According to N. T. Wright, anyone who is a Christian should at least think twice before he or she speaks about the soul, especially as an entity that is distinct from its physical body and can survive death in a disembodied intermediate state until the resurrection and reembodiment. In Wright’s mind, talk of the soul is talk about soul-body substance dualism, which is the villain in Christian anthropological thought. As far as Wright is concerned, it is time for Christians to (...) renounce dualism once and for all. In this paper, I take issue with Wright’s position on substance dualism. (shrink)
Rape of women by men might be generated either by a specialized rape adaptation or as a by-product of other psychological adaptations. Although increasing number of sexual partners is a proposed benefit of rape according to the “rape as an adaptation” and the “rape as a by-product” hypotheses, neither hypothesis addresses directly why some men rape their long-term partners, to whom they already have sexual access. In two studies we tested specific hypotheses derived from the general hypothesis that sexual coercion (...) in the context of an intimate relationship may function as a sperm competition tactic. We hypothesized that men’s sexual coercion in the context of an intimate relationship is related positively to his partner’s perceived infidelities and that men’s sexual coercion is related positively to their mate retention behaviors (behaviors designed to prevent a partner’s infidelity). The results from Study 1 (self-reports from 246 men) and Study 2 (partner-reports from 276 women) supported the hypotheses. The Discussion section addresses limitations of this research and highlights future directions for research on sexual coercion in intimate relationships. (shrink)
Cuckoldry is an adaptive problem faced by parentally investing males of socially monogamous species (e.g., humans and many avian species). Mate guarding and frequent in-pair copulation (IPC) may have evolved as anti-cuckoldry tactics in avian species and in humans. In some avian species, the tactics are used concurrently, with the result that mate guarding behaviors and IPC frequency are correlated positively. In other avian species, the tactics are compensatory, with the result that mate guarding behaviors and IPC frequency are correlated (...) negatively. The relationship between mate guarding and IPC frequency in humans is unknown. Avian males that use these tactics concurrently share with human males an inability to guard a female partner continuously during her peak fertile period. We hypothesized, therefore, that men’s mate guarding and IPC frequency function as concurrent anti-cuckoldry tactics, resulting in a positive correlation between them. Study 1 (n=305) secured men’s self-reports of mate guarding and IPC frequency. Study 2 (n+367) secured women’s reports of their partners’ mate guarding and IPC frequency. The concurrent tactics hypothesis was supported in both studies: Men’s mate guarding and IPC frequency are correlated positively, and this association is not attributable to male age, female age, relationship satisfaction, relationship length, or time that the couple spends together. The Discussion section addresses potential limitations of this research and future research directions. (shrink)
Schmitt recognized that research is needed to identify other factors associated with sex ratio and with sociosexuality that may explain cross-cultural variation in sexual behavior. One such factor may be the risk of sperm competition. Sperm competition theory may lead us to a more complete explanation of cultural variation in sexual behavior.
In this article I shall concern myself with the question ‘Is some type of justification required in order for belief in God to be rational?’ Many philosophers and theologians in the past would have responded affirmatively to this question. However, in our own day, there are those who maintain that natural theology in any form is not necessary. This is because of the rise of a different understanding of the nature of religious belief. Unlike what most people in the past (...) thought, religious belief is not in any sense arrived at or inferred on the basis of other known propositions. On the contrary, belief in God is taken to be as basic as a person's belief in the existence of himself, of the chair in which he is sitting, or the past. The old view that there must be a justification of religious belief, whether known or unknown, is held to be mistaken. One of the most outspoken advocates of this view is Alvin Plantinga. According to Plantinga the mature theist ought not to accept belief in God as a conclusion from other things he believes. Rather, he should accept it as basic, as a part of the bedrock of his noetic structure. ‘The mature theist commits himself to belief in God; this means that he accepts belief in God as basic.’. (shrink)
In a preceding issue of Faith and Philosophy Stewart Goetz criticized a paper of mine in which I try to show that libertarians need not be committed to the principle of alternative possibilities and that Frankfurt-style counterexamples to PAP are no threat to libertarianism. In my view, the main problem with Goetz’s arguments is that Goetz does not properly understand my position. In this paper, I respond to Goetz by summarizing my position in as plain a (...) way as possible. Goetz’s charge against my position has two parts, first, that it isn’t libertarian and, second, that it provides no good reason for libertarians to abandon PAP. This paper briefly presents my answers to these two parts of Goetz’s charge. (shrink)
The second of three contributions to an e-book in which I debated Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro on the question whether the human mind is material. I said that it is, and they said that it isn't. The article is meant to be intelligible to an educated general audience. In this second contribution, I criticize the appeals to introspection that Goetz and Taliaferro make to support their dualism.
1 There is a Standard Objection to the idea that concepts might be prototypes (or exemplars, or stereotypes): Because they are productive, concepts must be compositional. Prototypes aren't compositional, so concepts can't be prototypes (see, e.g., Margolis, 1994).2 However, two recent papers (Osherson and Smith, 1988; Kamp and Partee, 1995) reconsider this consensus. They suggest that, although the Standard Objection is probably right in the long run, the cases where prototypes fail to exhibit compositionality are relatively exotic and involve phenomena (...) which any account of compositionality is likely to find hard to deal with; for example, the effects of quantifiers, indexicals, contextual constraints, etc. KP are even prepared to indulge a guarded optimism: "... when a suitably rich compositional theory... is developed, prototypes will be seen ... as one property among many which only when taken altogether can support a compositional theory of combination" (p.56). In this paper, we argue that the Standard Objection to prototype theory was right after all: The problems about compositionality are insuperable in even the most trivial sorts of examples; it is therefore as near to certain as anything in cognitive science ever gets that the structure of concepts is not statistical. Theories of categorization, concept acquisition, lexical meaning and the like, which assume the contrary simply don't work. We commence with a general discussion of the constraints that an account of concepts must meet if their compositionality is to explain their productivity. We'll then turn to a criticism of proposals that OS2 and KP make for coping with some specific cases. (shrink)
This paper discusses Ernest Sosa's account of knowledge and epistemic normativity. The paper has two main parts. The first part identifies places where Sosa's account requires supplementation if it is going to capture important epistemic phenomena. In particular, additional theoretical resources are needed to explain the way in which epistemic aims are genuinely good aims, and the way in which some forms of reasoning can be epistemically better than others even when they are equally conducive to attaining the truth. (...) The second part focuses on Sosa's claim that there is a kind of belief – judgmental belief – that doesn't merely aim at truth but also aims at aptness, and that this kind of belief is central to our mental lives. The paper raises several concerns about this part of Sosa's account, including the concern that aiming at aptness is overly self-directed, and so is more closely tied to vice than epistemic virtue. (shrink)
It's an achievement of the last couple of decades that people who work in linguistic semantics and people who work in the philosophy of language have arrived at a friendly, de facto agreement as to their respective job descriptions. The terms of this agreement are that the semanticists do the work and the philosophers do the worrying. The semanticists try to construct actual theories of meaning (or truth theories, or model theories, or whatever) for one or another kind of expression (...) in one or another natural language; for example, they try to figure out how the temperature could be rising compatibly with the substitutivity of identicals. The philosophers, by contrast, keep an eye on the large, foundational issues, such as: what's the relation between sense and denotation; what's the relation between thought and language; whether translation is determinate; and whether life is like a fountain. Every now and then the philosophers and the semanticists are supposed to get together and compare notes on their respective progress. Or lack thereof. (shrink)
I agree with Sosa that intuitions are best thought of as attractions to believe a certain proposition merely on the basis of understanding it. However, I don't think it is constitutive of them that they supply strictly foundational justification for the propositions they justify, though I do believe that it is important that the intuition of a suitable subject be thought of as a prima facie justification for his intuitive judgment, independently of the reliability of his underlying capacities. I also (...) think that we need to be able to explain how mere understanding of a proposition can confer upon us an ability to have reliable intuitions, that we cannot simply take that idea for granted. And that when try to explain that, our best avenue for doing so is to take the intuitions as constituting the understanding of which they are said to be a manifestation. (shrink)
Knowledge closure is, roughly, the following claim: For every agent S and propositions P and Q, if S knows P, knows that P implies Q, and believes Q because it is so implied, then S knows Q. Almost every epistemologist believes that closure is true. Indeed, they often believe that it so obviously true that any theory implying its denial is thereby refuted. Some prominent epistemologists have nevertheless denied it, most famously Fred Dretske and Robert Nozick. There are closure advocates (...) who see other virtues in those accounts, however, and so who introduce revisions of one sort or another in order to preserve closure while maintaining their spirit. One popular approach is to replace the “sensitivity” constraint at the heart of both of those accounts with a “safety” constraint, as advocated by Timothy Williamson, Duncan Pritchard, Ernest Sosa, Stephen Luper, and others. The purpose of this essay is to show that this approach does not succeed: safety does not save closure. And neither does a popular variation on the safety theme, the safe-basis or safe-indicator account. (shrink)
I motivate and develop a novel account of the epistemic assessability of suspension as a development of my knowledge-first, virtue-epistemological research program. First, I extend an argument of Ernest Sosa's for the claim that evidentialism cannot adequately account for the epistemic assessability of suspension. This includes a kind of knowledge-first evidentialism of the sort advocated by Timothy Williamson. I agree with Sosa that the reasons why evidentialism fails motivate a virtue-epistemological approach, but argue that my knowledge-first account is preferable (...) to his view. According to my account, rational belief is belief that manifests proper practical respect for what it takes to know. Beliefs are the only primary bearers of epistemic evaluation since they are the only candidates for knowledge. However, suspension can manifest a derivative kind of practical respect for what it takes to know. Thus, we can explain why the same sort of assessment is applicable to both belief and suspension, and why belief has a privileged claim to these properties. Lastly, I'll look at Sosa's and Williamson's treatments of Pyrrhonian skepticism, which treats a certain kind of suspension as the epistemically superior practice, and argue that my account provides a better anti-skeptical response than either of their approaches. (shrink)