Alabama Philosophical Society

49th Annual Conference
September 23-24, 2011



Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel
12 Via Luna Drive
Pensacola FL  35261
866-916-2999


Each of the non-plenary sessions offers three concurrent papers in different meeting rooms.
Unlike APA sessions, APS sessions do not have commentators.
So to accommodate the larger number of papers in a reasonable amount of time,
we have scheduled 40-minute sessions with a 10-minute break between sessions.
Presenters should do their best to finish within 25 minutes to allow time for discussion.

Paper titles are linked to abstracts.



Click here for an abbreviated version of the schedule.



Friday, September 23
8:00 a.m. +
Registration
$45 registration fee payable at registration or to Matt Jordan during the conference (fee waived for emeriti and undergraduate students).
Coral ReefAquamarine IAquamarine 2
8:30-9:10 a.m.
Session 1
John J. Park (Duke U.)
The Principle of Abstract Concepts
Tully Borland (Ouachita Baptist U.) and T. Allan Hillman (U. South Alabama)
Ontological Voluntarism and Human Nature
John Houston (Purdue)
Divinity, Noesis, and Aristotelian Friendship
9:20-10:00 a.m.
Session 2
John Coker (U. South Alabama)
The Use of Metaphor
Joshua Horn (U. Kentucky)
Leibniz, Lewis, and the Metaphysics of Modality
Matt Jordan (Auburn Montgomery)
TBA
10:10-10:50 a.m.
Session 3
Carl Ehrett (Furman)
The Particularity Problem
Josh Watson (Purdue)
Lebniz’s Theory of Simplicity
Reshef Agam-Segal (Auburn)
Aristotelian and Kantian Self-Legislation
11:00-11:40 a.m.
Session 4
Michael Horton (U. Alabama)
Metaphysically Open Alethic Functionalism and Uninterpretable Languages
Dave Anderson (Purdue)
Conviction and the Closure Principle
Robert Gressis (CSU Northridge)
Kant’s Change of Mind Regarding the Inclinations
11:40 a.m.-1:00 p.m.Break for Lunch
1:00-1:40 p.m.
Session 5
Chase Wrenn (U. Alabama)
Psychosomatic Externalism and the Causal Relevance of Truth
Jonathan Matheson (U. North Florida)
White on Epistemic Permissivism
Michael Ferry (Spring Hill College)
Sanctions and the Limits of Duty in J. S. Mill
1:50-2:30 p.m.
Session 6
Kevin Sharpe (St Cloud State U.)
Structural Properties and Parthood
Eric Gilbertson (Auburn U.)
Contextualism, Closure and the Factivity Problem
Travis Gilmore (Purdue)
An Objection to Huemer’s Defense of Ethical Intuitionism
2:40-3:20 p.m.
Session 7
Joseph Baltimore (West Virginia U.)
Modal Realism, Counterpart Theory, and Unactualized Possibilities
Aaron Cobb (Auburn U. Montgomery)
Is Security an Internalist or Externalist Notion?
Justin Klocksiem (U. Alabama)
Why and How to Accept the Transitivity of Better Than
3:30-4:10 p.m.
Session 8
Danny Pearlberg (Ohio State)
Defending the Interventionist Solution to the Problem of Causal Exclusion
William J. Melanson (U. Nebraska Omaha)
Reconceiving the Project of Conceptual Analysis in Epistemology
Matthew Flummer (Florida State U.)
Alien Attributions: A Critique of Velleman’s Account of Autonomy
4:20-5:00 p.m.
Session 9
Nicholaos Jones (UAH)
Philosophical Foundations for the Tissue Organization Field Theory of Carcinogenesis: Causal Exclusion, Emergentism, and Downward Causation
Ted Poston (U. South Alabama)
Explanationism
Mylan Engel Jr. (Northern Illinois U.)
Rethinking Free Will: Why What You Donít Know Won’t Set You Free
6:00-11:00 p.m.Reception (White Sands Room)


Saturday, September 24Coral ReefAquamarine 1Aquamarine 2
8:00-8:40 a.m.
Session 10
Joseph Anderson (U. South Florida)
Thomas Aquinas and the Problem of Vicious Pleasures
Rekha Nath (U. Alabama)
Doxastic Obligations for Members of Collectives
Audrey L. Anton (Western Kentucky U.)
Willing, Unwilling, and Binding Addiction
8:50-9:30 a.m.
Session 11
Andrew Bailey (Notre Dame)
The Elimination Argument
Ryan Jordan (Ohio State)
Can We Be Mistaken About What Music Expresses?
Morgan Rempel (U. Southern Mississippi)
Enough is Enough: True Wealth, Epicurus, and The Dude
9:40-10:20 a.m.
Session 12
Roderick T. Long (Auburn U.)
Shakespeare, Godwin, Kafka, and the Political Problem of Other Minds
Jeffrey Roland (LSU)
On a Dogma (Or Two) of HPC Naturalism
Joshua Smith (Central Michigan U.) and David Merli (Franklin Marshall College)
Informed Consent, Disclosure, and Sub-Optimal Treatments
10:30-11:10 a.m.
Session 13
2011 Undergraduate Essay Prize Winner
Theodore Locke
(U. North Florida)
Epistemic Closure and Deductive Defeaters
Dennis Sansom (Samford U.)
The Fool, Hume’s Philo, and Anselm’s Idea of God
J. Alden Stout (Morningside College)
The Possibility of Unjust Initial Acquisitions
11:20 a.m.-12:00 noon
Session 14 (Plenary)
Presidential Address
Adam Podlaskowski
(Fairmont State U.)
TBA
12:10-1:10 p.m.
Session 15 (Plenary)
Keynote Address
Michael Watkins
(Auburn U.)
TBA
Business Lunch, Location TBA


Abstracts of Papers (alphabetical by Author)

Aristotelian and Kantian Self-Legislation, Friday, September 23, Session 3, Aquamarine 2, 10:10-10:50 a.m.
Reshef Agam-Segal (Auburn U.)


Interpreters today often take Kant’s practical philosophy to share some of the basic insights of Aristotle’s. Such, for instance, is the main tone of Christine Korsgaard’s reading. I make a case for a different, non-Aristotelian, reading of Kant’s moral philosophy. In particular, I distinguish between two senses of self-legislation: Aristotelian and Kantian. Aristotelian self-legislation is a general project we are involved in as humans, and in which we determine the organizing principle of our practical life. Every action of ours takes part in this project of self-determination, and the project is thus part of the principle of every action. As opposed to that, not all actions are acts of Kantian self-legislation. To legislate for ourselves is to be involved in an internal drama of legislation. It is to be bound to respect moral duties by a force that is akin to a force of nature, and is yet internal. Moral normativity is thus separated from practical normativity in general.

Conviction and the Closure Principle, Friday, September 23, Session 4, Aquamarine 2, 11:00-11:40 p.m.
Dave Anderson (Purdue)


The Knowledge Closure Principle (CP) figures centrally in contemporary arguments for external world skepticism and has received a lot of attention in current literature. There is general acknowledgement that a precise specification of the principle will be nuanced, but the dominant position is agreement with Richard Feldman’s claim that “some version of the closure principle, restricted to known consequences, is surely true” (Feldman 1995). In this paper I contend that knowing a proposition requires having a sufficient degree of confidence or conviction in it, and that because of this, the most popular formulations of CP fail.

Thomas Aquinas and the Problem of Vicious Pleasures, Saturday, September 24, Session 10, Coral Reef, 8:00-8:40 a.m.
Joseph Anderson (U. South Florida)


This paper examines a species of the problem of evil that arises within Aquinas’s moral philosophy and constructs a theodicy from Aquinasís works. The problem, in short, is that there appears to be an inconsistency in holding both that the world is divinely ordered and that vicious actions are sometimes pleasant. While I do not find in Aquinas a sustained treatment of why God would allow such vicious actions to be pleasant, Aquinas does offer an explanation for what pleasure is such that it accompanies virtuous activity and (in a derivative sense) vicious activity, and an explanation of how the world is ordered such that there really are proper pleasures even to vicious actions. Constructing a theodicy from these pieces is not a simple task given that Aquinas appears to hold both that vicious pleasures are not real pleasures and that there are pleasures proper to vicious activities.

Willing, Unwilling, and Binding Addiction, Saturday, September 24, Session 10, Aquamarine 2, 8:00-8:40 a.m.
Audrey L. Anton (Western Kentucky U.)


Philosophers sometimes consider addiction to be an example of how freedom is compromised. In this paper, I consider the relationship between addiction, free will, and free action to see how and whether this is the case. I argue that an examination of Frankfurt’s hierarchical model augmented by an additional type of addict illuminates not only how addiction compromises freedom, but what kind of freedom and, therefore, responsibility is available to such addicts.

The Elimination Argument, Saturday, September 24, Session 11, Coral Reef, 8:50-9:30 a.m.
Andrew Bailey (Notre Dame)


Animalism is the view that we are animals: living, breathing, wholly material beings. Despite its considerable appeal, animalism has come under fire. Other philosophers have had much to say about objections to animalism that stem from reflection on personal identity over time. But one promising objection by Hud Hudson (‘The Elimination Argument’) has been overlooked. In this paper, I will remedy this situation and examine the Elimination Argument in some detail. I will argue that the Elimination Argument is both unsound and unmotivated. I will further argue that Hudson (and those sympathetic to Hudson’s general views about the material world) may have no reason to believe one of its premises.

Modal Realism, Counterpart Theory, and Unactualized Possibilities, Friday, September 23, Session 7, Coral Reef, 2:40-3:20 p.m.
Joseph Baltimore (West Virginia U.)


David Lewis originally took it as axiomatic that nothing is a counterpart of anything else in its own world. However, Lewis later relaxed his commitment to this postulate (Postulate 5) in light of the vagueness of the counterpart relation. Here, I argue that Postulate 5 must be maintained in Lewis’s modal system – where that system includes both modal realism and counterpart theory – in order to respect the view that possibilities are not parts of actuality. Furthermore, I argue that this reinforcement of Postulate 5 combines with Lewis’s rejection of haecceitism to yield a costly dilemma for Lewis’s modal system.

Ontological Voluntarism and Human Nature, Friday, September 23, Session 1, Aquamarine 1, 8:30-9:10 a.m.
Tully Borland (Ouachita Baptist U.) and T. Allan Hillman (U. South Alabama)


No abstract available.

Is Security an Internalist or Externalist Notion?, Friday, September 23, Session 7, Aquamarine 1, 2:40-3:20 p.m.
Aaron Cobb (Auburn U. Montgomery)


Kent Staley (2004, forthcoming; Staley and Cobb 2011) has argued that a number of methodologies scientists employ to defend their evidence claims are best understood as attempts to secure these claims from specific kinds of epistemic defeat. I analyze Staley’s understanding of the nature of epistemic justification underlying this notion of security. Staley maintains that security requires elements from both internalist and externalist accounts of epistemic justification. In this paper, I raise critical concerns for his claim that security is not a strictly internalist notion and consider the prospects of a purely internalist understanding of security.

The Use of Metaphor, Friday, September 23, Session 2, Coral Reef, 9:20-10:00 a.m.
John Coker (U. South Alabama)


Lakoff and Johnson’s theory of metaphor has been challenged by analytical philosophers, specifically, Davidson and following him Rorty, and also by Par Segerdahl. But there is a disparity among these challenges: the Davidsonian-Rortian critique is not only different from, but is incompatible with, Segerdahl’s critique. I will first exposit the Davidsonian-Rortian critique of Lakoff and Johnson, then I will exposit Segerdahl’s critique of Lakoff and Johnson, and finally I will critique Davidson and Rorty in light of Segerdahl. I will also size up what remains of Lakoff and Johnson’s claims in the wake of Segerdahl’s critique.

The Particularity Problem, Friday, September 23, Session 3, Coral Reef, 10:10-10:50 a.m.
Carl Ehrett (Furman)


Applying classical semantics to vague language generates a metaphysical mystery: how could the supervenience base for semantic facts possibly serve to single out an absolutely precise extensional boundary for, e.g., bald? Many therefore reject classical semantics in favor of semantic indeterminism. This shows the problem has been misunderstood. The question is how the available supervenience base singles out any particular content for a vague expression sharply bounded or not. Indeterminism helps only if there cannot be marginally distinct indeterminist semantic contents, which is implausible. As regards the suitability of classical semantics for vague language, precision is a red herring.

Rethinking Free Will: Why What You Donít Know Won’t Set You Free, Friday, September 23, Session 9, Aquamarine 2, 4:20-5:00 p.m.
Mylan Engel Jr. (Northern Illinois U.)


Waxing Orwellian, Daniel Dennett in effect argues that “ignorance is freedom,” for he maintains that the epistemic possibility of alternative courses of action is the only kind of “possibility” of doing otherwise required for free will. I argue that Dennett’s epistemic standpoint compatibilism fails on the grounds that (i) genuine freedom requires both the epistemic openness and the metaphysical openness of alternative courses of action and (ii) the epistemic possibility of performing alternative actions only gets us the epistemic openness of those alternative courses of action, not their metaphysical openness. I also examine sans-causation and agent-causation accounts of free will and argue that both these libertarian accounts are unsatisfactory, as well.

Sanctions and the Limits of Duty in J. S. Mill, Friday, September 23, Session 5, Aquamarine 2, 1:00-1:40 p.m.
Michael Ferry (Spring Hill College)


In Utilitarianism, Mill suggests an act cannot be a duty unless punitive sanctions should attach to its omission. This suggests Mill endorsed sanction utilitarianism: an act is wrong if it should be punitively sanctioned, and the appropriateness of a punitive sanction is determined by its utility. But it has been argued that sanction utilitarianism is internally inconsistent and inconsistent with act utilitarianism. I argue that by distinguishing ‘ought’ from ‘obligation,’ we can see in Mill a version of sanction utilitarianism that is internally consistent, is consistent with act utilitarianism, and provides the beginnings of a promising account of supererogation.

Alien Attributions: A Critique of Velleman’s Account of Autonomy, Friday, September 23, Session 8, Aquamarine 2, 3:30-4:10 p.m.
Matthew Flummer (Florida State U.)


In the philosophy of action, there is an important difference between intentional action and other types of behavior. David Velleman claims that what sets intentional action apart is that it is regulated by the constitutive aim of ‘knowing what we’re doing.’ His thesis not only provides a “constitutive aim” account of reasons, it also provides an account of autonomous action. In this paper, I will argue that Velleman’s thesis fails as an account of autonomous action because it is susceptible to the argument he used against Frankfurt’s Hierarchical model in the introduction to The Possibility of Practical Reason.

Contextualism, Closure and the Factivity Problem, Friday, September 23, Session 6, Aquamarine 1, 1:50-2:30 p.m.
Eric Gilbertson (Auburn U.)


It appears there is an inconsistency in combining epistemological contextualism with a plausible closure principle for knowledge and the view that knowledge is factive. I discuss the proposal that the contextualist should reject closure and retain factivity. The proposal offers an alternative to closure and an argument that standard closure fails because warrant fails to transmit through inference in the relevant cases. I criticize both accounts. The proposed alternative to closure is not well motivated and leaves unresolved the question of why standard closure should not hold. The argument that warrant does not transmit is based on an inaccurate model of warrant transmission.

An Objection to Huemer’s Defense of Ethical IntuitionismTravis Gilmore (Purdue)

Michael Huemer has defended ethical intuitionism, i.e. the view that some moral beliefs are noninferentially justified solely on the basis of ethical intuitions, by appealing to his Phenomenal Conservatism (PC), i.e. the epistemic principle which states that seemings necessarily provide justificatory support for non-defeated beliefs that share the propositional content of those seemings. In recent literature, though, counterexamples to PC have been presented, specifically with respect to noninferentially formed perceptual beliefs. Here I present two counterexamples to PC with respect to noninferentially formed a priori beliefs. I conclude that, since PC falls prey to these counterexamples, PC also fails to account for the justification of noninferentially formed moral beliefs. Therefore, Huemer’s defense of ethical intuitionism fails.

Kant’s Change of Mind Regarding the Inclinations, Friday, September 23, Session 4, Aquamarine 2, 11:00-11:40 a.m.
Robert Gressis (CSU Northridge)


In the Groundwork and the second Critique, Kant asserts that, insofar as a person is rational, she wishes she had no inclinations at all. Yet in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason Kant claims that our inclinations are good in themselves. Most interpreters see the passage from the Religion as evidence that Kant doesn’t really think it is rational to wish to have no inclinations. However, I think a better explanation is that he changes his mind about the inclinations in the Religion, and that he does so because he reconceives of the goal of ethical striving.

Leibniz, Lewis, and the Metaphysics of Modality, Friday, September 23, Session 2, Aquamarine 1, 9:20-10:00 a.m.
Joshua Horn (U. Kentucky)


This paper will compare the modal notions of necessity, contingency, possibility, and impossibility in the philosophy of Leibniz and Lewis. An account of some of the contemporary criticisms of Lewis’ modal realism will be lodged at Leibniz in an attempt to see if Leibniz’s modal system can accommodate philosophical problems that Lewis’ metaphysical commitments cannot. Specifically, it will be argued that the paradox objection, the “island universe” objection, and the epistemological objection could be just as problematic for Leibniz as for Lewis, albeit in different ways.

Metaphysically Open Alethic Functionalism and Uninterpretable Languages, Friday, September 23, Session 4, Coral Reef, 11:00-11:40 a.m.
Michael Horton (U. Alabama)


In this paper I present a consequence of combining the view that truth is a multiply realizable property with a view about interpretation. On an understanding of semantics as providing a theory knowledge of which suffices for interpretation of sentences (or utterances) of a target language, the view that truth is multiply realizable and non-reducible taken together with other plausible assumptions implies that there exist metaphysically possible but uninterpretable languages. I conclude with brief considerations about what this means for the prospect of discovering semantic universals.

Divinity, Noesis, and Aristotelian Friendship, Friday, September 23, Session 1, Aquamarine 2, 8:30-9:10 a.m.
John Houston (Purdue)


In EN X Aristotle argues that our chief good must accord with whatever is most divine in us, viz. our theoretical intellect (nous). Thus the best life is one devoted to contemplation (theōria). This claim might leave us wondering whether there remains any reason for devoting our time and energy to cultivating friendships. I argue that, for Aristotle, perfect friendship (teleia philia) exemplifies a noetic activity by which human beings attain an analogue of the divine self-contemplation (noēsis) of the unmoved mover, and that understanding this enables us to see how, for Aristotle, friendship remains integral to eudaimonia.

Philosophical Foundations for the Tissue Organization Field Theory of Carcinogenesis: Causal Exclusion, Emergentism, and Downward Causation, Friday, September 23, Session 9, Coral Reef, 4:20-5:00 p.m.
Nicholaos Jones (UAH)


The dominant theory of carcinogenesis maintains that the proximal cause of cancer is uncontrolled cell growth. The recent Tissue Organization Field Theory (TOFT) maintains, in contrast, that the proximal cause is disruption of cellular interactions within tissues. The main advocates of this theory argue that, if correct, TOFT entails that cancer is an emergent phenomenon and that carcinogenesis involves downward causation; and they add that accepting TOFT requires denying the causal closure of events at (and below) the cellular level of organization. I argue that, insofar as TOFT incurs commitment to either emergent phenomena or downward causation, these commitments are philosophically unobjectionable. TOFT is compatible with a reductionist understanding of carcinogenesis. Moreover, even if reductionism is false, treating carcinogenesis as an emergent effect of tissue events need not involve supposing that these events downwardly cause cells to become cancerous in any philosophically interesting way; nor need it involve denying causal closure.

TBA, Friday, September 23, Session 2, Aquamarine 2, 9:20-10:00 a.m.
Matt Jordan (Auburn Montgomery)


No abstract available.

Can We Be Mistaken About What Music Expresses?, Saturday, September 24, Session 11, Aquamarine 1, 8:50-9:30 a.m.
Ryan Jordan (Ohio State)


Roger Scruton and Diana Raffman have a debate over whether we can ever be right or wrong concerning the expressive qualities we ascribe to music. Scruton argues that it’s part and parcel of being a competent listener of music that we get the expressive content right. Raffman denies this, claiming that although our reactions to music might be idiosyncratic, there’s nothing there to be right or wrong about. I present a case study from film music to argue that although Scruton is right to suggest that there are standards of correctness with regards to perceiving musical expression, he is wrong to suppose that perceiving the expressive character of music is required for musical competency. I also show that associations made between musical works and their contexts play a significant role in supporting such standards of correctness.

Why and How to Accept the Transitivity of Better Than, Friday, September 23, Session 7, Aquamarine 2, 2:40-3:20 p.m.
Justin Klocksiem (U. Alabama)


It seems obvious that if A is better than B, and B is better than C, A is better than C. However, Rachels and others have proposed a compelling argument that this is false. This paper presents and explains a typical version of this argument and, following Rachels, shows how this thesis can be put into a developed theory of value. I will then explain the importance of the thesis that better than is transitive, and how a minor adjustment to this developed value theory can accommodate both the transitivity thesis and the data that prompted us to question it.

2011 Undergraduate Prize Essay:
Epistemic Closure and Deductive Defeaters, Saturday, September 24, Session 13, Coral Reef, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
Theodore Locke (U. North Florida)


An epistemic closure principle states that we can know propositions on the basis that they are deduced from other known propositions. This principle has consistently been challenged. In this paper I will look at a potential counterexample to epistemic closure proposed by Marian David and Ted Warfield that utilizes an idea of global defeat. By giving a plausible epistemic closure principle a close analysis it will be argued that the purported counterexample is ineffective. At worst, the proposed counterexample establishes that the epistemic closure principle is vacuously true.

Shakespeare, Godwin, Kafka, and the Political Problem of Other Minds, Saturday, September 24, Session 12, Coral Reef, 9:40-10:20 a.m.
Roderick T. Long (Auburn U.)


Colin McGinn maintains that Othello is about the problem of other minds. But Othello’s version of the problem – the inaccessibility of particular others in particular respects, not of other minds per se – might seem to lack the generality needed to count as philosophical. Drawing on examples from Othello, Caleb Williams, and Amerika, I argue that Othello’s problem, while distinct from the traditional problem of other minds, is indeed a genuine philosophical problem, but one produced and sustained by alterable features of human society (specifically, race, gender, and class distinctions) rather than by unalterable features of cognition as such.

White on Epistemic Permissivism, Friday, September 23, Session 5, Aquamarine 1, 1:00-1:40 p.m.
Jonathan Matheson (U. North Florida)


The Uniqueness Thesis claims that a body of evidence makes rational at most one doxastic attitude toward any proposition. Roger White has defended the Uniqueness Thesis by arguing that ‘permissive’ alternatives to it face problematic consequences. In this paper I examine White’s arguments and show that they fail to be problematic for at least some versions of permissivism.

Reconceiving the Project of Conceptual Analysis in Epistemology, Friday, September 23, Session 8, Aquamarine 1, 3:30-4:10 p.m.
William J. Melanson (U. Nebraska Omaha)


Given the protracted failure to develop a widely accepted naturalistic analysis of the concept of knowledge, it seems worth at least considering the possibility that there is no set of suitably naturalistic necessary and sufficient conditions that covers the full range of our normal usage and epistemic intuitions. Yet, this does not mean that we ought to abandon the concept of knowledge as hopelessly obscure. Rather, at the level of naturalistic analysis, it might be best to think of knowledge as something like a cluster concept. The biggest draw of the cluster approach is that it accounts for the existence of hard cases and persistent disagreement by allowing for genuine indeterminacy in the extension of the concept. Yet, cluster theories are often attacked on the grounds that they are nothing more than long, complicated disjunctive definitions and, thus, do not really make room for the open-textured nature that they claim to accommodate. In order to avoid this and other closely related objections, it is suggested that the diverse evidential conditions for correct application of the concept of knowledge are unified by a normative account of knowledge in terms of having the right to be sure.

Doxastic Obligations for Members of Collectives, Saturday, September 24, Session 10, Aquamarine 1, 8:00-8:40 a.m.
Rekha Nath (U. Alabama)


If a collective has an obligation x, then it seems that the members of the collective have distributed obligations to contribute to x-ing, conditional beliefs about the efficacy of their contributions. Given that the success of a collective action hinges upon membersí beliefs about others’ willingness to contribute, when faced with a lack of evidence it would be morally better if members believed that others would contribute. This paper explores the case for ‘doxastic obligations’ of agents faced with such circumstances, concerning their potential responsibilities for their own and for othersí beliefs.

The Principle of Abstract Concepts, Friday, September 23, Session 1, Coral Reef, 8:30-9:10 a.m.
John J. Park (Duke U.)


In this paper, I introduce and motivate a new principle called the Principle of Abstract Concepts (PAC). It states that any proposed psychological concept structure for any abstract concept AC cannot be based only on non-AC or concrete concept empirical findings. They must at least in part be based on experimental data for AC. I then illustrate the importance and non-triviality of PAC by examining four instances, such as with mathematical and moral concepts, where concept theorists have violated PAC. Finally, I discuss the impact PAC has on future research in cognitive science.

Defending the Interventionist Solution to the Problem of Causal Exclusion, Friday, September 23, Session 8, Coral Reef, 3:30-4:10 p.m.
Danny Pearlberg (Ohio State)


I present the interventionist solution to the problem of causal exclusion as a variant of Karen Bennett’s solution. Bennett employs two different strategies (vacuous truth, and falsity) in her solution. Interventionists have, in effect, adopted her vacuous truth strategy. I point out that the falsity strategy is equally available to the interventionist, and impervious to an objection Michael Baumgartner has raised against the interventionist solution. I proceed to defend the interventionist version of the vacuous truth strategy from Baumgartner’s objection. I conclude that Baumgartner has failed to identify a drawback specific to the interventionist solution.

Presidential Address:
TBA, Saturday, September 24, Session 14 (Plenary), Coral Reef, 11:20 a.m.-12:00 noon
Adam Podlaskowski (Fairmont State U.)


No abstract available.

Explanationism, Friday, September 23, Session 9, Aquamarine 1, 4:20-5:00 p.m.
Ted Poston (U. South Alabama)


I advocate explanationism in epistemology. Explanationism is the view that inference to the best explanation is a central, if not the central part of normative epistemology. The goal of normative epistemology is to specify the conditions under which a subject has good reasons for believing some propositions. My aim in this paper is to clearly layout the explanationist position. First, I formulate a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for a belief’s justification. Second, I discuss the nature of explanation. Finally, I offer four cases to distinguish explanationism from rival views in normative epistemology.

Enough is Enough: True Wealth, Epicurus, and The Dude, Saturday, September 24, Session 11, Aquamarine 2, 8:50-9:30 a.m.
Morgan Rempel (U. Southern Mississippi)


“Contented poverty is an honorable estate. Indeed, if it be contented, it is not poverty at all” (Seneca on Epicurus). Not only does this pithy remark capture the essence of a key component of Epicureanism, but the philosophy it articulates finds considerable resonance in the 1998 film, The Big Lebowski. After examining such themes as “wealth” and “contented poverty” in the philosophy of Epicurus, my paper explores these notions as they pertain to the Coen Brothers’ film. I propose that the character of The Dude, with his modest lifestyle and relative indifference to money, comes remarkably close to the true wealth recommended by the Epicureans.

On a Dogma (Or Two) of HPC Naturalism, Saturday, September 24, Session 12, Aquamarine 1, 9:40-10:20 a.m.
Jeffrey Roland (LSU)


An important variety of Quinean naturalism, advocated by Richard Boyd and Hilary Kornblith, is based on a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) conception of natural kinds. Two of the most distinctive and striking features of this HPC naturalism are its wholesale rejections of apriority and foundationalist epistemology. These are connected. HPC naturalists understand foundationalism so that it requires a priori beliefs of some sort, either beliefs concerning inferential principles or foundational beliefs themselves or both. Hence, no a priori beliefs implies no foundationalist epistemology. In this paper, I consider the compatibility of HPC naturalism with the a priori and foundationalist epistemology. I contend that wholesale rejections of apriority and foundationalism are inessential to HPC naturalism.

The Fool, Hume’s Philo, and Anselm’s Idea of God, Saturday, September 24, Session 13, Aquamarine 1, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
Dennis Sansom (Samford U.)


Anselm starts Proslogion chapters 2 and 3 with the “Fool” saying, “There is no God.” This paper explores the possible content of the Fool’s claim. To falsify the claim that God is the unsurpassable reality, the Fool needs to explain reality sufficiently enough that God’s existence would be contradictory to the explanation. Hume’s Philo in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion attempts to do this in his critique of Demea’s argument for Godís existence. However, if the Fool adopts this argument, the Fool would fail, because due to an inconsistency and vagueness in Philo’s argument, he cannot prove that God does not exist.

Structural Properties and Parthood, Friday, September 23, Session 6, Coral Reef, 1:50-2:30 p.m.
Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State U.)


David Lewis has argued that structural universals are inconsistent with the extensionality of parthood. I argue that structural universals are also open to the problem of multiple decomposition. To solve both problems, I suggest we take the compositional relation that holds between a structural property and its constituents to be a triadic relation that is relativized to spatial regions. While the proposal comes with a hefty theoretical cost, it’s better than the alternatives. Thus, I argue, proponents of structural universals have reason to take it seriously.

Informed Consent, Disclosure, and Sub-Optimal Treatments, Saturday, September 24, Session 12, Aquamarine 2, 9:40-10:20 a.m.
Joshua Smith (Central Michigan U.) and and David Merli (Franklin Marshall College)


Informed consent plays an important role in the relationship between doctor and patient. Here we examine some difficulties for informed consent that arise from considerations relating to the therapeutic obligation (a doctor’s duty to provide certain kinds of care to patients). Doctors are sometimes permitted to provide suboptimal care, most notably, when significant public goods require less-than-ideal treatment of some individual patients. If so, we face a practical problem with informed consent: patients are unlikely to consent to treatments they know to be less good for them than other available treatments. Since their consent to suboptimal treatments is necessary to produce valuable outcomes, a failure to consent will serve as a kind of veto on critical public goods. After clarifying this problem, we sketch a solution.

The Possibility of Unjust Initial Acquisitions, Saturday, September 24, Session 13, Aquamarine 2, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
J. Alden Stout (Morningside College)


Edward Feser has argued that there can be no unjust initial acquisitions of resources. His arguments are directed toward egalitarians who attempt to derive distribution justice from a theory of property acquisition. Contrary to egalitarians, Feser claims that unjust acquisitions of property are impossible. He attempts to derive this claim from Nozick’s thesis that the world’s resources are initially unowned. In this paper, I argue that Feser fails to derive that conclusion. His argument fails because he doesn’t consider other ways that property acquisitions can be unjust. Kant provides such an alternative. Kant argues that enforcing unilaterally acquired property rights violates each person’s innate right to freedom. Since Feser fails to address Kant’s position, his argument does not succeed.

Keynote Address:
TBA, Saturday, September 24, Session 15 (Plenary), Coral Reef, 12:10-1:10 p.m.
Michael Watkins (Auburn U.)


No abstract available.

Leibniz’s Theory of Simplicity, Friday, September 23, Session 3, Aquamarine 1, 10:10-10:50 a.m.
Josh Watson (Purdue)


Other things held equal, simpler theories are more likely to be true. But what does the notion of simplicity consist in, and what explains the fact that simpler theories are, other things held equal, more likely to be true? In what follows I will explore the ways in which Leibniz’s theory of perfection clarifies his account of simplicity. I will argue that Leibniz accounts for simplicity in terms of primitive concepts and explains its truth-conduciveness in terms of perfection.

Psychosomatic Externalism and the Causal Relevance of Truth, Friday, September 23, Session 5, Coral Reef, 1:00-1:40 p.m.
Chase Wrenn (U. Alabama)


This paper argues that there is a tension between the externalist view that intrinsic duplicates could think thoughts with different truth values and the widely held supposition that the truth of beliefs is causally relevant to the success of our actions. Given externalism, we can construct pairs of cases in which everything causally relevant to the success of an action remains constant, but the truth value of the agent’s action-guiding beliefs vary.






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