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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Don’T Think Twice, It’S Alright, Hilary Kornblith Jan 2019

Don’T Think Twice, It’S Alright, Hilary Kornblith

Philosophic Exchange

We arrive at most of our beliefs unreflectively. As we navigate the world, beliefs about our surroundings are, inevitably, simply produced in us. Similarly, the vast majority of our actions are unreflective. We don’t have to think about every little thing we do; we simply act. But we also, at times, stop to reflect: Is this what I should believe? Is this what I should do?

What does such reflective activity achieve? Some philosophers have suggested that reflecting about what we should believe is necessary if our beliefs are to be justified. In the case of action, some philosophers ...


Pragmatism In Philosophy: The Hidden Alternative, Simon Blackburn Sep 2011

Pragmatism In Philosophy: The Hidden Alternative, Simon Blackburn

Philosophic Exchange

This paper contrasts two ways of understanding the function of human thought and language. According to representationalism, the function of thought and language is to refer to entities in the world and assert truths about them. By contrast, pragmatism seeks to understand the function of thought and language without any such appeal, at the most fundamental level, to the concepts of truth or reference.


Philosophy Of Perception And The Phenomenology Of Visual Space, Gary Hatfield Jan 2011

Philosophy Of Perception And The Phenomenology Of Visual Space, Gary Hatfield

Philosophic Exchange

My aim in this paper is to consider various forms of perceptual realism, including, for purposes of comparison, the largely abandoned indirect or representative realism. After surveying the variety of perceptual realisms and considering their various commitments, I introduce some considerations concerning the phenomenology of visual space that cause trouble for most forms of direct realism. These considerations pertain to the perception of objects in the distance and, secondarily, to the perception of shapes at a slant. I argue that one of the lesser known varieties of perceptual realism, critical direct realism, can meet the challenges offered by the facts ...


Structuralism, Anti-Structuralism And Objectivity, Derk Pereboom Dec 2010

Structuralism, Anti-Structuralism And Objectivity, Derk Pereboom

Philosophic Exchange

Structuralist theories describe the entities in their domains solely in terms of relations, while also claiming to be complete theories of the entities in question. Leibniz and Kant insist that no structuralist theory can be a complete theory. Kant believes that the knowledge afforded by structuralist theories is sufficient. However, Jacques Derrida is skeptical of the sufficiency of structuralist theories for stable knowledge of any kind.


Trust As Robustly Moral, Alisa Carse Oct 2010

Trust As Robustly Moral, Alisa Carse

Philosophic Exchange

Trust is more than mere reliance on another person. To trust someone is to rely on her goodwill for the care of something valuable. It is to have a confident expectation that the other person will take care of the valuable thing because she recognizes its value to you. It is to expect her to take care of it because she recognizes that she should take care of it. Therefore trust is a robustly moral attitude.


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.


Diabolical Mysticism, Death, And Skepticism, Eli Hirsch Jan 2009

Diabolical Mysticism, Death, And Skepticism, Eli Hirsch

Philosophic Exchange

According to one view, death is bad for the one who dies. The challenge for this view is to explain exactly why and when death is bad for the one who dies. According to an alternative view, death is not actually bad for the one who dies. There is a third alternative, according to which the thought of one’s own death elicits an experience that reveals the horror of one’s own death in a way that is ineffable. This paper explores this third alternative.


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.


Wittgenstein's Radical Alternative, Newton Garver Nov 2008

Wittgenstein's Radical Alternative, Newton Garver

Philosophic Exchange

Wittgenstein’s achievement in the history of philosophy consists in turning philosophy away from logical analysis toward contextual explication, and even more in undermining the dominance of epistemology in mainstream philosophy. However, since a majority of academic philosophers continue to work in ways that Wittgenstein disdained, it is unclear how much he affected the discipline.


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.


Religious Knowledge, John Hawthorne Dec 2007

Religious Knowledge, John Hawthorne

Philosophic Exchange

This paper will examine two strategies by which religious believers might attempt to defend the rationality of religious belief. The first strategy is a “fine tuning argument.” The main shortcoming of that strategy is that it ignores the crucial issue of the appropriate prior probabilities. The second strategy is what might be called a “trust” strategy. According to this strategy, a belief that is based on trusting someone who knows something is thereby also an instance of knowledge. This strategy might suffice in some respects, but it involves reliance on a mechanism that is doubtful as a prototype for all ...


Naturalism, Realism And Pragmatism, Michael Williams Sep 2007

Naturalism, Realism And Pragmatism, Michael Williams

Philosophic Exchange

This paper contrasts two varieties of naturalism: realistic naturalism and pragmatic naturalism. These two views both reject a priori knowledge, but then they differ in many ways. For realistic naturalists, meaning and knowledge are to be understood in terms of causal relations. By contrast, pragmatists think that meaning and knowledge can be understood only in relation to normatively constructed practices.


Self-Trust And The Diversity Of Religions, Linda Zagzebski Jan 2006

Self-Trust And The Diversity Of Religions, Linda Zagzebski

Philosophic Exchange

The diversity of religions poses two, distinct challenges for belief in a particular religion. The first challenge is based upon an epistemic egalitarianism, according to which all normal human beings are roughly equal in their ability to get knowledge. I argue that this challenge is based on some mistaken assumptions. The second challenge arises from our admiration of people of other faiths. I argue that this second challenge is very serious, since it is rooted in our trust of ourselves.


Dreams And Skeptics, Ernest Sosa Nov 2005

Dreams And Skeptics, Ernest Sosa

Philosophic Exchange

This paper compares the relative merits of perceptual beliefs and introspective beliefs in the context of dream arguments for skepticism. It is argued that introspective beliefs are not epistemically privileged over perceptual beliefs.


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.


Empiricism And Multiculturalism, Kenneth P. Winkler Jan 2004

Empiricism And Multiculturalism, Kenneth P. Winkler

Philosophic Exchange

This paper relates the work of the great British empiricists – Locke, Berkeley, and Hume – to issues of multiculturalism. It is argued that these philosophers can help to provide us with some of the tools we need to craft an appropriate response to the diversity of cultures.


Tradition And Innovation: Metaphor In Philosophy And Philosophy Of Religion, Laura Duhan Kaplan Jan 2003

Tradition And Innovation: Metaphor In Philosophy And Philosophy Of Religion, Laura Duhan Kaplan

Philosophic Exchange

Philosophy aspires to be a radical discipline, with the power to critique existing social structures. However, the practice of philosophy as a discipline seems to be quite conservative, especially insofar as the terms of the discipline are established by a canon of philosophers from the past. How can philosophy be at once conservative and critical in these ways? The answer is that philosophers reinterpret the language they inherit in ways that both honor its older meanings and introduce new ones.


Socratic Ignorance, Gareth B. Matthews Jan 2003

Socratic Ignorance, Gareth B. Matthews

Philosophic Exchange

In Plato’s Apology, Socrates famously claimed to know nothing. This Socratic claim to ignorance pervades all of Plato’s early dialogues, and it raises many puzzling questions. By working through these puzzles, we can come to understand the figure of Socrates much better, and we can also gain some insight into the nature and purpose of philosophy.


The ‘Faith’ Of An Atheist, Louise Antony Jan 2002

The ‘Faith’ Of An Atheist, Louise Antony

Philosophic Exchange

For many religious believers, belief in God is as fundamental as my belief in my own body. That is because the believer thinks that belief in God is a necessary condition for living a meaningful life. This paper argues that belief in God is not necessary for living a meaningful life. Morality, meaning, and love are all independent of God. All that is required for a meaningful life is a sustaining belief that humankind is worth something. This kind of faith is available to an atheist.


Why Obey The Laws Of Logic?, Robert J. Fogelin Jan 2002

Why Obey The Laws Of Logic?, Robert J. Fogelin

Philosophic Exchange

The status of the law of noncontradiction is the ultimate battleground on which the traditional forces of rationalism and anti-rationalism have met. This conflict is the topic of this essay. People who reject the law of noncontradiction obliterate any significant difference between speech acts of asserting and denying. In doing so, they deprive themselves of the significant use of their own speech acts. Thus they are self-silencers. This is Aristotle’s “negative demonstration” of the law of noncontradiction, and I find it entirely persuasive.


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.


On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?, Linda Martin Alcoff Jan 1999

On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?, Linda Martin Alcoff

Philosophic Exchange

On what basis should we make an epistemic assessment of another’s authority to impart knowledge? Is social identity a legitimate feature to take into account when assessing epistemic reliability? This paper argues that, in some cases, social identity is a relevant feature to take into account in assessing a person’s credibility.


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.


Coping With Cognitive Limitations: Problems Of Rationality In A Complex World, Nicholas Rescher Jan 1997

Coping With Cognitive Limitations: Problems Of Rationality In A Complex World, Nicholas Rescher

Philosophic Exchange

In cognitive and practical contexts alike, even the most rational of problem-solutions can misfire in situations of incomplete information. The prevailing state of our information will -- and should -- decisively affect the determination of what is the best thing to do or think. Accordingly, reason faces the predicament of acknowledging that it must call on us to do that which, for aught we know, may in the end prove totally inappropriate.


God And Evil, William L. Rowe Jan 1997

God And Evil, William L. Rowe

Philosophic Exchange

If God is all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good, then why is there so much horrendous evil in the world? This paper discusses this perennial problem.


Is The Feminist Critique Of Reason Rational, Linda Martin Alcoff Jan 1996

Is The Feminist Critique Of Reason Rational, Linda Martin Alcoff

Philosophic Exchange

Recent criticism of feminist philosophy poses a dilemma. Feminism is taken to be a substantive set of empirical claims and political commitments, whereas philosophy is taken to be a discipline of thought organized by the pursuit of truth, but uncommitted to any particular truth. This paper responds to this dilemma, and defends the project of feminist philosophy.


Is 'True Philosophy" Like True Art?, Kai Nielsen Jan 1994

Is 'True Philosophy" Like True Art?, Kai Nielsen

Philosophic Exchange

The question “What is philosophy?” is itself a contentious philosophical question. Some philosophers claim that other philosophers misunderstand the very point and purpose of philosophy. This paper explores several prominent conceptions of philosophy.


The Polarity Fallacy, Marcus G. Singer Jan 1990

The Polarity Fallacy, Marcus G. Singer

Philosophic Exchange

There are multifarious ways in which two terms can be “polar,” and this sometimes leads to confusion and fallacious reasoning. This paper identifies a fallacy of reasoning that arises from one such confusion.