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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Responsibility In A World Of Causes, Manuel Vargas Sep 2010

Responsibility In A World Of Causes, Manuel Vargas

Philosophic Exchange

A familiar chain of reasoning goes like this: if everything is caused, then no one is genuinely free; if no one is genuinely free, then no one can be morally responsible for anything; so if everything is caused, then no one can be morally responsible for anything. This paper will challenge the part of this reasoning that concerns moral responsibility. What is at stake for us when we ascribe moral responsibility to ourselves and others? This paper will argue that we can reconcile the idea of moral responsibility with a broadly scientific worldview.


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.


Why Care About Liberty?, Jan Narveson Dec 2008

Why Care About Liberty?, Jan Narveson

Philosophic Exchange

This is the age of the welfare state. The general assumption is that something is amiss if governments do not provide benefits to its people. Since these benefits are funded by coercive taxation, this implies that those who are taxed are morally required to pay for benefits for others. This paper argues that this assumption is mistaken. Like the founders of the American republic, I argue that government should protect individual liberty, not provide benefits to the needy.


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.


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 ...


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.


The Emergence Of Consciousness, William Seager Jan 2006

The Emergence Of Consciousness, William Seager

Philosophic Exchange

According to the mainstream view in philosophy today, the world is a purely physical system, in which consciousness emerged as a product of increasing biological complexity, from non-conscious precursors composed of non-conscious components. The mainstream view is a beautiful, grand vision of the universe. However, it leaves no real place for consciousness. This paper explains why.


God, Evil, And The Contemplation Of Infinitely Many Options, Dean Zimmerman Jan 2006

God, Evil, And The Contemplation Of Infinitely Many Options, Dean Zimmerman

Philosophic Exchange

This essay examines the problem of evil, and then develops a free will theodicy. Then the paper considers some themes in distinctively Christian theodicy building, in more detail.


One Is Not Born But Becomes A Person: The Importance Of Philosophical Mothering, Jennifer Whiting Jan 2006

One Is Not Born But Becomes A Person: The Importance Of Philosophical Mothering, Jennifer Whiting

Philosophic Exchange

Annette Baier is my philosophical foremother. This paper examines Baier’s views on such topics as personal identity and philosophical methodology. It also examines the idea of motherhood, and the various forms that it takes.


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.


Preemption, Prevention And Predation: Why The Bush Strategy Is Dangerous, Henry Shue Dec 2005

Preemption, Prevention And Predation: Why The Bush Strategy Is Dangerous, Henry Shue

Philosophic Exchange

In September of 2002, the administration of President George W. Bush announced its policy of preemption. This policy is actually equivalent to a policy of preventive war. The principal difficulty with this policy is that it will incite fear in governments who would not otherwise attack us, and thereby incite them to hostile action. Thus the policy actually makes the world a more dangerous place.


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.


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.


Future Genders? Future Races?, Sally Haslanger Jan 2004

Future Genders? Future Races?, Sally Haslanger

Philosophic Exchange

Gender is the social meaning of a person’s sex, and race is the social meaning of a person’s color. This paper reviews some accounts of these social meanings. It is argued that there are important differences between race and gender that count against treating them as parallel.


Are Women Morally Different From Men?, Michael Slote Jan 2004

Are Women Morally Different From Men?, Michael Slote

Philosophic Exchange

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in the differences between men and women. Some recent work appears to show that men and women differ in the ways in which they approach moral issues. This paper considers the implications of this research for moral philosophy. It is argued that this research does not undermine the idea of a single morality that applies equally to both men and women.


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.


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.


Meaning In Life Without Free Will, Derk Pereboom Jan 2003

Meaning In Life Without Free Will, Derk Pereboom

Philosophic Exchange

Even if determinism precludes responsibility and accountability, it does not eliminate everything that we deem valuable. This paper argues that life can be meaningful even if we do not have free will.


When Doctors Kill Patients: Vital Organ Transplants, Ted A. Warfield Jan 2002

When Doctors Kill Patients: Vital Organ Transplants, Ted A. Warfield

Philosophic Exchange

This paper attempts to discern exactly what is happening in some medical situations involving patients who are, in different ways, near death. In order to arrive at a correct moral evaluation of these practices, it is necessary to begin with a careful analysis of exactly what is happening, and then proceed to moral evaluation. This paper argues that declarations of death in many vital organ transplants are unjustified. Thus, probably there are killings occurring in these cases. However, there is no reason to think that these killings are morally unacceptable.