American Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 44, No. 2, April 2007.
Recent discussion in epistemology has seen a huge growth in interest in the topic of epistemic value. In this paper I describe the background to this new movement in epistemology and critically survey the contemporary literature on this topic.
Source Incompatibilism and its Alternatives, KEVIN TIMPE
In current debates about moral responsibility, it is commonplace to differentiate two fundamentally different incompatibilist positions: Leeway Incompatibilism and Source Incompatibilism. In the present paper, I argue that this is a bad dichotomy. Those forms of Leeway Incompatibilism that have no appeal to 'origination' or 'ultimacy' are problematic, which suggests that incompatibilists should prefer Source Incompatibilism. I then differentiate two sub-classifications of Source Incompatibilism. Narrow Source Incompatibilism holds that alternative possibilities are outside the scope of what is required for moral responsibility. Wide Source Incompatibilism maintains that while ultimacy is most fundamental to moral responsibility, an agent meeting the ultimacy condition will also have alternative possibilities, thereby also satisfying an alternative possibilities condition. I give reasons to think that a version of Wide Source Incompatibilism is the most promising incompatibilist position
A More Palatable Epicurianism, DAVID B. HERSHENOV
It has often been thought that the Epicurean account of the impossibility of death being a harm plays havoc with our commonsense moral claims about the wrongness of killing and the prudence of avoiding death. To preserve such commonsense notions, some philosophers have found more attractive than they might otherwise some very non-commonsensical accounts of existence, reality and time. I argue that we can preserve both the truth of the Epicurean account of death and our commonsense moral and prudential norms needs without adopting a controversial metaphysics.
The Argument from Ignorance against Truth-Conditional Semantics, PAUL SAKA
According to orthodox semantics, to know the meaning of a sentence is to know its truth-conditions. Against this view I observe that we typically do not know the truth-conditions of the sentences we understand. We do not know the truth-conditions, for instance, of empty definite descriptions, non-declaratives, subjunctive conditionals, causal ascriptions, belief ascriptions, probability statements, figurative language, category mistakes, normative judgments, or vague statements. Appealing to tacit knowledge does not help, for the problem goes beyond our inability to articulate complete truth-conditions: even full knowledge of the world's condition would leave us unable to say whether an arbitrary sentence was true or false.
Realism and the Problem of Infimae Species, CRAWFORD L. ELDER
Modal conventionalists hold that sameness in kind rests on our conventions for individuating nature's kinds, and that numerical sameness across time rests on our conventions for individuating members of the kinds. Realist opponents have for thirty years argued forcefully against the first claim, but only weakly and rarely against the second. This paper identifies a reason for the reticence, and undertakes to dispel it. The reason: if there are mind-independent persistence conditions for the objects of nature, they derive largely from the membership-conditions for natural kinds to which those objects belong--but a particular object can, it seems, belong to two natural kinds, one more specific and one more general. If so, then incompatible persistence-conditions will attach to that object. This paper argues that the hardest such challenges come from recognizing kinds that are too specific to qualify as natural kinds at all, by the realist's own lights.
The Liberationists' Attack on Moral Institutions, ZACHARY ERNST
An influential argument--developed mainly by Peter Singer and Peter Unger--aims to discredit the reliability of our moral intuitions. This argument, which I call the "debunking argument," has attracted much attention because so-called "liberationists" like Singer and Unger aim to use the argument in order to support very strong normative claims. In this paper, I examine the debunking argument, and offer a charitable reconstruction of it that is significantly different from the approach advocated by liberationists, but which retains their fundamental insight. I also argue for a thesis of wider importance-namely, that this reconstruction of the debunking argument provides the right way of understanding the significance of so-called "empirical philosophy."
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|Title Annotation:||PHILOSOPHICAL ABSTRACTS|
|Publication:||The Review of Metaphysics|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2007|
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