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J. L. Dowell [11]J. L. Dowell [6]
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Janice Dowell
Syracuse University
  1. Flexible Contextualism About Deontic Modals: A Puzzle About Information-Sensitivity.J. L. Dowell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
    According to a recent challenge to Kratzer's canonical contextualist semantics for deontic modal expressions, no contextualist view can make sense of cases in which such a modal must be information-sensitive in some way. Here I show how Kratzer's semantics is compatible with readings of the targeted sentences that fit with the data. I then outline a general account of how contexts select parameter values for modal expressions and show, in terms of that account, how the needed, contextualist-friendly readings might plausibly (...)
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  2. A Flexible Contextualist Account of Epistemic Modals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11:1-25.
    On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. Recently, (...)
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  3. The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth.Janice Dowell, J. L. - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
  4. Contextualist Solutions to Three Puzzles About Practical Conditionals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 7. Oxford University Press.
  5. Empirical Metaphysics: The Role of Intuitions About Possible Cases in Philosophy.J. L. Dowell - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):19-46.
    Frank Jackson has argued that only if we have a priori knowledge of the extension-fixers for many of our terms can we vindicate the methodological practice of relying on intuitions to decide between philosophical theories. While there has been much discussion of Jackson’s claim that we have such knowledge, there has been comparatively little discussion of this most powerful argument for that claim. Here I defend an alternative explanation of our intuitions about possible cases, one that does not rely on (...)
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  6. A Priori Entailment and Conceptual Analysis: Making Room for Type-C Physicalism.J. L. Dowell - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):93 – 111.
    One strategy for blocking Chalmers's overall case against physicalism has been to deny his claim that showing that phenomenal properties are in some sense physical requires an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones. Here I avoid this well-trodden ground and argue instead that an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones does not require an analysis in the Jackson/Chalmers sense. This is to sever the dualist's link between conceptual analysis and a (...)
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  7. Formulating the Thesis of Physicalism.J. L. Dowell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):1-23.
    Perhaps more controversial than whether physicalism is true is what exactly would have to be true for physicalism to be true. Everyone agrees that, intuitively at least, physicalism is the thesis that there is nothing over and above the physical. The disagreements arise in how to get beyond this intuitive formulation. Until about ten years ago, participants in this debate were concerned primarily with answering two questions. First, what is it for a property, kind, relation, or individual to be a (...)
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  8. Advice for Non-Analytical Naturalists.Janice Dowell, J. L. & David Sobel - forthcoming - In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Reading Parfit. Routledge.
    We argue that Parfit's "Triviality Objection" against some naturalistic views of normativity is not compelling. We think that once one accepts, as one should, that identity statements can be informative in virtue of their pragmatics and not only in virtue of their semantics, Parfit's case against naturalism can be overcome.
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  9. Serious Metaphysics and the Vindication of Reductions.J. L. Dowell - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (1):91-110.
    What would be sufficient to show of some apparently higher-level property that it is 'nothing over and above' some complex configuration of more basic properties? This paper defends a new method for justifying reductions by demonstrating its comparative advantages over two methods recently defended in the literature. Unlike its rivals, what I'll call "the semantic method" makes a reduction's truth epistemically transparent without relying on conceptual analyses.
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  10.  72
    Truth-Assessment Methodology and the Case Against the Relativist Case 1 a Gainst Contextualism About Deontic Modals.J. L. Dowell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):325-357.
    Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of (...)
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  11.  5
    Finlay’s Methodology: Synthetic, Not Analytic.J. L. Dowell - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):102-110.
    Stephen Finlay’s proposed methodology for defending the central theses of his impressive Confusion of Tongues is an underexplored aspect of this work.1 1 His official methodology is analytic : A reduction of normative to non-normative vocabulary. Here, I argue that taking this official line at face-value forces the reader to conclude that the reductions at the heart of that book cannot be correct. In contrast, a philosophical methodology that does not proceed via analyses would better support those reductions, then understood (...)
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  12. The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'.Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
  13. Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay.J. L. Dowell - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):585-593.
  14. Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
  15.  37
    Discourse Contextualism.J. L. Dowell - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):562-566.
    In Discourse Contextualism, Alex Silk defends a new contextualist account of expressions at the centre of recent debates over contextualism versus relativism, namely, gradable adjectives, taste predicates and epistemic and deontic modals ).1 1 The first part of the book, which lays out the view and shows how it explains the phenomena at issue in those debates, focuses on the case of epistemic modals. The second part of the book extends that account with Discourse Contextualist treatments of the remaining expressions. (...)
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  16. From Metaphysical to Substantive Naturalism: A Case Study.J. L. Dowell - 2004 - Synthese 138 (2):149-173.
    This paper addresses two related questions. First, what is involved in giving a distinctively realist and naturalist construal of an area of discourse, that is, in so much as stating a distinctively realist and naturalist position about, for example, content or value? I defend a condition that guarantees the realism and naturalism of any position satisfying it, at least in the case of positions on content, but perhaps in other cases as well. Second, what sorts of considerations render a distinctively (...)
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  17.  98
    Making It Totally Explicit.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2006 - Philosophical Papers 35 (2):137-170.
    This paper begins by isolating the reductive component of Brandom's inferentialism. In order to assess to what extent that reductive component is supported by the considerations Brandom marshals in its defense, I assess the comparative degree of support those considerations provide a non-reductive counterpart of Brandom's original, reductive theory. One of the central claims here is that once the reductive and non-reductive theories are placed side-by-side, it is clear that, save one, all of the considerations Brandom marshals in defense of (...)
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