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Profile: Marcus Arvan
  1. A New Theory of Free Will.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Philosophical Forum 44 (1):1-48.
    This paper shows that several live philosophical and scientific hypotheses – including the holographic principle and multiverse theory in quantum physics, and eternalism and mind-body dualism in philosophy – jointly imply an audacious new theory of free will. This new theory, "Libertarian Compatibilism", holds that the physical world is an eternally existing array of two-dimensional information – a vast number of possible pasts, presents, and futures – and the mind a nonphysical entity or set of properties that "read" that physical (...)
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  2. The Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis and a New Theory of Free Will.Marcus Arvan - 2015 - Scientia Salon.
  3. Bad News for Conservatives? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Correlational Study.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (2):307-318.
    This study examined correlations between moral value judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey (MIS), and participant scores on the Short-D3 “Dark Triad” Personality Inventory—a measure of three related “dark and socially destructive” personality traits: Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy. Five hundred sixty-seven participants (302 male, 257 female, 2 transgendered; median age 28) were recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk and Yale Experiment Month web advertisements. Different responses to MIS items were initially hypothesized to be “conservative” or “liberal” in line with (...)
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  4. “A Lot More Bad News for Conservatives, and a Little Bit of Bad News for Liberals? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Follow-Up Study”.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (1):51-64.
    In a recent study appearing in Neuroethics, I reported observing 11 significant correlations between the “Dark Triad” personality traits – Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy – and “conservative” judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey. Surprisingly, I observed no significant correlations between the Dark Triad and “liberal” judgments. In order to determine whether these results were an artifact of the particular issues I selected, I ran a follow-up study testing the Dark Triad against conservative and liberal judgments on 15 additional moral (...)
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  5. First Steps Toward a Nonideal Theory of Justice.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Ethics and Global Politics 7 (3):95-117.
    Theorists have long debated whether John Rawls’ conception of justice as fairness can be extended to nonideal (i.e. unjust) social and political conditions, and if so, what the proper way of extending it is. This paper argues that in order to properly extend justice as fairness to nonideal conditions, Rawls’ most famous innovation – the original position – must be reconceived in the form of a “nonideal original position.” I begin by providing a new analysis of the ideal/nonideal theory distinction (...)
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  6. A Unified Explanation of Quantum Phenomena? The Case for the Peer‐to‐Peer Simulation Hypothesis as an Interdisciplinary Research Program.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Philosophical Forum 45 (4):433-446.
    In my 2013 article, “A New Theory of Free Will”, I argued that several serious hypotheses in philosophy and modern physics jointly entail that our reality is structurally identical to a peer-to-peer (P2P) networked computer simulation. The present paper outlines how quantum phenomena emerge naturally from the computational structure of a P2P simulation. §1 explains the P2P Hypothesis. §2 then sketches how the structure of any P2P simulation realizes quantum superposition and wave-function collapse (§2.1.), quantum indeterminacy (§2.2.), wave-particle duality (§2.3.), (...)
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  7.  97
    Errata - Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory.Marcus Arvan - manuscript
  8. How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences.Marcus Arvan - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1199-1218.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can't expect when you're expecting,” L. A. Paul challenges culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that because major life-decisions are transformative, the only rational way to approach them is to become resilient people: people who do not “over-plan” their lives or expect their lives to play out “according to plan”—people who understand that beyond (...)
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  9. Unifying the Categorical Imperative.Marcus Arvan - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):217-225.
    This paper demonstrates something that Kant notoriously claimed to be possible, but which Kant scholars today widely believe to be impossible: unification of all three formulations of the Categorical Imperative. Part 1 of this paper tells a broad-brush story of how I understand Kant’s theory of practical reason and morality, showing how the three formulations of the Categorical Imperative appear to me to be unified. Part 2 then provides clear textual support for each premise in the argument for my interpretation.
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  10. Why Hobbes Cannot Limit the Leviathan: A Critical Commentary on Larry May's Limiting Leviathan.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Hobbes Studies 27 (2):171-177.
    This commentary contends that Larry May’s Hobbesian argument for limitations on sovereignty and lawmaking in Limiting Leviathan does not succeed. First, I show that Hobbes begins with a plausible instrumental theory of normativity. Second, I show that Hobbes then attempts, unsuccessfully—by his own lights—to defend a kind of non-instrumental, moral normativity. Thus, I contend, in order to successfully “limit the Leviathan” of the state, the Hobbesian must provide a sound instrumental argument in favor of the sovereign limiting their actions and (...)
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  11.  59
    A Refutation of the Lewis-Stalnaker Analysis of Counterfactuals.Marcus Arvan - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (1):109-129.
    The standard philosophical analysis of counterfactual conditionals—the Lewis-Stalnaker analysis—analyzes the truth-conditions of counterfactuals in terms of nearby possible worlds. This paper demonstrates that this analysis is false. §1 shows that it is a serious epistemic and metaphysical possibility that our “world” is a massive computer simulation, and that if the Lewis-Stalnaker analysis of counterfactuals is correct, then it should extend seamlessly to the case that our world is a computer simulation, in the form of a possible-simulation semantics. §2 then shows, (...)
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  12. Reconceptualizing Human Rights.Marcus Arvan - 2012 - Journal of Global Ethics 8 (1):91-105.
    This paper defends several highly revisionary theses about human rights. Section 1 shows that the phrase 'human rights' refers to two distinct types of moral claims. Sections 2 and 3 argue that several longstanding problems in human rights theory and practice can be solved if, and only if, the concept of a human right is replaced by two more exact concepts: (A) International human rights, which are moral claims sufficient to warrant coercive domestic and international social protection; and (B) Domestic (...)
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  13. A Better, Dual Theory of Human Rights.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Philosophical Forum 45 (1):17-47.
    Human rights theory and practice have long been stuck in a rut. Although disagreement is the norm in philosophy and social-political practice, the sheer depth and breadth of disagreement about human rights is truly unusual. Human rights theorists and practitioners disagree – wildly in many cases – over just about every issue: what human rights are, what they are for, how many of them there are, how they are justified, what human interests or capacities they are supposed to protect, what (...)
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  14. Groundwork for a New Moral Epistemology.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Klesis 27:155-190.
    This paper argues that virtue ethics and prevailing epistemic norms in moral and political philosophy more generally both support a new kind of empirically-informed moral-virtue epistemology, or “experimental ethics” – an epistemology according to which disputed normative premises in moral and political philosophy should be epistemically evaluated on the basis of empirically-observed relationships they bear to morally admirable and morally repugnant psycho-behavioral traits, as defined by cross-cultural, cross-historical, and cross-debate agreement on the moral valence of particular traits and behaviors.
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  15. In Defense of Discretionary Association Theories of Political Legitimacy: Reply to Buchanan.Marcus Arvan - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Allen Buchanan has argued that a widely defended view of the nature of the state – the view that the state is a discretionary association for the mutual advantage of its members – must be rejected because it cannot adequately account for moral requirements of humanitarian intervention. This paper argues that Buchanan’s objection is unsuccessful,and moreover, that discretionary association theories can preserve an important distinction that Buchanan’s alternative approach to political legitimacy cannot: the distinction between “internal” legitimacy (a state’s ability (...)
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  16.  55
    Transformative Experience, by L.A. Paul. [REVIEW]Marcus Arvan - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):832-835.
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  17. People Do Not Have a Duty to Avoid Voting Badly: Reply to Brennan.Marcus Arvan - 2011 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Jason Brennan argues that people are morally obligated not to vote badly, where voting badly is voting “without sufficient reason” for harmful or unjust policies or candidates. His argument is: (1) One has an obligation not to engage in collectively harmful activities when refraining from such activities does not impose significant personal costs. (2) Voting badly is to engage in a collectively harmful activity, while abstaining imposes low personal costs. (3) Therefore, one should not vote badly. This paper shows that (...)
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  18. Justice as Fairness in a Broken World.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 4 (2):95-126.
    In Ethics for a Broken World : Imagining Philosophy after Catastrophe, Tim Mulgan applies a number of influential moral and political theories to a “broken world ”: a world of environmental catastrophe in which resources are insufficient to meet everyone’s basic needs. This paper shows that John Rawls’ conception of justice as fairness has very different implications for a broken world than Mulgan suggests it does. §1 briefly summarizes Rawls’ conception of justice, including how Rawls uses a hypothetical model – (...)
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  19.  7
    Experimental Philosophy and the Fate of the Philosopher’s Armchair. [REVIEW]Marcus Arvan - 2017 - Metascience 26 (1):95-8.
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  20.  3
    The Rationality of Voting and Duties of Elected Officials.Marcus Arvan - forthcoming - In Emily Crookston, David Killoren & Jonathan Trerise (eds.), Ethics in Politics: The Rights and Obligations of Individual Political Agents. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 239-253.
    In his recent article in Philosophy and Public Affairs, 'The Paradox of Voting and Ethics of Political Representation', Alexander A. Guerrero argues it is rational to vote because each voter should want candidates they support to have the strongest public mandate possible if elected to office, and because every vote contributes to that mandate. The present paper argues that two of Guerrero's premises require correction, and that when those premises are corrected several provocative but compelling conclusions follow about the rationality (...)
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  21.  20
    Human Rights, 2nd Edition.Marcus Arvan - 2012 - Teaching Philosophy 35 (1):83-86.
  22.  13
    Messy Morality: The Challenge of Politics, by C.A.J. Coady. [REVIEW]Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):204-207.
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  23.  7
    Recognition of Reviewers.Anita Allen, Andrew Altman, Erik A. Anderson, David Archard, Faith Armitage, Gustaf Arrhenius, Marcus Arvan, Michael Bacon, Daniel Bar-Tal & Paul Benson - 2010 - Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (4):399-402.
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    Recognition of Reviewers.Katy Abramson, Elizabeth S. Anderson, Erik A. Anderson, Chris Armstrong, Barbara Arneil, Richard Arneson, Gustaf Arrhenius, Marcus Arvan, Elizabeth Ashford & Michael Bacon - 2013 - Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (4):309-312.
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  25.  5
    Recognition of Reviewers.Anita Allen, Elizabeth S. Anderson, Erik A. Anderson, David Archard, Marcus Arvan, Linda Barclay, Marcia Baron, Daniel Bar-Tal, Debra Bergoffen & Alyssa Bernstein - 2011 - Journal of Social Philosophy 42 (4):341-345.
  26.  5
    Recognition of Reviewers.Lucy Allais, Anita Allen, Andrew Altman, Elizabeth S. Anderson, Erik A. Anderson, David Archard, Faith Armitage, Barbara Arneil, Gustaf Arrhenius & Marcus Arvan - 2012 - Journal of Social Philosophy 43 (4):363-366.
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  27.  68
    A Nonideal Theory of Justice.Marcus Arvan - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Arizona
    This dissertation defends a “non-ideal theory” of justice: a systematic theory of how to respond justly to injustice. Chapter 1 argues that contemporary political philosophy lacks a non-ideal theory of justice, and defends a variation of John Rawls’ famous original position – the Non-Ideal Original Position – as a method with which to construct such a theory. Finally, Chapter 1 uses the Non-Ideal Original Position to argue for a Fundamental Principle of Non-Ideal Theory: a principle that requires injustices to be (...)
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  28. Out with Qualia and in with Consciousness: Why the Hard Problem is a Myth.Marcus Arvan - 1998 - Dissertation, Tufts Honours Thesis
    The subjective features of conscious mental processes--as opposed to their physical causes and effects--cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with the physical world that underlies appearances.".
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  29. Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory.Marcus Arvan - 2016 - Palgrave MacMillan.
    This book argues that moral philosophy should be based on seven scientific principles of theory selection. It then argues that a new moral theory—Rightness as Fairness—satisfies those principles more successfully than existing theories. Chapter 1 explicates the seven principles of theory-selection, arguing that moral philosophy must conform them to be truth-apt. Chapter 2 argues those principles jointly support founding moral philosophy in known facts of empirical moral psychology: specifically, our capacities for mental time-travel and modal imagination. Chapter 2 then shows (...)
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