Alabama Philosophical Society

54th Annual Conference
September 30-October 1, 2016

Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel
12 Via Luna Drive
Pensacola FL  35261

Each of the non-plenary sessions offers multiple 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 45-minute sessions with a 10-minute break (on Friday) 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 a PDF version of the schedule.


Friday, September 30
8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
$50 registration fee payable at registration (in front of Coral Reef Room) or to Kevin Sharpe during the conference ($10 fee for undergraduate students).
Emerald 1Emerald 2Aquamarine 1Aquamarine 2
8:30-9:15 a.m.
Session 1
Mark Hopwood (Sewanee)
The Normativity of Love
Tom Metcalf (Spring Hill)
Gun Violence as a Negative Externality of Gun Production
9:25-10:10 a.m.
Session 2
Nicholaos Jones (UAH)
Everything Is Fundamental
Brett Coppenger (Tuskegee)
A Tension Within College Football
Steven Todd (Henderson State)
Lamme’s ‘Neural Definition’ of Consciousness: A Critique
Michael Clifford (Mississippi State)
Make America Great – Again? Why Liberals and Conservatives Hate Each Other
10:20-11:05 a.m.
Session 3
Chelsea Haramia (U. Tampa)
Why Hard Incompatibilism Is Compatible With Most Moral Practices
Justin Morton (UT Austin)
A Dilemma for Streetian Constructivism
Gregory Johnson (Mississippi State)
Psychology and Explanatory Extinction
Mike Ferry (Spring Hill)
The Limits of Parental Choice
11:15 a.m.-12:00 noon
Session 4
Joel Archer (SLU)
Agent Causationism, Cross-World Luck, and Ontological Dependence
Jason Bernsten (Xavier U. Louisiana)
Expressivism, Internalism, and Appeals to What Is Normal
Andrew Bollhagen (Mississippi State)
Adaptation, Representationalism, and Thermometers
12:00 noon-1:30 p.m.Break for Lunch (on your own)
1:30-2:15 p.m.
Session 5
Joseph Baltimore (West Virginia U.)
The Dispositionalist’s Causal Gap
Morgan Rampel (U. Southern Mississippi)
SS Morality in Theory and Practice
John Bickle (Mississippi State & U. Mississippi Medical Center)
On the Rise and “Fall” of Neurophilosophy
Samuel Baker (South Alabama)
Aristotle on The Doctor
2:25-3:10 p.m.
Session 6
Megan Fritts (U. Wisconsin Madison)
Actions and Projects: A Proposed Solution to the Problem of Vague Attribution
Aaron Cobb (AUM)
Exemplar Communities and the Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence
David Spewak (Marion Military Institute)
Are There Perlocutionary Silencings?
Jesse Schupack (Notre Dame)
Containment, Analysis, and Contingency in Leibniz
3:20-4:05 p.m.
Session 7
Aaron Griffith (William & Mary)
The Rights of Future Persons and the Ontology of Time
Anne Jeffrey (U. South Alabama)
Hoping for Normative Realism
Adam Podlaskowski (Fairmont State)
Pre-Theoretically, Is Meaning Fraught With Ought?
Tully Borland (Ouachita Baptist) and T. Allan Hillman (U. South Alabama)
Scotus’ Anselmian Moral Psychology, Libertarianism, and Pelagianism
4:15-5:00 p.m.
Session 8
Allison Thornton (Baylor)
How to Argue for Animalism
Jennifer Lockhart (Auburn)
Natural Needs
Wesley Cray (Texas Christian)
Some Ideas About the Metaphysics of Stories
2016 Undergraduate Essay Prize Winner
Dannial Budhwani
(U. South Alabama)
Moore and Bouwsma: A Matter of Common Sensa
Reception 7:00-10:00 p.m.Reception (Alabama Philosophical Society Suite, location TBA)

Saturday, October 1Emerald 1Emerald 2Aquamarine 1Aquamarine 2
8:30-9:15 a.m.
Session 9
Danielle Wylie (Mississippi State)
The Challenge of Explaining Long-Term Changes in Moral Judgment
William Shankles (UAH)
Star-Teching: Technological Relations in Scientific Observation
Keren Gorodeisky (Auburn)
Aesthetic Pleasure and the Value of Art
Alexander Jech (Notre Dame)
The Cross of the Self: Reading Kierkegaard and the Single Individual
9:25-10:10 a.m.
Session 10
Tom Lockhart (Auburn)
Epistemological Disjunctivisms and Random Demons
Joshua Smith (Central Michigan U.)
No False Grounds and Defeasibility
Guy Rohrbaugh (Auburn)
Psychologism and Completion in Artworks
Robert Reed (Texas A&M)
Must God Prevent Evil?
10:10-10:25 p.m.
Coffee Break
10:25-11:10 a.m.
Session 11
Andrew Cling (UAH)
Procedural Reasons and the Problem of the Criterion
William Roche (Texas Christian)
A Condition for Transitivity in High Probability
Kristin Boyce (Mississippi State)
Thought, Dance, and Aesthetic Reason
Jonathan Matheson (U. North Florida)
Disagreement and the Rationality of Religious Belief
11:20 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Session 12
Kevin McCain (U. Alabama) and Ted Poston (U. South Alabama)
Two Strategies for Explaining Away Skepticism
Tim Butzer (U. Alabama)
Entitlement, Calamities, and Content
Kristina Grob (Spring Hill)
Expanding Feminist Silences: Moral Formation and Praiseworthy Silence
Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State)
Another Mereological Objection to Christological Materialism
12:15-1:45 p.m.
Session 13 (Plenary)
Welcome and Introduction by C. R. Dodsworth (Spring Hill), APS President

Keynote Address
Marilyn McCord Adams (Australian Catholic U./ Rutgers)
The Teleology Delusion: Positive Purpose in a World Without a Personal God?
2:00-3:15 p.m.Business Lunch, Location: Flounders (across the street from the hotel)

Abstracts of Papers (alphabetical by Author)

Keynote Address
The Teleology Delusion: Positive Purpose in a World without a Personal God? , Saturday, October 1, Session 13, Emerald I, Emerald I
Marilyn McCord Adams (Australian Catholic University and Rutgers University)

The impressive achievements of the physical scientists lured analytic philosophers of the last quarter of the twentieth century into the hope that the physical sciences could be a theory of everything. Various forms of materialism were and perhaps continue to be the majority report. Recently, Thomas Nagel and Mark Johnston have broken ranks. Nagel wants to see the universe as intrinsically goal-directed and Johnston looks for a way to survive death, both without detracting from the physical sciences and without resorting to a personal God. I argue that – given horrendous evil – their views are seriously out of touch with reality. My own conclusion is that horrors make positive purpose in this world impossible without a personal God.

Agent Causation, Cross-World Luck, and Ontological Dependence, Friday, September 30, Session 4, Emerald I, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 noon
Joel Archer (Saint Louis University)

Many people think there is a luck problem with libertarian freedom. Agent-causal libertarians attempt to solve this problem by positing a direct causal connection between agents and their actions. According to Alfred Mele, however, this attempt is unsuccessful: libertarian actions are lucky even if agent-causation exists. I offer a response to Mele that has been overlooked by his interlocutors. His argument presupposes that an agent’s actions are ontologically dependent on which world is actual. I argue that agent-causalists can escape Mele’s argument by affirming the opposite: the truth about which world is actual depends on truths about agents’ free choices.

Aristotle on The Doctor, Friday, September 30, Session 5, Aquamarine II, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Samuel Baker (University of South Alabama)

This paper is a reconstruction of Aristotle’s account of the art of medicine – that is, of the doctor, qua doctor. I argue that the art of medicine is a productive expertise with an essential teleological ordering towards health. The doctor must rely on the natural philosopher to understand what health is. While a doctor could use his art of medicine to produce disease, that would be an ‘accidental’ use of the art of medicine and the doctor would not do so qua doctor. Such an account has nontrivial implications: for example, a doctor qua doctor could not perform active euthanasia.

The Dispositionalist’s Causal Gap, Friday, September 30, Session 5, Emerald I, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Joseph Baltimore (West Virginia University)

In identifying properties with dispositions or powers, the dispositionalist is able to close the gap between a property and its ability to contribute to the causal goings on of the world, since such abilities are built into the very nature of properties. There remains, though, the problem of understanding how those dispositions mutually manifest and actively engage in causal interactions with one another. This sort of causal gap, which is not often explicitly discussed by dispositionalists, is addressed here. Specifically, this paper explores the potential of substance monism, with its unifying framework, to close the dispositionalist’s causal gap.

Expressivism, Internalism, and Appeals to What is Normal, Friday, September 30, Session 4, Emerald II, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 noon
Jason Berntsen (Xavier University of Louisana)

According to expressivism, moral judgments (i.e., the mental states expressed by sincere assertions of ethical sentences) are not beliefs but are instead non-cognitive attitudes of approval and disapproval. Caj Strandberg has recently developed a new version of a familiar argument against expressivism by considering it in light of the distinction between dispositional and occurrent mental states, a distinction he claims parties to the debate have hitherto ignored. Here I defend expressivism against Strandberg’s argument. Specifically, I show that versions of expressivism that also assume an interpretationist philosophy of mind, which include one of the leading extant versions) have explanatory resources that Strandberg’s argument fails to appreciate.

On the Rise and “Fall” of Neurophilosophy, Friday, September 30, Session 5, Aquamarine I, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
John Bickle (Mississippi State University & University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Neurophilosophy burst into academic philosophy in the mid-1980s. In one sense it has succeeded admirably. One now finds neuroscientific results appealed to across fields as diverse as metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, social and political philosophy, and aesthetics. But in another sense neurophilosophy “fell”: the way neuroscience now routinely informs philosophy is not the way that early neurophilosophers envisioned, and specialists in this field (or its cognate, philosophy of neuroscience) are not interested in revitalizing the initial vision. In this paper I articulate the nature of this “fall” and argue for a novel explanation of it.

Adaptation, Representationalism, and Thermometers, Friday, September 30, Session 4, Aquamarine II, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 noon
Andrew Bollhagen (Mississippi State University)

Introspective and empirical evidence suggests that in order for experienced color to track the reflectance properties of surfaces, perceivers must be adapted to the relevant conditions of illumination. The reason for this is that, prior to adaptation, the relative contributions of surface reflectance and illumination to the color signal picked up by the retina are confounded. It takes time for the visual system to disentangle these contributions and generate phenomenal color that reliably indicates surface reflectance. In this paper, I argue that phenomenal colors experienced prior to adaptation resist interpretation in representationalist terms.

Scotus’ Anselmian Moral Psychology, Libertarianism, and Pelagianism, Friday, September 30, Session 7, Aquamarine II, 3:20-4:05 p.m.
Tully Borland (Ouachita Baptist University) and T. Allan Hillman (University of South Alabama)

In a recent essay (Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 5:88-121 (2014)), James Gibson argues that previous interpreters of Anselm are mistaken in their view that he is able to avoid the heresy of Pelagianism. Against this, Gibson provides reasons for thinking that an Anselmian theory of moral psychology cannot, in fact, harmonize libertarianism (regarding free will) with divine grace. Here we enter the debate, arguing that John Duns Scotus’ (Anselm-inspired) account of moral psychology can both side-step Gibson’s objections and offer a promising harmonization of grace and libertarian freedom.

Thought, Dance, and Aesthetic Reason , Saturday, October 1, Session 11, Aquamarine I, 10:25-11:10 a.m.
Kristin Boyce (Mississippi State University)

This paper traces the principal models of theoretical and practical reason that philosophers have brought to bear in order to illuminate the thought that is constitutive of artistic dance practices. It argues these models cannot do justice to the thought in dance and proposes an alternative model of “aesthetic” reason that is more adequate to the task.

2016 Undergraduate Essay Prize Winner
Moore and Bouwsma: A Matter of Common Sensa, Friday, September 30, Session 8, Aquamarine II, 4:15-5:00 p.m.
Dannial Budhwani (Auburn University)

G.E. Moore classically defended common sense by listing many propositions which he claimed we know with certainty. I start the paper with his notion of analysis and how it gave philosophy a role in attempting to understand the meaning of propositions. One of Moore’s certainly known propositions is of the existence of sensa (or sense-data). Moore gives instructions on how to identify sensa in our lives, and Bouwsma gives a critical analysis of those instructions. The second part of the paper is trying to understand Moore’s instructions and responding to Bouwsma’s concerns.

Entitlement, Calamities, and Content, Saturday, October 1, Session 12, Emerald II, 11:20 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Tim Butzer (University of Alabama)

I criticize an account of perceptual warrant proposed by Tyler Burge (2003). Burge contends that a subject’s beliefs are entitled only if that subject’s perceptual system represents its normal environment in a reliably veridical manner. The normal environment, according to Burge, is the environment in which the contents of the subject’s perceptual experiences were fixed. I present a case that shows that the contents of a subject’s perceptual experiences can remain fixed while features of its perceptual system relevant to its representational reliability change. This leads to problematic consequences for Burge’s view. I then introduce an account of perceptual entitlement similar to Burge’s that overcomes this difficulty.

Make America Great – Again? Why Liberals and Conservatives Hate Each Other, Friday, September 30, Session 2, Aquamarine II, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Michael Clifford (Mississippi State University)

In this paper, I examine the philosophical differences in the respective views of liberals and conservatives. What supports the fractious character of modern politics? What can serve as a basis of differentiation between the right and the left that would explain their differences and account for, if not justify, their opposition? Enlisting the work of Dworkin, Adorno, and Mill, I suggest that the animosity between liberals and conservatives stems from fundamentally different conceptual orientations toward the same objects of political discourse – an animosity, even hostility, that will arguably never be ameliorated.

Procedural Reasons and the Problem of the Criterion , Saturday, October 1, Session 11, Emerald I, 10:25-11:10 a.m.
Andrew Cling (University of Alabama, Huntsville)

The problem of the criterion assumes that criteria of truth can be reasons for belief. I provide an account of criteria of truth that explains and supports this assumption. Paradigmatic criteria of truth are principles according to which a non-normative property Χ is a sufficient condition of the truth of propositions that have Χ. Other principles can be criteria of truth including propositions to the effect that belief-forming procedures are reliable and epistemic principles. All of these can provide us with procedural epistemic reasons for belief by underwriting the reliability of the ways in which we activate our beliefs.

Exemplar Communities and the Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence, Friday, September 30, Session 6, Emerald II, 2:25-3:10 p.m.
Aaron Cobb (Auburn University, Montgomery)

Philosophical accounts of moral exemplars typically focus on individuals, but there are good reasons to study exemplar communities. Attending to these collectives can teach us about human interdependence, its connection to flourishing, and the nature and structure of the virtues. Perhaps, most importantly, reflection on exemplar communities is crucial to understanding their role in addressing substantive moral tasks such as care for persons with disabilities. In this paper, I seek to establish the value of studying exemplar communities. And I argue that there are exemplar communities which manifest virtues of acknowledged dependence crucial to addressing significant human needs.

A Tension Within College Football, Friday, September 30, Session 2, Emerald II, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Brett Coppenger (Tuskegee University)

The popularity of College Football in the United States is hard to overstate. However, there is another side of football that has been gaining attention as well. Recent research on the connection between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (hereafter, CTE) has caused increased concern about player safety in football. In what follows, I will present what I take to be a worrisome tension within college football. In order to accomplish this task, I will first present the relevant theses. Then, second, I will motivate the internal tension that makes offering a viable reconciliation of these theses elusive. Finally, I will consider potential objections / replies and consider some of the implications of this line of reasoning.

Some Ideas about the Metaphysics of Stories, Friday, September 30, Session 8, Aquamarine I, 4:15-5:00 p.m.
Wesley Cray (Texas Christian University)

Aaron Smuts has argued that no account of what stories are can preserve the claim that stories are often retold. Building off of recent work in the ontology of ideas, I argue here (i) that we can adopt an ontology of stories according to which stories are a particular kind of idea; and (ii) that this ontology is immune to the worries which led Smuts to the aforementioned conclusion. The upshot is both positive and critical: it is critical insofar as it demonstrates that Smuts’s worries are not worrisome, and positive insofar as it offers a novel ontology of stories.

The Limits of Parental Choice, Friday, September 30, Session 3, Aquamarine II, 10:20-11:05 a.m.
Mike Ferry (Spring Hill College)

No abstract available.

Actions and Projects: A Proposed Solution to the Problem of Vague Attribution, Friday, September 30, Session xx, Emerald I, 2:25-3:10 p.m.
Megan Fritts (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

My aim in this paper is to draw attention to an important category in the philosophy of action where agency and atomistic actions overlap; I label this category “projects”: particular goals or missions of an agent, whose achievement and pursuit is personal and related to the agent’s self-conception and constitution. I begin by describing this proposed category of action with reference to examples of projects highlighting their distinguishing features. I then show that projects are crucial for filling in our conception of action, because they solve what I term “vague attribution,” a pervasive problem for two prominent theories of action.

Aesthetic Pleasure and the Value of Art, Saturday, October 1, Session 9, Aquamarine I, 8:30-9:15 a.m.
Keren Gorodeisky (Auburn University)

Does art have anything to do with pleasure? I claim that it does, but worry that some of the main recent advocates of the connection between art and pleasure fail to draw it in the right way. My main task in this paper is to argue against those who think that the pleasure in art grounds and constitutes the value of art. Rather than grounding and constituting value, aesthetic pleasure is explained by, and grounded in, the value of art. I thus propose a rationalist or objectivist hedonism in aesthetics (if it is hedonism at all).

The Rights of Future Persons and the Ontology of Time, Friday, September 30, Session 7, Emerald I, 3:20-4:05 p.m.
Aaron Griffith (College of William and Mary)

While many philosophers find it plausible to think that the present generation has obligations to future generations, it is more controversial to think that future generations have rights against the present generation to, say, certain natural resources. In this paper I consider an argument, dubbed the ‘no satisfaction argument,’ against attributing such rights to future persons. According to the no satisfaction argument, future persons cannot have rights against presently existing persons because the former fail to satisfy a plausible necessary condition for having rights: A person P has a right R only if it is logically possible to satisfy R for P. I contend that there is an adequate response to the argument that draws upon the resources of a particular view on the ontology of time: eternalism. According to eternalism, past and future objects and times are just as real as the present moment and present objects.

Expanding Feminist Silences: Moral Formation and Praiseworthy Silence, Saturday, October 1, Session 12, Aquamarine I, 11:20 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Kristina Grob (Spring Hill College)

This paper will show three things: (1) there are convincing accounts of the lived experience of mature moral growth, and that they appear in texts the genres of which lie on the margins of professional philosophy; (2) narrative silence occurs within lived human lives as the disruption patterns of behavior, and such disruptions are part of the process of moral growth; (3) the forbearance of speech can be a morally praiseworthy silence deliberately performed in order to act well or to grow in virtue.

Why Hard Incompatibilism is Compatible with Most Moral Practices, Friday, September 30, Session 3, Emerald I, 10:20-11:05 a.m.
Chelsea Haramia (University of Tampa)

One of the most resilient arguments against hard incompatibilism is the charge that its truth deprives us of the justification for many common-sense moral practices. There are two distinct parts to this charge. The first involves what we would lack: moral responsibility and the ability to do otherwise. The other involves the implications of this lack: common normative behaviors that must be abandoned. I argue that accepting the first part does not entail that we must accept the implications for moral practices in the second part. I argue this without claiming that determinism and moral responsibility are somehow compatible.

The Normativity of Love, Friday, September 30, Session 1, Emerald II, 8:30-9:15 a.m.
Mark Hopwood (Sewanee: The University of the South)

In this paper, I argue that love is distinguished from both reason and desire by the kind of normative demand that it imposes on the lover. To love something is not merely to desire it, but to recognize it as setting a standard for one’s desires (and thus one’s life more broadly). This standard is not, however, one that need be taken to apply to anyone else who does not share a love of the same object. I develop this thesis by considering two examples of loving beauty: in a work of art, and in one’s newborn child.

The Cross of the Self: Reading Kierkegaard as the Single Individual, Saturday, October 1, Session 9, Aquamarine II, 8:30-9:15 a.m.
Alexander Jech (University of Notre Dame)

The reader of Kierkegaard encounters so many confused and distorted reflections that trying to enter Kierkegaard’s thought has been likened to entering a hall of mirrors. In this paper I demonstrate an approach according to which we must approach Kierkegaard with the required pathos, or the imaginative simulation of it, from which we can grasp the duplexity of “the single individual” in the appropriate way; and I demonstrate the fruitfulness of this approach by applying it to Fear and Trembling, aiming to clarify its central message and the nature of faith.

Hoping for Normative Realism, Friday, September 30, Session 7, Emerald II, 3:20-4:05 p.m.
Anne Jeffrey (University of South Alabama)

Debates in metaethics about normative realism, quasi-realism, anti-realism, and nihilism mostly focus on epistemic reasons for our beliefs about values and reasons. Very little has been said about our pragmatic reasons for metaethical beliefs, and even less is said about pragmatic reasons for other attitudes, like hope, regarding truth of metaethical theories. But if there are such pragmatic reasons, they deserve to be taken into account when we’re deciding what kind of theorists to be. In this paper I argue there are pragmatic reasons for hoping, but not for believing, in normative realism if one has independent views or commitments that make realism desirable.

Psychology and Explanatory Extinction, Friday, September 30, Session 3, Aquamarine I, 10:20-11:05 a.m.
Gregory Johnson (Mississippi State University)

Given successful neurobiological explanations of the mind, one issue is the status of reductive explanations as compared to psychological explanations. One option, discussed by Wright (2007), is the explanatory extinction of psychological explanations. Wright rejects explanatory extinction, and I examine his argument and discuss three reasons in favor of explanatory extinction. First, neurobiological explanations, unlike psychological ones, are genuinely causal explanations. Second, behavioral data are explananda, and so the use of such is consistent with explanatory extinction. Third, while low-level explanations may shift their focus between neurobiological levels, such shifts cannot include the components that figure in psychological explanations.

Everything is Fundamental, Friday, September 30, Session 2, Emerald I, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Nicholaos Jones (University of Alabama, Huntsville)

Priority monism is the view that exactly one entity is fundamental; priority pluralism, that more than one is fundamental. Free recombinability concerns the idea that fundamental entities are independent of all others. Jonathan Schaffer argues that failure of free recombinability entails priority monism. I argue, by contrast, that every entity is simultaneously fundamental and not freely recombinable. This is priority pluralism at its most extreme. My argument turns upon two key claims: first, that any partition of entities into fundamental and not, insofar as it is incompatible with alternative partitions, is arbitrary; second, that we ought to shun arbitrariness.

Natural Needs , Friday, September 30, Session 8, Emerald II, 4:15-5:00 p.m.
Jennifer Lockhart (Auburn University)

A program of ethical naturalism holds that judgments about the ethical goodness and badness of human beings are judgments of natural goodness and defect. One might hope that ethical naturalism could find a plausible place for considerations of the natural needs of humans (where these understood as needs that are open to view to the virtuous and vicious alike) in ethical reflection. In this paper, I consider the two sorts of ethical naturalism that are distinguished by JohnMcDowell. I call these foundational naturalism and phronetic naturalism. After discussing McDowell’s two criticisms of foundational naturalism, I argue that phronetic naturalism does not allow natural needs to play a role in ethical reflection, even of the holistic sort.

Epistemological Disjunctivisms and Random Demons, Saturday, October 1, Session 10, Emerald I, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Tom Lockhart (Auburn University)

Consider the hypothesis of the random demon: Miranda is at the mercy of a demon. Occasionally, the demon leaves her unmolested. And occasionally, at random, the demon subjects her to experiences which incorrectly represent the world as being thus and so, and are, to her, indistinguishable from experiences of the world as thus and so. I argue that this hypothesis belongs to a class of Cartesian skeptical hypotheses about the external world which the form of epistemological disjunctivism defended by John McDowell has the resources to rule out, whereas the form of epistemological disjunctivism defended by Duncan Pritchard does not.

Disagreement and the Rationality of Religious Belief , Saturday, October 1, Session 11, Aquamarine II, 10:25-11:10 a.m.
Jonathan Matheson (University of North Florida)

In this paper I apply the Equal Weight View to cases of religious disagreement. I argue that the Equal Weight View has it that awareness of the current state of disagreement over religious propositions, such as the claim that God exists, gives us a defeater for any non-skeptical attitude toward such propositions (both for theistic and atheistic doxastic attitudes). I examine several candidates for why it might be that religious belief deserves special treatment and find them all wanting. In addition, I argue that it is implausible that any other candidate will be up to such a task. So, if the Equal Weight View is correct, then we are not on balance justified in believing that God exists.

Two Strategies for Explaining Away Skepticism, Saturday, October 1, Session 12, Emerald I, 11:20 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Kevin McCain (University of Alabama, Birmingham) & Ted Poston (University of South Alabama)

One prominent response to philosophical skepticism is that skepticism is a failed explanatory hypothesis. It has gone unnoticed that there are two significantly different explanationist responses, one stemming from a broadly Aristotelian picture and the other coming from a broadly Cartesian epistemology. The difference between these views reveals deeper epistemological methodologies. An Aristotelian view takes the aim of epistemology to achieve a complete, stable, and coherent view of the world. A Cartesian picture aims for a vindication of many common beliefs based on a neutral ground. This paper, thus, aims to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of these competing views.

Gun Violence as a Negative Externality of Gun Production, Friday, September 30, Session 1, Aquamarine II, 8:30-9:15 a.m.
Tom Metcalf (Spring Hill College)

Society should coerce harmful industries into paying the negative externalities of their production. For this reason, I argue, we should regulate gun manufacturers’ production of guns to the degree that guns harm innocent people. I show that this harm is an unpaid negative-externality of gun-production. Gun manufacturers must find some way to prevent this negative externality, either by paying compensation to gun-violence victims or by reducing gun violence. I conclude by showing how this law would have a number of advantages over other proposed attempts to reduce gun violence in the United States.

A Dilemma for Streetian Constructivism, Friday, September 30, Session 3, Emerald II, 10:20-11:05 a.m.
Justin Morton (The University of Texas, Austin)

Session 3: Friday, In this paper, I pose a dilemma for a very influential kind of metaethical constructivism, advocated recently by Sharon Street. It is either true or false that, if an action is morally wrong for a certain agent, then that agent has a normative reason not to do it. If it is true, then the constructivist (of this kind) is committed to the counterintuitive claim that some apparently morally horrendous acts are not actually wrong. If it is false, then the constructivist cannot maintain a distinctively metaethical constructivism. Either way, this type of constructivism comes with a significant cost.

Pre-Theoretically, Is Meaning Fraught With Ought?, Friday, September 30, Session 7, Aquamarine I, 3:20-4:05 p.m.
Adam Podlaskowski (Fairmont State University)

It is widely held that the concept of meaning is a normative notion – that meaning is ‘fraught with ought.’ For many, the appeal of this sort of thesis – especially as it involves some sort of platitude – is that it affects how we assess various naturalistic proposals about meaning and its determination. In this talk, I argue that the manner in which the debate over meaning’s normative status has been conducted – involving a substantive discussion of meaning – requires rethinking the force and appeal of this and related criticisms.

SS Morality in Theory and Practice, Friday, September 30, Session 5, Emerald II, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Morgan Rampel (University of Southern Mississippi)

Given the fundamental role they played in the formulation and execution of Nazi Germany’s murderous policies regarding European Jewry, it is tempting to regard the Schutzstaffel – the SS – and its leadership as devoid of any morality whatsoever. Such a characterization, while understandable, does little to advance our understanding of National Socialism, the SS, and their genocidal ideology. After elucidating key components of SS moral theory, my paper examines several examples where this chilling morality was put to the test in the field.

Must God Prevent Evil?, Saturday, October 1, Session 10, Aquamarine II, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Robert Reed (Texas A&M University)

The central claim of any argument from evil is that God’s existence is fundamentally incompatible with certain occurrences of evil. Atheologians generate this incompatibility by drawing upon the divine attribute of moral-perfection, and placing it at odds with evil’s occurrence. I compare some major arguments and show that the expectation that a morally-perfect being would respond to evil through prevention is crucial to the argument. Though the argument requires that God prevent evil and not eliminate it some other way, is it true that moral perfection requires prevention as the mode of moral action? I argue that at most, moral perfection requires eliminating evil and there is no compelling reason to think prevention is the only or most excellent way to eliminate evil. The more robust the notion of wellbeing in play, the more plausible it is that God can eliminate an evil event’s subtraction from an agent’s wellbeing after it occurs.

A Condition for Transitivity in High Probability, Saturday, October 1, Session 11, Emerald II, 10:25-11:10 a.m.
William Roche (Texas Christian University)

High probability is not transitive. This is prima facie problematic since many scientific and everyday cases where the probability of H1 given E is high and the probability of H2 given H1 is high are cases where it seems that the probability of H2 given E is high. It would be welcome, then, if there were (non-trivial) conditions sufficient for transitivity in high probability. I consider three candidate conditions: (1) Super-High Probability Condition (SHPC), (2) Partial Negative-Impact Screening-Off Condition (PNISOC), and (3) Super-High Probability + Partial Negative-Impact Screening-Off Condition (SHP+PNISOC). I argue that SHP+PNISOC but neither SHPC nor PNISOC is sufficient for transitivity in high probability.

Psychologism and Completion in Artworks, Saturday, October 1, Session 10, Aquamarine I, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Guy Rohrbaugh (Auburn University)

When is an artwork complete? Most hold that the correct answer to this question is psychological in nature. A work is complete just in case the artist regards it as complete or is appropriately disposed to act as if she did. This paper argues that such psychologism about completeness is mistaken, fundamentally because it cannot make sense of the artist’s own perspective on her work. For the artist, the question is not about her own psychology, but about the character of the work and the context in which she works.

Containment, Analysis, and Contingency in Leibniz, Friday, September 30, Session 6, Aquamarine II, 2:25-3:10 p.m.
Jesse Schupack (University of Notre Dame)

There are two ways of interpreting Leibnizian complete individual concepts (CICs) following from two understandings of “containment. ” On one popular view, containment is something like set membership. On the other view, containment is “virtual,” and the predicates “follow from” the CIC but are not explicitly contained in it. I characterize the differences between these views and give pragmatic and textual reasons to prefer the second. I show how the first view leads to serious problems in Leibniz’s infinite analysis theory of contingency and offer an alternative construal of analysis, compatible with the second view, showing that it resolves the problem.

Star-Teching: Technological Relations in Scientific Observation, Saturday, October 1, Session 9, Emerald II, 8:30-9:15 a.m.
William Shankles (University of Alabama, Huntsville)

One of Don Ihde’s contributions to philosophy is his application of phenomenological methods towards technoscience, or science that is inextricably linked to technologies. In Postphenomenology and Technoscience, Ihde uses astronomical observation as a case study for how embodiment is related to technosciences. Ihde makes a substantive claim that observer embodiment is an invariant in science. In this paper, I argue that Ihde’s claim is critically weakened by a flawed characterization of contemporary astronomy, but that a modified version of his original claim could still be viable.

Another Mereological Objection to Christological Materialism, Saturday, October 1, Session 12, Aquamarine II, 11:20 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State University)

I argue that some versions of Christological materialism, the view that the incarnate Christ is a material substance – e.g. a human animal, are incompatible with divine aseity. Since the incarnate Christ essentially exists a se in virtue of his divine nature, the versions of Christological materialism under discussion look to be in trouble. This is bad news for me, since I’m attracted to just the sort of Christological materialism that looks to be in trouble. After developing the argument against Christological materialism, I show how my preferred formulation of animalism, what I’ve called psychologically-serious animalism, provides materialists with the resources to respond to the aseity objection.

No False Grounds and Defeasibility, Saturday, October 1, Session 10, Emerald II, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Joshua Smith (Central Michigan University)

Neil Feit and Andrew Cullison have recently developed what they consider a new version of the ‘No False Grounds’ approach to analyzing knowledge. The aim of this paper is to show that their efforts are better understood as an attempt to solve an old problem for defeasibility theories. Their efforts, however, are not unproblematic.

Are There Perlocutionary Silencings?, Friday, September 30, Session 6, Aquamarine I, 2:25-3:10 p.m.
David Spewak (Marion Military Institute)

Philosophical accounts of silencing tend to focus on how speakers’ illocutionary acts are silenced. To date, no one has provided a general account of perlocutionary silencing. When we neglect an entire category of silencing, we also neglect an entire category of how people are harmed. I attempt to remedy this by looking at where we might begin with an account of perlocutionary silencing. I start by looking at restrictions on extant accounts of illocutionary silencing. I then turn to possible paradigm examples of perlocutionary silencing and draw from those examples a preliminary account of perlocutionary silencing.

How to Argue for Animalism, Friday, September 30, Session 8, Emerald I, 4:15-5:00 p.m.
Allison Thornton (Baylor University)

In this paper, I will evaluate the most popularly cited defenses of animalism and show that none of the strongest versions of them support the most popular variety of animalism: that we are essentially animals. For any of those defenses to yield that variety of animalism requires the connecting principle that animals are essentially animals. It is my contention that any such principle is either a mere deliverance of the author’s intuition, relies on an illicit inference from a non-modal claim to a modal one, or is problematically question-begging.

Lamme’s ‘Neural Definition’ of Consciousness: A Critique, Friday, September 30, Session 2, Aquamarine I, 9:25-10:10 a.m.
Steven Todd (Henderson State University)

Rather than working to discover the neural correlates of consciousness, which relies on subjective reports, Lamme (2004; 2006; 2007) attempts to define visual consciousness strictly in terms of brain activity without subjective reports at all. I here show that his attempt fails because his neurological definition actually relies on the very reportability that he wants to eschew. This result bears on his use of this definition without argument, e.g., Fahrenfort & Lamme (2012). His use of this definition has confused others, e.g., Cohen & Dennett (2012). I seek to clear up this confusion.

The Challenge of Explaining Long-Term Changes in Moral Judgment, Saturday, October 1, Session 9, Emerald I, 8:30-9:15 a.m.
Danielle Wylie (Mississippi State University)

A good theory of moral judgment ought to account for our ability to make long-term changes to judgments. I argue that Jesse Prinz’s (2007) “emotional construction” view fails this challenge. He claims that we cannot change moral judgments without changing emotions. In apparent counterexamples, he claims that we keep our initial judgment but form a second-order judgment (accompanied by disapprobation) that the initial judgment is morally wrong. I argue against the claim that one would feel disapprobation while judging something to be true. I then argue that changed emotions without changed judgments poses an unacknowledged threat for Prinz.