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Displaying: 41-60 of 423 documents


41. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Victoria S. Wike

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This paper explores Kant’s definition of happiness as it appears in the Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason. Three accounts of happiness are considered: contentment, the satisfaction of all one’s inclinations, and, the satisfaction of a system of inclinations. The paper discusses the extent to which there is textual evidence for each of these accounts and considers the arguments of Watson, Paton, Gregor, and Beck in support of these various accounts. It concludes by arguing that the first account of happiness is the weakest and that the third account is the strongest.
42. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Kenneth R. Westphal

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It has become a veritable industry to defend Descartes against the charge of circularity and, to a lesser extent, to argue that he successfully responds to the skepticism of Sextus Empiricus. Since one of Sextus’ main skeptical ploys is to press the charge of circularity against any view, and because Descartes does reply to Sextus, it is worthwhile to criticize these efforts in the same paper. I argue that Descartes did not successfully respond to Sextus’ skeptical arguments. I argue that he is guilty of not one but of five distinct circularities in his defense of empirical knowledge, thst clearing him of such charges can only be had by rendering him naively dogmatic, and that he fails to respond to a Pyrrhonisn contraposition argument. One circle concerns divine logical voluntarism. Another concerns the semantic component of innate ideas. A third arises from his natural inability to disbelieve whatever he clearly and distinctly perceives. A fourth circularity arises in Descartes’ proof that he cannot have generated his idea of God. A final circularity concerns Descartes’ attempt to verify the reliability of his thinking nature by employing that very same thinking nature. To substantiate these claims I review the principles of Sextus’ arguments briefly and I reexamine Descartes’ texts and doctrines in detail. I also take occasion to reflect on why Descartes’ foundationalist program must have failed.
43. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Erdinç Sayan

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Ned Block’s Chinese Nation Argument is offered as a counterexample to Turing-machine functionalism. According to that argument, one billion Chinese could be organized to instantiate Turing-machine descriptions of mental states. Since we wouldn’t want to impute qualia to such an organized population, functionalism cannot account for the qualitative character of mental states like pain. Paul Churchland and Patricia Churchland have challenged that argument by trying to show that an adequate representation of the complexity of mind requires at least 10 30,000,000 homunculi. As such a large collection of Chinese is beyond comprehension, the intuitive force of Block’s example would be undercut. I argue that Churchland and Church land erroneously assume that every possible input-state combination in the human Turing-machine table must be assigned a homunculus. I attempt to restore the intuitive force of Block’s thought experiment by pointing to a way to simulate the human mind that does not require any such staggering number of homunculi.
44. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Edward Walter

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I propose a broad concept of happiness as an ultimate moral goal that is consistent with what reflective people desire and what people generally approve. Broad happiness includes many and various pleasures, a minimum of pain, a predominately active life and awareness of what can be attained. Besides these characteristics, which are found in Mill, I add that mental and physical faculties must be developed in accord with biological potential, people must be able to choose activities that exercise their developed faculties and must be able to achieve many of the goals toward which their activities aim. This claim can be established by considering scientific data and analyzing what moralists usually approve. According to it, intellectual activities will be found to be the most important aspects of happiness.My concept will differ from Mill’s in that I reject the notion that happiness is synonymous with pleasure and the absence of pain, although both are part of happiness. Because Mill adopted this definition, his theory produced many anomalies. For example, in order to maintain that intellectual activities are morally superior, Mill was led to introduce qualities of pleasure. This maneuver is inconsistent with his empiricism. Moreover, the activities that are most approved from a moral point of view cannot be explained by the pleasure principle. The broad concept of happiness can account for the primacy of intellectual activities and those activities that are most often morally approved.
45. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Philip N. Lawton, Jr.

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Nietzsche wrote that he owed his philosophy to his long sickness, which he called “the teacher of great suspicion”. The present paper considers the related ideas of the will to power and the eternal return in the light of Nietzsche’s concepts of sickness and health. This reading of Nietzsche’s works is guided by the interpretations of Gilles Deleuze and Pierre Klossowski, whose commentaries have been most influential in shaping French neo-Nietzscheanism since 1965; however, those passages literally or metaphorically employing the language of physical and mental illness and health are emphasized. After introducing the key concepts of will, force, affirmation, and self, the paper develops the idea of active and reactive forces, presents the eternal return as a selective doctrine, and considers the meaning of arnor fati. It closes with remarks, based upon Nietzsche’s views, on the interpretation of philosophical texts and on the relationship between the philosopher’s life and works.
46. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
L. Nathan Oaklander

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Delmas Lewis has argued that the tenseless view of time is committed to a view of personal identity according to which no one can be held morally responsible for their actions. His argument, if valid, is a serious objection to the tenseless view. The purpose of this paper is to defend the detenser by pointing out the pitfalls in Lewis’ argument.
47. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Allen S. Hance

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By tracing the general evolution of HusserI’s theory of logic and mathematics, this essay explores Husserl’s identification and strategic overcoming of the two forms of psychologism--Iogical psychologism and transcendental psychologism--that bar the way to rigorous phenomenological inquiry. In the early works “On the Concept of Number” and the Philosophie der Arithmetik Husserl himself falls victim to a particular form of logical psychologism. By the time of the Logical Investigations this problem has been dealt with: the method of eidetic intuition enables an account of the “origins” of logical and mathematical concepts without reducing such concepts to mere predicates of mental acts. The task of Formal and Transcendental Logic is to disclose the more pervasive problem of transcendental psychologism, one that taints even the theory of pure logic articulated in the Logical Investigations. A radical solution is provided through the development of an “ultimate logic” of transcendental subjectivity.
48. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Richard O’Neil

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Ferdinand Schoeman criticizes the liberal view of the family which holds that parental rights are based in and limited by parental duties to the child. Instead he proposes the construction of principles based on the value of familial intimacy. Schoeman claims that only by recognizing the value of intimacy can we account for the degree of autonomy we legitimately grant parents in their relations with their children. In opposition, I argue that he misinterprets the liberal view. A correct interpretation allows an appropriate degree of parental autonomy and familial intimacy but without sacrificing the child’s developmental needs.
49. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Isaac Nevo

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This paper contrasts the religiosity ihai is expressed by the mysticism of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, which moves away from ihe traditional “narratives” of revealed religion, with Wittgenstein’s later expressions of religiosity, which endorse those “narratives” and take place within them. The paper discusses the importance of this development in Wittgenstein’s religious experience in relation to the developments in Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Both religious and philosophical developments are placed in the context of Wittgenstein’s self-directed anti-Semitism, which is interpreted in terms of the anomalies of Jewish assimilation and acculturation in the inhospitable environment of European anti-Semitism. The outcome is an account of Wittgenstein as a historical figure, which can shed light on many aspects of his philosophy. To gain credibility, the account proceeds by means of a close exegesis of some Wittensteinian passages that were not adequately explained before.
50. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
John O. Nelson

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In this essay I try, first, to show that Lockean passages in Book I can be given a Berkeleian interpretation. I take two passages that have, in particular, been cited as allowing only a Lockean interpretation and show how they can be more coherently construed as Berkeleian in their intended meaning. In the process of this demonstration I show that only a Berkeleian interpretation is tenable for Book I. Second, I defend the Berkeleian interpretation against several charges; for instance, a charge of textual inconsistency. I do, however, acknowledge in the process that in the Enquiry and subsequently Hume abandons Berkeley for Locke. I then offer an explanation of why he did and lastly I try to show that though Hume is thereby committed to an inconsistency he provides a way for justifying his (and our) conversational commitment to that inconsistency.
51. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Rod Bertolet

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Peter Klein claims to have explicated the notion of relative certainty and shown how it is related to the notion of absolute evidential certainty in his book Certainty. I argue that he has not succeeded at this because the account of relative certainty provided only applies to a subset of the pairs of propositions about which we make judgments of relative certainty.
52. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Maryanne Bertram

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy is not a simple revision of the themes of Phenomenology of Perception. It is a radical change of the kind Thomas Kuhn found in the history of science which involves: (1) a persistent anomaly, (2) the formation of new assumptions and (3) the creation of a new vocabulary. This paper concentrates on the problem Merleau-Ponty had with the tacit cogito and shows how he broke the tension it caused by changing the paradigm of his philosophy. It also examines that new philosophy to see whether it is more compatible with Christianity as some commentators have claimed.
53. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
David Basinger

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P.J. McGrath has recently challenged the standard claim that to escape the problem of evil one need only alter one’s conception of God by limiting his power or his goodness. If we assume that God is infinitely good but not omnipotent, then God can scarcely be a proper object of worship. And if we assume that if God is omnipotent but limited in goodness, he becomes a moral monster. Either way evil remains a problem for theistic belief. I argue that McGrath fails to distinguish between the deductive and inductive problem of evil and between a limitation in God’s “strength” and a limitation in God’s “ability to act”, and that once these distinctions are made, his argument fails.
54. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
John L. Longeway

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I argue that Nicholas of Cusa agrees with Thomas Aquinas on the metaphysics of analogy in God, but differs on epistemology, taking a Platonic position against Aquinas’ Aristotelianism. As a result Cusa has to rethink Thomas’ solution to the problem of discourse about God. In De docta ignorantia he uses the mathematics of the infinite as a clue to the relations between a thing and its Measure and this allows him, he thinks, to adapt Aquinas’ approach to the problem of his own epistemology. The resulting approach, I maintain, is coherent and reasonable if the metaphysical views behind it are.
55. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Chester Chapin

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Adding to A.O. Aldridge’s 1951 list, this list of British eighteenth-century references to Shaftesbury provides further evidence that the philosophy of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson is an important rival to Lockean empiricism during the early and middle decades of the century. The peak of Shaftesbury’s influence occurs during the 1740’s and 1750’s when the deist controversy was at its height. A more conservative political and religious climate of opinion after 1759 is one reason for the decline of Shaftesbury’s reputation as a philosopher. Another is Shaftesbury’s displacement by Hume as an important enemy of orthodox Christianity. During the 1760’s and later, Hume is attacked by the Scottish “common sense” philosophers, who find anticipations of Humean scepticism in Locke and Berkeley (but not in Shaftesbury), thereby unwittingly helping to provide the foundation for the eventual establishment of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume as the “big three” of eighteenth-century philosophy.
56. 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.
57. 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.
58. 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.
59. 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.
60. 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.