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research articles

1. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Robert James M. Boyles

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This paper further cashes out the notion that particular types of intelligent systems are susceptible to the is-ought problem, which espouses the thesis that no evaluative conclusions may be inferred from factual premises alone. Specifically, it focuses on top-down artificial moral agents, providing ancillary support to the view that these kinds of artifacts are not capable of producing genuine moral judgements. Such is the case given that machines built via the classical programming approach are always composed of two parts, namely: a world model and utility function. In principle, any attempt to bridge the gap between these two would fail, since their reconciliation necessitates for the derivation of evaluative claims from factual premises.
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2. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Arnold Cusmariu

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A valid and arguably sound private language argument is built using premises based on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations augmented by familiar analytic distinctions and concepts of logic. The private language problem and the solution presented here can be plausibly traced to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Both literatures missed the connection.
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3. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Marlon Jesspher De Vera

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This paper presents an argument synthesized from the works of Sen and Žižek on how the one-dimensional view of pathological subjective violence is a mystification of the idea of violence. First, the paper provides an elaboration of the concept of objective violence as opposed to (but nonetheless still in relation to) subjective violence. Second, the paper follows with a discussion of the dialectics of the colonized mind as an example of how the objective violence of past colonialism is linked to the instigation of subjective violence even in recent times. Third, the paper provides a brief description of symbolic violence as another category of violence that is distinct from subjective violence. Lastly, the paper asserts its main argument on the mystification of subjective violence and proposes an alternative and more nuanced view of the mechanisms and causes of violence.
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4. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Landon Frim

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Should the state teach ethics? There is widespread disagreement on whether (and how) secular states should be in the business of promoting a particular moral viewpoint. This article attempts to schematize, and evaluate, these stances. It does so by posing three, simple questions: (1) Should the state explicitly promote certain ethical values over others? (2) Should the state have ultimate justifications for the values it promotes? (3) Should the state compel its citizens to accept these ultimate justifications? Logically, each question in this series is a prerequisite for considering those questions further down the list. The result is that responses can be categorized into one of four possible permutations or ‘camps.’ These are: (1) The Libertarian (“No” to all three questions) (2) The Pluralist (“Yes” to question 1; “No” to questions 2 and 3) (3) The Rationalist Republican (“Yes” to questions 1 and 2; “No” to question 3) (4) The Rigorous Republican (“Yes” to all three questions) It will be shown that just one of these positions, the ‘rationalist republican,’ stands out from all the rest. For only the rationalist republican can account for a normative politics while also safeguarding the individual’s freedom of conscience.
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5. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Min Seong Kim

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The innovation of Alain Badiou’s theory of change, which has attracted a great amount of attention from scholars working in disciplines across humanities, social sciences, and art over the past two decades, cannot be appreciated independently of the account of situations prior to an event’s irruption, namely, the order of being that is conceived using modern set theory in his treatise on general ontology. Retracing the meticulous systematicity with which pre-evental situations are conceived in Being and Event, this paper offers a reconstruction of Badiou’s general ontology that points toward the potential therein for articulating an account of structures and situations that may be qualified as social.
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6. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Fernando Silva

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The topic of the ideal, that is, the topic of the possible or impossible human attainment of the absolute is ascribed divergent treatments throughout Kant’s work. Namely, it is either promptly accepted as possible by the critical Kant, and seen as something attainable by a means other than an infinite approximation (which would indeed imply a violation of autonomy, but denies the genuineness of the ideal), or it is rejected as impossible by the non-critical Kant, that is, it is seen as something attainable only through an infinite approximation (which would involve an unconditional acceptance of heteronomy, but safeguards the authenticity of an aspiration to the ideal). Yet, the topic of the ideal receives a new, if not conciliatory, at least mutually explanatory approach in Kant’s Anthropology. Here – such is our proposition – Kant proposes a terminus medius between both conceptions of ideal, insofar as he is led to ponder on the mutual benefits of an autonomic possibility and an heteronomic impossibility of an infinite progression in thought; something which Kant proposes under the form of an almost-infinite, or an almost perennial, yet finite duration, to be endured until the attainment of an almost unreachable, yet indeed reachable practical ideal. A terminus medius which, we hope to prove, is none other than that at the root of Kant’s proposition of Pragmatic Anthropology as a mediating science in Kant’s fundamental scheme of human knowledges, and which therefore may be ultimately seen as the embodiment of Kant’s anthropo-cosmological, or indeed cosmopolitical dimension of thought, as expressed in Kant’s political and/or historical writings.
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7. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2

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8. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2

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9. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2

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research articles

10. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Scott Aikin, William O. Stephens

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11. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Chuck Chakrapani

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Stoic Minimalism may be described as ‘just enough Stoicism.’ Just enough for what? Just enough to lead the good life. Just enough to cope with the stress of modern life. Just enough to not be rattled by the constant changes that characterize the times we live in. Just enough to be resilient in the face of misfortune. Just enough to have the freedom to reject unproven or unprovable concepts. In essence, Stoic Minimalism is an attempt to retain whatever is valuable in ancient Stoicism and the freedom to discard whatever is unproven, unhelpful, or incompatible with our everyday lives. For the Stoic Minimalist, Stoic ethics is a logically self-contained system in which rationality is the principle, wisdom is the means, and happiness is the end. The purpose of this paper is to expand on this theme.
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12. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Christopher Gill

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How much theory is enough for a complete account of ancient Stoic ethics and for modern life-guidance? Stoic ethics was presented either purely in its own terms or combined with the idea of human or universal nature (or both). Although the combination of ethical theory with human and universal nature provides the most complete account, each of these modes of presentation was regarded as valid and can provide modern life-guidance.
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13. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Kai Whiting, Aldo Dinucci, Edward Simpson, Leonidas Konstantakos

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In Stoic theology, the universe constitutes a living organism. Humankind has often had a detrimental impact on planetary health. We propose that the Stoic call to live according to Nature, where God and Nature are one and the same, provides a philosophical basis for re-addressing environmental degradation. We discuss the value of the logocentric framework and aligning oneself with Divine will and natural law (as stated by reason) in order that living beings can thrive.
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14. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Scott Aikin

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The Stoics held that the wise person does not err. This thesis was widely criticized in the ancient world and runs afoul of contemporary fallibilist views in epistemology. Was this view itself an error? On one line, the view can be modified to accommodate many of the critical lines against it. Some of these lines of modification are consistent with traditional Stoic value theory (for example, importing the notion of preferred indifferents into epistemic considerations). However, others require larger modifications to Stoic axiology (in particular, a revision of the equality of errors thesis). A version of the no errors thesis emerges as defensible against the criticisms of the view, but there is then the question as to whether it is an orthodox Stoicism.
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15. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Emily McGill

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The idea that the ancient Stoics are (proto)feminists is relatively common. Even those critical of this position acknowledge that certain features of Stoicism render the philosophical program appropriate for a feminist reimagining. Yet less attention has been paid to developing a positive theory of Stoic feminism. I begin this task by outlining Stoic insights for a feminist conception of personal autonomy. I argue that, present in the Stoic doctrine of prohairesis, we find a dual conception of personal autonomy according to which socially constructed selves maintain an individualist autonomy. This individualist view of autonomy is in line with Stoic compatibilism about freedom and selfhood, which I use as structural analogies to motivate my account. I then highlight potential feminist payoffs of a Stoic-inspired view, particularly for the contemporary feminist debate about autonomy under oppression.
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16. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
William O. Stephens

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The norms of simplicity, convenience, unfussiness, and self-control guide Diogenes the Cynic, Zeno of Citium, Chrysippus, Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius in approaching food. These norms generate the precept that meat and dainties are luxuries, so Stoics should eschew them. Considerations of justice, environmental harm, anthropogenic global climate change, sustainability, food security, feminism, harm to animals, personal health, and public health lead contemporary Stoics to condemn the meat industrial complex, debunk carnism, and select low input, plant-based foods.
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17. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Tristan J. Rogers

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What might a Stoic approach to politics look like? David Goodhart aptly describes the political divide pervading Western societies in terms of the ‘somewheres,’ who are communitarian, rooted in particular places, and resistant to social and political change, versus the ‘anywheres,’ who are cosmopolitan, mobile, and enthusiastic embracers of change. Stoicism recognizes a similar distinction. This paper defends a conservative interpretation of Stoic politics. According to ‘Stoic conservatism,’ cosmopolitanism is an ethical ideal through which we perform the obligations assigned by our communitarian role(s) in society. The view is ‘conservative’ in that it favors existing institutions as the starting point for virtue instead of reasoning a priori about what virtue requires. Stoic politics consists neither in cosmopolitan transcendence of particular attachments, nor in passive acceptance of the communitarian status quo, but in ethical improvement toward virtue, within the political structure of society.
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18. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Alyssa Lowery

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Stoicism’s tremendous recent popularity provides an opportunity to update the tradition for a contemporary audience. In this paper, I review one such update: Stoicism’s conception as a ‘big tent,’ first as depicted by two prominent figures in contemporary Stoicism – Ryan Holiday and Massimo Pigliucci – then how it fares in light of two challenges, Stoic Resignation and Stoic Reductionism. I conclude by arguing for a self-determination that emphasizes Stoic ethical commitments and attends to its social features, even at the cost of such a big tent.
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19. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1

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20. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1

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