Philosophical Studies

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

List of Papers (Total 163)

Meeting constitutivists halfway

Constitutivism is best understood as a strategy for meeting a set of related metanormative challenges, rather than a fully comprehensive metanormative theory in its own right, or so many have plausibly argued. Whether this strategy succeeds may depend, in part, on which broader metanormative theory it is combined with. In this paper I argue that combining constitutivism with ...

Slurs, roles and power

Slurring is a kind of hate speech that has various effects. Notable among these is variable offence. Slurs vary in offence across words, uses, and the reactions of audience members. Patterns of offence aren’t adequately explained by current theories. We propose an explanation based on the unjust power imbalance that a slur seeks to achieve. Our starting observation is that in ...

Making sense of (in)determinate truth: the semantics of free variables

It is argued that truth value of a sentence containing free variables in a context of use (or the truth value of the proposition it expresses in a context of use), just as the reference of the free variables concerned, depends on the assumptions and posits given by the context. However, context may under-determine the reference of a free variable and the truth value of sentences in ...

Moral property eliminativism

This paper argues that there is significant motivation for contemporary ethicists to affirm a view I call “moral property eliminativism.” On this eliminativist view, there are no moral properties, but there are moral truths that are made true by only nonmoral entities. Moral property eliminativism parallels eliminativist views defended in other domains of philosophical inquiry, but ...

Against dispositionalism: belief in cognitive science

Dispositionalism about belief has had a recent resurgence. In this paper we critically evaluate a popular dispositionalist program pursued by Eric Schwitzgebel. Then we present an alternative: a psychofunctional, representational theory of belief. This theory of belief has two main pillars: that beliefs are relations to structured mental representations, and that the relations are ...

Right in some respects: reasons as evidence

What is a normative reason for acting? In this paper, I introduce and defend a novel answer to this question. The starting-point is the view that reasons are right-makers. By exploring difficulties facing it, I arrive at an alternative, according to which reasons are evidence of respects in which it is right to perform an act, for example, that it keeps a promise. This is similar ...

Presentism, persistence and trans-temporal dependence

My central thesis is that presentism is incompatible with all of the main theories of persistence: endurance, exdurance (stage theory) and perdurance.

Affect, perceptual experience, and disclosure

A prominent number of contemporary theories of emotional experience—understood as occurrent, phenomenally conscious episodes of emotions with an affective character that are evaluatively directed towards particular objects or states of affairs—are motivated by the claim that phenomenally conscious affective experience, when appropriate, grants us epistemic access not merely to ...

Seeing through eyes, mirrors, shadows and pictures

I argue that we can see in a great many cases that run counter to common sense. We can literally see through mirrors, in just the same way that we (literally) see through our eyes. We can, likewise, literally see through photographs, shadows, and (some) paintings. Rather than starting with an analysis of seeing, I present a series of evolving thought experiments, arguing that in ...

Appropriate emotions and the metaphysics of time

Prior used our emotions to argue that tensed language cannot be translated by tenseless language. However, it is widely accepted that Mellor and MacBeath have shown that our emotions do not imply the existence of tensed facts. I criticise this orthodoxy. There is a natural and plausible view of the appropriateness of emotions which in combination with Prior’s argument implies the ...

Aboutness in imagination

I present a formal theory of the logic and aboutness of imagination. Aboutness is understood as the relation between meaningful items and what they concern, as per Yablo and Fine’s works on the notion. Imagination is understood as per Chalmers’ positive conceivability: the intentional state of a subject who conceives that p by imagining a situation—a configuration of objects and ...

Definite descriptions and negative existential quantifiers

Previous theorists have claimed that Russell’s theory of definite descriptions gives the wrong truth conditions to sentences in which definite descriptions are embedded under certain other operators; but the other operators used, such as conditionals and propositional attitude verbs, have introduced intensional and hyperintensional complications that might be thought to obscure the ...

Hasteners and delayers: why rains don’t cause fires

We typically judge that hasteners are causes of what they hasten, while delayers are not causes of what they delay. These judgements, I suggest, are sensitive to an underlying metaphysical distinction. To see this, we need to pay attention to a relation that I call positive security-dependence, where an event E security-depends positively on an earlier event C just in case E could ...

Spectrum arguments and hypersensitivity

Larry Temkin famously argues that what he calls spectrum arguments yield strong reason to reject Transitivity, according to which the ‘all-things-considered better than’ relation is transitive. Spectrum arguments do reveal that the conjunctions of independently plausible claims are inconsistent with Transitivity. But I argue that there is very strong independent reason to reject ...

Reasons and factive emotions

In this paper, I present and explore some ideas about how factive emotional states and factive perceptual states each relate to knowledge and reasons. This discussion will shed light on the so-called ‘perceptual model’ of the emotions.

Powerful qualities and pure powers

Many think that properties are powers. However, whilst some claim that properties are pure powers, others claim that properties are powerful qualities. In this paper, I argue that the canonical formulation of the powerful qualities view (advocated by John Heil, C. B. Martin and others) is no different from the pure powers view. Contrary to appearances, the two positions accept the ...

Indeterminate permissibility and choiceworthy options

Various people have claimed that some cases involve indeterminate permissibility. However, it’s unclear what guidance one can take away from this fact: are indeterminately permissible options choiceworthy and if so when? In this paper, I present a counterexample that undermines two existing responses to this question and I then present two alternative solutions that avoid this ...

Risk writ large

Risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory is motivated by small-world problems like the Allais paradox, but it is a grand-world theory by nature. And, at the grand-world level, its ability to handle the Allais paradox is dubious. The REU model described in Risk and Rationality turns out to be risk-seeking rather than risk-averse on one natural way of formulating the Allais ...

Truth: explanation, success, and coincidence

Inflationists have argued that truth is a causal-explanatory property on the grounds that true belief facilitates practical success: we must postulate truth to explain the practical success of certain actions performed by rational agents. Deflationists, however, have a seductive response. Rather than deny that true belief facilitates practical success, the deflationist maintains ...

Descriptions and non-doxastic attitude ascriptions

This paper addresses a certain objection to the quantificational theory of definite descriptions. According to this objection, the quantificational account cannot provide correct interpretations of definite descriptions embedded in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions and therefore ought to be rejected. In brief, the objection says that the quantificational theory is committed to ...

When journal editors play favorites

Should editors of scientific journals practice triple-anonymous reviewing? I consider two arguments in favor. The first says that insofar as editors’ decisions are affected by information they would not have had under triple-anonymous review, an injustice is committed against certain authors. I show that even well-meaning editors would commit this wrong and I endorse this argument. ...

The unimportance of being any future person

Derek Parfit’s argument against the platitude that identity is what matters in survival does not work given his intended reading of the platitude, namely, that what matters in survival to some future time is being identical with someone who is alive at that time. I develop Parfit’s argument so that it works against the platitude on the intended reading.