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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

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 ...


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 ...


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.


An Exploration Of The Ontology Of The Intellectual, Katherine Nichols Jun 2016

An Exploration Of The Ontology Of The Intellectual, Katherine Nichols

Res Cogitans

In this paper I wish to explore the historical and sociological contexts that allowed the flourishing of philosophy and identify the modern intellectual’s relevance in a society that outside the realm of academia has appeared to regress in an appreciation or acknowledgement for the usefulness of philosophy. I will begin by examining the influence of socio-political and economic factors on the success of intellectuals primarily in the enlightenment period and the later 20th century French thought. I will include references to the motive of committed writing, ethical purity, investment in the academic community, autonomy of the discipline, and institutional ...


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 ...


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 ...


Epistemic Warrant For Ethical Beliefs In Relation To Living Freely And Patriarchal Systems Of Oppression, Kartik Raj Jun 2016

Epistemic Warrant For Ethical Beliefs In Relation To Living Freely And Patriarchal Systems Of Oppression, Kartik Raj

Res Cogitans

Regarding the epistemic warrant1 for ethical beliefs, I will make three arguments. First, that warrant for an ethical belief can only be transferred interpersonally if the adopter fully understands the justifications for that belief or takes the reasoning of the testifier as a proxy for their own. Second, that if most or all of one’s ethical beliefs are based on other’s testimony, that person will be living freely only if those beliefs were adopted with proper warrant. Third, that systems of oppression are unethical in part because the oppressed are expected to take on ethical beliefs from authority ...


Climate Discourse And The Ontology Of The Citizen, Jaycob Izsó Jun 2016

Climate Discourse And The Ontology Of The Citizen, Jaycob Izsó

Res Cogitans

Deliberative mechanisms surrounding climate change politics in advanced democracies have, for some time, been at the mercy of ideological and political economic commitments. One need only to look at the banning of protests and marches during the 2015 COP21 international climate talks in Paris, or the historical risk assessments of violent international conflict linked to climate concerns by Germany and the US to see that the political institutionalization of climate change is pervasive. On the other hand, the discursive demarcation by climate science has consistently taken up two arguments in opposition to climate politics: (a) the view that political discourses ...


Feminist Epistemology And James’ Ways Of Deriving Truth, Alan Spencer Jun 2016

Feminist Epistemology And James’ Ways Of Deriving Truth, Alan Spencer

Res Cogitans

In the following paper I will be comparing two trains of thought in the method of attaining knowledge, or lack thereof. The first critique will be from feminist epistemology headed by Genevieve Lloyd who argues that there is a fundamental difference in the knowledge of men and of women; the female virtues, as she states, have not been given their full voice in epistemology and philosophy in general. These virtues are of receptivity and dependence and most importantly, feelings and associations with the ‘body’ in the Cartesian sense. The males tend to represent the ‘mind’ category of the Cartesian framework ...


Issue Introduction, David Boersema Jun 2016

Issue Introduction, David Boersema

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


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 ...


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.


Can We Forgive Andrea Yates?, Tara Weese Jun 2016

Can We Forgive Andrea Yates?, Tara Weese

Res Cogitans

A common assumption in the philosophical literature on forgiveness is that one can only forgive culpable moral agents. In this paper, I will argue against this assumption. Using the notorious case of Andrea Yates, I will show one can forgive non-culpable wrongdoers. I will argue that forgiveness involves letting go of negative reactive attitudes and those attitudes arise in a wide variety of cases including accidental wrongdoing and wrongs committed by those who are mentally incompetent or insane. Responding to such wrongdoings with forgiveness is not only possible, but also often advisable.


Kant’S Rational Morality And The Mentally Impaired: The Quest For A Universal Moral Account, Matt Maler Jun 2016

Kant’S Rational Morality And The Mentally Impaired: The Quest For A Universal Moral Account, Matt Maler

Res Cogitans

Kantian deontology makes at least three central claims: (1) All humans are ends in themselves, (2) All humans have moral obligations, and (3) Morality (the categorical imperative) is a rational endeavor. However, the universal claims of Kantian deontology become suspect when we consider the mentally impaired who, in some cases, cannot meet the rationality requirements implicit in the categorical imperative. In this paper, I argue that Kantian deontology cannot account for the entirety of the human population lest it exclude the mentally impaired as either non-moral agents or sub-human entities. I then suggest that by adopting the paradigm of virtue ...


Perspectivalism And Blaming, Dana Ann Jun 2016

Perspectivalism And Blaming, Dana Ann

Res Cogitans

Using the combination of two views of blame (T. M. Scanlon and J. J. C Smart), I will argue in favor of a thesis I refer to as perspectivalism; that blame from the perspective of a third party is fundamentally a different sort of thing than blame from the perspective of an injured party. Using both examples that focus on hypocrites and moral luck cases, I will attempt to give reasons to why perspectivalism has strong explanatory value. Focusing on cases that involve hypocrites, I will attempt to show that two statements about hypocrites are true if we accept perspectivalism ...


Why Wrestle With Being And Time? A Justification Of Heidegger’S Methodology Of Obscurantism And Obfuscation, Dave Mckerracher Jun 2016

Why Wrestle With Being And Time? A Justification Of Heidegger’S Methodology Of Obscurantism And Obfuscation, Dave Mckerracher

Res Cogitans

It seems that complaints about Heidegger’s style of writing are common fare in secondary literature and the classroom. This paper argues that both Heidegger’s obtuseness and obscurantism work as methodological devices for effectively communicating and demonstrating his thought. By obfuscating, he forces breakdowns, which pulls the reader out of her ready-to-hand mode of reading/revealing, which otherwise threatens to fall into comprehending via reference from one’s average everydayness. By being obscure in some passages where taking the meaning in multiple ways will not interfere with the main points being made, Heidegger enables his students to form personal ...


On Aristotle’S Function Argument, Angela Han Jun 2016

On Aristotle’S Function Argument, Angela Han

Res Cogitans

In this paper, I will reflect upon Aristotle’s argument claiming that the function of a human being is to engage in activity of soul in accord with reason (AWR). I will explicate and further defend this argument, which is based on the fact that the function of X must characterize it as an X and set a standard for X’s impairment and excellence, and the only candidates for a human’s function are: to take in nutrients and grow, to perceive and move, and to engage in activities of soul in accord with reason. I will raise the ...


Issue Introduction, David Boersema May 2015

Issue Introduction, David Boersema

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Sellars’ Paradox And Language Games, Jiayi Lu May 2015

Sellars’ Paradox And Language Games, Jiayi Lu

Res Cogitans

In “Some Reflections on Language Games,” Wilfrid Sellars contemplates whether there is a genuine paradox in learning a first language. It seems that we must know a metalanguage in order to learn a first language, and a meta-metalanguage in order to learn a metalanguage, and so on, because we cannot learn the linguistic expression of a thing without grasping its matching concept. The idea of language as a language game paves the way to a solution to this paradox by presenting an account of pre-conceptual base-level language acquisition.


The Death Of Metaphysical Analyticity And The Failure Of Boghossian’S Analytic Theory Of The A Priori, Anthony Nguyen May 2015

The Death Of Metaphysical Analyticity And The Failure Of Boghossian’S Analytic Theory Of The A Priori, Anthony Nguyen

Res Cogitans

Many philosophers still believe that metaphysically analytic sentences exist, where a sentence is understood to be metaphysically analytic if and only if it is true solely in virtue of its meaning. I provide two arguments against this claim and hence conclude that metaphysically analytic sentences do not exist. Still, some philosophers, however, hold out hope that epistemically analytic sentences exist, where a sentence is epistemically analytic if and only if an agent’s understanding the sentence suffices for the agent to be justified in believing that this sentence is true. One such philosopher is Paul Boghossian, whose so-called analytic theory ...


Explanation In Science And Technology, Josué Martín Peña Almonte May 2015

Explanation In Science And Technology, Josué Martín Peña Almonte

Res Cogitans

This article seeks to emphasize the fact that technology, like science, can also offer us explanations about the world. The article begins by adopting a definition of technology as knowledge, thus establishing a continuity between science and technology that allows us to extend the work done on the issue of scientific explanation. Three proposals are analyzed for defining the concept of scientific explanation, with emphasis on Wesley Salmon’s causal mechanical model. Next, the case of the pressure and volume indicator diagram in the steam engine is analyzed, in which, despite the lack of a competent scientific theory to interpret ...


Properties, Direction Of Fit And An Argument For Property Realism, Rachel Rapp May 2015

Properties, Direction Of Fit And An Argument For Property Realism, Rachel Rapp

Res Cogitans

There is much debate about the existence of properties and how to consider both tropes and universals. While the antirealist contends that there are no true universal properties, the realist affirms that there are mind-independent universal properties. In this essay I present an argument for the realist approach to the problem of universals based off of the concept of direction of fit. After beginning with a discussion of properties, I discuss antirealist approaches to explaining the problem of universals, arguing that there are inherent problems with antirealism about properties that render it unsatisfactory. It becomes clear that universals must exist ...


Political Epistemology And The Subject: Epistemic Injustice As A Primary Mode For Oppression, Elliny Jade Hiebert May 2015

Political Epistemology And The Subject: Epistemic Injustice As A Primary Mode For Oppression, Elliny Jade Hiebert

Res Cogitans

In this paper I explore the notion of epistemic injustice in relation to privilege, marginalization, and oppression. I define epistemic injustice as anytime marginalized bodies are denied credibility based solely on their status as that Other. Conversely, epistemic privilege occurs whenever those in power are given credibility based solely on their elevated or authoritative status within society. It is my claim that epistemic injustice is not just a problem of knowing and that it reaches far beyond the scope of traditional epistemology and roots itself in both the social and political. It is, at a fundamental level, a tool used ...


On Perception And Autonomy Considered Through The Phenomenological Understanding Of Emotion Described By Kym Maclaren, Erika Grimm May 2015

On Perception And Autonomy Considered Through The Phenomenological Understanding Of Emotion Described By Kym Maclaren, Erika Grimm

Res Cogitans

Female philosopher Kym Maclaren, in her article, “Emotional Metamorphoses: The Role of Others in Becoming a Subject,” explores a phenomenological view on emotion as being-in-the-world as well as the ethical implications of understanding emotion in opposition to the moralistic view. In the first part of this paper, I provide an exegetical assessment of Maclaren’s thesis; in the second I introduce a critique of Maclaren’s argument and argue a claim of my own which explores perception and autonomy in the human body along with its implications in the context of Maclaren’s phenomenological account of emotion. I discuss the ...


Frank Jackson’S Knowledge Argument: On Qualia, Physical Information, And The Supposed Falsity Of Physicalism, Andrew Watters May 2015

Frank Jackson’S Knowledge Argument: On Qualia, Physical Information, And The Supposed Falsity Of Physicalism, Andrew Watters

Res Cogitans

In “Epiphenomenal Qualia” Frank Jackson argues against Physicalism (the thesis that all correct information is physical information) and for the existence of qualia on the grounds that all of the physical information possible cannot explain the qualitative feel of experience (qualia). In “The Knowledge Argument for Qualia” Jackson partakes in a thought experiment using the examples of “Fred” and “Mary” to show that having all of the physical information about color; including all of the information about physical history, physiology, behavior, light waves, and the physical sciences fails to provide the information of what it is like for Fred and ...


Artificial Intelligence, Zygotes, And Free Will, Katelyn Hallman May 2015

Artificial Intelligence, Zygotes, And Free Will, Katelyn Hallman

Res Cogitans

In this paper, I assume that strong AI is possible and I question whether AI robots would have free will. The ultimate goal of this paper is to use our intuitions regarding AI and free will to motivate incompatibilism. I argue that AI cannot act freely because the nature of an AI robot’s design keeps it from being able to have the kind of control required for free will. The strategy of this paper is to first define the control condition of free will. Then I discuss Mele’s Zygote Argument and compare it to AI. Then I briefly ...


Concrete Individuals And The Failure Of The Trope Bundle Solution, Justin Fishman May 2015

Concrete Individuals And The Failure Of The Trope Bundle Solution, Justin Fishman

Res Cogitans

What account can we give of the nature of the individuality of concrete particulars that allows many properties to inhere in them? Campbell argues that concrete particulars are bundles of tropes, or of instances of qualities. It is argued that we should individuate tropes spatiotemporally, as Schaffer suggests we should, and that such a spatiotemporal individuation principle makes Campbell’s model require that the Identity of Indiscernibles be a necessary truth, which he rejects.