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Moral realism

Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207 (1986)

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  1. Neo-Aristotelian Naturalism and the Indeterminacy Objection.Scott Woodcock - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (1):20-41.
    Philippa Foot’s virtue ethics remains an intriguing but divisive position in normative ethics. For some, the promise of grounding human virtue in natural facts is a useful method of establishing normative content. For others, the natural facts on which the virtues are established appear naively uninformed when it comes to the empirical details of our species. In response to this criticism, a new cohort of neo-Aristotelians like John Hacker-Wright attempt to defend Foot by reminding critics that the facts at stake (...)
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  • Moral Cognitivism and Motivation.Sigrun Svavarsdottir - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (2):161-219.
    The impact moral judgments have on our deliberations and actions seems to vary a great deal. Moral judgments play a large part in the lives of some people, who are apt not only to make them, but also to be guided by them in the sense that they tend to pursue what they judge to be of moral value, and shun what they judge to be of moral disvalue. But it seems unrealistic to claim that moral judgments play a pervasive (...)
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  • Moral Reasons, Epistemic Reasons, and Rationality.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):341-361.
    It is standard, both in the philosophical literature and in ordinary parlance, to assume that one can fall short of responding to all one’s moral reasons without being irrational. Yet when we turn to epistemic reasons, the situation could not be more different. Most epistemologists take it as axiomatic that for a belief to be rational is for it to be well-supported by epistemic reasons. We find ourselves with a striking asymmetry, then, between the moral and epistemic domains concerning what (...)
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  • Causally Inefficacious Moral Properties.David Slutsky - 2001 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 39 (4):595-610.
    In this paper, I motivate skepticism about the causal efficacy of moral properties in two ways. First, I highlight a tension that arises between two claims that moral realists may want to accept. The first claim is that physically indistinguishable things do not differ in any causally efficacious respect. The second claim is that physically indistinguishable things that differ in certain historical respects have different moral properties. The tension arises to the extent to which these different moral properties are supposed (...)
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  • Metaethics After Moore.Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Metaethics, understood as a distinct branch of ethics, is often traced to G. E. Moore's 1903 classic, Principia Ethica. Whereas normative ethics is concerned to answer first order moral questions about what is good and bad, right and wrong, metaethics is concerned to answer second order non-moral questions about the semantics, metaphysics, and epistemology of moral thought and discourse. Moore has continued to exert a powerful influence, and the sixteen essays here represent the most up-to-date work in metaethics after, and (...)
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  • Nietzsche's Ethical Revaluation.Simon Robertson - 2009 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 37 (1):66-90.
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  • The Methodological Implications of Reference Magnetism on Moral Twin Earth.David Mokriski - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (5):702-726.
    The Moral Twin Earth challenge to ethical naturalism threatens to undermine an otherwise promising metaethical view by showing that typical, naturalist-friendly theories of reference determination predict diverging reference in Twin Earth scenarios, making it difficult to account for substantive moral disagreement. Several theorists have recently invoked David Lewis’s doctrine of reference magnetism as a solution, claiming that a highly elite moral property—a moral “joint in nature”—could secure shared reference between ourselves and our twins on Twin Earth, despite our diverging usages (...)
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  • On Why Hume's “General Point of View” Isn't Ideal–and Shouldn't Be.Geoffrey Sayre-McCord - 1994 - Social Philosophy and Policy 11 (1):202-228.
    It is tempting and not at all uncommon to find the striking—even noble—visage of an Ideal Observer staring out from the center of Hume's moral theory. When Hume claims, for instance, that virtue is “ whatever mental action or quality gives to a spectator the pleasing sentiment of approbation ,” it is only natural to think that he must have in mind not just any spectator but a spectator who is fully informed and unsullied by prejudice. And when Hume writes (...)
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  • Meaning, Evidence, and Objectivity.Olivia Sultanescu - 2021 - In Syraya Chin-Mu Yang & Robert H. Myers (eds.), Donald Davidson on Action, Mind and Value. pp. 171-184.
    This chapter addresses the question of what, according to the conception of meaning offered by Donald Davidson, makes expressions meaningful. It addresses this question by reflecting on Kathrin Glüer’s recent response to it. It argues that Glüer misconstrues both the evidence for meaning that the radical interpreter must rely on and the way in which the principle of charity must be deployed. The articulation of the correct construal of the evidence and the principle reveals the thoroughly non-reductionist aspect of Davidson’s (...)
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  • Why Richard Brandt Does Not Need Cognitive Psychotherapy, and Other Glad News About Idealized Preference Theories in Meta-Ethics.David Zimmerman - 2003 - Journal of Value Inquiry 37 (3):373-394.
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  • Constitutivism and Transcendental Practical Philosophy: How to Pull the Rabbit Out of the Hat.Sorin Baiasu - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1185-1208.
    Constitutivism aims to justify substantial normative standards as constitutive of practical reason. In this way, it can defend the constructivist commitment to avoiding realism and anti-realism in normative disciplines. This metaphysical debate is the perspective from which the nature of the constitutivist justification is usually discussed. In this paper, I focus on a related, but distinct, debate. My concern will not be whether the substantial normative claims asserted by the constructivist have some elements, which are not constructed, but real, given (...)
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  • Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics.George Matthews & Christina Hendricks (eds.) - 2019 - The Rebus Community.
    This is an open-access textbook designed for introduction to philosophy courses that contain a section on ethics, or for introductory courses in moral theory. In this edited work, chapter authors explore both historical and contemporary approaches to understanding and justifying moral and ethical norms. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, including moral relativism, the relationship between ethics and religion, virtue ethics in the Western and Eastern traditions, the question of self-interest and ethics, utilitarianism, Kantian deontological ethics, and recent (...)
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  • The Rediscovery of Common Sense Philosophy.Stephen Boulter - 2007 - Basingstoke, England: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    This book is a defence of the philosophy of common sense in the spirit of Thomas Reid and G.E. Moore, drawing on the work of Aristotle, evolutionary biology and psychology, and historical studies on the origins of early modern philosophy. It defines and explores common sense beliefs, and defends them from challenges from prominent philosophers.
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  • « Devoir-implique-pouvoir » et le problème des négations de normes.Judith Notter - 2021 - Philosophiques 48 (1):137-152.
    Selon certains philosophes, le principe « devoir-implique-pouvoir » exprime une vérité analytique et permet d’inférer des énoncés normatifs sur la base de prémisses purement descriptives. Le principe DIP offrirait ainsi un contre-exemple à la fameuse loi de Hume. Le problème est que DIP permet uniquement de construire des raisonnements dont les conclusions sont des négations de normes. Or, selon certains auteurs, les négations de normes n’expriment pas de véritables jugements moraux. En ce sens, selon eux, DIP ne permet pas de (...)
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  • Autonomy and Radical Evil: A Kantian Challenge to Constitutivism.Wolfram Gobsch - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (2):194-207.
    Properly understood, Kant’s moral philosophy is incompatible with constitutivism. According to the constitutivist, being subject to the moral law cannot be a matter of free choice, and failure to c...
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  • Naturalizing Ethics.Owen Flanagan, Hagop Sarkissian & David Wong - 2016 - In Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. London, UK: pp. 16-33.
    In this essay we provide (1) an argument for why ethics should be naturalized, (2) an analysis of why it is not yet naturalized, (3) a defense of ethical naturalism against two fallacies—Hume’s and Moore’s—that ethical naturalism allegedly commits, and (4) a proposal that normative ethics is best conceived as part of human ecology committed to pluralistic relativism. We explain why naturalizing ethics both entails relativism and also constrains it, and why nihilism about value is not an especially worrisome for (...)
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  • Moral Realism and the Existence of God: Improving Parfit’s Metaethics.Martin Jakobsen - 2020 - Leuven, Belgia: Peeters.
    Can there be an objective morality without God? Derek Parfit argues that it can and offers a theory of morality that is neither theistic nor naturalistic. This book provides a critical assessment of Parfit's metaethical theory. Jakobsen identifies some problems in Parfit’s theory – problems concerning moral normativity, the ontological status of morality, and evolutionary influence on our moral beliefs – and argues that theological resources can help solve them. By showing how Parfit’s theory may be improved by the help (...)
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  • Biological Teleology, Reductionism, and Verbal Disputes.Sandy C. Boucher - 2021 - Foundations of Science 26 (4):859-880.
    The extensive philosophical discussions and analyses in recent decades of function-talk in biology have done much to clarify what biologists mean when they ascribe functions to traits, but the basic metaphysical question—is there genuine teleology and design in the natural world, or only the appearance of this?—has persisted, as recent work both defending, and attacking, teleology from a Darwinian perspective, attest. I argue that in the context of standard contemporary evolutionary theory, this is for the most part a verbal, rather (...)
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  • Cognition and Content.João Branquinho - 2005 - Lisboa, Portugal: Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa.
    Os tópicos e problemas filosóficos discutidos no volume são de natureza bastante variada: a natureza da complexidade computacional no processamento de uma língua natural; a relação entre o significado linguístico e o sentido Fregeano; as conexões entre a a agência e o poder; o conteúdo semântico da ficção; a explicação dos impasses éticos; a natureza dos argumentos cépticos; as conexões entre as dissociações cognitivas e o carácter modular da mente; a relação entre a referência e o significado. Estes tópicos deixam-se (...)
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  • Does Particularism Solve the Moral Problem?1.Kasper Lippert–Rasmussen - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (2):125-140.
    Moral cognitivism, internalism about moral judgements, and Humeanism about motivating reasons all possess attractions.Yet they cannot all be true.This is the so–called moral problem. Dancy offers an interesting particularist response to the moral problem. However, we argue that this response, first, provides an inadequate basis for the distinction between motivating states and states necessary for motivation although not themselves motivators; second, draws no support from considerations about weakness of the will; and third, involves an implausible account of desire.We conclude that (...)
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  • Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason.Ruth Chang - 1997 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard.
    Can quite different values be rationally weighed against one another? Can the value of one thing always be ranked as greater than, equal to, or less than the value of something else? If not, when do we find commensurability and comparability unavailable? What are the moral and legal implications? In this book, philosophers address these questions.
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  • Agency and Reasons in Epistemology.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Ever since John Locke, philosophers have discussed the possibility of a normative epistemology: are there epistemic obligations binding the cognitive economy of belief and disbelief? Locke's influential answer was evidentialist: we have an epistemic obligation to believe in accordance with our evidence. In this dissertation, I place the contemporary literature on agency and reasons at the service of some such normative epistemology. I discuss the semantics of obligations, the connection between obligations and reasons to believe, the implausibility of Lockean evidentialism, (...)
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  • Critical Realism and Empirical Bioethics: A Methodological Exposition.Alex McKeown - 2017 - Health Care Analysis 25 (3):191-211.
    This paper shows how critical realism can be used to integrate empirical data and philosophical analysis within ‘empirical bioethics’. The term empirical bioethics, whilst appearing oxymoronic, simply refers to an interdisciplinary approach to the resolution of practical ethical issues within the biological and life sciences, integrating social scientific, empirical data with philosophical analysis. It seeks to achieve a balanced form of ethical deliberation that is both logically rigorous and sensitive to context, to generate normative conclusions that are practically applicable to (...)
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  • Kant on Inclination and Reason.Justin Shaddock - forthcoming - Southern Journal of Philosophy.
    The Southern Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Why Tolerate Conscience?François Boucher & Cécile Laborde - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):493-514.
    In Why Tolerate Religion?, Brian Leiter argues against the special legal status of religion, claiming that religion should not be the only ground for exemptions to the law and that this form of protection should be, in principle, available for the claims of secular conscience as well. However, in the last chapter of his book, he objects to a universal regime of exemptions for both religious and secular claims of conscience, highlighting the practical and moral flaws associated with it. We (...)
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  • Are There Passive Desires?David Wall - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):133-155.
    What is the relation between desire and action? According to a traditional, widespread and influential view I call ‘The Motivational Necessity of Desire’, having a desire that p entails being disposed to act in ways that you believe will bring about p. But what about desires like a desire that the committee chooses you without your needing to do anything, or a desire that your child passes her exams on her own? Such ‘self‐passive’ desires are often given as a counter‐example (...)
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  • A Simple Escape From Moral Twin Earth.Pekka Väyrynen - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):109-118.
    This paper offers a simple response to the Moral Twin Earth (MTE) objection to Naturalist Moral Realism (NMR). NMR typically relies on an externalist metasemantics such as a causal theory of reference. The MTE objection is that such a theory predicts that terms like ‘good’ and ‘right’ have a different reference in certain twin communities where it’s intuitively clear that the twins are talking about the same thing when using ‘good’. I argue that Boyd’s causal regulation theory, the original target (...)
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  • Nativism and the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):231-253.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to undercut the justification of our moral judgments by showing why a tendency to make moral judgments would evolve regardless of the truth of those judgments. Machery and Mallon (2010. Evolution of morality. In J.M. Doris and The Moral Psychology Research Group (Eds.), The Moral Psychology Handbook (pp. 3-46). Oxford: Oxford University Press) have recently tried to disarm these arguments by showing that moral cognition – in the sense that is relevant to debunking – is not (...)
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  • Constitutivism, Belief, and Emotion.Larry A. Herzberg - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (4):455-482.
    Constitutivists about one's cognitive access to one's mental states often hold that for any rational subject S and mental state M falling into some specified range of types, necessarily, if S believes that she has M, then S has M. Some argue that such a principle applies to beliefs about all types of mental state. Others are more cautious, but offer no criterion by which the principle's range could be determined. In this paper I begin to develop such a criterion, (...)
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  • Habermas's Moral Cognitivism and the Frege-Geach Challenge.James Gordon Finlayson - 2005 - European Journal of Philosophy 13 (3):319–344.
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  • Globalization and Its Challenges for Business and Business Ethics in the Twenty‐First Century.Patricia H. Werhane - 2012 - Business and Society Review 117 (3):383-405.
    The global expansion of free enterprise has been underway for some time, and the challenges for global companies are well‐known. Companies often operate in economically blighted communities and in corrupt environments without a rule of law. At the same time Western‐based global corporations are under increasing public pressure to take on responsibilities to these communities that are often beyond their expertise or economic purview. For example, at the 2008 Davos meetings Bill Gates proposed the idea of “creative capitalism, challenging business (...)
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  • Moral Facts as Configuring Causes.Terence Cuneo - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):141–162.
    The overarching aim of this essay is to argue that moral realists should be "causalists" or claim that moral facts of certain kinds are causally efficacious. To this end, I engage in two tasks. The first is to develop an account of the sense in which moral facts of certain kinds are causally efficacious. After having sketched the concept of what I call a "configuring" cause, I contend that the exercise of the moral virtues is plausibly viewed as a configuring (...)
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  • Deformed Desires and Informed Desire Tests.Anita Superson - 2000 - Hypatia 20 (4):109-126.
    : The formal theory of rational choice as grounded in desire-satisfaction cannot account for the problem of such deformed desires as women's slavish desires. Traditional "informed desire" tests impose conditions of rationality, such as full information and absence of psychoses, but do not exclude deformed desires. I offer a Kantian-inspired addendum to these tests, according to which the very features of deformed desires render them irrational to adopt for an agent who appreciates her equal worth.
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  • What Realism Implies and What It Does Not.Richard Boyd - 1989 - Dialectica 43 (1‐2):5-29.
    SummaryThis paper addresses the question of what scientific realism implies and what it does not when it is articulated so as to provide the best defense against plausible philosophical alternatives. A summary is presented of “abductive” arguments for scientific realism, and of the epistemological and semantic conceptions upon which they depend. Taking these arguments to be the best current defense of realism, it is inquired what, in the sense just mentioned, realism implies and what it does not. It is concluded (...)
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  • The Challenge of Amoralism.Voin Milevski - 2018 - Ratio 31 (2):252-266.
    According to unconditional motivational internalism, there is an a priori constraint on an agent's forming a sincere moral judgement, namely that she is, at least to some minimal extent, motivated to act as it dictates. In order to undermine this internalist position, proponents of motivational externalism typically appeal to the possibility of the amoralist—i.e. an individual who makes sincere moral judgements, but who is completely unmoved to act accordingly. This strategy is known as the challenge of amoralism. Against this strategy, (...)
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  • Naturalistic Nursing.Trevor Hussey - 2011 - Nursing Philosophy 12 (1):45-52.
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  • Relational Good and the Multiplicity Problem.Connie S. Rosati - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):205-234.
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  • Subject‐Ive and Objective.Peter A. Railton - 1995 - Ratio 8 (3):259-276.
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  • Reasoning with Heuristics.Brett Karlan - 2020 - Ratio 34 (2):100-108.
    Which rules should guide our reasoning? Human reasoners often use reasoning shortcuts, called heuristics, which function well in some contexts but lack the universality of reasoning rules like deductive implication or inference to the best explanation. Does it follow that human reasoning is hopelessly irrational? I argue: no. Heuristic reasoning often represents human reasoners reaching a local rational maximum, reasoning more accurately than if they try to implement more “ideal” rules of reasoning. I argue this is a genuine rational achievement. (...)
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  • Well‐Being, Part 2: Theories of Well‐Being.Eden Lin - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (2):e12813.
    Theories of well-being purport to identify the features of lives, and of intervals within lives, in virtue of which some people are high in well-being and others are low in well-being. They also purport to identify the properties that make some events or states of affairs good for a person and other events or states of affairs bad for a person. This article surveys some of the main theories of well-being, with an emphasis on work published since the turn of (...)
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  • “Theism, Naturalism, and Meta‐Ethics”.Matthew C. Jordan - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (4):373-380.
    The relationship between God and morality has been a topic of philosophical discussion since Socrates engaged Euthyphro in the agora. In recent years, it has received a lot of attention, as theistic philosophers have attempted to show that divine command theory and other theistic meta‐ethical accounts are defensible. Whether metaphysical naturalism is compatible with moral realism is a related topic. This essay surveys the main issues in these debates.
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  • Jurisprudential Theories and First‐Order Legal Judgments.Kevin Toh - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):457-471.
    The nature of the relation between jurisprudential theories and first-order legal judgments is a strangely uncontroversial matter in contemporary legal philosophy. There is one dominant conception of the relation according to which jurisprudential theories are second-order or meta-legal theories that specify the ultimate grounds of first-order legal judgments. According to this conception, difficult first-order legal disputes are to be resolved by jurisprudential theorizing. According to an alternative conception that Ronald Dworkin has influentially advocated, jurisprudential theories are not second-order theories about (...)
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  • A Truthmaking Account of Realism and Anti-Realism.Jamin Asay - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):373-394.
    Realism and anti-realism about a domain of thought are metaphysical theses that involve the natures of the truthmakers in that domain and the truthmaking relation that is operant in the domain. Truthmaker theory is not exclusive territory for realists: anti-realist views are also best understood in terms of how they understand truthmakers and truthmaking. In particular, I explore the possibility of projectivist truthmaking, and show how it makes sense of quasi-realism. In addition to critically examining some extant accounts of the (...)
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  • Indeterminacy, coincidence, and “Sourcing Newness” in mathematical research.James V. Martin - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-23.
    Far from being unwelcome or impossible in a mathematical setting, indeterminacy in various forms can be seen as playing an important role in driving mathematical research forward by providing “sources of newness” in the sense of Hutter and Farías :434–449, 2017). I argue here that mathematical coincidences, phenomena recently under discussion in the philosophy of mathematics, are usefully seen as inducers of indeterminacy and as put to work in guiding mathematical research. I suggest that to call a pair of mathematical (...)
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  • Why Subjectivists About Welfare Needn't Idealize.Eden Lin - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):2-23.
    It is commonly thought that subjectivists about welfare must claim that the favorable attitudes whose satisfaction is relevant to your well-being are those that you would have in idealized conditions (e.g. ones in which you are fully informed and rational). I argue that this is false. I introduce a non-idealizing subjectivist view, Same World Subjectivism, that accommodates the two main rationales for idealizing: those given by Peter Railton and David Sobel. I also explain why a recent argument from Dale Dorsey (...)
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  • Relativist Dispositional Theories of Value.Andy Egan - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):557-582.
    Adopting a dispositional theory of value promises to deliver a lot of theoretical goodies. One recurring problem for dispositional theories of value, though, is a problem about nonconvergence. If being a value is being disposed to elicit response R in us, what should we say if it turns out that not everybody is disposed to have R to the same things? One horn of the problem here is a danger of the view collapsing into an error theory—of it turning out, (...)
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  • Folk Moral Relativism.Hagop Sarkissian, John Park, David Tien, Jennifer Cole Wright & Joshua Knobe - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (4):482-505.
    It has often been suggested that people's ordinary understanding of morality involves a belief in objective moral truths and a rejection of moral relativism. The results of six studies call this claim into question. Participants did offer apparently objectivist moral intuitions when considering individuals from their own culture, but they offered increasingly relativist intuitions considering individuals from increasingly different cultures or ways of life. The authors hypothesize that people do not have a fixed commitment to moral objectivism but instead tend (...)
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  • Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?Michael Klenk - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248.
    I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I (...)
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  • Is Epistemic Anxiety an Intellectual Virtue?Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):1-25.
    In this paper, I discuss the ways in which epistemic anxiety promotes well-being, specifically by examining the positive contributions that feelings of epistemic anxiety make toward intellectually virtuous inquiry. While the prospects for connecting the concept of epistemic anxiety to the two most prominent accounts of intellectual virtue, i.e., “virtue-reliabilism” and “virtue-responsibilism”, are promising, I primarily focus on whether the capacity for epistemic anxiety counts as an intellectual virtue in the reliabilist sense. As I argue, there is a close yet (...)
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  • Well-Being as Need Satisfaction.Marlowe Fardell - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (3).
    This paper presents a new analysis of the concept of non-instrumental need, and, using it, demonstrates how a need-satisfaction theory of well-being is much more plausible than might otherwise be supposed. Its thesis is that in at least some contexts of evaluation a central part of some persons’ well-being consists in their satisfying certain “personal needs”. Unlike common conceptions of other non-instrumental needs, which make those out to be moralised, universal, and minimal, personal needs are expansive and particular to particular (...)
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