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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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 ...


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 ...