Thursday, July 10, 2014

Philosophers' Carnival CLXV

Welcome to the 165th edition of the Philosophers' Carnival! We have the good fortune of having a diverse selection of posts, proposing ideas, examining assumptions, raising questions across a wide field of serious philosophical inquiry. Since summer's a great time to break out of the parochial ruts into which we all occasionally fall, I've deliberately jumbled up topics so as to avoid slotting them into categories; and I think you'll see, if you read through a number of the links without pre-categorizing them as 'philosophy of mind' or 'philosophy of sport' or the like, several of them turn out to have ramifications in more than one field. Count that as your bit of professional moralizing for the day, or ignore it entirely, but by all means jump in and see what's on offer!

* Stephen Harris, Comment on Lele’s “The Compassionate Gift of Vice” (Journal of Buddhist Ethics Vol 20. 2013) at the Indian Philosophy Blog:

The article, “The Compassionate Gift of Vice: Śāntideva on Gifts, Altruism and Poverty” takes as its point of departure an apparent contradiction in Śāntideva’s writing. Śāntideva instructs the bodhisattva to give gifts such as alcohol, sex and weapons to those desiring them. Yet the text as a whole is clear that these objects harm their possessor. Particularly puzzling is Śāntideva claim that alcohol should be given to alcoholics to help them develop mindfulness and introspection, since he specifically claims that consumption of alcohol hinders developing these mental states (Lele, 703).

* Ruth Chang, Dao Article Discussion – Ralph Weber on Comparison in Comparative Philosophy:

Weber’s paper begins with a cri de coeur, one with which I couldn’t agree with more: “Comparison is fundamental to the practice and subject-matter of philosophy, but has received scant attention by philosophers.” Most of my research to date explores the nature of comparability in the context of axiology and practical reason, but I have often felt as if I’m whistling in the wind. Understanding the nature of comparison, I believe, is critical for understanding rationality, rational agency, the nature of values, action, and normativity in general. Weber’s paper helps demonstrate how attention to comparison is also important for what’s called ‘comparative philosophy’.

* Catarine Dutilh-Novaes, Preferential logics, supraclassicality, and human reasoning at "M-Phi" (also cross-posted at NewAPPS):

[I]f we want to explain both undergeneration and overgeneration within one and the same formal system, we seem to have a real problem with the logics available in the market. Logics that are strictly subclassical, i.e. which do not sanction some classically valid arguments but also do not sanction anything classically invalid (such as intuitionistic or relevant logics), will be unable to account for overgeneration. Logics that are strictly supraclassical, i.e. which sanction everything that classical logic sanctions and some more (such as preferential logics), will be unable to account for undergeneration.

* Amod Lele, Paradigms in Philosophy:

The danger of a paradigmless field...is one visible in the works of a Richard Rorty, where philosophy is explicitly viewed as simply a matter of ever-expanding conversation without truth as a referent. The activity may turn out to be pointless. And so in many such fields it is often worth trying to establish a paradigm, create a model of work that others can then take as first principles. Wilber has tried to do so and I think he has failed. But that shouldn’t stop the rest of us from trying.

* Marcus Arvan, A Posteriori Necessity: Misled by Language at "The Philosophers' Cocoon":

Kripke's discovery of a posteriori necessity is often invoked as a great discovery in 20th Century Analytic Philosophy. I think it was an important discovery--just not what some seem to have thought it to be.

* Ralph Wedgwood, State-given reasons not to believe, at "PEA Soup":

According to a common view, the difference between the “right” kind of reasons that support the distinctive rationality of belief, intention, or other attitudes, and the “wrong” kind of reasons that do not, is that the former are “object-given” reasons while the latter are “state-given” reasons. As I shall argue here, this view is false: it is open to some simple counterexamples.

In this post, I shall explain why the reason that explains why it is irrational to believe Moore-paradoxical propositions (like the proposition that you might express by uttering a first-person present-tensed sentence of the form ‘p and I don’t believe that p’) is a state-given reason, even though it is a reason of “the right kind”.

* Maryann Spikes, Leibnizian Moral Argument? at "Ichthus77":

I think my moral argument for God's existence is similar to Leibniz' cosmological argument (except it has to do with the explanation of the Good, a.k.a the Golden Rule).

* David Papineau, Morality, Convention and Football Fakery at "More Important than That":

[H]ow can just the same action be morally acceptable in one sport but not in another? Am I saying that morality is relative? Not at all. To untangle this issue we need first to distinguish between morality and convention, and then to understand their relationship.

* Alexander Pruss, The argument from vagueness at "Alexander Pruss's Blog":

Here's an argument inspired by Plantinga's argument from counterfactuals:

The meaning of a word is wholly determined by the decisions of language users.
The meaning of "bald" is not wholly determined by the decisions earthly language users.
Therefore, there is a non-earthly language user whose decisions at least partly determine the meaning of "bald".

* Jean Kazez, Borderline Cases at "In Living Color":

Anne Fausto-Sterling's books are informative and fascinating. She writes in an exploratory, non-dogmatic way that I really appreciate. She is hard to pin down and I (often) like authors who are hard to pin down. But one argument she seems to make in her books does not convince me much -- the argument that sex must be socially constructed, based on there being intersex individuals who wind up "assigned" to a sex in a social fashion.

* Wolfgang Schwarz, What are our options? at "wo's weblog":

Lewis, in "Causal Decision Theory" (1981, p.308):

Suppose we have a partition of propositions that distinguish worlds where the agent acts differently ... Further, he can act at will so as to make any one of these propositions hold, but he cannot act at will so as to make any proposition hold that implies but is not implied by (is properly included in) a proposition in the partition. ... Then this is the partition of the agent's alternative options.

That can't be right.

* Shawn Klein, Sportsmanship, MMA, and Sacrificing Victory at "Philosophy of Sport" (also cross-posted at The Sports Ethicist):

...I claim that sportsmanship is the embodiment of the kinds of virtues and moral dispositions that are proper for those participating in athletics and sports. I don’t think this is too controversial a claim; that is, until we start to unpack just what the claim really means (a huge project beyond the scope of a blog post).

But one important implication of this claim (one that follows from the nature of virtue) is that sportsmanship ought not to be reserved for exceptional or extraordinary actions. Sportsmanship is the manner of acting to which _all_ the participants should be held. It shouldn’t be analogous to sainthood.

* Nomy Arpaly, Aristotle and Autism: Some Thoughts about Moral Virtue at "PEA Soup":

Tim Schroeder and I have defended a view according to which even though virtuous people seem different from the rest of us in many ways, it basically comes down to a difference in desires. A person who has a deep intrinsic desire for the right and the good de re (or desires for the various things that are right and good) is as a result not only disposed to act differently but also has a different mental life in many ways, emotional and cognitive. For the purpose of this post, though, it doesn’t matter if we talk about what we intrinsically desire or what we care about as long as we assume neither is a cognitive state.

I would like develop this view further, with attention to questions I keep getting.

* Terence Blake, Latour and Mathematics: Heuristics and Hermeneutics at "Agent Swarm", as part of an ongoing series examining Latour's work:

Bruno Latour is well-known for having applied semiotic and post-structuralist thought to the study of the natural sciences – typically a blind spot in the generalised critique of institutions of thought that characterised the 60s and 70s in French philosophical thought. Indeed Latour himself regarded this complaisaance towards the hard sciences as a defect in Foucault’s project. Yet even Latour has seemed to have nothing to say about that most demonstrative and apodictic of all the sciences – mathematics. Here it would seem that all the Latourian insistence on what may be called the heuristics of scientific research, on what he calls “science in the making”, is incapable of including mathematics in any informative way within its purview.

* Bill Vallicella, Divine Simplicity, the Formal Distinction, and the Real Distinction at "Maverick Philosopher":

There appear to be two ways of construing 'real distinction.' On the first construal, the real distinction is plainly different from the formal distinction. On a second construal, it is not so clear what the difference is. I have no worked-out view. In this entry I am merely trying to understand the difference between these two sorts of distinction and how they bear upon the divine simplicity, though I will not say anything more about the latter in this installment.

* Jakob Hohwy, Is prediction error minimization all there is to the mind? at "Brains":

The prediction error minimization theory (PEM) says that the brain continually seeks to minimize its prediction error – minimize the difference between its predictions about the sensory input and the actual sensory input. It is an extremely simple idea but from it arises a surprisingly resourceful conception of brain processing. In this post, I’ll try to motivate the somewhat ambitious idea that PEM explains everything about the mind.

* Richard Yetter Chappell, Allocating Asylum at "Philosophy, et cetera":

Suppose that:
(1) There are more English-speaking refugees seeking asylum than there are available "positions" for refugees in your country (let's call it "NZ") given current policy.
(2) Migrants (including refugees) who speak English are more easily integrated into NZ than those who don't already speak the language. Thus, a greater number of English-speaking refugees (only) could be accepted into the country at no greater cost or institutional strain relative to current policy.

...[S]hould we think it at least an improvement upon the status quo to introduce a policy of letting in a greater number of refugees all of whom are English-speaking?

* Eric Schwitzgebel, The Calibration View of Moral Reflection, at "The Splintered Mind":

On the calibration view, the proper role of philosophical moral theorizing is not moral self-improvement but rather more precisely targeting the (possibly quite mediocre) moral level you're aiming for. This could often involve consciously deciding to act morally worse.

* And a passing of note. Joyce Mitchell Cook passed away in early June, and the blog for the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers reflects on a portion of her contribution to the profession in Remembering Joyce Mitchell Cook:

Dr. Cook was the first African American woman to earn the Ph.D. in Philosophy (Yale, 1965). Her areas of specialization included value theory, ethics, and social and political philosophy. We learned yesterday that she passed away on June 6, 2014.


Since it's summer, I'll also remind everyone that there are a great many philosophy-themed podcasts currently available. Here is just a selection:

* SpaceTimeMind: Richard Brown and Pete Mandik discuss philosophy, science, and a whole bunch of other stuff, with musical interludes provided by their band, Quiet Karate Reflex.
* The Partially Examined Life: Informal roundtable discussion of philosophy, philosophers, and philosophical texts by Mark Linsenmayer, Seth Paskin, Wes Alwan, and Dylan Casey.
* History of Philosophy without any gaps: Peter Adamson discusses the history of philosophy while making sure not to skip lesser known figures with interesting ideas and arguments.
* Philosophy Bites: David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton interview philosophers in bite-sized bits.

The next Philosophers' Carnival will be hosted at Philosophical Disquisitions one month from now. Please help everyone out by looking for good philosophy posts over the next month and submitting them through the Philosophers' Carnival page!

1 comment:

  1. Chris_Huff11:38 PM

    As someone who's really trying to work his way through the history of philosophy for the first time - at an amateur's level, at least - I'm really enjoying Peter Adamson's History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps Podcast series. I spend a lot of time on the road these days, and it's nice to be able to throw this on my phone for long trips (one of a few podcasts I like to listen to, depending on my mood). To his credit, the thing I do like about his series is his attempt to involve areas outside Western Europe (which is where most History of Philosophy series tend to place their focus).

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