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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Issue Introduction, David Boersema May 2015

Issue Introduction, David Boersema

Res Cogitans

No abstract provided.


Hume In The Light Of Bayes: Towards A Unified Cognitive Science Of Human Nature, Jason Krivo Flores May 2015

Hume In The Light Of Bayes: Towards A Unified Cognitive Science Of Human Nature, Jason Krivo Flores

Res Cogitans

David Hume hoped future advances would bring his nascent science of human nature nearer to perfection. He conjectured that since it is probable one operation and principle of the mind depends on another it might someday be possible to subsume all mental operations under one absolutely general and universal principle. I argue that the day Hume hoped for may now be upon us, as an increasing number of theorists suspect that predictive Bayesian models of cognitive architecture provide the best clue yet as to the shape of a unified theory of mind. A theory in which the manifold operations of ...


Climbing To Consciousness: The Mind-Body Problem And The Computational Order, Trent Eady May 2015

Climbing To Consciousness: The Mind-Body Problem And The Computational Order, Trent Eady

Res Cogitans

In his book The Structure of Behavior, the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty proposes a solution to the mind-body problem. Merleau-Ponty argues that there is a nested hierarchy of three orders—the physical order, the biological order, and the mental order—in which each lower order composes each higher order. Through the structuration or organization of a lower order, a higher order is created. Merleau-Ponty’s solution is promising, but it leaves an explanatory chasm between the biological order and the mental order that cannot be crossed without introducing an intermediary order. I propose just that: the addition of a fourth order ...


Eliminating Eliminative Materialism, Perry Hendricks May 2015

Eliminating Eliminative Materialism, Perry Hendricks

Res Cogitans

Eliminative materialism is a bold position in philosophy of mind: proponents of it hold that folk psychology is a primitive theory of human behavior, and like most primitive theories, it is, unfortunately, false. The alarming implications of this are that mental states don’t actually exist—humans don’t actually believe anything. In this paper I try to show that several central claims of eliminative materialism (specifically Paul Churchland’s version) are mistaken and, further, that it is, in fact, false. I first argue that folk psychology is not a theory, and that a proper understanding of the nature of ...


Dennett’S Intentional Strategy Applied To Animals, Melanie Stankus May 2015

Dennett’S Intentional Strategy Applied To Animals, Melanie Stankus

Res Cogitans

Daniel Dennett lays out what he calls the intentional strategy (or stance) and the intentional system, which proposes that we could predict the behavior of humans, non-human animals, plants or in other words, what he calls an intentional system. Roughly speaking, the intentional strategy involves attributing beliefs and desires, that a reason using object ought to have given the circumstances, to an object; with those beliefs and desires, one should be able to predict the object’s behavior. Though my goal is not to criticize Dennett’s view, I will argue that the intentional strategy works better on non-human animals ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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 ...


The Epistemological Significance And Implications Of Belief Polarization, Lee Pennebaker May 2015

The Epistemological Significance And Implications Of Belief Polarization, Lee Pennebaker

Res Cogitans

A principal assumption in the epistemology of disagreement is that we, as rational subjects, assess evidence neutrally in order to justify our beliefs. However, the existence of the phenomenon of Belief Polarization threatens the validity of this basis. Since its introduction into philosophical discussion in Thomas Kelly’s paper titled, Disagreement, Dogmatism, and Belief Polarization, the phenomenon of Belief Polarization has been thoughtlessly overlooked. Given serious consideration, there seem to be widespread epistemological implications due to the existence of Belief Polarization. Specifically, Belief Polarization brings to light significant claims about the nature of justification and belief forming processes, specifically concerning ...


Embracing A Deweyan Approach To Punishment, Heather Lewis May 2015

Embracing A Deweyan Approach To Punishment, Heather Lewis

Res Cogitans

Kant’s retributive theory of punishment, resting on the notion of desert, i.e., deserved reward or punishment, assumes responsibility of the moral agent. On the contrary, a Deweyan approach to punishment does not assume responsibility, but rather, aims to cultivate it. These two different approaches ground two very different theories of punishment. In this essay, I compare these two divergent approaches, emphasizing their conflicting notions of what it means to treat criminals as moral agents. Ultimately, I demonstrate that moral responsibility is not to be assumed, but rather, is something to be cultivated. The point of punishment should not ...


Dissolving Dualism In Medicine: Reuniting The Body And Mind Through Patient Narratives, Heather Stewart May 2015

Dissolving Dualism In Medicine: Reuniting The Body And Mind Through Patient Narratives, Heather Stewart

Res Cogitans

This paper looks at how the practice of health care tends to follow a dualistic system of thought, seeing the mind and body as distinct. Approaching patients in this way leads to a failure to understand them in a unified and holistic way, often leaving patients feeling less than “healed” and often facing “crises” that go beyond their physiological illness or ailment. This paper critiques this dualistic trend in medicine and looks at some of the ways in which this divide might be bridged through the inclusion of practices being developed by the emerging field of Medical Humanities.


Subject Formation And Morality In Film, Connor Sabin May 2015

Subject Formation And Morality In Film, Connor Sabin

Res Cogitans

In this paper, I approach the concept of subject formation through the lens of the movie screen. The way in which we interact with the social imaginary created by the cinema is fascinating in that it not only presences us as being an active participant—we experience ourselves in their shoes, our eyes mimic their actions, and we feel their feelings—but also establishes us as agents that determine the legitimacy of the reality that we’re being presented. In this sense, we are not only posited as gatekeepers of the political, ethical, and moral actions of the characters produced ...


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 ...


Duality Unresolved And Darwinian Dilemmas, Anson Tullis May 2015

Duality Unresolved And Darwinian Dilemmas, Anson Tullis

Res Cogitans

By using Sharon Street’s Darwinian Dilemma, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer attempt to show that Sidgwick’s duality of practical reason, whereby an agent has equal reason to act in their own interests or act impartially for the benefit of all, is not actually a duality, rather, reasons for action are solely impartial due to the unreliability of intuitions favoring self-interested behavior. My contention is that the author’s fail to accomplish their goal. To show this, I argue that the authors are inconsistent, that Singer has previously provided an account of impartiality that makes it just as ...


Dismantling The Race Label, Dillon Rockrohr May 2015

Dismantling The Race Label, Dillon Rockrohr

Res Cogitans

In racial identification, certain known characteristics about a person, usually visible, morphological ones, are picked out and taken to signify the presence of other characteristics which are unknown or not visible and which mark a person as similar to or different from a particular set of people. Race, used in this way, often produces negative, discriminatory behavior where group identities are placed in relation to each other in the form of a hierarchy. This paper aims to synthesize Linda Alcoff’s descriptive accounts of race as an extant ontological category and of social identity as a location within a complex ...


Otherness And The Nature Of The Multifaceted Self, Celesté Martinez May 2015

Otherness And The Nature Of The Multifaceted Self, Celesté Martinez

Res Cogitans

The other or otherness is the ability to objectify a part of self, another person, and/or a group of people that results in an imbalance of power. The human ability to other allows for detachment to happen in social and personal relationship, which affects the self-perception and identity. Hegel argues in the Phenomenology of Spirit the very nature of an interdependent relationship, which expresses identity through the Lord and bondsman. I will argue how extreme detachment and disassociation between human beings has created a complex phenomenon and has redefined what it means to be human in relation to social ...