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Full-Text Articles in Arts and Humanities

Practical Reason, Instrumental Irrationality, And Time, Manuel R. Vargas Nov 2005

Practical Reason, Instrumental Irrationality, And Time, Manuel R. Vargas

Philosophy

Standard models of practical rationality face a puzzle that has gone unnoticed: given a modest assumption about the nature of deliberation, we are apparently frequently briefly irrational. I explain the problem, consider what is wrong with several possible solutions, and propose an account that does not generate the objectionable result.


Bell's Spaceships: A Useful Relativistic Paradox, Francisco J. Flores Nov 2005

Bell's Spaceships: A Useful Relativistic Paradox, Francisco J. Flores

Philosophy

Bell’s spaceship ‘paradox’ [1] in special relativity is a particularly good one to examine with students, because although it deals with accelerated motions, it can be dissolved with elementary space–time diagrams. Furthermore, it forces us to be very clear about the relativity of simultaneity, proper length, and the ‘reality’ of the Lorentz contraction.


The Revisionist’S Guide To Responsibility, Manuel R. Vargas Sep 2005

The Revisionist’S Guide To Responsibility, Manuel R. Vargas

Philosophy

Revisionism in the theory of moral responsibility is the idea that some aspect of responsibility practices, attitudes, or concept is in need of revision. While the increased frequency of revisionist language in the literature on free will and moral responsibility is striking, what discussion there has been of revisionism about responsibility and free will tends to be critical. In this paper, I argue that at least one species of revisionism, moderate revisionism, is considerably more sophisticated and defensible than critics have realized. I go on to argue for the advantages of moderate revisionist theories over standard compatibilist and incompatibilist theories.


Rationalism In Science, David J. Stump Jan 2005

Rationalism In Science, David J. Stump

Philosophy

No abstract provided.


The Trouble With Tracing, Manuel R. Vargas Jan 2005

The Trouble With Tracing, Manuel R. Vargas

Philosophy

Many prominent theories of moral responsibility rely on the notion of "tracing," the idea that responsibility for an outcome can be located in (i.e., "traced back to") some prior moment of control, perhaps significantly antecedent to the proximate sources of a considered action. In this article, I show how there is a problem for theories that rely on tracing. The problem is connected to the knowledge condition on moral responsibility. Many prima facie good candidate cases for tracing analyses appear to violate the knowledge condition on moral responsibility. So, either we need to dispense with tracing approaches or we ...


Interpretations Of Einstein's Equation E = Mc2, Francisco Flores Jan 2005

Interpretations Of Einstein's Equation E = Mc2, Francisco Flores

Philosophy

Interpretations of Einstein’s equation differ primarily concerning whether E = mc2 entails that mass and energy are the same property of physical systems, and hence whether there is any sense in which mass is ever “converted” into energy (or vice versa). In this paper, I examine six interpretations of Einstein’s equation and argue that all but one fail to satisfy a minimal set of conditions that all interpretations of physical theories ought to satisfy. I argue that we should prefer the interpretation of Einstein’s equation that holds that mass and energy are distinct properties of physical systems ...


Frederick Douglass's Longing For The End Of Race, Ronald Sundstrom Jan 2005

Frederick Douglass's Longing For The End Of Race, Ronald Sundstrom

Philosophy

Frederick Douglass (1817–1895) argued that newly emancipated black Americans should assimilate into Anglo-American society and culture. Social assimilation would then lead to the entire physical amalgamation of the two groups, and the emergence of a new intermediate group that would be fully American. He, like those who were to follow, was driven by a vision of universal human fraternity in the light of which the varieties of human difference were incidental and far less important than the ethical, religious, and political idea of personhood. Douglass’s version of this vision was formed by natural law theories, and a Protestant ...