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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

The Self In The Age Of Cognitive Science: Decoupling The Self From The Personal Level, Robert D. Rupert Jan 2018

The Self In The Age Of Cognitive Science: Decoupling The Self From The Personal Level, Robert D. Rupert

Philosophic Exchange

Philosophers of mind commonly draw a distinction between the personal level – the distinctive realm of conscious experience and reasoned deliberation – and the subpersonal level, the domain of mindless mechanism and brute cause and effect. Moreover, they tend to view cognitive science through the lens of this distinction. Facts about the personal level are given a priori, by introspection, or by common sense; the job of cognitive science is merely to investigate the mechanistic basis of these facts. I argue that this view misrepresents the structure of cognitive-scientific enquiry. Taken at face value, cognitive science makes no commitment to the existence ...


Aristotle And Darwin: Antagonists Or Kindred Spirits?, James G. Lennox Jan 2017

Aristotle And Darwin: Antagonists Or Kindred Spirits?, James G. Lennox

Philosophic Exchange

In the decades following the forging of the so-called Neo-Darwinian Synthesis in the 1940s, a number of its philosophical defenders created a myth about what Charles Darwin was up against, a viewpoint called “typological essentialism” often attributed to Aristotle. In this paper I first sketch the history of how this myth was created. I then establish that it is a myth by providing an account of Aristotle’s essentialism as it is actually displayed in his philosophy of biology and in his biological practice. It has nothing to do with the ‘mythic’ version. We then turn to what Darwin was ...


Evolutionary Theory And Morality: Why The Science Doesn't Settle The Philosophical Questions, William J. Fitzpatrick Jan 2014

Evolutionary Theory And Morality: Why The Science Doesn't Settle The Philosophical Questions, William J. Fitzpatrick

Philosophic Exchange

Four decades ago, E.O. Wilson famously declared that “the time has come for ethics to be removed temporarily from the hands of the philosophers and biologicized." One still finds Wilson’s idea echoed frequently in popular science writing today. While I’m not going to deny that evolutionary biology and other sciences have important things to tell us about morality, I think there is a lot of confusion about what exactly they can tell us, and how much they can tell us. My aim here is first to make some distinctions and sort out some issues, and then to ...


Free Will And Neuroscience, Alfred Mele Jun 2013

Free Will And Neuroscience, Alfred Mele

Philosophic Exchange

Has modern neuroscience shown that free will is an illusion? Those who give an affirmative answer often argue as follows. The overt actions that have been studied in some recent experiments do not have corresponding consciously made decisions or conscious intentions among their causes. Therefore no overt actions have corresponding consciously made decisions or conscious intentions among their causes. This paper challenges this inference, arguing that it is unwarranted.


"Crafting Natures": Aristotle On Animal Design, Mariska Leunissen Mar 2011

"Crafting Natures": Aristotle On Animal Design, Mariska Leunissen

Philosophic Exchange

It is a commonplace in Aristotelian scholarship that the forms of living beings and the animal species to which they give rise are “fixed.” However, Aristotle’s biological works often stress the flexibility of nature during the development of animals. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to delineate the range of flexibility that Aristotle takes natures to have in the design of animals; and second, to draw out the implications of this for Aristotle’s embryology and theory of natural teleology.


Responsibility In A World Of Causes, Manuel Vargas Sep 2010

Responsibility In A World Of Causes, Manuel Vargas

Philosophic Exchange

A familiar chain of reasoning goes like this: if everything is caused, then no one is genuinely free; if no one is genuinely free, then no one can be morally responsible for anything; so if everything is caused, then no one can be morally responsible for anything. This paper will challenge the part of this reasoning that concerns moral responsibility. What is at stake for us when we ascribe moral responsibility to ourselves and others? This paper will argue that we can reconcile the idea of moral responsibility with a broadly scientific worldview.


Left-Libertarianism As A Promising Form Of Liberal Egalitarianism, Peter Vallentyne Jan 2009

Left-Libertarianism As A Promising Form Of Liberal Egalitarianism, Peter Vallentyne

Philosophic Exchange

Left libertarianism is a theory of justice that is committed to full self-ownership and to an egalitarian sharing of the value of natural resources. It is, I shall suggest, a promising way of capturing the liberal egalitarian values of liberty, security, equality, and prosperity.


Stories And The Meaning Of Life, John Martin Fischer Jan 2009

Stories And The Meaning Of Life, John Martin Fischer

Philosophic Exchange

This paper argues that the value of acting freely and responsibly is a species of the value of self-expression. When I act freely, I write a sentence in the story of my life, and this gives my life the shape of a narrative, which, in turn, gives my life a unique sort of meaning and value.


Atheism: Young Hegelian Style, Andrew Levine Jan 2009

Atheism: Young Hegelian Style, Andrew Levine

Philosophic Exchange

In the decade after the death of Hegel in 1833, a group of young philosophers sought to extend some of Hegel’s ideas to criticize contemporary thought and society. These were the so-called “Young Hegelians,” which included the young Karl Marx. With interest in Marx and Marxism on the wane, interest in the Young Hegelians has also subsided. That is unfortunate, since the Young Hegelians have much to teach us. This paper recounts the Young Hegelians’ critique of religion, beginning with that of Ludwig Feuerbach in his seminal work, The Essence of Christianity.


Gandhi, Newton And The Enlightenment, Akeel Bilgrami Sep 2008

Gandhi, Newton And The Enlightenment, Akeel Bilgrami

Philosophic Exchange

Gandhi expressed opposition to the Enlightenment and even to science. His view is best understood in the context of a radical critique of a certain orthodoxy that emerged after the Enlightenment. That orthodoxy insists that we take a detached, impersonal standpoint in relation to nature. By contrast, Gandhi and his forebears in the radical enlightenment see nature as suffused with value, and allow us to approach nature from the first-person point of view.


Appearance Vs. Reality As A Scientific Problem, Bas C. Van Fraassen Oct 2005

Appearance Vs. Reality As A Scientific Problem, Bas C. Van Fraassen

Philosophic Exchange

The history of science is replete with ideals that involve some criterion of completeness. One such criterion requires that physics explain how the appearances are produced in reality. This paper argues that it is scientifically acceptable to reject this criterion, along with all other completeness criteria that have been proposed for modern science.


Can Science Disprove The Existence Of God?, Peter Van Inwagen Jan 2004

Can Science Disprove The Existence Of God?, Peter Van Inwagen

Philosophic Exchange

In order for science to establish that God does not exist, it would be necessary to determine which observations we would make if there were a God, and which observations we would make if there were not a God. However, these claims about what we would observe if God does or does not exist, are philosophical claims, not scientific claims. Therefore science alone could not disprove the existence of God.


Who’S Afraid Of Postmodernism?, Simon Blackburn Jan 2001

Who’S Afraid Of Postmodernism?, Simon Blackburn

Philosophic Exchange

Postmodernism is a celebration of relativism. It is a movement that has actively embraced the collapse of standards that it takes this to imply. This paper examines the debate between postmodernists and their opponents, approaching it through the debate over Alan Sokal’s famous hoax.


God And Science In The Public Schools, Lynne Rudder Baker Jan 2000

God And Science In The Public Schools, Lynne Rudder Baker

Philosophic Exchange

On March 11, 2000, the New York Times reported that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that creationism should be taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in the public schools. This controversy raises important questions in the philosophy of science, as well as questions about public education in a democracy. This paper considers some of the arguments on both sides of this debate.


Philosophy And Exploration Of The Solar System, Gonzalo Munevar Jan 1998

Philosophy And Exploration Of The Solar System, Gonzalo Munevar

Philosophic Exchange

The search for extra terrestrial intelligence (SETI) raises several questions in the philosophy of science, especially in relation to artificial intelligence and biology. This paper explores these questions.


Evolution And Optimality: Feathers, Bowling Balls, And The Thesis Of Adaptationism, Elliott Sober Jan 1996

Evolution And Optimality: Feathers, Bowling Balls, And The Thesis Of Adaptationism, Elliott Sober

Philosophic Exchange

This paper discusses the thesis of adaptationism in evolutionary biology. It is argued that there is a serious scientific question here whose answer is not yet in hand. The truth or falsity of adaptationism is a substantive question about the history of life that must be decided on a trait by trait basis.


Science And Art: Heuristic And Aesthetic Dimensions Of Scientific Discovery, Max W. Wartofsky Jan 1994

Science And Art: Heuristic And Aesthetic Dimensions Of Scientific Discovery, Max W. Wartofsky

Philosophic Exchange

A familiar thesis in the philosophy of science is that considerations of form play a heuristic role in scientific discovery, and that these formal considerations may be characterized as aesthetic. The purpose of this paper is to understand what this claim comes to, and to explore the question of why aesthetic form does indeed play such a powerful heuristic role in scientific thought.


Life-Functional Theories Of Life, Fred Feldman Jan 1992

Life-Functional Theories Of Life, Fred Feldman

Philosophic Exchange

Many philosophers and biologists have attempted to explain what “alive” means. According to one family of accounts, we can explain the meaning of “alive” in terms of life-functions. This paper discusses this family of views. It is argued that the life-functional analyses of life are unsuccessful.


Predictability And Explanation In The Social Sciences, Alasdair Macintyre Jan 1972

Predictability And Explanation In The Social Sciences, Alasdair Macintyre

Philosophic Exchange

Scientific explanation requires a certain type of predictability. The particulars that are studied by the social sciences do not possess that kind of predictability. Therefore the aspiration to construct scientific explanations in the social sciences is bound to fail.


A Response To Macintyre, Charles Taylor Jan 1972

A Response To Macintyre, Charles Taylor

Philosophic Exchange

I agree with a great deal of Professor Macintyre’s paper. However, his argument can be formulated without any appeal to unpredictability. The unpredictability of many human events is due to the role of self-interpretation in the constitution of those very same events.


Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?, Paula G. Morrison Jan 1972

Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?, Paula G. Morrison

Philosophic Exchange

If Professor Macintyre is correct, then there is not, and cannot be, any such thing as a scientific explanation or prediction of anything social, and hence there can never be any social science. This paper responds to Professor Macintyre’s argument, and rejects his position.


Linguistic Relativity: A Response To Professor Dewart, Henry Lee Smith, Jr. Jan 1972

Linguistic Relativity: A Response To Professor Dewart, Henry Lee Smith, Jr.

Philosophic Exchange

Language defines our experience. We receive impressions of the world through the distorting lenses of our linguistic systems, and we also project relationships that are not already there in the world. Thus, it is true that we can gain new insight into science and religion if we attend to our language. We can even hope for a future integration of the two.


Language And Religion, Leslie Dewart Jan 1972

Language And Religion, Leslie Dewart

Philosophic Exchange

Throughout much of the history of western philosophy, philosophers have assumed that speech is an outward sign of an inner, mental experience. However, in recent times, this assumption has been replaced by a growing realization that language plays a more active role in shaping our experience of reality. This realization opens up the possibility of a resolution of the apparent conflict between science and religion, through a transformation of the language that we use in relating to reality.


Comment On Dewart's Language And Religion, John Catan Jan 1972

Comment On Dewart's Language And Religion, John Catan

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Dewart’s thesis is every bit as much a metaphysical view as the one that he opposes. It is also unfalsifiable.


Objectivity And The Transactional Theory Of Perception, Eugene Freeman Jan 1972

Objectivity And The Transactional Theory Of Perception, Eugene Freeman

Philosophic Exchange

The visual demonstrations of Professor Adelbert Ames support the transactional theory of perception. This theory asserts that the very contents of our sense experiences are shaped by our past experiences, as well as our expectations of future experiences. This theory, in turn, supports a critical realism about the relationship between perception and reality.


Rejoiner To Professor Freeman, Harold Greenstein Jan 1972

Rejoiner To Professor Freeman, Harold Greenstein

Philosophic Exchange

I agree with Professor Freeman that critical realism is the right solution to the problem concerning the relationship between perception and reality. I also agree that critical realism is a metaphysical theory in certain respects. However, I disagree with his assertion that critical realism can be affirmed only as an article of metaphysical faith. Any claim to prove something is an empirical claim, and it can be tested like any other empirical claim.


A Psychologist's Response To Philosophical Analysis: Comments On Freeman's "Objectivity And The Transactional Theory Of Perception, M. S. Lindauer Jan 1972

A Psychologist's Response To Philosophical Analysis: Comments On Freeman's "Objectivity And The Transactional Theory Of Perception, M. S. Lindauer

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Freeman’s treatment of the psychological aspects of perception reflects a general problem which typifies most philosophical discussions of psychological topics, namely, the absence of sufficient attention to psychological details.


Records And The Man, Paul Weiss Jan 1972

Records And The Man, Paul Weiss

Philosophic Exchange

Athletic records are cherished because of their assumed impartiality and objectivity. However, athletic records do not fully and accurately describe the events that they purport to describe. That is because athletic records do not take account of the myriad factors that influence the outcome of any athletic event. Contingency, novelty, luck, obstacles and opportunities all make a difference to what is achieved. Since records abstract from all of these, they do not tell us what did occur, but only the outcome of a multitude of factors of which we take no notice. The singular goal of an athlete is to ...


On Weiss On Records, Athletic Activity, And The Athlete, Richard Schacht Jan 1972

On Weiss On Records, Athletic Activity, And The Athlete, Richard Schacht

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Weiss and I agree in denying that the end or goal of athletic activity can be adequately characterized in terms of setting records. However, we seem to disagree about the fundamental nature and goal of athletic activity. Professor Weiss’s athlete strikes me as a kind of fanatic, whose athletic activity excludes other goals and projects. By contrast, I would argue that the goal of athletic activity is the intrinsic enjoyment that one may derive from it, and this goal is perfectly compatible with having many other goals and projects in life.


On Weiss On Records And On The Significance Of Athletic Records, Warren Fraleigh Jan 1972

On Weiss On Records And On The Significance Of Athletic Records, Warren Fraleigh

Philosophic Exchange

Athletic records cannot provide complete insight into the nature of an athletic event. However, certainly they can provide at least some approximation of what happened, and that is enough to justify the significant interest that we take in athletic records.