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Derek Clayton Baker [8]Derek Baker [5]Carl Baker [3]Samuel H. Baker [3]
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Lynne Rudder Baker
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Alan Baker
Swarthmore College
Derek Baker
Lingnan University
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  1. How Expressivists Can and Should Explain Inconsistency.Derek Clayton Baker & Jack Woods - 2015 - Ethics 125 (2):391-424.
    Mark Schroeder has argued that all reasonable forms of inconsistency of attitude consist of having the same attitude type towards a pair of inconsistent contents (A-type inconsistency). We suggest that he is mistaken in this, offering a number of intuitive examples of pairs of distinct attitudes types with consistent contents which are intuitively inconsistent (B-type inconsistency). We further argue that, despite the virtues of Schroeder's elegant A-type expressivist semantics, B-type inconsistency is in many ways the more natural choice in developing (...)
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  2. Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...)
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  3. The Concept of Ergon: Towards An Achievement Interpretation of Aristotle's 'Function Argument'.Samuel H. Baker - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 48:227-266.
    In Nicomachean Ethics 1. 7, Aristotle gives a definition of the human good, and he does so by means of the “ ergon argument.” I clear the way for a new interpretation of this argument by arguing that Aristotle does not think that the ergon of something is always the proper activity of that thing. Though he has a single concept of an ergon, Aristotle identifies the ergon of an X as an activity in some cases but a product in (...)
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  4. On Spacetime Functionalism.David John Baker - manuscript
    Eleanor Knox has argued that our concept of spacetime applies to whichever structure plays a certain functional role in the laws (the role of determining local inertial structure). I raise two complications for this approach. First, our spacetime concept seems to have the structure of a cluster concept, which means that Knox's inertial criteria for spacetime cannot succeed with complete generality. Second, the notion of metaphysical fundamentality may feature in the spacetime concept, in which case spacetime functionalism may be uninformative (...)
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  5. Akrasia and the Problem of the Unity of Reason.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):65-80.
    Joseph Raz and Sergio Tenenbaum argue that the Guise of the Good thesis explains both the possibility of practical reason and its unity with theoretical reason, something Humean psychological theories may be unable to do. This paper will argue, however, that Raz and Tenenbaum face a dilemma: either the version of the Guise of the Good they offer is too strong to allow for weakness of will, or it will lose its theoretical advantage in preserving the unity of reason.
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  6.  90
    Expression and Guidance in Schroeder’s Expressivist Semantics.Derek Baker - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (4):829-852.
    Mark Schroeder’s expressivist program has made substantial progress in providing a compositional semantics for normative terms. This paper argues that it risks achieving this semantic progress at the cost of abandoning a key theoretical motivation for embracing expressivism in the first place. The problem can be summarized as a dilemma. Either Schroeder must allow that there are cases in which agents are in disagreement with one another, or can make valid inferences, but that these disagreements or inferences are not expressible (...)
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  7. The Varieties of Normativity.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 567-581.
    This paper discusses varieties of normative phenomena, ranging from morality, to epistemic justification, to the rules of chess. It canvases a number of distinctions among these different normative phenomena. The most significant distinction is between formal and authoritative normativity. The prior is the normativity exhibited by any standard one can meet or fail to meet. The latter is the sort of normativity associated with phenomena like the "all-things-considered" ought. The paper ends with a brief discussion of reasons for skepticism about (...)
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  8. The Role of Disagreement in Semantic Theory.Carl Baker - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1):1-18.
    Arguments from disagreement often take centre stage in debates between competing semantic theories. This paper explores the theoretical basis for arguments from disagreement and, in so doing, proposes methodological principles which allow us to distinguish between legitimate arguments from disagreement and dialectically ineffective arguments from disagreement. In the light of these principles, I evaluate Cappelen and Hawthorne's [2009] argument from disagreement against relativism, and show that it fails to undermine relativism since it is dialectically ineffective. Nevertheless, I argue that an (...)
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  9. The Abductive Case for Humeanism Over Quasi-Perceptual Theories of Desire.Derek Baker - 2014 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2):1-29.
    A number of philosophers have offered quasi-perceptual theories of desire, according to which to desire something is roughly to “see” it as having value or providing reasons. These are offered as alternatives to the more traditional Humean Theory of Motivation, which denies that desires have a representational aspect. This paper examines the various considerations offered by advocates to motivate quasi-perceptualism. It argues that Humeanism is in fact able to explain the same data that the quasi-perceptualist can explain, and in one (...)
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  10. Knowing Yourself—And Giving Up On Your Own Agency In The Process.Derek Baker - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):641 - 656.
    Are there cases in which agents ought to give up on satisfying an obligation, so that they can avoid a temptation which will lead them to freely commit an even more significant wrong? Actualists say yes. Possibilists say no. Both positions have absurd consequences. This paper argues that common-sense morality is committed to an inconsistent triad of principles. This inconsistency becomes acute when we consider the cases that motivate the possibilism?actualism debate. Thus, the absurd consequences of both solutions are unsurprising: (...)
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  11. Why Transparency Undermines Economy.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):3037-3050.
    Byrne offers a novel interpretation of the idea that the mind is transparent to its possessor, and that one knows one’s own mind by looking out at the world. This paper argues that his attempts to extend this picture of self-knowledge force him to sacrifice the theoretical parsimony he presents as the primary virtue of his account. The paper concludes by discussing two general problems transparency accounts of self-knowledge must address.
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  12. Intuitions About Disagreement Do Not Support the Normativity of Meaning.Derek Baker - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (1):65-84.
    Allan Gibbard () argues that the term ‘meaning’ expresses a normative concept, primarily on the basis of arguments that parallel Moore's famous Open Question Argument. In this paper I argue that Gibbard's evidence for normativity rests on idiosyncrasies of the Open Question Argument, and that when we use related thought experiments designed to bring out unusual semantic intuitions associated with normative terms we fail to find such evidence. These thought experiments, moreover, strongly suggest there are basic requirements for a theory (...)
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  13. Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):321-347.
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do . Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some (...)
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  14. The Metaphysics of Goodness in the Ethics of Aristotle.Samuel Baker - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (7):1839-1856.
    Kraut and other neo-Aristotelians have argued that there is no such thing as absolute goodness. They admit only good in a kind, e.g. a good sculptor, and good for something, e.g. good for fish. What is the view of Aristotle? Mostly limiting myself to the Nicomachean Ethics, I argue that Aristotle is committed to things being absolutely good and also to a metaphysics of absolute goodness where there is a maximally best good that is the cause of the goodness of (...)
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  15. The Limits of Faultless Disagreement.Carl Baker - manuscript
    Some have argued that the possibility of faultless disagreement gives relativist semantic theories an important explanatory advantage over their absolutist and contextualist rivals. Here I combat this argument, focusing on the specific case of aesthetic discourse. My argument has two stages. First, I argue that while relativists may be able to account for the possibility of faultless aesthetic disagreement, they nevertheless face difficulty in accounting for the intuitive limits of faultless disagreement. Second, I develop a new non-relativist theory which can (...)
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  16. Ambivalent Desires and the Problem with Reduction.Derek Clayton Baker - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):37-47.
    Ambivalence is most naturally characterized as a case of conflicting desires. In most cases, an agent’s intrinsic desires conflict contingently: there is some possible world in which both desires would be satisfied. This paper argues, though, that there are cases in which intrinsic desires necessarily conflict—i.e., the desires are not jointly satisfiable in any possible world. Desiring a challenge for its own sake is a paradigm case of such a desire. Ambivalence of this sort in an agent’s desires creates special (...)
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  17. Children's Agency, Interests, and Medical Consent.Jennifer Baker - 2013 - HEC Forum 25 (4):311-324.
    In this paper I argue that reference to a developmental account of agency can help explain, and in cases also alter, our current practices when it comes to the non-consensual medical treatment of children. It does this through its explanation of how stages of development impact the types of interests we have.
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  18. Boghossian's Implicit Definition Template.Ben Baker - 2012 - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophical and Formal Approaches to Linguistic Analysis. Ontos-Verlag. pp. 15.
    In Boghossian's 1997 paper, 'Analyticity' he presented an account of a prioriknowledge of basic logical principles as available by inference from knowledge of their role in determining the meaning of the logical constants by implicit definitiontogether with knowledge of the meanings so-determined that we possess through ourprivileged access to meaning. Some commentators (e.g. BonJour (1998), Glüer (2003),Jenkins (2008)) have objected that if the thesis of implicit definition on which he relieswere true, knowledge of the meaning of the constants would presuppose (...)
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  19.  95
    Procrastination as Vice. Baker - 2010 - In Chrisoula Andreou Mark D. White (ed.), The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers often give procrastination an anemic description—a preference, a confl ict, a case of irrationality. Presumably, this is done in order to make it susceptible to analysis. But if one makes use of ethical theory, particularly one with an accompanying account of moral psychology, no arid depiction of procrastination is necessary. An ethical theory that is robust enough—such as traditional virtue ethics—can meet procrastination head on, unhindered by its complex emotionality and opaque intentionality. It can then place it alongside similarly (...)
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  20. Virtue Ethics and Practical Guidance.Jennifer Baker - 2013 - Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):297-313.
    In this essay I argue that contemporary accounts of virtue ought to incorporate methods ancient virtue ethicists used in addressing an audience whose members were interested in improving their behavior. Ancient examples of these methods, I argue, model how to represent practical rationality in ethical arguments. They show us that when we argue for virtue we ought to address common claims, refer to moral reasoning as a stepwise process, and focus on norms when making recommendations. Our own ethical arguments will (...)
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  21. Review of C.D.C. Reeve, Aristotle on Practical Wisdom: Nicomachean Ethics VI. [REVIEW]Samuel H. Baker - 2015 - Philosophy in Review 35 (2):106-108.
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  22.  88
    The Verdictive Organization of Desire.Derek Baker - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):589-612.
    Deliberation often begins with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ rather than the question of what one ought to do. This paper takes that question at face value, as a question about which of one’s desires is strongest, which sometimes guides action. The paper aims to explain which properties of a desire make that desire strong, in the sense of ‘strength’ relevant to this deliberative question. Both motivational force and phenomenological intensity seem relevant to a desire’s strength; however, (...)
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  23.  22
    Introduction. Big History's Big Potential.Leonid Grinin, David Baker, Esther Quaedackers & Andrey V. Korotayev - 2014 - In Leonid Grinin, David Baker, Esther Quaedackers & Andrey V. Korotayev (eds.), Teaching & Researching Big History: Exploring a New Scholarly Field. Volgograd: Uchitel Publishing House. pp. 7-18.
    Big History has been developing very fast indeed. We are currently observing a ‘Cambrian explosion’ in terms of its popularity and diffusion. Big History courses are taught in the schools and universities of several dozen countries, including China, Korea, the Netherlands, the USA, India, Russia, Japan, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and many more. The International Big History Association (IBHA) is gaining momentum in its projects and membership. Conferences are beginning to be held regularly (this edited volume has been prepared on (...)
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  24.  83
    An Absolutist Theory of Faultless Disagreement.Carl Baker - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
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  25.  21
    Religion and Reducing Prejudice.Joanna Burch-Brown & William Baker - 2016 - Group Processes and Intergroup Relations 19 (6):784 - 807.
    Drawing on findings from the study of prejudice and prejudice reduction, we identify a number of mechanisms through which religious communities may influence the intergroup attitudes of their members. We hypothesize that religious participation could in principle either reduce or promote prejudice with respect to any given target group. A religious community’s influence on intergroup attitudes will depend upon the specific beliefs, attitudes, and practices found within the community, as well as on interactions between the religious community and the larger (...)
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  26.  37
    Swinburne on Substance Dualism.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (2):5--15.
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  27.  55
    Review of C.D.C. Reeve, Action, Contemplation and Happiness: An Essay on Aristotle. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. [REVIEW]Samuel H. Baker - 2013 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 133:291-292.
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  28. Teaching & Researching Big History: Exploring a New Scholarly Field.Leonid Grinin, David Baker, Esther Quaedackers & Andrey V. Korotayev - 2014 - Volgograd: "Uchitel" Publishing House.
    According to the working definition of the International Big History Association, ‘Big History seeks to understand the integrated history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life and Humanity, using the best available empirical evidence and scholarly methods’. In recent years Big History has been developing very fast indeed. Big History courses are taught in the schools and universities of several dozen countries. Hundreds of researchers are involved in studying and teaching Big History. The unique approach of Big History, the interdisciplinary genre of (...)
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  29. The Harm Principle Vs. Kantian Criteria for Ensuring Fair, Principled and Just Criminalisation.Dennis J. Baker - 2008 - Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 33 (66):66-99.
    In this paper, I consider Ripstein and Dan-Cohen's critiques of the 'harm principle'. Ripstein and Dan-Cohen have asserted that the harm principle should be jettisoned, because it allegedly fails to provide a rationale for criminalising certain harmless wrongs that ought to be criminalised. They argue that Kant's second formulation of the categorical imperative and his concept of 'external freedom' are better equipped for ensuring that criminalisation decisions meet the requirements of fairness. Per contra, I assert that Kant's deontological theory is (...)
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  30. The Sense and Nonsense of Criminalizing Transfers of Obscene.Dennis J. Baker - 2008 - Singapore Law Review 26:126-160.
    The recent distribution of nude photos of a number of high profile Hong Kong celebrities has provoked intense discussion about the state of Hong Kong's obscenity and indecency laws. In this paper, I argue that Hong Kong's laws prohibiting the transfer of obscene and indecent information and images between consenting adults are both under-inclusive and over-inclusive. The Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance is under-inclusive in that it does not adequately criminalise grave violations of privacy. It is also over-inclusive (...)
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