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No. Title/Abstract Author(s) Volume/Issue Date Downloads
08 Self-Knowledge and the Phenomenological Transparency of Belief

I develop an account of our capacity to know what we consciously believe, which is based on an account of the phenomenology of conscious belief. While other recent authors have suggested that phenomenally conscious states play a role in the epistemology of self-ascriptions of belief, they have failed to give a satisfying account of how exactly the phenomenology is supposed to help with the epistemology — i.e., an account of the way “what it is like” for the subject of a conscious belief makes it rational, for her, to self-ascribe that belief. I argue that an account according to which the phenomenology of belief is transparent — i.e., such that in having a conscious belief one is aware of the world as being a certain way, rather than of anything distinctively mental — is adequate to this task.

Markos Valaris vol. 14 April 2013
04 Inner Sense, Self-Affection, and Temporal Consciousness in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

In §24 of the Transcendental Deduction, Kant remarks that his account of the capacity of the understanding to spontaneously determine sensibility explains how empirical self-knowledge is possible through inner-sense. Although most commentators consider Kant's conception of empirical self-knowledge through inner sense to be either a failure or at least drastically under-developed, I argue that (just as Kant claims) his account of the capacity of the understanding to determine sensibility - the "productive imagination" - can ground an attractive account of self-knowledge. The account of inner sense I propose, however, may seem to conflict with some of Kant's views on time. I close the paper by arguing that the apparent conflict is not a fault specific to my account of inner sense, but rather indicative of a deeper tension, internal to Kant's views on time.

Markos Valaris vol. 8 May 2008
06 A Theory of Wrongful Exploitation

My primary aims in this paper are to explain what exploitation is, when it's wrong, and what makes it wrong. I argue that exploitation is not always wrong, but that it can be, and that its wrongness cannot be fully explained with familiar moral constraints such as those against harming people, coercing them, or using them as a means, or with familiar moral obligations such as an obligation to rescue those in distress or not to take advantage of people's vulnerabilities. Its deepest wrongness, I argue, lies in our moral obligation not to extract excessive benefits from people who cannot, or cannot reasonably, refuse our offers.

Mikhail Valdman vol. 9 July 2009
01 Thick Concepts and Variability

Some philosophers hold that so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics (such as 'cruel,' 'selfish,' 'courageous,' and 'generous') are contextually variable with respect to the valence (positive or negative) of the evaluations that they may be used to convey. Some of these philosophers use this variability claim to argue that thick terms and concepts are not inherently evaluative in meaning; rather their use conveys evaluations as a broadly pragmatic matter. I argue that one sort of putative examples of contextual variability in evaluative valence that are found in the literature fail to support the variability claim and that another sort of putative examples are open to a wide range of explanations that have different implications for the relationship between thick terms and concepts and evaluation. I conclude that considerations of contextual variability fail to settle whether thick terms and concepts are inherently evaluative in meaning. In closing I suggest a more promising line of research.

Pekka Väyrynen vol. 11 January 2011
19 Setting Sail: The Development and Reception of Quine’s Naturalism

Contemporary analytic philosophy is dominated by meta-philosophical naturalism, the view that philosophy ought to be continuous with science. This naturalistic turn is for a significant part due to the work of W. V. Quine. Yet, the development and the reception of Quine’s naturalism have never been systematically studied. In this paper, I examine Quine’s evolving naturalism as well as the reception of his views. Scrutinizing a large set of unpublished notes, correspondence, drafts, papers, and lectures as well as published responses to Quine’s work, I show how both internal tensions and external criticisms forced him to continuously develop, rebrand, and refine his meta-philosophy before he eventually settled on the position that would spark the naturalistic turn in analytic philosophy.

Sander Verhaegh vol. 18 2018
16 ‘Can’ without Possible Worlds: Semantics for Anti-Humeans

Metaphysicians of modality are increasingly critical of possible-worlds talk, and increasingly happy to accept irreducibly modal properties – and in particular, irreducible dispositions – in nature. The aim of this paper is to provide the beginnings of a modal semantics which uses, instead of possible-worlds talk, the resources of such an 'anti-Humean' metaphysics. One central challenge to an anti-Humean view is the context-sensitivity of modal language. I show how that challenge can be met and a systematic modal semantics provided, given an independently plausible metaphysics of dispositional properties or potentialities.

Barbara Vetter vol. 13 August 2013
10 How many meanings for ‘may’? The case for modal polysemy

The standard Kratzerian analysis of modal auxiliaries, such as ‘may’ and ‘can’, takes them to be univocal and context-sensitive. Our first aim is to argue for an alternative view, on which such expressions are polysemous. Our second aim is to thereby shed light on the distinction between semantic context-sensitivity and polysemy. To achieve these aims, we examine the mechanisms of polysemy and context-sensitivity and provide criteria with which they can be held apart. We apply the criteria to modal auxiliaries and show that the default hypothesis should be that they are polysemous, and not merely context-sensitive. We then respond to arguments against modal ambiguity (and thus against polysemy). Finally, we show why modal polysemy has significant philosophical implications.

Emanuel Viebahn; Barbara Vetter vol. 16 June 2016
01 I Ought, Therefore I Can Obey

According to typical ought-implies-can principles, if you have an obligation to vaccinate me tomorrow, then you can vaccinate me tomorrow. Such principles are uninformative about conditional obligations: what if you only have an obligation to vaccinate me tomorrow if you synthesize a vaccine today? Then maybe you cannot vaccinate me tomorrow (e.g., because you cannot synthesize a vaccine); what you can do instead, I propose, is make it the case that the conditional obligation is not violated (i.e., that you do not both synthesize a vaccine today and fail to vaccinate me tomorrow). More generally, I propose the ought-implies-can-obey principle: an agent has an obligation only at times at which the agent can obey the obligation (i.e., can make it the case that the obligation is not violated). I also propose another principle, which captures the idea that ‘ought’ implies ‘can avoid’. I defend both principles mainly by arguing that they help explain why agents lose (i.e., stop having) obligations, including conditional ones.

Peter B. M. Vranas vol. 18 2018