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Realism and Reduction: the Quest for Robustness
It doesn't seem possible to be a realist about the traditional Christian God while claiming to be able to reduce God talk in naturalistically acceptable terms. Reduction, in this case, seems obviously eliminativist. Many philosophers seem to think that the same is true of the normative-that reductive "realists" about the normative are not really realists about the normative at all, or at least, only in some attenuated sense. This paper takes on the challenge of articulating what it is that makes reductive theological realism look hopeless, with the aim of explaining why we should think that the normative is relevantly different. Although it follows from my diagnosis that reductivists have their work cut out for them, I find nothing which suggests that the prospects for a successful reductive realism about the normative are in any way diminished-particularly for reductive views about reasons. Even reductivists, I argue, can at least aspire to a realism that is robust.
Explanation as a Guide to Induction
It is notoriously difficult to spell out the norms of inductive reasoning in a neat set of rules. I explore the idea that explanatory considerations are the key to sorting out the good inductive inferences from the bad. After defending the crucial explanatory virtue of stability, I apply this approach to a range of inductive inferences, puzzles, and principles such as the Raven and Grue problems, and the significance of varied data and random sampling.
Normative Concepts and Motivation
Philip Pettit, Michael Smith, and Tyler Burge have suggested that the similarities between theoretical and practical reasoning can bolster the case for judgment internalism - i.e. the claim that normative judgments are necessarily connected to motivation. In this paper, I first flesh out the rationale for this new approach to internalism. I then argue that even if there are reasons for thinking that internalism holds in the theoretical domain, these reasons don't generalize to the practical domain.
Value and Implicature
Moral assertions express attitudes, but it is unclear how. This paper examines proposals by David Copp, Stephen Barker, and myself that moral attitudes are expressed as implicature (Grice), and Copp's and Barker's claim that this supports expressivism about moral speech acts. I reject this claim on the ground that implicatures of attitude are more plausibly conversational than conventional. I argue that Copp's and my own relational theory of moral assertions is superior to the indexical theory offered by Barker and Jamie Dreier, and that since the relational theory supports conversational implicatures of attitude, expressive conventions would be redundant. Furthermore, moral expressions of attitude behave like conversational and not conventional implicatures, and there are reasons for doubting that conventions of the suggested kind could exist.
Getting Told and Being Believed
The paper argues for the centrality of believing the speaker (as distinct from believing the statement) in the epistemology of testimony, and develops a line of thought from Angus Ross which claims that in telling someone something, the kind of reason for belief that a speaker presents is of an essentially different kind from ordinary evidence. Investigating the nature of the audience's dependence on the speaker's free assurance leads to a discussion of Grice's formulation of non-natural meaning in an epistemological light, concentrating on just how the recognition of the speaker's self-reflexive intention is supposed to count for his audience as a reason to believe P. This is understood as the speaker's explicitly assuming responsibility for the truth of his statement, and thereby constituting his utterance as a reason to believe.
Folk Psychology as a Model
I argue that everyday folk-psychological skill might best be explained in terms of the deployment of something like a model, in a specific sense drawn from recent philosophy of science. Theoretical models in this sense do not make definite commitments about the systems they are used to understand; they are employed with a particular kind of flexibility. This analysis is used to dissolve the eliminativism debate of the 1980s, and to transform a number of other questions about the status and role of folk psychology.
Kant's Empirical Account of Human Action
In the first Critique, Kant says, "[A]ll the actions of a human being are determined in accord with the order of nature, " adding that "if we could investigate all the appearances . . . there would be no human action we could not predict with certainty. " Most Kantian treatments of human action discuss action from a practical perspective, according to which human beings are transcendentally free, and thus do not sufficiently lay out this Kant's empirical, causal description of human action. Drawing on Kant's lectures in empirical psychology and his anthropological writings, this paper offers a clear and detailed elucidation of Kant's empirical account of human action. After explaining the connection between cognitions, feelings, desires, and actions, I show how the lower faculty of desire is governed by various instincts, inclinations, and propensities, and how the higher faculty of desire is governed by (empirical) character. I also discuss how character and inclinations arise from natural human propensities combined with other empirical causes. By looking at both Kant's faculty psychology and his account of predispositions, I lay out an overall Kantian framework for explaining any kind of human action.
|Patrick R. Frierson