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Displaying: 1-20 of 38 documents

1. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
John Kilcullen

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This is a critical study of the arguments of Pierre Bayle’s Commentaire philosophique by which he tries to show that someone whose conscience is in error has a moral right (of a limited kind) to do what it commands, and that the act may be morally good; and that others, such as the government, may nevertheless have the right, and a duty, to prevent the act by force.

2. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11 > Issue: Supplement
Richard A. Talaska

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This study is meant to provide a means of understanding the change of philosophic perspective from the naive classical view that natures manifest themselves to mind to the modern view that they do so only as mediated by thought or speech. It does so by tracing the emergence of the early modern concept that philosophy must be presented as a system of propositions or laws in order to be scientific. It is argued that certain early moderns adopted the term system from the Stoic definition of art, and that they clearly delineated the essential characteristics of systematicity but spoke only of systems of individual sciences. Régis first applied the term to philosophy as a whole, but Hobbes before him conceived of system in Régis's sense. The conclusion is a more precise understanding of the origin of the modern use of the term and of the meaning of the early modern concept of philosophic system.

3. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
John A. Barker, Thomas D. Paxson Jr.

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We develop a modified system of standard logic, Augmented Standard Logic (ASL), and we employ ASL in an effort to show that, contrary to prevailing opinion, both Aristotle and Diodorus presented impressive arguments, having valid structures and highly plausible premisses, in their famous fatalism debate. We argue that ASL, which contains standard logic and a full system of modal and temporal logic emanating from a modicum of primitives, should not only enable one to appreciate the sophisticated philosophizing which characterized this ancient debate, but should prove to be quite useful in application to contemporary issues.

4. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael A. Principe

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Can Lewisian counterpart theory adequately account for the deliberation involved in universalizing moral judgments? In this paper, the dispute between Shalom Lappin and Yehudah Freunlich over the answer to this question is examined and clarified. Then it is argued that Lappin andFreunlich do not join issue in a way which allows for satisfactory adjudication of their dispute. Specifically, they are unaware of the different models of role projection which each employs. By making these models explicit, it can be seen that, regardless of how universalization is construed, a Lewisian can indeed offer an adequate account of moral deliberation.

5. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Lawrence R. Carleton

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Various authors insist that some body of natural phenomena are legitimately describable or explainable only on one level of description, and would disqualify any description not confined to that level. None offers an acceptable definition explicitly. I extract such a definition I find implicit in the work of two such authors, J.J. Gibson and Hubert Dreyfus, and modify the result to render it more defensible philosophically. I also criticize the definition Shaw and Turvey offer, demonstrate some applications of my definition, and try to forestall certain misunderstandings of those presuppositions and that definition.

6. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Viorica Farkas

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Descartes argues that since there are no certain marks to distinguish waking experiences from dreams, we need to justify our belief that waking experiences are veridical experiences of physical objects while dreams are illusions. He resolves this problem by arguing that the absence of marks distinguishing dreams from waking experiences notwithstanding, we are justified in ascribing different cognitive values to waking experiences and dreams. For, our belief in God rules out any other explanation of the agreement of all our faculties in supporting the instinctive belief that waking experiences are caused by physical objects.

7. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Germain Kopaczynski

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The objective of this study is to analyze the writing of three neo-scholastic writers of the twentieth century -- Marcel Chossat, Pedro Descoqs, and Francis Cunningham -- who happen to dispute the prevailing view of Thomists that St. Thomas Aquinas does indeed hold a doctrine of thereal distinction of essence and existence in created being. The approach utilized will be basically historical: we start with the year 1910, the year in which Marcel Chossat rekindled the ever-smoldering embers of the essence-existence controversy with his claim that Aquinas never held such a doctrine. In order to justify another treatment of what has been called “the endlessly rehashed question”, we try to show that the arguments put forth by the three thinkers in question an are based on considerable and weighty linguistic grounds which others in the debate have tended to dismiss. We conclude by saying that any discussion of the real distinction controversy must take a “linguistic turn” if it is to have any hope of being fruitful.

8. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Karl Pfeifer

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A sequel to “A Problem of Motivation for Multipliers”, SJPhil 20, 209-24. It is argued that Goldman’s account of act and event individuation cannot be modified to escape criticisms previously raised. Augmentation generation and the counterfactual basis of the account are featured inthe discussion.

9. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee

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Tom Beauchamp has pointed out that there are three major positions advocated on the issue of “reverse discrimination”. In this article, I will argue that all three of these positions overlook a central issue which is at stake in this controversy and I will suggest that a fourth position exists. Furthermore, I will argue that the programs usually supported by those in favor of preferential treatment (e.g., the setting of educational or employmental goals or quotas) are, while unquestionably worthwhile in their aims, in fact only superficial “band-aid” type solutions to a problemwhich requires much more fundamental changes in our attitudes concerning the distribution of wealth and opportunities in our society.

10. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Fay Horton Sawyier

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I consider the general question of whether a study of the life of a philosopher can help us to understand his/her philosophical principles. This topic is narrowed to the consideration of principles of moral and political philosophy, especially in instances in which the philosopher deliberately uses the experiences of his/her own life in formulating his/her views. Such use raises the problem of justification of the self as sampIe. As part of my general defense of the merits of studying a life to grasp a philosophy, I argue that the meaning of a principle in the philosophy of X can be illuminated by trying to recognize what that principIe meant to X. All of these general issues are deployed in my study of the philosophy of John Stuart Mill. In particular I focus on five points, the understanding of which I feel is deepened by studying how they involved his own life. These five are: a change in tone in ch. III of On Liberty, his conviction about free will, his commitment to a principle of vigorous action, his principle of balanced growth, and his fundamental axiom of Individualism.

11. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Joan C. Callahan

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The Silent Scream, a videotape which includes footage of a real time sonogram of an abortion in progress, has been receiving considerable attention in America as the anti-abortion movement’s latest argument. The tape has been enthusiastically endorsed by President Reagan and has been distributed to every member of Congress and to each of the Supreme Court justices. It is produced and narrated by Bernard N. Nathanson, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, and it includes a number of implicit and explicit claims which are highly controversial. Chief among these are: (1) the claim that since we can draw no morally significant line during the stages of fetal development, the fetusmust be recognized as a person from conception onward, (2) the claim that the film is a high tech, state of the art proof that abortion is the brutal murder of an innocent human being, (3) the claim that in abortion the fetus experiences terror and pain, and (4) the claim that as long as abortion is legal, showing this film (or one relevantly similar) must be made part of the informed consent procedure for abortion. My purpose in this paper is to examine these claims to see if The Silent Scream adds anything to the moral case for making abortion illegal. I give particular attention to two claims which are seldom addressed in the abortion debate, viz., that the fetus experiences terror and pain during an abortion, and that women have not had the information they need (but which this film provides) to give an adequately informed consent to abortion. Since there is so much confusion in the abortion debate, and since this film trades on that confusion, my broader purpose is to add some clarificationto the public discussion of this issue, which is daily becoming a more divisive issue of public policy.

12. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Larry A. Alexander

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Although discussions of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice generally refer to Rawls’ two principles of justice, and although Rawls himself labels his principles “the two principles of justice”, Rawls actually sets forth three distinct principles in the following lexical order: the liberty principle, the fair equality of opportunity principle, and the difference principle. Rawls argues at some length for the priority of the liberty principle over the other two. On the other hand, Rawls offers hardly any argument at all for the priority of the fair equality of opportunity principle over the difference principle. In this article I will argue that making the fair equality of opportunity principle separate from and lexically prior to the difference principle is both intuitively unattractive and inconsistent with Rawls’ method of deriving principles of justice from the choices of rational contractors in the original position.

13. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Daniel Shaw

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Camus’ central thesis in The Myth of Sisyphus is that suicide is not the proper response to, nor is it the solution of, the problem of absurdity. Yet many of his literary protagonists either commit suicide or are self-destructive in other ways. I argue that the protagonists that best live up to the characteristics of the absurd man that Camus outlines in the Myth uniformly either commit suicide or consent to their destruction by behaving in such a manner as to invite death. It is my contention that this raises serious questions abuut the validity of Camus’ arguments that suicide is not the proper response to the recognition that life is absurd.

14. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee

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The auteur theory of film-making (usually attributed in film to the French director Francais Truffaut) is explored with specific reference to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is argued that Hitchcocks’s films, in particular his later films, present a common theme which is in fact quite consistent with the outlook of Phenomenological Existentialism, especially as it was espoused by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger.To support this position, textual analyses of various films directed and produced by Hitchcock are presented, including Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong Man, and Vertigo. The effects of this approach and its philosophical implications far the film-going audience are also examined.

15. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Carl Cranor

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Herman Melville’s Billy Budd presents a classic example of a legal official legally required to enforce a law he believes or knows to be unjust. Although there has been considerable discussion of a citizen’s moral duty to obey unjust laws, there has been little consideration of a legalofficial’s duty to enforce unjust laws.In this paper I take the central moral dilemma of the novel -- a legal official’s moral duty to enforce a valid law of a legal system vs. his moral duty not to do or to contribute to injustice -- and discuss various moral considerations that would bear on this dilemma. By doing this I hope to contribute both to the moral issues involved as weIl as, to some extent, the literary criticism with regard to Billy Budd.

16. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
T. F. Morris

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It is shown that Plato’s Lysis is full of positive content between the lines. At the close of the dialogue Socrates says that he considers Lysis, Menexenus, and himself to be friends of one another. Following up on the questions which the dialogue leads us to ask yields an explanation ofwhy each of these instances of friendship is, in fact, an instance of friendship. In addition, the dialogue shows that there are five types of motivation for desiring something.

17. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
George Englebretsen

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During the last twenty-five years Fred Sommers has developed a series of inter-related theories of language structure, ontological structure, logical syntax, and truth. Each theory has naturally contained valuable suggestions concerning semantic issues. But Sommers has not yet offered a specifically semantic theory. I attempt here to fill that gap by sketching a theory of semantics based upon his logical theses. The theory holds that terms, as used in statement making sentences, have both denotation and signification. Terms denote objects and signify properties. Terms, when quantified, refer to some or all of their denotations, and, when qualified, characterize the subjects to which they are predicated as having or lacking the properties they signify. The semantic, syntactic, and ontological theses presented in this theory are contrasted with those found in classical, scholastic, Leibnizian, Fregean, and Quinean theories.

18. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Theodore W. Schick, Jr.

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The correspondence theory of truth has often been attacked on the grounds that the notion of correspondence is too vague to do any serious philosophical work. More recently it has been attacked on the grounds that the sort of correspondence required by the theory does not exist.I argue, on the contrary, that there are no compelling reasons for believing that the requisite sort of correspondence does not exist and that the notion of correspondence can be made clear enough to yield an adequate theory of truth. After critically examining Tarkski’s theory of truth, Ishow how a correspondence theory which applies to the statements of any language can be constructed. Then Davidson’s claim that all true statements correspond to the same thing and Putnam’s claim that there is no fact of the matter concerning what the terms of a language correspond to are shown to be untenable.

19. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Richard A. Blanke

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Kant maintained that in order for an act to have moral worth it is necessary that it be done from the motive of duty. On the traditional view of Kant, the motive of duty is constituted solely by one’s belief or cognition that some act is one’s duty. Desire must be ruled out as forming partof the moral motive. On this view, if an agent’s act is to have moral worth, then it must be the ease that his belief that he has a duty has, on its own, motivational force.I attempt to argue that this view is mistaken, that for Kant desire does have a place in moral motivation, and that for Kant it is not possible that we can have an obligation, sincerely assert that we have, and at the same time have no desire to perform that obligation.

20. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Stephen Griffith

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The most important contribution which professional philosophers could make to the debate concerning abortion would be to produce a detailed conceptual analysis of the sorts of situations in which abortion is typically contemplated and/or performed and a set of moral considerations and/or principles which would be applicable to any such case. I argue that the sorts of hypothetical cases and fanciful analogies typically used by philosophers in their discussions of abortion can be either appropriate or inappropriate for this purpose, and attempt to illustrate this difference by considering several possible interpretations of some of the scenarios diacussed in J.J. Thomson’s classic paper “A Defense of Abortion” together with some of my own.