Printer Friendly

Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 87, No. 2, June 2009.

John Stuart Mill, Determinism, and the Problem of Induction, ELIJAH MILLGRAM

Auguste Comte's doctrine of the three phases through which sciences pass (the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive) allows us to explain what John Stuart Mill was attempting in his magnum opus, the System of Logic: namely, to move the science of logic to its terminal and "positive" stage. Both Mill's startling account of deduction and his unremarked solution to the Humean problem of induction eliminate the notions of necessity or force--in this case, the "logical must"--characteristic of a science's metaphysical stage. Mill's treatment had a further surprising payoff: his solution to the Problem of Necessity (what today we call the problem of determinism and freedom of the will).

Truth and A Priori Possibility: Egan's Charge Against QuasiRealism, SIMON BLACKBURN

In this journal Andy Egan argued that, contrary to what this paper claims, quasirealism is committed to a damaging asymmetry between the way a subject regards himself and the way he regards others. In particular, a subject must believe it to be a priori that if something is one of his stable or fundamental beliefs, then it is true. Whereas he will not hold that this is a priori true of other people. This paper rebuts Egan's argument, and gives further consideration to the correct way to think about our own fallibility.

The Caveman's Conscience: Evolution and Moral Realism, SCOTT M. JAMES

An increasingly popular moral argument has it that the story of human evolution shows that we can explain the human disposition to make moral judgments without relying on a realm of moral facts. Such facts can thus be dispensed with. This argument is a threat to moral realism only if there is no realist position that can explain, in the context of human evolution, the relationship between our particular moral sense and a realm of moral facts. This essay sketches a plausible evolutionary story that illuminates this relationship. First, the sorts of adaptive pressures facing early humans would have produced more than just potent prosocial emotions, as evolutionary antirealists like to claim; it would have produced judgments--often situated within emotions--to the effect that others could reasonably disapprove of some bit of conduct, for an early human who cared deeply about how others might respond to her action enjoyed the benefits of more cooperative exchanges than those early humans who did not. Second, according to objectivist versions of moral constructivism, moral facts just are facts about how others, ideally situated, would respond to one's conduct. Thus, if any objectivist moral constructivism story is true, then we can intelligibly assert that a) our capacity for moral judgment is the product of adaptive pressures acting on early humans and b) some moral judgments are objectively true.

Probabilism Today: Permissibility and Multi-Account Ethics, JOHN HILL

In ethics, "probabilism" refers to a position defended by a number of Catholic theologians, mainly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They held that, when one is uncertain which of a range of actions is the right one to perform, it is permissible to perform any which has a good chance of being the right one--even if there is another which has a better chance. This paper considers the value of this position from the viewpoint of modern ethical philosophy. The unusual nature of probabilism as a theory focusing upon permissibility, rather than right-making properties, is explored and related to some modern attempts to set out "satisficing" and "hybrid" ethical theories. Such theories try to distinguish between what is best and what is permissible, and probabilism can be understood as an alternative way of supplementing a theory of right-making properties by adding to it a theory of permissibility. But a more radical version is also possible, where one abandons any attempt to identify right actions or right-making properties, and instead considers permissibility alone. Accordingly, a "multi-account theory" of permissibility is proposed and defended as a model of how many people actually make moral decisions.

Structure-Making, KRIS MCDANIEL

Friends of states of affairs and structural universals appeal to a relation, structure-making, that is allegedly a kind of composition relation: structure-making "builds" facts out of particulars and universals, and "builds" structural universals out of unstructured universals. D. M. Armstrong, an eminent champion of structures, endorses two interesting theses concerning composition. First, that structure-making is a composition relation. Second, that it is not the only (fundamental) composition relation: Armstrong also believes in a mode of composition that he calls mereological, and which he takes to be the only kind of composition recognized by his philosophical adversaries, such as David Lewis. Armstrong, accordingly, is a kind of pluralist about compositional relations: there is more than one way to make wholes from parts. This paper, critically evaluates Armstrong's compositional pluralism.

Logical Pluralism Is Compatible With Monism About Metaphysical Modality, NICOLA CIPROTTI and LUCA MORETTI

Beall and Restall (2000, 2001, 2006) advocate a comprehensive pluralist approach to logic, which they call Logical Pluralism, according to which there is not one true logic but many equally acceptable logical systems. They maintain that Logical Pluralism is compatible with monism about metaphysical modality, according to which there is just one correct logic of metaphysical modality. Wyatt (2004) contends that Logical Pluralism is incompatible with monism about metaphysical modality. This paper first suggests that if Wyatt were right, Logical Pluralism would be strongly implausible because it would get upside down a dependence relation that holds between metaphysics and logic of modality. It then argues that Logical Pluralism is prima facie compatible with monism about metaphysical modality.


The paper opens with an account of moral ambition which, it argues, is both a coherent ideal and an admirable trait. It closes with a discussion of some of the ways in which this trait might differ from traditional virtues such as temperance, courage, or benevolence.

Reconsidering the Value of Equality, IWAO HIROSE

Some people believe that the equality of people's well-being makes an outcome better, other things being constant; call this Telic Egalitarianism. The paper proposes a new interpretation of Telic Egalitarianism, and compares it with the interpretation that is proposed by Derek Parfit (1995) and widely accepted by many philosophers. This paper's interpretation is more plausible than Parfit's because, for example, it shows that his Levelling Down Objection does not undermine Telic Egalitarianism. In addition, it better explains the important similarity and difference between Telic Egalitarianism and his proposed Priority View.

Parity, Intransitivity, and a Context-Sensitive Degree Analysis of Gradability, YITZHAK BENBAJI

Larry Temkin challenged what seems to be an analytic truth about comparatives: if A is [PHI]-er than B and B is [PHI]-er than C, then, A is [PHI]-er than C. Ruth Chang denies a related claim: if A is [PHI]-er than B and C is not [PHI]-er than B, but is [PHI] to a certain degree, then A is [PHI]-er than C. This paper advances a context-sensitive semantics of gradability according to which the data uncovered by Temkin and Chang leave both statements intact.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Philosophy Education Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Previous Article:Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 87, No. 1, March 2009.
Next Article:Journal of the History of Philosophy: Vol. 47, No. 2, April 2009.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters