Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Philosophy Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 179

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Issue Introduction, Ian O'Loughlin Jan 2018

Issue Introduction, Ian O'Loughlin

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Belief Revision In The Context Of Hume’S Treatise And Contemporary Psychology, Sarah Paquette Jan 2018

Belief Revision In The Context Of Hume’S Treatise And Contemporary Psychology, Sarah Paquette

Res Cogitans

This paper examines the emotional and social motivations of belief and belief correction. As beliefs motivate one’s actions, one must examine how one revises an erroneous or harmful belief and what methodology one can employ in order to best facilitate this revision, resulting in more conscientious action. This paper examines belief formation and revision in the context of David Hume’s 1739-1740 work A Treatise of Human Nature, with particular attention to not only Hume’s account of belief and belief revision, but also the interaction of passions, the mechanism of sympathy, reason, and probability judgments. It is hypothesized ...


Does Art Have A Truth-Seeking Project?, Soren Schlassa Jan 2018

Does Art Have A Truth-Seeking Project?, Soren Schlassa

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Analytic Vs. Synthetic, Distinction Or Myth?: Kant’S Kantribution, Quine’S Inquisition, Grice And Strawson’S Salvation, Maité Castillo Jan 2018

Analytic Vs. Synthetic, Distinction Or Myth?: Kant’S Kantribution, Quine’S Inquisition, Grice And Strawson’S Salvation, Maité Castillo

Res Cogitans

Philosophers have relied heavily on the distinction between analytic truths and synthetic ones for various philosophical pursuits. In this paper I explore Immanuel Kant’s explanation of the distinction, W.V.O. Quine’s qualms with it, and the attempt of H.P. Grice and Strawson at saving synonymy in order to salvage analyticity from doubts. I conclude that although valiant, the efforts put forth by Grice and Strawson fall short. I argue that this is so because they attack a weak interpretation of Quine’s contention.


Camus And Levinas: Embracing The Absurd While Finding Meaning, Susana Camacho Plascencia Jan 2018

Camus And Levinas: Embracing The Absurd While Finding Meaning, Susana Camacho Plascencia

Res Cogitans

Albert Camus’ idea of the absurd lands one in nihilism and the danger of rationally justified suicide. His attempt to solve this problem fails because it requires that one make an arbitrary choice to live without having good reasons to do so. By using Levinas’ ethics of an infinite responsibility and distinguishing between two types of meaning (cosmic and terrestrial), I propose that one can accept the condition of the absurd—where no cosmic meaning exists—and escape the problem of suicide by finding terrestrial meaning in our relations to others.


The Social Epistemology Of Anthropology: Insights From Judgment Aggregation, Dagan Douglas Jan 2018

The Social Epistemology Of Anthropology: Insights From Judgment Aggregation, Dagan Douglas

Res Cogitans

Anthropological writings have, at times, been vague in the approach used to gather evidence of cultural and social beliefs of the peoples studied, and the method of representing the data to the reading public. This paper employs the theory of judgment aggregation in critiquing anthropological theory and practice. It will be structured in three parts: first, I will present the theory of judgment aggregation as constructed by Christian List and Philip Pettit; second, I will sketch some epistemological methods used by anthropologists, and assess their attitude toward the notions of judgment aggregation and group agency; and finally, I will apply ...


Attitude Matters: The Inadequacy Of Consequentialist Ethical Practice, Elena Lusk Jan 2018

Attitude Matters: The Inadequacy Of Consequentialist Ethical Practice, Elena Lusk

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Salvation Or Damnation, And Where Ethics Fits In To All That, Sophie Zepf Jan 2018

Salvation Or Damnation, And Where Ethics Fits In To All That, Sophie Zepf

Res Cogitans

Ignazio Silone’s novel Bread and Wine explores the complex nature of ethical decision-making in the context of Fascist Italy, a world in which lofty concerns of moral conduct seem the fodder of fools and idealists. Silone uses his central character, firebrand and part-time philosopher Pietro Spina, to plunge his readers into one man’s quest for goodness within the debauchery and despair of war-torn Italy. Pietro’s moral development through the context of his adventures illustrates the challenge of crafting any sound ethical code, and the ease with which one might be lost to cynicism or indifference. The road ...


Emotions, Practical Rationality, And The Self, Tyler Flanagan Jan 2018

Emotions, Practical Rationality, And The Self, Tyler Flanagan

Res Cogitans

In this paper I examine the relationship between emotions and practical rationality, arguing that emotions are incredibly useful in assisting us in making practical choices. However, this enthusiasm needs to be met with some caution as it not the case that every one of our emotions give us reasons we should be considering in order to make a rational choice, and there are times where if we did follow our hearts we would end up feeling ashamed or displeased with ourselves afterward. At the same time, we can feel guilty about a decision we made while purposefully ignoring our emotions ...


What Is Music? The Ontological Status Of Musical Works, Michael Pipko Oct 2017

What Is Music? The Ontological Status Of Musical Works, Michael Pipko

Res Cogitans

The ontological status of musical works is a controversial topic among those in the field. This paper aims to argue for a nominalist and non-reductive approach to musical works that differentiates musical works from the sound structures commonly equated with them. The difference between sound structures and musical works is heavily emphasized and I conclude that musical works have emergent attributes sound structures do not. These attributes being creatability, fine individuation, and the inclusion of performance means. After establishing this I begin to build an argument for a nonreductive approach to musical works by rejecting the extreme view held by ...


Issue Introduction, Ian O'Loughlin Jan 2017

Issue Introduction, Ian O'Loughlin

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Two Objections To The Eliminativist Research Program, Lorenzo Nericcio Jan 2017

Two Objections To The Eliminativist Research Program, Lorenzo Nericcio

Res Cogitans

Eliminative materialist philosophers, like Paul and Patricia Churchland, argue that the common use of mental state language is confused. They hold that neurological descriptions of mental states, more accurate and scientifically rigorous than “folk psychology”, should replace mental state language in a serious research program. In this paper, I argue that eliminative materialism instead poses an awkward and unwieldy research program. I take a computational functionalist position in order to demonstrate the way that mathematical descriptions of natural phenomena are useful in a scientific research program, and that mental states are in principle amenable to mathematical descriptions and modeling. I ...


Semiotic Exograms: Extending The Mind Fully, Robert Reimanis Jan 2017

Semiotic Exograms: Extending The Mind Fully, Robert Reimanis

Res Cogitans

This essay is an analysis and expanded defense of John Sutton’s essay “Exograms and Interdisciplinarity: History, the Extended Mind, and the Civilizing Process.” The first section of the essay surveys the extended mind literature, following the first and second waves of the Extended Mind theory. The second section explains Sutton’s exograms as external representations of internal thought. This section also details his argument that exograms extend the mind because, historically, exograms play a role in the internal functioning of a mind. The third section defends Sutton’s argument from objections against their place in mental processes, namely memory ...


On Time, Chengquan Xiang Jan 2017

On Time, Chengquan Xiang

Res Cogitans

Contemporary philosophy discussions on the nature of time begin with McTaggart, who introduces two ways of describing temporal relation between events: the A-series, focusing on the past, present and future, is about positions of time; and the B-series, which an event’s position in the series is described only in relation to other events: “earlier than,” “later than,” or “simultaneous with.” Along with McTaggart’s objection to the reality of time, I provide a detailed exposition of why change can be expressed within the A-series and why the A-series contains a contradiction. In addition, I demonstrate step by step that ...


Emergentism Reconsidered, Kenji Lota Jan 2017

Emergentism Reconsidered, Kenji Lota

Res Cogitans

This paper argues that emergentism is not committed to downward causation but of direct causation. Events that are believed to be caused by a mental state, whether physical or mental, are actually caused by a physical state with a mental property. These mental properties are caused by the complexity of a collection of several physical components. Emergentism, as a view, is often faced by the fallacy of composition given its nomological nature which leads one to resort to dualism. Mental properties cannot exist in and of itself, but it only supports the physical through entailment. Lastly, it gives a brief ...


Is Epicurus A Direct Realist?, Bridger Ehli Jan 2017

Is Epicurus A Direct Realist?, Bridger Ehli

Res Cogitans

In his Letter to Herodotus, Epicurus presents a controversial theory of perception according to which "all perceptions are true." In this paper, I argue that Epicurus' theory of perception should be interpreted as a version of direct realism. If this interpretation is correct, then Epicurus holds that typical human perceivers have direct perceptual awareness of mind-independent objects. In the first section, I present an interpretation of Epicurus' theory of perception. I interpret Epicurus as subscribing to the view according to which our perceptions always provide us with entirely accurate information about the world. In the second section, I provide an ...


Contextualism And The “Actual Meaning” Of Words, Kayla Santiago-Snyder Jan 2017

Contextualism And The “Actual Meaning” Of Words, Kayla Santiago-Snyder

Res Cogitans

In his book, Skepticism: A Case For Ignorance, Peter Unger gives an ordinary language account of skepticism that goes past the traditional dream argument and onto a new frontier, by claiming that the way we use certain words in our everyday language may not be what those words actually mean. This involves a thorough examination of the way we use words in our everyday conversations, namely those that we do not have in a philosophical arena. Unger Uses this method in order to examine how we know things, and if we can ever say that we know anything for certain ...


Women And The Imago Dei: Gender Ontology In St. Augustine’S Thought, Philip Groth Jan 2017

Women And The Imago Dei: Gender Ontology In St. Augustine’S Thought, Philip Groth

Res Cogitans

To rebuild gender relations in the church we need to unpack the source of the current complementarian beliefs, which take their origin in the teachings of the church fathers. In this interpretative paper, I will attempt to provide a new reading of St. Augustine’s philosophy regarding women in light of The Trinity and City of God. It is my argument that Augustine has a twofold vision of the Imago Dei in humans. One based on the rational “inner man” —in which women do not participate— and another based on shared humanity. In this view women retain their own and ...


Unpacking The City-Soul Analogy, Kexin Yu Jan 2017

Unpacking The City-Soul Analogy, Kexin Yu

Res Cogitans

In the Republic, the city-soul analogy made by Plato paves the way for the entire dialogue. The main interlocutors use the analogy to show the nature of justice and aim to prove that just people live better and are happier than unjust people, by establishing a city to which justice, as defined by them, is applied. Scholars have recently been debating the validity of this analogy. Some critics assert that there are several significant structural inconsistencies and logical misconceptions, thus making the analogy fallacious; at the same time, there are proponents who write extensively in favor of this analogy and ...


Expanding The Confucian Framework: Consequences And Character, Daniel Weldon Jan 2017

Expanding The Confucian Framework: Consequences And Character, Daniel Weldon

Res Cogitans

Typically, Western moral philosophy has sought to understand questions of right and wrong in the absence of Eastern tradition. Yet, Aristotelian ethics has long been used as a lens with which Chinese philosophy can be read from a Western perspective. Since Confucianism, in particular, seems to acquiesce rather well with a virtue ethics, other moral philosophies are seldom applied to the Confucian canon. In this paper, I apply a consequentialist ethics, in support of existing philosophical papers following a similar consequentialist approach. Through this, Confucianism can be seen as a system designed to optimize collective efficacy in society, by stressing ...


A Case For Dispositional Innatism, Hien Bui Jan 2017

A Case For Dispositional Innatism, Hien Bui

Res Cogitans

In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke argues against the claim that there are innate ideas. His arguments consisted in the denial of universal assent, the incoherency of innate ideas, and the formation of principles by inductive means. In this paper, I attempt to show why these arguments do not work in showing that there are no innate ideas and also propose and defend Gottfried Leibniz’s model of dispositional innatism — the claim that we are born with at least innate dispositions or tendencies to have particular beliefs. I use the ordinary conception of memories as a proper analogy ...


Issue Introduction, David Boersema Jun 2016

Issue Introduction, David Boersema

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Subverting Campbell’S Materialist Conclusion, Noah Gordon Jun 2016

Subverting Campbell’S Materialist Conclusion, Noah Gordon

Res Cogitans

Keith Campbell and Jonathan Schaffer propose an ontology in which entities consist in collocated collections of tropes, and tropes are individuated by location. This would imply that immaterial entities are not possible. In this paper, I attempt to subvert this materialist conclusion by giving two arguments against the key individuation principle it requires. I show that the locational individuation principle can be formulated so as to survive the first, but not the second argument.


Substance Dualism Or Eliminativism, Perry Hendricks Jun 2016

Substance Dualism Or Eliminativism, Perry Hendricks

Res Cogitans

Physicalism (P) entails minimal physicalism (MP), MP entails minimal supervenience (MS), and MS is the thesis that there is covariance between the supervenient and the subvenient stuff. Therefore, if the (alleged) supervenient and subvenient stuff do not covary, then MS is false, and if MS is false then MP is false, and if MP is false then P is false. Put differently: if MS is false then P is false—P stands and falls with MS. In this essay, I begin by showing what the minimal physicalist thesis is: MP is, essentially, MS. Next, I look at qualia and the ...


Materialist And Casual Bridges Over The Explanatory Gap, Celine Geday Jun 2016

Materialist And Casual Bridges Over The Explanatory Gap, Celine Geday

Res Cogitans

I offer that the explanatory gap about consciousness can be bridged by a materialist account that is compatible with the causal closure of the physical world. I suggest that Jaegwon Kim’s argument for causal closure is the best motivation for materialist explanations of consciousness, or the character of subjective experience. I then propose that the best materialist account available to do this explanatory work, that is also compatible with a causal closure condition, is Austen Clark’s feature-placing hypothesis. Feature-placing has it that sensory individuals, or qualitative properties, are picked out by their locations in space around a perceiver ...


Affordance Ontology: Towards A Unified Description Of Affordances As Events, Larry A. Moralez Jun 2016

Affordance Ontology: Towards A Unified Description Of Affordances As Events, Larry A. Moralez

Res Cogitans

An argument is developed that suggests the concept of affordances can best facilitate the pursuit of new knowledge if it’s defined as an event. The first description initially generated by James J. Gibson was deceptively vague. This has led to several attempts by additional researchers to re-describe it. These efforts fall short of describing a concept that is consistent with both the historical context of Gibson’s work and his motivations for introducing the term. Additionally, no definition has been introduced that aims to limit the scope of information researchers must consider when using the term. I put forth ...


Sellars And Quine On Abstracta In Scientific Ontology, Richard Van Barriger Jun 2016

Sellars And Quine On Abstracta In Scientific Ontology, Richard Van Barriger

Res Cogitans

Wilfrid Sellars and Willard Van Quine long disagreed over the nature of ontological commitment in scientific inquiry. Particularly, they disagreed over whether abstract entities such as numbers, sets, or classes should be admitted into scientific ontology. In Quine’s view, positing such platonic entities is necessary in order for scientific inquiry to progress and for scientific knowledge to increase. Sellars, on the other hand, sees such a view as a form of platonic realism and eschews it in favor of a more austere nominalism about the ontological status of abstracta. I summarize the reasons for each philosopher’s view, drawing ...


The Phenomenology Of Temporal Experience, Hilda Loury Jun 2016

The Phenomenology Of Temporal Experience, Hilda Loury

Res Cogitans

In this paper, I will explore the dissonance between “physical explanation” and “human experience,” while focusing on the experience of temporal passage. As a starting point, I will introduce J.E. McTaggart’s A-Series theory of time and BSeries theory of time. The A-Series illustrates how humans intuitively experience time; the past is fixed and expired, while the present moment seamlessly unfolds forward into an open future. On the other hand, the B-Series is very unlike the intuitive experience of time; “time” is merely the culmination of “static snapshots,” where each snapshot possesses different properties than the preceding snapshot and ...


Deflationary Nominalism’S Commitment To Meinongianism, Anthony Nguyen Jun 2016

Deflationary Nominalism’S Commitment To Meinongianism, Anthony Nguyen

Res Cogitans

Deflationary nominalism is a novel view in the philosophy of mathematics on which there are mathematical statements, such as ‘There are prime numbers’ that are literally true despite the nonexistence of any mathematical objects. In this paper, I outline the deflationary nominalism of Azzouni, the most prominent contemporary defender of deflationary nominalism. I then object that it is committed to some form of Meinongianism. Because I believe that any view’s commitment to Meinongianism constitutes a strong reason in favor of rejecting that view, I suggest that deflationary nominalism should be rejected. Finally, I conclude that realism about mathematical objects ...


Critical Reflections On Intentions And Linguistic Communication, Brian Haas Jun 2016

Critical Reflections On Intentions And Linguistic Communication, Brian Haas

Res Cogitans

This paper has the following structure: first, Paul Grice’s original account of non-natural meaning (in “Meaning”) is critically discussed; second, Stephen Neale’s analysis (in “Paul Grice and the Philosophy of Language”) is critically discussed; third, Kent Bach and Robert Harnish’s analysis of linguistic communication is critically discussed; lastly, due to considerations detailed in the previous section, doubts are raised about the viability of intentional based semantics. In discussing Neale and Bach and Harnish, two novel counter-examples are employed to show their analyses to be inadequate.