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Profile: Moti Mizrahi (Florida Institute of Technology)
  1. What’s so Bad About Scientism?Moti Mizrahi - forthcoming - Social Epistemology:1-17.
    In their attempt to defend philosophy from accusations of uselessness made by prominent scientists, such as Stephen Hawking, some philosophers respond with the charge of “scientism.” This charge makes endorsing a scientistic stance a mistake by definition. For this reason, it begs the question against these critics of philosophy, or anyone who is inclined to endorse a scientistic stance, and turns the scientism debate into a verbal dispute. In this paper, I propose a different definition of scientism, and thus a (...)
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  2. Skeptheism: Is Knowledge of God’s Existence Possible?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (1):41--64.
    In this paper, I sketch an argument for the view that we cannot know (or have good reasons to believe) that God exists. Some call this view “strong agnosticism” but I prefer the term “skeptheism” in order to clearly distinguish between two distinct epistemic attitudes with respect to the existence of God, namely, agnosticism and skepticism. For the skeptheist, we cannot know (or have good reasons to believe) that God exists, since there can be neither conceptual (a priori) nor empirical (...)
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  3. Idealizations and Scientific Understanding.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.
    In this paper, I propose that the debate in epistemology concerning the nature and value of understanding can shed light on the role of scientific idealizations in producing scientific understanding. In philosophy of science, the received view seems to be that understanding is a species of knowledge. On this view, understanding is factive just as knowledge is, i.e., if S knows that p, then p is true. Epistemologists, however, distinguish between different kinds of understanding. Among epistemologists, there are those who (...)
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  4. The Problem of Natural Inequality: A New Problem of Evil.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (1):127-136.
    In this paper, I argue that there is a kind of evil, namely, the unequal distribution of natural endowments, or natural inequality, which presents theists with a new evidential problem of evil. The problem of natural inequality is a new evidential problem of evil not only because, to the best of my knowledge, it has not yet been discussed in the literature, but also because available theodicies, such the free will defense and the soul-making defense, are not adequate responses in (...)
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  5. Why Gettier Cases Are Misleading.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Logos and Episteme 7 (1):31-44.
    In this paper, I argue that, as far as Gettier cases are concerned, appearances are deceiving. That is, Gettier cases merely appear to be cases of epistemic failure (i.e., failing to know that p) but are in fact cases of semantic failure (i.e., failing to refer to x). Gettier cases are cases of reference failure because the candidates for knowledge in these cases contain ambiguous designators. If this is correct, then we may simply be mistaking semantic facts for epistemic facts (...)
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  6. Why Be an Intellectually Humble Philosopher?Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Axiomathes 26 (2):205-218.
    In this paper, I sketch an answer to the question “Why be an intellectually humble philosopher?” I argue that, as far as philosophical argumentation is concerned, the historical record of Western Philosophy provides a straightforward answer to this question. That is, the historical record of philosophical argumentation, which is a track record that is marked by an abundance of alternative theories and serious problems for those theories, can teach us important lessons about the limits of philosophical argumentation. These lessons, in (...)
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  7. Why Hypothetical Syllogism is Invalid for Indicative Conditionals.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):40-43.
    In this article, I present a schema for generating counterexamples to the argument form known as Hypothetical Syllogism with indicative conditionals. If my schema for generating counterexamples to HS works as I think it does, then HS is invalid for indicative conditionals.
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  8.  28
    The History of Science as a Graveyard of Theories: A Philosophers’ Myth?Moti Mizrahi - forthcoming - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    According to the antirealist argument known as the pessimistic induction, the history of science is a graveyard of dead scientific theories and abandoned theoretical posits. Support for this pessimistic picture of the history of science usually comes from a few case histories, such as the demise of the phlogiston theory and the abandonment of caloric as the substance of heat. In this article, I wish to take a new approach to examining the ‘history of science as a graveyard of theories’ (...)
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  9. New Puzzles About Divine Attributes.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (2):147-157.
    According to traditional Western theism, God is maximally great (or perfect). More explicitly, God is said to have the following divine attributes: omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence. In this paper, I present three puzzles about this conception of a maximally great (or perfect) being. The first puzzle about omniscience shows that this divine attribute is incoherent. The second puzzle about omnibenevolence and omnipotence shows that these divine attributes are logically incompatible. The third puzzle about perfect rationality and omnipotence shows that these (...)
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  10. The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226.
    In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then (...)
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  11. Why Simpler Arguments Are Better.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Argumentation 30 (3):247-261.
    In this paper, I argue that, other things being equal, simpler arguments are better. In other words, I argue that, other things being equal, it is rational to prefer simpler arguments over less simple ones. I sketch three arguments in support of this claim: an argument from mathematical proofs, an argument from scientific theories, and an argument from the conjunction rule.
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  12. ‘Ought’ Does Not Imply ‘Can’.Moti Mizrahi - 2009 - Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):19-35.
    According to the Ought-Implies-Can principle (OIC), an agent ought to perform a certain action only if the agent can perform that action. Proponents of OIC interpret this supposed implication in several ways. Some argue that the implication in question is a logical one, namely, entailment. Some think that the relation between ‘ought’ and ‘can’ is a relation of presupposition. Still others argue that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. Opponents of OIC offer a variety of counterexamples in an attempt to show that (...)
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  13.  19
    Intuition Talk is Not Methodologically Cheap: Empirically Testing the “Received Wisdom” About Armchair Philosophy.Zoe Ashton & Moti Mizrahi - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    The “received wisdom” in contemporary analytic philosophy is that intuition talk is a fairly recent phenomenon, dating back to the 1960s. In this paper, we set out to test two interpretations of this “received wisdom.” The first is that intuition talk is just talk, without any methodological significance. The second is that intuition talk is methodologically significant; it shows that analytic philosophers appeal to intuition. We present empirical and contextual evidence, systematically mined from the JSTOR corpus and HathiTrust’s Digital Library, (...)
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  14.  63
    Transcendental Arguments, Conceivability, and Global Vs. Local Skepticism.Moti Mizrahi - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-15.
    In this paper, I argue that, if transcendental arguments are to proceed from premises that are acceptable to the skeptic, the Transcendental Premise, according to which “X is a metaphysically necessary condition for the possibility of Y,” must be grounded in considerations of conceivability and possibility. More explicitly, the Transcendental Premise is based on what Szabó Gendler and Hawthorne (2002, p. 2) call the “conceivability-possibility (or inconceivability-impossibility) move.” This “inconceivability-impossibility” move, however, is a problematic argumentative move when advancing transcendental arguments (...)
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  15. Intuition Mongering.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - The Reasoner 6 (11):169-170.
    In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are strong arguments just in case there is an agreement among the relevant philosophers concerning the intuition in question. Otherwise, appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
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  16. Three Arguments Against the Expertise Defense.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (1):52-64.
    Experimental philosophers have challenged friends of the expertise defense to show that the intuitive judgments of professional philosophers are different from the intuitive judgments of nonphilosophers, and the intuitive judgments of professional philosophers are better than the intuitive judgments of nonphilosophers, in ways that are relevant to the truth or falsity of such judgments. Friends of the expertise defense have responded by arguing that the burden of proof lies with experimental philosophers. This article sketches three arguments which show that both (...)
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  17. What is Scientific Progress? Lessons From Scientific Practice.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (2):375-390.
    Alexander Bird argues for an epistemic account of scientific progress, whereas Darrell Rowbottom argues for a semantic account. Both appeal to intuitions about hypothetical cases in support of their accounts. Since the methodological significance of such appeals to intuition is unclear, I think that a new approach might be fruitful at this stage in the debate. So I propose to abandon appeals to intuition and look at scientific practice instead. I discuss two cases that illustrate the way in which scientists (...)
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  18. Don't Believe the Hype: Why Should Philosophical Theories Yield to Intuitions?Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):141-158.
    In this paper, I argue that, contrary to common opinion, a counterexample against a philosophical theory does not amount to conclusive evidence against that theory. Instead, the method of counterexamples allows for the derivation of a disjunction, i.e., ‘either the theory is false or an auxiliary assumption is false’, not a negation of the target theory. This is so because, whenever the method of counterexamples is used in an attempt to refute a philosophical theory, there is a crucial auxiliary assumption (...)
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  19. Does Conceivability Entail Metaphysical Possibility?Moti Mizrahi & David R. Morrow - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):1-13.
    In this paper, we argue that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’, which is the view that ideal primary positive conceivability entails primary metaphysical possibility, is self-defeating. To this end, we outline two reductio arguments against ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’. The first reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that conceivability both is and is not conclusive evidence for possibility. The second reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that it is possible (...)
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  20. More Intuition Mongering.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - The Reasoner 7 (1):5-6.
    In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are weak arguments because intellectual intuition is an unreliable belief-forming process, since it yields incompatible verdicts in response to the same cases, and since the inference from 'It seems to S that p' to 'p' is unreliable. Since the reliability of intellectual intuition is a necessary condition for strong appeals to intuition, it follows that appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
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  21. Does ‘Ought’ Imply ‘Can’ From an Epistemic Point of View?Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):829-840.
    In this paper, I argue that the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle, as it is employed in epistemology, particularly in the literature on epistemic norms, is open to counterexamples. I present a counterexample to OIC and discuss several objections to it. If this counterexample works, then it shows that it is possible that S ought to believe that p, even though S cannot believe that p. If this is correct, then OIC, considered from an epistemic point of view, is false, (...)
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  22. Historical Inductions: New Cherries, Same Old Cherry-Picking.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (2):129-148.
    In this article, I argue that arguments from the history of science against scientific realism, like the arguments advanced by P. Kyle Stanford and Peter Vickers, are fallacious. The so-called Old Induction, like Vickers's, and New Induction, like Stanford's, are both guilty of confirmation bias—specifically, of cherry-picking evidence that allegedly challenges scientific realism while ignoring evidence to the contrary. I also show that the historical episodes that Stanford adduces in support of his New Induction are indeterminate between a pessimistic and (...)
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  23. Does the Method of Cases Rest on a Mistake?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):183-197.
    In this paper, I argue that the method of cases (namely, the method of using intuitive judgments elicited by intuition pumps as evidence for and/or against philosophical theories) is not a reliable method of generating evidence for and/or against philosophical theories. In other words, the method of cases is unlikely to generate accurate judgments more often than not. This is so because, if perception and intuition are analogous in epistemically relevant respects, then using intuition pumps to elicit intuitive judgments is (...)
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  24. The Problem of Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Argumentation 28 (4):425-436.
    In this paper, I argue that, just as the problem of unconceived alternatives provides a basis for a New Induction on the History of Science to the effect that a realist view of science is unwarranted, the problem of unconceived objections provides a basis for a New Induction on the History of Philosophy to the effect that a realist view of philosophy is unwarranted. I raise this problem not only for skepticism’s sake but also for the sake of making a (...)
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  25. Why the Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism Ultimately Fails.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):132-138.
    In this paper, I argue that the ultimate argument for Scientific Realism, also known as the No-Miracles Argument (NMA), ultimately fails as an abductive defence of Epistemic Scientific Realism (ESR), where (ESR) is the thesis that successful theories of mature sciences are approximately true. The NMA is supposed to be an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) that purports to explain the success of science. However, the explanation offered as the best explanation for success, namely (ESR), fails to yield independently (...)
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  26. Phenomenal Conservatism, Justification, and Self-Defeat.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Logos and Episteme 5 (1):103-110.
    In this paper, I argue that Phenomenal Conservatism (PC) is not superior to alternative theories of basic propositional justification insofar as those theories that reject PC are self-defeating. I show that self-defeat arguments similar to Michael Huemer’s Self-Defeat Argument for PC can be constructed for other theories of basic propositional justification as well. If this is correct, then there is nothing special about PC in that respect. In other words, if self-defeat arguments can be advanced in support of alternatives to (...)
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  27. A Theory of Argumentation. [REVIEW]Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Metascience 24 (3):503-506.
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  28. Ought, Can, and Presupposition: An Experimental Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):232-243.
    In this paper, I present the results of an experimental study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Many philosophers accept as an axiom the principle known as “Ought Implies Can” (OIC). If the truth of OIC is intuitive, such that it is accepted by many philosophers as an axiom, then we would expect people to judge that agents who are unable to perform an action are not morally obligated to perform that action. The results of my experimental (...)
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  29. Essentialism: Metaphysical or Psychological?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (40):65-72.
    In this paper, I argue that Psychological Essentialism (PE), the view that essences are a heuristic or mental shortcut, is a better explanation for modal intuitions than Metaphysical Essentialism (ME), the view that objects have essences, or more precisely, that (at least some) objects have (at least some) essential properties. If this is correct, then the mere fact that we have modal intuitions is not a strong reason to believe that objects have essential properties.
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  30. The Role of Justification in the Ordinary Concept of Scientific Progress.Moti Mizrahi & Wesley Buckwalter - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):151-166.
    Alexander Bird and Darrell Rowbottom have argued for two competing accounts of the concept of scientific progress. For Bird, progress consists in the accumulation of scientific knowledge. For Rowbottom, progress consists in the accumulation of true scientific beliefs. Both appeal to intuitions elicited by thought experiments in support of their views, and it seems fair to say that the debate has reached an impasse. In an attempt to avoid this stalemate, we conduct a systematic study of the factors that underlie (...)
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  31.  95
    On Appeals to Intuition: A Reply to Muñoz-Suárez.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - The Reasoner 9 (2):12-13.
    I reply to Muñoz-Suárez's objection to my argument by analogy with appeals to authority for the following necessary, but not sufficient, condition for strong appeals to intuition: (PAI) When philosophers appeal to intuitions, there must be an agreement among the relevant philosophers concerning the intuition in question; otherwise, the appeal to intuition is weak.
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  32.  46
    Why Arguments From Expert Opinion Are Still Weak: A Reply to Seidel.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Informal Logic 36 (2):238-252.
    In this paper, I reply to Seidel’s objections against my argument from expert performance to the effect that arguments from expert opinion are weak arguments. I clarify what Seidel takes to be unclear points in my argument and show that it withstands Seidel’s objections.
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  33. Why the Argument From Zombies Against Physicalism is Question-Begging.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - The Reasoner 7 (8):94-95.
    I argue that the argument from zombies against physicalism is question-begging unless proponents of the argument from zombies can justify the inference from the metaphysical possibility of zombies to the falsity of physicalism in an independent and non-circular way, i.e., a way that does not already assume the falsity of physicalism.
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  34. An Argument for External World Skepticism From the Appearance/Reality Distinction.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (4):368-383.
    _ Source: _Page Count 16 In this paper, I argue that arguments from skeptical hypotheses for external world skepticism derive their support from a skeptical argument from the distinction between appearance and reality. This skeptical argument from the appearance/reality distinction gives the external world skeptic her conclusion without appealing to skeptical hypotheses and without assuming that knowledge is closed under known entailments. If this is correct, then this skeptical argument from the appearance/reality distinction poses a new skeptical challenge that cannot (...)
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  35. On Proving Too Much.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (3):353-358.
    It is quite common to object to an argument by saying that it “proves too much.” In this paper, I argue that the “proving too much” charge can be understood in at least three different ways. I explain these three interpretations of the “proving too much” charge. I urge anyone who is inclined to level the “proving too much” charge against an argument to think about which interpretation of that charge one has in mind.
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  36. A Reply to James Marcum’s “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis?”.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (11):21-24.
    I reply to James Marcum’s “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis? A Response to Mizrahi and Patton”.
     
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  37. The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Simulation Hypothesis.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Think 46 (16).
    In this paper, I propose that, in addition to the multiverse hypothesis, which is commonly taken to be an alternative explanation for fine-tuning, other than the design hypothesis, the simulation hypothesis is another explanation for fine-tuning. I then argue that the simulation hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘designer’ and ‘supernatural designer of immense power and knowledge’ in much the same way that the multiverse hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘fine-tuning’ and ‘fine-tuner’ (or ‘designer’). If this is (...)
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  38. Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):604-616.
    In this paper, I argue that Constructive Empiricism (CE) is ambiguous between two interpretations: CE as a normative epistemology of science and CE as a descriptive philosophy of science. When they present CE, constructive empiricists write as if CE is supposed to be more than a normative epistemology of science and that it is meant to be responsible to actual scientific practices. However, when they respond to objections, constructive empiricists fall back on a strictly normative interpretation of CE. This ambiguity (...)
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  39. Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):59-68.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Stanford’s “New Induction” on the History of Science, which is an inductive argument against scientific realism that is based on what Stanford (2006) calls “the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives” (PUA). From the supposition that Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science is cogent, and the parallel New Induction on the History of Philosophy (Mizrahi 2014), it follows that scientific antirealism is not worthy of belief. I also show that denying a key (...)
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  40. Phenomenal Conservatism and Self-Defeat Arguments: A Reply to Huemer.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Logos and Episteme 5 (3):343-350.
    In this paper, I respond to Michael Huemer’s reply to my objection against Phenomenal Conservatism (PC). I have argued that Huemer’s Self-defeat Argument for PC does not favor PC over competing theories of basic propositional justification, since analogous self-defeat arguments can be constructed for competing theories. Huemer responds that such analogous self-defeat arguments are unsound. In this paper, I argue that Huemer’s reply does not save his Self-defeat Argument for PC from my original objection.
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  41. The Argument From Underconsideration and Relative Realism.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):393-407.
    In this article, through a critical examination of K. Brad Wray's version of the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism, I articulate a modest version of scientific realism. This modest realist position, which I call ‘relative realism’, preserves the scientific realist's optimism about science's ability to get closer to the truth while, at the same time, taking on board the antirealist's premise that theory evaluation is comparative, and thus that there are no good reasons to think that science's best theories (...)
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  42.  59
    Against Phenomenal Conservatism.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - The Reasoner 7 (10):117-118.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Phenomenal Conservatism. If sound, this reductio shows that the phenomenal conservative is committed to the claim that appealing to appearances is not a trustworthy method of fixing belief.
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  43. Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):361-378.
    In this paper, I argue that there is neither valid deductive support nor strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis. There is no valid deductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis because, from the fact that the reference of the same kind terms changes or discontinues from one theoretical framework to another, it does not necessarily follow that these two theoretical frameworks are taxonomically incommensurable. There is no strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, since there are rebutting defeaters against it (...)
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  44. Are Seemings Trustworthy? A Reply to Piazza.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - The Reasoner 8 (9):100-101.
    I reply to Piazza's objection to my reductio against phenomenal conservatism.
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  45.  43
    Ought, Can, and Presupposition: A Reply to Kurthy and Lawford-Smith.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):250-256.
    I report the results of a follow-up study, designed to address concerns raised by Kurthy and Lawford-Smith in response to my original study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Like the results of the original study, the results of the follow-up study do not support the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive. The results of both studies suggest that OIC is probably not a principle of ordinary moral cognition. As I have argued in my paper, I take this (...)
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  46. Comment on David Kaspar's Intuitionism.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Reason Papers 37 (2):26-35.
    In his book Intuitionism, David Kaspar is after the truth. That is to say, on his view, “philosophy is the search for the whole truth” (p. 7). Intuitionism, then, “reflects that standpoint” (p. 7). My comments are meant to reflect the same standpoint. More explicitly, my aim in these comments is to evaluate the arguments for intuitionism, as I understand them from reading Kaspar’s book. In what follows, I focus on three arguments in particular, which can be found in Chapters (...)
     
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  47. Why Arguments From Expert Opinion Are Weak Arguments.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - Informal Logic 33 (1):57-79.
    In this paper, I argue that arguments from expert opinion, i.e., inferences from “Expert E says that p” to “p,” where the truth value of p is unknown, are weak arguments. A weak argument is an argument in which the premises, even if true, provide weak support—or no support at all—for the conclusion. Such arguments from expert opinion are weak arguments unless the fact that an expert says that p makes p significantly more likely to be true. However, research on (...)
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  48.  56
    Against Phenomenal Conservatism: A Reply to Moretti.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - The Reasoner 8 (3):26.
    In this paper, I reply to Moretti's objection to my reductio against Phenomenal Conservatism.
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  49.  85
    A Decision Procedure for Evaluating Natural Language Arguments.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy 12 (1):11-12.
    In this paper, I present a decision procedure for evaluating arguments expressed in natural language. I think that other instructors of informal logic and critical thinking might find this decision procedure to be a useful addition to their teaching resources.
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  50.  20
    A Reply to Patton's "Incommensurability and the Bonfire of the Meta-Theories".Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (10):51-53.
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