Alabama Philosophical Society
50th Annual Conference
October 5-6, 2012
Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel
12 Via Luna Drive
Pensacola FL 35261
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.
|Friday, October 5|| |
8:00 a.m. +|
$45 registration fee payable at registration or to Aaron Cobb during the conference (fee waived for emeriti and undergraduate students).
|Coral Reef||Aquamarine I||Aquamarine 2|
|Matt Jordan (Auburn U. Montgomery)|
Evolution and Moral Knowledge
|Aaron Cobb (Auburn U. Montgomery) |
Epistemic Justification and Exploratory Experimentation
|Roderick T. Long (Auburn)|
Temptation and Easy Virtue
|Jon Matheson (U. North Florida)|
Is the Generality Problem Everybodys Problem?
|James Quigley (Florida State U.) |
How Morality Is Unified
|John Coker (U. South Alabama)|
A Segerdahlian Critique of Martinichs Theory of Metaphor
|Blake McAllister (Baylor)|
Theistic Modal Realism and Gratuitous Evil
|Seth Bornder (U. Alabama) |
And Justice for All? Rethinking the Reciprocity of the Virtues in The Republic
|William Roche (Texas Christian U.)|
Coherence, Explanation and Probability
|William Melanson (U. Nebraska Omaha)|
The Quine-Duhem Thesis and the Case for Confirmational Holism
|Daniel Collette (U. South Florida) |
Leibniz, the Intermediary: Divine Foreknowledge in the 1>Discourse on Metaphysics
|Taylor Cyr (Florida State U.)|
Moral Responsibility, Luck and Compatibilism
|11:40 a.m.-1:00 p.m.||Break for Lunch (on your own)|
|Nicholaos Jones (U. Alabama Huntsville)|
Bowties and Mechanistic Explanation
|Stewart Eskew (U. Wisconsin) |
Prospects for a Non-Causal, Non-Natural Moral Perceptualism
|Eric Carter (North Carolina State U.)|
The Semantics of Because
|Joseph Baltimore (U. West Virginia)|
Physicalism, the Mind-Body Problem, and the Physical
|Kevin McCain (U. Alabama Birmingham) |
In Defense of the Explanationist Response to Skepticism
|Seth Shabo (U. Delaware)|
Frankfurt Cases and Intensional Contexts
|Adam Podlaskowski (Fairmont State U.)|
Games, Inferences and Conceptual Schemes
|Tully Borland (Ouachita Baptist U.) |
Gods Hiddenness, Coerced Persons, and the Threat of Moral Nihilism
|Joshua Smith (Central Michigan U.)|
Why Having Evidence Is Easy
|Ted Poston (U. South Alabama)|
Locating Bayesianism Within an Explanationist Framework
|Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State U.) |
|Morgan Rempel (U. Southern Mississippi)|
Reconsidering Tolstoys Confession
|David Merli (Franklin & College)|
Sharing Propositions in Amoralsville: Amoral Communities and Moral Concepts
|Michael Horton (U. Alabama)|
Remarks on Causal Screening and the (alleged) Heterogeneity of Truth
|Jeffrey Roland (Louisiana State U.) and Jon Cogburn (Louisiana State U.)|
Pritchard, Safety, Ability and Necessary Truths
Abstracts of Papers (alphabetical by Author)
Physicalism, the Mind-Body Problem, and the Physical,
Friday, October 5, Session 6, Coral Reef, 1:50-2:30 p.m.
Joseph Baltimore (West Virginia U.)
A key task in formulating physicalism is defining the physical. Both object-based and theory-based accounts of the physical have, however, been criticized for failing to yield a formulation of physicalism incompatible with fundamental mental entities. And a common line of response is to include in the definition of the physical the condition of being non-mental. I argue that this sort of move should be rejected and, furthermore, that the original criticism of the object-based and theory-based accounts is misguided.
Informing Powers: A New Analysis of Dispositions, Saturday, October 6, Session 10, Aquamarine 1, 8:00-8:40 a.m.
William Bauer (North Carolina State University)
What is the correct analysis of dispositional properties, or powers? The conditional analysis of powers in terms of a counterfactual statement is subject to the problem of prevention, in which the conditions of manifestation of a power are satisfied yet the manifestation does not occur. An alternative conceptualization of powers is that powers are directed towards their manifestations. This is not an analysis per se, but it does provide a useful starting point. What is it about powers such that they are directed? My answer is: information. In this paper I formulate what I call the informational analysis of powers. I develop the informational analysis and present two arguments in support of it, which function to open questions for further research about the relation between dispositions, directedness, and information.
The Independence Principle and the Problem of Hard Cases , Saturday, October 6, Session 12, Coral Reef, 9:40-10:20 a.m.
Christopher Bobier (U. California Irvine)
The Independence Principle (IP) states: when I evaluate your dissenting belief, I should do so independently of the reasoning that I used to arrive at my own belief. Problem for IP: there are cases where it seems permissible to discount anothers belief solely on the basis of ones own reasoning. David Christensen denies that these cases violate IP; in these cases, one can construct an argument about the methods used in ones reasoning to discount the others belief. This argument would be independent of the persons actual reasoning. I argue that Christensens response either violates IP or is unsound. Thus, IP remains problematic.
And Justice for All? Rethinking the Reciprocity of the Virtues in The Republic, Friday, October 5, Session 3, Aquamarine 1, 10:10-10:50 a.m.
Seth Bordner (U. Alabama)
Most scholars think that Plato holds the view in Republic that one is just (or brave, or temperate) if and only if one is also wise. Call this the Reciprocity Thesis (RT). Because Plato holds that only philosophers can be wise, he would seem to be committed to the view that only philosophers can be just. But then the perfectly just city is composed mostly of unjust persons. In this paper I push back against this elitist interpretation of justice in Republic and the RT that supports it.
Gods Hiddenness, Coerced Persons, and the Threat of Moral Nihilism, Friday, October 5, Session 7, Aquamarine 1, 2:40-3:20 p.m.
Tully Borland (Ouachita Baptist University)
Robert Lovering argues that divine hiddenness leads to the inability of persons to develop morally significant characters (MSC) i.e., some persons become moral nihilists. Lovering thinks that, in light of this, a plausible defense of hiddenness is overturned; moreover, in its place is an argument against Godís existence. Contra Lovering, our argument is twofold: (1) even if there are moral nihilists practically unable to form MSC, there is no good reason for thinking that God would provide overwhelming evidence of his existence, and (2) there is no good reason for thinking that moral nihilists are practically unable to form MSC.
The Semantics of Because, Friday, October 5, Session 5, Aquamarine 2, 1:00-1:40 p.m.
Eric Carter (North Carolina State U.)
In this paper, I sketch and motivate a semantics for the word because, especially in an explanatory sense. The account is based on the resemblance between the words because, and, and must.
Epistemic Justification and Exploratory Experimentation , Friday, October 5, Session 1, Aquamarine 1, 8:30-9:10 a.m.
Aaron Cobb (Auburn U. Montgomery)
Friedrich Steinle and Richard Burian independently introduced the term exploratory experimentation to characterize a form of experimental practice chiefly concerned with the discovery of stable regularities and the conceptualization of novel experimental phenomena. Since their pioneering work, much of the literature has been focused on articulating the aims of exploratory experimentation, describing the relationship(s) between theory and experiment in these contexts, and illustrating exploratory methods and strategies. But relatively little has been said concerning the notions of epistemic justification underlying the roles assigned to exploratory experimentation. I seek to extend the discussion of these under-explored questions of epistemic justification.
A Segerdahlian Critique of Martinichs Theory of Metaphor, Friday, October 5, Session 2, Aquamarine 2, 9:20-10:00 a.m.
John Coker (U. South Alabama)
Martinich, in A. P. Martinich, A Theory for Metaphor, pp. 427-439, in The Philosophy of Language (3rd Ed.) ed. A. P. Martinich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), develops a theory of metaphor based on Grices theory of conversational implicature (Martinich uses implication rather than implicature). By developing Segerdahls Wittgensteinian critique of Grice, along with Segerdahls critique of other theories of metaphor, in Segerdahl, Pär, Language Use (New York: St. Martins Press, 1996), I critique Martinichs theory of metaphor.
Leibniz, the Intermediary: Divine Foreknowledge in the Discourse on Metaphysics, Friday, October 5, Session 4, Aquamarine 1, 11:00-11:40 a.m.
Daniel Collette (U. South Florida)
Leibniz wrote the Discourse on Metaphysics to address his concern of reunifying Protestants and Catholics. One significant disagreement between the churches was the logical dependency of metaphysical and epistemological certitude in divine foreknowledge. Although important work exists on Leibnizs treatment of this topic, it focuses on his relation to two Catholic theologians, Bañez and Molina. In this paper, I look at Leibnizs views on divine foreknowledge contrasted with those taken by Catholic and Protestant theologians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I conclude that Leibniz gives inconsistent accounts in the Discourse; he suggests both a Molinist and Lutheran position.
Moral Responsibility, Luck, and Compatibilism, Friday, October 5, Session 4, Aquamarine 2, 11:00-11:40 a.m.
Taylor Cyr (Florida State U.)
Libertarians about free will have been criticized for their views failure to show how
Agents actions are not subject to present (or cross-world) luck. Neil Levy argues that
compatibilists likewise encounter the problem of luck, and he attempts to show that history sensitive compatibilists face not only the problem of constitutive luck but also the problem of present luck. The aim of this paper is to show that history-sensitive compatibilism can escape the problem of present luck, and one implication of this is that a version of event-causal libertarianism can avoid the problem of present luck.
Violinists, Indiana Jones, and Abortion , Saturday, October 6, Session 10, Coral Reef, 8:00-8:40 a.m.
Christopher Dodsworth (Spring Hill College)
Recently, David Boonin has defended, against a number of objections, Judith Jarvis Thomsons famous Violinist example, which purports to show that even if a fetus has a right to life, abortion is still morally permissible because it amounts to depriving a fetus of aid to which it does not have a right. I argue, first, that Boonins defense against a particular objection (the Responsibility Objection) fails. I then argue that this objection in fact succeeds, at the very least on terms that an abortion critic is willing to accept, and probably on terms that anyone is willing to accept. The result is that Thomsons argument fails.
Prospects for a Non-Causal, Non-Natural Moral Perceptualism, Friday, October 5, Session 5, Aquamarine 1, 1:00-1:40 p.m.
Stewart Eskew (University of Wisconsin)
Moral perception is the view that we can have knowledge of moral facts or properties on the basis of our perceptual experiences of moral facts or properties in much the same way that our knowledge of the external world is based on our perceptual experiences of ordinary objects or properties. Moral perception seems wholly incompatible with non-naturalist moral realism. According to non-naturalism, non-natural moral properties have no causal power. Since we are able to perceive material objects and properties in virtue of their causal powers, the causally inert nature of moral properties makes it utterly mysterious how we could perceive such properties. Recently, Justin McBrayer has defended non-naturalist moral perception from the causal objection. I argue that McBrayers account of moral perception ultimately fails to capture an important feature of knowledge via moral perception.
On Fischers Judgment of the Blameworthiness of Plum and Ernie, Saturday, October 6, Session 12, Aquamarine 2, 9:40-10:20 a.m.
Matthew Flummer (Florida State U.)
Manipulation cases are commonly used in arguments against compatibilism. They involve cases in which agents meet common compatibilist conditions for freedom and moral responsibility. However, it intuitively seems that the agent is not morally responsible because of the presence of deterministic manipulation. Two such arguments are Perebooms 4 Case Argument and Meles Zygote Argument. In this paper, I will examine John Martin Fischers response to Case 2 of the 4 Case Argument and the Zygote Argument. I will argue that Fischer is inconsistent in his handling of the two cases. I will then attempt to provide an explanation for why Fischer handles the cases they way that he does. Finally, I will argue that this explanation fails to overcome the inconsistency. I then conclude with a suggestion for Fischer.
Causation in virtue of Content, Saturday, October 6, Session 11, Aquamarine 1, 8:50-9:30 a.m.
Howard Hewitt (Auburn)
Intentional action is action caused in the right way by an agents rationalizing intentional mental states. Or so the causal theory would have us believe. Giving an account of just what in the right way amounts to on the causal account is a matter of controversy. Markus Schlosser claims that being caused in the right way is a matter of the agents rationalizing mental states causing the agents activity in virtue of the content of those mental states. I give three interpretations of this notion and argue that they all fail to deliver.
Faulkner the Stoic: Honor and the Snopeses in The Snopes Trilogy, Saturday, October 6, Coral Reef, Session 14, 11:20-12:00 a.m.
T. Allan Hillman (U. South Alabama)
Throughout his works, William Faulkners themes are oftentimes stoic in nature: endurance through suffering, the flawed nature of human beings redeemable through virtuous effort, and the indifference of the world to the lives of persons. Here I discuss the concept of honor as it applies to a particular episode in William Faulkners The Snopes Trilogy, with the hope that some attention to the Stoics may enable us to make sense of the climactic scene in the magnificent work, a scene wherein the scales of cosmic justice are balanced by one Snopes taking the life of another.
Remarks on Causal Screening and the (alleged) Heterogeneity of Truth, Friday, October 6, Session 9, Aquamarine 1, 4:20-5:00 p.m.
Michael Horton (U. Alabama)
Chase Wrenn (2010) argues that truth is not instrumentally valuable. Part of that argument involves talking of a further property, truthn, that allegedly screens off truth from causal relevance. The success of Wrenns argument depends on the fact that truthn is similar to truth: both are seemingly gerrymandered and heterogeneous, but no less genuine for it. Just how heterogeneous is truth? In this paper, I claim that a failure to take functionalism about truth seriously undercuts Wrenns argument. Functionalism about truth allows us to show the key differences between truth and truthn. I will not argue that truth is instrumentally valuable, only that the considerations of Wrenn dont establish that it is not.
Bowties and Mechanistic Explanation, Friday, October 5, Session 5, Coral Reef, 1:00-1:40 p.m.
Nicholaos Jones (U. Alabama Huntsville)
While mechanistic explanation is a well-explored topic in the philosophy of biology, topological explanation is not. Accordingly, relying upon a case study about immune system vulnerability to attacks on CD4+ T-cells, I argue that topological explanations, unlike mechanistic ones, can explain why particular kinds of behavioral patterns can be expected to obtain in biological systems. This reveals a limitation of mechanistic explanation, a kind of explanandum that does not fall within the scope of mechanistic explanation.
Evolution and Moral Knowledge,
Friday, October 5, Session 1, Coral Reef, 8:30-9:10 a.m.
Matthew Jordan (Auburn U. Montgomery)
Abstract not yet available
An Inconsistency Revisited: Change, Unity and Aristotles Elements, Saturday, October 6, Session 11, Coral Reef, 8:50-9:30 a.m.
Mary Krizan (Spring Hill College)
Aristotles general theory of change generates an inconsistency when applied to the specific case of the elemental transformations; attempts to resolve the inconsistency have generated volumes of literature surrounding the so-called prime matter debate. Before turning to the solution, we need to be completely clear on what the problem is. In this paper, I argue that three main attempts to save Aristotle from his inconsistency fail because they inadvertently commit Aristotle to denying the ability for elements to undergo substantial changes or they threaten the ontological status of elements as unified substances.
Temptation and Easy Virtue, Friday, October 5, Session 1, Aquamarine 2, 8:30-9:10 a.m.
Roderick T. Long (Auburn)
We tend to think of the virtuous person as free from temptation, since a soul riven by internal conflict is not in its healthiest state. Yet we also tend to think that one doesnt count as virtuous unless one has to struggle to resist temptation, since otherwise the agent seems not to deserve much credit. I argue against both conceptions. The charge that virtue comes too easily for the untempted is defeated by attention to past and counterfactual circumstances; but the value of temptation is that it sometimes accurately represents important normative features of the situation.
Is the Generality Problem Everybodys Problem?, Friday, October 5, Session 2, Coral Reef, 9:20-10:00 a.m.
Jon Matheson (U. North Florida)
The generality problem is perhaps the most notorious problem for reliabilism. The reliabilist needs an account of which belief-forming processes are relevant in determining the justificatory status of any given belief. Michael Bishop has argued that this problem is not unique to reliabilism. He claims that to account for some cases of reflective justification every epistemic theory encounters a version of the generality problem. In this paper I defend evidentialism from Bishops attack. I show how the evidentialist can avoid this restricted version of the generality problem, while at the same time, not providing a solution that the reliabilist can successfully adopt.
Theistic Modal Realism and Gratuitous Evil, Friday, October 5, Session 3, Coral Reef, 10:10-10:50 a.m.
Blake McAllister (Baylor U.)
Michael J. Almeida argues that theistic modal realism (think model realism with an Anselmian perfect being at each world) offers unique resources to explain how its possible for God to allow gratuitous evil. The gist of Almeidas argument is as follows: Gratuitous evil is possible. Given theistic modal realism, this logically entails that there is a world at which a perfect being allows gratuitous evil. If this perfect being hadnt allowed gratuitous evil to exist in his world, then some other perfect being would have had to allow such evil. Accordingly, the perfect being that allows the gratuitous evil to exist is not culpable for this allowance his hands were tied. Almeidas argument suggests that a modal fact (Gratuitous evil is possible) is the reason why a perfect being allows gratuitous evil. I argue that the reductive account of modality offered by modal realism prevents modal facts from explaining why the plurality is the way it is. This is because the plurality is explanatorily prior to modal facts. Therefore, Almeidas argument fails.
In Defense of the Explanationist Response to Skepticism, Friday, October 5, Session 6, Aquamarine 1, 1:50-2:30 p.m.
Kevin McCain (U. Alabama Birmingham)
A promising response to the threat of external world skepticism involves arguing that our commonsense view of the world best explains the sensory experiences that we have. Since our commonsense view of the world best explains our evidence to us, by inference to the best explanation (IBE), we are justified in accepting our commonsense view of the world. Despite the plausibility of this Explanationist Response, it has recently come under attack. James Beebe (2009) has argued that only a version of the Explanationist Response that provides an a priori justification of IBE can hope to respond to two serious objections. Additionally, he has argued that providing such an a priori justification requires an acceptable account of a priori probability and that it is unclear whether such an account can be developed. In this paper I argue that Beebe fails to provide adequate support for either of these claims.
Humility, Saturday, October 6, Session 15, Coral Reef, 12:10-1:10 p.m.
David McNaughton (Florida State U.)
(co-authored with Eve Garrard of Manchester U.)
Some character traits, such as benevolence and courage, have a fixed place in almost anyones catalogue of virtues. But others have something like a life cycle: they move from a marginal status to a central one, and sometimes they move back again to the margins, or even beyond the domain of virtue altogether. Chastity is one example of this; humility is another. What is it about humility, once such an important virtue, that now makes many so ambivalent about it? And is there any way of rescuing it for a secular context, so that we can once again wholeheartedly endorse and admire it as one of the virtues?
Because virtues are excellences, any account of humility needs to explain why it is good for, and attractive to, its possessor, and not just to those who have to do with the humble person. So an account that allies humility too closely with traits like self-abasement, servility, or wimpishness will fail to meet this condition. That requirement also rules out the popular view that in order to be humble one has to underestimate ones own achievements. For it is surely neither admirable, attractive, nor good for a person, that she have a distorted or inadequate conception of the facts, including the facts about her own achievements.
We prefer an account in which the humble persons focus is not on her own achievements but elsewhere. Because humility involves one particular orientation towards those achievements when other orientations are both possible and seductive, no reflection on her own achievements, or comparison with those of others, is sufficient to generate humility. The fundamental orientation of humility has already to be present in order for one to have the appropriate response to these facts.
Finally, we explore an overlooked asymmetry. While it is indeed admirable not to focus on our own achievements, it is definitely a vice to give short shrift to the achievements of others. Understanding this asymmetry helps explain why humility, understood in the way we suggest, is so admirable.
The Quine-Duhem Thesis and the Case for Confirmational Holism, Friday, October 5, Session 4, Coral Reef, 11:00-11:40 a.m.
William Melanson (U. Nebraska Omaha)
According to the thesis of confirmational holism, the unit of confirmation is the entire theoretical structure that contributes to making a successful prediction. It is widely supposed that confirmational holism follows as little more than a corollary of the Quine-Duhem thesis that no statement can be tested in isolation from auxiliary theories and background assumptions. Most notably, the final section of W.V.O. Quines Two Dogmas of Empiricism seems to contain a concise, clear, and compelling argument from the Quine-Duhem thesis to the thesis of confirmational holism. Unfortunately, the exact structure of the argument is quite sketchy as Quines gift for eloquence and talent for turning a phrase tend to get in the way. This paper examines those well-worn paragraphs in an attempt to reconstruct the argument. Ultimately, this attempt at reconstruction reveals the argument from the Quine-Duhem thesis to confirmational holism to be far more elusive than is generally thought.12
Sharing Propositions in Amoralsville: Amoral Communities and Moral Concepts, Friday, October 5, Session 9, Coral Reef, 4:20-5:00 p.m.
David Merli (Franklin & Marshall)
In recent work Jamie Dreier, James Lenman, and M. S. Bedke have argued against the possibility of a community of amoralists, that is, a community in which speakers make moral judgments without any corresponding motivation to act. I reply to those arguments here by appealing to the conceptual continuity between the amoralist community and our own, and by diagnosing an ambiguity in what is meant by moral concepts. These arguments show that a community of amoralists is possible, at least in the sense required for broader debates about internalism and moral motivation.
Supervenience Physicalism and the Emergentism Objection: A Case Study and a Challenge, Saturday, October 6, Session 13, Aquamarine 2, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
Kevin Morris (Tulane)
According to the emergentism objection to supervenience physicalism, nonphysicalist metaphysical outlooks like emergentism can accept supervenience on the physical, and thus supervenience can at most give a necessary condition on physicalism. I first explain how reflection on Robert Howells recent base pollution defense of supervenience physicalism reveals a new challenge for the supervenience physicalist. I then suggest that this is symptomatic of a more general challenge, which consists, roughly, in responding to the emergentism objection without rendering talk of supervenience superfluous in characterizing physicalism. I conclude by offering some remarks on the content and significance of this challenge.
Do We Have Enough Income Inequality?, Saturday, October 6, Session 11, Aquamarine 2, 8:50-9:30 a.m.
David Morrow (U. Alabama Birmingham)
Standard measures of well-being and development in welfare and development economics assume that the morally best distribution of income is a perfectly equal one. This paper argues that the morally best level of income inequality is strictly greater than zero. Four independent arguments are given for this thesis one inspired by Rawls; one by Nozick; one by Sen, Dworkin, Vonnegut, and others; and one by the economist Morton Paglin. All of the arguments are compatible, however, with the claim that the best level of income inequality is low, so that we currently have enough or more than enough income inequality.
Knowledge, Evidence, and Self-Evidence, Saturday, October 6, Session 13, Aquamarine 1, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
Philip Osborne (Purdue U.)
In this work I aim to present a dilemma for Timothy Williamsons thesis that ones evidence consists of all and only the propositions one knows (evidence=knowledge, or E=K), based on two possible readings of E=K. On the first reading, every proposition one knows trivially counts as evidence for itself. I argue that this reading of E=K struggles to account for certain linguistic data regarding our usage of the term evidence. Attempts to accommodate these data require a distinction between independent evidence and evidence simpliciter which lacks adequate motivation, and is problematic in its own right. On the second reading of E=K, it is not necessarily true that every proposition one knows is evidence for itself. I argue that this interpretation of E=K leaves us without the necessary resources to resolve the skeptical regress.
Davidsonian Mental Causation, or Something Near Enough , Saturday, October 6, Session 10, Aquamarine 2, 8:00-8:40 a.m.
Daniel Pearlberg (Ohio State U.)
I argue that the charges of epiphenomenalism levied against anomalous monism (AM) are mistaken. First I point out that the traditional charge of epiphenomenalism results in a stalemate concerning the metaphysics of events. Next I challenge the assumption that accounts of mental causation that only rule out token-epiphenomenalism are inferior to accounts that additionally rule out type-epiphenomenalism. Finally I argue that even if that assumption is correct, and even if Davidson is wrong about the metaphysics of events, AM fares no worse than its physicalist competitors with respect to mental causation.
Games, Inferences, and Conceptual Schemes, Friday, October 5, Session 7, Coral Reef, 2:40-3:20 p.m.
Adam Podlaskowski (Fairmont State U.)
In this conference paper, I develop a new inferentialist response to Donald Davidsons famous attack on the very idea of a conceptual scheme. I argue that the notion of a game often used as an illuminating model for theorizing about meaning can also be used to rehabilitate a central metaphor for characterizing conceptual schemes: namely, that conceptual schemes somehow organize the world or our experiences of it, and that there are dramatically different (and incommensurable) ways of organizing the same world/experiences. This approach casts new light on how the inferentialist can view the relationship between language, the world, and ourselves.
Locating Bayesianism Within an Explanationist Framework, Friday, October 5, Session 8, Coral Reef, 3:30-4:10 p.m.
Ted Poston (U. South Alabama)
Jonathan Weisberg (2009) argues that Bayesianism and explanationism are incompatible. Weisberg contends that this incompatibility can be fruitfully developed to bring central explanationist principles into the objective Bayesian fold. I agree with many of Weisbergs points but reverse the explanatory direction: an explanationist can use the mathematical theory of probability to constrain reasonable belief in some contexts, but the mathematical theory is not an adequate normative epistemology. I argue that this view fits more naturally with the arguments Weisberg adduces for imposing explanationist constraints on permissible probability functions. Furthermore, I present one problem with using measure theory for normative epistemology.
How Morality Is Unified, Friday, October 5, Session 2, Aquamarine 1, 9:20-10:00 a.m.
James Quigley (Florida State U.)
This paper defends the view that moralitys content revolves mostly around prohibiting interpersonal harming perhaps uniquely and ultimately so. Empirical literature suggests two plausible claims (here, in slogan form) which indirectly support this: i) moral issues are, centrally, harm issues and ii) all harm issues are moral issues. By contrast, other candidate phenomena, advanced by Jonathan Haidt Ingroup-betrayal, Authority-defiance, and Purity-degradation only occasionally and extrinsically render issues moral. I show how each of these phenomena exhibit ontological, empirical, normative, and historical dependence on that of harm.
Reconsidering Tolstoys Confession, Friday, October 5, Session 8, 3:30-4:10 p.m.
Morgan Rempel (U. Southern Mississippi)
Highly abbreviated versions of Leo Tolstoys autobiographical classic, A Confession, are almost ubiquitous in introductory philosophy anthologies. The impression easily taken away from these judiciously chosen excerpts is that Tolstoy ultimately surmounts his debilitating meaning-of-life crisis by embracing religion. As is so often the case, however, first impressions particularly those based on fragmentary evidence can be misleading. By examining A Confession as a whole and several of his other post-crisis works concerned with religion, this paper endeavors to clarify the true character and larger trajectory of Tolstoys religious journey.
Professional Responsibility as a Response to Systematic Moral Ambiguity, Saturday, October 6, Session 12, Aquamarine 1, 9:40-10:20 a.m.
James Rocha (Louisiana State U.)
The grounding of professional responsibility can be mysterious. If an engineer has responsibilities that are neither moral duties nor company requirements, then there must be some grounding for these responsibilities. I argue that professional responsibility is a systematic response to moral ambiguities within professional moral problems. Moral problems can often be solved in different ways that are equally permissible. Sometimes when these problems occur in professional settings, they cannot be solved in different ways for each professional since that would violate the publics legitimate expectations for uniformity. Professional responsibilities, as dictated by professional organizations, provide a uniform set of duties.
Coherence, Explanation, and Probability, Friday, October 5, Session 3, Aquamarine 2, 10:10-10:50 a.m.
William Roche (Texas Christian U.)
There have been several attempts in formal epistemology of recent to develop an adequate probabilistic measure of coherence. A successful such attempt would be (or at least would promise to be) a rather significant result. Mark Siebel (2005, pp. 356-358; 2011), though, argues that there can be no adequate probabilistic measure of coherence. The charge in short is that explanation is hyperintensional whereas probability is merely intensional, and so, on certain cases involving logical equivalence, probabilistic measures of coherence (extant or not) run afoul of various theses concerning coherence and explanation. Siebels argument is subtle and important, and Siebel is right to raise the issue of explanation in the context of probabilistic measures of coherence. I aim to show, however, that Siebels argument fails. I explain Siebels argument in section 2, and give my reply in section 3.
Pritchard, Safety, Ability, and Necessary Truths, Friday, October 5, Session 9, Aquamarine 2, 4:20-5:00 p.m.
Jeffrey Roland (Louisiana State U.) and Jon Cogburn (Louisiana State U.)
Duncan Pritchard has recently argued that his safety condition on knowing avoids the problem with necessary truths that safety conditions are often thought to have, viz., that beliefs the contents of which are necessarily true are trivially safe. He has further argued that adding an ability condition to truth, belief, and safety conditions yields an adequate account of knowledge. In this paper, we argue that he is wrong on both counts. Indeed, the same sort of case that precipitates Pritchards introduction of an ability condition shows the inadequacy of his completed account of knowledge.
Frankfurt Cases and Intensional Contexts, Friday, October 5, Session 6, Aquamarine 2, 1:50-2:30 p.m.
Seth Shabo (U. Delaware)
I revisit a widely accepted condition of adequacy for responses to Frankfurts seminal challenge to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. An adequate response to Frankfurts challenge must preserve the association moral between responsibility and right kind of alternative possibilities, ones that confer on the agent a power or ability to do otherwise. What hasnt been noticed is that not all such powers suffice, since some power attributions are subject to intensional contexts and so fail to support the conclusions that Frankfurts opponents require. I revise the condition of adequacy so that it identifies the right kind of power.
Property Composition, Friday, October 5, Session 8, Aquamarine 1, 3:30-4:10 p.m.
Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State U.)
Many philosophers speak of complex properties and often do so in terms of mereological relations. David Robb, for example, has claimed that the property I have in virtue of which I tend to wince when my skin is burned ... is ... no doubt, a mereologically complex property composed of all sorts of properties in my nervous system and elsewhere. Despite this sort of talk, to date there has been no attempt to provide an account of property composition. The purpose of this paper is to tentatively put forward just such an account.
Why Having Evidence Is Easy, Friday, October 5, Session 7, Aquamarine 2, 2:40-3:20 p.m.
Joshua Smith (Central Michigan U.)
The notion of having evidence is nearly ubiquitous in epistemology. Unfortunately, the notion has received too little attention. In this paper, I argue for a very permissive view of having evidence, and against more commonly defended restrictive views.
Undergraduate Essay Award Winner
The Inconsistency of Free Will in Relation to Concepts of Heaven, Saturday, October 6, Session 13, Coral Reef, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
Hannah E. White (U. Alabama)
Theists have often appealed to the notion of free will in order to give a justification or a defense for the fact that a morally perfect God allows evil to exist in our world. There is also a traditionally widespread belief among theists in the concept of a perfect afterlife provided for us by God. It is my opinion that there is a very important inconsistency between these two specific concepts that many theists overlook. In this paper, I will address how free will and the traditional concept of heaven conflict and how the theist cannot accept both of these concepts without making sacrifices.