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2019 Pacific Division Abstracts of Accepted Papers
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Kant's Amodalism about Noumena and Freedom

Uygar Abaci, The Pennsylvania State University

While the current literature on §76 of the {Critique of the Power of Judgment} focuses on Kant's epistemic thesis that while a discursive human intellect necessarily distinguishes between possibility and actuality, the divine intuitive intellect would make no modal distinctions, I discuss the stronger, metaphysical thesis that Kant offers in §76: noumena lack modal properties. I first dispute a recent argument that noumena lack all categorial properties, from which Kant's metaphysical thesis trivially follows. Second, I argue that instead of a trivial consequence of a general thesis about all categories, §76 specifically presents the core idea in Kant's theory of modality: modal categories are "peculiar" in that they express only the ways in which the representations of objects are related to the cognitive subject and thus cannot signify properties of noumena. Finally, I show that my interpretation of §76 addresses the worry that §76 undermines divine and human freedom.

On the Epistemic Significance of Perceptual Structure

Dominic Alford-Duguid, Oxford University

This paper concerns an oft-neglected aspect of perceptual experience: perceptual structure. I argue that our awareness of the boundaries of the visual spatial field, a paradigm structural feature of visual experience, possesses a deeply distinctive epistemic role. Accommodating this role requires that we recognize a distinctive way for an experience to encode information about the world - what I call "perceptual presupposition." I close by tracing an implication of my argument for the longstanding debate over what distinguishes perception from cognition.

Hypocrisy as Selfish Self-Exceptionalism

Avi Appel, Cornell University

What is hypocrisy? And why is it considered so distasteful? I will argue that hypocrisy occurs when an agent holds others to higher standards than they do themselves and that the wrong of hypocrisy comes in its selfishly motivated violation of a fundamental and obvious normative constraint, namely: one should not hold different people to different normative standards, all else equal. There are also unselfish ways to violate this constraint which we typically find less offensive.

Explanation by Effect: Regression to the Mean and Causation

Zoe Ashton, The Ohio State University

In this paper I explore regression to the mean as a scientific explanation. I focus on both its status as a non-causal explanation and where it derives its explanatory power. I begin by exploring the statistical foundations of regression to the mean. I then turn to its role in eliminating causes in scientific practice. In Section 4 I use the dissonance created by these two concepts to argue for a narrow definition of causal explanation. In Section 5 I complete the exploration by discussing the sources of regression to the mean's explanatory power. I argue that the sources are both the exclusion of causal stories and the unifying of a group of non-causal stories.

What the Forms are Not: Plato on Conceptualism at Parmenides 132b-c

Sosseh Assaturian, The University of Texas, Austin

We find at Parmenides 132b-c the startling conceptualist suggestion from a young Socrates that Forms might be mental entities. This suggestion and Parmenides' cryptic objections to it have been overshadowed by their placement between the notoriously difficult Third Man Argument and the Likeness Regress. As a result, this text has not received serious scholarly interest. In this paper, I argue that via a rejection of what I call the literalist model of self-participation, conceptualism is Socrates' attempt to save the numerical and predicational unity of the Forms. I then argue that Parmenides' two objections are exhaustive. The first objection shows that Forms cannot be mental entities in the passive sense of concepts. The second shows that Forms cannot be mental entities in the active sense of the process of thinking. In the final section, I discuss the Platonic account of concepthood lurking in the background of this text.

On Loneliness as Social Disattunement

William Bell, Washington University, St. Louis

In this paper, I examine the notion of what it means to be lonely. In doing so, I have two broad aims. First, I hope to elucidate the functional significance that the experience of loneliness has in a person's emotional economy. Drawing upon - and supplementing - Daniel Haybron's three-dimensional taxonomy of happiness, I aim to highlight certain social dimensions crucial to any account of emotional well-being (or ill-being). Second, I attempt to sketch, in very broad terms, a theory of loneliness. I argue that the dominant conception of loneliness assumed in the empirical research on the subject - the Cognitive Discrepancy Model (CDM) - misconstrues the fundamental nature of loneliness. Loneliness, I argue, is best understood as a complex emotion. Thus I end by reflecting on the intentionality and complexity of loneliness.

Conscientious Objection in Medicine: Making it Public

Nir Ben-Moshe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The literature on conscientious objection in medicine presents two key problems that remain unresolved: (a) how does one respect both healthcare providers' claims of conscience and patients' interests, without leaving providers complicit in perceived wrongdoing ("the complicity problem")?; (b) how should individual healthcare providers justify their conscientious objections, if conclusively demonstrating the genuineness or reasonableness of these objections is unfeasible ("the justification problem")? I argue that the solution to both these problems lies in bringing healthcare providers' conscientious objection into the public realm. In particular, I argue that: (a) healthcare providers should publicly advertise the procedures to which they conscientiously object in a database that would be easily accessible to the public; (b) the medical community as a whole, along with other professionals and representatives from the patient population, should decide which types of conscientious objections are legitimate and reasonable and which are not.

How and Why to Be Well-Rounded

Amy Berg, Rhode Island College

In this paper, I will explore what it means to live a well-rounded life, and I will argue that well-roundedness is an ideal many of us should aspire to. While well-roundedness runs the risks of making us into dilettantes and of making our lives feel less coherent, it also has profound intrinsic and instrumental benefits. I will also explore some of the consequences of adding well-roundedness to our conception of the good life: this affects which theories of well-being we accept and which theories of normative ethics we find plausible.

The Metaphysics of Intersectionality

Sara Bernstein, The University of Notre Dame

This paper develops and articulates a metaphysics of intersectionality, the idea that multiple axes of oppression cross-cut each other, as in the case of black womanhood. Though intersectionality is often described through metaphor, I suggest that rigorous theories of intersectionality can be formulated using the tools of contemporary analytic metaphysics. A central tenet of intersectionality theory, that intersectional identities are inseparable, can be framed in terms of explanatory unity. Inseparability should not be understood as modal inseparability or conceptual inseparability, I argue. Further, intersectionality is best understood as metaphysical and explanatory priority of the intersectional category over its constituents, comparable to metaphysical priority of the whole over its parts.

Self-Deception and Lacking the Desire to Believe

Samantha Berthelette, Florida State University

I look at two of the most influential contemporary accounts of self-deception. One account, offered by Mele, suggests that self-deception occurs when an agent acquires a false belief by treating evidence in a motivationally biased way. Nelkin criticizes Mele's account for being overly broad. She introduces a potential counterexample that she judges to be clearly not a case of self-deception even though it satisfies all of Mele's jointly-sufficient conditions. To show that Nelkin's counterexample fails, I conducted a survey of 506 American adults. My results show that Nelkin's attempt to problematize Mele's account is unsuccessful. I then conducted a survey of 553 American adults to see whether Nelkin's own view aligns with folk intuitions. The results indicate that people do not agree with Nelkin. Because Nelkin believes that conformity with folk intuitions is an important constraint on an adequate theory of self-deception, this is a major problem for her view.

As Ifs

Justin Bledin, Johns Hopkins University

This paper is an excerpt from a larger project in which I develop a compositional semantics for a range of "as if" constructions in English and explain some of their core pragmatic effects. While there has already been a great deal of work by linguistics and philosophers of language on if-conditionals (some classics: Stalnaker 1968, 1975; Lewis 1973, 1975; Adams 1975; Heim 1983; Veltman 1985; Edgington 1986; Kratzer 1986) and similarity constructions both in English and other languages (see for instance the cross-linguistic studies on similatives and equatives in Treis & Vanhove 2017), there has not, to my knowledge, been a comprehensive study with as if playing the starring role at the semantics-pragmatics interface. Part of the challenge is that as if is extremely productive, appearing in a range of syntactic environments, and each of its different uses raises its own interpretive puzzles. Four core uses are illustrated in (1)-(4): (1) Manner use: Pedro danced as if he {were/was} possessed by demons. -> Pedro danced wildly/crazily. (2) Perceptual resemblance report: It tastes as if there were an angel peeing on my tongue. (Dutch compliment to the chef) (3) Root sarcastic use: (Opening inbox) As if I have time to answer all these emails! ->I don't have time to answer all these emails. (4) Clueless use: (Gross guy makes an advance) Cher: Ugh, as if! A recurring theme of the broader project is that getting clear about some of these uses of "as if" can help inform our analyses of others. For instance, we can better understand why sarcastic "as if"s like (3) have the effect of inverting the meaning of their embedded clauses by recognizing that many non-root uses do so as well via scalar implicature (Grice 1975; Horn 1972; Gazdar 1979; Hirschberg 1985; Levinson 2000; Sauerland 2004; Katzir 2007). But I have neither time nor space to cover this ground here. Instead, I'll just focus on the manner use (1). The basic puzzle raised by this example is to account for how the manner interpretation arises from the elements of similarity and hypothetically introduced by the modifying adjunct as if he {were/was} possessed by demons. My solution is framed in an event semantic setting (Davidson 1967; Parsons 1990), where I take "as if"-clauses to express hypothetical-comparative properties of eventualities expressed by the matrix verbs they modify.

Hume and Reid on Promises and Sociability

Ruth Boeker, University College Dublin

This paper examines the dispute between Hume and Reid concerning promises. According to Hume, we are not naturally inclined to keep our promises, but rather fidelity to promises is an artificial virtue founded on the necessities and interests of society. Reid opposes Hume's position and argues that Hume fails to realize that there are social operations in addition to solitary operations of mind. For Reid social operations are irreducibly social. I offer a new interpretation of Reid's account of social operations that explains the naturalness and irreducibly social nature of social operations and show how my interpretation avoids problems that arise for Gideon Yaffe's interpretation. Then I consider a possible response on Hume's behalf and acknowledge that for Hume sociability is rooted in sympathy. However, Reid would not be satisfied by Hume's alternative understanding of sociability, because Hume's view does not leave room for libertarian free will.

On the Obligation to Wrongdoers

Eric Bohner, University of Calgary

Derk Pereboom has argued that there are strong reasons to believe that no one is ever morally responsible for anything. If this is right, then the typical retributive justification of punishment-that people deserve to be punished simply by virtue of having done a wrong action-must be incorrect since agents never deserve blame. Nevertheless, Pereboom suggests that we can justify punishment by analogy to the quarantine of individuals who suffer from dangerous and infectious diseases. Just as it is sometimes permissible to quarantine individuals who pose a serious risk of spreading infection, our right to self-protection largely justifies incarcerating potentially dangerous wrongdoers. I argue that accepting responsibility scepticism entails that when the state incarcerates wrongdoers to protect others, it incurs an obligation to compensate them for the harms they unjustly endure. I also argue that this obligation can be met by the effective rehabilitation of the individual.

Mathematical Application and the No Confirmation Thesis

Kenneth Boyce, University of Missouri

Some proponents of the indispensability argument maintain that the empirical evidence that confirms our best scientific theories and explanations also confirms their pure mathematical components. I show that the falsity of this view follows from three highly plausible theses, two of which concern the nature of mathematical application and the other the nature of empirical confirmation. The first is that background mathematical theories suitable for use in science are conservative in the sense outlined by Hartry Field. The second is that the empirical relevance of mathematical claims suitable for use in science is mediated by their non-mathematical consequences. The third is that claims receive additional empirical confirmation only by way of generating additional empirical expectations. Since each of these is a thesis we have good reason to endorse, my argument poses a challenge to anyone who argues that science affords empirical grounds for mathematical realism.

Deference and Cooperative Testimony

Kenneth Boyd, University of Toronto Scarborough

A standard picture of testimony is that it is a deferential source of knowledge and justification: when a recipient comes to know or have a justified belief that p on the basis of testimony it is due to the cognitive work that the testifier did in figuring out that p. Here I want to look at testimony's deferential nature in more detail, specifically in terms of the extent to which a recipient defers in cases of testimonial knowledge and justification. I defend the idea that testimony can be a content-cooperative epistemic source, in the following sense: when a recipient acquires knowledge or justification that p on the basis of testimony, said knowledge or justification is acquired at least partially because of cognitive work that the recipient has done with regards to p or propositions closely related to p.

Evidence Enriched

Nora Boyd, Siena College

Traditionally, empiricism has relied on the specialness of observation by the unaided faculties of human perception. That it is a mistake to focus on observation so construed becomes crystal clear in contemporary scientific contexts rife with sophisticated instrumentation and techniques and little observation to speak of. What are scientific theories accountable to if they are to be empirically viable if not observations? The present paper advances a conception of empirical evidence applicable to contemporary scientific research. On this view, empirical evidence incorporates information about the manner of data collection and processing. Furthermore, I argue that the view advanced here helps to makes sense of something for which empiricism without a pure observation language has had difficulty accounting: how the results of scientific research can be repurposed across diverse epistemic contexts.

Putting 'Ought's Together

David Boylan, Rutgers University

The inference pattern Agglomeration says that "ought p" and "ought q" entail "ought (p and q)." I argue this inference appears valid for deontic, but not epistemic "ought"s. Since no existing theory predicts these data, I give a new semantics and pragmatics for "ought" where it is an existential quantifier over the best partial answers to some background question; and presupposes that those best partial answers are consistent. I then show how the theory can be generalized to cover moral dilemmas.

Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons

Gwen Bradford, Rice University

Since G. E. Moore, the orthodox conception of intrinsic value has been this: intrinsic value is value strictly in virtue of intrinsic properties (Moore (1960 [1903]). But observations about the role of uniqueness and rarity catalyzed a shift away from this dominant conception. Uniqueness is an extrinsic property, yet many compelling cases illustrate that it may enhance intrinsic value (Korsgaard 1983, Kagan 1998, Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen 2006). This paper examines the compatibility of (1) the claim that uniqueness enhances intrinsic value and (2) a widely held thesis about the nature of intrinsic value, namely, the thesis that there is a pro tanto reason to promote the good (e.g., Kagan 1989). It is argued that these two positions are in tension, and hence there is reason that one should be rejected.

Existence Made Too Easy

John Bunke, University of Toronto

In this paper I discuss a problem for ontological deflationism (e.g. Thomasson 2007, 2015; Hirsch 2009, 2010), which is the view that disputes about what exists are neither substantive nor difficult to resolve. The problem for deflationism is that it cheapens existence by being unable to draw a principled distinction between ordinary objects like cars, and silly objects like "incars" (which are cars in garages) (Hirsch 1976, 362). Drawing on the discussion of Eklund (2008, 2009), I formulate an argument - which I call the semantic argument - that this is so. Next, I explain why the semantic argument is unsound, which brings to light a deeper concern about easy ontology. Finally, I explain the advantages of my own moderate realism about ontology, which provides a more robust defense of ordinary objects than the deflationist can muster.

Vindicating Hampton's Expressive Retributivism as a Theory of Rebuke

Jason Byas, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

I argue that Jean Hampton's version of expressive retributivism provides an attractive account of interpersonal rebuke, irrespective of its benefits and hazards as a theory of criminal punishment. This is because it uniquely accounts for the fact that the fact that there is something about rebuking wrongdoers that is of special importance for those they have wronged. In defending her view, I elaborate on Hampton's notion of a person's "acknowledgement" by conceiving of it as an ongoing social phenomenon, rather than an isolated act of recognition or non-recognition. This framing of acknowledgement makes clear the moral place of rebuke.

What is Structural Racism?

César Cabezas, Columbia University

Claims such as "racism is a systemic problem," "racism is embedded in the structure of society," and "racism is a system of privilege and domination" are common in the discourse of contemporary anti-racist movements in the United States. Taken together, these claims point to an understanding of racism as a structural social problem. In this paper, I offer a reconstruction of how anti-racist movements employ the concept of structural racism. I argue that social movements' introduction of the concept of structural racism is partially a call to shift our understanding of the longstanding "race problem" in the United States from the level of individual prejudice to that of social structures of racial privilege and domination. Moreover, I theorize structural racism in terms of racialized social structures-that is, social structures organized around hierarchical racial categories, and that consist of relations of domination or privilege among social groups defined on the basis of such categories.

Mere Frege Cases?

Bryan Chambliss, University of Arizona

John Perry and David Lewis have produced intuitively-gripping examples of irreducibly first-person thought that, although widely endorsed by philosophers, now face staunch scrutiny. Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever argue that some of the best-known arguments in this "Perry-Lewis tradition" are mere Frege cases, which establish no more than the opacity of action explanation contexts. By clarifying the two-step structure of John Perry's famous Sloppy Shopper argument, I show otherwise. While the first step of the argument can be represented as a Frege case, the second step deploys a principle that captures a contingent, but philosophically interesting, connection between first-person thought and action. Thus, despite its distinctly linguistic trappings, Perry is engaging in "speculative psychology," and giving an empirical argument for the irreducibly of first-person thought. So understood, Perry's famous example occurs in the first half of a two-step argument, the second step of which is no mere Frege case.

"Women" and Philosophical Analyses

Hsiang-Yun Chen, Academia Sinica

Social constructionist analyses of kind terms such as "women" are often criticized as counterintuitive. In response, Haslanger (2000, 2005, 2006) claims that such charges are moot once the distinctions between conceptual, descriptive, and ameliorative projects, and the corresponding difference between manifest, operative, and target concepts are drawn. I argue that even with the said distinctions, the Haslangerian definition of "women" is not immune to criticism. Drawing on recent discussions on contextualism (Saul 2012 and Diaz-Leon 2016), metalinguistic negotiation (Burgess & Plunkett 2013, Plunkett & Sundell 2013, and Thomasson 2017), and the crucial role solidarity plays in politically significant terms (Barnes 2016), I claim that Haslanger's replies would lead to consequences contrary to the stated goal of her analyses. However, it is beside the point whether the proposed definition is counter-intuitive.

Objective Quality of Life and Objective List Theory of Well-Being

Jason Chen, Saint Louis University

This paper aims to augment John Lantos and William Meadow's conception of quality of life, which consists of the anticipated cognitive or cerebral function, the anticipated physical disabilities, the pain and suffering that is associated with the disease, and the burdens of the treatments that will be necessary in the future. While these subcomponents are reasonable, they are insufficient to provide guidance on how to compare similar conditions against one another. Not all cognitive handicaps and physical disabilities are equally bad. I argue that their conception can be augmented by appealing to objective list theories of well-being. Specifically, the goods contain therein can be used to judge pre and post-intervention conditions and therefore can also be used to judge the attractiveness of medical interventions. Essentially, conditions and interventions are to be judged by how much they make it easier or harder for a person to attain objective goods.

Self and Identity: Navigating Transformative Decisions with Our Commitments and Personal Projects

Chieh-Ling (Katherine) Cheng, The University of British Columbia

L. A. Paul suggests that the transformative nature of life decisions prevents us from making choices rationally, and her solution to this problem is to choose on the basis of revelation. This paper challenges her view by suggesting that her argument overlooks the importance of choosing in accordance with commitments and personal projects. Moreover, her argument overlooks this way of approaching life choices because Paul assumes a notion of the self that is too thin, such that it does not pay enough attention to our identities, commitments, and personal projects, as well as the ways in which they constrain our choices. Adopting a robust notion of the self that recognizes these will allow us to reinterpret life choices and reformulate our approach to them, in a way that addresses Paul's worries about the epistemic and personal transformation of life choices.

Inexact Knowledge as an Inexact Update

Michael Cohen, Stanford University

Cases of inexact observations, like the unmarked clock case, have been used extensively in the recent literature on higher-order evidence. I argue that the received understanding of inexact observations is mistaken. Although it is convenient to assume that such cases can be modeled statically, they are in fact dynamic cases that involve transformations of models; consequently, the underlying logic should be dynamic, not static, epistemic logic. When reasoning about inexact knowledge, it is easy to confuse the initial situation, the observation process, and the result of the observation; I analyze the three apart. I argue that modeling cases of inexact observation in dynamic epistemic logic with inexact updates can explain how epistemically modest agents combine their first and higher-order evidence without conflict. My argument does not address all worries regarding higher-order evidence, but it clarifies the relevance of the latter with respect to inexact knowledge.

Self-Manipulation: An Incompatibilist Guide to Evading Blameworthiness

Yishai Cohen, University of Southern Maine

Manipulation arguments for the incompatibility of causal determinism and basic desert moral responsibility come in a variety of flavors, with each flavor highlighting specific challenges to compatibilism. This paper considers a version in which the manipulator and the manipulated agent are numerically identical. I argue that, on this version, compatibilism struggles to accommodate the commonsensical position that our future selves cannot be morally blameworthy for an action in virtue of some action for which we are morally praiseworthy. This is because, in certain circumstances, our commonsense views about derivative responsibility block us from praising the manipulator while simultaneously blaming the manipulated agent. I also show that indeterministic self-manipulation cases do not similarly cast doubt on the compatibility of indeterminism with free will and moral responsibility because it is only in deterministic cases that the manipulated agent's activity is guaranteed by the manipulator's activity.

Being Food: Plumwood's Inverted Extensionism

Christopher Cohoon, University of King's College

The work of late Australian environmental and feminist philosopher Val Plumwood implies a new direction for food ethics: the ecological edibility of the human body. Diagnosing the predicament of human exceptionalism as a blind spot to the possibility that human bodies might appear within and not merely above the food chain, Plumwood both identifies the conceptual structures responsible for this blind spot and demonstrates their intractability. In so doing, I suggest, Plumwood implicitly issues a call for the creation of new models of human embodiment that might enable the experience of its edibility. I conclude by proposing one possible model.

What do Representations of Scientific Phenomena Represent?

David Colaco, University of Pittsburgh

Though many philosophers accept that scientific phenomena are an important target of investigation, there has been little effort to address what representations about phenomena represent. In response to this state of the literature, I introduce a nominalist account of scientific phenomena. According to my account, phenomena are nothing over and above their manifestations. Nonetheless, representations of phenomena are distinguishable from representations of their manifestations, and researchers adopt different epistemic stances towards these respective representations. With this account, I provide reason to think that previous accounts of phenomena - those that appeal to abstract objects, ideal types, or patterns - are inadequate, due to their inability to explain the causal role phenomena play, or their inability to explain how representing phenomena is not equivalent to representing their manifestations.

Women's Autonomy in Jacqueline Pascal

Daniel Collette, Marquette University
Dwight Lewis, University of South Florida

Jacqueline Pascal's philosophy of education is laden with an Aristotelian ethics that motivates a theory of personal autonomy. Her theory of virtue requires both theory and praxis: the virtuous person obtains moral knowledge and then resolutely applies that knowledge. Each person then has a moral autonomy, regardless of gender. In Pascal, this autonomy gives birth to moral fortitude to resisting systemic oppression. Her concept of autonomy, which pushes beyond Aristotle and her male counterparts, demands a public rejection of oppression where others can keep their true ideologies more guarded. We first explicate Pascal's moral philosophy, which emphasizes both intellectual and moral virtues, and then examine events in her life that demonstrate moral strength derived from moral praxis. Finally, we compare her with two philosophers in her sphere of influence, Descartes and Arnauld - a comparison that emphasizes her articulation as one of the earliest philosophical accounts of autonomy.

Aristotle's Validation of the Syllogistic

Phil Corkum, University of Alberta

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in the traditional dictum de omni et nullo, largely due to the recognition that a nonstandard way of reading the dictum validates the assertoric syllogistic. I examine an alternative. Aristotle associates mereological notions with the categorical propositions, suggesting that universal affirmatives, universal negations, particular affirmatives and particular negations are true just in case the mereological relations of inclusion, exclusion, overlap and non-overlap, respectively, obtain among the referents of the terms. I will note that a mereological semantics based on this suggestion validates the assertoric syllogistic, and that such a validation offers advantages over recent discussions.

The Inescapability of Moral Luck

Taylor Cyr, Washington University in St. Louis

In this paper, I argue that any account attempting to do away with resultant or circumstantial moral luck is inconsistent with a natural response to the problem of constitutive moral luck. It is plausible to think that we sometimes contribute to the formation of our characters in such a way as to mitigate our constitutive luck at later times. But, as I argue here, whether or not we succeed in bringing about changes to our characters is itself a matter of resultant and circumstantial luck. So, we face a dilemma: either we deny that our constitutive luck may be mitigated by character-formation, or we must admit the reality of resultant and circumstantial luck. I consider a potential way out of the puzzle but argue that one must choose a horn of the dilemma, and I give some reason to prefer the second horn.

Self-awareness and Self-doubt

Sophia Dandelet, UC Berkeley

Sometimes, it is sensible to second-guess yourself; other times, second-guessing manifests a problematic self-doubt. What makes the difference? In this paper, I try to make progress towards answering this question. First, I consider Roush's (2009) account of problematic self-doubt. I argue that it fails to capture some paradigmatic instances of the phenomenon, and I develop an alternative view. On my view, in contrast to Roush's, problematic self-doubt does not necessarily involve a mistake in reasoning. Rather, it involves having a systematic tendency to change one's beliefs and credences so that they match those of others. This is bad, not because it leads to having fewer true beliefs and more false ones - for the beliefs of your epistemic peers are no more likely to be mistaken than yours - but because thinking for yourself is part of a good life.

Pernicious Epistemically Justified Distrust

Lacey Davidson, Purdue University
Mark Satta, Harvard Law School

We identify a unique kind of epistemic injustice that has yet to be discussed in the growing literature on epistemic violence and harms. Theorizing of epistemic injustice has often focused on how the unjustified beliefs of the socially powerful harm those who have been socially marginalized by the powerful. In this paper look at how the bad past actions of those in dominant social positions lead to justified beliefs of those already made vulnerable by current social conditions. Our goal is to conceptualize a type of epistemic injustice with this latter form. Specifically, we're interested in cases in which individuals occupying non-dominant social positions are justified in distrusting individuals, groups, and social institutions that offer necessary services, such as healthcare services, and this distrust leads distrusting individuals to justifiably avoid those who can offer needed services. We refer to this type of epistemic injustice as pernicious epistemically justified distrust.

Grief and Acceptance

Jeremy Davis, United States Military Academy at West Point

Recent empirical studies have suggested that we are more resilient after the death of a loved one than we might expect. Some philosophers have sought to show why we should lament this fact. Dan Moller has argued that resilience is a form of "adaptive blindness" that prevents us from seeing or appreciating the value we once saw in our relationship. In this essay, I argue that Moller's view has two serious flaws. First, it does not explain the particular sort of anxiety we have about these empirical findings - namely, that our well-being returns to its baseline after only a few months. Second, and more importantly, Moller assumes that the only relevant responses - i.e. emotions and judgments - following a loss concern the loss itself. But the phenomenon of acceptance proves this assumption is false. I offer a sketch of acceptance and show how it applies to the case of resilience.

Rational Partiality and Objective Value

Michael Deigan, Yale University

I argue that rational requirements to prefer what one takes to be objectively better are compatible with rationally preferring in ways that favor those one has special reasons to care about. On the view I develop, the bearers of value are individuals, rather than possible worlds, and objective value determines who it is better to be in which worlds, rather than which worlds are better.

The Possibility and Problem of Love (and Hate) as Fundamental Attunements

Ricky DeSantis, Miami University (Ohio)

While his comments on love are often brief and fragmentary, this paper aims to show that Heidegger's language when he does address the subject reveals a crucial engagement that situates love amongst his most important concepts. By turning to passages in the Nietzsche lectures where love and hate are ascribed "vision," I argue that, at least in the twenties and thirties, Heidegger was attempting to think of love and hate as fundamental attunements. To develop this thesis I retrace Heidegger's definitions of attunements and the moment of vision (Augenblick) as they appear in {Being and Time}. This similarity between the revelatory in-sight of love and anxiety, however, raises a problem: can love truly be fundamental if such attunements are objectless? By looking at his reading of Plato's {Phaedrus}, I argue that Heidegger was indeed attempting to think of love as objectless in virtue of its direction towards the disclosure of Being rather than any particular person. I conclude by considering the limits of Heidegger's account, especially with respect to the erasing effect it has on the beloved.

The Unity of Robustness

Corey Dethier, University of Notre Dame

A number of prominent philosophers of science have argued that the confirmatory value robustness across measurements or experiments cannot be employed as an argument for the value of robustness across models or simulations. In this talk, I argue for three conclusions. First, the central argument against the analogy turns on evaluating the models as truth-apt representations rather than as reliability-apt tools-and it's the latter role that matters for the purposes of robustness. Second, there's a strong are strong reasons to think that the two "types" of robustness are analogous. In particular, the value of robustness turns on the conditions under which each "tool" is reliable in both contexts. Third, while the arguments distinguishing between robustness in the two contexts are erroneous, the central intuition can be recovered: there are principled reasons why robustness should tend to be more valuable in experimental than modeling contexts.

Locke and Relative Identity

Georges Dicker, SUNY Brockport

Locke's basic view of diachronic identity is that a thing (other than a person) retains its identity from one time to time another provided that it occupies a spatiotemporally continuous path and falls under the same sortal concept throughout that entire time span. Thus in cases of diachronic identity, the answer to the question whether X is identical with Y depends partly on, and is in that sense relative to, the sorts of things that X and Y are. The most common objection to this "relative identity" view is that it leads to contradiction. This paper defends Locke's view against what I take to be the most straightforward way to make that charge.

Biased Assimilation Can Be Rational

Kevin Dorst, MIT Linguistics & Philosophy

Biased assimilation is the empirically observed tendency for people to interpret conflicting evidence as supporting their prior beliefs. Contra the standard interpretation, I argue that biased assimilation can be fully rational. This is possible because being presented with conflicting studies gives rise to ambiguous evidence - evidence that you should be unsure how to react to. I first explain why ambiguous evidence makes it possible for rational people to expect that they will be rational to increase their confidence in a given claim. I then defend a simple model of your evidential situation when you are presented with symmetric, conflicting pieces of information, and prove that in this model predictable biased assimilation is rational.

Degrees of Consent

Thomas Dougherty, University of Cambridge

When all goes well, your consent will release someone from a duty that they owed to you. But if you consent only because they have put you under significant duress, then your consent leaves that duty in place. To capture these points, theories of consent standardly draw a binary distinction between valid and invalid consent. I refine this picture by introducing a middle category of "flawed consent," in order to account for the ways in which milder forms of duress can undermine your consent. When your consent to someone's action is flawed, they remain under a duty not to perform the action, but your consent downgrades the stringency of this duty - they would wrong you to a lesser degree by performing that action. The degree to which your consent is flawed determines the amount that this duty's stringency is downgraded.

Forbidden Projects and Harm Independent Reasons to Resist Oppression

Tamara Fakhoury, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

How should victims respond to their oppression? Resisting seems like an admirable response. But resistance can come with many costs. It can expose one to backlash and further victimization, alienate them socially and require the development of character traits that obstruct wellbeing. Despite the risks, oppressed persons can and frequently do resist their own oppression, and it is extremely valuable when they do. But what moral reasons do they have to resist their own oppression? In her prominent work, Analyzing Oppression, Ann Cudd provides a natural response to the question of the value of resistance. Cudd argues that when they have a real choice to resist without accepting disproportionate costs, and not resisting harms others, the oppressed morally ought to resist oppressive norms in order to reduce and prevent the harms that they inflict on their oppressed social group. Oppression inflicts two kinds of harms to the oppressed: material harms, by which she means "physical violence and economic domination" and psychological harms, by which she means psychological abuse through "words, actions, [or images] that denigrate, humiliate, disrespect, or terrorize." For Cudd, the aim of morally admirable resistance must be to reduce or protest the material and psychological harms of oppression. Moreover, only acts that intentionally aim to reduce these harms, and that are likely to be effective in doing so, can be said to be morally good, and potentially obligation fulfilling. Echoing classic act consequentialism, Cudd writes that when deciding how and whether to engage in acts of resistance, "one must weigh the harm of resisting against the harm produced by not resisting," factoring in harm to self but not giving it more weight than harm to others." Cudd's view has the following two implications: First, if there is nothing that a person can foreseeably do to lessen oppression's material or psychological harms, then there is nothing that they can do to resist oppression. Second, oppressed persons have no good moral reasons to resist their oppression other than the possibility of lessening its harms. If they can't reduce oppression's harms, then there is nothing that they morally ought to do to resist their oppression. If someone defies or disobeys oppressive norms anyway, their resistance cannot be considered morally praiseworthy, but must be considered nonmoral or morally neutral. I argue against these two implications. Namely, I think the harm reductive account of the obligation to resist oppression is too restrictive. It cannot explain the striking moral value of serious examples of resistance where agents act for a different purpose than for reducing harm to their or their group's material and psychological security - such as to continue pursuing beloved projects like motorcycle riding and interreligious love when oppression forbids one from pursuing them. The first implication vastly underestimates and undervalues the agency of the oppressed - that is, it overlooks the range of morally significant ways they can respond to their oppression without attempting to lessen its harms. Against the second implication, I argue that the value of resisting oppression for individual resistors is not only that we want to reduce its harmful effects. We have, in addition, strong nonconsequentialist reasons to resist oppression. I suggest that oppressed persons resist their oppression admirably when they defy or disobey oppressive norms for reasons of love for forbidden projects, and that this is admirable for its courage and self-respect even if its purpose is not to reduce any physical or psychological harms.

Epicurean Wisdom and Practical Deliberation

Vivian Feldblyum, University of Pittsburgh

In De Finibus Book II, Cicero argues that the Epicurean account of virtue as a means to pleasure is untenable. Although his criticism is weak, it raises an interesting question: why does Epicurus view virtue as a necessary condition for the pleasant life? The virtue of wisdom plays the key role in answering our question; for Epicurus it somehow produces the pleasant life and also the other virtues. Thus the investigation boils down to two questions about wisdom: (a) why is wisdom, specifically, inseparable from (a necessary condition for) the pleasant life, and (b) how do the other virtues come out of wisdom? In this paper I will attempt to answer (a) by offering an account of Epicurean wisdom rooted in an Epicurean account of deliberation, and by showing how such an account rests on Epicurus' intricately constructed sense-based epistemology.

Historicist Thickets in Herder's Fourth Grove

Jonathan Fine, Yale University

This paper reconstructs the role of history in Herder's philosophical aesthetics in the Fourth Grove (1769). Seeking to explain cultural diversity of taste without relinquishing objectivity, Herder puzzlingly claims that such diversity proves that beauty is "only One." Most difficult is to understand how Herder does not violate his own demand that aesthetics proceed "from below," from concrete experience rather than general theoretical posits. How can Herder reconcile competing theoretical impulses toward the historical particularities and toward their unification under general concepts? An aesthetics from below, I show, requires prioritizing concrete particularities whilst aiming to provide a unified account of beauty and human nature. This sophisticated historicism embodies an ethical project to recognize various cultures as realizations of one shared humanity. Whether we accept the Enlightenment terms of this ideal, we do well to follow Herder's imperative to proceed from the historical contexts which animate many philosophical concepts.

How to Endorse Conciliationism

Will Fleisher, Washington University, St. Louis

I argue that recognizing a distinct doxastic attitude called endorsement, and the epistemic norms governing it, solves the self-undermining problem for conciliationism about disagreement. I provide a novel account of how the self-undermining problem works by pointing out the auxiliary assumptions the objection relies on. These assumptions include commitment to certain enkratic principles linking belief in a theory to following prescriptions of that theory. I then argue that we have independent reason to recognize the attitude of endorsement. Endorsement is the attitude of resilient and committed advocacy which is appropriate for researchers to have toward their own theory. Recognizing the importance of endorsement, and of its resiliency, gives us reason to deny the enkratic principles that serve as auxiliary assumptions in the self-undermining objection. This defuses the objection, and provides additional support for the theory of endorsement.

Motive Ascriptions and Reasons for Action in Anscombe's Intention

Andrew Flynn, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper offers an interpretation of Anscombe's largely overlooked claim that actions can be explained by "interpretive motives" - by statements like "because I admire him;" in doing so, it lays the groundwork for a novel understanding of Anscombe's positive view about practical reasons generally. The paper starts with an interpretive puzzle-there are good textual grounds for ascribing the following two claims to Anscombe: (1) All positive answers to the why-question (in the relevant sense) express reasons for action, and (2) practical reasoning is simply a matter of finding means to some end. As Anselm Müller has argued, these claims are in tension: Anscombe allows that there are practical reasons - namely, motive ascriptions - which do not appear to be instrumental in form, so how, then, can practical reasoning be merely instrumental? Müller has urged that we revise Anscombe's work by dropping (2). I argue that Müller is mistaken: (1) and (2) can be consistently maintained and are attractive, so long as we also maintain that (3) not all positive answers to the why-question are known with the special sort of non-observational knowledge which Anscombe calls "practical knowledge." Many commentators appear to assume that (3) is false. But there are strong textual grounds for accepting (3). And once we do, we can see how to consistently accept (1) and (2): Anscombe gives us grounds for thinking that practical reasoning is essentially tied to event descriptions known practically, and that such event descriptions must take a means-ends form. However, reasons may outstrip what is known practically. Motive ascriptions are the paradigmatic case of such reasons: they cannot enter practical reasoning, but they can figure in action explanation in virtue of the way in which they connect to the desirability characterizations which render actions intelligible. In concluding, I show how this insight helps us to better understand Anscombe's views about practical knowledge and the the guise of the good.

Ethical Disagreement in Value-Laden Sciences

David Frank, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Philosophers of science have argued persuasively that epistemic disagreement within science can be epistemically productive. This paper discusses the risks and benefits of non-epistemic or ethical disagreement within value-laden sciences, illustrating using examples from debates within conservation science and climate economics. Reasonable ethical disagreements about environmental ethics and attitudes toward risk, for example, underlie some disagreements within conservation science and climate economics. In some cases, these ethical disagreements can be epistemically and non-epistemically beneficial. They may be indirectly epistemically beneficial because non-epistemic diversity can lead to productive epistemic diversity. They may also be ethically beneficial, as diverse scientific communities are more likely to be responsive to the values of a diverse public and may be more likely to avoid unethical research. However, ethical disagreement within value-laden sciences has risks, including the risk of "denialism," where unreasonable doubt about a scientific consensus is produced by confounding ethical and epistemic disagreement.

Forgetting Memory Skepticism

Matthew Frise, Santa Clara University
Kevin McCain, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Memory skepticism denies that we have some important epistemic good that is connected to memory and that we typically believe we have. One kind of memory skepticism denies, in particular, our justification for thinking memory tends to deliver true beliefs provided that it initially received true beliefs. In this paper we develop and respond to this skepticism. It could threaten memory in such a way that we would altogether lack beliefs. If it threatens memory in this way, then the skepticism is ultimately self-defeating. If it does not threaten memory in this way, then the skepticism leaves a foundation for an inference to the best explanation response. We articulate this response and explain why it is not problematically circular.

The Fragility of Convergence: Public Reason, Political Liberalism, and Stability

Paul Fryfogle, Georgia State University

John Rawls's shift from {A Theory of Justice} to {Political Liberalism} was prompted by his dissatisfaction with Theory's account of stability. Rawls's later account of stability places the idea of public reason at its center. On one influential reading, Rawls models stability as a mutual assurance game, wherein stability is provided by assurance of commitment to the shared conception of justice. Kevin Vallier and John Thrasher charge that Rawls's conception of public reason is easily undermined. In response, they develop an alternative account on which stability owes to a process of "indirect public reason," that is, "without direct, deliberative assurance that all will affirm the political conception." This paper argues that indirect public reason renders stability fragile due to the very pluralism with which Vallier and Thrasher are rightly concerned.

Grief and Composition as Identity

Carolyn Garland, Syracuse University

Donald Baxter (2005) suggests that his version of Composition as Identity ("CAI") can make true the expression often uttered in grief that in the death of her beloved, the bereaved has "lost a part of herself." Call this "the grief utterance." After explaining the details of CAI as found in Baxter (1988a), (1988b), (1989), (forthcoming) and Turner (2014), I argue that this system lacks a version of Leibniz's Law that is required make good on Baxter's (2005) suggestion. I then introduce a version of Leibniz's Law compatible with CAI that can do so. I defend the result from two objections. I conclude with the observation that while CAI is able to account for the truth of the grief utterances, it does so in a way that fails to resonate with the felt experience of grief prompting those utterances in the first place.

Habit, Familiarity, and Perceptiveness

Tyler Haddow, University of California, Berkeley

Often, when we say that a person has done something habitually, we imply that he did not think much about what he was doing, or that he was not being careful about it. I develop a conception of habits of this kind, and deploy that conception to explain both what is ethically dangerous about habitual action, and how our habits enable us to act well. On my view, when an agent acts habitually, he acts out of a desire without deliberating about whether to do so; and the desire from which he acts has been formed by his familiarity with (a) situations like his present one, and (b) this way of acting in them. I develop a conception of familiarity that explains why becoming familiar with a situation, and a way of acting in it, tends to give rise to and deepen habitual desires.

Clearing Up Clouds: Nonspecificity and Goal-Sensitivity in Demonstrative Communication

Rory Harder, University of Toronto, Philosophy

This paper develops a solution to the problem of nonspecificity for demonstratives. This problem is roughly that, while successful use of a demonstrative seems to require there be a single object indicated as referent, there are cases of successful use that seem genuinely nonspecific as to their referent. Taking these nonspecific cases seriously poses a challenge to theories of meaning and communication that assume there are specific pieces of information connected to successful utterances. My solution preserves the insight that there can be genuine nonspecificity of reference in these cases, but shows how there is nonetheless always determinate information communicated. The rough idea is that contextual goals help determine what is said and can thereby obviate the need for fully specific demonstrative reference. The theory I present shows how the goal-sensitivity of what is said runs deeper than previously thought.

Can a Phenomenologist be a Realist?

Rebecca Harrison, UC Riverside

Can a phenomenologist be a realist? There are several good reasons to say "no." The main objections are usually either (1) that phenomenology methodologically precludes taking up any metaphysical positions in general, or (2) that phenomenologists ought to take up some other position besides realism (e.g., some form of idealism). In this paper, I will argue that phenomenologists can be realists. I will mainly focus on the methodological concern in (1) via a discussion of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's work in the Phenomenology of Perception, as well as Dreyfus and Taylor's recent work on "contact theory" realism. I will then provide a brief sketch of Merleau-Ponty's "communion" view, which can be understood as representative of a unique variety of realism that emphasizes the necessity of our direct bodily engagement with the world in perceptual experience.

How to Be More Self-Controlled: Executive Function, Affect, and the Neuropsychological Underpinnings of Trait Self-Control

Matthew Haug, College of William & Mary

I critically examine some recent deflationary accounts of self-control. I argue that even if we accept that self-control is not underwritten by a dedicated, proprietary psychological system we need not claim that purely cognitive interventions-teaching rules of thumb or imparting the right kind of knowledge-are sufficient for improving trait self-control. There is good evidence that trait self-control is not exhausted by executive function abilities (which mediate rule learning) but also depends on affective capacities, specifically related to avoiding rumination and effectively using a certain kind of negative affect to motivate behavior. This suggests that trait self-control may be more like a paradigmatic character trait than some authors have claimed. I discuss the implications this has for the future study of self-control and for the more general issue of whether psychological constructs need to pick out natural kinds in order to be theoretically useful.

Relevant Alternatives and Missed Clues: Redux

Peter Hawke, University of Amsterdam

I re-evaluate the challenge posed to Relevant Alternatives Theory (RAT) by the missed clue counter-examples of Schaffer [2002]. The import of the challenge, I argue, has been misconstrued and underestimated, not least because Schaffer's specific argument invites distracting objections. But more forceful and precise arguments are in the neighbourhood. I offer a novel formalization of RAT that accommodates a suitably wide class of concrete RA theories. Then, I introduce the notion of an abstract missed clue counter-example, and prove that every RA theory, as formalized, admits such a counter-example. This forms a precise argument, in the spirit of Schaffer's argument, that resists easy dismissal: to respond, the RA theorist must embrace an error theory, and oppose our intuitive judgments about missed clue cases.

Not-At-Issue Content and the Normative "Flavor" of Instrumental Necessities

Jennifer Head, University of Southern California

Stephen Finlay argues for a reductive analysis of normative conditional sentences of the form [if s wants to ψ, then s has to φ] in terms of ordinary, alethic necessity. In this paper, I propose an alternative analysis of such instrumental necessities that compromises Finlay's reductionist picture. I suggest that instrumental necessities featuring the progressive construction "is going to" are akin to sentences featuring expressions like "but," which have been associated since Grice with conventional implicature. Following Kent Bach's treatment of those expressions, I argue that instrumental necessities express two propositions, one at-issue and the one not-at-issue. Their at-issue contents are presumably given by Finlay's analysis of ordinary, alethic necessity. But their not-at-issue contents, I suggest, involve conversationally salient desires, intentions, or aims. This connection to desire, intention, or aim is, contra Finlay, plausibly responsible for the normative "flavor" of instrumental necessities.

Parmenides' Love of Honor: An Account of How Not to Do Philosophy in Plato's Parmenides

Marta Heckel, University of Missouri

When looking at the literature on the Parmenides, it is hard not to surmise that the arguments in the dialogue are so complex (or convoluted) that just about anything can plausibly be said about them. In this paper, I suggest that if we want new insight into this dialogue, we should focus not on the arguments but other features of the dialogue. I defend an interpretation of that says that the dialogue criticizes Parmenides, and serves as a warning of how not to do philosophy. I do so by focusing on the setup of the dialogue and what Plato tells us of Parmenides' psychology. In particular, through analyzing the dialogue's references to age, love-of-winning, and love-of-honor, I argue that Parmenides is shown to be ruled by the spirited part of his soul in a way that compromises his ability to philosophize.

Loving and Knowing Oneself: On the Requirements of Self-Love in Frankfurt's Hierarchical-Self View

Fiacha Heneghan, Vanderbilt University Philosophy Department

According to Harry Frankfurt's "hierarchical-self" view, a person's "real self" is constituted by a set of higher-order desires. In Frankfurt's case, this set is the "second-order volitions," which are second-order desires for first-order desires to be effective in motivating action. Love is a persistent desire for desires in the interest of the beloved to be effective, and self-love is desiring the desires related to our loves. All that self-love requires of us on the hierarchical-self view is that we have loves and that we work to acquire and clarify them when necessary. Considering an example of a person suffering from a mistaken self-conception, I argue that this view of self-love is insufficient. A satisfactory account of self-love ought to explain why we are accountable for regular and appropriate self-criticism, even when we believe we already know ourselves-something that a reflexive hierarchical-self view of self-love does not seem to do.

The Epistemic Import of Arational Influences on Perception

Benjamin Henke, Washington University, St. Louis

A recent debate asks whether-barring defeaters and other post-perceptual epistemic influences-the epistemic value of experiences can be modulated. In her recent book and several recent papers, Susanna Siegel has argued that the epistemic value of experiences can be modulated by their rationally evaluable etiologies. An experience which is caused by an irrational instance of cognitive penetration, for example, is thereby epistemically downgraded. I show that a similar argument establishes that the epistemic value of experiences can also be modulated by their non-rationally evaluable etiologies. An experience which is subject to an arational priming effect, for example, can be thereby epistemically downgraded. This argument has the advantages of being less controversial and of applying to a broader domain of perceptual etiologies than Siegel's original.

Plurivaluationist Degree Theory and Higher-Order Vagueness

Avram Hiller, Portland State University

Nicholas J.J. Smith's plurivaluationist degree theory (PDT) from his book Vagueness and Degrees of Truth (OUP 2008) is a richly developed attempt to resolve Sorites paradoxes. In this poster, I will first present PDT and explain its virtues in relation to other accounts of vagueness. In particular, its degree-theoretic facet nicely allows for non-sharp boundaries while its plurivaluationist facet nicely accepts that facts about language do not determine a unique precise model for vague terms. I will then argue that PDT faces problems of higher-order vagueness. Not only do facts about language fail to determine a unique model for vague terms, but they also fail to determine a unique set of acceptable models. The upshot, I argue, is that there is a deep form of indeterminacy underlying vague terms.

Banning Fake News

Jeffrey Howard, University College London

Is it permissible to suppress the dissemination of dangerous, erroneous news stories? This article specifies and defends a moral duty to refrain from disseminating dangerous empirical falsehoods (DEFs), fallacies whose communication to susceptible listeners seriously risks inspiring them to engage in wrongdoing. It considers the objection that such a duty is ruled out by the moral right to freedom of expression - of which press freedom is an important constituent. Reviewing leading arguments for free speech, it shows that this objection fails. The real question is whether the duty to refrain from disseminating DEFs, while enforceable, ought to be enforced all-things-considered. Drawing on recent work on proportionality, the article considers why enforcing this duty-while not wrongful to the disseminators themselves, who render themselves liable to state coercion-may nevertheless be disproportionate in virtue of the wider effects of enforcement on non-liable third parties.

Factualists Can't Solve the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem

Nathan Howard, University of Southern California (USC)

The wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem is a problem for the project of analyzing normative properties using facts about the balance of normative reasons. This paper argues that this problem can be solved only if we do not identify normative reasons with facts. While some like Hieronymi (2005) and Way (2012) argue that the problem is not genuine, for those of us who assume that it is, solving the WKR problem requires partitioning into non-overlapping sets the reasons that are right for the analysis and those that are wrong for it without invoking the normative property to be analyzed. As I'll argue, we cannot partition reasons in this way if factualism is true - that is, if every normative reason is numerically identical with a fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. Consequently, factualism is incompatible with any view that requires solving the WKR problem, such as the buck-passing analysis of value or the analysis of propositional justification in terms of evidence.

Don't Know, Don't Care?

Zoe Johnson King, New York University

My thesis is that moral ignorance does not imply a failure to care adequately about what is in fact morally significant. I offer three cases: one in which someone is ignorant of the precise nature of what she cares about; one in which she does not reflect on its significance in a particular context, and one in which someone cares deeply about two morally significant considerations while being mistaken about their relative significance. I argue that these agents all clearly care adequately about everything morally significant. This creates theoretical room for a way of thinking about culpable moral ignorance that respects the key concerns of those in the voluntarist tradition who have held that moral ignorance is typically blameless, within an approach to thinking about moral responsibility according to which we are blameworthy for that which manifests poor quality of will. It also suggests a fruitful change of direction for quality-of-will theorists: we should articulate the standards for adequate caring, i.e. those that specify what it is to care "adequately."

Who is Wronged When Markets Fail?

Julian Jonker, The Wharton School

Market teleology derives moral principles for market participants from the conditions of perfect competition. But market teleology struggles to explain the structure of marketplace wrongs. In particular, teleological views fail to explain our judgments that unethical market practices not only are wrong, but wrong particular others. These judgments can be vindicated by a relational view of markets. Under conditions of perfect competition, the relationship between buyer and seller is one of non-dominance; and the relationship between competitors is one of fair play. Unethical market practices are wrong because they impair valuable ways of relating, and they wrong the relative whose relationship is impaired. This relational view also suggests a new way of thinking about the limits of the market. Markets are inappropriate where they undermine the very forms of relating that are the valuable end of a well-functioning market.

Veritic and Reflective Responsibilities: A Theory of Epistemic Justice

Abe Joyal, University of California Santa Cruz

This paper proposes a novel theory of epistemic justice and responsibility. Following Fricker, I recognize that oppressed individuals face epistemic constraints, as both knowers and speakers (Fricker, 2007: 50-51). Following Medina, I recognize that privileged individuals likewise face epistemic constraints due to their privilege (Medina, 2013: 72). I take both of these constraints to be forms of epistemic unluckiness (Riggs, 2009: 219). However, a flat principle of equal epistemic responsibility for equal epistemic constraints leads to intuitively unacceptable consequences, which I take to be evidenced by the public response to the case of Ethan Couch. Therefore, I assert that if an oppressed agent and a privileged agent are equally reflectively epistemically constrained, they should be held equally responsible for their reflective efforts to make correct judgments, but different degrees of responsibility for their veritic efforts in proportion to their respective levels of privilege.

An Epistemological Perspective on Accountability in Machine Learning Applications

Koray Karaca, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente

In this paper, I characterize machine learning (ML) as a kind of algorithmic data modelling that involves both epistemic and societal value judgments. I argue that the accountability of decisions based on the predictions of ML models cannot be properly dealt with without taking into account the value judgments underlying the construction and validation of these models. I thus propose a value-based epistemological framework within which accountability can be interpreted and assessed in the context of societal applications of ML.

How Should a Physicalist Respond to the Knowledge Argument?

Paul Kelly, University of Wisconsin–Madison Philosophy Department

The knowledge argument (hereafter KA) attempts to show that physicalism is false. In originally proposing KA, Frank Jackson (1982) claimed that if the argument were sound, it would also likely imply that qualitative mental states are epiphenomenal. In what follows, I will (1) briefly describe the thought-experiment motivating KA, (2) present a formal interpretation of KA, (3) explain two common physicalist objections to KA: the ability hypothesis and the acquaintance hypothesis, (4) advance several reason for why the acquaintance hypothesis is superior to the ability hypothesis, and finally, (5) argue that if KA does likely imply epiphenomenalism (as Jackson maintains), then this should be taken as strong prima facie evidence that KA is unsound. If this final claim is correct, then even if all currently proposed physicalist objections to KA fail, physicalists might still be rationally justified in believing that the argument is unsound.

On the Horizontal in Begriffsschrift

Junyeol Kim, University of Connecticut

In Frege's Begriffsschrift, the judgment stroke, which can be taken as a performative for making a judgment, must be followed by the horizontal, which is a predicate. The standard reading of the horizontal attached to the judgment stroke states that it is still a predicate and must follow the judgment stroke to ensure that what follows the judgment stroke constitutes a sentence. In this paper, I argue that the standard reading conflicts with Frege's conception of judgment according to which judgment cannot be predication of truth.

Cognitive Abilities and the Clarkian Extended Mind

Caroline King, University of Arizona

In this paper, I will present a new challenge for some versions of the extended mind view. I will argue that versions of the extended mind framework like the one defended by Andy Clark, which characterize the mind as a collection of transient, temporarily coupled, "soft-assembled" cognitive systems, will have trouble providing a satisfactory account of how we attribute cognitive abilities to people. Because the systems that instantiate cognition on this view are often short-lived and task-specific, this kind of extended mind view cannot account for our ordinary practices of attributing cognitive abilities to people in a way that preserves both their persistence over time and their extendedness.

Resisting Intimations of Inferiority: A Defense of the Obligation to Resist One's Oppression

Katie Kirkland, Arizona State University

Many scholars have argued that oppressed individuals have an obligation to resist their own oppression. However, some might object that an obligation to resist one's oppression would further restrict the choices of oppressed individuals, thus exacerbating the material harms of oppression. In this paper, I discuss this objection to the obligation to resist one's oppression before launching a defense of the obligation. I defend the obligation to resist one's oppression by calling into question the priority of the interest in preserving the choices of oppressed persons. I argue that an interest in addressing the harms of internalized oppression override the interest in preserving the choices of oppressed individuals such that we can uphold an obligation to resist one's oppression.

Using Logic to Evolve More Logic: Composing Logical Operators via Self-Assembly

Travis LaCroix, University of California, Irvine

In recent work on self-assembly, Barrett and Skyrms (2017) show how a binary logical operator can evolve more quickly in a signaling game when the agents utilize pre-evolved dispositions-as opposed to learning a new disposition from scratch-via template transfer. Their argument is not intended to show how such logical dispositions might evolve in the first place. Further, template transfer does not show how to evolve, e.g., a ternary-input logical operator from a binary-input logical operator. This paper extends their analysis. I begin by analysing simple unary logical operations, rather than binary ones. I then show how binary logical operations can evolve out of unary logical oper- ations via modular composition-a process whereby one game evolves to accept the play of another game as input. Thus, the new models presented here are able to account for phenomena which cannot be accommodated by the models presented in Barrett and Skyrms (2017).

The Importance of Faculty Psychology in Kant

Thomas Land, University of Victoria

The concept of a faculty (Vermögen) plays a pivotal role in Kant's Critical Philosophy, but commentators frequently fail to do justice to its central status. This paper discusses an instance of this general tendency. I argue that, with regard to the First Critique, failure to do so leads to two exegetical difficulties, which can be avoided if the concept of a faculty is taken more seriously. I argue, further, that doing this requires seeing that the relation between the faculty of understanding and its paradigmatic act, judgment, is both normative, constitutive, and explanatory, and explain what this means.

Misapplied Constitutive Rules, Speaker Intentions, and the Curious Case of Assertion

Jonathan Lang, Stanford University

Constitutive rule theorists argue that the practice of assertion is like rule-governed games in the respect that assertion just is its constitutive rules being in effect. I argue this view clashes with how speakers appeal to their intentions in adjudicating cases where speakers were mistaken about whether an assertion was made. Section 1 outlines paradigmatic features of cases where participants realize a mistake was made about how a constitutive rule was applied. Section 2 argues that (almost) all cases of misapplied rules for assertion lack these features. Section 3 argues that the reason why these cases lack these features is because appeals to speaker intentions are playing a role that is incompatible with speakers taking themselves to be engaged in a rule-constituted practice. These considerations put the burden of proof on constitutive rule theorists to explain why ordinary speakers are mistaken about the roles of intentions in adjudicating these cases.

No Counterfactual is Sufficient for Freedom

Andrew Law, University of California, Riverside

It has often been held, either implicitly or explicitly, that certain counterfactuals are sufficient for freedom. For instance, according to the "New Dispositionalism," an agent is free to do otherwise just in case the agent has a certain disposition (or bundle of dispositions), where dispositions are often analyzed in terms of certain counterfactuals. In contrast to such authors, I argue that no counterfactual is sufficient for freedom. The argument goes roughly as follows: we can coherently describe a situation where (i) no agent is free to do otherwise, but (ii) any counterfactual (or set of counterfactuals) that might be thought sufficient for freedom also hold. If we can coherently describe such a situation, then it's clear that there is a gap between the truth of certain counterfactuals and freedom. After presenting the situation, I consider two objections.

Inquiring into What You Believe?

Wooram Lee, University of Southern California

This paper explores the sense in which belief involves settledness on a question. In her recent work, Jane Friedman suggests that we understand the settledness in terms of a normative relation holding between belief and what she calls interrogative attitudes : one ought not inquire into what one believes. This paper argues against Friedman that the settledness should not be understood in terms of such a normative relation. I propose that the settledness of belief should be understood as a descriptive relation between occurrent belief and inquiry: one cannot inquire into what you occurrently believe.

Real Content and its Pragmatic Ascription: A Comment on Egan's 'Deflationary' Account of Mental Representation

David Lindeman, Johns Hopkins University

This paper focuses on Sharon Street's account of evolutionary influences on our evaluative judgments as it is presented in "A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value." My particular interest in Street's account is her suggestion that evolutionary forces such as natural selection would be expected to lead to species-wide agreement in some of our basic evaluative tendencies. As I will argue, it is unlikely these evolutionary forces would lead to such tendencies being held to the same degree across all individuals of a species and this raises concerns about the extent to which we can be said to agree in our basic evaluative tendencies. If the implications of natural selection lead us to the conclusion that there is widespread disagreement in our basic evaluative tendencies, then the ways in which metaethical theories must account for such evolutionary influence will significantly differ from those proposed by Street.

Inequality and Freedom

S.M. Love, Georgia State University

The right to freedom has often been invoked in by those who argue against placing restrictions on the market and against taxing some to benefit others. Here, I argue that the Kantian right to freedom provides robust justification for socioeconomic rights. First, I lay out the Kantian right to freedom as a right to to direct one's own will in the external world consistently with others rights to do the same. I then argue that the right to freedom entails a right to equal democratic citizenship: if we are each to be our own masters, then governmental authority must be an exercise of our self-mastery. I then argue that our socioeconomic system must be consistent with this right to equal democratic citizenship: we must secure the material conditions of equal democratic citizenship, and we must eliminate inequalities that are so extreme that they undermine equal democratic citizenship.

Humeanism and Non-Humeanism about Metaphysical Explanation

Mark Makin, Biola University

The analogy between causal explanation and metaphysical explanation runs deep, it is often thought. Just as causal explanations hold in virtue of causal dependence relations and involve laws of nature, many philosophers have argued that metaphysical explanations hold in virtue of metaphysical dependence relations and involve laws of metaphysics. In this paper I frame the literature on metaphysical explanation through the lens of the ongoing dispute between Humeanism and non-Humeanism about causal explanation. Drawing on examples from the literature on metaphysical explanation, I sketch the contours of Humean and non-Humean accounts of metaphysical explanation, focusing on the controversies surrounding the nature of metaphysical dependence and the nature of laws of metaphysics. In many ways, the dispute over the nature of metaphysical explanation is the new Humean/non-Humean dispute, a new battlefield in the timeworn conflict between Humeans and non-Humeans. I close by suggesting two promising areas for future research.

Socrates, Sully, and the Sufficiency Thesis

Joel Martinez, Lewis & Clark College
Nicholas Smith, Lewis & Clark College

Scholars have divided over whether the protreptic arguments of the Euthydemus should be taken as showing that Socrates was committed to the thesis that virtue is sufficient for happiness. The sufficiency thesis seems to have the implausible implication that virtue would immunize us against disasters that are not within human control. We argue, first, that Socrates' argument should not be understood in a way that recognizes just two alternatives: either one is happy or one is not. Instead, we argue that Socrates is talking about is a gradable condition: some people can do better or be happier than others. The arguments, then, are about how we can reasonably hope to achieve the best results possible for us. Accordingly, the sufficiency thesis that he endorses in the argument is a weak one: virtue is sufficient for whatever degree of happiness is available to a person, given that person's particular circumstances.

Not Better to Have Been: Death and the Value of Life

Vijay Mascarenhas, MSU Denver

In the past decades, philosophers writing about the badness of death and the goodness of life have all assumed that the badness of death cannot be anything but a privative bad because they assume that death cannot affect the value of the life. I challenge this assumption. First I argue that there are three perspectives from which to evaluate life: Sub specie aeternitatis (which most philosophers chose), viventium (from within life), and oblivionis (from the perspective of no longer being alive). I then use five distinct arguments - a "bucket list," a dream, an n+1, a Parfit surgey-type, and a "defective experience machine" argument - to show that while life might seem to have value while assessed sub specie aeternitatis or viventium, it lacks value, sub specie oblivionis. I then show how this gives a better account of why Lucretius' argument against asymmetry fails to persuade (or assuage).

Infinite Extension

Conor Mayo-Wilson, University of Washington

A central philosophical and cosmological question is whether there are infinitely extended regions of space or time. However, unlike mathematical and philosophical analyses of "infinite in number" (e.g., Dedekind's), "infinitely small" (e.g., from non-standard analysis), or "infinitely divisible" (e.g., from mereological debates about atoms and gunk), existing mathematical definitions of "infinitely extended", I argue, are inadequate. After criticizing others' analyses, I present a novel characterization of what it means for an object to be infinitely extended.

Microaggressions, Torts, and the Right to Apology

Emma McClure, University of Toronto

Microaggressions may be minimally harmful in the moment, but over time they can accumulate into serious damage to the target's mental and physical health. Microaggressions are also often committed unintentionally, even though they may be glaringly obvious to repeatedly-targeted members of marginalized groups. These two features have led many theorists to turn away from a blame-based "liability model" of moral responsibility. However, I argue that these theorists overlook the potential of a unique type of liability: tort liability, and especially the common-law tort of trespass. Trespass can be prosecuted without damage or intent to harm. The perpetrator is liable for the wrong they have done to the target by using their land without permission. I use these features of tort liability to model a new theory of moral responsibility for microaggressions: the perpetrator wrongs the target by misappropriating their mental capacities, and the target deserves an apology for this offense.

Against a Plenitude of Abstract Objects

Michaela McSweeney, Boston University

I argue that Plenitudinous Platonism is wildly ontologically and ideologically unparsimonious. The first claim might seem obvious; I show that it is not. But I then show that the Plenitudinous Platonist must accept a pluralistic ontology that is ontologically unparsimonious on every understanding of what ontological parsimony is. The second claim is non-obvious. I argue that while some plenitudinous theories, e.g. mereological universalism, might be ideologically parsimonious, Plenitudinous Platonism is not. I do this by showing that while mereological universalism gives us a recipe for determining what entities there are, Plenitudinous Platonism cannot. I then argue that we should not even assess theories that fail to either enumerate what there is, or give us a recipe for how to determine what there is, for ideological parsimony.

The Definition of Matter-Form Composites in Aristotle

Samuel Meister, Brown University

In Metaphysics Z.10, Aristotle provides an intriguing, but somewhat obscure discussion of the definition of sensible substances. The two most prominent interpretations of Aristotle's account are what I will call the "hard line" and the "simple soft line" on definition. On the hard line, Aristotle argues that composites should be defined with reference to their formal parts alone. On the simple soft line, he claims that forms should be defined with reference to only the formal parts, but composites should be defined with reference to some of their material parts too. Here, I will offer a third reading, the sophisticated soft line: Either we can consider the particular composite as form and define it in terms of its formal parts alone, or we can consider the particular composite as a composite and define it insofar as it belongs to a species or universal composite, that is, in terms of both its form and some of its universalized material parts.

From Ideal Grounds to Transcendental Idealism

Damian Melamedoff, University of Toronto

The notion of an {ideal} ground [{Idealgrund}], or ground of cognition [{Erkenntnisgrund}], was of central importance in 18th century German philosophical theorizing. Although Kant rarely uses these terms in his written works, he makes several references to them in both his reflections and his lectures. Despite the popularity of this notion in 18th century philosophy, little to no attention has been paid to the role of ideal grounds in Kant’s Critical thought. In this paper, I will put Kant’s views about grounds of cognition in historical context, showing that they inform his views about the metaphysics of ground. I then show that, given these views about the relation between grounds of cognition and grounds of being, Kant’s argument from geometry for transcendental idealism is successful against his contemporaries.

Preemptive Omissions

Joseph Metz, University of Arizona

Cases of preemptive actions have proved important because they raise potential counterexamples for theories of causation, and they raise complications for moral and legal responsibility. If cases of preemptive omissions also exist, they also have important consequences for theories of causation and for moral and legal responsibility. Despite the importance of the possibility of preemptive omissions, they remain underexplored. This paper argues that cases of preemptive omissions do in fact occur. To make this argument, I construct a series of cases, starting with straightforward cases that do not involve preemption but are relevantly similar to the later cases in the series that do. I then draw structural parallels between the later preemption cases and certain omission cases, yielding cases of preemptive omissions. Ultimately, we will have a formula for generating preemptive omissions, both proving their existence and highlighting their potential implications for the responsibility of agents.

Humean Compatibilism, Determinism, and the Consequence Argument

Kristin Mickelson, University of Gothenburg

Traditional compatibilism is the view that free will is compatible with determinism. Humean-law compatibilism is the view that free will is compatible with determinism, where determinism is characterized in terms of a broadly Humean view of the laws of nature. A growing number of philosophers hold that Humean-law compatibilists are targeted by and have special resources to resist arguments for traditional incompatibilism, including the Consequence Argument. I argue that Humean-law compatibilism is not a proper target of the Consequence Argument and Humean-law compatibilists have no unique resources to show that the Consequence Argument is unsound.

The Intractable: Lyotard's Post-Colonialism and the Energy of Resistance

Peter Milne, Seoul National University

Introducing his anti-colonial writings 25 years after their initial publication, Lyotard makes two striking claims. The first is that resistance to any system takes its "energy" from an integral but non-systematizable element that he calls "the intractable;" the second is that this "intractable" can no longer be said to appear in the political realm. Placing this essay into a confrontation with a work by Brazilian thinker Antonio Candido, this paper argues that the marginalized, and especially colonized, fulfill a repressive function in the stabilizing of Western, colonial and neoliberal order, and that this reveals in turn an intractability at the heart of this "techno-scientific" system. The paper thus opens not only the possibility of an intractable that continues to make itself heard on a "political wavelength," but reveals both what remains essential for the "West" to repress, and perhaps what a certain Lyotard has repressed also.

Democracy without Voting

Nicholas Munn, University of Waikato

Both epistocrats and lottocrats claim that democracy itself is problematic. They set themselves the task of providing a plausible alternative system. However, many of the problems they identify arise not from democracy as such, but from certain instantiations of it. When and how people vote; how many people choose not to vote; and how much the people who do vote know, are all subjects of criticism in this literature. In this paper I outline a democratic system which retains features such as majority rule and secrecy regarding the expressed preferences of citizens, but eliminates voting. I argue that this approach can achieve many of the benefits ascribed to epistocratic or lottocratic systems without importing their flaws.

Rational Requirements and Occurrent Belief

Wade Munroe, Indiana University

Paradigmatically, it is assumed that theoretical rationality requires one to adopt all and only those attitudes that accord with one's evidence. I will call this view the standard theory of rationality (STR) and will demonstrate that certain obligations of STR will, in principle, be impossible to satisfy. My argument will center on propositions that are instances of the following schema: I am not entertaining an occurrent thought about s, where we substitute for "s" the name of some entity (e.g., some object, event, class, etc.) of which one is not occurrently entertaining a thought but about which one can think, that is, one exhibits the requisite relation to s, whatever it happens to be, that allows one to have intentional mental states about s. I will demonstrate that it is, in principle, impossible to meet the rational requirements of STR with respect to instances of the above schema, if the instances are true.

What is a Lineage?

Celso antonio Neto, The University of Calgary

This paper investigates the nature of biological lineages and defends lineage pluralism; the view that biological lineages are not a single, unified type of entity. I formulate two arguments for lineage pluralism. These arguments undercut the main motivations for lineage monism, namely, the view that biological lineages are a single, unified type of entity. Though this view is rarely made explicit, it is often assumed in philosophy and biology (Hull 1980, de Queiroz 1999, Godfrey-Smith 2009). Lineages monism underlies many debates about natural selection, species, biological individuality, etc. Hence, this paper sheds light on the widespread implicit monistic assumption, and shows why lineage pluralism should be adopted instead.

Meaning Externalism and Causal Model Theory

Eleonore Neufeld, University of Southern California

One of the main insights the philosophical community has drawn from Putnam's Twin Earth thought experiments and Kripke's modal arguments for a theory of direct reference is that meaning is individuated externalistically. In this paper, I propose an account of the structure of concepts that explains the Putnam-Kripke intuitions, while preserving an internalist conception of meaning. According to this account, concepts encode causal graphical models. After presenting the basic formal framework of causal graphical models, I show how the theory correctly predicts all of the key Putnam-Kripke intuitions.

Voices of Madness in Foucault and Kierkegaard

Heather Ohaneson, George Fox University

The central idea of this paper is that Michel Foucault and Søren Kierkegaard are unexpected allies in the investigation into the relation between madness and reason. These thinkers criticize reason's presumption of purity, using topics such as Christology, conformity, and communication to call into question reason's isolation from madness. Strategies of indirect communication and regard for paradox from Kierkegaard's nineteenth-century works find new ground in Foucault's twentieth-century archaeological undertaking as Foucault illuminates "both-and" moments in the history of madness, uncovering points where rationalism paradoxically conceives of madness or where madness is not unreasonable. Furthermore, for both thinkers, form and content meet, as Kierkegaard and Foucault's occasionally "delirious lyricism" (in the phrase of Dominick LaCapra) exemplifies the intertwining of logical and illogical forces.

Objectivity, Seepage, and Climate Science

Ryan O'Loughlin, Indiana University - Bloomington

Based on the disproportionate amount of attention paid to the recent global warming hiatus by climate scientists, it has recently been argued that denialist discourse has "seeped into" climate science. While I agree that seepage has occurred, its effects remain unclear. This lack of clarity may give the impression that climate science has been compromised in a way that it hasn't - such a conclusion should be defended against. To do this I argue that the effects of seepage should be understood in terms of objectivity. I use the meanings discussed by Lloyd & Schweizer (2014) to provide a detailed account of denialist discourse's impact on climate science. The resulting account supports the important point that climate science has not been compromised in a way that invalidates the conclusions its scientists have drawn. Instead my analysis highlights how, because of denialist discourse, climate scientists have responded to the public's worries.

Towards a Theory of Self-Undeception

Martina Orlandi, McGill University

In this paper I investigate self-deception's parallel phenomenon of coming out of self-deception, or self- un deception, as I call it. I claim that self-undeception, despite having been largely neglected by the literature, is philosophically relevant as it can contribute to our understanding of self-deception. I defend this claim by identifying the main questions an account of self-undeception should answer: a psychological question (how self-undeception occurs) and a normative question (what is the ideal policy to self-undeceive). I then advance three main paths to self-undeception, one of which I argue is superior to the others. Psychologically, it is the only one that meets the normative requirement of self-undeceiving for the right kind of reasons (i.e. epistemic reasons). Psychologically, its etiology requires the exercise of self-control in order to neutralize motivational biases and stick to the agent's own epistemic norms, thus revealing self-deception as a phenomenon of subjective irrationality involving epistemic akrasia.

What is an Acquisition of Taste?

Daniel Pallies, USC

Suppose I acquire the taste for wine: that is, I come to like the taste experiences caused by drinking wine. A theory of taste acquisitions should explain why I comes to like my wine experiences. I examine two such theories, and argue in favor of one of them. According to the attitude theory, I come to like my wine-experiences because my wine-experiences remain constant in felt-quality, and I come to like that felt-quality. According to the felt-quality theory, I come to like my wine experiences because my wine-experiences improve in felt-quality. I argue in favor of the felt-quality theory. When one acquires a taste, one undergoes certain psychological changes. We should expect that these psychological changes make for improvements in the felt-qualities of one's experiences. And we should believe that those improvements explain one's coming to like those experiences.

On the Very Idea of Practical Representation

Carlotta Pavese, Duke University Philosophy

According to a standard taxonomy, there are two main ways in which the mind can represent the world: through conceptual representation - concepts and propositional attitudes - and through perceptual representation - the sort of representation that our senses afford us. This shortened version of the essay sketches an argument for the claim that, in addition to conceptual representation and perceptual representation, there is a third kind of mental representation that is distinct from both conceptual and perceptual representation and that is, in a sense to be clarified, distinctively practical.I first introduce the notion of practical representation by contrast with conceptual representation and perceptual representation. Then I provide an example of a simple system that practically represents but neither conceptually represents nor perceptually represents.

What does Decision Theory Have to do with Wanting?

Milo Phillips-Brown, MIT philosophy

Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent our doxastic (belief-like) and bouletic (desire- and preference-like) states. Yet they do so with different vocabularies. If these vocabularies can't be reconciled, we'd have a dubious dualism: two separate systems, based in the same phenomenon, somehow running in our heads at once. Of particular interest are two key terms of folk psychology that decision theory omits: believing and wanting. Much recent attention has been given to whether we can give, in terms of the decision-theoretic notion of credence, necessary and sufficient conditions for when you're truly said to believe (the Lockean Thesis is the claim that we can). My question is the parallel one with wanting: I give, in terms of a central decision-theoretic notion-expected value-necessary and sufficient conditions for when you're truly said to want.

Honor as a Virtue

Carissa Phillips-Garrett, Loyola Marymount University

I defend how and why maintaining one's honor can be virtuous. On the account I offer, the virtue of honor consists in an ongoing commitment to act in accordance with what one believes is virtuous, even when doing so may result in the disapproval or shame of others. This characterization of honor may seem strange since mentioning "honor" may conjure up pictures of duels and honor killings, acts of violence that are seemingly justified by participants in terms of avoiding the disapprobation of others. I will argue here that we should distinguish two different types of honor: external honor and internal honor. Far from being virtuous, I contend that external honor, which attaches the maintenance of honor to relative status and reputation, is vicious since the agent is motivated by good reputation and status, not by goodness. In contrast, I argue that internal honor is virtuous. On this account, honor is sustained by an ongoing commitment to ethical values as central to self-identity, rather than outwardly-mediated honor. Honor is thus bound up in commitment to the good life generally, and does not rely on getting the recognition one deserves. Finally, I distinguish the virtue of honor from the concept of integrity and conclude that the virtue of internal honor is worth defending, even now.

Is There Such a Thing as Literary Cognition?

Gilbert Plumer, Law School Admission Council (retired)

I question whether the case for "literary cognitivism" has generally been successfully made. As it is usually construed, the thesis is easy to satisfy illegitimately because dependence on fictionality is not built in as a requirement. The thesis of literary cognitivism should say: "literary fiction can be a source of knowledge in a way that depends crucially on its being fictional" (Green's phrasing). After questioning whether nonpropositional cognitivist views (e.g., Nussbaum's) meet this requirement, I argue that if fictional narratives can impart propositional knowledge in virtue of their fictionality, it would be largely via a suppositional framework. Yet in many cases, such as Weir's {The Martian}, the literary supposition could simply be an epistemic possibility ("suppose X, which for all we know, occurs sometime") or probabilistic (e.g., "suppose X, which could very well happen"), not counterfactual supposition, that is, distinctively fictional supposition. And seemingly possible fictions are often not possible.

Partiality, Identity, and Procreation

Abelard Podgorski, National University of Singapore

According to commonsense morality, while we have reason to be concerned about the effects of our actions on anyone's welfare, we have special reason to be concerned with the effects of our actions on the welfare of people to whom we have certain relationships, like parenthood. In this paper, I examine a where the identity of people to whom we bear the special relationship depends on our action - for example, when our choice affects which possible child is born to us. I will argue that any plausible account will entail that reasons of special concern do not bear in anything like the normal way on decisions about the identity of the object of special concern, and explore the surprising implications of this claim for the ethics of procreation, genetic engineering, and other identity-affecting practical decisions.

How to (dis)solve the Gamer's Dilemma

Erick Ramirez, Santa Clara University

The gamer's dilemma challenges us to find a distinction between virtual murder and virtual pedophilia. Without such a distinction, we are forced to conclude that either both are morally acceptable or that both should be morally licit. This paper argues that the best way to solve the dilemma is, in one sense, to dissolve it. The gamer's dilemma rests on a misunderstanding in the sense that it does not distinguish between the form of a simulation and its surface content. A greater appreciation of the way structural features of a simulation affect user experience will help us see why only simulations of murder and pedophilia generating virtually real experiences are likely to be seen as wrong. I argue that the structural elements of a simulation drastically affect how users experience simulated content and hence is an important, and heretofore neglected, variable to dissolve the Gamer's Dilemma. Properly understood, virtually real simulations of murder and pedophilia are both likely to be treated as morally wrong. However, virtually unreal murder and pedophilia will be less likely to be judged as wrong. The Gamer's dilemma dissolves as a dilemma once we acknowledge these structural features of simulations and how they affect experience and moral judgment.

Culpable Unresentables

Samuel Reis-Dennis, Berrman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University

I argue that strength, broadly construed, is a necessary condition on resentment. Weakness can make resentment unfitting in at least two ways. First, a lack of social power may prevent a wrongdoer from threatening or damaging her targets. Second, a weak wrongdoer may do damage, but be so pitiable or lowly that resentment, which aims to level or humble, would not make sense as a response. In both cases, we might think of such transgressors as culpable unresentables. Following Strawson, moral responsibility theorists have tended to assume that resentment-worthiness and moral agency, characterized by the ability to reason and be reasoned with, always travel together, and, significantly, that we can understand the nature of responsibility by determining whom we can resent. I argue that we should reject these assumptions and conclude that social power rather than moral status (understood in terms of agency), is the critical necessary condition on resentment-worthiness.

Quinean Predicativism

Michael Rieppel, Syracuse University

Quine (1960) proposed that names be treated as the predicate element of a covert description, expressing the property of being identical to the named individual. Fara (2015) has also argued for a predicative view of names, but one according which a name expresses the property of being called by that name. Whereas Fara's Being-Called Predicativism has received much attention in the recent literature, Quinean Predicativism has not. This neglect is undeserved. In this paper, I argue that close appositive constructions suggest that names can function as predicates expressing identifying properties of the sort proposed by Quine, and that an analysis which treats bare referential names as likewise expressing such identifying properties overcomes some of the central objections that have been raised against Being-Called Predicativism.

Aristotle on the Problem of First Principles

Evan Rodriguez, Idaho State University

How does one inquire into the truth of first principles? Where does one begin when deciding where to begin? Aristotle recognizes a series of difficulties when it comes to our understanding of the very starting points of a scientific or philosophical system, and contemporary scholars have encountered their own difficulties in understanding Aristotle's response. But a series of striking parallels between the Topics and Plato's Parmenides and Sophist show that Aristotle was familiar with a distinct Platonic method for testing candidate principles. The method does not provide a demonstrative guarantee, but it does offer a synoptic view of the consequences for each of an exclusive and exhaustive set of candidate principles. I argue that Aristotle not only recognizes this method and its application to the problem of first principles in the Topics, but also employs a version of the method when discussing first principles in his Metaphysics.

Aristotelian Ethics and The Fact of Reasonable Pluralism

Tristan Rogers, California State University, East Bay

Aristotle claims that the political community exists for the sake of the good life. Some political philosophers, however, who reject the idea that modern politics should have anything to do with the good life, dismiss Aristotle's idea because of what Rawls calls "the fact of reasonable pluralism." In this paper, I argue that it is false that reasonable pluralism undermines the Aristotelian idea about social cooperation. In fact, something like a consensus about the good life is a precondition for the very possibility of reasonable pluralism. This is because reasonable pluralism depends upon the idea of membership in a political community. Only by sharing a political community with a common set of institutions, practices, and norms is it possible for there to exist a sphere of public reason within which persons work out a conception of the good in concert with their fellow citizens.

Aquinas and Racial Shootings: Debunking Cop's Claims of Self-Defense

Alexandra Romanyshyn, Saint Louis University

This paper explores the question of whether implicit bias excuses policemen involved in racial shootings. Recent psychological work suggests that implicit racial bias causes people to perceive Black men as being a threat, in cases where no actual threat is posed. It seems plausible, then, that policemen involved in racial shootings actually act out of a perceived need for self-defense. However, even granting this charitable analysis, it seems that the use of lethal force is still inexcusable. To illustrate this point, I will use Aquinas's account of self-defense: he thinks that lethal force is only permissible if there is no other way to forestall the threat against one's life. Thus self-defense is not sufficient to excuse lethal force in racial shootings.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Becca Rothfeld, Harvard University

In recent years, several philosophers have suggested that the aesthetic value sometimes depends on moral value. In this paper, I motivate and defend the inverse position, the view that aesthetic value sometimes partially grounds moral value. I appeal to Grand Budapest Hotel and The Lovely Bones to show that maudlin treatments of morally serious subject matter are sometimes disrespectful because they are maudlin - that is, morally vicious because they are aesthetically vicious; I appeal to Madame Bovary to show that sensitive treatments of morally serious subject matter are compassionate because they are sensitive - that is, morally virtuous because they are aesthetically virtuous. I go on to clarify that aesthetic value and descriptive facts about the subject matter of an artwork jointly ground its moral value, and I conclude by exploring some of the technical features of the grounding relation obtaining between moral and aesthetic value.

Acting as a Reason

Devlin Russell, York University

Practical knowledge is thought to be necessary for intentional action, non-evidential, and the cause of what it understands. The dominant explanations of these features from cognitivists (like Kieran Setiya) and non-cognitivists (like Sarah Paul) suffer some well-known problems: the former make forming an intention look irrational and the latter explain too much away. In this paper, I argue that intentional action is not acting for a reason but as a reason. I show how this theory can give us an explanation of practical knowledge that avoids the above problems. According to this explanation, practical knowledge is not knowledge gained by reasoning practically but general knowledge about how to act used in it.

Role Morality for Political Liberals

Hamish Russell, University of Toronto

According to political liberals, justifications for the basic structure of society must be neutral between the various ethical, philosophical, and religious commitments that persons endorse as part of their "comprehensive doctrines." Political liberals propose to satisfy this neutrality constraint by only invoking "freestanding" values, which are consistent with all reasonable comprehensive doctrines. But should the same constraint be applied to the decisions of persons who occupy roles in the basic structure, such as public administrators, lawyers, and central bank managers? In this paper, I argue that the neutrality constraint must apply to roles in some way, but not in the same way as it applies to institutions, by limiting justifications to freestanding values. Counterintuitively, the neutrality constraint permits basic structural role occupants to be guided by their own ethical convictions, even though the same constraint prohibits appeals to such convictions when justifying basic structural institutions.

Philosophical Expertise Put to the Test

Pierre Saint-Germier, Aarhus University
Samuel Schindler, Arhus University

The so-called expertise defense has it that philosophers have skills superior to lay subjects when it comes to making judgements in philosophical thought experiments. Although the nature of philosophical expertise (should it exist) is controversial, it makes for an empirically testable hypothesis: philosophical education and training should improve judgements in philosophical thought experiments. In this paper, we tested this hypothesis on the basis of three skills which we identify as crucial for thought experimentation.

Cooperation and Shared Intentions

Jules Salomone, CUNY Graduate Center

I contend that shared intentions to ф are neither necessary nor sufficient for activity ф to count as cooperative. I first present the line of reasoning that may have led most shared agency theorists to hold the necessity claim. I then argue against the necessity claim. If agents share some intention, then there is a goal and/or plan that sharers of that intention can all be said to have, distributively, collectively or both; but I claim that participants to cooperative activities need not intend the achievement of the same goal and/or plan. I then argue against the sufficiency claim. Jointly intended activities may involve all sorts of power relations (competition, coercion, deception, exploitation...) that block such activities from being the equal expression of the agency of each participant, hence from being robustly cooperative. I conclude by sketching the contours of the concept of cooperation that emerges from this discussion.

The Distinctiveness of Domestic Violence

Macy Salzberger, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

In this paper, I consider what makes domestic violence a distinctively harmful kind of violence. In his account of the distinctiveness of domestic violence, Victor Tadros relies on a republican framework to argue that what makes domestic violence distinctive as a form a violence is that it is a kind of domination. Unlike other kinds of violence, Tadros argues, domestic violence characteristically subjects the victim's choices to the arbitrary control of their abuser. While I grant that Tadros's account names one distinctive feature, I argue that there is a further characteristic feature that makes domestic violence distinctive. Unlike many other kinds of generic violence, domestic violence characteristically alienates victims from their social lives. Because our social lives are often an important source of meaning in our lives, part of what makes domestic violence distinctive is that it serves to alienate victims from an important source of meaning in their lives.

Scientific Representation, Mental Representation, and Embodied Cognition

Gui Sanches de Oliveira, University of Cincinnati

The philosophical debate about how scientific models and simulations "represent" real-world phenomena has by and large proceeded in isolation from debates about "mental representation" in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. This poster draws from theories of embodied cognition to sketch two ways of bridging this gap. First, the "weak embodiment account" applies ideas from distributed and extended cognition (Hutchins 1995; Clark and Chalmers 1998) to frame scientific models as external, socially-distributed, materially-extended mental representations. Second, the "strong embodiment account" follows psychological anti-representationalism (Chemero 2009; Gallagher 2017; Di Paolo, Buhrmann, Barandiaran 2017) to frame scientific models as tools that facilitate embodied sense-making without having to "represent" target phenomena. These accounts reveal the relevance of the mental representation debate for philosophy of science, and suggest that the converse is also true: disagreement in cognitive science can be mitigated through gaining greater clarity about how psychological models relate to psychological phenomena.

A Framework for Bridging Human and Non-Human Economic Decision Making

Armin Schulz, University of Kansas

When and how can data from animal decision-making be useful for understanding human economic decision-making? To begin answering this question, this paper focuses on the debate about the most compelling theory of choice and establishes three overarching conclusions. First, it shows that what the debate among the different theories of choice comes down to is whether decision-making is monistic or pluralistic in nature. Second, it develops a methodological framework for relating data on animal decision-making to this question. Third, it shows that, so far, many of the data about animal decision-making favor a pluralistic view of economic decision making.

John Buridan on What Makes an Inference Necessary

Boaz Schuman, University of Toronto

This paper is about John Buridan's account of logical consequence, and in particular the metaphysical modality Buridan thinks underwrites it. As we will see, Buridan's account of necessity is radically different from that of later thinkers like Alfred Tarski, who also seek to analyse the common sense notion of logical consequence. And yet in spite of the far reaching logical implications of Buridan's account of modality, it has received very little attention in the secondary literature. What attention it has received is limited to exploring its metaphysical ramifications, not its logical ones. This is strange, because Buridan himself makes the connection, in his Questions on the Prior Analytics of Aristotle, where he sets out a four levels of modality, which are the focus of the present paper.

Staying Optimistic (about Neuroscience and Art)

William Seeley, Boston College

The challenge for cognitive scientists interested in understanding art is where to focus attention. This is the puzzle of locating art. Empirical studies of the arts often stumble over this puzzle. They sometimes conflate explanations of the grounds for preference judgments with explanations of the aesthetic qualities of artworks. They sometimes take explanations of how consumers perceive artworks as explanations of artistic understanding. When they do so their discussions fall flat because they are looking for art in the wrong place. This paper introduces and evaluates two skeptical arguments associated with the puzzle of locating art: the common perceptual mechanisms argument and the normative dimension of appreciation argument. I argue that these skeptical arguments can be resolved for cognitive science and aesthetics via more careful attention to the roles played by categorization processing and selective attention in ordinary perception.

Notions of Substance in Cavendish's Metaphysics

Jonathan Shaheen, Uppsala University

This paper argues that Cavendish operates with three notions of substance. Two are uncontroversial, but the third isn't, so the paper focuses on the argument for attributing it to Cavendish. This third notion of substance is the notion of an entity that can exist independently, in the sense that there could be worlds in which only it existed. Animate matter and inanimate matter are, for Cavendish, independent in this way. To show this, the paper argues on a textual basis that Cavendish took the doctrine of complete blending to be contingent. That doctrine says that even the smallest conceivable particles of nature are a mixture of animate and inanimate matter. If the doctrine were necessary, animate matter and inanimate matter couldn't exist independently. But it isn't, so they can. Cavendish is thus trialist: there is animate matter, inanimate matter, and their contingently blended union, infinite nature as a whole.

Algorithmic Paranoia: The Temporal Power of Predictive Policing

Bonnie Sheehey, University of Oregon -- Department of Philosophy

In light of the recent emergence of predictive techniques in law enforcement to forecast crimes before they occur, this paper examines the temporal power exercised by predictive policing algorithms. I argue that predictive policing exercises power through a paranoid temporality. Temporality is especially pertinent to understanding what is ethically at stake in predictive policing as it is continuous with a historical racialized practice of organizing, managing, controlling, and stealing time. Focusing on Chicago Police Department's Strategic Subject List (SSL), I illustrate how the temporality of this algorithm functions in a paranoid fashion to close off the possible past (what could have been) and the possible future (what could be) for non-whites.

Trust, Accountability, and Fake News

Paul Shephard, Indiana University

To stop the spread of fake news on social media, Regina Rini argues that we should focus on an institutional solution that establishes a norm of endorsement for social media posting, and proposes a possible solution that fits the bill. In this paper, I will build on Rini's project by developing a set of conditions that an adequate institutional solution to the fake news problem must meet. I will accomplish this goal by analyzing fake news transmission through the lens of epistemic trust. I will then use the lessons learned in that discussion to identify the criteria an institutional solution to the problem of fake news will have to address, which includes conditions that Rini's solution does not meet. Finally, I will propose my own solution, which is both inspired by Rini's proposal and meets all of the conditions that a solution must address.

Success Semantics, Reinforcing Satisfaction, and Sensory Inclinations

Meysam Shojaeenejad, University of Alberta
Howard Nye, University of Alberta

Success semantics holds, roughly, that what it is for a state of an agent to be a belief that P is for it to be disposed to combine with her desires to cause behavior that would fulfill those desires if P. J.T. White argues that this can be supplemented with an account of what an agent desires to provide an attractive naturalistic theory of mental content. Whyte's strategy is to give an account of the contents of an agent's "basic desires" that does not depend upon the contents of her beliefs, and then to explain the contents of her other desires and beliefs in terms of each other. In this paper we argue that Whyte's strategy can avoid the objections that have been raised against it by restricting the set of "basic desires" to sensory inclinations that cause us to do things quite independently of our beliefs about their contents.

Should an Ontological Pluralist be a Quantificational Pluralist?

Byron Simmons, Syracuse University

Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different ways of being. Recent defenders of this view - such as Kris McDaniel (2009, 2010b, 2017) and Jason Turner (2010, 2012) - have taken these ways of being to be most perspicuously represented by perfectly natural quantifiers ranging over distinct domains. They have thus endorsed, what I shall call, quantificational pluralism. I argue that this focus on quantification is a mistake. For if quantificational pluralism is true, then the quantifiers that represent the various ways of being should be more natural than their corresponding domains; but since it does not appear to be the case that these quantifiers are more natural than their corresponding domains, quantificational pluralism does not appear to be true. Thus, I claim, an ontological pluralist should not be a quantificational pluralist.

Confronting the Daoist Challenge: A McDowellian Elaboration of Mencius' Ethical Naturalism

Thomas Slabon, Philosophy Department, Stanford University

I explore how McDowell's account of second nature can help Confucian virtue ethics respond to naturalist critiques of cultivated virtues. I outline Mencius' account of the natural origins of virtue, with our natural potentiality requiring both socially-structured cultivation and reflective endorsement for their actualization. Then, I present the Daoist Challenge: Confucian virtues, because an external imposition on our nature, are unnatural and ought to be rejected. Finally, I show how McDowell's theory can help the Confucian to respond to this critique: McDowell's account of second nature actualized by way of socially-structured cultivation provides the theoretical resources necessary to naturalize the virtues. This shows the value of comparative philosophy as dynamic elucidation. McDowell helps clarify the Confucian response to the Daoist challenge, just as Confucianism offers a new perspective on possible structures of Bildung in McDowell's theory.

Against Disembodiment and for Disharmony in the Kantian Self

Catherine Smith, Iona College

Kant's Ethics is often thought to encourage a problematic disassociation between human beings and their physical or animal selves, in favor of a closer sense of identity with their purely rational or moral selves. In this paper, I argue that at least two parts of Kant's text: his discussion of duties to oneself in the Metaphysics of Morals, and his conception of self-respect in the Critique of Practical Reason and elsewhere, provide reasons to reject this reading. Although Kant holds that human beings are disharmonious creatures, this need not (and does not) imply that he holds we ought to escape that disharmony through wishful, would-be disembodiment.

Obsessions and Internality: Viewing Obsessions as Disordered Caring

Jared Smith, University of California, Riverside

Obsessions are generally thought of as paradigmatically external to the agents who experience them. This commonsense view of obsessions is used by Agnieszka Jaworska to place limits on her otherwise permissive theory of caring, which entails that carings are invariably internal in virtue of their structure as an attitude. As I argue, a subset of severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder fits the constitutive features of caring on Jaworska's account, revealing such obsessions to be internal rather than external. Rather than serve as a counter-example that undermines her theory, I argue that viewing clinical obsessions as disordered caring allows us to understand that obsessions are not paradigmatically external as they are often thought to be.

Fairness and Voluntary Acceptance

Edward Song, Westmont College

The principle of fairness suggests that it is wrong for free riders to benefit from a cooperative scheme without also assisting in the production of these benefits. Considerations of fairness are a familiar part of moral experience, yet there is a great deal of controversy as to when they rightly obtain. The primary debate concerns whether cooperative benefits need to be voluntarily accepted by participants. Most contemporary theorists working on the principle of fairness argue that acceptance is unnecessary because it does not appear to be present in a variety of cases where considerations of fairness seem applicable. I argue, however, that these cases are deceptive, that the idea of voluntary acceptance explains what is wrong with unfair actions, and that accounts of the principle of fairness that deny that acceptance is necessary have a hard time accounting for a central feature of judgments about fairness.

Rational Perceptions and Rational Intuitions

Elizabeth Southgate, Cornell University

Moral Intuitionists face an objection concerning disagreement. Widespread moral disagreement among competent moral agents is difficult to explain if moral propositions can be justified by a faculty of intuition possessed by all such agents. This paper explores a possible response to this problem. While characterizations of moral intuitions vary, a pervasive theme is to conceive of them as sui generis states analogous to perception. I suggest that, if intuitions are characterized this way then Intuitionists can utilize resources expounded by Siegel in {The Rationality of Perception} to explain both why disagreement occurs, and what has gone wrong when it happens. Siegel argues that sensory perceptions are rationally evaluable, I argue that intuitions should be thought of the same way.

Kant's Practical Constraints on Hope

Joseph Stratmann, University of California, San Diego

Hope occupies a central place in Kant's critical philosophy. Kant places both theoretical and practical constraints on the permissibility of hope. The theoretical constraints that Kant places on hope have received some attention in the secondary literature. Unfortunately, the practical constraints on hope have received less attention. I argue that Kant places two practical constraints on hoping for some proposition p. First, the content of one's hope must be oriented towards the highest good. That is, the permissibility of a hope p is to be judged based on whether it would bring us closer to or further away from the highest good, were p to be realized. Second, hoping for p also makes a demand on how one should act, viz. that one should strive towards realizing p. I conclude by briefly considering how well these constraints accord with those on our ordinary notion of hope.

Reevaluating Street's Evolutionary Account and its Implications for Metaethics

Kyle Stroh, Indiana University - Bloomington

This paper focuses on Sharon Street's account of evolutionary influences on our evaluative judgments as it is presented in "A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value." My particular interest in Street's account is her suggestion that evolutionary forces such as natural selection would be expected to lead to species-wide agreement in some of our basic evaluative tendencies. As I will argue, it is unlikely these evolutionary forces would lead to such tendencies being held to the same degree across all individuals of a species and this raises concerns about the extent to which we can be said to agree in our basic evaluative tendencies. If the implications of natural selection lead us to the conclusion that there is widespread disagreement in our basic evaluative tendencies, then the ways in which metaethical theories must account for such evolutionary influence will significantly differ from those proposed by Street.

What Would a Confucian Do when Filial Piety and Laws Conflict?

Weimin Sun, California State University Northridge

This paper will start from Confucius's discussion of the case how the son should treat the father who stole a sheep, and trace historical responses to this kind of conflict between filial piety and laws in later Confucians, including Mengzi, Xunzi, and neo-Confucians. It turns out that later Confucians' resolutions to the conflict differ significantly from Confucius's own, contrary to what many commentators assumed and even some Confucians believed in themselves. Some suggestions are made to explain such an interesting historical development.

Epistemic Akrasia and Belief-Credence Dualism

Peter Tan, University of Virginia
Elizabeth Jackson, University of Notre Dame

We argue that familiar cases of epistemic akrasia support belief-credence dualism. Belief-credence dualism the view that belief and credence are distinct, equally fundamental attitudes. Consider the case of an agent who both believes p and has a low credence in p. We argue that dualists, as opposed to belief-firsters (who say belief is more fundamental than credence) and credence-firsters (who say credence is more fundamental than belief) can best explain features of akratic cases, including the observation that akratic beliefs seem to be held despite possessing a defeater for those beliefs, and the observation that, in akratic cases, one can simultaneously believe and have low confidence in the very same proposition.

Heidegger's Critique of Mechanistic Biology

Mark Tanzer, University of Colorado Denver

Heidegger's most extensive analysis of animals includes an assessment of contemporary biology's conflict between the proponents of a materialistic, mechanistic conception of the organism, and the vitalists and teleologists that opposed this view. While Heidegger is unequivocally critical of the latter, his conception of the organism constitutes a direct attack on mechanism. Specifically, Heidegger argues that organisms exhibit an asymmetrical dependence-relation with their organs, which ultimately determines the possession and exercise of those organs to be a necessity that need not obtain. That is, organisms are ontologically structured in such a way that they can actually fail to possess or exercise organs, although such possession and exercise are definitive of their very way of being. This view of the organism is an attack on mechanism insofar as the mechanist interprets organisms as ontologically no different than mere objects, whose way of being precludes the possibility of lacking their ontologically constitutive determinations.

Considering Oneself as Part of a Whole in Descartes' Philosophy

Melanie Tate, University of Washington, Seattle

In this paper, I examine René Descartes' claim that we should see ourselves as forming a whole with others. Patrick Frierson argues that we should see ourselves as forming a whole with others because we receive joy when we see ourselves in this way. However, I argue that Descartes holds that we should see ourselves as joined with others because we are actually joined with others. As Descartes establishes in the Meditations, Principles of Philosophy, and his correspondence, we are small parts of a greater universe. This metaphysical claim is the basis for his ethical claim that we should see ourselves as joined with others, as he holds that individuals who sacrifice themselves for others believe that they actually form a whole with others and he maintains that simply knowing the truth that we are a small part of the universe is valuable.

Animals and Cartesian Consciousness: The Debate Between Pardies and Dilly

Evan Thomas, Ohio State University

Descartes's view that animals are automata sparked a fruitful controversy in early modern philosophy. In this paper, I examine a dispute between anti-Cartesian Ignace Pardies and Cartesian Antoine Dilly. I provide an interpretation of Pardies's objection to the Cartesian animal automatists that animals have "sensible perception" but lack "intellectual perception." The difference between these two types of perception is that the latter is reflexive such that we both perceive an external object and the perception itself, whereas sensible perception lacks these reflections. Dilly argued that Pardies's notion of sensible perception amounts to a kind of unconscious perception that should consequently be rejected by Cartesians. However, I argue that a closer look at Pardies's text reveals that he took sensible perception to be a kind of conscious yet inattentive perception. Moreover, I claim that when understood in this way Pardies raises a compelling objection to Cartesian animal automatists.

The Timing Problem is Not a Problem

Travis Timmerman, Seton Hall University

Deprivationists hold that death is bad for the person who dies to the extent that it deprives them of the net good they would have accrued were their actual death not to occur. Perhaps the biggest problem deprivationists face is the Timing Problem. They face the challenge of locating the time that death is bad for a person. Every possible answer to this question has been defended in the literature, yet each answer can seemingly be shown to be subject to compelling objections. In this paper, I argue that the force of the Timing Problem is illusory. Specifically, I argue that the problem, as formulated in the literature, is underspecificed. Any adequately precise form of the question "What time(s) is death bad for the person who dies?" is one to which deprivationists have a clear, decisive, and unproblematic answer.

What's Wrong with Seeing Race?

Katherine Tullmann, Northern Arizona University

Racialized seeing is the capacity to see the race of another person based solely on visible racial markers (e.g., skin color, hair texture and color, etc.). Racialized seeing is at play in implicit bias and action-subjects make unconscious judgments about another person based on that individual's perceived race and associated beliefs. Thus, it might seem that we should attempt to stop seeing race altogether. The alternative position is racial colorblindness. This paper explores the epistemic implications of seeing race and how these implications lean towards either a colorblind or "color sighted" normative position. The epistemic impact of racialized seeing includes denying the seen subject full individuality and rationality, and denies the seer a coherent social perspective. I argue that, despite the potential epistemic harm of much racialized seeing, we should accept the color sighted position and advocate for more epistemically responsible practices of racialized seeing.

Motivational Inversion in Appreciation

Servaas van der Berg, University of British Columbia

On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticizes a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. This paper revisits his criticisms and extracts an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterize appreciative engagement in terms of a distinctive motivational profile: at minimum, the motivational profile they propose must make a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. The paper then develops a proposal to meet this challenge, by drawing an analogy between how attention is guided in appreciation and how practical action is guided in a mode of game play foregrounded in recent work by Thi Nguyen. The upshot is an account on which appreciation involves attention guided by cognitive goals we take up instrumentally, for the sake of the cognitive activity that results from attending under the guidance of those goals.

Can Hijacked Experience be Epistemically OK?

Alejandro Vesga, Cornell University

In {The Rationality of Perception}, Susanna Seigel argues that our psychological outlooks can hijack our perceptual experiences. That is, our non-perceptual mental states can skew the content of our perceptions in a way that further confirms and entrenches our beliefs, prejudices or desires. Jane's prejudiced belief that Jack is dangerous can yield a hijacked perception of Jack being dangerous. Seigel suggests that perceptual hijacking renders our perceptions irrational. For it compromises their epistemic standing. I argue that sometimes an agent's hijacked perceptions can be said to be rational, even if systematically skewed, or inaccurate. Agents can forge false outlooks through testimony in an epistemically sound way. In cases like these, the epistemic standing of the perceptions affected by these outlooks is epistemically appropriate and, therefore, not irrational. In cases like these culture, not the agent's psychological outlook, has hijacked their perception.

Husserl and Merleau-Ponty on the Motivational Character of Experience

Philip Walsh, Fordham University

Husserl's concept of motivation is a unifying thread spanning his entire corpus, and it is this thread which Merleau-Ponty identifies and makes central to his own philosophy, specifically in Phenomenology of Perception. This concept designates a structural relation between experiential moments that is disclosed by a distinctive phenomenal character - the "motivational character" of experience. Merleau-Ponty's Husserlian heritage consists in his attempt to articulate the motivational character of experience and the structure it discloses. This paper (1) identifies how Merleau-Ponty understood the concept of motivation as essential to a radical re-conception (already latent in Husserl) of intentionality; and (2) characterizes the originary sense of motivation found in volitional phenomena that Husserl and Merleau-Ponty sought to generalize across broader domains of experience.

Justice for (and by) Philosophers: Professional Ethics and Punishing Our Own

Timothy Weidel, Gonzaga University

It should come as no surprise to almost every philosopher to hear that professional philosophy struggles with problems of sexual harassment and assault. In this paper I take up the question of whether or not we as a philosophical community have sufficient moral justification for acting to punish such members. I will argue that there are grounds on which some variety of punishment is justifiable. I will engage with two objections against punishment (the "Heidegger" and "Ad Hominem" objections), and argue that neither provides sufficient support against punishment. Furthermore, I argue that viewing philosophy through the lens of a profession provides independent reasons in favor of philosophers punishing their own members in some way. Based on an analysis of the professional elements of philosophy, I will then offer a positive justification for punishment by drawing on Christopher Bennett's account of punishment as a withdrawal of communal legitimacy.

Return of the Living Dead; Ethics and the Resurrection of Zombie Species

Jennifer Welchman, University of Alberta

Proponents of deextinction argue resurrection technologies offer potentially useful new tools for conserving wild species. Many environmental philosophers have demurred, arguing that support for such technologies is neither rationally nor morally justifiable on conservation grounds, for some or all of the following reasons; (i) animal suffering is inevitable, (ii) serious adverse ecological effects are possible, (iii) feasibility as a means of maintaining biodiversity is dubious,(iv) it's a bait-and-switch that produces inauthentic artificial bio-objects rather than restoring extinct wild species, (v) it's yet another expression of deplorable human arrogance towards nature. I argue none are compelling for de-extinction projects aimed at members of a largely neglected category of extinct species, i.e., "the living dead," those not yet absent from the wild but "functionally extinct."

Phenomenology and the Negation of Narrative in Schizophrenia

Kayla Wiebe, University of Toronto

As a condition in which the self breaks down, schizophrenia can reveal something interesting about the structure of selfhood. In this paper, I argue that the possession of an intact minimal self, and the ability to construct coherent and meaningful narratives about one's life and experience, are independent. That is, even if persons with schizophrenia suffer a breakdown of their minimal self, they are still capable of constructing a narrative self. This is contrary to the leading phenomenological theory (in this paper, articulated by Josef Parnas, Louis Sass, and Dan Zahavi), which maintains that the "minimal self" is a necessary prerequisite for all other more substantial selves, like the narrative self. If schizophrenia is a breakdown of the minimal self, and if the narrative self is both "phenomenologically and ontologically dependent" upon the minimal self (Zahavi 106, 2005), the worrisome consequence is that persons with schizophrenia cannot have a meaningful narrative sense of self.

Pain Testimonies: Filling in the Gap

Jada Wiggleton-Little, University of California, San Diego

Pain testimonies are the communications of one's pain experiences to an intended audience. However, nondiagnostic characteristics such as a patient's skin color or attractiveness can shape the clinician's perceived trustworthiness of the patient with respect to a particular pain testimony. Elizabeth Fricker (1994) identifies a testimony's trustworthiness as the gap-bridging property that allows for hearer H to bridge the logical and epistemic gap between speaker S's testimony, that I am in pain, and the pain state. Ema Sullivan-Bissett (2015) notes confabulation guided by implicit bias possesses a similar gap-bridging property. I argue the similarities in function between implicit bias and a testimony's trustworthiness allows for judgment justified by implicit bias to easily be mistaken as a judgment justified by a testimony's trustworthiness. Moreover, I highlight the results of recent studies on implicit bias in healthcare, and interpret these results as potential evidence of clinicians committing such a mistake.

Many, but Almost One

Evan Woods, The Ohio State University

The problem of the many threatens to show that, in general, there are far more ordinary objects than you might have thought. I present, motivate, and defend a solution to this problem using many-one identity. According to this solution, the many things that seem to have what it takes to be a cat, for instance, in the vicinity of a cat are collectively identical to that single cat. I conclude by comparing this solution to a competing solution.

Plausible Deniability and Taking Responsibility for Another's Belief

Steven Woodworth, Stanford University

In this talk I examine the threat plausible deniability poses to the transmission of testimonial knowledge. I grant the widespread assumption that if a speaker can plausibly deny having intended to communicate that p, then her responsibility for a hearer's corresponding belief that p is thereby diminished. I however reject the premise that a speaker can always plausibly deny having intended to communicate that p if the hearer must rely on non-linguistic contextual knowledge for the recovery of p. The availability of plausible deniability is thus not as pervasive as an argument by Elizabeth Fricker and Andrew Peet implies. Along the way I aim to clarify what it is to take responsibility for another's belief. I distinguish a minimal condition on responsibility from richer practices of answerability and accountability. Plausible deniability undermines the former, but its difficulty as an ethical problem is due to insufficient theorization of the latter.

Will and Habit in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy

John Wright, Central Michigan University

One of the greatest paradoxes of habit is based on the fact that while the thoughts and actions that result from repeated action and experience in some cases appear to be voluntary, in others completely involuntary and mechanical. One British philosopher in the early modern period who clearly sets out this paradox is John Locke. In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he identifies habit as a voluntary power which has been acquired by frequent doing the same thing. However, he goes on to distinguish habit in this sense from habit as an involuntary disposition. In this paper, I identify numbers of 18th-century British philosophers including Joseph Butler, David Hume, George Turnbull, William Porterfield, and Dugald Stewart who follow Locke in discussing the relation between habit and the will. I conclude by arguing that increasingly during the 18th century Locke's original distinction between active and passive habits disappears, with philosophers arguing that all habitual actions are performed voluntarily.

How I Come to Doubt Safety is What We Really Need (for Knowledge)

Haicheng Zhao, Saint Louis University

According to the safety principle, one's belief in p is safe iff, roughly, p could not easily have been false. Many epistemologists agree that knowledge must be safe. In this paper, I pose a dilemma for safety theorists by asking the following question: In evaluating whether or not a belief is safe, must we only examine the error-possibilities of the same belief as formed in the actual world? On the answer "yes," I argue, safety is vulnerable to certain Gettier-style case involving contingent propositions and it also meets the familiar objection regarding necessary truths. On the answer "no," however, there is no necessity of safety for knowledge. The conclusion is that safety theorists either have to abandon the safety principle or radically reconstruct their view.

Constitutive and Consequentialist Essence

Justin Zylstra, University of Vermont

Recent work on essence describes essence as assimilated to definition. It also posits a plurality of concepts of essence. How does assimilation relate to plurality? In the case of consequentialist essence, plurality gives rise to a concept of essence that is not assimilated to definition, and yet there are methodological prescriptions in the literature to deploy it. This is a problem. In this paper, I develop a novel theory of essence and use it to solve this problem.

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