rules are uninformative. I show that Robinson’s argument that moral rules cannot ground pro-tanto obligations (...)
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  33.  46
    Freedom: Positive, Negative, Expressive.Danny Frederick - 2016 - Reason Papers 38 (2):39-63.
    I apply Karl Popper’s conception of critical rationality to the question of personal fulfilment. I show that such fulfilment normally depends upon the person achieving positive freedom, and that positive freedom requires negative freedom, including freedom of expression. If the state has legitimacy, its central duty must be the enforcement of those rules that provide the best prospects for personal fulfilment for the people under its jurisdiction. The state is therefore morally debarred from suppressing freedom of expression. I consider and (...)
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  34. Adversus Homo Economicus: Critique of Lester’s Account of Instrumental Rationality.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    In Chapter 2 of Escape from Leviathan, Jan Lester defends two hypotheses: that instrumental rationality requires agents to maximise the satisfaction of their wants and that all agents actually meet this requirement. In addition, he argues that all agents are self-interested (though not necessarily egoistic) and he offers an account of categorical moral desires which entails that no agent ever does what he genuinely feels to be morally wrong. I show that Lester’s two hypotheses are false because they cannot accommodate (...)
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  35. The Philosophical Case For Pornography.Danny Frederick - manuscript
  36.  31
    Why the Rachels's Are Wrong About Moral Universals.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    This is a three-page refutation of the Rachels's denial of moral diversity. In sections 2.5 and 2.6 of ‘The Challenge of Cultural Relativism,’ James and Stuart Rachels argue that diversity amongst cultures with regard to moral rules is overstated because all cultures have some values in common. I show that their argument is invalid and otherwise unsound and that cultures differ substantially with regard to their moral rules.
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  37.  19
    Identity Politics, Irrationalism, and Totalitarianism: Karl Popper and the Contemporary Malaise.Danny Frederick - 2019 - Cosmos + Taxis 6 (6-7):31-32.
    Introduction to my three essays on the relevance of Karl Popper to contemporary social, political and philosophical problems.
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  38.  49
    We Should Not Shield Ourselves From Abhorrent Beliefs.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    John Schwenkler asks whether we should shield ourselves from others' abhorrent beliefs. I expound and criticise his discussion and I explain why a rational person who wants to improve his knowledge should not shield himself from abhorrent beliefs.
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  39.  21
    The Good Bishop and the Explanation of Political Authority.Danny Frederick - 2016 - De Ethica 3 (2):23-35.
    A central problem of political philosophy is that of explaining how a state could have the moral authority to enforce laws, promulgate laws which citizens are thereby obliged to obey, give new duties to citizens and levy taxes. Many rival solutions to this problem of political authority have been offered by contemporary and recent philosophers but none has obtained wide acceptance. The current debate takes no cognisance of George Berkeley’s ‘Passive Obedience’, in which he defends the exceptionless duty of not (...)
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  40.  23
    Are Institutions Created by Collective Acceptance?Danny Frederick - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-13.
    John Searle, in several articles and books, has contended that institutions incorporating status functions with deontic powers are created by collective acceptance. I argue that collective acceptance can create new status functions with deontic powers only if other status functions with deontic powers already exist, so that collective acceptance can create new institutions only if other institutions are presupposed. So, the claim that institutions depend upon collective acceptance involves a vicious infinite regress. I provide an example to show how an (...)
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  41. A Critique of Michael Huemer’s 'The Problem of Political Authority'.Danny Frederick - 2015 - Reason Papers 37 (2):178-97.
    How could a state have the moral authority to promulgate and enforce laws that citizens are thereby obliged to obey? That is the problem of political authority. The Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority contends that great social benefits depend upon there being a state with political authority. In his book, The Problem of Political Authority, Michael Huemer considers different types of explanation of political authority and he rejects them all. I show that the objections he raises to consequentialist accounts are (...)
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  42.  19
    Are There Any Good Reasons?Danny Frederick - manuscript
    David Miller argues that there are no good reasons, either sufficient or insufficient. I show that most of his arguments are invalid or unsound. Several of his arguments depend upon the false claim that every deductively valid argument is circular. I accept one of Miller's arguments for the conclusion that there are no good reasons which are less-than-sufficient. I accept one of his arguments to the conclusion that there are no probative sufficient reasons. But I explain how there are epistemic (...)
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  43. Free Will and Probability.Danny Frederick - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):60-77.
    The chance objection to incompatibilist accounts of free action maintains that undetermined actions are not under the agent's control. Some attempts to circumvent this objection locate chance in events posterior to the action. Indeterministic-causation theories locate chance in events prior to the action. However, neither type of response gives an account of free action which avoids the chance objection. Chance must be located at the act of will if actions are to be both undetermined and under the agent's control. This (...)
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  44. Pornography and Freedom.Danny Frederick - 2011 - Kritike 5 (2):84-95.
    I defend pornography as an important aspect of freedom of expression, which is essential for autonomy, self-development, the growth of knowledge and human flourishing. I rebut the allegations that pornography depraves and corrupts, degrades women, is harmful to children, exposes third parties to risk of offence or assault, and violates women ’s civil rights and liberties. I contend that suppressing pornography would have a range of unintended evil consequences, including loss of beneficial technology, creeping censorship, black markets, corruption and extensive (...)
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  45.  7
    Are Institutions Created by Collective Acceptance?Danny Frederick - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-13.
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  46.  54
    Gettier’s Classic Irrelevance.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    Edmund Gettier’s three-page article is generally regarded as a classic of epistemology. I argue that Gettier cases depend upon three false assumptions and are irrelevant to the theory of knowledge. I suggest that we follow Karl Popper in abandoning subject-centred epistemologies in favour of theories of objective knowledge.
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  47. Why Universal Welfare Rights Are Impossible and What It Means.Danny Frederick - 2010 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 9 (4):428-445.
    Cranston argued that scarcity makes universal welfare rights impossible. After showing that this argument cannot be avoided by denying scarcity, I consider four challenges to the argument which accept the possibility of conflicts between the duties implied by rights. The first denies the agglomeration principle; the second embraces conflicts of duties; the third affirms the violability of all rights-based duties; and the fourth denies that duties to compensate are overriding. I argue that all four challenges to the scarcity argument are (...)
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  48.  44
    Falsifiability and the Duhem Problem.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    It is often claimed that the Duhem problem shows that the notion of falsifiability is inapplicable to scientific theories. I explain why the claim is false.
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  49.  72
    Critique of an Argument for the Reality of Purpose.Danny Frederick - 2012 - Prolegomena 11 (1):25-34.
    Schueler has argued, against the eliminativist, that human purposive action cannot be an illusion because the concept of purpose is not theoretical. He argues that the concept is known directly to be instantiated, through self-awareness; and that to maintain that the concept is theoretical involves an infinite regress. I show that Schueler’s argument fails because all our concepts are theoretical in the sense that we may be mistaken in applying them to our experience. As a consequence, it is conceivable that (...)
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  50. Social Contract Theory Should Be Abandoned.Danny Frederick - 2013 - Rationality, Markets and Morals 4:178-89.
    I argue that social-contract theory cannot succeed because reasonable people may always disagree, and that social-contract theory is irrelevant to the problem of the legitimacy of a form of government or of a system of moral rules. I note the weakness of the appeal to implicit agreement, the conflation of legitimacy with stability, the undesirability of “public justification” and the apparent blindness to the evolutionary critical-rationalist approach of Hayek and Popper. I employ that approach to sketch answers to the theoretical, (...)
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