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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Aristotle And Darwin: Antagonists Or Kindred Spirits?, James G. Lennox Jan 2017

Aristotle And Darwin: Antagonists Or Kindred Spirits?, James G. Lennox

Philosophic Exchange

In the decades following the forging of the so-called Neo-Darwinian Synthesis in the 1940s, a number of its philosophical defenders created a myth about what Charles Darwin was up against, a viewpoint called “typological essentialism” often attributed to Aristotle. In this paper I first sketch the history of how this myth was created. I then establish that it is a myth by providing an account of Aristotle’s essentialism as it is actually displayed in his philosophy of biology and in his biological practice. It has nothing to do with the ‘mythic’ version. We then turn to what Darwin was ...


Adventures In Rationalism, Michael Della Rocca Jul 2013

Adventures In Rationalism, Michael Della Rocca

Philosophic Exchange

Rationalism is the thesis that the world and all the things in the world are intelligible, through and through. Nothing happens for no reason. On the contrary, whatever takes place, whatever exists, takes place or exists for a reason. Everything. On this view there are no brute facts. Each thing that exists has a reason that is sufficient for explaining the existence of the thing. According to perhaps the most extreme implication of this view, even the world itself, the totality of all that exists, exists for a reason, has an explanation. Many philosophers today think that rationalism is a ...


Re-Humanizing Descartes, Alison Simmons Jul 2011

Re-Humanizing Descartes, Alison Simmons

Philosophic Exchange

Descartes’ mind-body dualism and his quest for objective knowledge can appear de-humanizing. My aim in this paper is to re-humanize Descartes. When we take a closer look at what Descartes actually says about human beings, it casts his entire thought in a much different light.


Aristotelian Happiness, Paula Gottlieb Apr 2011

Aristotelian Happiness, Paula Gottlieb

Philosophic Exchange

Aristotle’s account of happiness aims to show that happiness is both objective and attainable. According to Aristotle, the pursuit of happiness benefits both the agent and other people too. This paper attempts to explain how Aristotle’s account supports these claims. Along the way, I argue that Aristotle’s much-maligned doctrine of the mean has some true and important implications concerning the nature and value of happiness.


"Crafting Natures": Aristotle On Animal Design, Mariska Leunissen Mar 2011

"Crafting Natures": Aristotle On Animal Design, Mariska Leunissen

Philosophic Exchange

It is a commonplace in Aristotelian scholarship that the forms of living beings and the animal species to which they give rise are “fixed.” However, Aristotle’s biological works often stress the flexibility of nature during the development of animals. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to delineate the range of flexibility that Aristotle takes natures to have in the design of animals; and second, to draw out the implications of this for Aristotle’s embryology and theory of natural teleology.


The Ontological Argument And Objects Of Thought, Edward Wierenga Jan 2011

The Ontological Argument And Objects Of Thought, Edward Wierenga

Philosophic Exchange

Is there anything new to be said about Anselm's ontological argument? Recent work by Lynne Baker and Gareth Matthews raises some interesting and important questions about the argument. First, Anselm's argument is set in the context of a prayer to God, whose existence Anselm seeks to prove. Is that peculiar or paradoxical? Does it imply that Anselm's prayer is insincere? Baker and Matthews have offered a novel interpretation of Anselm's argument, designed to solve a crucial problem with it. Does their interpretation succeed in solving that problem? This paper addresses both of these questions.


Virtue And Flourishing In Our Interpersonal Relationships, Lorraine Besser-Jones Jan 2011

Virtue And Flourishing In Our Interpersonal Relationships, Lorraine Besser-Jones

Philosophic Exchange

The eudaimonistic thesis claims that being virtuous is a necessary aspect of the development of some important kind of happiness. To be true, it must be the case that virtue is associated with a kind of happiness that is clearly recognizable as something that we want, that we can appreciate as a good state for us to be in, that we can identify as a state of our own well-being. So here is the empirical question: in our ordinary experiences, is it the case that virtue is necessary to developing this kind of state? This is a very large, and ...


Alcibiades And The Politics Of Rumor In Thucydides, C.D.C. Reeve Jan 2011

Alcibiades And The Politics Of Rumor In Thucydides, C.D.C. Reeve

Philosophic Exchange

This is a story about Alcibiades, about Athens, and about the politics of rumor. When rumor set its claws into Alcibiades, it contributed not only to his own downfall, but to the downfall of Athens. The very traits that made Alcibiades an effective public figure also made him vulnerable to rumor. In the end, Thucydides himself excised rumor from his own histories because he came to see its destructive force


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.


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.


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.


Stoic Equanimity In The Face Of Torture, Nancy Sherman Oct 2008

Stoic Equanimity In The Face Of Torture, Nancy Sherman

Philosophic Exchange

In what ways, if any, is Stoic equanimity a plausible armor for enduring torture? I believe that we can learn something about stoic equanimity in general by examining this especially hard case. It turns out that a broadly Stoic view still leaves a torture victim vulnerable to being forced to use one’s agency against oneself. In this sense, even the best Stoic armor has its limits.


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.


Nietzsche's New Happiness: Longing, Boredom, And The Elusiveness Of Fulfillment, Bernard Reginster Nov 2007

Nietzsche's New Happiness: Longing, Boredom, And The Elusiveness Of Fulfillment, Bernard Reginster

Philosophic Exchange

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the elusiveness of fulfillment was a source of much perplexity. You believe that the possession of something that you desire will bring you fulfillment, but the acquisition of it leaves you dissatisfied. Arthur Schopenhauer said that this is because the objects of desire lack any intrinsic value. By contrast, Nietzsche argued that our experience of boredom reflects our desire to engage in a challenging form of activity.


Socrates And Plato On Poetry, Nicholas D. Smith Oct 2007

Socrates And Plato On Poetry, Nicholas D. Smith

Philosophic Exchange

This paper contrasts Socrates’ attitude towards poetry in the early dialogues with the sharply critical view of poetry expressed in Plato’s Republic. The difference between these two views constitutes further evidence for a developmentalist interpretation of Plato.


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.


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.


Tragic Error And Agent Responsibility, Charlotte Witt Sep 2005

Tragic Error And Agent Responsibility, Charlotte Witt

Philosophic Exchange

The characters of tragedy are in some sense responsible for their errors. However, given their ignorance of the consequences of their actions, it seems that they ought not be held responsible by others for what they have done. This is a paradox. The way to resolve the paradox is to distinguish two kinds of agent responsibility: accountability and culpability. Being accountable is primarily a private affair, whereas being culpable entails the possibility of just punishment.


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.


The Search For The Semantic Grail, John Perry Jan 2003

The Search For The Semantic Grail, John Perry

Philosophic Exchange

One factor that has engendered skepticism about semantic content is the idea that there can be content only if there is exactly one thing that performs all the functions that have been associated with content. This paper argues that there is no such thing as content in this unified sense. Rather, what exists is a structure of related contents. Instead of a single grail, there is more of a semantic tea service.


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.


Mind And Brain In The 17th Century, Jonathan Bennett Jan 1994

Mind And Brain In The 17th Century, Jonathan Bennett

Philosophic Exchange

The 17th century saw an enormous amount of energy dedicated to the question of whether matter can think. This paper follows certain strands of this debate in Descartes, Locke, Leibniz and Spinoza. These strands of the debate are still relevant today.


A Reckoning Of Sorts On The Prospects Of Moral Philosophy, Joseph Margolis Jan 1994

A Reckoning Of Sorts On The Prospects Of Moral Philosophy, Joseph Margolis

Philosophic Exchange

Western philosophy has tended to distinguish between the use of our cognitive powers in theoretical and practical matters. Moreover, Western philosophy has persuaded itself that whatever is valid in human judgment depends upon and implicates necessary invariances. These assumptions are manifested and developed, most prominently, in Aristotle and Kant. This paper argues against both of these assumptions of the Western philosophical tradition.


Predictability And Explanation In The Social Sciences, Alasdair Macintyre Jan 1972

Predictability And Explanation In The Social Sciences, Alasdair Macintyre

Philosophic Exchange

Scientific explanation requires a certain type of predictability. The particulars that are studied by the social sciences do not possess that kind of predictability. Therefore the aspiration to construct scientific explanations in the social sciences is bound to fail.


A Response To Macintyre, Charles Taylor Jan 1972

A Response To Macintyre, Charles Taylor

Philosophic Exchange

I agree with a great deal of Professor Macintyre’s paper. However, his argument can be formulated without any appeal to unpredictability. The unpredictability of many human events is due to the role of self-interpretation in the constitution of those very same events.


Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?, Paula G. Morrison Jan 1972

Do Social Events Defy Scientific Prediction?, Paula G. Morrison

Philosophic Exchange

If Professor Macintyre is correct, then there is not, and cannot be, any such thing as a scientific explanation or prediction of anything social, and hence there can never be any social science. This paper responds to Professor Macintyre’s argument, and rejects his position.


Linguistic Relativity: A Response To Professor Dewart, Henry Lee Smith, Jr. Jan 1972

Linguistic Relativity: A Response To Professor Dewart, Henry Lee Smith, Jr.

Philosophic Exchange

Language defines our experience. We receive impressions of the world through the distorting lenses of our linguistic systems, and we also project relationships that are not already there in the world. Thus, it is true that we can gain new insight into science and religion if we attend to our language. We can even hope for a future integration of the two.