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1. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 52 > Issue: 4
Chris Bessemans Universalizability in Moral Judgments: Winch’s Ambiguity
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Peter Winch once objected to Sidgwick’s universalizability thesis in that an agent’s nature would be of no interest to his judgment or the judgment about the agent’s action. While agreeing upon the relevance of the agent-as-person in moral judgments, I disagree with Winch’s conclusions. The ambiguity in Winch’s text reveals that Winch’s moral judgment is inconsistent, and this indicates that there is something wrong in Winch’s account. My claim, for which I am indebted to Aurel Kolnai, is that inserting the relevance of the circumstantially relevant features of the agent-as-person does not imply that one has to deny the universalizability of moral judgments. Differences in agents, if relevant to the situation, can cause differentiations in judgments and can allow bystanders to say that the agent did right or wrong although they themselves would have acted differently. But this possibility does not mean that the universalizability of moral judgments should be denied.
2. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 52 > Issue: 4
Mark A. Tietjen Antitheory and Edification: Williams and Kierkegaard on Some Possibilities for Philosophy
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This paper shows the remarkable compatibility of the thought of Bernard Williams and Søren Kierkegaard regarding what Williams would call the “limits” of philosophical ethics and practice. In different ways both Williams and Kierkegaard critique a reductionist conception of the ethical life, its obligations, and the prescriptions that ethical theories make based upon such conceptions. Additionally, the high level of reflectiveness in their respective societies worries both. For Williams the concern is an epistemological one, whereas for Kierkegaard the issue is moral. Upon juxtaposing their thought in these areas, I show how Kierkegaard extends the concerns that he shares with Williams by demonstrating a wider vision of what philosophical ethics can and should do.
3. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 52 > Issue: 4
Stephen R. Palmquist Could Kant’s Jesus Be God?
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Although Kant had a high regard for Jesus as a moral teacher, interpreters typically assume that his philosophy disallows belief in Jesus as God. Those who regard Kant as a moral reductionist are especially likely to offer a negative construal of the densely-argued subsection of his 1793 Religion that relates directly to this issue. The recent “affirmative” trend in Kant-scholarship provides the basis for an alternative reading. First, theologians must regard Jesus as human so that belief in Jesus can empower believers to become good. Second, theologians may refer to Jesus as divine by identifying his disposition as exemplifying the “archetype of perfect humanity.” Third, Judeo-Christian history poses an empirical problem that theologians can solve by interpreting Jesus’s divinity according to the schematism of analogy. While this does not constitute a robust (identifiably Christian) doctrine of Jesus’s divinity, it does provide clear guidelines for formulating such a tenet of historical faith.
4. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 52 > Issue: 4
Joseph Palencik Kant and the Limitations of Legitimized Historical Knowledge
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Kant’s emphasis on the individual knower often overshadows the social dimension in his thought. In particular, it is infrequently recognized that he has a coherent and well-developed theory of testimony. In this paper I develop Kant’s view of testimony and argue for the important distinction that he holds between historical belief derived from testimony and what I shall call mere belief. While beliefs of the former type can be justified and often amount to instances of knowledge, beliefs of the second type are not justified, cannot lead to knowledge, and yet may still be legitimately held.
5. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 52 > Issue: 4
Yu Zhenhua Polanyi and Wittgenstein on Doubt
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There is an interesting convergence between Michael Polanyi and Wittgenstein with respect to the problem of doubt. Polanyi carries out his “critique of doubt” on the basis of the distinction between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge and examines explicit doubt and tacit doubt. On the level of explicit doubt, Polanyi debunks the paradoxical nature of the principle of universal doubt and illuminates the fiduciary character of doubt. The introduction of the tacit dimension into the discussion of the problem of human knowledge leads Polanyi to discover tacit doubt. Polanyi’s critique of doubt finds strong echoes in Wittgenstein, especially in his On Certainty. Nevertheless, there are important differences between two thinkers. Wittgenstein’s emphasis on the practical aspect of a world-picture and Polanyi’s sensitivity to tacit doubt are among the most prominent items that set them apart.
6. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 1
Jean-Louis Hudry Aristotle on Modality and Predicative Necessity
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Many logicians have tried to formalize a modal logic from the Prior Analytics, but the general view is that Aristotle has failed to offer a consistent modal logic there. This paper explains that Aristotle is not interested in modal logic as such. Modalities for him pertain to the relations of predication, without challenging the assertoric system of deductions simpliciter. Thus, demonstrations or dialectical deductions have modal predicates and yet are still deductions simpliciter. It is a matter of distinguishing inferential necessity that applies to every deduction from the modal predicates in the two premises and conclusion. The modality of demonstrations can be either necessary or possible. The necessity is predicative, i.e., independent of inferential necessity. While the possible demonstration challenges the predicative necessity of the necessary demonstration, it preserves the inferential necessity of the deduction simpliciter.
7. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 1
Anders Kraal Is the Existence of the Best Possible World Logically Impossible?
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Since the 1960s an increasing number of philosophers have endorsed the thesis that there can be no such thing as “the best possible world.” In this paper I examine the main arguments for this thesis as put forth by George Schlesinger, Alvin Plantinga, Bruce Reichenbach, Peter Forrest, and Richard Swinburne. I argue that none of these arguments succeed in establishing the thesis and that the logical possibility of the best possible world is as yet an open question.
8. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 1
Mathew Lu Aristotle on Abortion and Infanticide
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Some recent commentators have thought that, if updated with the findings of modern embryology, Aristotle’s views on abortion would yield a pro-life conclusion. On the basis of a careful reading of the relevant passage from Politics VII, I argue that the matter is more complicated than simply replacing his defective empirical embryological claims with our more accurate ones. Since Aristotle’s view on abortion was shaped not only by a defective embryology but also by an acceptance of the classical Greek practice of exposure/ infanticide, substituting a more accurate embryology will not straightforwardly generate a strongly pro-life conclusion. In the end, this analysis reveals how different Aristotle’s ethical thought on this matter really is from the contemporary discussion of abortion.
9. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 1
Wojciech P. Grygiel Multiverse, M-theory, and God the Creator
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From a physical point of view, the no-boundary Hartle-Hawking model put forward in 1983 was an attempt to demonstrate that the incorporation of quantum effects into the general theory of relativity would solve the problem of singularities that make the theory of relativity incomplete. This was achieved by imposing the so called “no-boundary conditions” whereby the Universe could emerge with non-zero probability from a non-existing state. Stephen Hawking quickly turned this result into a metaphysical claim that physical laws explained away the necessity of the Divine intervention at the origin of the Universe. This paper offers an inquiry into the line of arguments presented by Hawking and Mlodinow in their book The Grand Design and supported with the claim that the yet unknown versionof the superstring theory, the M-theory, is an ultimate theory of the Universe. The upshot of the paper is that although the argument in the Grand Design relies on the newer achievements of physics embedded in the controversial multi-verse setting, it does not escape the question of the origin of the most general laws of physics that bring the Universe into existence.
10. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 1
John Zeis A Rawlsian Pro-Life Argument against Vegetarianism
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Animal rights and vegetarianism for ethical reasons are positions gaining in influence in contemporary American culture. Although I think that certain rights for animals are consistent with and even entailed by the Catholic understanding of morality, vegetarianism is not. There is a plausible argument for an omnivorous diet from a Rawlsian original position. It is in direct contradiction to the Rawlsian-influenced ethical vegetarianism espoused by Mark Rowlands. Vegetarianism is not the moral high ground: ethical vegetarianism is in fact contrary to a position on animals that is fundamentally pro-life.
11. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 1
Gregory S. Moss Hegel’s Free Mechanism: The Resurrection of the Concept
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In this paper I systematically reconstruct Hegel’s concept of “free mechanism” as developed in the Science of Logic. The term “free mechanism” appears absurd since each of the terms constituting it appears mutually exclusive. I argue that we may grasp it only on (1) the assumption of self-reference and (2) via a triad of syllogisms, which altogether constitute a process of alternating middle terms. On the whole, I employ Hegel’s account of “free mechanism” to illuminate the activity of objectivity, whereby the self-determining concept resurrects itself from its dormancy in an indifferent totality.
12. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 2
Michael Tkacz Albertus Magnus and the Error of Ptolemy: Metaphysics and the Origins of Empirical Research Programs
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Is our science of the physical world a matter of theoretical description with predictive value, or is it instead a search for the productive causes of observed phenomena? Ancient astronomers such as Ptolemy maintained the former; ancient cosmologists such as Aristotle the latter. This debate is a central theme in Albert Magnus’s thirteenth-century Aristotelian commentaries. This paper shows how Albert defended the possibility of empirical science aimed at demonstrating the causes of observed phenomena. In the course of his defense, Albert identifies a specific error committed by Ptolemy concerning the subject of physical theory. The identification and correction of this error provides the basis upon which a proper metaphysical foundation for the empirical sciences can be laid. This foundation is nothing other than the recovery of the Aristotelian notion of form as the immanent intelligibility of physical natures.
13. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 2
Michael Hector Storck Arts and Artifacts: An Aristotelian Approach
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In this paper I consider the nature of artifacts by looking at them as essentially connected with art in the broad sense of τέχvη or ars. After discussing the natural and the artificial in the light of Aristotle’s definition of nature in Physics II.1, I discuss artifacts using Aristotle’s definition of art in Nicomachean Ethics VI.4. This approach to artifacts is able to include not only paintings, poems, and plays but also found works of art, for there are some arts, such as navigation, whose making consists in finding rather than physical alteration. In addition to accommodating all the different sorts of artifacts that are produced by human making, approaching artifacts in this way implies that being an artifact does not distinguish any one kind of being. Rather, all artifacts essentially result from and thus relate to human making understood as action directed at something apart from the maker.
14. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 2
James G. Murphy, S.J. The Principle of Double Effect: Act-Types and Intentions
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Objections to the principle of double effect usually concern its first and second conditions (that the act not be evil in itself, and that the evil effect may not be intended). The difficulties often arise from a rejection of the idea that acts have a moral nature independent of context, and a tendency to interpret intention as purely psychological. This article argues that the “act itself” should be understood as the act-type and suggests that examples of evil act-types are not hard to find. It argues that the notion of intention is involved in both conditions, but in different ways. It proposes that these different ways can be interestingly illuminated by Anscombe’s distinction between acting intentionally and acting with an intention.
15. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 2
David W. Rodick Gabriel Marcel and American Philosophy
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Gabriel Marcel’s thought is deeply informed by the American philosophical tradition. Marcel’s earliest work focused upon the idealism of Josiah Royce. By the time Marcel completed his Royce writings, he had moved beyond idealism and adopted a form of metaphysical realism attributed to William Ernest Hocking. Marcel also developed a longstanding relationship with the American philosopher Henry Bugbee. These important philosophical relationships will be examined through the Marcellian themes of ontological exigence, intersubjective being, and secondary reflection. Marcel’s relationships with these philosophers are not serendipitous. They are expressions of Marcel’s deep Christian faith.
16. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 2
Joan Vergés Gifra Methodological Eclecticism in Practical Philosophy: Why It Would Be Better to Avoid It
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Methodological eclecticism has gained wide acceptance among practical philosophers in recent years. This paper analyzes and evaluates the strongest justifications supporting such a methodology: the primacy of practice thesis and the doctrine of value pluralism. Our aim is to show that methodological eclecticism cannot be justified by either of these considerations.
17. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 2
Kai Hauser Cantor’s Absolute in Metaphysics and Mathematics
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This paper explores the metaphysical roots of Cantor’s conception of absolute infinity in order to shed some light on two basic issues that also affect the mathematical theory of sets: the viability of Cantor’s distinction between sets and inconsistent multiplicities, and the intrinsic justification of strong axioms of infinity that are studied in contemporary set theory.
18. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 3
Eric v. d. Luft From Self-Consciousness to Reason in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: Aporia Overcome, Aporia Sidestepped, or Organic Transition?
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The transition from self-consciousness as the unhappy consciousness to reason as the critique of idealism is among the most important in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Yet this transition is implicit and not readily discernible. This paper investigates (1) whether we can discover and describe any roadblock that the unhappy consciousness is able to knock down, or despite which it is able to maneuver, and so become reason; or (2) whether the unhappy consciousness arrives at an impassable dead end and either manages to create a detour around it or just begins again, unexplained and unexplainably, almost ex nihilo, as reason; or (3) whether, despite its implicitness, there exists a continuous, tenable, and unimpeded path from self-consciousness to reason.
19. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 3
Michael Davis Locke (and Hobbes) on “Property” in the State of Nature
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Anyone reading the second of Two Treatises of Government after Leviathan must notice how much more civil Locke’s state of nature is in comparison to Hobbes’s. Many readers may also notice how much space the Second Treatise gives the subject of property. While Hobbes has only a few scattered sentences on property, Locke has the famous chapter five, which constitutes about a tenth of the whole Second Treatise (§§25–51). Private property in the state of nature seems to be what protects Locke’s Second Treatise from the absolutist conclusion of Hobbes’s Leviathan. The Second Treatise’s account of private property achieves that without even a minimal theory of property. What Locke offers instead in chapter five is a proof that property of a quite limited sort is possible in the state of nature. He does not—and need not—claim that this possibility was ever realized (as one must do in order to have even a minimal theory of property). Insofar as Locke offers a theory of property, it is the same as what Hobbes offers.
20. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 3
Peter Tumulty Recovering a More Robust Understanding of Naturalism and Human Rights: Remarks Inspired by McDowell and Wittgenstein
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To those working for human rights because of belief in their substantive value, Richard Rorty’s non-cognitivist advocacy of the Western culture of human rights is an example of a confused vision that is tragically self-defeating. Rorty undermines the grounds for a commitment that can transcend feelings and endure threats. In addition, the natural consequence of developing the reflective intelligence of the young would lead in time to seeing their “teachers” of human rights as cultural colonizers attempting to rob them of their identity. The argument here is that there is a more compelling vision of nature and human nature available that is (1) not a version of materialism, (2) eliminates having to confront materialism’s inherent difficulty with norms, and (3) can make intelligible and support a more self-aware, inspiring human rights culture. The argument draws upon, qualifies, and extends reinforcing insights to be found in the works of McDowell and Wittgenstein.