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Pacific University

2011

Articles 1 - 30 of 52

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Searching For Being, Geran Wales Jul 2011

Searching For Being, Geran Wales

Res Cogitans

This paper is an attempt to discern the importance of the way in which philosophers read each other to the philosophical enterprise. To do this I compare Socrates’ treatment of Parmenides and Heraclitus in the Theaetetus to Heidegger’s treatment of Kant in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. Using Heidegger’s notion of ‘unthought thoughts’, I attempt to tease out ontological points that contradict the way in which most people think of the philosophers examined in this paper. In this way we see an upset in the traditional understanding of the theory of Forms and the Phenomena/ Noumena distinction.


Greatest Difficulty Argument In Plato’S Parmenides 133c-134c, John Lindsay Jul 2011

Greatest Difficulty Argument In Plato’S Parmenides 133c-134c, John Lindsay

Res Cogitans

This paper will offer a five-step interpretation of the Greatest Difficulty Argument (GDA) in Plato’s Parmenides (133c-134c). I agree with Sandra Peterson that Plato presents two arguments in the GDA (the active argument up to 134b6 and the passive argument following). However I will argue that Peterson’s interpretation of the passive argument relies on an unintuitive premise. I will present a modified passive argument that is not dependent on the unintuitive premise. I will lastly present an interpretation of 134b12 so that it contributes to both the active and passive routes.


Issue Introduction, David Boersema Jul 2011

Issue Introduction, David Boersema

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


A New Perspective On Enantiomorphic Pairs And Substantivalist Spacetime, Amanda Hutchens Jul 2011

A New Perspective On Enantiomorphic Pairs And Substantivalist Spacetime, Amanda Hutchens

Res Cogitans

I present a logical argument for the existence of substantivalist spacetime: We should consider the account presented by Kant of spacetime as a genuine substance because it provides a plausible alternative to the widely held relationist viewpoint. I present several examples of enantiomorphic pairs, including the lowercase letters p and q to illustrate differences between such objects that have no apparent connection to the internal structure of each. These differences, I claim, must stem from a direct relationship between the objects and space itself. Furthermore, I examine the implications presented by enantiomorphic objects when time is taken to be the ...


The Possibility Of Group Ethics: A Defense And New Approach, Dustin Bishop Jul 2011

The Possibility Of Group Ethics: A Defense And New Approach, Dustin Bishop

Res Cogitans

The first part of this paper discusses the two primary theories that have attempted to provide groups with moral status. By examining their respective methods for assigning moral rights to a group, I elucidate problems in both accounts, showing them insufficient in their attempt to defend group ethics. The corporate account establishes a group identity entirely separable from the identities of its individuals. However, this allows the rights of the individuals to clash with those of the group. The collective account asserts that the group identity, and the only source of a group’s moral status, lies in the sum ...


Should Contract Pregnancies Be Legally Enforceable?: An Assessment Of The Gender Inequality Hypothesis In The Asymmetry Thesis, Elizabeth Burstein Jul 2011

Should Contract Pregnancies Be Legally Enforceable?: An Assessment Of The Gender Inequality Hypothesis In The Asymmetry Thesis, Elizabeth Burstein

Res Cogitans

The legal enforceability of surrogate motherhood is largely contested in bioethics. In this paper, I argue against what Debra Satz terms the “asymmetry thesis,” the idea that there should be an asymmetry (basically, a difference) between how we treat reproductive labor and other forms of labor. Satz’s main support for the asymmetry thesis is that if contract pregnancies are legally enforced, they reinforce a long history of the gender inequality that is pervasive in our culture. I contend that this is not well-supported, and identify three salient empirical questions that the ethicist must ask the sociologist before defending the ...


Sex, Lies, And Surgery: The Ethics Of Gender Reassignment Surgery, Maggi Colene Hume Jul 2011

Sex, Lies, And Surgery: The Ethics Of Gender Reassignment Surgery, Maggi Colene Hume

Res Cogitans

In this paper, I argue that in cases in which competent adult patients have been suffering from long-term gender identity disorders which interfere with their everyday life functions, gender reassignment surgery is a morally permissible treatment option. Though many argue that it is morally impermissible to allow the use of surgery for such non-medical things as reassigning gender, I argue that the use of surgery for reassigning gender is morally permissible on the basis of Kantian autonomy and Utilitarian reasoning. In this paper, I will further discuss my argument, as well as the primary objections to the argument and my ...


The Role Of Personal Identity In Medically Defining And Determining Death, Burk Schaible Jul 2011

The Role Of Personal Identity In Medically Defining And Determining Death, Burk Schaible

Res Cogitans

The current dilemma regarding the definition and determination of death directly arises from advancements in medical technology and worldwide organ shortage. As a fundamentally biological phenomenon, many consider the philosophical concept of personhood important to society, but irrelevant to the medical/legal definition of death. By providing a brief history of death and assessing the plausibility of various accounts of personal identity, I argue the hylomorphic account of personal identity not only relevant to defining death biologically, but necessary to retaining moral agency.


Categorization Through Sensory Codes, Noah Sharpsteen Jul 2011

Categorization Through Sensory Codes, Noah Sharpsteen

Res Cogitans

The central premise of concept empiricism is the denial of unique cognitive mental representations. The negative thesis applies as well to classic empiricists as it does to current ones. John Locke’s (1690) refusal to accept ‘abstract ideas’ is one way of denying unique and distinct cognitive representations. Jesse J. Prinz’s (2002) multi-modality hypothesis, according to which cognition functions on a multi-sensory code instead of a central ‘amodal’ one, is another. Both empiricist models have a common foil in a theory that posits one unique kind of ‘intellectualist’ mental representation to account for human cognitive achievements. For Locke, it ...


Quantifying Ignorance: A Quantitative Analysis Of Skeptical Scenarios In Peter Unger’S 'Ignorance', Anthony Parisi Jul 2011

Quantifying Ignorance: A Quantitative Analysis Of Skeptical Scenarios In Peter Unger’S 'Ignorance', Anthony Parisi

Res Cogitans

In his book Ignorance, Peter Unger puts forward scenarios meant to illustrate the skeptical view of knowledge and why it is wrong to be certain. In my paper I will examine three sorts of these examples using tools of quantitative analysis: the Ink Bottle, the Voice, and the Scientist, taking each of these to be a typical example of a skeptical scenario. After presenting possible skeptical objections to this sort of analysis, I end by concluding that methods of quantitative analysis stand up to the sort of skepticism that Unger provides and that under most quantitative analysis provides us with ...


Co-Authoring Speech Genres: A Bakhtinian Approach To Mutually Recognitive Dialogue, William Cheatham Jul 2011

Co-Authoring Speech Genres: A Bakhtinian Approach To Mutually Recognitive Dialogue, William Cheatham

Res Cogitans

In his theory of communicative action, Habermas posits that language is a fundamentally intersubjective tool used for the activity of reaching mutual understanding. Interlocutors assume the freedom to question claims made in discourse and use reason to achieve communicative power together. Thus language in itself forms the drive mechanism of successful discourse—that is, only by presupposing the ability of other subjects to take language as an alterable, reason-based, and empowering tool is mutually recognitive dialogue possible. However, beyond these basic presuppositions, speakers maintain, I argue, an acute appreciation for the particular ways of speaking—what Bakhtin termed “speech genres ...


The Failing Of The Self Or The Self Of Failing? Gadamer, Derrida, Žižek, And The 'Phaedo', Ben Brewer Jul 2011

The Failing Of The Self Or The Self Of Failing? Gadamer, Derrida, Žižek, And The 'Phaedo', Ben Brewer

Res Cogitans

This paper begins with an examination of the notoriously shoddy proofs for the immortality of the soul that Socrates presents in the Phaedo. I first turn to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s account of the proofs (as historically situated between science and myth), and then, using evidence from the Phaedo itself and a wide sampling of the dialogues, reframe the proofs as a metaphor for the self. With the discussion thus redirected, I look at Jacques Derrida’s “Plato’s Pharmacy” in order to begin to the discussion about the implications of the failed proofs for a new understanding of the Platonic ...


The Value Of Mathematics Within The 'Republic', Levi Tenen Jul 2011

The Value Of Mathematics Within The 'Republic', Levi Tenen

Res Cogitans

In this paper I examine two prominent views regarding the value of mathematics within the republic. One view, formulated by Julia Annas, gives mathematics only instrumental value while the second view, attributed to M.F. Burnyeat, states that mathematics is constitutive of the Good. I will end up arguing, contrary to both views, that mathematics plays not only an instrumental role but also that it is also good “just for itself.” In other words, I place mathematics within the second category of goods defined at the start of Book II- good just for itself as well as good for its ...


The Four-Color Theorem Solved, Again: Extending The Extended Mind To The Philosophy Of Mathematics, Casey M. Rufener Jul 2011

The Four-Color Theorem Solved, Again: Extending The Extended Mind To The Philosophy Of Mathematics, Casey M. Rufener

Res Cogitans

In 1977 when Appel, Haken and Koch used a computer to mathematically solve the century old four-color-problem philosopher Thomas Tymoczko thought that the epistemic justification in mathematics had been changed. Essentially, Tymoczko, and others, argue we can now have mathematical epistemic justification through a posteriori means. This has obvious implication in philosophy of mathematics and epistemology because this would be the first case where mathematics isn’t justified through a priori means of investigation. However, I ultimately disagree with Tymoczko. I argue that computer-aided-proofs still warrant an a priori means of justification. In order to show this, I refer to ...


Transcendental Geology: The Relation Between Nature And History In Merleau-Ponty’S Ontology, Karen Kovaka Jul 2011

Transcendental Geology: The Relation Between Nature And History In Merleau-Ponty’S Ontology, Karen Kovaka

Res Cogitans

In his lecture course on Nature, Merleau-Ponty makes the intriguing claim that an ontology of Nature is the preferred way toward ontology in general. This paper explores why he makes this claim and asks what philosophical significance this approach to ontology might have. Making use of Merleau-Ponty’s notions of chiasm and flesh as the must fundamental ontological truths, I argue that nature and history are related to one another according to the logic of the chiasm and that thinking them in terms of this relationship opens up avenues for addressing long-standing problems in both philosophy of nature and philosophy ...


The Call: Heidegger And The Ethical Conscience, Katherine Sepulveda Jul 2011

The Call: Heidegger And The Ethical Conscience, Katherine Sepulveda

Res Cogitans

In Being and Time, the philosopher Martin Heidegger portrays the conscience in a different sense from another common, characterization of the conscience, where the conscience acts as a guide to satisfy a moral code. Instead, for Heidegger, the conscience calls the human to ‘take up,’ or accept, the “who” that the human is, without measurement to an external, “ethical,” code. In “The Call,” I affirm Heidegger’s distinctive characterization of the conscience. I adjust Heidegger, however, to argue that we may understand the call of conscience as a call toward the ethical if we both understand Heidegger’s description of ...


Consciousness Enframed: The Alētheia Of Qualia, Carson Bessinger Jul 2011

Consciousness Enframed: The Alētheia Of Qualia, Carson Bessinger

Res Cogitans

There is nothing that we could be more familiar with than our own consciousness. It seems to us that conscious experience consists of subjective qualia – the what-it-is-like to experience the redness of an apple, the taste of coffee, or any other sense datum. Explaining how these can come about from material causes is often referred to as the hard problem in consciousness. Daniel Dennett gives a materialistic explanation of consciousness by equating qualia to a magic trick; there are no qualia, there just seem to be. In this paper I will examine this explanation in light of Heidegger's critique ...


Epistemic Justification And The Possibility Of Computer Proof, Drew Van Denover Jul 2011

Epistemic Justification And The Possibility Of Computer Proof, Drew Van Denover

Res Cogitans

Some mathematical theorems can be proven only with the help of computer programs. Does this reliance on computers introduce empirics into math, and thereby change the nature of proof? I argue no. We must distinguish between the warrant the proof gives for its conclusion, and our knowledge of that warrant. A proof is a priori if and only if the conclusion follows deductively from the premises without empirical justification. I start by defending this definition, and proceed to demonstrate that computer-generated proofs meet its criterion.


An Argument For A Reasons-Based Doxastic Voluntarism, Santiago Sanchez Jul 2011

An Argument For A Reasons-Based Doxastic Voluntarism, Santiago Sanchez

Res Cogitans

Intentional action is usually taken to be something that is paradigmatically under the direct control of our will. Belief-formation, on the other hand, is usually taken to be involuntary and not under our control. I, however, wish to argue that we have the same kind of control over what we beliefs we form as we do under what actions we intend, or more specifically, what intentions we form. In order to argue for this, I give what is sometimes called an “analogy argument” for doxastic voluntarism. I do this by first assuming and spelling out an account of intention-formation according ...


Russell’S Coherentism: Theoretically Impossible, Timothy Perisho Jul 2011

Russell’S Coherentism: Theoretically Impossible, Timothy Perisho

Res Cogitans

In this paper, I argue that purely Coherentist justifications (or refutations) of theories must rely upon a ‘theory-neutral’ set of sense data with which we are immediately acquainted. First, I explain the function of Russell’s theory of Definite Description and his theory of Acquaintance in his Coherentist epistemology. I take my counter-examples from the natural sciences and ultimately play off the fact that our brains ‘over-correct’ colors we see according to their color contexts in order to question the very idea of an ‘I,’ ‘this,’ and ‘now,’ which Russell uses to define acquaintance (as well as what I call ...


Defending A Dialetheist Response To The Liar's Paradox, James Finley Jul 2011

Defending A Dialetheist Response To The Liar's Paradox, James Finley

Res Cogitans

The Liar’s paradox stands as one of the longest standing and most discussed problems in philosophical history. In this paper, I first briefly set up the requirements on a language needed for that language to have the expressive power to construct a Liar sentence and show how the Liar sentence leads to the inconsistency and triviality of said language (if it is a logically classical language). I will then quickly set up and reject responses to the Liar that keep a classical logic as the model logic for natural language (which I will take to be English here), and ...


Donald Davidson’S Account Of Conceptual Schemes As Related To Inter-Lingual Translation, Michael Kaminski Jul 2011

Donald Davidson’S Account Of Conceptual Schemes As Related To Inter-Lingual Translation, Michael Kaminski

Res Cogitans

In his address “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme,” Donald Davidson puts forth the notion of varying conceptual schemes. The variation makes relative the notions of truth and concept. Davidson argues against varying conceptual schemes via the construction of a system of translation between different languages. I argue that Davidson’s system, adapted from Tarski’s Convention T, is inconsistent with the requirements of the formal structure Convention T brings. In particular, it is shown that Davidson fails to uniformly apply his notion of what it means to understand a language. Furthermore, it is shown that Davidson’s ...


Abductive Reasoning As An Aesthetic Of Interpretation And A Logic Of Creativity In Umberto Eco’S 'The Name Of The Rose', Jody Kolter Jul 2011

Abductive Reasoning As An Aesthetic Of Interpretation And A Logic Of Creativity In Umberto Eco’S 'The Name Of The Rose', Jody Kolter

Res Cogitans

I begin my argument by questioning Peirce’s assumption that aesthetics exists only in the state of impulse and feeling (as opposed to method): if I can show how aesthetics necessitates reason, then abductive reasoning emerges as an aesthetic of creative logic useful for the interpretation of texts. Interpretation of the sign—Peirce defines the sign in terms of a triadic relation—to symbol (a word that stands for something that cannot be seen but is not meant to define or signify the object that it represents) evolution demands an aesthetic more than linguistic approach insofar as the symbol requires ...


Consciousness Raising And Reality Construction Within Oppressed Groups: Bridging The Gap Between Feminist Theory And Critical Race Theory, Joaquin De La Torre-Mac Neill Jul 2011

Consciousness Raising And Reality Construction Within Oppressed Groups: Bridging The Gap Between Feminist Theory And Critical Race Theory, Joaquin De La Torre-Mac Neill

Res Cogitans

Human beings’ understanding of the world around them, and how they interpret events that occur within that world, are expressions of their culture, their worldview (of reality). Many authors have written about reality as a social construction, some times through contracts (in a state, for example, the Racial Contract). I propose that reality can be (and often is) constructed through culture (within a group). The deconstruction of the officially (state sanctioned) accepted reality, by members of oppressed groups, is the first step in gathering the tools to empower themselves. This is a process of consciously recognizing the unconscious behavior of ...


The Is-Ought Gap And Policy Failure: An Examination Of Tom Regan's “The Case For Animal Rights”, Lon Niedermayer Jul 2011

The Is-Ought Gap And Policy Failure: An Examination Of Tom Regan's “The Case For Animal Rights”, Lon Niedermayer

Res Cogitans

Regan’s essay makes an impassioned and reasonable argument that the problem with our use of non-human animals is not how cruelly or kindly we treat them, but that we use them at all. He examines various ethical positions on the treatment of animals and concludes that as living beings, animals have as much right to life as humans. His conclusion, however, is untenable as policy on two fronts. First, it is drastically counter to existing attitudes. Second, his argument rests on a particular notion of rights. David Hume’s “Is-Ought Gap” is relevant because, just as observable fact cannot ...


Review Of "The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through The Present", David Boersema Jul 2011

Review Of "The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through The Present", David Boersema

Essays in Philosophy

No abstract provided.


Review Of "The Veil Of Isis: An Essay On The History Of The Idea Of Nature", Peter H. Denton Jul 2011

Review Of "The Veil Of Isis: An Essay On The History Of The Idea Of Nature", Peter H. Denton

Essays in Philosophy

No abstract provided.


Quit Your Kvetching: The Humor Of Woody Allen, Alan Soble Jul 2011

Quit Your Kvetching: The Humor Of Woody Allen, Alan Soble

Essays in Philosophy

No abstract provided.


There Is No Progress In Philosophy, Eric Dietrich Jul 2011

There Is No Progress In Philosophy, Eric Dietrich

Essays in Philosophy

Except for a patina of twenty-first century modernity, in the form of logic and language, philosophy is exactly the same now as it ever was; it has made no progress whatsoever. We philosophers wrestle with the exact same problems the Pre-Socratics wrestled with. Even more outrageous than this claim, though, is the blatant denial of its obvious truth by many practicing philosophers. The No-Progress view is explored and argued for here. Its denial is diagnosed as a form of anosognosia, a mental condition where the affected person denies there is any problem. The theories of two eminent philosophers supporting the ...


The Contingency Of Science And The Future Of Philosophy, Ian James Kidd Jul 2011

The Contingency Of Science And The Future Of Philosophy, Ian James Kidd

Essays in Philosophy

Contemporary metaphilosophical debates on the future of philosophy invariably include references to the natural sciences. This is wholly understandable given the cognitive and cultural authority of the sciences and their contributions to philosophical thought and practice. However such appeals to the sciences should be moderated by reflections on contingency of sciences. Using the work of contemporary historians and philosophers of science, I argue that an awareness of the radical contingency of science supports the claim that philosophy’s future should not be construed as either dependent or necessarily related to that of the sciences. Therefore contemporary debates – about the possibility ...