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Harold Noonan

Abstract

Eric Olson has argued, startlingly, that no coherent account can be giv­en of the distinction made in the personal identity literature between ‘complex views’ and ‘simple views’. ‘We tell our students,’ he writes, ‘that accounts of personal identity over time fall into [these] two broad categories’. But ‘it is impossible to characterize this distinction in any satisfactory way. The debate has been systematically misdescribed’. I argue, first, that, for all Olson has said, a recent account by Noonan provides the coherent characterization he claims impossible. If so we have not been wrong all along in the way he says in what we have been telling our students. I then give an account of the distinction between the reductionist and non-reductionist positions which makes it differ­ent from the complex/simple distinction. The aim is to make clear sense of the notion of a not simple but non-reductionist position-which seems an eminently reasonable possibility and something it may also be useful to tell our students about.

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Uri D. Leibowitz

Abstract

The paper identifies a distinctive feature of friendship. Friendship, it is argued, is a relationship between two people in which each participant values the other and successfully communicates this fact to the other. This feature of friendship, it is claimed, explains why friendship plays a key role in human happiness, why it is praised by philosophers, poets, and novelists, and why we all seek friends. Although the characterization of friendship proposed here differs from other views in the literature, it is shown that it accommodates key insights of other writers on the topic. Thus, in accordance with the Aristotelian strategy the paper employs, it is shown that the account on offer preserves the received opinions on friendship.

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Baptiste Le Bihan

Abstract

‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and emergence in order to analyse the constitution of space by non-spatial entities. It follows that space constitution, if borne out, does not provide empirical evidence in favour of a stratified, Aristotelian in spirit, metaphysics. The view will be described in relation to two particular research programs in contemporary physics: wave function realism and loop quantum gravity.

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Andrea Roselli

Abstract

What is the Specious Present? Which is its duration? And why, ultimately, do we need it to figure in our phenomenological account of temporal perception? In this paper, after introducing the role of the Specious Present in the main models that account for our phenomenological present, and after considering the deflationary objection by Dennett (that the debate relies on the fallacy of the Cartesian Theatre of Mind, the idea that it is meaningful to ask where and when an experience becomes conscious), I claim—thanks to a spatial analogy—that there could be a good criterion to distinguish between a present experience and a past experience, that there are good reasons to sustain the Specious Present (while snapshots are in no sense part of our phenomenological life), and that there could be a precise way to define the nature—and to measure the duration—of the Specious Present; as I will clarify, our capability and possibility to act and react are central in this perspective. If we accept this change of perspective, there is a definite sense in which the Specious Present is part of our temporal phenomenology.

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Joel Smith

Abstract

I argue for the view that some we-thoughts are immune to error through misidentification (IEM) relative to the first-person plural pronoun. To prepare the ground for this argument I defend an account of the semantics of ‘we’ and note the variety of different uses of that term. I go on to defend the IEM of a certain range of we-thoughts against a number of objections.

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Bianca Cepollaro and Giuliano Torrengo

Abstract

In this paper we discuss two issues addressed by Stanley in How Propaganda Works: the status of slurs (Section 1) and the notion of positive propaganda (Section 2). In particular, in Section 1 we argue contra Stanley that code words like ‘welfare’ are crucially different from slurs in that the association between the lexical item and an additional social meaning is not as systematic as it is for slurs. In this sense, slurs bring about a special kind of propagandistic effect, even if it typically concerns informal contexts rather than public debates. In Section 2, we consider positive propaganda and its relation to emotional effects. For Stanley, positive propaganda relies on the production of emotional effects, feature which risks to erode rational debates even if there is a good purpose behind. Instead, we argue that positive propaganda can work with no appeal to emotions. To this end, we focus on the use of ‘she’ as the default personal pronoun in academic writing and suggest that this measure can count as positive propaganda which rather than eroding rational debates by relying on emotional effects, closely resembles affirmative action aimed at counterbalance a pre-existing form of injustice and inequality.

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Maria Cristina Amoretti

Abstract

In this paper I focus on the connection between some of Stanley’s claims about propaganda and flawed ideologies, and the idea of the social situatedness or perspective-relativity of knowledge. More precisely, I will try to show how Stanley’s reflections on the nature of propaganda and its relationship with flawed ideologies push us towards the empiricists’ characterisation of the social situatedness of knowledge. Not only do these reflections reveal some important weaknesses of standpoint theories (that is, the claim of epistemic asymmetry between advantaged and negatively advantaged groups, and the necessity of actively achieving a standpoint), but they also support the request for the pluralism, rational critique, cooperation, fair discussion and epistemic integration fostered by social empiricism. This means that the broad idea of the social situatedness of knowledge should be defended and further developed along the lines sketched by social empiricism.

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Olúfémi O. Táíwò

Abstract

Jason Stanley’s How Propaganda Works roots the danger of undermining propaganda in an ideology based account of politics, treating individuals’ beliefs and social belief systems as the primary target and mechanism of undermining propaganda. In this paper I suggest a theoretical alternative to the role ideology plays in Stanley’s theories and theories like it, which I call practice first. A practice first account instead treats public behavior as the primary target of propaganda, and analyzes undermining propaganda as altering the incentive structure that sets the terms for public behavior.

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Geoffrey S. Holtzman

Abstract

Moral theorists like Singer (2005) and Greene (2014) argue that we should discount intuitions about ‘up-close-and-personal’ moral dilemmas because they are more likely than intuitions about ‘impersonal’ dilemmas to be artifacts of evolution. But by that reasoning, it seems we should ignore the evolved, ‘up-close-and-personal’ intuition to save a drowning child in light of the too-new-to-be-evolved, ‘impersonal’ intuition that we need not donate to international famine relief (contra Singer 1972; Greene 2008). This conclusion seems mistaken and horrifying, yet it cannot be the case both that ‘up-close-and-personal’ intuitions are more reliable than ‘impersonal’ intuitions, and vice versa. Thus, Singer’s (2005) evolutionary debunking argument proves too much, and should not be taken seriously. However, Singer’s debunking argument is typical of an entire class of arguments that seeks to debunk normative principles by reference to evolution. This entire class of argument, I argue, therefore also proves too much to be taken seriously.

Open access

Samuel Director

Abstract

Jennifer Saul argues that the evidence from the literature on implicit biases entails a form of skepticism. In this paper, I argue that Saul faces a dilemma: her argument is either self-defeating, or it does not yield a skeptical conclusion. For Saul, both results are unacceptable; thus, her argument fails.