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1. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Crispin Wright Editorial Note
2. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Chris Dorst, Kevin Dorst Splitting the (In)Difference: Why Fine-Tuning Supports Design
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Given the laws of our universe, the initial conditions and cosmological constants had to be “fine-tuned” to result in life. Is this evidence for design? We argue that we should be uncertain whether an ideal agent would take it to be so—but that given such uncertainty, we should react to fine-tuning by boosting our confidence in design. The degree to which we should do so depends on our credences in controversial metaphysical issues.
3. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Kevin Reuter, Orcid-ID Michael Messerli, Orcid-ID Luca Barlassina Orcid-ID Not More than a Feeling: An Experimental Investigation into the Folk Concept of Happiness
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Affect-based theorists and life satisfaction theorists disagree about the nature of happiness, but agree about this methodological principle: a philosophical theory of happiness should be in line with the folk concept HAPPINESS. In this article, we present two empirical studies indicating that it is affect-based theories that get the folk concept HAPPINESS right: competent speakers judge a person to be happy if and only if that person is described as feeling pleasure/good most of the time. Our studies also show that the judgement that a person is feeling pleasure/good most of the time reliably brings about the judgement that they are satisfied with their life, even if that person is described as not satisfied. We suggest that this direct causal relation between the concepts POSITIVE AFFECT and LIFE SATISFACTION might explain why many philosophers have been attracted to life satisfaction theories.
4. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Catherine Rioux Orcid-ID A Higher-Order Approach to Diachronic Continence
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We often form intentions to resist anticipated future temptations. But when confronted with the temptations our resolutions were designed to withstand, we tend to revise our previous evaluative judgments and conclude that we should now succumb—only to then revert to our initial evaluations, once temptation has subsided. Some evaluative judgments made under the sway of temptation are mistaken. But not all of them are. When the belief that one should now succumb is a proper response to relevant considerations that have newly emerged, can acting in line with one’s previous intention nonetheless be practically rational? To answer this question, I draw on recent debates on the nature of higher-order evidence and on what rationally responding to such evidence involves. I propose that agents facing temptation often have evidence of “deliberative unreliability”, which they ought to heed even when it is “misleading” (that is, even when their evaluative judgments are in fact proper responses to the relevant considerations then available). Because evidence of deliberative unreliability can “dispossess” agents of normative reasons for evaluative judgments and actions that they would otherwise have, being continent despite judging that one should now succumb can often be more rational than giving in.
5. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Julio De Rizzo Orcid-ID No Choice for Incompatibilism
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P. van Inwagen famously offered three precise versions of the so-called Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. The third of these essentially employs the notion of an agent’s having a choice with respect to a proposition. In this paper, I offer two intuitively attractive accounts of this notion in terms of the explanatory connective ‘because’ and explore the prospects of the third argument once they are in play. Under either account, the argument fails.
6. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Roman Heil Orcid-ID Finding Excuses for J=K
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According to J=K, only beliefs that qualify as knowledge are epistemically justified. Traditionalists about justification have objected to this view that it predicts that radically deceived subjects do not have justified beliefs, which they take to be counter-intuitive. In response, proponents of J=K have argued that traditionalists mistake being justified with being excused in the relevant cases. To make this response work, Timothy Williamson has offered a dispositional account of excuse which has recently been challenged by Jessica Brown. She has presented cases in which Williamson’s account excuses subjects believing things in an epistemically reckless fashion. To steer clear of Brown’s counterexamples, I argue for a modification of Williamson’s account that employs a more fine-grained notion of the dispositions involved.
7. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Thomas Rowe, Orcid-ID David Papineau Orcid-ID Everett, Lotteries, and Fairness
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Defenders of the Everettian version of quantum mechanics generally hold that it makes no difference to what we ought to do. This paper will argue against this stance, by considering the use of lotteries to select the recipients of indivisible goods. On orthodox non-Everettian metaphysics this practice faces the objection that only actual and not probable goods matter to distributive justice. However, this objection loses all force within Everettianism. This result should be of interest to both philosophers of physics and to ethicists.
8. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Robert Hartman, Orcid-ID Benjamin Matheson Orcid-ID The Out of Character Objection to the Character Condition on Moral Responsibility
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According to the character condition, a person is morally responsible for an action A only if a character trait of hers non-accidentally motivates her performing A. But that condition is untenable according to the out of character objection because people can be morally responsible for acting out of character. We reassess this common objection. Of the seven accounts of acting out of character that we outline, only one is even a prima facie counterexample to the character condition. And it is not obvious that people act out of character in that sense. We argue that whether the out of character objection succeeds ultimately depends on the unnoticed methodological commitment that cases that may not resemble human life provide good data for theorizing about moral responsibility. But even if such cases provide good data, the forcefulness of the objection is at least deflated given that its persuasive power is supposed to come from clear real-life cases.
9. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Dan Cavedon-Taylor Orcid-ID Scalar Epistemic Consequentialism
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The following is an advertisement for scalar epistemic consequentialism. Benefits include an epistemic consequentialism that (i) is immune from the the no-positive-epistemic-duties objection and (ii) doesn’t require bullet-biting on the rightness of epistemic tradeoffs. The advertisement invites readers to think more carefully about both the definition and logical space of epistemic consequentialism.
10. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Issue Information
11. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Rohan French An Argument Against General Validity?
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This paper argues that a prominent—and oft-thought to be persuasive—argument against general validity as the best account of validity for languages containing the actuality operator is flawed, the flaw arising out of inadequate attention to the formalisation of mood distinctions.
12. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
John Divers, Crispin Wright Editorial
13. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Rogério Passos Severo A Note on Essential Indexicals of Direction
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Some authors claim that ‘I’ and ‘now’ are essential indexicals, in the sense that they cannot be eliminated in favor of other indexicals or nonindexical expressions. This article argues that three indexicals of direction—one for each spatial dimension (e.g., ‘up’, ‘front’, and ‘left’)—must also be regarded essential, insofar as they are used as pure indexicals and not as demonstratives.
14. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Roberto Loss Branching Time, Actuality and the Puzzle of Retrospective Determinacy
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The supervaluationist approach to branching time (‘SBT-theory’) appears to be threatened by the puzzle of retrospective determinacy: if yesterday I uttered the sentence ‘It will be sunny tomorrow’ and only in some worlds overlapping at the context of utterance it is sunny the next day, my utterance is to be assessed as neither true nor false even if today is indeed a sunny day. John MacFarlane (‘‘Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths’’ 81) has recently criticized a promising solution to this puzzle for falling short of an adequate account of ‘actually’. In this paper, I aim to rebut MacFarlane’s criticism. To this effect, I argue that: (i) ‘actually’ can be construed either as an indexical or as a nonindexical operator; (ii) if ‘actually’ is nonindexical, MacFarlane’s criticism is invalid; (iii) there appear to be independent reasons for SBT-theorists to claim that ‘actually’ is a nonindexical expression.
15. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Richard G. Heck Jr. A Liar Paradox
16. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Aaron Barth A Refutation of Frege’s Context Principle?
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This paper explores the limitations of current empirical approaches to the philosophy of language in light of a recent criticism of Frege’s context principle. According to this criticism, the context principle is in conflict with certain features of natural language use and this is held to undermine its application in Foundations of Arithmetic. I argue that this view is mistaken because the features with which the context principle is alleged to be in conflict are irrelevant to the principle’s methodological significance for our understanding of the role of analysis in analytic philosophy.
17. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Robert May What Frege’s Theory of Identity is Not
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The analysis of identity as coreference is strongly associated with Frege; it is the view in Begriffsschrift, and, some have argued, henceforth throughout his work. This thesis is incorrect: Frege never held that identity is coreference. The case is made not by interpretation of ‘‘proof-quotes’’, but rather by exploring how Frege actually deploys the concept. Two cases are considered. The first, from Grundgesetze, are the definitions of the core concepts, zero and truth; the second, from Begriffsschrift, is the validity of Leibniz’s Law. In both cases, if identity is coreference, results ensue that would be unacceptable to Frege.
18. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa Knowledge Norms and Acting Well
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I argue that evaluating the knowledge norm of practical reasoning is less straightforward than is often assumed in the literature. In particular, cases in which knowledge is intuitively present, but action is intuitively epistemically unwarranted, provide no traction against the knowledge norm. The knowledge norm indicates what it is appropriately to hold a particular content as a reason for action; it does not provide a theory of what reasons are sufficient for what actions. Absent a general theory about what sorts of reasons, if genuinely held, would be sufficient to justify actions—a question about which the knowledge norm is silent—many of the kinds of cases prevalent in the literature do not bear on the knowledge norm.
19. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Jason Gray Dueling Interveners: A Challenge to Frankfurt’s Conception of Free Will and Acting Freely
20. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Tom McClelland In Defence of Kantian Humility
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Kantian Humility (KH) holds that the intrinsic properties of objects are unknowable for agents such as ourselves. Categorial properties, such as being an object, present a potential threat to KH. Cowling (2010) argues that knowing KH to be true requires knowledge of categorial properties. However, if such properties are shown to be intrinsic properties, then KH is committed to their being unknowable. I defend KH by presenting three alternative responses to this challenge. First, that categorial properties are not properties in the sense relevant to KH. Second, that if they are properties, they are not intrinsic properties. Third, that if they are intrinsic properties, KH is not committed to their being unknowable. I also show how these responses can be applied to a related objection to KH offered by Moore (2001).