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Natural Philosophy, Geometry, And Deduction In The Hobbes-Boyle Debate, Marcus P. Adams Jan 2017

Natural Philosophy, Geometry, And Deduction In The Hobbes-Boyle Debate, Marcus P. Adams

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines Hobbes’s criticisms of Robert Boyle’s air-pump experiments in light of Hobbes’s account in De Corpore and De Homine of the relationship of natural philosophy to geometry. I argue that Hobbes’s criticisms rely upon his understanding of what counts as “true physics.” Instead of seeing Hobbes as defending natural philosophy as “a causal enterprise ... [that] as such, secured total and irrevocable assent,”2 I argue that, in his disagreement with Boyle, Hobbes relied upon his understanding of natural philosophy as a mixed mathematical science. In a mixed mathematical science one can mix facts from ...


How People Think About Distributing Aid, Nicole Hassoun, Emir Malikov, Nathan Lubchenco Jan 2016

How People Think About Distributing Aid, Nicole Hassoun, Emir Malikov, Nathan Lubchenco

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines how people think about aiding others in a way that can inform both theory and practice. It uses data gathered from Kiva, an online, non-profit organization that allows individuals to aid other individuals around the world, to isolate intuitions that people find broadly compelling. The central result of the paper is that people seem to give more priority to aiding those in greater need at least below some threshold. That is, the data strongly suggest incorporating both a threshold and a prioritarian principle into the analysis of what principles for aid distribution people accept. This conclusion should ...


Wilderness, The Wild, And Aesthetic Appreciation, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2016

Wilderness, The Wild, And Aesthetic Appreciation, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Wild nature is a source of wonder and inspiration in part because of its aesthetic value. This paper gives an account of the aesthetic value of wilderness and argues that wild nature is especially likely to give rise to what it will call the transformative aesthetic experience. This account satisfies three criteria John Fisher suggests for a good account of nature’s aesthetic value that might provide reasons for preservation. First, it retains a credible connection with canonical aesthetic theory. Second, it allows us to make a general distinction between our appreciation of nature and art. Third, it avoids the ...


Libertarian Welfare Rights? An Inquiry Into The Coherence Of Some Common Libertarian Commitments, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2016

Libertarian Welfare Rights? An Inquiry Into The Coherence Of Some Common Libertarian Commitments, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

This paper argues that libertarians should endorse some welfare rights understood as rights that all states must guarantee to their subjects as a condition of legitimacy. For, it argues that libertarians, because they should be actual consent theorists, must agree to the following condition for state legitimacy: States must do what they can to ensure that their rights-respecting subjects secure the basic reasoning and planning capacities they need to consent to their rules.


Conserving Nature; Preserving Identity, Nicole Hassoun, D. Wong Jan 2016

Conserving Nature; Preserving Identity, Nicole Hassoun, D. Wong

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Fundamental approaches to environmental ethics currently seem polarized between two broad varieties: the “conservationist” approach on which we should conserve the environment when it is in our interest to do so and the “preservationist” approach on which we should preserve the environment even when it is not in our interest to do so. The first approach obviously has a broader potential audience and is invoked even by preservationists when they seek to marshal the broadest possible support for environmental protection. For preservationists, however, the conservationist approach has obvious limitations. It permits damage to the environment whenever required by the balance ...


Hobbes On Natural Philosophy As “True Physics” And Mixed Mathematics, Marcus P. Adams Jan 2016

Hobbes On Natural Philosophy As “True Physics” And Mixed Mathematics, Marcus P. Adams

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

In this paper, I offer an alternative account of the relationship of Hobbesian geometry to natural philosophy by arguing that mixed mathematics provided Hobbes with a model for thinking about it. In mixed mathematics, one may borrow causal principles from one science and use them in another science without there being a deductive relationship between those two sciences. Natural philosophy for Hobbes is mixed because an explanation may combine observations from experience (the ‘that’) with causal principles from geometry (the ‘why’). My argument shows that Hobbesian natural philosophy relies upon suppositions that bodies plausibly behave according to these borrowed causal ...


Althusser ’S Scientism And Aleatory Materialism, William S. Lewis Jan 2016

Althusser ’S Scientism And Aleatory Materialism, William S. Lewis

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Global Health Impact Index: Promoting Global Health, Nicole Hassoun Dec 2015

The Global Health Impact Index: Promoting Global Health, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Millions of people cannot access essential medicines they need for deadly diseases like malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. There is good information on the need for drugs for these diseases but until now, no global estimate of the impact drugs are having on this burden. This paper presents a model measuring companies' key malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS drugs' consequences for global health (global-health-impact.org). It aggregates drugs' impacts in several ways-by disease, country and originator-company. The methodology can be extended across diseases as well as drugs to provide a more extensive picture of the impact companies' drugs are ...


Is There Less Bullshit In For Marx Than In Reading Capital?, William S. Lewis Nov 2015

Is There Less Bullshit In For Marx Than In Reading Capital?, William S. Lewis

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

This paper explores G. A. Cohen’s claim that Althusser’s Marxist philosophy is bullshit. This exploration is important because, if we are persuaded by Cohen’s assertion that there are only three types of Marxism: analytic, pre-analytic, and bullshit and, further, that only analytic Marxism is concerned with truth and therefore “uniquely legitimate” then, as political philosophers interested in Marxism’s potential philosophical resources, we may wish to privilege its analytic form. However, if Cohen’s attribution is misplaced, then we may wish to explore why Cohen was so insistent in this ascription and what this insistence reveals about ...


Preserving The Autographic/Allographic Distinction, P.D. Magnus, Jason R. D'Cruz Oct 2015

Preserving The Autographic/Allographic Distinction, P.D. Magnus, Jason R. D'Cruz

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

In his study of forms of representation, Nel- son Goodman sought to explain why some representations, like words or musical scores, are considered replicable while others, such as paintings, are not. He named the replicable rep- resentations allographic and the ones we consider nonreplicable autographic (Goodman 1976, 113). His explanation of what grounds this distinction is in his theory of notations (chaps. IV–V). That theory essentially seeks to secure the possibility of identity for representations, as well as the possibility of knowing such identity, by setting out a number of requirements. Unless a repre- sentational practice satisfies the requirements ...


Promising To Try, Jason R. D'Cruz, Justin Kalef Jul 2015

Promising To Try, Jason R. D'Cruz, Justin Kalef

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

We maintain that in many contexts promising to try is expressive of responsibility as a promiser. This morally significant application of promising to try speaks in favor of the view that responsible promisers favor evidentialism about promises. Contra Berislav Marusˇic´, we contend that responsible promisers typically withdraw from promising to act and instead promise to try, in circumstances in which they recognize that there is a significant chance that they will not succeed.


Trust, Trustworthiness, And The Moral Consequence Of Consistency, Jason R. D'Cruz Jan 2015

Trust, Trustworthiness, And The Moral Consequence Of Consistency, Jason R. D'Cruz

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Situationists such as John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt suppose that appeal to reliable behavioral dispositions can be dispensed with without radical revision to morality as we know it. This paper challenges this supposition, arguing that abandoning hope in reliable dispositions rules out genuine trust and forces us to suspend core reactive attitudes of gratitude and resentment, esteem and indignation. By examining situationism through the lens of trust we learn something about situationism (in particular, the radically revisionary moral implications of its adoption) as well as something about trust (in particular, that the conditions necessary for genuine trust include ...


Demarcating Aristotelian Rhetoric: Rhetoric, The Subalternate Sciences, And Boundary Crossing, Marcus P. Adams Jan 2015

Demarcating Aristotelian Rhetoric: Rhetoric, The Subalternate Sciences, And Boundary Crossing, Marcus P. Adams

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

The ways in which the Aristotelian sciences are related to each other has been discussed in the literature, with some focus on the subalternate sciences. While it is acknowledged that Aristotle, and Plato as well, was concerned as well with how the arts were related to one another, less attention has been paid to Aristotle’s views on relationships among the arts. In this paper, I argue that Aristotle’s account of the subalternate sciences helps shed light on how Aristotle saw the art of rhetoric relating to dialectic and politics. Initial motivation for comparing rhetoric with the subalternate sciences ...


Epistemic Categories And Causal Kinds, P.D. Magnus Dec 2014

Epistemic Categories And Causal Kinds, P.D. Magnus

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Within philosophy of science, debates about realism often turn on whether posited entities exist or whether scientific claims are true. Natural kinds tend to be investigated by philosophers of language or metaphysicians, for whom semantic or ontological considerations can overshadow scientific ones. Since science crucially involves dividing the world up into categories of things, however, issues concerning classification ought to be central for philosophy of science. Muhammad Ali Khalidi's book fills that gap, and I commend it to readers with an interest in scientific taxonomy and natural kinds. He works through general issues to craft a useful philosophical conception ...


Science And Rationality For One And All, P.D. Magnus Nov 2014

Science And Rationality For One And All, P.D. Magnus

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

A successful scientific community might require different scientists to form different beliefs even when faced with the same evidence. The standard line is that this would create a conflict between the demands of collective rationality which scientists face as members of the community and the demands of individual rationality which they face as epistemic agents. This is expressed both by philosophers of science (working on the distribution of cognitive labor) and by epistemologists (working on the epistemology of disagreement). The standard line fails to take into account the relation between rational belief and various epistemic risks, values of which are ...


Are Digital Pictures Allographic?, Jason R. D'Cruz, P.D. Magnus Oct 2014

Are Digital Pictures Allographic?, Jason R. D'Cruz, P.D. Magnus

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Nelson Goodman's distinction between autographic and allographic arts is appealing, we suggest, because it promises to resolve several prima facie puzzles. We consider and rebut a recent argument that alleges that digital images explode the autographic/allographic distinction. Regardless, there is another familiar problem with the distinction, especially as Goodman formulates it: it seems to entirely ignore an important sense in which all artworks are historical. We note in reply that some artworks can be considered both as historical products and as formal structures. Talk about such works is ambiguous between the two conceptions. This allows us to recover ...


Nk≠Hpc, P.D. Magnus Jul 2014

Nk≠Hpc, P.D. Magnus

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

The Homeostatic Property Cluster (HPC) account of natural kinds has become popular since it was proposed by Richard Boyd in the late 1980s. Although it is often taken to define natural kinds as such, it is easy enough to see that something's being a natural kind is neither necessary nor sufficient for its being an HPC. This paper argues that it is better not to understand HPCs as defining what it is to be a natural kind but instead as providing the ontological realization of (some) natural kinds.


The Wax And The Mechanical Mind: Reexamining Hobbes’S Objections To Descartes’S Meditations, Marcus P. Adams Mar 2014

The Wax And The Mechanical Mind: Reexamining Hobbes’S Objections To Descartes’S Meditations, Marcus P. Adams

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Many critics, Descartes himself included, have seen Hobbes as uncharitable or even incoherent in his Objections to the Meditations on First Philosophy. I argue that when understood within the wider context of his views of the late 1630s and early 1640s, Hobbes's Objections are coherent and reflect his goal of providing an epistemology consistent with a mechanical philosophy. I demonstrate the importance of this epistemology for understanding his Fourth Objection concerning the nature of the wax and contend that Hobbes's brief claims in that Objection are best understood as a summary of the mechanism for scientific knowledge found ...


Gratitude And Displacement: The Political Obligations Of Refugees, Jason R. D'Cruz Mar 2014

Gratitude And Displacement: The Political Obligations Of Refugees, Jason R. D'Cruz

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

On what basis, and to what extent, are refugees obligated to obey the laws of their host countries? Consideration of the specific case of asylum-seekers generates, I think, two competing intuitions: (1) the refugee has a prima facie obligation to obey the laws of her host country and (2) none of the popularly canvassed substrates of political obligation—consent, tacit consent, fairness, or social role—is at all apt to explain the presence of this obligation. I contend that the unfashionable gratitude account of political obligation does the best job of accounting for the intuitions. As has been noticed by ...


Coercion, Legitimacy, And Individual Freedom, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2014

Coercion, Legitimacy, And Individual Freedom, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

In “World Poverty and Individual Freedom” (WPIF) I argue that the global order – because it is coercive – is obligated to do what it can to ensure that its subjects are capable of autonomously agreeing to its rule. This requires helping them meet their basic needs. In “World Poverty and Not Respecting Individual Freedom Enough” Jorn Sonderholm asserts that this argument is invalid and unsound, in part, because it is too demanding. This article explains why Sonderholm’s critique is mistaken and misses the main point of WPIF’s argument. It also explains why WPIF is important -- it can address some ...


An Aspect Of Variable Population Poverty Comparisons: Does Adding A Rich Person To A Population Reduce Poverty?, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2014

An Aspect Of Variable Population Poverty Comparisons: Does Adding A Rich Person To A Population Reduce Poverty?, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Poverty indexes are essential for monitoring poverty, setting targets for poverty reduction, and tracking progress on these goals. This paper suggests that further justification is necessary for using the main poverty indexes in the literature in any of these ways. It does so by arguing that poverty should not decline with the mere addition of a rich person to a population and showing that the standard indexes do not satisfy this axiom. It, then, suggests a way of modifying these indexes to avoid this problem


Institutional Theories And International Development, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2014

Institutional Theories And International Development, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

A recent trend in international development circles is ‘New Institutionalism’. In a slogan, the idea is just that good institutions matter. The slogan itself is so innocuous as to be hardly worth comment. But the push to improve institutional quality has the potential to have a much less innocuous impact on aid efforts and other aspects of international development. This paper provides a critical introduction to some of the literature on institutional quality. It looks, in particular, at an argument for the conclusion that making aid conditional on good institutional quality will promote development by reducing poverty. This paper suggests ...


Global Justice And Charity: A Brief For A New Approach To Empirical Philosophyi, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2014

Global Justice And Charity: A Brief For A New Approach To Empirical Philosophyi, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

What does global justice or charity requires us to give to other people? There is a large theoretical literature on this question. There is much less experimental work in political philosophy relevant to answering it. Perhaps for this reason, this literature has yet to have any major impact on theoretical discussions of global justice or charity. There is, however, some experimental research in behavioral economics that has helped to shape the field and a few relevant studies by political philosophers. This paper reviews this research. Moreover, it argues that the little work that has been done can offer some methodological ...


Raz On The Right To Autonomy, Nicole Hassoun Jan 2014

Raz On The Right To Autonomy, Nicole Hassoun

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

In The Morality of Freedom, Joseph Raz argues against a right to autonomy. This argument helps to distinguish his theory from his competitors'. For, many liberal theories ground such a right. Some even defend entirely autonomy-based accounts of rights. This paper suggests that Raz's argument against a right to autonomy raises an important dilemma for his larger theory. Unless his account of rights is limited in some way, Raz's argument applies against almost all (purported) rights, not just a right to autonomy. But, on the traditional way of limiting accounts like his, Raz's account actually supports the ...


On The Semantic Expression Of Mental Acts, William Grimes Jan 2014

On The Semantic Expression Of Mental Acts, William Grimes

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

In this unpublished manuscript, the author aims to provide "a concept of the language of the semantic expression of mental acts" based on the insights both of ordinary language philosophy and logical reconstruction.


Displacement And Gratitude: Accounting For The Political Obligation Of Refugees, Jason R. D'Cruz Jan 2014

Displacement And Gratitude: Accounting For The Political Obligation Of Refugees, Jason R. D'Cruz

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

On what basis, and to what extent, are refugees obligated to obey the laws of their host countries? Consideration of the specific case of asylum-seekers generates, I think, two competing intuitions: (1) the refugee has a prima facie obligation to obey the laws of her host country and (2) none of the popularly canvassed substrates of political obligation*consent, tacit consent, fairness, or social role*is at all apt to explain the presence of this obligation. I contend that the unfashionable gratitude account of political obligation does the best job of accounting for the intuitions. As has been noticed by ...


Hobbes, Definitions, And Simplest Conceptions, Marcus P. Adams Jan 2014

Hobbes, Definitions, And Simplest Conceptions, Marcus P. Adams

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Several recent commentators argue that Thomas Hobbes’s account of the nature of science is conventionalist. Engaging in scientific practice on a conventionalist account is more a matter of making sure one connects one term to another properly rather than checking one’s claims, e.g., by experiment. In this paper, I argue that the conventionalist interpretation of Hobbesian science accords neither with Hobbes’s theoretical account in De corpore and Leviathan nor with Hobbes’s scientific practice in De homine and elsewhere. Closely tied to the conventionalist interpretation is the deductivist interpretation, on which it is claimed that Hobbes ...


No Grist For Mill On Natural Kinds, P.D. Magnus Jan 2014

No Grist For Mill On Natural Kinds, P.D. Magnus

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

According to the standard narrative, natural kind is a technical notion that was introduced by John Stuart Mill in the 1840s and the recent craze for natural kinds, launched by Putnam and Kripke, is a continuation of that tradition. I argue that the standard narrative is mistaken. The Millian tradition of kinds was not particularly influential in the 20th century, and the Putnam-Kripke revolution did not clearly engage with even the remnants that were left of it. The presently active tradition of natural kinds is less than half a century old. Recognizing this might help us better appreciate both Mill ...


Friends With Benefits! Distributed Cognition Hooks Up Cognitive And Social Conceptions Of Science, P.D. Magnus, Ron Mcclamrock Jan 2014

Friends With Benefits! Distributed Cognition Hooks Up Cognitive And Social Conceptions Of Science, P.D. Magnus, Ron Mcclamrock

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

One approach to science treats science as a cognitive accomplishment of individuals and so defines a scientific community as an aggregate of individual enquirers. Another treats science as a fundamentally collective endeavor and so defines a scientist as a member of a scientific community. Distributed cognition has been offered as a framework that could be used to reconcile these two approaches. Adam Toon has recently asked if the cognitive and the social can be friends at last. He answers that they probably cannot, posing objections to the would-be rapprochement. We clarify both the animosity and the tonic proposed to resolve ...


State Of The Field: Why Novel Prediction Matters, P.D. Magnus, Heather Douglas Dec 2013

State Of The Field: Why Novel Prediction Matters, P.D. Magnus, Heather Douglas

Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

It has become commonplace to say that novel predictive success is not epistemically special. Its value over accommodation, if it has any, is taken to be superficial or derivative. We argue that the value of predictive success is indeed instrumental. Nevertheless, it is a powerful instrument that provides significant epistemic assurances at many different levels. Even though these assurances are in principle dispensable, real science is rarely (if ever) in the position to confidently obtain them in other ways. So we argue for a pluralist instrumental predictivism: novel predictive success is important for inferences from data to phenomena, from phenomena ...