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Manuel Vargas
University of California, San Diego
  1.  97
    Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Manuel Vargas - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Part I: Building blocks. 1. Folk convictions -- 2. Doubts about libertarianism -- 3. Nihilism and revisionism -- 4. Building a better theory -- Part II. A theory of moral responsibility. 5. The primacy of reasons -- 6. Justifying the practice -- 7. Responsible agency -- 8. Blame and desert -- 9. History and manipulation --10. Some conclusions.
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  2. Four Views on Free Will.John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom & Manuel Vargas - 2007 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  3. Unprincipled Virtue. [REVIEW]Manuel Vargas - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 8 (2):201-204.
    Nomy Arpaly rejects the model of rationality used by most ethicists and action theorists. Both observation and psychology indicate that people act rationally without deliberation, and act irrationally with deliberation. By questioning the notion that our own minds are comprehensible to us--and therefore questioning much of the current work of action theorists and ethicists--Arpaly attempts to develop a more realistic conception of moral agency.
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  4. Moral Torch Fishing: A Signaling Theory of Blame.David Shoemaker & Manuel Vargas - 2019 - Noûs:online.
    It is notable that all of the leading theories of blame have to employ ungainly fixes to deflect one or more apparent counterexamples. What these theories share is a content‐based theory of blame's nature. Such approaches overlook or ignore blame's core unifying feature, namely, its function, which is to signal the blamer's commitment to a set of norms. In this paper, we present the problems with the extant theories and then explain what signaling is, how it functions in blame, why (...)
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  5. Vigilance and Control.Samuel Murray & Manuel Vargas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):825-843.
    We sometimes fail unwittingly to do things that we ought to do. And we are, from time to time, culpable for these unwitting omissions. We provide an outline of a theory of responsibility for unwitting omissions. We emphasize two distinctive ideas: (i) many unwitting omissions can be understood as failures of appropriate vigilance, and; (ii) the sort of self-control implicated in these failures of appropriate vigilance is valuable. We argue that the norms that govern vigilance and the value of self-control (...)
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  6. The Trouble with Tracing.Manuel Vargas - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):269-290.
    Many prominent theories of moral responsibility rely on the notion of “tracing,” the idea that responsibility for an outcome can be located in (i.e., “traced back to”) some prior moment of control, perhaps significantly antecedent to the proximate sources of a considered action. In this article, I show how there is a problem for theories that rely on tracing. The problem is connected to the knowledge condition on moral responsibility. Many prima facie good candidate cases for tracing analyses appear to (...)
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  7. The Revisionist’s Guide to Responsibility.Manuel Vargas - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (3):399-429.
    Revisionism in the theory of moral responsibility is the idea that some aspect of responsibility practices, attitudes, or concept is in need of revision. While the increased frequency of revisionist language in the literature on free will and moral responsibility is striking, what discussion there has been of revisionism about responsibility and free will tends to be critical. In this paper, I argue that at least one species of revisionism, moderate revisionism, is considerably more sophisticated and defensible than critics have (...)
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  8. Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments.Manuel Vargas - forthcoming - In Tillman Vierkant, Julian Kiverstein & Andy Clark (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford Up.
    Many prominent accounts of free will and moral responsibility make use of the idea that agents can be responsive to reasons. Call such theories Reasons accounts. In what follows, I consider the tenability of Reasons accounts in light of situationist social psychology and, to a lesser extent, the automaticity literature. In the first half of this chapter, I argue that Reasons accounts are genuinely threatened by contemporary psychology. In the second half of the paper I consider whether such threats can (...)
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  9. Revisionism About Free Will: A Statement & Defense.Manuel Vargas - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (1):45-62.
    This article summarizes the moderate revisionist position I put forth in Four Views on Free Will and responds to objections to it from Robert Kane, John Martin Fischer, Derk Pereboom, and Michael McKenna. Among the principle topics of the article are (1) motivations for revisionism, what it is, and how it is different from compatibilism and hard incompatibilism, (2) an objection to the distinctiveness of semicompatibilism against conventional forms of compatibilism, and (3) whether moderate revisionism is committed to realism about (...)
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  10. Revisionism.Manuel Vargas - 2007 - In John Martin Fischer (ed.), Four Views on Free Will. Blackwell.
     
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  11. Responsibility and the Aims of Theory: Strawson and Revisionism.Manuel Vargas - 2004 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (2):218-241.
    In recent years, reflection on the relationship between individual moral responsibility and determinism has undergone a remarkable renaissance. Incompatibilists, those who believe moral responsibility is incompatible with determinism, have offered powerful new arguments in support of their views. Compatibilists, those who think moral responsibility is compatible with determinism, have responded with ingenious counterexamples and alternative accounts of responsibility. Despite the admirable elevation of complexity and subtlety within both camps, the trajectory of the literature is somewhat discouraging. Every dialectical stalemate between (...)
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  12. On the Importance of History for Responsible Agency.Manuel Vargas - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (3):351-382.
    In this article I propose a resolution to the history issue for responsible agency, given a moderate revisionist approach to responsibility. Roughly, moderate revisionism is the view that a plausible and normatively adequate theory of responsibility will require principled departures from commonsense thinking. The history issue is whether morally responsible agency – that is, whether an agent is an apt target of our responsibility-characteristic practices and attitudes – is an essentially historical notion. Some have maintained that responsible agents must have (...)
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  13.  56
    Reflectivism, Skepticism, and Values.Manuel R. Vargas - 2018 - Social Theory and Practice 44 (2):255-266.
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  14. Revisionism About Free Will: A Statement and Defense.Manuel Vargas - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (1):45-62.
    This article summarizes and extends the moderate revisionist position I put forth in Four Views on Free Will and responds to objections to it from Robert Kane, John Martin Fischer, Derk Pereboom, and Michael McKenna. Among the principle topics of the article are (1) motivations for revisionism, what it is, and how it is different from compatibilism and hard incompatibilism, (2) an objection to libertarianism based on the moral costs of its current epistemic status, (3) an objection to the distinctiveness (...)
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  15. Psychopaths and Moral Knowledge.Vargas Manuel & Nichols Shaun - 2007 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):157-162.
    Neil Levy (2007) argues that empirical data shows that psychopaths lack the moral knowledge required for moral responsibility. His account is intriguing, and it offers a promising way to think about the significance of psychopaths for work on moral responsibility. In what follows we focus on three lines of concern connected to Levy's account: his interpretation of the data, the scope of exculpation, and the significance of biological explanations for anti-social behavior.
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  16.  75
    Desert, Responsibility, and Justification: A Reply to Doris, McGeer, and Robinson.Manuel R. Vargas - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2659-2678.
    Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility argues that the normative basis of moral responsibility is anchored in the effects of responsibility practices. Further, the capacities required for moral responsibility are socially scaffolded. This article considers criticisms of this account that have been recently raised by John Doris, Victoria McGeer, and Michael Robinson. Robinson argues against Building Better Beings’s rejection of libertarianism about free will, and the account of desert at stake in the theory. considers methodological questions that arise (...)
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  17. Why the Luck Problem Isn't.Manuel Vargas - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):419-436.
    The Luck Problem has existed in one form or another since David Hume, at least. It is perhaps as old as Stoic objections to the Epicurean swerve. Although the general issue admits of different formulations with subtly different emphases, the characterization of it that will serve as my target focuses on “cross-worlds” luck, a kind of luck that arises when the decision-making of agents is indeterministic.
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  18.  3
    The Trouble with Tracing.Manuel Vargas - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):269-291.
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  19. Philosophy and the Folk: On Some Implications of Experimental Work For Philosophical Debates on Free Will.Manuel Vargas - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):239-254.
    I discuss experimental work by Nichols, and Nichols and Knobe, with respect to the philosophical problems of free will and moral responsibility. I mention some methodological concerns about the work, but focus principally on the philosophical implications of the work. The experimental results seem to show that in particular, concrete cases we are more willing to attribute responsibility than in cases described abstractly or in general terms. I argue that their results suggest a deep problem for traditional accounts of compatibilism, (...)
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  20. Libertarianism and Skepticism About Free Will: Some Arguments Against Both.Manuel Vargas - 2004 - Philosophical Topics 32 (1&2):403-26.
    In this paper I criticize libertarianism and skepticism about free will. The criticism of libertarianism takes some steps towards filling in an argument that is often mentioned but seldom developed in any detail, the argument that libertarianism is a scientifically implausible view. I say "take some steps" because I think the considerations I muster (at most) favor a less ambitious relative of that argument. The less ambitious claim I hope to motivate is that there is little reason to believe that (...)
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  21.  83
    Précis of Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Manuel R. Vargas - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2621-2623.
    The idea of moral responsibility is central to a wide range of our moral, social, and legal practices, and it underpins our basic notion of culpability. Yet the idea of moral responsibility is increasingly viewed with skepticism by researchers and scholars in psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and the law. Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility responds to these challenges, offering a new account of the justification of our practices and judgments of moral responsibility. Three distinctive ideas shape the account. (...)
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  22. How to Solve the Problem of Free Will.Manuel Vargas - 2013 - In Paul Russell & Oisin Deery (eds.), The Philosophy of Free Will: Essential Readings From the Contemporary Debates. Oup Usa. pp. 400.
    This paper outlines one way of thinking about the problem of free will, some general reasons for dissatisfactions with traditional approaches to solving it, and some considerations in favor of pursuing a broadly revisionist solution to it. If you are looking for a student-friendly introduction to revisionist theorizing about free will, this is probably the thing to look at.
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  23.  86
    Responsibility and the Limits of Conversation.Manuel R. Vargas - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):221-240.
    Both legal and moral theorists have offered broadly “communicative” theories of criminal and moral responsibility. According to such accounts, we can understand the nature of responsibility by appealing to the idea that responsibility practices are in some fundamental sense expressive, discursive, or communicative. In this essay, I consider a variety of issues in connections with this family of views, including its relationship to free will, the theory of exemptions, and potential alternatives to the communicative model. Focusing on Michael McKenna’s Conversation (...)
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  24. Revisionist Accounts of Free Will: Origins, Varieties, and Challenges.Manuel Vargas - 2011 - In Robert Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Free Will, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.
    The present chapter is concerned with revisionism about free will. It begins by offering a new characterization of revisionist accounts and the way such accounts fit (or do not) in the familiar framework of compatibilism and incompatibilism. It then traces some of the recent history of the development of revisionist accounts, and concludes by remarking on some challenges for them.
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  25. On the Value of Philosophy: The Latin American Case.Manuel Vargas - 2010 - Comparative Philosophy 1 (1):33-52.
    There is very little study of Latin American Philosophy in the English-speaking philosophical world. This can sometimes lead to the impression that there is nothing of philosophical worth in Latin American philosophy or its history. The present article offers some reasons for thinking that this impression is mistaken, and indeed, that we ought to have more study of Latin American philosophy than currently exists in the English-speaking philosophical world. In particular, the article argues for three things: (1) an account of (...)
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  26.  42
    Manipulation, Oppression, and the Deep Self.Manuel R. Vargas - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  27. Compatibilism Evolves?: On Some Varieties of Dennett Worth Wanting.Manuel Vargas - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (4):460-475.
    I examine the extent to which Dennett’s account in Freedom Evolves might be construed as revisionist about free will or should instead be understood as a more traditional kind of compatibilism. I also consider Dennett’s views about philosophical work on free agency and its relationship to scientific inquiry, and I argue that extant philosophical work is more relevant to scientific inquiry than Dennett’s remarks may suggest.
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  28.  16
    The Effect of Entropy on the Performance of Modified Genetic Algorithm Using Earthquake and Wind Time Series.Manuel Vargas, Guillermo Fuertes, Miguel Alfaro, Gustavo Gatica, Sebastian Gutierrez & María Peralta - 2018 - Complexity 2018:1-13.
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  29.  15
    Forecast of Chaotic Series in a Horizon Superior to the Inverse of the Maximum Lyapunov Exponent.Miguel Alfaro, Guillermo Fuertes, Manuel Vargas, Juan Sepúlveda & Matias Veloso-Poblete - 2018 - Complexity 2018:1-9.
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  30. Eurocentrism and the Philosophy of Liberation.Manuel Vargas - 2005 - APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues 4 (2):8-17.
    Proponents of the philosophy of liberation generally counsel that various forms of liberation in at least the Americas requires that we should fight Eurocentrism and resist the ontology and conceptual framework of Europe. However, most of the work done in this tradition relies heavily on the terminology and theoretical apparatus of various strands of European philosophy. The apparent disconnect between the aims and methods (or if you like, the theory and practice) has given rise to a criticism I call The (...)
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  31. Real Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, and Metametaphilosophy.Manuel Vargas - 2007 - CR 7 (3):51-78.
    This is an essay on philosophical methodology, the disciplinary prejudices of the Anglophone philosophical world, and how these things interact with some aspects of the content and form of Latin American philosophy to preclude the latter's integration with mainstream Anglophone philosophical work. Among the topics discussed of interest to analytic philosophers: metaphilosophy, the status hierarchy of philosophical subfields, experimental philosophy, and patterns of openness and exclusion in philosophy. Among the topics of interest to philosophers interested in Latin American philosophy and (...)
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  32. Are Psychopathic Serial Killers Evil? Are They Blameworthy for What They Do?Manuel Vargas - 2010 - In Sarah Waller (ed.), Serial Killers and Philosophy. Blackwell.
    At least some serial killers are psychopathic serial killers. Psychopathic serial killers raise interesting questions about the nature of evil and moral responsibility. On the one hand, serial killers seem to be obviously evil, if anything is. On the other hand, psychopathy is a diagnosable disorder that, among other things, involves a diminished ability to understand and use basic moral distinctions. This feature of psychopathy suggests that psychopathic serial killers have at least diminished responsibility for what they do. In this (...)
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  33. The Revisionist Turn: A Brief History of Recent Work on Free Will.Manuel Vargas - 2010 - In Jesus Aguilar, Andrei Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave.
    I’ve been told that in the good old days of the 1970s, when Quine’s desert landscapes were regarded as ideal real estate and David Lewis and John Rawls had not yet left a legion of influential students rewriting the terrain of metaphysics and ethics respectively, compatibilism was still compatibilism about free will. And, of course, incompatibilism was still incompatibilism about free will. That is, compatibilism was the view that free will was compatible with determinism. Incompatibilism was the view that free (...)
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  34. Taking the Highway on Skepticism, Luck, and the Value of Responsibility.Manuel Vargas - 2009 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2):249-265.
    I consider some themes and issues arising in recent work on moral responsibility, focusing on three recent books —Carlos Moya's Moral Responsibility, Al Mele's Free Will and Luck, and John Martin Fischer's My Way. I argue that these texts collectively suggest some difficulties with the way in which many issues are currently framed in the free will debates, including disputes about what constitutes compatibilism and incompatibilism and the relevance of intuitions and ordinary language for describing the metaphysics of free will (...)
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  35.  33
    Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman.Manuel Vargas & Gideon Yaffe (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Michael Bratman's work has been unusually influential, with significance in disciplines as diverse as philosophy, computer science, law, and primatology.The essays in this volume engage with ideas and themes prominent in Bratman's work. The volume also includes a lengthy reply by Bratman that breaks new ground and deepens our understanding of the nature of action.
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  36. Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Susan Blackmore, Thomas W. Clark, Mark Hallett, John-Dylan Haynes, Ted Honderich, Neil Levy, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Shaun Nichols, Michael Pauen, Derk Pereboom, Susan Pockett, Maureen Sie, Saul Smilansky, Galen Strawson, Daniela Goya Tocchetto, Manuel Vargas, Benjamin Vilhauer & Bruce Waller - 2013 - Lexington Books.
    Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility is an edited collection of new essays by an internationally recognized line-up of contributors. It is aimed at readers who wish to explore the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications.
     
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  37. How to Be Fair to Psychopaths.Shaun Nichols & Manuel Vargas - 2007 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):153-155.
    Consider the following claim: “If an agent comes to be bad through a process that entirely bypasses her ability to appreciate and to respond to reasons, including moral reasons, she is not a responsible agent at all” (Levy 2007). Psychopathy is a wonderful example here, since there’s reason to think it has a strong genetic component. But why should we accept this claim that we have to absolve those who are born irrevocably bad?
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  38. Reasons and Real Selves.Manuel Vargas - 2009 - Ideas Y Valores 58 (141):67-84.
    connection to the action, or alternately, the idea that an agent must be in some sense responsive to reasons.1 Indeed, we might even understand much of the past couple of decades of philosophical work on moral responsibility as concerned with investigating which of these two approaches offers the most viable account of moral responsibility. Here, I wish to revisit an idea basic to all of this work. That is, I consider whether there is even a fundamental distinction between these approaches. (...)
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  39.  89
    Responsibility in a World of Causes.Manuel Vargas - 2010 - Philosophic Exchange 40 (1):56-78.
    There is a familiar chain of reasoning that goes something like this: if everything is caused, no one is free, and thus, no one can be morally responsible. Reasoning like this has made scientific explanations of human behavior (e.g., biology, psychology, and neuroscience) threatening to familiar ideas of responsibility, blameworthiness, and merit. Rather than directly attacking the chain of reasoning that gives rise to these worries, I explore an alternative approach, one that begins by considering the "use" of moral responsibility. (...)
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  40.  8
    Libertarianism and Skepticism About Free Will: Some Arguments Against Both.Manuel Vargas - 2004 - Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2):403-426.
  41.  83
    Practical Reason, Instrumental Irrationality, and Time.Manuel Vargas - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 126 (2):241-252.
    Standard models of practical rationality face a puzzle that has gone unnoticed: given a modest assumption about the nature of deliberation, we are apparently frequently briefly irrational. In what follows, I explain the problem, consider what is wrong with several possible solutions, and propose an account that does not generate the objectionable result.
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  42.  14
    Culture and the Value of Philosophy: The Latin American Case.Manuel Vargas - 2010 - Comparative Philosophy 1 (1):33-52.
  43. Response to Kane, Fischer, and Pereboom.Manuel Vargas - 2007 - In John Martin Fischer (ed.), Four Views on Free Will. Blackwell.
  44.  21
    Lessons From the Philosophy of Race in Mexico.Manuel Vargas - 2000 - Philosophy Today 44 (9999):18-29.
    The precise conceptions of race de­ployed by Mexican philosophers in the first half of the twentieth century have often been poorly understood. Consequently, the specifi­cally racial components in their work have been frequently dismissed on the grounds that they were unscientific, irresponsible, and/or sloppy. I hope to show that with a sufficiently rich understanding of at least the seminal works many of these criticisms can be blunted.
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  45. The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology.Manuel Vargas & John M. Doris (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
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  46.  66
    Can Neuroscience Show That Free Will Does Not Exist?Manuel Vargas - 2014 - The Philosophers' Magazine 64:46-53.
  47.  12
    Can Neuroscience Show That Free Will Does Not Exist?Manuel Vargas - 2014 - The Philosophers' Magazine 64:46-53.
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  48.  31
    Contested Terms and Philosophical Debates.Manuel Vargas - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (10):2499-2510.
    There are two standard theoretical responses to putative errors in ordinary thinking about some given target property: eliminativism or revisionism. Roughly, eliminativism is the denial that the target property exists, and revisionism is the view that the property exists, but that people tend to have false beliefs about it. Recently, Shaun Nichols has proposed a third option: discretionism. Discretionism is the idea that some terms have multiple reference conventions, so that it may be true to say with eliminativists that the (...)
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  49.  72
    Dead Serious: Evil and the Ontology of the Undead.Manuel Vargas - 2006 - In Richard Greene & K. Silem Mohammed (eds.), The Undead and Philosophy. Open Court.
    I don’t know whether undead beings exist. I also think it is an open question whether anyone is evil in, say, the way bad guys are depicted in supernatural horror films and serial killer movies. I do think it’s nevertheless puzzling that the undead are frequently portrayed as evil in that way. I’m inclined to think that if we were to stumble across any undead they would be less likely to be evil than any random live person we stumble across. (...)
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  50. Even Better Than the Real Thing: Revisionism and Responsibility.Manuel Rogelio Vargas - 2001 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    This is a dissertation about moral responsibility, whether we have it in the sense we ordinarily suppose, and what alternatives are available to us given that we lack it. ;The dissertation comes in two main parts. The first part defends a particular kind of error theory about the folk concept of moral responsibility. That is, given a roughly scientific picture of the world, it is likely that our commonsense beliefs about responsible agency are systematically mistaken. The second part of the (...)
     
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