Philosophical Studies

http://link.springer.com/journal/11098

List of Papers (Total 137)

No excuses for moral realism

Many believe that there is at least some asymmetry between the extent to which moral and non-moral ignorance excuse. I argue that the exculpatory force of moral ignorance—or lack thereof—poses a thus far overlooked challenge to moral realism. I show, firstly, that if there were any mind-independent moral truths, we would not expect there to be an asymmetry in exculpatory force ...

Prospects for timbre physicalism

Timbre is that property of a sound that distinguishes it other than pitch and loudness, for instance the distinctive sound quality of a violin or flute. While the term is obscure, the concept has played an important, implicit role in recent philosophy of sound. Philosophers have debated whether to identify sounds with properties of waves, events, or objects. Many of the intuitive ...

Fictionalism versus deflationism: a new look

In the recent literature there has been some debate between advocates of deflationist and fictionalist positions in metaontology. The purpose of this paper is to advance the debate by reconsidering one objection presented by Amie Thomasson against fictionalist strategies in metaontology. The objection can be reconstructed in the following way. Fictionalists need to distinguish ...

Taking a chance on KK

Dorr et al. (Philos Stud 170:277–287, 2014) present a case that poses a challenge for a number of plausible principles about knowledge and objective chance. Implicit in their discussion is an interesting new argument against KK, the principle that anyone who knows p is in a position to know that they know p. We bring out this argument, and investigate possible responses for ...

Threefoldness

Theories of picture perception aim to understand our perceptual relation to both the picture surface and the depicted object. I argue that we should talk about not two, but three entities when understanding picture perception: (A) the picture surface, (B) the three dimensional object the picture surface visually encodes and (C) the three dimensional depicted object. As (B) and (C) ...

Why it is Disrespectful to Violate Rights: Contractualism and the Kind-Desire Theory

The most prominent theories of rights, the Will Theory and the Interest Theory, notoriously fail to accommodate all and only rights-attributions that make sense to ordinary speakers. The Kind-Desire Theory, Leif Wenar’s recent contribution to the field, appears to fare better in this respect than any of its predecessors. The theory states that we attribute a right to an individual ...

How to embed an epistemic modal: Attitude problems and other defects of character

This paper develops a contextualist account of certain recalcitrant embedding phenomena with epistemic modals. I focus on three prominent objections to contextualism from embedding: first, that contextualism mischaracterizes subjects’ states of mind; second, that contextualism fails to predict how epistemic modals are obligatorily linked to the subject in attitude ascriptions; and ...

Does the repugnant conclusion have any probative force?

In engaging with the repugnant conclusion many contemporary philosophers, economists and social scientists make claims about what a minimally good life is like. For example, some claim that such a life is quite good by contemporary standards, and use this to defend classical utilitarianism, whereas others claim that it is not, and use this to uphold the challenge that the repugnant ...

The argument from almost indiscernibles

What I call the argument from almost indiscernibles is an argument, put forward by Robert Adams in 1979, for the possibility of indiscernibles based on the possibility of almost indiscernibles. The argument is that if almost indiscernibles are possible, indiscernibles are possible, but since almost indiscernible are possible, indiscernibles are possible. The argument seems to be an ...

Causal grounds for negative truths

Among truthmaker theorists it is generally thought that we are not able to use the entailment principle (i.e. the principle according to which truthmaking distributes across entailment) to ground negative truths. But these theorists usually only discuss truthmakers for truth-functional complexes, thereby overlooking the fact that there are non-truth-functional complexes whose truth ...

The descriptive content of names as predicate modifiers

In this paper I argue that descriptive content associated with a proper name can serve as a truth-conditionally relevant adjunct and be an additional contribution of the name to the truth-conditions. Definite descriptions the so-and-so associated by speakers with a proper name can be used as qualifying prepositional phrases as so-and-so, so sentences containing a proper name NN is ...

Priority monism and essentiality of fundamentality: a reply to Steinberg

Steinberg has recently proposed an argument against Schaffer’s priority monism. The argument assumes the principle of Necessity of Monism, which states that if priority monism is true, then it is necessarily true. In this paper, I argue that Steinberg’s objection can be eluded by giving up Necessity of Monism for an alternative principle, that I call Essentiality of Fundamentality, ...

Powerful qualities, the conceivability argument and the nature of the physical

David Chalmers’ ‘conceivability’ argument against physicalism is perhaps the most widely discussed and controversial argument in contemporary philosophy of mind. Recently, several thinkers have suggested a novel response to this argument, which employs the ‘powerful qualities’ ontology of properties. In this paper, I argue that this response fails because it presupposes an ...

Good-making and organic unity

Since G. E. Moore introduced his concept of organic unity there has been some discussion of how one should best understand this notion and whether there actually are any organic unities in the Moorean sense. Such discussions do however often put general questions about part-whole relations to the side and tend to focus on interpreting our intuitive responses to possible cases of ...

An unresolved problem: freedom across lifetimes

Freedom is one of the central values in political and moral philosophy. A number of theorists hold that freedom (or, relatedly, opportunity) should either be the only or at least one of the central distribuenda in our theories of distributive justice. Moreover, many follow Mill and hold that a concern for personal freedom should guide, and limit, how paternalist public policy can ...

Counterfactual reasoning and knowledge of possibilities

Williamson has argued against scepticism concerning our metaphysically modal knowledge, by arguing that standard patterns of suppositional reasoning to counterfactual conclusions provide reliable sources of correct ascriptions of possibility and necessity. The paper argues that, while Williamson’s claims relating to necessity may well be right, he has not provided adequate reasons ...

Abortion and miscarriage

Opponents of abortion sometimes hold that it is impermissible because fetuses are persons from the moment of conception. But miscarriage, which ends up to 89 % of pregnancies, is much deadlier than abortion. That means that if opponents of abortion are right, then miscarriage is the biggest public-health crisis of our time. Yet they pay hardly any attention to miscarriage, ...

Science, God and Ockham’s razor

In discussions about the existence of God, it is sometimes claimed that the progress of science has removed the need for God. This paper uses a Bayesian analysis of Ockham’s razor to formulate and evaluate this argument, which is referred to as the science explains away God argument (SEAGA). Four different strategies for responding to this argument are presented and evaluated. It ...

Positive truthmakers for negative truths: a solution to Molnar’s problem

The present paper addresses Molnar’s problem (Australas J Philos 78(1):72–86, 2000): that of finding positive truthmakers for negative truths. The proposed solution, called (Simple), is to hold truth and falsity to be primitive and positive features of propositions and to take every literal negative truth to be made true by the falsity of the atomic proposition that it embeds. The ...