Matching Items (6)

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Here be dragons: a primer for tropology and the philosophical cartography thereof

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My job in this thesis is to explore a supposedly dragon-filled area of philosophy, tropology. By 'tropology,' I only mean the study of figurative speech, or, more particularly, metaphors. It

My job in this thesis is to explore a supposedly dragon-filled area of philosophy, tropology. By 'tropology,' I only mean the study of figurative speech, or, more particularly, metaphors. It seems clear to most people that metaphors have meaning. But this fact flies in the face of several different theories of meaning. Such as, the meaning of a metaphor can't be properly conveyed by Possible Worlds Semantics or Truth-Conditional Semantics. Tropology is also an area of philosophy with very few commonly accepted theories. It is not like the study of reference, where there are two theories, each having a large following. The the various theories in tropology are so radically different, with each having relatively few followers, that the it is widely unexplored in philosophy. Some theories claim that metaphors is the exact same as another use of speech (namely, similes). Another claims that metaphors lack “meaning.” And a third claims that metaphors do 'mean' but getting at that meaning requires some special mental operations. By the end of this thesis, you will not only have my map of tropology, my theory of metaphors, but also some experimental philosophy about them to help put to rest some theories.

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  • 2016

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Epistemic norms and permissive rationality

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This dissertation consists of three essays, each of which closely relates to epistemic norms for rational doxastic states. The central issue is whether epistemic rationality is impermissive or not: For

This dissertation consists of three essays, each of which closely relates to epistemic norms for rational doxastic states. The central issue is whether epistemic rationality is impermissive or not: For any total evidence E, is there a unique doxastic state that any possible agent with that total evidence E should take (Uniqueness), or not (Permissivism)?

“Conservatism and Uniqueness”: Conservatism is the idea that an agent’s beliefs should be stable as far as possible when she undergoes a learning experience. Uniqueness is the idea that any given body of total evidence uniquely determines what it is rational to believe. Epistemic Impartiality is the idea that you should not give special treatment to your beliefs solely because they are yours. I construe Epistemic Impartiality as a meta-principle governing epistemic norms, and argue that it is compatible with Conservatism. Then I show that if Epistemic Impartiality is correct, Conservatism and Uniqueness go together; each implies the other.

“Cognitive Decision Theory and Permissive Rationality”: In recent epistemology, philosophers have deployed a decision theoretic approach to justify various epistemic norms. A family of such accounts is known as Cognitive Decision Theory. According to Cognitive Decision Theory, rational beliefs are those with maximum expected epistemic value. How does Cognitive Decision Theory relate to the debate over permissive rationality? As one way of addressing this question, I present and assess an argument against Cognitive Decision Theory.

“Steadfastness, Deference, and Permissive Rationality”: Recently, Benjamin Levinstein has offered two interesting arguments concerning epistemic norms and epistemic peer disagreement. In his first argument, Levinstein claims that a tension between Permissivism and steadfast attitudes in the face of epistemic peer disagreement generally leads us to conciliatory attitudes; in his second argument, he argues that, given an ‘extremely weak version of a deference principle,’ Permissivism collapses into Uniqueness. However, in this chapter, I show that both arguments fail. This result supports the following claim: we should treat steadfast attitudes and at least some versions of a deference principle as viable positions in the discussion about several types of Permissivism, because they are compatible with any type of Permissivism.

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  • 2016

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Necessary Evil or Unnecessary God?: Evaluating the Problem of Suffering

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In this thesis, I discuss the philosophical problem of evil and, as a response, John Hick's soul making theodicy. First, I discuss the transformation of the problem. I examine how

In this thesis, I discuss the philosophical problem of evil and, as a response, John Hick's soul making theodicy. First, I discuss the transformation of the problem. I examine how the problem has shifted from logical to evidential in recent history. Next, I offer a faithful rendition of Hick's position - one which states the existence of evil does not provide evidence against the existence of God. After reconstructing his argument, I go on to exposes its logical faults. I present four main contentions to Hick's theodicy. First, I analyze the psychology of dehumanization to question whether we have any evidence that soul making is happening in response to the suffering in the world. Second, I argue that Hick's theodicy is self-defeating if accepted because it undermines the central point on which his argument depends. Third, I claim that Hick's theodicy is self-defeating given his eschatological views. Finally, I discuss how Hick's theodicy does not account for the animal suffering that widely exists in the world now, and that exists in our evolutionary history. My hope is to show that Hick's theodicy fails to solve the problem of evil. I claim that the amount of gratuitous suffering in the world does provide evidence against the existence of God.

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  • 2018

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Logical generics and gay identity

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Gays identity is usually cast in generics--statements about an indeterminate number of members in a given category. Sometimes these generic statements often get built up into folk definitions, vague and

Gays identity is usually cast in generics--statements about an indeterminate number of members in a given category. Sometimes these generic statements often get built up into folk definitions, vague and imprecise ways to talk about objects. Other times generics get co-opted into authentic definitions, definitions that pick out a few traits and assert that real members of the class have these traits and members that do not are simply members by a technicality. I assess how we adopt these generic traits into our language and what are the ramifications of using generic traits as a social identity. I analyze the use of authentic definitions in Queer Theory, particularly Michael Warner's use of authentic traits to define a normative Queer identity. I do not just simply focus on what are the effects, but how these folk or authentic definitions gain currency and, furthermore, how can they be changed. I conclude with an analytic account of what it means to be gay and argue that such an account will undercut many of the problems associated with folk or authentic definitions about being gay.

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  • 2012

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Panpsychism and the combination problem

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Panpsychist double aspect theory, the most promising version of panpsychism, holds that the mental and the physical are mutually irreducible properties, or features, of ultimate matter, therefore they both are

Panpsychist double aspect theory, the most promising version of panpsychism, holds that the mental and the physical are mutually irreducible properties, or features, of ultimate matter, therefore they both are ontologically fundamental and ubiquitous. This version of panpsychism involves the following two notions: anti-reductivism and anti- emergentism. The former states that mental phenomena are not recordable in terms of physics. The latter implies that mental phenomena do not causally arise only from a certain macroscale physical condition, and the mental and the physical do not constitute an ontological hierarchy. From these notions, it follows that any macroscale mental phenomenon is the result of a combination of ultimate mental properties. Yet this idea creates the combination problem: how higher level mentality, e.g., human or animal consciousness, arises from lower level mentality, the ultimate mental "particles." Panpsychist double aspect theory purports to find the proper location of mind in the world without being vulnerable to typical mind-body problems. Nevertheless, since this version of panpsychism explains the ontological structure of higher level mentality as analogous to the atomic structure of a molecular physical entity, the combination problem arises. In Chapter 1, I explain the general conception of panpsychism. Chapter 2 shows the plausibility of panpsychist double aspect theory and how the combination problem arises from this version. I discuss the history and implications of the combination problem in Chapter 3. In Chapter 4, I introduce some alternative versions of panpsychism that do not raise the combination problem, and point out their implausibility. The intelligibility of mental combination is explained in Chapter 5. The moral of these chapters is that our epistemic intuition that mind is not composed of "smaller" minds fails to undermine the possibility that mind is structurally complex. In Chapter 6, I argue that C. Koch and G. Tononi's integrated information theory (IIT) is a form of panpsychism, and that the IIT can serve as a model for solving the combination problem. However, I am not committed to the IIT, and I point out theoretical weaknesses of the IIT besides the combination problem.

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  • 2013

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Issues in the Normativity of Logic and the Logic as Model View

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After surveying the literature on the normativity of logic, the paper answers that logic is normative for reasoning and rationality. The paper then goes on to discuss whether this

After surveying the literature on the normativity of logic, the paper answers that logic is normative for reasoning and rationality. The paper then goes on to discuss whether this constitutes a new problem in issues in normativity, and the paper affirms that it does. Finally, the paper concludes by explaining that the logic as model view can address this new problem.

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Date Created
  • 2017