- Philosophers' Carnival #71
- Jonathan Ichikawa's paper 'Who Needs Intuitions?'. (Highly recommended!) Jonathan argues against the common view that philosophers rely on intuitions (in any problematic sense), arguing instead that "it is the [propositional] content of the intuition, not the [psychological] fact of the intuition itself, that plays a key evidentiary role".
- Michael Gill's 'Moral Rationalism vs. Moral Sentimentalism: Is Morality More Like Math or Beauty?" Introductory, easy to read. Makes the nice point that even 'sentimental' aesthetic judgments may require a great deal of thought (to ensure that one's sentiments are responding to an accurate appreciation of the object in question). But I was bothered by the overly hasty argument that aesthetic claims are contingent because there are other possible worlds for which "what we see as beautiful on this world we will see as non-beautiful on that." What if the counterfactual judgments of non-beauty derive from insensitivity to the relevant (beauty-making) features of the object?
- Chris Heathwood's 'Subjective Desire Satisfactionism' points out that desire theories of welfare have a problem with 'changing desires' or intra-personal conflict. For example: what if one's past self stubbornly has an unconditional desire to have rock music play at her 60th Birthday party, though the 60-yr old self would hate this? Surely the past desire shouldn't count. On the other hand, Chris points out, we shouldn't ignore all desires about non-present times: "If I strongly want it to be true that, in my drunkenness last night, I did not disgrace myself, surely... this desire is relevant to [my] welfare." Chris' solution is subjective desire satisfactionism, whereby one is made better off by having a belief and a desire both directed at the same proposition at the same time. (Note that it's a form of hedonism: all that matters is your mental states, not whether they are true in fact.) I'm thoroughly unsympathetic to the theory in general, but it's a nice response to the temporal problem, at least.
(My own response is to insist that a bearer of welfare - a person - must not have temporally inconsistent global preferences after idealization. If young Ellie and old Ellie have different ideal preferences about the 60th birthday party, then - ipso facto - they are two different people: multiple personalities, you might say.)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Posted by Richard Chappell at 6:07 pm