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2017 Central Division abstracts of colloquium and accepted symposium papers
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Abstracts of Colloquium and Submitted Symposium Papers

The Concept-Mastery Explanation of Mary's New Knowledge (V-L, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Torin Alter (University of Alabama)

I defend the concept-mastery explanation of what happens to Frank Jackson’s Mary when she leaves the black-and-white room. Ball (2009) and Michael Tye (2009) argue that, while still in the room, Mary can acquire phenomenal color concepts by acquiring terms her color-sighted interlocutors outside the room use to express those concepts. But on the concept-mastery explanation, what matters for the purposes of the knowledge argument is concept mastery, not concept acquisition. However, Ball (2013) argues that the notion of concept mastery is too heterogeneous to do the requisite explanatory work. Further, he argues, the explanation undermines the link Jackson forges between a priori deducibility and metaphysical necessitation. Gabriel Rabin (2011) develops the latter argument in detail. I argue that both Ball’s and Rabin’s arguments fail. If my arguments are sound, then the role of concept mastery in the knowledge argument deserves more attention than it has received.

The Fact of Unreasonable Pluralism (VII-L, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Aaron Ancell (Duke University)

Any successful normative theory of democracy must contend with what Rawls called “the fact of reasonable pluralism”--the fact that reasonable disagreements about moral, religious, and philosophical questions are inevitable in any free society. But why is it only reasonable disagreement that commands such attention? Unreasonable disagreement is lamentably pervasive in the real world, but it goes relatively unaddressed by political philosophers. Why should this be any more excusable than ignoring reasonable disagreement? The standard response is, roughly, “Because we’re doing ideal theory.” I show that this answer does not withstand scrutiny I do so not by arguing against ideal theory in general, but rather by showing that the constraints on ideal theory that generate the fact of reasonable pluralism also generate an analogous fact of unreasonable pluralism.

Why Pain Motivates: A Critique of the Imperativist View of Pain (VII-J, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Matthew Babb (University of Southern California)

Imperativism is the view that pains have imperative contents. A motivation for imperativism is it seems better able to explain the affective aspect of pains. According to recent imperativists, pains are commands of the body and these commands motivate because the body is an authority. There are two problems with this view. First, the body is not the right sort of thing to have authority. Second, the view intellectualizes the affective aspect of pain in an implausible way. These problems don’t require us to reject imperativism, however, only the auxiliary view that the affective aspect of pain stems from bodily authority. I sketch an alternative imperativism-friendly view. Instead of pains reaching consciousness and only then syncing up with our affective faculties, I maintain that pain is the experienced output of an affective faculty. It’s in virtue of being the product of this faculty that pains have an affective aspect.

Proportionality, Maximization, and the Highest Good (V-K, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Craig Bacon (University of South Carolina)

Kant sometimes describes the highest good as happiness proportioned to virtue, and elsewhere as universal happiness and morality (CPrR 5:110-111; TP 8:279). Scholars who emphasize either of these descriptions have tended to interpret the ideal as a world in which people may fail to be fully happy or fully virtuous. This interpretation rests on an assumption that the religious postulates supersede human agency toward the highest good. I argue against this assumption, positioning the key texts in the context of the question with which Kant introduces his discussions: “What kind of world could I will?” (RBMR 6:5) This would not be a world in which virtuous people would be unhappy. (CPrR 5:110-111). Neither could this world be one in which people fail to be virtuous (CPR A808/B836, A814/B842). Therefore, the highest good consists in truly universal happiness proportioned to truly universal virtue, not in lesser degrees of happiness or virtue.

Refusing to Take Up the Slack (I-I, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)

Sameer Bajaj (University of Arizona)

Anja Karnein has recently argued that when some individuals fail to do their fair shares of a collective duty to prevent harm to third parties, the remaining duty bearers are required to take up the slack by doing more than their fair shares. She thus rejects the view—which she calls Weighing—that individuals are required to do more than their fair shares only if the value of preventing harm to third parties outweighs the value of preventing unfairness between duty bearers. I argue that Weighing survives Karnein’s objections, and I identify an important class of cases in which the value of preventing unfairness between duty bearers often outweighs the value of preventing harm to third parties: those in which taking up the slack contributes to a social inequality in the relationship between duty bearers.

Debunking and Overdetermination (IV-J, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Jonathan Barker (University of Virginia)

Our everyday, non-philosophical reasons for believing in ordinary composite objects are causal-perceptual. For example, we believe in tables, chairs, and mountains because we can ‘just see’ them. However, so-called ‘debunking’ arguments threaten to undermine these everyday causal-perceptual reasons. Debunking arguments attempt to undermine our beliefs about some subject matter F by showing that there is no appropriate explanatory connection between those beliefs and the F-facts. In this paper I respond to a powerful debunking argument targeting our perceptual reasons for believing in ordinary composite objects. That argument is based on the claim that our perceptual experiences as of ordinary objects are fully causally explained by those objects’ putative parts. I argue that, if ordinary objects are grounded in or exist in virtue of their parts, then this debunking argument fails. Along the way, we will learn some new lessons about the relationship between overdetermination, grounding, and perception.

Expressivism as Quasi-defeasible Internalism (II-E, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

William Bell (University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Noncognitivist expressivism has been criticized on the grounds that it entails a version of indefeasible morals/motives judgement internalism. A common objection to indefeasible internalism highlights cases involving an amoralist: someone who endorses some moral judgement and yet remains unmotivated to perform the morally relevant action. I respond to the amoralist objection by arguing for a quasi-defeasible internalist version of expressivism. I argue that a dispositional analysis of conative attitudes can reference the well-known phenomenon of masking as part of an explanation for how a person may sincerely endorse some moral judgement and yet remain unmotivated by it. Furthermore, I contend there is an attitude volatility problem: there is reason to think human beings often lack awareness of the relevant masking conditions, resulting in moral judgements which fail to align with the relevant stimulus/manifestation conditions.

The Internal Morality of Medicine: A Constructivist-Proceduralist Approach (VI-K, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Nir Ben-Moshe (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

In the paper, I defend the claim that medicine requires a morality that is internal to its practice, while rejecting the prevalent characterization of this morality and offering an alternative one. More specifically, I reject a dilemma that is posed in the literature, namely that the morality of medicine is either internal to medicine and derived from natural norms or external to medicine and derived from broader societal norms. My approach is constructivist and proceduralist in nature: it argues that physicians construct, via a process of shared and idealized deliberation and in consultation with the patient population, the standards of medicine’s internal morality. The appeal to patient input is justified by the fact that medicine is inherently a relational endeavor. The upshot of the paper is a framework that provides an authoritative morality for medicine, while accounting for the incorporation of qualified deference to patient values into that very morality.

Kantian Supererogation: A New Account (VI-K, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Kiran Bhardwaj (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

The traditional Kantian explanation of supererogation relies on the nature of imperfect duties. While we are always required to perform perfect duties, we have some “latitude” in how we fulfill our two imperfect duties (these duties are that we perfect ourselves and that we promote the happiness of others). Not only may we fulfil these imperfect duties in a variety of ways, we also may sometimes refrain from acting in ways that fulfil them, so long as we regularly promote those two ends. I argue that this supererogation-via-imperfect duty account is not sufficient, and that a better account of Kantian supererogation will rely on the less-explored materials of what Kant says about the importance of ideals.

From Microscopes to Optogenetics: Ian Hacking Vindicated (VI-I, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

John Bickle (Mississippi State University)

I introduce philosophers to two new tools in experimental neurobiology, optogenetics and DREADDs (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs). These tools permit unprecedented control over activity in specific neurons in behaving animals. In addition to their inherent scientific interest, these tools make an important contribution to philosophy of science. They illustrate the premises of Ian Hacking’s thirty-plus-year-old “microscope” argument for the relative independence of experiment from theory. This new example is important for generalizing Hacking’s argument, because both the background sciences—optics for microscopes, molecular genetics for optogenetics and DREADDs—and the fields of engineering producing these tools differ widely.

Practical Wisdom and Coercive Technai (VIII-G, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Noell Birondo (Wichita State University)

Many writers have insisted that the possession of an Aristotelian virtue cannot be accurately understood as the possession of a kind of practical skill (Greek: technê). This is because the following four cases, at least, tell against the possession of an ethical virtue but not against the possession of a skill: (1) the agent is not motivated at all to exercise the capacity; (2) she is so motivated, but only half-heartedly; (3) she acts as she does for the wrong reason, i.e., for an inappropriate end; and (4) she intentionally acts wrongly with respect to the relevant capacity. Cases (1)-(4) should not, however, lead us to deny that virtue is a kind of skill. They should encourage us, instead, to appreciate a more robust (and independently plausible) conception of skill, one whose plausibility can be obstructed by the pervasiveness, both in Aristotle’s world and in ours, of coercive forms of technê.

The Importance of Hobbesian Hope (VIII-J, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Christopher Bobier (University of California- Irvine)

The passions play an important role in Hobbes’s philosophy. He (in)famously defines ‘deliberation’ as nothing more than a sequence of contrary passions and the ‘will’ as the last passion in that sequence which ends in action. In political theory, the passions motivate the founding, sustaining and dissolution of the state. Despite their collective significance, however, not all of the passions are of equal importance—some are considered to be more philosophically important than others. A glance at the secondary literature reveals a scholarly consensus that fear is the most important Hobbesian passion: the consensus is that fear is primarily responsible for the founding and sustaining of the state. The aim of this paper is to argue that this consensus is wrong by arguing that hope plays an important role in the founding, sustaining and dissolution of the state.

Testimonial Injustice and the Harm in Mental Illness Epithets (III-D, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Renee Bolinger (University of Southern California)

This paper aims to focus carefully on the topic of pejoratives relating to mental illness. I argue that though `crazy' and similar mental illness-based epithets (MI-epithets) are not best understood as slurs, they do function to isolate, exclude, and marginalize members of the targeted group in ways similar to the harmfulness of slurs more generally. While they do not generally express the hate/contempt characteristic of weaponized uses of slurs, MI-epithets perpetuate epistemic injustice by portraying sufferers of mental illness as deserving minimal credibility. After outlining the ways in which these epithets can cause harm, I examine available legal and social remedies, and suggest that the best path going forward is to pursue a reclamation project rather than aiming to censure the use of MI-epithets.

The Other Value Problem for Knowledge (I-H, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)

Kenneth A. Boyd (University of Toronto)

When epistemologists talk about “the value problem for knowledge” they are typically addressing the Meno problem, namely the problem of explaining in what way knowledge is more valuable than true belief (if it is at all). While the Meno problem has dominated discussions of the value of knowledge, there is another kind of value problem for knowledge that has not received nearly as much attention, one introduced by W. D. Ross, which asks: of any two instances of knowledge, can one be more epistemically valuable than the other? Call this a Ross problem. Here I am going to argue that while it is tempting to answer the Ross problem negatively, that there is good reason to think that it should be answered affirmatively. I will then argue that this result has important consequences for the way we think about Meno problems.

Explaining Moral Testimony: A Different Appeal to Understanding (II-A, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Laura Callahan (Rutgers University)

Why is there a felt asymmetry between cases in which agents defer to testifiers for certain moral beliefs, and cases in which agents defer on other ‘garden variety’ matters? Here, I attempt to motivate an answer that appeals to the distinctive importance of affectively, motivationally involved understanding in the moral domain.

When it comes to certain moral matters, we want to grasp them in a way that involves our affections and motivations as well as our cognitive capacities to perceive reasons and draw connections. In particular, I suggest, we want this grasping to arise out of a unified, holistic engagement with moral reasons. Such grasping can aptly be labeled ‘understanding,’ although other explanations of moral testimony have previously appealed to the importance of a much thinner sort of understanding. But achieving the rich kind of affectively, motivationally involved understanding that I claim is normatively appropriate to many moral matters is more clearly both (i) distinctively valuable in the moral domain, and (ii) in tension with deferring to testimony. I argue that deferring to moral testimony can disincentivize and discourage the eventual acquisition of this important and rich kind of understanding--hence the felt ‘fishiness’ of many cases of moral testimony. This explanation incorporates and builds on going explanations in the literature on moral testimony appealing to the importance of autonomy as well as to the importance of ‘understanding’ in a thinner sense.

Simultaneity and Order Thresholds in Conscious Experience (VII-M, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Elliot Carter (University of Toronto)

Philosophers writing about temporal experience often claim that psychophysical experiments show that there is a window of time during which a subject can tell that two successive stimuli are non-simultaneous, but not which order they occurred in. Some have taken this to suggest that during this window, subjects experience events as non-simultaneous without experiencing them as determinately temporally ordered. I will argue that these claims are not warranted by the evidence. Along the way, I will describe some of the general issues that arise when we try to use psychophysical data to establish claims about conscious experience.

Unplanned Shared Agency (II-G, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

David K. Chan (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point)

Bratman’s approach to shared agency makes use of planning structures that are needed for individual intentional agency. There is disagreement about whether such structures are sufficient for shared agency. In this paper, I will disagree with Bratman from the direction of necessity by showing that shared agency need not involve planning structures. For Bratman, the social glue that ties together the participants in modest sociality involve interlocking intentions, sub-plans that mesh, and mutual responsiveness. I argue that the knowledge of other participants’ minds required for each individual to plan her part of the shared intentional activity is not available as common knowledge unless we assume that they plan together. By providing examples to show how it may take just the recognition of a shared goal for agents to act together as a group, I suggest that shared agency can take an unplanned form which does not require a shared intention.

The Human Rights of Political Refugees (VI-M, Friday, 2:15 p.m.)

Chong Choe (California State University- Sacramento)

As political refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants are crossing borders in vast numbers today, seeking resettlement or just temporary sanctuary in other states, questions arise as to what rights do they have or what duties do we owe them. In this paper, I consider the rights of non-citizens from statist and cosmopolitan views and defend the claim that certain rights are pre-statist. I then offer an explanation of our treatment of refugees not as an exception to the rule that only citizens have rights to security and welfare, but as an application of a duty of respect for these basic human rights. This paper also addresses a common justification for temporarily suspending any duty of respect and denying admission to refugees based on national security.

Is John Buridan an Epistemic Fallibilist? (VIII-K, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Philip Choi (University of Colorado, Boulder)

According to John Buridan (ca. 1300-61), just like Cartesian evil demon, God can cause a non-veridical sensory perception or a false belief in us anytime He wants to do. Such possibility seems to pose a deep skeptical challenge to our perceptual knowledge. However, Buridan thought that the challenge can be met. The core of his solution lies in his gradable conception of evidentness on which there is a lesser degree of evidentness which is suitable for grounding perceptual knowledge.

In her recent paper (2010), Elizabeth Karger argued that Buridan’s above solution to skepticism is best interpreted as a fallibilist solution to skepticism. In this paper, I argue that Karger’s interpretation is problematic, and that Buridan’s solution is best interpreted as an infallibilist, relevant alternatives account of knowledge.

Weak Cognitivism about Intention (IV-K, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Philip Clark (University of Toronto)

I defend the position Sarah Paul calls weak cognitivism about intention. Strong cognitivists like Velleman and Setiya regard intending to φ as a way of believing you will φ. Weak cognitivists agree that the belief is necessary but deny that it is sufficient. Grice held an inferential form of weak cognitivism, on which the belief rests on evidence, specifically on the presence of a conative state of willing. But Paul notes that the noninferential form has no prominent defenders. Drawing on work by Velleman and Moran, I argue that intending requires a belief that, because it is not receptive, cannot rest on evidence, and drawing on work by Frankfurt and Paul I argue that one can have such a belief without intending to do the action. The resulting view is a non-inferential form of weak cognitivism.

Sibling Partiality (IV-I, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Jeremy Davis (University of Toronto)

The literature on the ethics of partiality has focused primarily on relationships between friends, romantic partners, and parents and children. Another valuable relationship--the relationship among siblings--has received virtually no attention in the literature. In this essay, I consider and reject a plausible explanation for this glaring omission--namely, that sibling partiality is wholly reducible to some other kind of partiality, about which philosophers have already said enough. In particular, I consider the possibility that sibling partiality is reducible to either friendship or general familial partiality. The former, I argue, fails because sibling partiality seems attitude independent in a way that friendship does not. The latter, I argue, fails to distinguish the sibling relationship from, e.g., the cousin relationship, and looks forced to conclude that the two are identical. If persuasive, these conclusions lend some support to the idea that sibling partiality is sui generis.

Skepticism about Associative Obligation (I-I, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)

Ryan Davis (Brigham Young University)

It is commonplace to suppose that we have obligations which are grounded in some valuable association with other persons. Associative obligations are generally thought to be non-voluntary: one can have such an obligation without assenting to it. In this essay, I suggest that standard arguments for associative obligation are beset by two serious problems. First, even if successful, these arguments do not show that associative obligations have all of the features that characterize the concept of obligation. Second, many arguments favoring associative obligations rely on a controversial premise: morally valuable relationships are, necessarily, partly constituted by moral obligation. I believe this premise is false, and that discharging it will expose considerably difficulties in re-working an argument for associative obligation. I conclude that given the lack of conceptual fit and the difficulty of constructing a successful positive argument, we should be cautious of speaking of associative moral reasons as obligations.

Truth, Evolution, and Cognitive Reliability (VIII-I, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Michael Deem (Indiana State University)

Several philosophers claim that natural selection favored human cognitive faculties that reliably produce true beliefs. Motivating their claim is the widely held view that true beliefs about, say, the location of food sources or the relative proximity of predators would have provided an adaptive advantage to individuals whose cognitive machinery reliably produced them. However, Stephen Stich and Alvin Plantinga argue that there is little reason to think that natural selection favored reliable belief-producing faculties. This paper responds to these arguments and shows that our most plausible reconstructions of human evolution support the view that selection favored cognitive reliability in humans. I begin by showing that Stich’s and Plantinga’s arguments trade on an imprecise conception of the relation between selective forces and adaptive traits. After clarifying that relation, I draw from reciprocal altruism theory and recent work on the evolution of animal cognition in order to show that complex social interactions among early humans would have generated significant selective pressure in the direction of production of true beliefs.

Propositions Are Not Simple (VIII-H, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Matt Duncan (Rhode Island College)

Some philosophers claim that propositions are simple—i.e., lack parts. In this paper, I will argue that this claim is mistaken. I will start with the widely accepted claim that propositions are the objects of beliefs. Then I will argue that the objects of beliefs have parts. Thus, I will conclude that propositions are not simple. My argument for the claim that the objects of beliefs have parts will derive from the fact that beliefs are productive and systematic. This fact, which I’ll flesh out below, lurks in the background of debates about the metaphysics of propositions. But its import for these debates has yet to be full appreciated. So here I’ll bring the point to the fore, and thus make manifest a powerful argument against simple propositions.

The Brier Score, Misleading Evidence, and Versimilitude (II-F, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Jeffrey S. Dunn (DePauw University)

In a recent paper, Fallis & Lewis (forthcoming) argue that the Brier score is not a good measure of epistemic value for credence functions. In this paper, I summarize their argument and offer a response, which depends on drawing attention to the phenomenon of misleading evidence as well as verisimilitude. I also show how this response helps to shine light on a puzzle that Brian Knab and Miriam Schoenfield have raised for the Brier score.

The Disappearing Duty to Disclose HIV Status to New Casual Sex Partners (VI-K, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Jake Earl (Georgetown University)

In this paper, I argue that HIV-positive persons have an obligation to disclose their serostatus prior to sex only if the sex partner cannot give valid consent to the sex act, either because (a) the sex partner is ignorant of the fact that the sex act imposes a significant risk of serious harm, or (b) the sex act does not impose a significant risk of serious harm, but the sex partner is ignorant of the ordinary risks of sex. I also argue that these necessary conditions obtain much less frequently than they did in the early days of the HIV epidemic, meaning that the argumentative burden lies on those who wish to claim that any particular HIV-positive person has violated a moral obligation to disclose his or her serostatus prior to sex.

Justice and Law in Plato's Republic (V-I, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Amos Espeland (Stanford University)

Political philosophers seek to evaluate various features of society in terms of justice, including social practices, distributions of goods, and laws. Yet, Plato’s idiosyncratic definition of civic justice in Republic IV makes it hard to see how Plato could describe these features of society as just or unjust. This paper argues, nevertheless, that the Republic offers an account of just law that is philosophically rich and intimately connected with both Plato’s ethics and his definition of civic justice. I begin by discussing challenges to identifying a principle of just law in the Republic. I show that recent attempts to describe a principle of just distributions of goods in the dialogue point to an account of just law as happiness-maximizing. I offer philosophical and textual reasons for rejecting this account of just law. I conclude by articulating and advocating for a new account of just law in the Republic.

The Intelligibility of Metaphysical Structure (III-I, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Peter Finocchiaro (University of Notre Dame)

In this paper I defend metaphysical structure from the charge of unintelligibility. In so doing, I clarify several important concepts, including primitiveness, intelligibility, and the Armstrong-style “list” view of the world. In defending structure, I also discuss primitive modality and stuff ontology.

Music and Vague Existence (III-H, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

David Friedell (Barnard College)

I argue that there is tension between musical creationism (the view that musical works are abstract artifacts) and the view that there is no vague existence. I then suggest ways to reconcile these views. In doing so I show that some versions of musical creationism imply vague existence and that others do not.

Tame and Vicious Circularity (I-H, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)

Everett C. Fulmer (Saint Louis University)

What distinguishes vicious from non-vicious (say, “tame”) circularity? Such a question has been under-explored in recent epistemology. And this neglect has led to some misguided strategies for defending oneself against circularity charges. For example, it is sometimes taken to be a successful defense to show that one’s own circle is structurally isomorphic with a second and putatively tame circle. Both Sosa (1994, 2009, 2011) and Greco (2011) defend the circularity involved in their antiskeptical responses in this manner. Such a defense assumes, however, that the structural features of a circle are sufficient to determine its evaluative status: whether vicious or tame. I show this assumption to be mistaken. The only in principle distinction to draw between vicious and tame circularity, I argue, is in terms of a pragmatic consideration: whether the circle is suited to the task for which one uses it.

Accounting for Quine's Robust Realism (II-H, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Paul Goldberg (Boston University)

W. V. Quine claims that he is a robust realist, i.e., that he is committed to the mind-independent existence of objects. Yet he also famously claims that ontology is ‘contained’ in epistemology--that is, our ontological commitments are relative to our conceptual scheme (i.e., language). Many commentators consider this to be an irreconcilable tension. In this essay, I aim to fully resolve this tension. I argue particularly against Fogelin, who claims that Quine must be considered an anti-realist, and Keskinen, who holds that though Quine might be a realist, he is certainly not one in any robust sense. My tack throughout, building on an interpretive line introduced by Roger Gibson, emphasizes Quine’s naturalism and his ‘reciprocal containment’ thesis as the keys to understanding his ontological views. In clarifying and expanding on this interpretation, I seek to demonstrate that Quine is a robust realist, thus vindicating the philosopher’s self-portrait.

Generalized Update Semantics (III-E, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Simon Goldstein (Rutgers University)

This paper explores the relationship between dynamic and truth conditional semantics for epistemic modals. It provides a generalization of a standard dynamic update semantics for modals. This generalization derives a Kripke semantics for modals and a dynamic semantics for modals as special cases. As well, it allows a characterization of a variety of principles in modal logic, including the inconsistency of p and might not p.

The Ordinary Concept of Knowledge How (VI-J, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Kaija Mortensen (Randolph College)
Chad Gonnerman (University of Southern Indiana)
Jacob Robbins (University of Southern Indiana)

Some epistemologists appear to maintain that the folk can serve as a source of dialectical advantage in debates between intellectualists and anti-intellectualists about the nature of knowledge how. The common assumption seems to be that the philosophical account of knowledge how that best accords with the folk concept of knowledge how has a dialectical advantage over its competitors such that it enjoys a strong (though defeasible) presumption in its favor. Work in experimental philosophy on the folk concept has thus far been rather conflicted, with some reporting results suggesting that the concept is intellectualist and others that it is anti-intellectualist. In this report, we present results in line with the claim that the folk concept is in fact a cluster concept, embodying both intellectualist and anti-intellectualist factors. This suggests that the folk are unlikely to serve as an uncomplicated source of dialectical support for either intellectualism or antiintellectualism.

The Mismatch Problem for Expected Utility Act Consequentialism (V-H, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Robert Gruber (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Sometimes, a group brings about a bad outcome that’s overdetermined: had any individual member of the group acted differently, the bad outcome would still have occurred. In such cases, many consequentialists believe that an appeal to expected utility explains why the individuals involved nonetheless act wrongly. I argue that, once we understand the nature of the problem that overdetermination poses for consequentialism, we will see that expected utility does not solve the problem. The problem is one of mismatched verdicts. In overdetermination cases, consequentialism says one thing about the group act (that it’s wrong) while saying something different about each individual act (that each act is morally permissible). But I argue that there are cases in which expected utility versions of consequentialism deliver mismatched verdicts. So expected utility cannot solve the mismatch problem for consequentialism.

Defending Permissive Intuitions (VIII-L, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Clinton Packman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Casey T. Hart (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Impermissivists hold that an agent with a given body of evidence has exactly one rationally permitted (hence, required) attitude that she should adopt towards any particular proposition. Permissivists deny this: they think there are situations in which more than one attitude is rationally permitted. Permissivists often motivate this view by describing scenarios that pump our intuitions toward thinking the agent could reasonably take one of several attitudes toward some proposition. Some impermissivists respond as follows: while it seems like any of that range of attitudes is permissible, what is actually required is the single broad attitude that encompasses all of these single attitudes. In this paper, we will show that this response won’t work. This broad attitude impermissivism is a way of trying to have one’s cake and eat it, too; and like most such proposals it fails at both.

Why Can't We Perceptually Experience Aesthetic Properties and What Can We Learn from This? (VII-M, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Ting Fung Ho (University of Pennsylvania)

Recently, there is a heated debate on whether high-level properties can be perceptually experienced. While much is said about kind properties and causal relations, aesthetic properties are left off. In this paper, I argue that aesthetic properties cannot be perceptually experienced, because experience of aesthetic properties is non-perceptual. I explore how this sheds light on debates about high-level properties in general and the phenomenology-intentionality relation. In section II, I argue there are two constitutive features of phenomenology of perceptual experiences--seemingly world-revealing and world-attributing. In section III, I contend aesthetics experience is not perceptual because its phenomenology only has the latter feature. In section IV, I suggest other high-level properties such as kind properties may not be perceptually experienced for the same reason. Also, theorizing about features of perceptual phenomenology opens up a different way of studying the phenomenology-intentionality relation. It shifts the focus from representational properties to phenomenal properties.

Kant's Regulative Metaphysics of God (III-M, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Noam Hoffer (Indiana University Bloomington)

What is the relation between Kant's account of the conception of God as the Ideal of Reason and the regulative use of the idea of God in the Appendix to the Dialectic of the 1st Critique? This question has not received adequate attention in the literature. Readers of the Appendix focus primarily on the epistemic status of the principle of systematic unity and mostly ignore its relation to the metaphysical content of the idea of God, while readers of the Ideal focus mainly on the dialectic illusion. In contrast, I argue that an adequate understanding of the regulative role of the idea of God depends on the specific metaphysical content Kant attributes to it. I show that neither a heuristic principle to relate concepts systematically, nor conceiving God as a hypothesis of an intelligent creator, can satisfy the demands of reason to make the unity and necessity of the laws of nature intelligible. I support my argument by referring to Kant's pre-critical discussion which includes a parallel relation between a metaphysical conception of God and its usefulness for the project of science. Thus my account sheds light on the continuity of Kant's conception of God and his appropriation of rationalistic metaphysics.

The All Or Nothing Problem (I-I, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)

Joe Horton (University of Southern California)

Suppose that two children are about to die. You have three options: do nothing, save one child at some great cost to yourself, or save both children at the same great cost. Given that saving both children requires no greater sacrifice than saving both, it would be morally wrong for you to save only one. But plausibly, given the sacrifice that saving the children requires, it is morally permissible for you not to save either. And together, these claims have the counterintuitive implication that you ought to save neither child rather than save only one. This is just one instance of what I call The All Or Nothing Problem. In this paper, I develop this problem, suggest a solution, and then show that this solution has important implications both for how we should understand supererogatory acts and for how we should approach charitable giving.

On the Idea of Besire (VI-L, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Shih-Han Huang (Simon Fraser University)

This paper discusses whether the idea of besire is coherent. To scrutinize the apparent incompatibility of world-to-mind and mind-to-world direction of fit (DOF), we discuss Smith's functionalist interpretation of DOF. Then, on the basis of that, we develop the Smithian argument against the concept of besire. Although Little is right that this argument is misleading in the sense that it fails to reject the idea of besire*—the type of besire that is directed at different propositions in exhibiting each DOF and that is of particular interest to supporters of besire, another argument against besire* is presented and defended against potential criticisms. Consequently, we conclude that the concept of besire is incoherent, no matter whether the opposite DOFs are with respect to the same proposition or not.

Practical Deliberation and Background Conditions on Normative Reasons for Action (II-E, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Rachel Johnson (Trinity University)

Some accounts of normative reasons for action distinguish between the content of a reason and its “background conditions” (the explanation of why it is a reason). Such accounts use this distinction to try to avoid what I call “problematic thought objections” (claims that these accounts require agents to have thoughts or motivations that a well-functioning practical reasoner ought not or cannot have (e.g., thoughts about her desires)). If these “problematic” thoughts concern background conditions on reasons, the response claims, then they are not part of practical deliberation. This paper argues that this response to problematic thought objections fails because, while an agent’s reasons may contain no reference to their background conditions, her motivation by those reasons does. This suggests a constraint on accounts of normative reasons: an account must be such that a well-functioning practical reasoner can use it when deliberating about what to do (without having problematic thoughts).

Finding the Definition of Soul in Aristotle's De Anima (III-J, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Brian Julian (Boston University)

Early in De Anima Aristotle gives what looks like a very Aristotelian definition of soul: soul is the “form of a natural body having life potentially.” However, many commentators seek Aristotle's definition elsewhere, since at the end of the chapter he says that his presentation has been sketched in outline and then he starts afresh by describing the proper way to define. I argue instead that there is no need to search, because the initial statement is in fact Aristotle's considered definition of soul. I focus on explaining the transitional material that has misled readers--especially in what Aristotle means by `in outline’ (τύπῳ)--arguing that Aristotle does not intend to qualify or reject the initial definition. Recognizing this explains several features in the chapters surrounding the transition, including how the initial definition fits the description (in both De Anima and Posterior Analytics) of a definition that shows the cause.

Relativity and the Causal Efficacy of Abstract Objects (III-I, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Tim Juvshik (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

It’s often assumed that abstract objects are causally inert, but principled arguments for this assumption are rarely given. Abstracta are also usually thought to exist outside of space and time, and it isn’t clear how such entities could exert causal powers. My aim is to give a principled argument for the causal inertness of abstracta, first by arguing that lacking a spatiotemporal location is the most plausible way of understanding the abstract/concrete distinction. If abstracta can be the relata of causal relations then they must exist in time, since causation is prima facie a temporal relation. However, the Special Theory of Relativity tells us that every position in time is also a position in space-time, so if abstracta are causally efficacious then they must exist in both space and time, contradicting our initial assumption. I then consider, and reject, various responses to this problem.

Luck and Disagreement (III-L, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Samuel Kampa (Fordham University)

Both luck and disagreement are widely discussed topics in contemporary epistemology. And yet, there are almost no sustained treatments of the relationship between luck and disagreement in the current literature. Why has so little been written on the subject? Are there simply no interesting connections between luck and disagreement? I maintain, on the contrary, that luck and disagreement are conceptually and normatively linked and that this linkage should be of interest to anyone concerned with either luck or disagreement. Moreover, I argue that evidence of peer disagreement just is evidence of knowledge-precluding luck, that the normative significance of peer disagreement reduces to the normative significance of knowledge-precluding luck, and that one’s theory of luck bear directly on one’s approach to peer disagreement. The upshot is that luck and disagreement are closely related and that their relatedness matters.

The Illuminative Function of the Agent Intellect (V-G, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

James Kintz (Saint Louis University)

On Thomas Aquinas’ account, the agent intellect is supposed to abstract an intelligible species from a phantasm. However, insofar as Aquinas claims that the intelligible species is not present in the phantasm, it is unclear how the agent intellect accomplishes this abstraction. In this paper I will explore the model of abstraction put forward by Houston Smit, who argues that the agent intellect does not extract an intelligible species, but rather produces one by combining data from the senses with certain innate concepts. I will then critique Smit’s account and offer an alternative approach. Employing Aquinas’ comparison of the agent intellect to light, I will argue that the agent intellect neither extracts an intelligible species from a phantasm nor produces an intelligible species from innate concepts. Rather, it makes the nature that is already present in the object actually intelligible by considering it apart from its individuating conditions.

Close Personal Relationships and Character Development (VII-K, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Sandy Koullas (Johns Hopkins University)

It is clear that close personal relationships, like friendship and romantic partnerships, are valuable for their participants. In this paper, I argue that the value of interpersonal relationships goes beyond their value as optional, personal projects. I argue that the value of relationships is agent-neutral because of the arena of reciprocal beneficence that they provide. Having such an arena in which to practice being good is a relationship-specific good that is basic and versatile. No matter what else we may care about, we all have reason to care about taking good care of our characters. Because relationships avail us of a unique opportunity to do this, their value is agent-neutral. Relationships, in responding to certain deep features of human beings, are a significant good that we all have reasons to respect.

On the Old Saw That "Supervenience Is Not an Explanatory Relation" (II-B, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

David Mark Kovacs (Bilkent University)

Supervenience is necessary co-variation between two sets of entities (properties, facts, objects, etc.). In the good old days, supervenience was considered a useful philosophical tool with a wide range of applications in the philosophy of mind, metaethics, epistemology, and elsewhere. In recent years, however, supervenience has fallen out of favor, giving place to grounding, ontological dependence, and other, more metaphysically “meaty,” notions. The emerging consensus is that there are principled reasons for which explanatory theses cannot be captured in terms of supervenience, and that we cannot hope genuine illumination from this concept. As the slogan goes: supervenience is not an explanatory relation (SINE). While SINE is widely endorsed, it is far from clear what it amounts to. In this paper, I will distinguish various theses that could be meant by it, and will argue that none of them is both interesting and plausible: on some interpretations of ‘explanatory,’ we have no reason to believe that supervenience is unexplanatory, while on other interpretations, supervenience is indeed unexplanatory, but widely accepted textbook cases of explanatory relations come out as unexplanatory, too. My conclusion will be that there is no interesting sense in which SINE is true, and that the contemporary consensus that supervenience is somehow the wrong kind of relation for explanatory purposes is mistaken.

How Bayesians Lie (VII-I, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Samuel Krauss (University of Texas at Austin)

According to most accounts of lying, one lies only if one says that p and believes that not-p—that is, one lies only if one believes the negation of what she asserts. Most of the literature on what lying is has focused on, or issues closely related to, the first necessary condition: saying that p. Little attention has been devoted to the second necessary condition: believing that not-p. What if a condition most have assumed to be necessary, isn’t? In this paper, I argue for an account of lying supposing a Bayesian framework without belief. On my account, one lies when one asserts a proposition she is more confident is false than true. This new view of lying not only accommodates the Bayesian without a notion of belief, but also solves two problems with the traditional account: that the traditional view cannot explain moral intuitions in the cases I describe, and that it cannot offer a principled reason for the belief requirement.

Grounding Aesthetic Obligations (III-H, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Robbie Kubala (Columbia University)

Many writers on beauty, including Immanuel Kant and Marcel Proust, describe a sense of obligation in our experience of the beautiful: some beautiful objects seem to demand our attention. In this paper, I explicate the content, form, and satisfaction conditions of these aesthetic obligations, then argue that such obligations, if they exist, must be grounded neither in the special weight of some aesthetic considerations, nor in a normative relation we bear to aesthetic objects, but in the connections that some aesthetic considerations have to our practical identities.

The Responsibility of Heracles (VII-K, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Timothy Kwiatek (Cornell University)

Euripides’ story of Heracles illustrates an interesting and under-explored relation between agents and their actions. In the story, Heracles is struck by the god Madness. Madness leads Heracles to think that he is saving his family from attackers, but tragically, he is in fact killing his family. He regains his senses and is horrified. Existing conceptions of moral responsibility do not treat Heracles as though he is responsible in this case. I suggest that Heracles has a special relation to this action which brought ruin upon his life and that this relation is a form of responsibility yet unexplored. Without such a notion, we cannot make sense of tragedy in situations like these. I consider nearby notions of responsibility and show that they do not capture this. I characterize this relation, which I call meaning responsibility. I consider the place of meaning responsibility in our evaluations.

The Combination Problem and the Phenomenal Bond (IV-M, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Haoying Liu (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Panpsychism, the view that fundamental, micro-level entities have experience, is threatened by “the combination problem”, which is the puzzle that even if we suppose that experience is present in the fundamental, smallest entities, it’s hard to see how these entities can combine to give rise to conscious experience in large-scale, macro-level conscious creatures. In this paper I will consider how to solve this problem. I will present Phillip Goff’s attempt to understand combination of micro-level conscious entities in terms of phenomenal bonding relation, and I will argue for a modified account of panpsychism (“phenomenal bond panpsychism”), according to which there is conscious experience iff there are multiple fundamental entities related by their mutual phenomenal bond. According to this account of panpsychism, at the fundamental level, there is phenomenal bonding relation among micro-level entities, but no intrinsic phenomenal properties of micro-level entities.

Lewens on Selection and Technology Change (VI-I, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Hector MacIntyre (University of Lethbridge)

I examine the evolution of Lewens’s views on selectionism in the cultural domain, in particular for material culture and its prospects in characterizing technology change. After describing what he calls the kinetic approach to cultural evolution exemplified in the dual inheritance model, I discuss the transmission problem Lewens (2004) used to argue against fullblooded Darwinian cultural selection. Lewens (2015) still maintains that the cultural realm lacks replicators to underwrite transmission, but he now endorses kinetic approaches as offering genuine insight. I suggest that additional fruit is still ripe for harvest if we adopt a more exclusive focus on artifacts.

A Plea for Anti-Anti-Individualism: How Oversimple Psychology Misleads Social Policy (V-J, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Alexander Madva (California State Polytechnic University- Pomona)

This essay responds to the criticism that contemporary efforts to redress discrimination and inequality are overly “individualistic.” Critics of individualism emphasize that these systemic social ills stem not from the prejudice, irrationality, or selfishness of individuals, but from underlying structural-institutional forces. They are skeptical, therefore, of attempts to change individuals’ attitudes while leaving structural problems intact. I argue that the insistence on “prioritizing” structural over individual change is problematic and misleading. My view is not that we should instead prioritize individual change, but that individual changes are integral to the success of structural changes. These theorists urge a redirection of attention, claiming that we should think less about the individual and more about the social. What they should urge instead is that we think differently about the individual, and thereby think differently about the social.

A Limited Defense of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics 1.2.1094a18-22 (VIII-G, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Vijay Mascarenhas (Metropolitan State University of Denver)

I defend Nicomachean Ethics I.1.1094a1-3 and I.2.1094a18-22 as establishing a key step on the way to proving there is only one chief good: that there must be some goods that are good in themselves and not good as a means (“completely final” goods). To do this I propose a method of formalizing desires and goods that makes more clear how Aristotle’s claim that desires cannot be empty and vain rules out pursuit chains of merely instrumental goods and merely middle-level goods (goods that are good in themselves but also good as a means), whether these pursuit chains be finite, infinite, or circular. With these eliminated, the only option is for there to be some goods that are completely final. I also show how these goods would be self-limiting and function as regulative limits on other desires and goods, ensuring that no desires are empty and vain.

Can the Master and Slave Work Together? (II-G, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Allison Massof (Ohio State University)

The literature on shared agency focuses almost exclusively on cases devoid of a power imbalance between the people involved. The partners in the shared action literature are friends, graduate students, or merely intentional agents. The parties are not: teacher and student, employer and employee, or master and slave. Examining shared action in the context of imbalanced power relationships is important because it may reveal deficits in our accounts of the normativity of shared action.

I focus my attention on the case of the master and slave, for it is the most extreme power imbalance. Michael Bratman defends the possibility of shared action between the master and slave. I argue that absent self-deception, the master can engage in shared action with her slave only on pain of irrationality—satisfying the demands of interpersonal rationality conflicts with maintaining a commitment to the master-slave relationship.

Why Internalists Should Endorse Phenomenal Conservatism (and Externalists Should Pay Attention) (V-L, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Blake McAllister (Hillsdale College)

Starting from an internalist position, I develop an argument phenomenal conservatism: (PC) if it seems to S that p, then S thereby has pro tanto good reason for believing p. To assess this principle, I suggest we look at a scenario called “the initial position” in which it seems to S that p and all other evidence is bracketed out. I offer multiple arguments that, in such a scenario, S is permitted to at least slightly increase her credence in p. If this is right, then all seemings provide reasons to believe their content. While this paper assumes internalism, it remains highly relevant for externalists since everyone has a vested interest in determining what we ought to believe from the first-person perspective.

Is There Power Nobody Should Even Have? (VII-L, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

R. Christopher McCammon (Tidewater Community College)

Republicans insist there is a kind of power—domination—that nobody should have even if the empowered agents never do anything with it. This claim has come in for a lot of criticism—maybe more than any other piece of contemporary republicanism. Allowing unwielded power to count as domination apparently lets a thousand false positives bloom. Supposedly, we’ll end up diagnosing all kinds of social phenomena as domination that just aren’t. Even worse, thinking of domination in this way apparently sours us on deeply meaningful relationships of care, friendship, and love. Here, I show that the republican claim that domination is a power, and a power nobody should have, survives this criticism: the objections depend on mistakes about how social power works.

Black on the Outside, White on the Inside: Peter Abelard's Use of Race (VIII-K, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Colleen McCluskey (Saint Louis University)

Peter Abelard (ca. 1079-1144) is perhaps best known for his relationship with Heloise, his former student and eventual wife. Some fifteen years after both of them entered religious life, they initiated a correspondence that continued until a few years before Abelard’s second heresy trial and subsequent death. In the fifth letter, Abelard draws upon an unexpected example, that of the Ethiopian queen from the Song of Songs, who proclaims that she is black on the outside but beautiful on the inside. In this paper, I focus on Abelard’s discussion of the Ethiopian queen and consider what his remarks might mean for understanding the development of the concept of race in Western thought. In particular, I consider whether his view challenges the common (although not universal) position that Europeans did not develop a concept of race until at least the early modern period.

Punishing Pure Thought (IV-K, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Gabriel Mendlow (University of Michigan)

This essay takes aim at a bedrock principle of criminal jurisprudence: that the law must never impose punishment for a person’s unexecuted intentions. I show that the received rationales for this principle are inadequate, and I offer a reason to think that no adequate rationale is possible. As I argue, if unexecuted intentions are categorically off limits to the criminal law, it may be impossible to escape the conclusion that all intentions are categorically off limits, including intentions that are accompanied by actions done to execute them. This conclusion entails that no one may be punished for a crime that includes a culpable mental state. If sound, this chain of inferences is a reductio ad absurdum of the premise that mere intentions are categorically off limits to the criminal law. Thus, persons may have no absolute right not to be punished for their unexecuted intentions.

Intention and Permissibility (IV-K, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Jonathan Milad (University of Toronto)

This essay acts primarily as a rebuttal to Judith Jarvis Thomson’s paper “Self-Defense.” In her paper, Thomson aims to establish a rights-based account of self-defense, partly on the grounds that fault and intention are irrelevant to moral permissibility. Contrary to this, I intend to prove first, that intention is relevant to moral permissibility, since intention’s bearing is not exclusively on fault; and second, that owing to this, Thomson’s rights-based account of self-defense is not tenable. My argument will show that there are cases in which intention makes an act impermissible, because intention in those cases is a necessary condition of the act’s being of the kind that it is. In cases like these, one will be at fault not because one acts from a bad intention, as Thomson argues, but because one does something one ought not do.

Sensory Phenomenology's Role in the Visual Presentation of Properties (VII-M, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Boyd Millar (Independent Scholar)

When you view a partly occluded object you are visually presented with its occluded parts even though your experience does not instantiate any characteristically sensory phenomenology corresponding to its occluded parts. Cases of type 2 blindsight may also involve perceptual awareness in the absence of sensory phenomenology; and we can imagine a super-type-2blindsighter who undergoes highly detailed conscious visual representations of the objects and properties in her environment that do not instantiate sensory phenomenology. An important question is whether the presentation of properties via the instantiation of sensory qualities provides better access to those properties. That is, is our perceptual awareness of the properties of ordinary objects superior in some important sense to the super-blindsighter’s perceptual awareness of such properties? I maintain that recent arguments in defense of an affirmative answer to this question are unpersuasive.

Informed Consent in Politics (III-K, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Jake Monaghan (University at Buffalo, SUNY)

Political philosophers have a long history of attempting to justify political authority, the property of governments that enable them to create moral obligations for their citizens, by appealing to the consent of the governed. In biomedical ethics, there’s been much interest in consent as well. In a shift away from medical paternalism, philosophers have placed a premium on informed consent. In this paper, I apply two of the most respected models of informed consent from bioethics—Beauchamp’s and Faden’s, and O’Neill’s and Manson’s—to political consent. I argue that given the serious moral risks posed by bad government, political consent, like consent to a medical procedure, must be informed. Given the empirical literature on voter ignorance, both accounts of informed consent suggest that any actions that might constitute political consent (e.g. voting, enjoying the benefits of government provided public goods) do not constitute morally valid consent.

A New Puzzle About Belief and Credence (VI-L, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Andrew Y. Moon (Rutgers University)

I present a new puzzle about belief and credence, which takes the form of three independently supported views that are mutually inconsistent. The first is the view that S has a modal belief (e.g., S believes that probably-p) if and only if S has a corresponding degree of credence that p (e.g., S has a moderately high credence that p). This view is a component of credal expressivism, a popular view among philosophers working on epistemic modals. The second is the view that S believes that p only if S has some credence that p. This view is entailed by most theories about the relationship between belief and credence. The third is that certain intuitive judgments about certain cases, to be presented below, are true

The Ordinary Concept of Knowledge How (VI-J, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Kaija Mortensen (Randolph College)
Chad Gonnerman (University of Southern Indiana)
Jacob Robbins (University of Southern Indiana)

Some epistemologists appear to maintain that the folk can serve as a source of dialectical advantage in debates between intellectualists and anti-intellectualists about the nature of knowledge how. The common assumption seems to be that the philosophical account of knowledge how that best accords with the folk concept of knowledge how has a dialectical advantage over its competitors such that it enjoys a strong (though defeasible) presumption in its favor. Work in experimental philosophy on the folk concept has thus far been rather conflicted, with some reporting results suggesting that the concept is intellectualist and others that it is anti-intellectualist. In this report, we present results in line with the claim that the folk concept is in fact a cluster concept, embodying both intellectualist and anti-intellectualist factors. This suggests that the folk are unlikely to serve as an uncomplicated source of dialectical support for either intellectualism or antiintellectualism.

Practical Reason Constrains Theoretical Reason: An Argument from Implicit Bias (V-J, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Joshua Mugg (Indiana University Kokomo)

According to the Incommensurability Thesis advanced by Kelly and Feldman, it is impossible to compare epistemic and moral oughts. I argue against the Incommensurability Thesis by way of reductio: if epistemic oughts aim solely at truth and moral oughts aim solely at goodness, then there are cases in which it is impossible to be both epistmically rational and moral. I use the phenomenon known as stereotype-threat in order to argue for this claim. Because stereotype-threat is a phenomenon that effects behavior, the epistemically rational agent must take it into consideration. Thus, the epistemically rational agent ought (epistemically) be aware and use stereotypes. However, there are moral problems with doing so, not the least of which is the perpetuation of racism. I suggest, instead, that moral oughts constrain epistemic oughts. I conclude by defending this argument from three objections.

The Threat of Heritability: Genetic Determinants of Belief and Their Implications (VIII-I, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Wade Munroe (Indiana University Bloomington)

Moral and religious attitudes are not randomly distributed in a population. For example, the attitudes of family members tend to be more similar than those of an arbitrarily chosen sample. More recent behavioral genetic studies provide a startling (partial) explanation for this phenomenon. With respect to certain religious and moral attitudes, genetic differences account for upwards of 60 to 70 percent of variance in a population (Bouchard and McGue 2003; Alford et al. 2005). A complete explanation of why beliefs are distributed as they are—especially those that could be classified as moral and religious—must involve genetic difference. It is my intent to explore the philosophical implications of the rather surprising finding that genetic determinants of certain propositional attitudes exist.

Inverting the Speckled Hen (V-L, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Jessie Munton (Yale University)

The puzzle of the speckled hen was originally posed as a problem for sense data theorists. Though few philosophers continue to endorse sense data, the puzzle of the hen lives on. I argue that the supposed puzzle rests on a mistaken understanding of visual experience and the way in which it provides information. Its survival reveals an underlying commitment to a homuncular view of visual experience as akin to examining a pictorial representation of the external world. Once we let that picture go, and instead understand visual experience as akin to a guess about the external world, the problem of the speckled hen is no problem at all.

Leibniz's Moral Problem of Free Will (VI-H, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Samuel Murray (University of Notre Dame)

Leibniz frequently referred to the relationship between freedom, fate, and grace as the most difficult and most important question one could tackle. Leibniz often wrote about the metaphysical problems of free will, but he also talks about the moral problem of free will that remains even after one settles the metaphysical problems. The moral problem is whether people ought to be blamed or punished for wrongdoing. As Leibniz puts it, the damned seem to have grounds for a justifiable complaint against God for their punishment. Leibniz develops a solution to the moral problem that depends on the claim that sinners cannot appropriately complain about being punished. In this paper, I examine the normative standards of complaint and suggest two different philosophical foundations for the standard.

How Important Are Truth-Conditions In Truth-Conditional Semantics? (VIII-H, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Toby Napoletano (University of Connecticut)

In this paper, I argue that while truth-conditional semantics provides lots of good explanations of semantic phenomena, truth-conditions do not play an important role in these explanations. More precisely, the fact that an expression has the particular truth-conditional content it has does not even partly explain relevant facts about entailment and semantic anomaly--core semantic explananda. Rather, these explanations appeal to extra-truth-conditional structure associated with expressions via their lexical entries. Focusing on recent work in gradable adjectives and degree modifiers, I argue that the best explanations of semantic anomaly and entailment given in truth-conditional semantics are not, in fact, truth-conditional. I then provide reasons for thinking that there is nothing special about gradable adjectives and degree modifiers in this regard, and that the point generalizes to other expressions. Thus, I think there is reason to doubt whether notions of truth and truth-conditional content play an important explanatory role in truth-conditional semantics.

Practical Ends and Thinking About the Future (VIII-G, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Christiana Olfert (Tufts University)

Aristotle claims that rational agents can think true thoughts about their practical ends. Specifically, they can think true thoughts about whether their ends are good and practical. For convenience, I call this the Truth Claim about rational agency. In this paper, I identify and solve two problems for the Truth Claim. In the process, I offer a novel account of the metaphysics of Aristotelian practical ends. Practical ends, I propose, are both actualities and potentialities of a certain sort: they are so-called first actualities, which is compatible with their also being socalled second potentialities.

Expressing the 'Ought' of Most Reason (IV-L, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Luis Oliveira (University of Massachusetts Lowell)

According to the uniformity view, the English ‘ought’ is always a raising verb expressing a propositional operator. In this paper, I argue that a recent challenge to this account (due to Schroeder 2011) gives way to a challenge to contextualist accounts in general: providing a principled distinction between ought-claims that express the ‘ought’ of most reason and those that don’t. I call this the normative challenge. I also argue that two strategies available to the uniformity view against Schroeder’s original challenge (from Horty 2001 and Finlay & Snedegar 2014) cannot succeed against the normative challenge.

Singular Thoughts and De Re Attitude Reports (VIII-H, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

James Openshaw (Oxford University)

What does the truth of a de re attitude ascription require of its subject? What is required of a thinker in order that she entertain a singular thought? I present a framework which enables one to answer, to the first question, that it is a context-dependent matter, and to the second question that the thinker must satisfy some (context-invariant) acquaintance constraint. The availability of such a position casts serious doubt on arguments, which have long dominated the literature, suggesting that requirements on singular thought must be diluted or dispensed with in order to accommodate our de re attitude reporting practices. In the course of exploring the framework, I recover some undiscussed attitude reporting phenomena which the treatment is in a privileged position to account for. The upshot is that there is an independently motivated response to the principal argument against acquaintance constraints on singular thought.

Familiar Faces, Familiar Races: A Familiarity-Based Account of Early Racial Cognition (VIII-I, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Armin Schulz (University of Kansas)
Kamuran Osmanoglu (University of Kansas)

We develop and defend an explanation of the patterns in racial facial preferences that can be found among many human infants--namely, that from about three months onwards, many human infants prefer to look at own-race faces over other-race faces. After laying out the empirical findings concerning early racial cognition in more detail, we critically discuss three of the key theories proposed to explain the evolutionary emergence of human racial cognition, and show that these theories have difficulties accounting for racial cognition in early infancy. We then spell out and defend an alternative theory that can improve on the existing ones in this regard. This theory is based on the idea that early racial preferences are simply the result of a “facial familiarity mechanism”: a mental structure that leads infants to attend to faces that look similar to familiar faces, and which probably has evolved to track potential caregivers.

Defending Permissive Intuitions (VIII-L, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Clinton Packman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Casey T. Hart (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Impermissivists hold that an agent with a given body of evidence has exactly one rationally permitted (hence, required) attitude that she should adopt towards any particular proposition. Permissivists deny this: they think there are situations in which more than one attitude is rationally permitted. Permissivists often motivate this view by describing scenarios that pump our intuitions toward thinking the agent could reasonably take one of several attitudes toward some proposition. Some impermissivists respond as follows: while it seems like any of that range of attitudes is permissible, what is actually required is the single broad attitude that encompasses all of these single attitudes. In this paper, we will show that this response won’t work. This broad attitude impermissivism is a way of trying to have one’s cake and eat it, too; and like most such proposals it fails at both.

Consciousness, Idea, and Cartesian Thought (VI-H, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Prach Panchakunathorn (University of Toronto)

The notion of thought is central to Descartes's philosophy. But what is a thought for him? Descartes uses the term “thought” widely to cover pretty much any mental state. So what marks out all these mental states as thoughts? On the consciousness view, the mark of thought, for Descartes, is consciousness. On the intentionality view, it is intentionality--a feature associated with what Descartes calls idea. In this paper I won't argue directly for either of these views. Instead I argue for two claims. First, I argue that consciousness, for Descartes, is the phenomenal quality of thought. Second, I argue that idea, for Descartes, is not intentional content (contrary to some scholars' view), but a type of phenomenal quality--namely, the phenomenal quality of seeming to be about things. Thus, idea is a type of consciousness. So the intentional view, if true, will reaffirm the consciousness view.

Between Scylla and Charybdis: Sidgwick\rquote s Axioms and the Partial Dualism of Practical Reason (III-G, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Tyler Paytas (Australian Catholic University)

In The Methods of Ethics, Henry Sidgwick provides a set of ethical axioms from which he deduces a principle of impartialism stating that “each one is morally bound to regard the good of any other individual as much as his own . . .” (1907: 382). However, Sidgwick ultimately abandons this conclusion due to the possibility that the universal good described in one of his axioms does not exist. This worry leads to Sidgwick’s infamous Dualism of Practical Reason, according to which egoism and impartialism are equally well justified. Roger Crisp (2006) and Derek Parfit (2011) avoid this bleak view by championing an account of practical reason that I call Partial Dualism. On this view, although everyone’s welfare is an equal part of universal (i.e. agent-neutral) good, each individual is justified in prioritizing their own good. The purported explanation for the greater rational weight of self-interest is that value is not the only source of an agent’s reasons: it also matters how the agent is related to the value. Implicit in partial dualism is the rejection of one of Sidgwick’s key axioms stating that one ought to have equal fundamental concern for equal portions of the good (I label this the axiom of Equal Good). I argue that proponents of partial dualism are committed to a qualified version of Sidgwick’s axiom, and that the qualified version fairs poorly when tested against Sidgwick’s four criteria for ‘highest certainty’ in ethics. Not only does the partial dualist principle lack the precision necessary to serve as a genuine axiom, there are strong epistemic defeaters for its initial air of plausibility. I conclude that, given their Sidgwickian commitments, including views about metaethics and moral epistemology, Parfit and Crisp should accept Sidgwick’s axiom of Equal Good and embrace a fully impartialist account of practical reason.

Caring for Quine's Don't Cares (II-H, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

James Pearson (Bridgewater State University)

In Word and Object, Quine refers to the novel features of an explication as “don’t-cares,” crediting the expression to “computer-machine scientists.” This paper traces the history of this phrase to an algorithm that Quine developed in the 1950s, which became important in early computer engineering. Computer scientists came to realize that it was in their communal best interests to abandon the “don’t-care” attitude in favor of what I call a “not-allowed” alternative. Do naturalists similarly have reason to adopt a more careful approach, to moderate Quine’s liberal attitude? Assessing these questions, I argue, proves explication an instructive case for thinking about how naturalists should balance the demands of individual and collective inquiry.

Polarization, Distributive Justice, and the Future of the Middle Class (III-K, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Govind Persad (Johns Hopkins University)

While the economic position of the middle class is extensively discussed in real politics, it has received almost no attention in recent analytic political philosophy. This project aims to fill that gap. In doing so, it first considers economic trends (such as globalization and automation) that threaten the continued existence of the middle class, and argues that many prominent distributive principles, in particular sufficiency and priority to the worst off, offer the middle class little support. It then reconstructs and evaluates egalitarian and desert-based arguments for assisting the middle class, and concludes that these arguments also fail to provide a compelling justification for the existence of a middle class. Instead, the best case in favor of the middle class—though by no means a decisive one—relies on two concepts, nonpolarization and continuity, that have been discussed by social scientists but until now ignored by theorists of distributive justice.

How to Defend the Phenomenology of Attitudes (II-D, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Jared Peterson (Northwestern University)

This paper develops a novel defense of the non-sensory phenomenology of desires, and more broadly, of attitudes. I argue that the way to defend this type of phenomenology is to: (i) offer a defense of the view that attitudes are states that realize the causal role of attitude types and (ii) argue that what realizes the causal role of attitudes are, in certain cases, states that possess non-sensory phenomenology. I carry out this approach with respect to desires by developing the view that desires play the causal role of motivating action, and in certain cases, the states that play this role are states that possess the non-sensory phenomenology of attraction. I proceed to argue that if this way of defending the non-sensory phenomenology of desires, and more broadly, of attitudes, is unsuccessful, we should be eliminativists about this type of phenomenology. I conclude by explaining why it matters whether such phenomenology exists. In particular, I argue that with respect to desires, embracing a phenomenological account of this state makes plausible the view that desires can provide normative reasons for action and also opens up the possibility of explaining how we possess privileged access to at least some of our desires.

Epistemic Communism and the Theory of Rationality: A Case for Optimism (VIII-L, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

John Phillips (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

In virtue of what are some ways of forming beliefs rational, and others irrational? Dogramaci (2015) denies that there is a (non-trivial) answer to this question, on the grounds that given his ‘epistemic communist’ pragmatics for the term ‘rational,’ its extension results from an arbitrary choice. If this view were correct, a great deal of work in contemporary epistemology, devoted to answering the question above, would be not only mistaken but deeply misguided. I raise two independent objections to Dogramaci. First, I argue that his use of ‘arbitrary’ is ambiguous, with no single interpretation rendering all of his premises plausible. Second, I argue that if we accept his pragmatics for ‘rational,’ we should also accept analogous pragmatics for other evaluative terms, and that doing so undermines Dogramaci’s argument. I conclude that we can accept Dogramaci’s intriguing pragmatics without being committed to his pessimism regarding a theory of rationality.

Double-Inclusion and Gender Identity (V-J, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Joseph J. Porter (Georgia State University)

In a recent paper, Katharine Jenkins (2016) criticizes Sally Haslanger’s account of gender. Roughly and quickly, Haslanger argues that ‘gender ’ is a hierarchical class concept and that women constitute the oppressed, underclass. Jenkins contends that Haslanger ’s theory is improperly exclusive because it does not classify some trans women as women. To remedy this, Jenkins introduces a notion of gender identity that counts trans women as women. In this paper, I argue that Jenkins ’s view is improperly inclusive because it entails that some trans women are also men--it “double-includes” some trans women. Seeing this as sufficient reason to revise her position, I then propose a concept of gender which is inspired by Jenkins ’s but is not subject to the double-inclusion problem.

Credal Omniscience and Relevance Confirmation (II-F, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Joel Pust (University of Delaware)

According to the positive relevance account of confirmation, E confirms H relative to background knowledge K just in case P(H/K&E) > P(H/K). In this paper, I show that this account conflicts with the fact that ideal rationality requires an agent to be occurrently credally omniscient--certain of her current degrees of belief. I consider various ways of trying to rescue the positive relevance account and show that they are either inconsistent with the intuitive rationale of that account or they yield other unacceptable results. I conclude that the positive relevance account must be rejected.

Grounding Pluralism (IV-J, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Kevin Richardson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Grounding is metaphysical explanation (or determination). The friends of ground can be divided into two camps. Monists believe there is a single basic kind of grounding. Pluralists believe there are multiple basic kinds of grounding. In this essay, I argue that the pluralist hypothesis helps us dissolve the debate about the transitivity of grounding. Grounding appears to be both transitive and non-transitive; it is unclear what considerations could favor one side over the other. If we think there are different kinds of grounding, this tension disappears. Different kinds of grounding have different properties. Everyone is right, in a way. Specifically, I posit two basic kinds of grounding explanation: why-grounding (which tells us why things are) and how-grounding (which tells us how things are). How-grounding is transitive. Why-grounding is non-transitive. The difference in formal properties stems from a difference in kinds of explanation.

Denoting and Disquoting (II-C, Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.)

Michael Rieppel (Syracuse University)

Fregeans claim that predicates denote things, albeit things of a fundamentally different kind from what singular terms denote. This leads to a familiar problem: it seems impossible to specify what any given predicate denotes. One strategy for avoiding this problem reduces the Fregean position to form of nominalism. I develop an alternative strategy that lets the Fregean hold on to the view that predicate denote things by reconceiving the nature of singular denotation and the attendant notion of an object.

The Ordinary Concept of Knowledge How (VI-J, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Kaija Mortensen (Randolph College)
Chad Gonnerman (University of Southern Indiana)
Jacob Robbins (University of Southern Indiana)

Some epistemologists appear to maintain that the folk can serve as a source of dialectical advantage in debates between intellectualists and anti-intellectualists about the nature of knowledge how. The common assumption seems to be that the philosophical account of knowledge how that best accords with the folk concept of knowledge how has a dialectical advantage over its competitors such that it enjoys a strong (though defeasible) presumption in its favor. Work in experimental philosophy on the folk concept has thus far been rather conflicted, with some reporting results suggesting that the concept is intellectualist and others that it is anti-intellectualist. In this report, we present results in line with the claim that the folk concept is in fact a cluster concept, embodying both intellectualist and anti-intellectualist factors. This suggests that the folk are unlikely to serve as an uncomplicated source of dialectical support for either intellectualism or antiintellectualism.

Revenge and Exemplarist Virtue Theory: Three Arguments Not to Make (V-H, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Seth Robertson (University of Oklahoma)

According to Linda Zagzebski’s exemplarist virtue theory, we identify moral exemplars via the emotion of admiration, and vet them through a process of reflection. In this essay, I argue that the ubiquity of admiration for vengeful exemplars raises a challenge for exemplarist virtue theory: it seems to commit Zagzebski to the controversial claim that some vengeful exemplars are moral exemplars. I present three initially plausible responses to this line of argument and contend that each does more to undermine exemplarist virtue theory than to support it.

Contrastivist Closure (I-H, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)

Pamela Robinson (Rutgers University)

Jonathan Schaffer (2007) presents four principles describing how contrastive knowledge is closed under logical entailment. I show that Schaffer’s principles cannot accommodate all the cases of multi-premise closure a contrastivist would want, and propose a unified principle that licenses the right inferences.

Putnam, Stein, and Space-Time: What Can Science Do For Philosophy? (VI-I, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Olin Robus (University of Washington)

This paper focuses on a specific episode in the philosophy of physics—one where a metaphysical question was seemingly exposed to scientific refutation. My example is the debate about the import of the Special Theory of Relativity for notions about the reality and determinateness of the future. In the first section I rehearse Hilary Putnam’s argument that SR, if true, refutes the presentist theory of time. In the second section I consider Howard Stein’s response to Putnam—to the effect that Putnam’s conclusion needn’t follow by necessity from SR. In the third section I argue that while Stein and Putnam’s positions are incompatible, no empirical information or experiment can decide between the two. The decision about which to accept depends on what we take to be intuitive or a priori acceptable. I conclude by reflecting on the wider applicability of this example.

Differences of Taste (IV-L, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Rachel Rudolph (University of California- Berkeley)

Disagreement about taste, as in (i), poses a challenge to traditional semantic theories.

(i) Context. There’s a cake on the table that A and B have tried. A liked it; B didn’t.
a. A: This cake is tasty.
b. B: No, it’s not tasty!

The puzzle is that there appears to be conflict, but it also seems possible that both speakers are right. This phenomenon has been called ‘faultless disagreement’. In this paper I argue that our view of disagreement about taste should also cover disagreement about appearances, as in (ii).

(ii) Context. As in (i).
a. A: This cake tastes vegan.
b. B: No, it doesn’t taste vegan!

I present semantic evidence that taste and appearance predicates should be treated in a unified way. But there is a divide within appearance predicates, depending on whether the complement adjective (‘vegan’ in the example above) denotes an appearance-independent property. I argue that both kinds of appearance predicates can be involved in faultless disagreement, though for different reasons. Appearance predicates, I suggest, sometimes behave like taste predicates and sometimes like epistemic modal terms--both of which have been independently recognized as giving rise to faultless disagreement.

The Disciplining of Grounding (IV-J, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Noël Saenz (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

As it is presently employed, grounding permits the getting of many things from one. This is a mistake. In this paper, I show why it is a mistake by pushing for a principle that has it that if x and y share a ground, then x is y. After arguing in favor of this principle, I both discuss a rival principle and show one of the many interesting implications it has on metaphysics. 1

Non-Rational Desire in EN IV.3: Re-Thinking Megalopsuchia (V-I, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Victor Saenz (Rice University)

In this paper, I argue that Howard Curzer’s (2012) recent, largely critical account of the virtue of megalopsuchia (often translated ‘magnanimity’) in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, is largely mistaken. I do so by arguing that the main source of non-rational motivation in megalopsuchia is thumos (often translated ‘spirit’). Curzer’s account is mistaken precisely because it neglects nonrational motivation--as do several other interpreters. First, I present Curzer’s main criticisms: (1) that megalopsuchia lacks the necessary conditions for a moral virtue, and (2) that the main aspects of megalopsuchia--self-knowledge, grand-scale practice of the virtues, and selfsufficiency--are not united in any principled way. Second, after sketching Aristotle’s thumos, I show how this account responds to the first objection. Third and fourth, I argue thumos explains the megalopsuchos’s self-knowledge, his grand-scale practice of the virtues, self-sufficiency, and so the unity of the different components. What emerges is a fresh account of megalopsuchia.

Emotion as a Form of Perception, or Why William James Did Not Believe the James-Lange Theory (VII-J, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira (University of Cincinnati)

Two main views have informed the emotion theory literature in the past few decades. On one side, cognitivists identify emotions with processes such as judgments, evaluations and appraisals. On the other side, advocates of the James-Lange theory leave the “intellectual” aspects of emotional experience out of the emotion itself, instead identifying emotions with feelings of physiological changes. But most on either side of the cognitive/non-cognitive divide misrepresent William James's view, fitting it fully on the non-cognitivist side. Interpreting James's scientific writings in light of the rival approach of psychological structuralism (e.g. Wundt and Titchener), and focusing on the distinction between sensation and perception, I argue that James actually rejected the cognitive/noncognitive divide, such that he did not endorse the James-Lange Theory as it is usually portrayed in the literature--that is, James was not a “Jamesian” in the sense the term is used in emotion theory.

A Proprietarian Grounding of Custodial Rights Over Children (IV-I, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Brandon Schmidly (Evangel University)

In this paper, I present an argument for the view that, under a broad range of normal conditions, genetic parents (the individuals whose germ cells produce the child) have custodial rights over the children they produce. This is, perhaps, the least accepted view for grounding parental custodial rights. However, an individual’s right to the products of his or her body provides reason for concluding that genetic parents have custodial rights over the children they produce. And this view is more plausible once we consider the constraints a child’s interest protecting rights has on the custodial rights of parents. Furthermore, a developed understanding of a proprietarian grounding of custodial rights can adequately explain many of our accepted practices regarding custodial rights over children.

Against Methodological Particularism (IV-H, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Jason Schukraft (University of Texas at Austin)

Methodological particularism is the view that there are no useful, general, methodological principles of good philosophical practice. Methodological particularism is opposed by methodological generalism. According to the generalist, doing philosophy well requires respecting a set of principles. I offer an argument in favor of generalism. If there are intelligible answers to certain paradigmatic metaphilosophical questions, it follows there exist useful, general, methodological principles of good philosophical practice. A principle qualifies as methodological if the principle states what counts as evidence for a philosophical theory. A methodological principle qualifies as general if the principle specifies considerations that count as evidence of doing philosophy well. A general methodological principle qualifies as useful if the principle is specific enough to parse philosophers into two groups: those that endorse the principle as argumentatively essential and those that don’t. Given that we have good reason to think some of these questions are intelligible, I conclude that methodological particularism is false.

Familiar Faces, Familiar Races: A Familiarity-Based Account of Early Racial Cognition (VIII-I, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Armin Schulz (University of Kansas)
Kamuran Osmanoglu (University of Kansas)

We develop and defend an explanation of the patterns in racial facial preferences that can be found among many human infants--namely, that from about three months onwards, many human infants prefer to look at own-race faces over other-race faces. After laying out the empirical findings concerning early racial cognition in more detail, we critically discuss three of the key theories proposed to explain the evolutionary emergence of human racial cognition, and show that these theories have difficulties accounting for racial cognition in early infancy. We then spell out and defend an alternative theory that can improve on the existing ones in this regard. This theory is based on the idea that early racial preferences are simply the result of a “facial familiarity mechanism”: a mental structure that leads infants to attend to faces that look similar to familiar faces, and which probably has evolved to track potential caregivers.

Virtue, Discord, and Happiness (VIII-J, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Nicholas Schuster (Washington University in St. Louis)

In this paper, I aim to resolve two pressing concerns about Kant ’s conception of virtue: first, that it fails to distinguish between virtue and continence; and second, that it prescribes an ascetic plan of life unsuitable for human beings. I argue that these two problems have a common solution. Kantian virtue, unlike its eudaemonist counterpart, is compatible with inner conflict (and in fact paradigmatically involves such conflict). Nevertheless, the inner conflict involved in Kantian virtue can be systematically distinguished from that which is indicative of mere continence. Briefly, the virtuous agent, unlike the continent agent, characteristically does not take her desires and inclinations as reasons for action when they conflict with moral duty. But she may nevertheless have a rich array of desires and inclinations and may act on them whenever duty allows. This begins to explain how Kantian virtue is, surprisingly, the state of being most conducive to happiness.

The Methodological Challenges of Experimental Philosophy: is Using Psychological Methods to Examine Intuitions Possible? (IV-H, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Rick Shang (Washington University in St. Louis)

In this paper, I argue that most experimental philosophy studies suffer from design flaws such as improper control for intervening confounds. Because of those design flaws, it is difficult to tell if most experimental studies in fact collect intuitive judgments of the philosophically relevant kind or, in extreme cases, intuitive judgments at all. The design flaws have profound implications. The design flaws are partially due to the vagueness of the philosophical conceptualization of intuitive judgments and thus question whether we can fruitfully use psychological methods to study intuitive judgments as they are conceptualized in philosophy.

Emotions and the Creation of Affordances (VII-J, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Daniel Shargel (Lawrence Technological University)

Most theories of emotions take as their model some other kind of representational state like judgments or perceptions. These views are vulnerable to familiar criticisms based on the embodied nature of emotions. I will propose a radically different theory, according to which the function of emotions is not to represent the world, but to help us change it. Affordances are a function of external circumstances in conjunction with our internal physiology and cognitive abilities. Emotions temporarily alter our internal physiology, altering what I call motoric affordances. Some of these changes are publicly observable, thereby also altering social affordances.

Modal Grounds and Gradability (VII-I, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Brett Sherman (University of Rochester)

I defend the claim that possibility is not a matter of degree against arguments based on the gradability of modal expressions. To defend this claim, I argue that certain kinds of gradable modifiers—such as ‘easily’ and ‘barely’—operate, not on the properties that are modified, but rather on the grounds of those properties.

Is Thomas Reid an Externalist about Justification? (III-F, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Robert Siscoe (University of Arizona)

Thomas Reid is typically taken to be an externalist concerning epistemic justification. In this paper I will argue that, despite the views Reid may have inspired, he is an internalist about epistemic justification. For Reid, there are two normative statuses that a belief might satisfy, being blameless and having a just ground. Satisfying these statuses is either within the believer's control or accessible to the believer, making internalism the only plausible interpretation of Reid's views on epistemic justification.

Modal Flavor and Semantic Content (VII-I, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Daniel Skibra (Northwestern University)

Invariantism is the view that the semantic contents of modal sentences are not context-sensitive. On such a view the semantic contribution of a modal auxiliary, like must, may, or might is invariable. The restricted senses of possibility/ necessity speakers use modals to communicate is then a matter of pragmatics. In this paper, I endeavor to raise some difficulties for this account of modals. First, I appeal to a regularity in the interpretation of modal sentences which is robust enough that it ought to be predicted by an account of modals. Second, I press a point I take to be uncontroversial, that for the invariantist, modal flavor is not encoded in the semantic content of the sentence. However, I argue that two of the most plausible ways the invariantist would account for this pattern fails to adequately do so, and that this throws doubt on the invariantist account of modals.

Accidental Forms as Metaphysical Parts of Material Substances in Aquinas's Ontology (V-G, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Jeremy Skrzypek (Saint Louis University)

Like Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas takes material substances to be composed of form and matter. But Aquinas also distinguishes between two sorts of forms: substantial and accidental. Of which form (or forms), then, is a material substance composed, on his view? According to the “Simple Model”, Aquinas’s view is that a material substance is composed of prime matter and substantial form. According to the “Expanded Model”, Aquinas’s view is that a material substance is composed of prime matter, substantial form, and all of its accidental forms. In this paper, I argue that the Expanded Model more accurately reflects Aquinas’s view of material substances. Given the way in which he consistently describes the difference between an essence and a suppositum, or individual substance, throughout his works, I argue that there is good reason to believe that Aquinas thinks that the accidental forms of an individual substance are included among its metaphysical parts.

Is Evidentialism Prudent? (III-L, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Christopher Stephens (University of British Columbia)

Philosophers such as Blaise Pascal and William James have argued that it is sometimes prudent to form one’s beliefs in conflict with the evidence. Following Clifford, other philosophers argue that we should always form our beliefs based on the evidence. Here I use decision theoretic tools to help answer the question of whether and why it is prudent to believe based on the evidence

Eros and Argument in Plato (V-I, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Jacob Stump (University of Toronto)

Plato’s Apology portrays Socrates as dedicated to changing what his interlocutors care about--a task, however, at which Socrates seems to be a consistent failure. A key passage in the Gorgias suggests that what defeats Socrates’ persuasive efforts is his interlocutors’ erōs. But what is it about erōs that makes it so effective at thwarting Socrates’ attempts to persuade his interlocutors? The answer, I argue, lies in Plato’s presenting a unified picture of erōs that depicts it as having the upper hand on argument: what we erotically love determines what reasons we find compelling, and thus it is our erotic-love that has the last word on whether we trust a particular argument. I conclude by suggesting that this analysis of erotic-love does not, contra Scott 1999 and Woolf 2000, doom Socrates’ project outright, for Socrates possesses a tactic of exploiting erōs to motivate his interlocutor to begin the philosophical life.

Counterexamples, Conceptual Structure, and Ethical Theory (IV-H, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Christopher Suhler (Auburn University)

A core method of contemporary ethics consists of applying candidate ethical theories to particular cases and seeing whether their verdicts match our intuitions about those cases. Unfortunately, no matter how initially plausible a given theory may seem, it is always possible to devise cases in which the theory yields verdicts that clash strongly with our considered intuitions. I argue that the reason ethical theories always succumb to such counterexamples is that ethics, and indeed much of philosophy as a whole, presupposes a psychologically incorrect theory of concepts, according to which concepts are defined in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. This mismatch between philosophical assumptions and psychological reality has significant implications for how we conceive of the projects and methods of ethics.

The First Movements of the Will and the Intellect: A Puzzle in Thomas Aquinas' Moral Psychology (V-G, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Michael Szlachta (University of Toronto)

Thomas Aquinas thinks (1) the production of a human action results from a series of interactions between the intellect and the will, and (2) everything moved is moved by another. These commitments generate a puzzle concerning the “first movements” of the will and the intellect. What is the efficient cause of the will’s first act? It can’t be the will, since it doesn’t move itself. But it can’t be the intellect either, since it doesn’t have efficient causality. What is the efficient cause of the intellect’s first act? It can’t be the intellect, since it doesn’t move itself. But it can’t be the will either. The act of the will presupposes an act of the intellect, which itself presupposes an act of the will, and so on. I argue that Thomas’s mature treatment of this puzzle improves over his previous ones, but only by exploiting the equivocal meaning of “move”.

The Mind's Figurative Force: On the Compatibility of Mind-Body Interaction and Descartes's Principle of the Conservation of Motion (VI-H, Friday, 1:15 p.m.)

Jerilyn Tinio (Ohio State University)

Prominent scholars object to a reading of Descartes on mind-body interaction. This reading holds that Cartesian finite minds do not exercise their causal influence on the material world by altering the overall quantity of motion in this world, but by changing the direction of motion already in it. These scholars claim Descartes’s writings sometimes suggest minds affect the quantity of motion in the world in voluntary action.

I argue these passages present a problem for the change-of-direction account of mind-body interaction only when regarding the physical outcome of mind-body interaction, i.e. the redirection of the animal spirits, as a token of a particular type of body-body interaction involving the competing motive forces of two colliding bodies. I provide an alternative reading of these texts, arguing the physical outcome of mind-body interaction is a token of another type of body-body interaction, one involving a motive force and a non-motive resisting force.

Divine Hiddenness: Why Mere Non-Resistance is Insufficient (III-M, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Christopher Tomaszewski (Baylor University)

Schellenberg has argued that Divine hiddenness in light of nonresistant nonbelief is evidence against the existence of God. Arguably, the most important premise in Schellenberg’s argument is Nonresistance-Sufficiency: if there is a perfectly loving God, He would provide evidence to every nonresistant human person sufficient to place His existence beyond rational doubt. In this paper, two arguments against Nonresistance-Sufficiency are given. The first argument is that the problem of Divine hiddenness is a species of the problem of evil. The second argument is from the nature of love. I argue that if we understand love as the intending of a person’s good for her own sake, then God’s perfect love for human persons suffices only to guarantee a certain kind of evidence, namely the evidence already available to us from natural theology.

Ends and Value as an End (VIII-J, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Miles Tucker (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

G. E Moore claimed that intrinsic goodness is the primary concept of axiology. Many contemporary philosophers believe Moore was mistaken; they say that it is final value that is fundamental. I argue that such philosophers face a dilemma. If (as they say) the final value of a thing is the value it has as an end, then final value is identical with intrinsic value. This is because only states of affairs may be good as ends, and the good-making features of states of affairs are intrinsic. If, as others claim, final value is instead the value a thing has ultimately, then it is indeed distinct from intrinsic value. But ultimate value divides into two sorts, one of which attaches only to states of affairs and is, I argue, identical with intrinsic goodness. Further, it is this kind of ultimate goodness that is most important to axiology.

Constitution and Bodily Awareness: a Puzzle (IV-M, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Rina Tzinman (Bilkent Universitesi)

In this paper I will argue that constitution views of personal identity, at least those that are committed to a certain kind of relation between properties of the constituted and the constituting objects, face a puzzle. The puzzle pertains to the incompatible ways a certain property (bodily awareness/self-awareness) is had by one object. To construct the puzzle, I will first briefly introduce the kind of view for which this puzzle arises. I will then argue that sometimes an instance of bodily awareness and an instance of self-awareness can be identical. Finally, I will use the latter claim to construct what I call the bodily-awareness puzzle. Unlike other puzzles in the personal identity literature, this puzzle does not involve the multiplicity of thinkers or thoughts. It only involves one thinking object that has one property in two incompatible ways. If this is indeed a puzzle, it counts in favor of competing views of personal identity, and specifically animalism, according to which we simply are our bodies.

Medieval Views on Causal Powers: The Case of Henry of Ghent (VIII-K, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.)

Simona Vucu (University of Toronto)

Henry of Ghent, an important Master of Theology at the University of Paris in the second half of the thirteenth century, held the unusual view that causal powers are relations. His view attracted a lot of attention and criticism. One worry, expressed by John Duns Scotus, was that if powers are nothing other than relations, they can neither cause nor explain the existence of their effects. In this paper, I explain why Henry maintains that powers are relations by explaining what it means for powers to be determinations of an essence. I argue that although Henry never intends to claim that powers cause their effects, he defends the view that they have causal explanatory roles.

Capacities and Their Limits: Inclusion and the Grounds of Moral Status (V-H, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Katherine Ward (Georgetown University)

Sophisticated Cognitive Capacity accounts of moral status are, in many ways, highly attractive. They accurately capture the common intuition that beings with the capacity for complex cognitive function have higher moral status than those without this capacity. Additionally, by grounding moral status in a concrete capacity (not a relation or kind), these accounts avoid charges of speciesism and worries concerning the moral relevance of the grounding property. However, SCC accounts are famously under-inclusive, excluding from the highest moral status humans that fall below the stipulated cognitive threshold. Several attempts have been made to “extend” these accounts to avoid this result. However, the notion of capacities underlying SCC accounts generally has received inadequate examination, and this is a serious barrier to a plausible extension. In this paper, I offer an account of capacities and, drawing on the most promising recent attempt to extend an SCC account, show how an extension may felicitously proceed using this account of capacities. However, this account of capacities will only provide an extension in the case of individuals that may develop the relevant sophisticated capacity, not individuals that have no hope of developing the appropriate capacity.

The Punishment of the Descending Soul in Plotinus' Enneads (III-J, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Bjorn Wastvedt (University of Arizona)

This paper addresses the coherence of the metaphysical and ethical aspects of Plotinus’ doctrine of the descent of the individual soul. It is argues that with respect to the descent, Plotinus’ metaphysics and his theory of justice cannot be reconciled in several respects: the ontological progression of the descent leaves much less responsibility to the soul than Plotinus admits. A comprehensive treatment of Plotinus’ writing on the descent follows, concluding that the moral character of the descent limits the soul’s culpability for its actions in the descent itself. Objections and solutions are then explained, covering related issues in Plotinus’ corpus concerning the justice of the soul’s responsibility for its descent. The argument concludes that Plotinus cannot accommodate the punishment of the descending soul without either compromising fundamental metaphysical principles or revising his theory of justice. Arguments are made across the Enneads and to Plotinus’ sources in Plato.

Lifting Two Burdens on Epistemicism (IV-L, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Jeffrey Watson (Arizona State University)

Epistemicism about vagueness is thought to bear two heavy burdens. First, epistemicists seem to owe us an explanation for why sorites paradoxes are so intuitively compelling. Second, epistemicists appear to be committed to the absurd claim that there exist unknowable, determinate borderlines sharply dividing the heaps from the non-heaps. My goal is to propose--contrary even to its own best defenders--that epistemicism bears neither burden. First, I propose that a epistemicist can accept the intuition that miniscule changes never make a genuine difference in the application of vague predicates, without accepting that the sorites is intuitive. When trying to imagine the sorites, we actually imagine an invalid argument instead. Second, I propose that epistemicism is not committed to the existence of unknowable sharp “borderlines” or “thresholds” for vague predicates. Surprisingly, the denial of the middle premise of the sorites does not entail the existence of a sharp borderline.

Mind-Body Dualism and Mental Causation (IV-M, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.)

Ben White (Temple University)

A popular response to the Exclusion Argument for physicalism maintains that mental events depend on their physical bases in such a way that the causation of a physical effect by a mental event and its physical base needn’t generate any problematic form of causal overdetermination, even if mental events are irreducible to their physical bases. This paper responds to the claim that such a position is inconsistent with dualism and suggests a way in which dualists who avail themselves of this response might clarify the contribution that mental causes make to their physical effects.

Self-Conception and Self-Deception (VII-K, Saturday, 9:00 a.m.)

Justin White (Brigham Young University)

I examine the role our self-conceptions ought to play in our attributions of agency and moral responsibility. I discuss two reasons to question the privileged status of our access to our own desires, beliefs, and the like. The perspectival nature of perception (and agency) makes it difficult to get a clear view on ourselves, and this difficulty has implications for theories of human agency. I examine Harry Frankfurt’s example of the temper-afflicted individual from “Identification and Externality.” There, Frankfurt takes the individual’s experience of the anger as foreign to be crucial. In this paper, I contest the idea that our experiencing these elements as external makes them external. Sometimes, these desires or passions can be very much our own even if we do not see them that way. We ought to be careful, then, in the weight we give an individual’s self-conception when assessing agency, moral responsibility, and so forth.

Aquinas and Scotus on Why Being Is Not A Genus (III-C, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.)

Shane Wilkins (Fordham University)

In this paper, I examine Aquinas and the Young Scotus's different presentations of an understudied argument from Aristotle's Metaphysics that I call the Genus Argument. The Genus Argument is designed to support the conclusion that being is not a single, univocal predicate. Aquinas agrees with this claim, but the mature Scotus infamously denies it. A close comparison of Scotus's early presentation of this argument with Aquinas's reveals an important shift in the thought of the early Scotus that makes the way for later developments in his metaphysical theory. The mature Scotus does not reject the argument he previously endorsed. Surprisingly, his early version of the argument qualifies away one of its central premises so heavily that his later metaphysical views are fully consistent with it.

Kant on the Supersensible: Intuitive Understanding and Things in Themselves (V-K, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Reed Winegar (Fordham University)

In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant claims that human beings lack theoretical cognition of supersensible things in themselves. However, Kant never claims that cognition of things in themselves is absolutely impossible. Instead, Kant claims that an alternative kind of understanding--namely, an intuitive understanding--could cognize things in themselves. This claim has prompted some metaphysical interpreters of Kant’s transcendental idealism to propose that things in themselves are the way that an intuitive understanding would cognize things. I argue, however, that (on a metaphysical interpretation of transcendental idealism) Kant is not committed to the common proposal that things in themselves are the way that an intuitive understanding would cognize things. Rather, Kant’s view is that things in themselves might or might not be the way that an intuitive understanding would cognize things.

Abstracts of Invited Papers

Hume's Imagistic Theory of Ideas (V-B, Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

Jonathan Cottrell (Wayne State University)

Many early modern philosophers hold that thinking involves having “ideas” that represent the objects of one's thoughts. Some of these philosophers also hold that we have two intrinsically different kinds of ideas: ideas formed through the “imagination,” and ideas formed through the “pure understanding” or “pure intellect.” Hume accepts the first of these claims, but rejects the second. In his view, thinking involves having representational ideas. But we have no ideas of the kind that were attributed to the supposed faculty of pure understanding or intellect. Instead, all of our ideas are of the same intrinsic kind: they are all imagistic, in that they qualitatively resemble and ultimately derive from impressions—the materials of our sensory and emotional experiences—and their impression-like qualitative character plays a role in determining, and constraining, what they represent. This imagistic theory of ideas plays a crucial role in Hume's philosophy. So, it is important to ask what reasons he has for adopting it. His official arguments for it seem disappointing: they have premises that seem easy for his philosophical opponents to reject. In this paper, I aim to show that the Treatise contains the premises of a more interesting and challenging argument for Hume' imagistic theory of ideas, which is based on his naturalistic view of representation and his views about introspection and the nature of perceptions.

Towards a Feminist Libertarian Metaphysics: A Critique of the Self-Ownership Thesis (I-A, Wednesday 2:00 p.m.)

Ann E. Cudd (Boston University)

Liberal feminists are attracted to the idea of freedom from given obligations and yet committed to a world in which the vulnerable are cared for. The libertarian self-ownership thesis seems to uphold the first while making the second rely on the voluntary labor of caretakers, which tends to be provided by women. Furthermore, liberal feminists are committed to bodily autonomy as a basic right for women, as well as for men. This paper examines the libertarian self-ownership thesis, which seems to presume that the self is metaphysically separable from others completely and throughout its life. I argue that, to the contrary, the self is essentially constituted by its connections with other selves. I then ask: if the human self cannot be neatly separated from other selves, what implications would that have for the thesis of self-ownership and libertarianism? I propose a version of self-ownership that I call connected self-ownership, and argue that it can support liberal, if not libertarian, feminism.

What's Wrong with Gentrification? A Republican Approach (IV-G, Tuesday 2:20 p.m.)

Rafeeq Hasan (Amherst College)

According to the republican conception of freedom, an agent is free if she does not have to depend on the arbitrary authority of more powerful agents to pursue her ends. How might republicanism apply to a right to housing? It would clearly violate republican freedom if a landlord had the arbitrary authority to evict a tenant at will. But what about cases in which tenants can no longer afford to live in their homes because of gentrification? Am I unfree if I must move far away from my community and job because scores of young professionals moved in to my old neighborhood, driving up rents? Drawing on republican insights in Kant and Hegel, in this paper I argue that many existing treatments of gentrification provide an incorrect account of the wrong it represents. Gentrification is wrong not because it breaks up existing communities, as some contend, but because it is a form of structural unfreedom.

God and Soul (VII-C, Saturday 9:00 a.m.)

Sean Kelsey (University of Notre Dame)

Plato and Aristotle are both of the view that thinking straight about the soul is as important as it is difficult, as is clear from the mess on the topic that they think was made by their predecessors. To be sure, Aristotle places Plato within the ranks the mess-makers. But I want to focus on the other ones, whom they associate with ‘inquiry into nature.’ Plato and Aristotle agree that it is both difficult and important to go right where these characters went wrong. Why is that, exactly? What is so difficult and important about going right just there?

The question presupposes that there is a ‘there’ there: some single mistake they both think virtually all of their predecessors made. I want to try out the hypothesis that there is such a mistake, important because it results in a false humanism, the upshot of a kind of Protagoreanism. I call it a humanism, because it promises to liberate us from bondage to the absolute, leaving us free to ordain and to judge according to our lights. I call it a false humanism, because in fact it would make us but playthings of necessity and chance.

Spontaneity and Contingency: Kant's Two Models of Rational Self-Determination (VII-D, Saturday 9:00 a.m.)

Markus Kohl (University of Tennessee)

I argue that Kant acknowledges two models of spontaneous self-determination that rational beings are capable of. The first model involves absolute unconditional necessity and excludes any form of contingency. The second model involves (albeit not as a matter of definition) a form of contingency and of alternative possibilities. The first model is (or would be) exhibited by a divine being; the second model is exhibited by human beings. Human beings do, however, partake in the divine model up to an extent, namely, as far as the legislative spontaneity of their law-giving faculties are concerned. I conclude by suggesting that for Kant, the mechanistic principle that we are exclusively determined by natural causes poses a twofold threat for human agency. In one respect (in relation to the second model), it threatens us with the obliteration of contingency, or with the universality of hypothetical necessity. But in another respect (in relation to the first model), it threatens us (and our putative "laws") with the obliteration of absolute necessity, or with the universality of contingency.

Hodgskin’s Locke: Property, Individuality, and Alienation (IV-G, Tuesday 2:20 p.m.)

Daniel M. Layman, Davidson College

In 1832, radical economist and anarchist Thomas Hodgskin published The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted, a passionate attack on the property “rights” of capitalists and the positive laws that protect them. According to Hodgskin, capital should be the exclusive property of those whose labor produced it. Consequently, capitalist wage relations constitute a system of objectionable domination. This much is hardly unusual for a 19th-century radical. What is remarkable about Hodgskin’s argument is that he claims to derive it from John Locke, who sees a kind of proto-capitalism as both natural and morally acceptable. Is Hodgskin’s Locke simply a figment of an overly active 19th-century moral imagination? Or is there more going on here than meets the eye? I argue that Hodgskin transforms Locke’s property doctrine by introducing an original conception of personal individuality. Whereas Locke holds that people own their labor, Hodgskin argues that each person’s labor is the root of her individuality. Thus, for Hodgskin, capitalist labor markets are fundamentally alienating in way that Locke could not have imagined.

Propositions, Paradox, and the Ruin of the One: Russell, Hegel, Badiou (VIII-E,Saturday 2:45-5:45)

Paul Livingston (University of New Mexico)

What Russell later described as his decision to rebel philosophically against both Kant and Hegel, toward the end of 1898, preceded his discovery of the paradox that would bear his name by about two and a half years. The decision was strongly motivated, on Russell’s own account, by his rejection of the doctrine that all relations are internal, and by what Russell saw as the correspondent rejection of an idealist and monist ontology of the whole in favor of a realist and atomist ontological pluralism. The rejected doctrine of internal relations may further be connected, as Russell argued in The Philosophy of Leibniz, with the assumption that all propositions are to be understood as having primarily a subject/predicate form, and with the ontology that, Russell suggests there, both Leibniz and Hegel saw as following from this.

Russell suggests in The Principles of Mathematics that the paradox, in its propositional version, may be seen as bearing against the assumption of the existence of a whole or totality of all possible propositions; but he does not consider in any detail the bearing of this on the question of the logical or ontological possibility of an Absolute subjective position (of the type suggested by Hegel) from which such a whole could be envisioned or grasped. In this paper, I consider this question, arguing that, in a post-Russellian context, discussion of the whole or totality of possible propositions—and thus of the limits or boundaries of language as such—must be accompanied with a correspondent consideration of the necessary incompleteness or inconsistency of any such position. I consider also the recent set-theoretical ontology of Alain Badiou, who appeals to Russell’s paradox in this context in arguing for the fundamental non-existence of an ontological “one-all”, or totality of all that there is. I argue that attention to the deeper logical determinants of Russell’s paradox, on the level of the structure of predication and the ordinary-linguistic phenomenon of impredicativity, suggests rather the possibility of a different conclusion: that of an inherent paradoxicality, or essentially contradictory character, of logical/linguistic reflection on the constitutive structure of language as a whole.

Ginsborg on Meaning, Understanding, and Rule-Following (V-A, Friday 9:00 a.m.)

Alex Miller (University of Otago)

In "Inside and Outside Language: Stroud's Non-Reductionism about Meaning" (2011), "Primitive Normativity and Skepticism about Rules" (2011) and"Meaning, Understanding and Normativity" (2012), Hannah Ginsborg develops what she describes as a "partially reductionist" account of meaning. Ginsborg's account is intended as a middle-ground alternative to non-reductionism about meaning and the kind of reductive dispositionalism attacked in Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. In this paper I will attempt a critical evaluation of Ginsborg's fascinating proposal.

Body Aesthetics and the Cultivation of Moral Virtues (IV-D, Thursday, 2:20 p.m.

Yuriko Saito (Rhode Island School of Design)

The moral value of an action is generally considered to be determined by what it accomplishes and/or the intention behind it. While these considerations are necessary, they are not sufficient. What has not received adequate attention, though often experienced in our everyday life, is that how an action is carried out determines its moral character. For example, if an action meant to respect and care for others is performed roughly, indifferently, or grudgingly, its goal is compromised, or even nullified.

The way in which we engage in actions is an aesthetic matter insofar as it consists of body movement, facial expression, tone of voice, and handling of objects. Thus, in addition to displaying aesthetic qualities such as gracefulness, elegance, or awkwardness, body aesthetics determines the moral character of our interactions with others. Cultivation of thoughtful, considerate, and respectful attitude toward others, therefore, requires bodily practice. Using many examples from the Japanese cultural tradition as a springboard for discussion, this presentation explores the moral relevance of body aesthetics and its contribution to the cultivation of moral virtues.

From Many One: Persons, Selves, and a Strange Kind of Unity (I-D, Wednesday 2:00 p.m.)

Marya Schechtman (University of Illinois, Chicago)

Although philosophers have not used the terms “person” and “self” entirely consistently, there has been an increasing tendency to conceive of persons as public, social-historical beings and selves as first-personal, subjective beings. If we accept this distinction, a question naturally arises about the relation between persons and selves. One fairly common position is that they are completely coincident, the third- and first-personal sides of a single coin. There has also been significant support for the opposing view, that selves and the persons with which they are associated can be (and typically are) distinct. Debates between those who hold these two positions often make use of claims about normativity. Proponents of the first position argue that the complex ethical practices that characterize human existence are possible only when persons and selves coincide. Those who hold the second view deny that this is the case, and argue that a fully human ethical life is possible without such coincidence. Taking this dispute as a starting point I argue that each of the standard positions in this debate operates with an oversimplified view of the phenomena which give rise to the concepts of person and self used therein. I go on to sketch an alternative picture according to which we are faced with an ongoing need to negotiate competing perspectives on ourselves, including those associated with personhood and selfhood. It is, I argue, the fact that we inhabit a multitude of perspectives simultaneously that allows for the ethical richness that characterizes human life.

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