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05 A Minimal Characterization of Indeterminacy

The current literature on indeterminacy centers around two (related) projects. One concerns the logic of indeterminacy; the other concerns its nature or source. The aim of this paper is to introduce, motivate and go some way toward addressing a new, third project: that of providing what I call a minimal characterization (MC) of indeterminacy. An MC, to a first approximation, is a relatively pre-theoretical characterization of indeterminacy that is neutral between the various substantive theories of the nature and logic of indeterminacy. An MC thus captures a generic sense of indeterminacy that, at least in principle, is recognized by all parties to the debate over the phenomenon’s underlying nature and logic. I begin by introducing the concept of an MC and outlining some of the main theoretical virtues of providing an MC. I then establish some desiderata on a suitable MC, and use these desiderata to rule out various initially attractive proposals. In the final part of the paper I sketch the beginnings of my own MC and defend it against objections.

David E. Taylor vol. 18 2018
06 Towards a Neo-Brentanian Theory of Existence

The paper presents an account of the concept of existence that is based on Brentano’s work. In contrast to Frege and Russell, Brentano took ‘exists’ to express a concept that subsumes objects and explained it with recourse to the non-propositional attitude of acknowledgment (belief-in). I argue that the core of Brentano’s view can be developed to a defensible alternative to the Frege-Russell view of existence.

Mark Textor vol. 17 February 2017
10 “Inner Perception Can Never Become Inner Observation”: Brentano on Awareness and Observation

Self-representational theories of consciousness hold that a mental phenomenon is conscious if, and only if, it presents, among other things, itself. But in conscious perception one may lose oneself in the object perceived and not be aware of one’s perceiving. The paper develops a Brentano-inspired response to this objection. He follows Aristotle in holding that one is aware of one’s perceiving only ‘on the side’: when one perceives something one’s perception neither is nor can become observation of itself. I argue that the arguments Brentano gave for this claim in Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint are wanting. However, a promising argument emerges if one takes Brentano’s conception of noticing into account.

Mark Textor vol. 15 March 2015
06 Why Do Women Leave Philosophy? Surveying Students at the Introductory Level

Although recent research suggests that women are underrepresented in philosophy after initial philosophy courses, there have been relatively few empirical investigations into the factors that lead to this early drop-off in women’s representation. In this paper, we present the results of empirical investigations at a large American public university that explore various factors contributing to women’s underrepresentation in philosophy at the undergraduate level. We administered climate surveys to hundreds of students completing their Introduction to Philosophy course and examined differences in women’s and men’s feelings of belonging, comfort, and confidence in the philosophy classroom. We present findings suggesting various factors that contribute to women’s lower willingness to continue in philosophy compared to men’s, including perceptions about intuition-based methods in philosophy, the usefulness of the philosophy major, philosophy as a male discipline, and philosophical abilities as innate talents. We conclude by providing some suggestions for improving undergraduate philosophy courses in ways that would increase women’s willingness to continue in philosophy and may improve the courses for all students.

Morgan Thompson; Toni Adleberg; Sam Sims; Eddy Nahmias vol. 16 March 2016
07 Manipulation and Moral Standing: An Argument for Incompatibilism

A prominent recent strategy for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism has been to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for responsibility could nevertheless be subject to certain sorts of deterministic manipulation, so that an agent could meet the compatibilist’s conditions for responsibility, but also be living a life the precise details of which someone else determined that she should live. According to the incompatibilist, however, once we became aware that agents had been manipulated or ‘set up’ in the relevant way, we should no longer judge that they are responsible for their behavior, nor should we hold them responsible for it by blaming them, in case what they did was wrong. In this paper, I aim to shift the debate to different terrain. The focus so far has been simply on what we may or may not permissibly say or do concerning manipulated agents. But I believe a powerful new incompatibilist argument can be mounted from considering whether the manipulators themselves can justifiably blame the agents they manipulate in compatibilist-friendly ways. It seems strikingly counterintuitive to suppose that they may do so. The argument of this paper, however, is that, given the right story, incompatibilism provides the best explanation for why this is so. In short, the compatibilist must say that, while such manipulated agents are still responsible, the manipulators lack the moral standing to blame them. But I argue that, on compatibilist assumptions, this explanation ultimately fails.

Patrick Todd vol. 12 March 2012
10 Foundations and Philosophy

The Univalent Foundations of mathematics take the point of view that all of mathematics can be encoded in terms of spatial notions like "point" and "path". We will argue that this new point of view has important implications for philosophy, and especially for those parts of analytic philosophy that take set theory and first-order logic as their benchmark of rigor. To do so, we will explore the connection between foundations and philosophy, outline what is distinctive about the logic of the Univalent Foundations, and then describe new philosophical theses one can express in terms of this new logic.

Dimitris Tsementzis; Hans Halvorson vol. 18 2018
24 How to Explain Miscomputation

Just as theory of representation is deficient if it can’t explain how misrepresentation is possible, a theory of computation is deficient if it can’t explain how miscomputation is possible. Nonetheless, philosophers have generally ignored miscomputation. My primary goal is to clarify both what miscomputation is and how to adequately explain it. Miscomputation is a special kind of malfunction: a system miscomputes when it computes in a way that it shouldn’t. To miscompute is to compute. To explain miscomputation, then, you need an adequate account of what the system is computing while malfunctioning. A secondary goal of this paper is to defend an (a quasi-)individualist, mechanistic theory of miscomputation. Computational behavior is narrowly individuated. Computational norms are widely individuated. A system miscomputes when its behavior manifests a narrow computational structure that the widely individuated norms say that it should not have.

Chris Tucker vol. 18 2018
02 An Open and Shut Case: Epistemic Closure in the Manifest Image

The epistemic closure principle says that knowledge is closed under known entailment. The closure principle is deeply implicated in numerous core debates in contemporary epistemology. Closure’s opponents claim that there are good theoretical reasons to abandon it. Closure’s proponents claim that it is a defining feature of ordinary thought and talk and, thus, abandoning it is radically revisionary. But evidence for these claims about ordinary practice has thus far been anecdotal. In this paper, I report five studies on the status of epistemic closure in ordinary practice. Despite decades of widespread assumptions to the contrary in philosophy, ordinary practice is ambivalent about closure. Ordinary practice does not endorse an unqualified version of the epistemic closure principle, although it might endorse a source-relative version of the principle. In particular, whereas inferential knowledge is not viewed as closed under known entailment, perceptual knowledge might be.

John Turri vol. 15 January 2015
10 A conspicuous art: putting Gettier to the test

Professional philosophers say it’s obvious that a Gettier subject does not know. But experimental philosophers and psychologists have argued that laypeople and non-Westerners view Gettier subjects very differently, based on experiments where laypeople tend to ascribe knowledge to Gettier subjects. I argue that when effectively probed, laypeople and non-Westerners unambiguously agree that Gettier subjects do not know.

John Turri vol. 13 June 2013
08 Manifest Failure: The Gettier Problem Solved

This paper provides a principled and elegant solution to the Gettier problem. The key move is to draw a general metaphysical distinction and conscript it for epistemological purposes. Section 1 introduces the Gettier problem. Sections 2–5 discuss instructively wrong or incomplete previous proposals. Section 6 presents my solution and explains its virtues. Section 7 answers the most common objection.

John Turri vol. 11 April 2011