Introduction -- Overview of religious realism -- A realist interpretation of religious diversity -- Religious exclusivism : the problem of being arbitrary -- Overview of religious irrealism -- Religious non-realism : neither realist nor anti-realist -- Religious non-realism pushed beyond its limits -- Conclusion.
This textbook brings the humanities to students in order to evoke the humanity of students. It helps to form individuals who take charge of their own minds, who are free from narrow and unreflective forms of thought, and who act compassionately in their public and professional worlds. Using concepts and methods of the humanities, the book addresses undergraduate and premed students, medical students, and students in other health professions, as well as physicians and other healthcare practitioners. It encourages them to (...) consider the ethical and existential issues related to the experience of disease, care of the dying, health policy, religion and health, and medical technology. Case studies, images, questions for discussion, and role-playing exercises help readers to engage in the practical, interpretive, and analytical aspects of the material, developing skills for critical thinking as well as compassionate care. (shrink)
Narratives of Jihadi-Salafi operations are often filled with praise for what are considered exemplary acts of self-renunciation in the vein of early Islamic tradition. While many studies sift through the biographies of these so-called martyrs for evidence of social, psychological, political, or economic strain in an effort to rationalize what are often labeled "suicide bombings," Nathan French argues that, through their legal arguments, Jihadi-Salafis craft a theodicy that is meant to address the suffering and oppression of the global Muslim (...) community. (shrink)
It is proposed to remove the difficulty of nonitegrability of length in the Weyl geometry by modifying the law of parallel displacement and using “standard” vectors. The field equations are derived from a variational principle slightly different from that of Dirac and involving a parameter σ. For σ=0 one has the electromagnetic field. For σ<0 there is a vector meson field. This could be the electromagnetic field with finite-mass photons, or it could be a meson field providing the “missing mass” (...) of the universe. In cosmological models the two natural gauges are the Einstein gauge and the cosmic gauge. With the latter the universe has a fixed size, but the sizes of small systems decrease with time and their masses and energies increase, thus producing the Hubble effect. The field of a particle in this gauge is investigated, and it leads to an interesting solution of the Einstein equations that raises a question about the Schwarzschild solution. (shrink)
Most scholars who presently deal with the Mind-Body problem consider themselves monist materialists. Nevertheless, many of them also assume that there exist (in some sense of existence) mental entities. But since these two positions do not harmonize quite well, the literature is full of discussions about how to reconcile the positions. In this paper, I will defend a materialist theory that avoids all these problems by completely rejecting the existence of mental entities. This is Quine's repudiation theory. According to the (...) theory, there are no mental entities, and the behavioral or physiological phenomena that have been attributed to mental entities, or that point to the existence of these entities, are exclusively caused by physiological factors. To be sure, several objections have been raised to materialist theories that do not assign some role to mental entities. But we will see that Quine is able to give convincing replies to these objections. (shrink)
Abstract Both parties in the active philosophical debate concerning the conceptual character of perception trace their roots back to Kant's account of sensible intuition in the Critique of Pure Reason. This striking fact can be attributed to Kant's tendency both to assert and to deny the involvement of our conceptual capacities in sensible intuition. He appears to waver between these two positions in different passages, and can thus seem thoroughly confused on this issue. But this is not, in fact, the (...) case, for, as I will argue, the appearance of contradiction in his account stems from the failure of some commentators to pay sufficient attention to Kant's developmental approach to philosophy. Although he begins by asserting the independence of intuition, Kant proceeds from this nonconceptualist starting point to reveal a deeper connection between intuitions and concepts. On this reading, Kant's seemingly conflicting claims are actually the result of a careful and deliberate strategy for gradually convincing his readers of the conceptual nature of perception. (shrink)
In the transcendental deduction, the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant seeks to secure the objective validity of our basic categories of thought. He distinguishes objective and subjective sides of this argument. The latter side, the subjective deduction, is normally understood as an investigation of our cognitive faculties. It is identified with Kant’s account of a threefold synthesis involved in our cognition of objects of experience, and it is said to precede and ground Kant’s proof of the (...) validity of the categories in the objective deduction. I challenge this standard reading of the subjective deduction, arguing, first, that there is little textual evidence for it, and, second, that it encourages a problematic conception of how the deduction works. In its place, I present a new reading of the subjective deduction. Rather than being a broad investigation of our cognitive faculties, it should be seen as addressing a specific worry that arises in the course of the objective deduction. The latter establishes the need for a necessary connection between our capacities for thinking and being given objects, but Kant acknowledges that his readers might struggle to comprehend how these seemingly independent capacities are coordinated. Even worse, they might well believe that in asserting this necessary connection, Kant’s position amounts to an implausible subjective idealism. The subjective deduction ismeant to allay these concerns by showing that they rest on a misunderstanding of the relation between these faculties. This new reading of the subjective deduction offers a better fit with Kant’s text. It also has broader implications, for it reveals the more philosophically plausible account of our relation to the world as thinkers that Kant is defending – an account that is largely obscured by the standard reading of the subjective deduction. (shrink)
Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter‐examples which purport to show that attempts to understand essence in terms of metaphysical necessity are ‘fundamentally misguided’. Here, my aim is to put forward a new version of modalism that is, I argue, immune to Fine's counter‐examples. The core of this new modalist account is a sparseness restriction, such that an object's essential properties are those sparse properties it has in every world in which it exists. After first motivating this sparseness (...) restriction, I proceed to show how the resulting sparse modalism circumvents Fine's original counter‐examples. After dismissing a potential problem concerning the membership relation, I conclude that, as at least one form of modalism is viable, the project of understanding essence in terms of metaphysical necessity is not so fundamentally misguided after all. (shrink)
One usually speaks of Hume's problem of induction in the singular, as if Hume had called our attention to only one problem which affects the justification of inductive inferences. But Hume shows that this justification depends on two assumptions which are not logically valid. In most studies about the justification of inductive inferences, Hume's approach to base the justification on two assumptions has not been discussed. This seems to have been a mistake, however. Not only do these assumptions play different (...) roles in the justification, but by distinguishing between them, one of them can be shown to be scientifically (though not logically) valid. (shrink)
The critique of mechanism in the political philosophy of Herder and German romanticism -- The political function of machine metaphors in Hegel's early writings -- Mechanism in religious practice -- The mechanization of labor and the birth of modern ethicality in Hegel's Jena political writings -- Mechanism and the problem of self-determination in Hegel's logic -- The modern state as absolute mechanism : Hegel's logical insight into the relation of civil society and the state.
Carl Cohen's arguments against animal rights are shown to be unsound. His strategy entails that animals have rights, that humans do not, the negations of those conclusions, and other false and inconsistent implications. His main premise seems to imply that one can fail all tests and assignments in a class and yet easily pass if one's peers are passing and that one can become a convicted criminal merely by setting foot in a prison. However, since his moral principles imply that (...) nearly all exploitive uses of animals are wrong anyway, foes of animal rights are advised to seek philosophical consolations elsewhere. I note that some other philosopher's arguments are subject to similar objections. (shrink)
Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Meaning brings together Nathan Salmon's influential papers on topics in the metaphysics of existence, non-existence, and fiction; modality and its logic; strict identity, including personal identity; numbers and numerical quantifiers; the philosophical significance of Godel's Incompleteness theorems; and semantic content and designation. Including a previously unpublished essay and a helpful new introduction to orient the reader, the volume offers rich and varied sustenance for philosophers and logicians.
Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter-examples which purport to show that the modalist program of analysing essence in terms of metaphysical necessity is fundamentally misguided. Several would-be modalists have since responded, attempting to save the position from this Finean Challenge. This paper evaluates and rejects a trio of such responses, from Della Rocca, Zalta, and Gorman. But I’m not here arguing for Fine’s conclusion – ultimately, this is a fight amongst friends, with Della Rocca, Zalta, Gorman, and (...) I all wanting to be modalists, but disagreeing on the details. As such, while my primary aim is to show what’s wrong with this trio, the secondary aim is demonstrating how what’s right about them in fact pushes one towards my own sparse modalist account. So while the primary conclusion of this paper is negative, the secondary, positive, conclusion is that modalists shouldn’t give up hope – plausible responses to Fine are still out there. (shrink)
In this paper, I present an interpretation of the use of constructions in both the problems and theorems of Elements I–VI, in light of the concept of given as developed in the Data, that makes a distinction between the way that constructions are used in problems, problem-constructions, and the way that they are used in theorems and in the proofs of problems, proof-constructions. I begin by showing that the general structure of a problem is slightly different from that stated by (...) Proclus in his commentary on the Elements. I then give a reading of all five postulates, Elem. I.post.1–5, in terms of the concept of given. This is followed by a detailed exhibition of the syntax of problem-constructions, which shows that these are not practical instructions for using a straightedge and compass, but rather demonstrations of the existence of an effective procedure for introducing geometric objects, which procedure is reducible to operations of the postulates but not directly stated in terms of the postulates. Finally, I argue that theorems and the proofs of problems employ a wider range of constructive and semi- and non-constructive assumptions that those made possible by problems. (shrink)
While it is tempting to suppose that an act has moral worth just when and because it is motivated by sufficient moral reasons, philosophers have, largely, come to doubt this analysis. Doubt is rooted in two claims. The first is that some facts can motivate a given act in multiple ways, not all of which are consistent with moral worth. The second is the orthodox view that normative reasons are facts. I defend the tempting analysis by proposing and defending a (...) heterodox account of both normative and motivating reasons that is inspired by Donald Davidson’s primary reasons. We should adopt the heterodox view, I argue, because it addresses an overlooked but fatal defect in the orthodox conception of reasons, of which challenges to the tempting analysis are a special case. (shrink)
Standard compositionality is the doctrine that the semantic content of a compound expression is a function of the semantic contents of the contentful component expressions. In 1954 Hilary Putnam proposed that standard compositionality be replaced by a stricter version according to which even sentences that are synonymously isomorphic (in the sense of Alonzo Church) are not strictly synonymous unless they have the same logical form. On Putnam’s proposal, the semantic content of a compound expression is a function of: (i) the (...) contentful component expressions; and (ii) the expression’s logical form. Kit Fine recently expanded and modified Putnam’s idea into a sweeping theory in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. The present paper is a detailed critique of Fine’s “semantic relationism.” Fine’s notion of coordination is explained in terms of the familiar pragmatic phenomenon of recognition. A serious error in Fine’s formal disproof of standard Millianism is exposed. It is demonstrated furthermore that Church’s original criticism of Putnam’s proposal can be extended to Fine’s semantic relationism. Finally, it is also demonstrated that the positive position Fine proffers to supplant standard Millianism is in fact exactly equivalent to standard Millianism, so that Fine’s overall position not only does not displace standard Millianism but is in fact inconsistent. (shrink)
Bare particularism is a constituent ontology according to which substances—concrete, particular objects like people, tables, and tomatoes—are complex entities constituted by their properties and their bare particulars. Yet, aside from this description, much about bare particularism is fundamentally unclear. In this paper, I attempt to clarify this muddle by elucidating the key metaphysical commitments underpinning any plausible formulation of the position. So the aim here is primarily catechismal rather than evangelical—I don’t intend to convert anyone to bare particularism, but, by (...) looking at a series of questions, to instead specify what, if one is a bare particularist, one is committed to. Along the way, I address three major objections: a classic objection about whether bare particulars have properties, a new objection raised by Bailey, and an understanding objection that questions some of the position’s resources. (shrink)
My title is meant to suggest a continuation of the sort of philosophical investigation into the nature of language and modality undertaken in Rudolf Carnap’s Meaning and Necessity and Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity. My topic belongs in a class with meaning and naming. It is demonstratives—that is, expressions like ‘that darn cat’ or the pronoun ‘he’ used deictically. A few philosophers deserve particular credit for advancing our understanding of demonstratives and other indexical words. Though Naming and Necessity is concerned (...) with proper names, not demonstratives, it opened wide a window that had remained mostly shut in Meaning and Necessity but that, thanks largely to Kripke, shall forevermore remain unbarred. Understanding of demonstrative semantics grew by a quantum leap in David Kaplan’s remarkable work, especially in his masterpiece “Demonstratives” together with its companion “Afterthoughts.” In contrast to the direct-reference propensities of these two contemporary figures, Gottlob Frege, with his uncompromisingly thoroughgoing intensionalism, shed important light on the workings of demonstratives in “Der Gedanke”—more specifically, in a few brief but insightful remarks from a single paragraph concerning tense and temporal indexicality. (shrink)
Jonathan Schaffer (2010) has summoned a new sort of demon – which he calls the debasing demon – that apparently threatens all of our purported knowledge. We show that any debasing skeptical argument must attack the justification condition and can do so only if a plausible thesis about justification is false.
Jonathan Schaffer has summoned a new sort of demon – which he calls the debasing demon – that apparently threatens all of our purported knowledge. We show that any debasing skeptical argument must attack the justification condition and can do so only if a plausible thesis about justification is false.
Two theses figure centrally in work on the epistemology of disagreement: Equal Weight (‘EW’) and Uniqueness (‘U’). According to EW, you should give precisely as much weight to the attitude of a disagreeing epistemic peer as you give to your own attitude. U has it that, for any given proposition and total body of evidence, some doxastic attitude is the one the evidence makes rational (justifies) toward that proposition. Although EW has received considerable discussion, the case for U has not (...) been critically evaluated. Endorsing U, we argue, commits one to the highly controversial thesis that whatever fixes your rational attitudes can do so only by fixing what evidence you have. This commitment imposes a relatively demanding requirement on justified belief in U, one that we argue is not satisfied by what is currently the strongest available case for U, due to Roger White . Our challenge to U makes more trouble for its proponents than do the worries about U expressed by Gideon Rosen  and Thomas Kelly . Moreover, if Kelly  is correct in thinking that EW “carries with it a commitment to” U—a claim which we accept for reasons similar to Kelly’s but is beyond this paper’s scope (but see Ballantyne and Coffman [forthcoming])—then our challenge to U bears importantly on EW: to the extent that our challenge to U succeeds, EW also suffers. (shrink)
Two theses are central to recent work on the epistemology of disagreement: Conciliationism:?In a revealed peer disagreement over P, each thinker should give at least some weight to her peer's attitude. Uniqueness:?For any given proposition and total body of evidence, the evidence fully justifies exactly one level of confidence in the proposition. 1This paper is the product of full and equal collaboration between its authors. Does Conciliationism commit one to Uniqueness? Thomas Kelly 2010 has argued that it does. After some (...) scene-setting (?1), in ?2 we explain and criticize Kelly's argument, thereby defeating his larger argument that Conciliationism deserves no dialectical special treatment. But we argue further that Conciliationists are committed to a disjunction, one of whose disjuncts is Uniqueness, that amounts to an ?extremely strong and unobvious position? (??3?4). If we are correct, theorists should not treat Conciliationism as a default position in debates about the epistemic significance of disagreement. (shrink)
On Kripke’s intended definition, a term designates an object x rigidly if the term designates x with respect to every possible world in which x exists and does not designate anything else with respect to worlds in which x does not exist. Kripke evidently holds in Naming and Necessity, hereafter N&N (pp. 117–144, passim, and especially at 134, 139–140), that certain general terms – including natural-kind terms like ‘‘water’’ and ‘‘tiger’’, phenomenon terms like ‘‘heat’’ and ‘‘hot’’, and color terms like (...) ‘‘blue’’ – are rigid designators solely as a matter of philosophical semantics (independently of empirical, extra-linguistic facts). As a consequence, Kripke argues, identity statements involving these general terms are like identity statements involving proper names (e.g., ‘‘Clark Kent=Superman’’) in that, solely as a matter of philosophical semantics, they express necessary truths if they are true at all. But whereas it is reasonably clear what it is for a (first-order) singular term to designate, Kripke does not explicitly say what it is for a general term to designate. General terms are standardly treated in modern logic as predicates, usually monadic predicates. There are very forceful reasons – due independently to Church and Godel, and ultimately to Frege – for taking predicates to designate their semantic extensions. But insofar as the extension of the general term ‘‘tiger’’ is the class of actual tigers (or its characteristic function), it is clear that the term does not rigidly designate its extension, since the class of tigers in one possible world may differ from the class of tigers in another. What, then, is it for ‘‘tiger’’ to be rigid? (shrink)
In this paper, I present a challenge for Michael McKenna’s conversational theory of moral responsibility. On his view, to be a responsible agent is to be able to engage in a type of moral conversation. I argue that individuals with autism spectrum disorder present a considerable problem for the conversational theory because empirical evidence on the disorder seems to suggest that there are individuals in the world who meet all of the conditions for responsible agency that the theory lays out (...) but who are nevertheless not responsible agents. Attending to the moral psychology of such individuals will, I think, help shed light on an important gap in the conversational theory. (shrink)
Hegel’s conception of Spirit does not subordinate difference to sameness, in a way that would make it unusable for a genuinely intersubjective idealism directed to a comprehensive account of the contemporary world. A close analysis of the logic of recognition and the dialectic of conscience in the Phenomenology of Spirit demonstrates that the unity of Spirit emerges in and through conflict, and is forged in the process whereby particular encounters between differently situated individuals reveal and establish the emerging character and (...) significance of the stances they uniquely occupy. (shrink)
Shadow Philosophy: Plato’s Cave and Cinema is an accessible and exciting new contribution to film-philosophy, which shows that to take film seriously is also to engage with the fundamental questions of philosophy. Nathan Andersen brings Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange into philosophical conversation with Plato’s Republic , comparing their contributions to themes such as the nature of experience and meaning, the character of justice, the contrast between appearance and reality, the importance of art, and the impact of images. (...) At the heart of the book is a novel account of the analogy between Plato’s allegory of the cave and cinema, developed in conjunction with a provocative interpretation of the most powerful image from A Clockwork Orange , in which the lead character is strapped to a chair and forced to watch violent films. Key features of the book include: a comprehensive bibliography of suggested readings on Plato, on film, on philosophy, and on the philosophy of film a list of suggested films that can be explored following the approach in this book, including brief descriptions of each film, and suggestions regarding its philosophical implications a summary of Plato’s Republic , book by book, highlighting both dramatic context and subject matter. Offering a close reading of the controversial classic film A Clockwork Orange , and an introductory account of the central themes of the philosophical classic The Republic , this book will be of interest to both scholars and students of philosophy and film, as well as to readers of Plato and fans of Stanley Kubrick. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider a novel challenge to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza’s reasons-responsiveness theory of moral responsibility. According to their view, agents possess the control necessary for moral responsibility if their actions proceed from a mechanism that is moderately reasons-responsive. I argue that their account of moderate reasons-responsiveness fails to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for moral responsibility since it cannot give an adequate account of the responsibility of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Empirical evidence suggests that (...) autistic individuals demonstrate impairments in counterfactual thinking, and these impairments, I argue, are such that they cast doubt on Fischer and Ravizza’s construal of moderate reasons-responsiveness. I then argue that modifying the view in order to accommodate individuals with ASD forces them to defend a strong reasons-responsive account despite the fact that they explicitly deny that such an account can adequately characterize what it is to be morally responsible for one’s actions. (shrink)
I argue for two principles by combining which we can construct a sound cosmological argument. The first is that for any true proposition p's if ‘there is an explanation for p's truth’ is consistent then there is an explanation for p's truth. The second is a modified version of the principle that for any class, if there is an explanation for the non-emptiness of that class, then there is at least one non-member of that class which causes it not to (...) be empty. (shrink)
The Goodman paradox presents us with the problem of selecting the hypotheses that are confirmed by their positive instances. In a recent paper, Stephen Hetherington proposes a criterion that enables us to specify the hypotheses that are subjectively confirmed by these instances. But there is also an objective aspect to be considered here because, as a matter of fact, the hypotheses selected by the criterion have often been highly reliable even if they were based on the observation of only a (...) few positive instances. In the present note, I examine this aspect and I point out that Hume not only dealt with the reliability phenomenon but also gave a plausible explanation of the phenomenon. I also point out that Hume's explanation is surprisingly similar to the explanation given lately by a number of naturalistic philosophers to the reliability phenomenon. (shrink)
We address the claim that nonhuman animals do not represent unobservable states, based on studies of physical cognition by rooks and social cognition by scrub-jays. In both cases, the most parsimonious explanation for the results is counter to the reinterpretation hypothesis. We suggest that imagination and prospection can be investigated in animals and included in models of cognitive architecture.
Summary By using the example of a single proposition and its diagrams, this paper makes explicit a number of the processes in effect in the textual transmission of works in the exact sciences of the ancient and medieval periods. By examining the diagrams of proposition 13 as they appear in the Greek, Arabic, and Latin traditions of Aristarchus's On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, we can see a number of ways in which medieval, and early modern, (...) scholars interpreted their sources in an effort to understand and transmit canonical ancient texts. This study highlights the need for modern scholars to take into consideration all aspects of the medieval transmission in our efforts to understand ancient practices. (shrink)
Although Professor Schiffer and I have many times disagreed, I share his deep and abiding commitment to argument as a primary philosophical tool. Regretting any communication failure that has occurred, I endeavor here to make clearer my earlier reply in “Illogical Belief” to Schiffer’s alleged problem for my version of Millianism.1 I shall be skeletal, however; the interested reader is encouraged to turn to “Illogical Belief” for detail and elaboration. I have argued that to bear a propositional attitude de re (...) is to bear that attitude toward the corresponding singular proposition, no more and no less. If this is right, then according to Millianism every instance of the following modal schema is true. (shrink)
In recent years there has been an explosion of philosophical work on blame. Much of this work has focused on explicating the nature of blame or on examining the norms that govern it, and the primary motivation for theorizing about blame seems to derive from blame’s tight connection to responsibility. However, very little philosophical attention has been given to praise and its attendant practices. In this paper, I identify three possible explanations for this lack of attention. My goal is to (...) show that each of these lines of thought is mistaken and to argue that praise is deserving of careful, independent analysis by philosophers interested in theorizing about responsibility. (shrink)
A detailed interpretation is provided of the ‘Gray's Elegy’ passage in Russell's ‘On Denoting’. The passage is suffciently obscure that its principal lessons have been independently rediscovered. Russell attempts to demonstrate that the thesis that definite descriptions are singular terms is untenable. The thesis demands a distinction be drawn between content and designation, but the attempt to form a proposition directly about the content (as by using an appropriate form of quotation) inevitably results in a proposition about the thing designated (...) instead of the content expressed. In light of this collapse, argues Russell, the thesis that definite descriptions are singular terms must accept that all propositions about a description's content represent it by means of a higher-level descriptive content, so that knowledge of a description's content is always ‘by description’, not ‘by acquaintance’. This, according to Russell, renders our cognitive grip on definite descriptions inexplicable. Separate responses on behalf of Fregeans and Millians are offered. (shrink)