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The Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 57, No. 228, July 2007.

The Objective Attitudei, TAMLER SOMMERS

In this paper, the author aims to alleviate the pessimism with which some philosophers regard the 'objective attitude,' thereby removing a particular obstacle which P. F. Strawson and others have placed in the way of more widespread scepticism about moral responsibility. First, she describes what she considers the objective attitude to be, and then address concerns about this raised by Susan Wolf. Next, she argues that aspects of certain attitudes commonly thought to be opposed to the objective attitude are in fact compatible with it. Finally, she examines the prospects of someone who wishes to adopt the objective attitude permanently. In response to philosophers who claim that this would be psychologically impossible, the author argues that our commitment to attitudes that presuppose moral responsibility can soften and fade, often without our noticing it.

Propositional Clothing and Belief, NEIL SINCLAIR

Moral discourse exhibits features often taken to constitute discourses that express propositions: for example, its sentences can be intelligibly embedded in conditionals and other unasserted contexts. If to be a belief is just to be a mental state expressed by sentences that are propositionally clothed, then quasi-realism, the version of expressivism which accepts that moral discourse is propositionally clothed, is self-refuting. However, this view of belief, which the author labels 'minimalism', is false. The author present three arguments against it and dismiss two possible defences (the first drawn from the work of Wright, the second given by Harcourt). The issue between ex pressivists and their opponents cannot be settled by the mere fact that moral discourse wears propositional clothing.

Unified Semantics of Singular Terms, JOHN JUSTICE

Singular-term semantics has been intractable. Frege took the referents of singular terms to be their semantic values. On his account, vacuous terms lacked values. Russell separated the semantics of definite descriptions from the semantics of proper names, which caused truth-values to be composed in two different ways and still left vacuous names without values. Montague gave all noun phrases sets of verb-phrase extensions for values, which created type mismatches when noun phrases were objects and still left vacuous names without values. There is a single type of value for all noun phrases that dissolves the difficulties which have beset singular-term semantics.

The Wrong of Rape, DAVID ARCHARD

If rape is evaluated as a serious wrong, can it also be defined as nonconsensual sex (NCS)? Many do not see all instances of NCS as seriously wrongful. In this paper the author argues that rape is both properly defined as NCS and properly evaluated as a serious wrong. First, he distinguishes the hurtfulness of rape from its wrongfulness; secondly, he classifies its harms and characterize its essential wrongfulness; thirdly, he criticizes a view of rape as merely 'sex minus consent'; fourthly, he criticizes mistaken attempts to discount the wrongfulness of rape for those who do not value sex; fifthly, he contrasts two models for weighing interests, according to one of which rape is not seriously wrongful; finally, he sketches a defence of the view that our sexual integrity ought to be a central interest of ours.

Gettier and Factivity in Indo-Tibetan Epistemology, JONATHAN STOLTZ

The similarities between contemporary externalist theories of knowledge and classical Indian and Tibetan theories of knowledge are striking. Drawing on comparisons with Timothy Williamson's recent work, the author addresses related topics in Indo-Tibetan epistemology and shows that correct analysis of these issues requires externalist theories of mind and knowledge. The topics addressed range from a discussion of possible Gettier cases in the Tibetan philosophical tradition to an assessment of arguments for and against the existence of factive mental states/events that fail to be knowledge states/events. He concludes by explaining how these matters in Indian and Tibetan epistemology can inform us about the viability of externalist epistemologies of the sort articulated by Williamson.

Democracy and Equality, STEVEN WALL

Many writers claim that democratic government rests on a principled commitment to the ideal of political equality. The ideal of political equality holds that political institutions ought to be arranged so that they distribute political standing equally to all citizens. The author rejects this common view. He argues that the ideal of political equality, under its most plausible characterizations, lacks independent justificatory force. By casting doubt on the ideal of political equality, he provides indirect support for the claim that democratic government is only instrumentally justified.

The Impossibility of Backwards Causation, HANOCH BEN-YAMI

Dummett and others have failed to show that an effect can precede its cause. Dummett claimed that 'backwards causation' is unproblematic in agentless worlds, and tried to show under what conditions it is rational to believe that even backwards agent-causation occurs. Relying on considerations originating in philosophical discussions of special relativity, the author shows that the latter conditions actually support the view that backwards agent-causation is impossible. He next shows that even in Dummett's agentless worlds explanation does not necessitate it. He then shows why even relative backwards causation is impossible in his and Tooley's scenarios of parallel processes in which causes apparently act in opposite temporal directions. We thus have good reasons for thinking that backwards causation is impossible.

Two Kinds of Holism About Values, CAMPBELL BROWN

Here the author compares two kinds of holism about values: G. E. Moore's 'organic unities', and Jonathan Dancy's 'value holism'. The author proposes a simple formal model for representing evaluations of parts and wholes. He then defines two conditions, additivism and invariabilism, which together imply a third, atomism. Since atomism is absurd, we must reject one of the former two conditions. This is where Moore and Dancy part company: whereas Moore rejects additivism, Dancy rejects invariabilism. He argues that Moore's view is more plausible. Invariabilism ought to be retained because (a) it eliminates the needless multiplication of values inherent in variable evaluations, and (b) it preserves a certain necessary connection between values and reasons, which Dancy himself endorses.

The Importance of Frankfurt-Style Argument, JOHN MARTIN FISCHER

The author replies to the challenges to Frankfurt-style compatibilism about causal determinism and moral responsibility presented in Daniel Speak's paper "The Impertinence of Frankfurt-Style Argument." He seeks to show how Speak's critiques rest on an 'all-or-nothing' attitude in various ways, and attempts to defend the importance of Frankfurt-style argumentation in defense of compatibilism.
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Author:Sommers, Tamler; Sinclair, Neil; Justice, John; Archard, David; Stoltz, Jonathan; Wall, Steven
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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