Matching Items (11)

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Virtue Epistemology and the Epistemic Communist

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Many philosophers have attempted to define what it is to be rational. Yet, each attempt faces insurmountable objections, throwing it away in place of another. This lack of success has motivated some authors to seek a deflationary theory of rationality,

Many philosophers have attempted to define what it is to be rational. Yet, each attempt faces insurmountable objections, throwing it away in place of another. This lack of success has motivated some authors to seek a deflationary theory of rationality, particularly Sinan Dogramaci and his epistemic communism, hoping that reducing the breadth and obligation of the theory lessens the obstacles. This paper is divided into three parts. In the first part, I highlight previous attempts to define rationality. In the second part, epistemic communism is explained. In the third part, I argue that the answer of the virtue epistemologist Ernest Sosa to the knowledge-related “value problem” can parallel to show that rationality has intrinsic value. And if rationality has intrinsic value, then rationality is not fully accounted for in epistemic communism.

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2019-05

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Identity and Mental Files

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The purpose of this paper will be to show that the 'merge' model of mental files is to be preferred to the 'link' model of mental files because some of the problems that arise for the 'merge' model also arise

The purpose of this paper will be to show that the 'merge' model of mental files is to be preferred to the 'link' model of mental files because some of the problems that arise for the 'merge' model also arise for the 'link' model, and because the problems for the 'merge' model can be argued against via counterexamples or explained away. This will be shown by giving a detailed description of what both the link model and the merge model of mental files entail. The flaws of the mental file merge model will be presented, followed by the advantages of the link model, ending with several arguments as to why the merge model is better suited to explain our intuitions about identity than the link model.

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2015-05

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Emergence and cosmic hermeneutics

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Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical.

Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical. However, emergentist views have been subjected to a variety of powerful objections: they are alleged to be self-contradictory, incompatible with mental causation, justified by unreliable intuitions, and in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I defend the emergentist position against these objections. I clarify the concepts of supervenience and of ontological novelty in a way that ensures the emergentist position is coherent, while remaining distinct from physicalism and traditional dualism. Making note of the equivocal way in which the concept of sufficiency is used in Jaegwon Kim's arguments against emergent mental causation, I argue that downward causation does not entail widespread overdetermination. I argue that considerations of ideal a priori deducibility from some physical base, or "Cosmic Hermeneutics", will not themselves provide answers to where the cuts in the structure of nature lie. Instead, I propose reconsidering the question of Cosmic Hermeneutics in terms of which cognitive resources would be required for the ideal reasoner to perform the deduction. Lastly, I respond to the objection that emergence in the philosophy of mind is in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I suggest that a kind of weak ontological emergence is a viable form of explanation in many fields, and discuss current applications of emergence in biology, sociology, and the study of complex systems.

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2013

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Cause by omission and norms

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Saying, "if Mary had watered Sam's plant, it wouldn't have died," is an ordinary way to identify Mary not watering Sam's plant as the cause of its death. But there are problems with this statement. If we identify Mary's omitted

Saying, "if Mary had watered Sam's plant, it wouldn't have died," is an ordinary way to identify Mary not watering Sam's plant as the cause of its death. But there are problems with this statement. If we identify Mary's omitted action as the cause, we seemingly admit an inordinate number of omissions as causes. For any counterfactual statement containing the omitted action is true (e.g. if Hillary Clinton had watered Sam's plant, it wouldn't have died). The statement, moreover, is mysterious because it is not clear why one protasis is more salient than any alternatives such as "if Sam hadn't gone to Bismarck." In the burgeoning field of experimental metaphysics, some theorists have tried to account for these intuitions about omissive causes. By synthesizing this data and providing a few experiments, I will suggest that judgments - and maybe metaphysics - about omissive causes necessarily have a normative feature. This understanding of omissive causes may be able to adequately resolve the problems above.

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2013

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Cognition, perception, and justification

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There is ample evidence from psychology and cognitive science that a person's beliefs, memories, expectations, concepts, and desires can influence how that person perceives the world. In other words, the way an object looks (the color, size, shape, etc.) to

There is ample evidence from psychology and cognitive science that a person's beliefs, memories, expectations, concepts, and desires can influence how that person perceives the world. In other words, the way an object looks (the color, size, shape, etc.) to a person can vary according to his or her beliefs, memories, desires, and so on. But a person is principally justified in his or her beliefs about the world by how things look to that person. So, if how things look to a person justifies that person's beliefs about the world, and that person's prior beliefs, memories, and desires influence how things look, then his or her prior beliefs, memories, and desires influence the justification for his or her beliefs about the world. This influence creates several significant philosophical problems. In this dissertation, I introduce and attempt to solve these problems by constructing a theory of justification in which a person's beliefs about the world are justified if and only if his or her prior beliefs, memories, and desires constitute a coherent worldview.

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2011

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Late Cenozoic-recent tectonics of the southwestern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, Ladakh, northwest India

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The Himalayan orogenic system is one of the youngest and most spectacular examples of a continent-continent collision on earth. Although the collision zone has been the subject of extensive research, fundamental questions remain concerning the architecture and evolution of the

The Himalayan orogenic system is one of the youngest and most spectacular examples of a continent-continent collision on earth. Although the collision zone has been the subject of extensive research, fundamental questions remain concerning the architecture and evolution of the orogen. Of particular interest are the structures surrounding the 5 km high Tibetan Plateau, as these features record both the collisional and post-collisional evolution of the orogen. In this study we examine structures along the southwestern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, including the Karakoram (KFS) and Longmu Co (LCF) faults, and the Ladakh, Pangong and Karakoram Ranges. New low-temperature thermochronology data collected from across the Ladakh, Pangong and Karakoram Ranges improved the spatial resolution of exhumation patterns adjacent to the edge of the plateau. These data show a southwest to northeast decrease in cooling ages, which is the trailing end of a wave of decreased exhumation related to changes in the overall amount of north-south shortening accommodated across the region. We also posit that north-south shortening is responsible for the orientation of the LCF in India. Previously, the southern end of the LCF was unmapped. We used ASTER remotely sensed images to create a comprehensive lithologic map of the region, which allowed us to map the LCF into India. This mapping shows that this fault has been rotated into parallelism with the Karakoram fault system as a result of N-S shortening and dextral shear on the KFS. Additionally, the orientation and sense of motion along these two systems implies that they are acting as a conjugate fault pair, allowing the eastward extrusion of the Tibet. Finally, we identify and quantify late Quaternary slip on the Tangtse strand of the KFS, which was previously believed to be inactive. Our study found that this fault strand accommodated ca. 6 mm/yr of slip over the last ca. 33-6 ka. Additionally, we speculate that slip is temporally partitioned between the two fault strands, implying that this part of the fault system is more complex than previously believed.

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2014

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Experimental research on substitution intuitions in simple sentences

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The purpose of this thesis is to present and analyze experimental evidence involving anti-substitution intuitions about co-referential names in simple sentences. In her book Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Jennifer Saul claims that anti-substitution intuitions involving co-referential names in simple

The purpose of this thesis is to present and analyze experimental evidence involving anti-substitution intuitions about co-referential names in simple sentences. In her book Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Jennifer Saul claims that anti-substitution intuitions involving co-referential names in simple sentences are particularly resistant, so much so that they exist even when one is given an identity statement that shows that the two names refer to the same individual. She uses this claim to motivate her thesis that a psychological explanation is needed to understand why these anti-substitution intuitions exist. Her theory is that before people know that two names co-refer to an individual, they have two "nodes" or "mental files" that contain information that is associated with the name. Saul claims that the reason anti-substitution intuitions in simple sentences involving co-referential names are resistant is that when people find out that two names co-refer to an individual, they do not merge the nodes into a single node, but instead the nodes are kept separate and are linked. The linked nodes then are capable of sharing information, though they do not do so by default. Instead, good reasons are needed for the sharing of information. The experimental results show that, contrary to Saul's claims, anti-substitution intuitions of this sort are not resistant such that they persist even when one is given the identity statement. This evidence is used to call into doubt the psychological explanation given by Saul and is used to raise the possibility that a particular implicature view can better explain these anti-substitution intuitions.

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2014

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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 ontologically fundamental and ubiquitous. This version of panpsychism involves the

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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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 seems clear to most people that metaphors have meaning. But

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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Feminist Authenticity: an Existentialist Conception

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Authenticity has been conceived of in several different ways with various meanings and implications. The existential conception has the advantage of tracking authenticity from the phenomenology of human beings and their lived, social experience. From Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger’s

Authenticity has been conceived of in several different ways with various meanings and implications. The existential conception has the advantage of tracking authenticity from the phenomenology of human beings and their lived, social experience. From Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger’s criteria for existentialist authenticity, I develop the argument that authentic, feminist projects are necessarily one mode of being authentic within a patriarchal society. In defining a conception of authenticity out of Sartre and Heidegger’s terms, the question of what qualifies as an authentic feminist project arises as well as the question of what sort of content qualifies as authentic. While Simone De Beauvoir does not focus on authenticity in her ethics, she does give a basis for a value oriented, content relevant aspect of existentialism generally. Insofar as authenticity is an existentialist concept, feminist authenticity is one valuable and worthwhile project within a social patriarchy, as it promotes existence as freedom.

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2017