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Κυριακή, 14 Ιουλίου 2019

Selim Berker’s Combinatorial Argument against Practical Reasons for Belief,

Abstract

In a recent paper, Selim Berker (Analytic Philosophy59, 427-470, 2018) develops an abductive argument against practical reasons for belief that exploits an alleged difference between epistemic and practical reasons. According to Berker, epistemic reasons for belief balance to suspension. If I have equally strong epistemic reasons to believe and disbelieve some proposition, I lack sufficient reason either to believe or disbelieve it. Rather, I have decisive reason to suspend judgment. In contrast, practical reasons balance to permission. If I have equally strong practical reasons to φ or ψ (and there are no other reasons on the scene), I have sufficient reason to do either. Given this difference, Berker argues that defenders of practical reasons for belief cannot offer a plausible explanation of how practical and epistemic reasons interact in order to yield all-things-considered normative verdicts. In this essay, I defend a non-interactionist “pure” form of pragmatism against Berker’s objection. I outline a pure pragmatist theory, recapitulate why Berker thinks it also falls prey to his objection, and explain why the objection fails to undermine pure pragmatism. Finally, I consider an additional reason Berker’s argument might seem persuasive and show that it depends on conflating Berker’s objection and a separate challenge to pure pragmatism. Once these distinct challenges are disambiguated, it is easier to see why Berker’s objection is not a significant concern for pure pragmatists.

Moti Mizrahi (ed): The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation?

The Problem of Temporal Unity: an Examination of the Problem and Case Study on Ersatzer Presentism

Abstract

This paper elaborates the problem of temporal unity for dynamic presentism and diagnoses the source of that problem in the dynamic presentist’s discarding the traditional C-series in its avoidance of McTaggart’s (19081927) A-series paradox. This C-series provided the fixed structure of time which the transitory aspects of time then followed, and thereby unify those transitory aspects. It then considers ersatzer presentism as an ostensible solution to the problem of temporal unity by providing a new abstract C-series (namely an ersatz-B-series) for dynamic presentism. However, after a closer examination of the details of this proposal, it is found that the ersatz-B-series itself needs to be temporally variable to capture the transitory aspects of time that it is meant to track. Consequently, it cannot provide the fixed structure of time required to unify the transitory aspects of time into a temporal series. It is therefore suggested that dynamic presentists look for a more course-grained determiner of temporal progression to construct the presentist-friendly C-series required to unify their transitory aspects of time.

Phillips on Unconscious Perception and Overflow

Abstract

Phillips (Philosophy & Phenomenological Research, 93, 419–451, p. 433, 2016a) argues that Block faces a “serious internal challenge” in defending the claim that unconscious perception is of the same fundamental kind as conscious perception. This challenge is said to result from Block’s commitment to phenomenal overflow. However, in this paper, I demonstrate that Phillips’ (Mind & Language, 26, 381–341, 2011b) rejection of overflow likewise renders his view on unconscious perception “internally challenged” and therefore equally problematic.

The Messianic Thought of the Rule of Law

Abstract

The first segment starts with a definition of two dimensions of the concept of rule of law; related to the notion of sovereignty and as a concept to control arbitrariness on the part of the ruler. The segment proceeds to give a historical account of the notion and the different stages of its epistemological configuration, from the ancient Greek notion of Eunomia and its incompatibility with the popular rule to the current notion, where the rule of law has become fused with democracy and human rights. The first segment also focuses on the relation between the concept of the rule of law and other principles, such as proportionality, neutrality, and effectiveness. The second segment of the paper analyses the phenomenon of juridification of the rule of law in international treaties and domestic constitutions. It pays particular attention to the role that constitutional accommodation plays in the process of rationalization of the rule of law as a prerequisite to its idealization and mystification. It analyses the reason why this principle is an essential feature of the constitutionalism despite the inner plurality of legal systems. The next aspect, analysed in the third segment of this paper, is the messianic use of the concept of the rule of law. The paper performs a critical definition of messianic, covering a theological perspective and the different theories and concepts that go hand in hand with the idea of the Messiah, such as the “coming”, prophetical and apocalyptical messianism, the phenomena of eschatology, expiation and redemption pictured in Judaism. The segment also covers the secular transplantation of the messianic thought. The last segment is a conclusion returning to the themes identified in the paper and summarises how the messianic thought is applied in the realm of the rule of law.

Olfactory Objecthood

Abstract

In the contemporary analytic discussions concerning human olfactory perception, it is commonly claimed that (1) olfactory experiences are representations having content and (2) olfactory experiences represent odours, like coffee odour or vanilla odour. However, despite these common assumptions, there seems to be an ontological controversy between two views: the first states that odours are perceptually represented as features and the second states that they are represented as objects. In this paper, I aim to systematically address the “feature or object” status of represented odours by concerning whether odours are represented (a) as subjects of properties, (b) as mereological wholes, and (c) entities persisting in a way characteristic for objects. I argue that olfactorily represented odours constitute a sui generis category and cannot be easily classified as objects or features. Such investigations constitute a step in establishing whether various human modalities are unified by organising the environment according to the same categories.

Self-Unity, Identification and Self-Recognition

Abstract

The concept of identification is often appealed to in explanations of how it is that some actions are authored by an agent, and so autonomous, or free. Over the last several decades, different conceptions of identification have been advanced and refined, and the term is now commonplace in moral psychology and metaethics. In this paper I argue that two dominant accounts of identification implicated in self-unity (represented respectively by Christine Korsgaard and Harry Frankfurt) fail to acknowledge the significance of a related form of self-unifying activity, self-recognition. Self-recognition is self-authoring because it involves identification with a new description of oneself, but it is excluded by standard accounts of identification which over-emphasize action and volition in autonomous agency. Although self-recognition is unlikely to produce immediate action, it accords with the activity of self-unity that is said to be constitutive of identification.

On the Systematic Inadequacy of Fictionalism about Fictional Characters

Abstract

Critical statements, if true, bear ontological commitments to fictional entities. A well-known version of fictionalism about fictional characters tries to eliminate these ontological commitments by proposing that we understand critical statements as prefixed by a special sentential operator, such as ‘according to a fictional realist theory’. The aim of the present paper is to show that fictionalism about fictional characters is underdeveloped as it stands because it can be shown to be systematically inadequate. Because the fictionalist’s paraphrases of critical statements suggest that fictional realists affirm the propositions expressed by critical statements, the fictionalist mistakenly attributes to fictional realists an expertise in matters that pertain to literary criticism. Importantly, this problem of misattributed expertise paves the way to other issues that might be much more devastating to the fictionalist project. It can be shown that, because she wrongly attributes expertise to fictional realists, the fictionalist unintentionally portrays fictional realist theories in a way that renders them inconsistent and self-defeating. This undermines fictionalism about fictional characters because it leaves no workable fictional realist account in which to ground a fictionalist explanation. This is why the fictionalist about fictional characters should try to eliminate the problem of misattributed expertise and its related issues. At the end of the paper, I sketch some of the available options in this regard.

Passionate Akrasia

Abstract

The standard philosophical account of akratic action is that it is action contrary to one’s current better judgment about what to do. While respecting the philosophical debate associated with this conception of akrasia, I attempt to offer a different perspective on the subject by suggesting that akratic action could be conceived more broadly as “action without due self-restraint.” Under such a broader conception, there may be several varieties of akrasia. Following Frank Jackson, I propose that a paradigmatic variety of akrasia is “passionate akrasia,” defined in terms of the undue influence of passion. I provide an account of passionate akrasia that builds on Jackson’s decision-theoretic account, though revises it in important respects. In developing this account, I also suggest a solution to the problem of how one can act contrary to one’s current better judgment, thereby indicating how this approach can shed new light on traditional debates.

The Freedom of Extremists: Pluralist and Non-Pluralist Responses to Moral Conflict

Abstract

This paper distinguishes two ways in which to think about the freedom of extremists. Non-pluralists claim to have identified the general rule for resolving moral conflicts, and conceptualize freedom as liberty of action in accordance with that rule. It follows, if extremist violence breaks the rule in question, removing this option does not infringe the freedom of extremists. In contrast, for pluralists there is no one general rule to resolve moral conflicts, and freedom is simply the absence of interference. I argue here that pluralism provides a principled defense of freedom, as it allows us to see that removing options from extremists is worse, on prima facie grounds, than not doing so. Also, non-pluralists cannot show that they have identified the general rule for resolving moral conflicts, and in particular, are forced to rely on quite different principles altogether when justifying paternalistic responses to extremism.

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