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Displaying: 21-36 of 36 documents


21. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
James M. Humber

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In this essay I examine seven of the best-known attempts to define ‘sexual perversion’. I argue that if these definitions are meant to prescribe our use of ‘sexual perversion’, the definitions are really theoretical definitions, and none can be accepted because the arguments offered in support of the definitions are either incomplete or misdirected. Next, I argue that it is not possible to formulate a definition of ‘sexual perversion’ which captures our ordinary use of the term because common usage indicates that ‘sexual perversion’ is a cluster term. Finally, I consider whether it is possible to develop and defend a theoretical definition of ‘sexual perversion’. I argue that to succeed in this task one must first demonstrate that a particular theory of human nature is true, and that this cannot be done because human nature is an essentially contested concept.
22. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Charles Echelbarger

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In this paper, the author discusses the feasibility of constructing a Humean model of the psychological realities of categorical propositions and syllogistic deduction by employing only Hume’s kinds of “ideas” and kinds of mental operations on ideas which Hume explicitly or implicitly postulated in his theory of discursive thinking.
23. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Bat-Ami Bar On

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In this paper I suggest that the Humean male and Humean female of Hume’s Treatise would have different mental lives due to a great extent to what Hume takes to be the socio-culture in place. Specifically, I show that the Humean male would be incapable but the Humean female would be capable of forming a Humean sex-neutral general idea of man. The Humean male’s inability is not innate but the result of the trauma he experiences when discovering sexuality, reproduction and realizing how insecure a claim of paternity is. The Humean female not having such a traumatic experience is not impaired in the same way. Insofar as she is impaired, it is because in the very same socio-culture she cannot exercise her ability because it would endanger the socio-culture she is expected to partake in.
24. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Pedro Amaral

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My goal is to illustrate Descartes’ reliance on two quite different and competing interpretations of objective reality by explaining how each is used in defending his causal axioms. The initial criticism comes from Caterus (and is later taken up by Gassendi) who charges that Descartes makes it appear as if the thought in its objective aspect (the intentional entity) is really distinct from the thought qua modification of the mind (i.e., the thought in its formal aspect). This implies that the object-of-the-thought is actually distinct from the thought-of-the-object in which case, (a) Descartes cannot account for the purported relation between the two, and (b) the intentional entity must exemplify properties which belong neither “immaterially” to mental substance nor concretely to physical substance. Descartes rejects Caterus’ assessment of his position: he has not introduced a fourth kind of real entity into the causal order distinct from the mind, its modifications, and the physical object thought of. However, in responding to Caterus, Descartes implicitly appeals to a Suarezian theory of intentionality in which reference to the ostensibly separate reality of the objective entity is reducible to the formal concept: the thought-of-the-object is not really distinct from the object-of-thought. Clearly, Descartes cannot explicitly use the Suarezian theory because it relies on a system of causal explanation (the doctrine of the species “flitting through the air”) which Descartes rejects on scientific grounds. I shall argue that Descartes is committed to a notion of the “form” of the mind, viz., a modification of mind, which should allow for a non-relational modeling of the thought qua modification of the mind and its intentional object, but that he cannot consistently attribute to mental acts enough structure to support his theory.
25. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Emmett L. Holman

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The subjectivity of consciousness is widely regarded as a major stumbling block for materialist theories of mind. In this paper I show how Kripkean arguments against identity theories (Kripke, 1972), and in particular a Kripkean argument against qualia-material property identity developed by Frank Jackson (1980) are a way of highlighting this problem. (And such arguments are not the quasi-historical curiosities they are sometimes pictured as being, because problems confronting functionalism have led to a modest revival of identity theory.) As such, Kripkean arguments are akin to recent discussions of subjectivity by Thomas Nagel (1965, 1974, 1979) and Frank Jackson (1982). I then consider some recent attempts to refute Kripkean arguments or otherwise show that subjectivity is not an insurmountable problem for identity theory. The most promising attempt is one that I myself develop, based on some ideas by Keith Gunderson (1970). But I contend that even it, let alone any of the others, is not without problems. Thus, tentatively, Kripkean arguments against property identity succeed.
26. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Thomas W. Satre

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This paper argues that the general practice of punishment cannot be successfully defended by appeals to social contract arguments based upon the work of John Rawls. Several attempts to present such justifications are discussed, including those by Murphy, Morris, Sterba, and Hoekema. It is argued that social contractors would not choose a practice of punishment because such a practice is a symbolic expression of society’s disapproval of offenses against the law. Social contractors would instead choose a practice which might have some deterrent effect upon crime but would lack the feature of social contract theory.
27. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Gregory Mellema

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Without question the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, by Benjamin Bloom and associates, is currently the most influential work in the theory of curriculum. Here I summarize Bloom’s taxonomies, survey a variety of criticisms raised by others, and conclude that there are serious philosophical problems remainmg to be addressed concerning both the structure and scope of the taxonomies.
28. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Jane Duran

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In this paper I describe a shift in Russell’s views on names from the time of “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism” to An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. It is the burden of the paper that the shift arose because Russell saw an ontological and epistemological problem created by his previous account of names, and because he then tried to correct it, while simultaneously endeavoring to establish an account consistent with science. Two lines of argument are employed to support this conclusion. In the first I cite the “Occam’s Razor” ontology of “Logical Atomism” and contrast it with the more fully developed ontology of the later work, incidentally citing the remarks of commentators such as Ayer. In the second line of argument I specifically adduce material designed to show the metaphysical and epistemic import of the change in view on the status of names, noting that the significance of the change goes far beyond mere usage of terms. Finally, in a subsidiary line of argument, I sketch Russell’s generally foundationalist approach to epistemology.
29. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Jeffery L. Geller

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This article analyzes Wittgenstein’s position on the grammatical incorrigibility of psychological self-ascriptions and shows how introspective statements can be of use to philosophers. In Wittgenstein On Rules and Private Language, Kripke notes Wittgenstein’s puzzling ambivalence toward introspection. On the one hand Wittgenstein repudiates introspection and on the other he uses it in his own philosophical investigations. To resolve the paradox, this paper distinguishes between introspective methodology in psychological and philosophical investigations. Wittgenstein’s arguments against introspection are specifically directed at introspective methodology in psychology. He argues that the use of introspection to discover “inner causes” commits one to a conception of “direct inner awareness”. On that conception, psychological self-ascriptions are considered highly reliable due to the superiority of the subjective vantage point in ascertaining one’s own mental contents. As an alternative, Wittgenstein maintains that this reliability stems from the grammar of the ascription. The paper places Wittgenstein’s alternative conception of incorrigibility into the context of his argument against the use of introspection in psychology.
30. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Robert Frederick

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In both the Principles and the Dialogues Berkeley argues that physical objects cannot exist independently of minds. In this paper I suggest an interpretation of the argument in the Dialogues that shows that his argument either relies on an invalid inference or begs the question. I conclude that his attempt to defeat scepticism by making physical objects mind-dependent is unsuccessful.
31. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Edward T. Bartlett

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Elizabeth Anscombe and Anthony Kenny disagree on whether or not it is possible to doubt the existence of one’s own body. Anscombe believes that such doubt makes sense while Kenny argues that it could make sense only if one supposed that he had become a bodyless Cartesian ego. To resolve the issue I explore the knowledge one acquires of himself, and thus the manner in which such knowledge might be weakened into doubt. Siding with Anscombe, I argue that under the conditions of sensory deprivation some very basic questions asked of oneself such as, “Which body?” cannot be answered. Without such answers, one can be uncertain about his own body. Such uncertainty, however, is to be explained by the autonomy of the relevant ‘J-thoughts’ and not because one had become a Cartesian ego.
32. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Pedro Amaral

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Among late Renaissance and early Modern philosophers, the concepts of “sympathy” or “harmony” are a recurring theme. My goal is to show that theories which rely on such concepts, far from being an attempt to avoid the emerging mechanistic or empirical trends, are actually the form which these trends took in the wake of an increasing disenchantment with Aristotelian psychology. Fracastorius, Suarez and Descartes provide the texts: their accounts of the interaction between cognitive faculties exhibit a growing awareness that the conception of causality had to be supplemented. And while each appears to share the general belief that aspects of the Thomistic-Aristotelian framework can survive the necessary changes, they disagree about how much dogmatic psychology has to be discarded. What they decide to leave in and the reasons given for discarding the rest provide insight into the history of explanation. It is in the metaphysics of harmony that we can trace the early growth of Rationalism.
33. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Gary J. Percesepe

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There is a certain ambiguity in Descartes’ Meditations, as there is any great sphere of endeavor. How, after all, does one bridge the gap between the autobiographical “I” of the Discourse and the Meditations, and the world of learned scholarship; the “guardians of tradition”, both religious and temporal? How does one mediate the way in which one is received by the tradition which has so eloquently been put out of play in the pursuit of one’s personal project? In short, how can Descartes ensure that his pioneering work is not misunderstood; that it is not viewed as a threat to religious and national institutions?In reflecting on these questions, I believe Descartes arrived at a concept of community which sought to balance personal autonomy with institutional obligation in such a way that the scientist’s ultimate judgment was preserved, while proximately acknowledgement was made of the prevailing scientific and religious “world picture”, and only challenged obliquely.Thus, there is a certain tension in Descartes’ theorizing about community, a tension which was quite naturally carried over into his practical community relationships. Furthermore, I will argue that Descartes’ “tool” for getting around in these tension filled community situations is what I shall call his doctrine of “order and intention”. Ultimately, it is this reliance upon intentionality which throws his “balance” out of balance, and gives rise to repeated charges of “dissimulation”. How this situation came to pass, and Descartes’ tortuous attempts at resolving the emerging problems, is largely the subject of the following pages.
34. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Alicia Juarrero Roqué

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The overwhelming majority of action theories have relied on a Humean model of causality and of explanation; even those theories that explicitly reject aspects of that model uncritically adopt others. The atomistic presuppositions embodied in the model are unable to account for either the dynamic and fabric-like nature of action or the features of control and meaning present therein. It is these atomistic presuppositions that give rise to the “Gettier-like vexations” that are common counterexamples in action theory. The Humean requirement that cause and effect be only contingently connected and generalizable into a covering law is also discussed with respect to the explanation of action.Representatives of the three major approaches to the problem of action: causal (including intentional, volitional, as well as agent causation and reasons-as-causes theories), behaviorist, so-called “contextual”, and teleological theories are examined.
35. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Kelly Alberts

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Roderick Chisholm contrasts semantic theories that presuppose “the primacy of the intentional” with those that presuppose “the primacy of the linguistic”. In The First Person he attempts to develop an analysis of first person singular reference that presupposes the primacy of the intentional. In this paper I attempt to develop a semantics of first person singular reference (what I call ‘I-reference’) that presupposes the primacy of the linguistic. I do three things in the paper. First, I criticize Chisholm’s (and Frege’s) account. Second, I attempt to answer the general criticism that is commonly leveled against an analysis of ‘I’ that presupposes the primacy of the linguistic. Third and finally, building upon insights of David Kaplan, I present an interpretation of meaning-rule under which ‘I’ operates in its first person use.
36. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Robert McKim

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I begin with an examination of Berkeley’s various suggestions about how to account for the continued existence of physical objects which are unperceived by finite spirits. After dismissing some of these suggestions I attempt to combine others in a unified theory which involves an appeal to what finite perceivers would perceive if they were in the right conditions, to the operation of the will of God, and to the perception of God. I assess the merits, both philosophical and textual, of the unified theory. In the final section I comment on the implications of this theory of continuity for our conception of a Berkeleian physical object.