Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Philosophers' Carnival #93

Welcome to the 93rd Philosophers' Carnival!

A new blog, 'Rational Imperative', introduces itself and what the contributors see as The Role of Philosophy. (Though they unfortunately repeat the common misconception that "academic philosophy [has abandoned] metaphysical and ethical questions." Grr.)

Russell Blackford argues against banning the burka -- and also, for that matter, bans on public nudity -- on grounds of individual liberty. (Though, as he notes towards the end, this begs the question how many burka-wearing women have a genuine choice in the first place.)

Kevin Lande explores how to understand people who affirm contradictory beliefs. Should we say that they really have inconsistent beliefs, or are they simply misreporting what they believe?

Avery Archer criticizes Setiya On Intentional Action, on the grounds that a theory of intentional action should extend beyond persons to also include goal-directed behaviour by non-linguistic animals.

Heine Holmen presents 'Knowledge in Explanation: A Reply to Avery Archer'.

Kenny Pearce posts a draft paper on 'The Homonymy of Predicative Being':
Aristotle famously claimed that "being is said in many ways." This has traditionally been understood as a claim about existence. However, the interpretation of Aristotle's theory of being under this assumption has proven problematic. In this paper, I argue for an alternative reading which identifies the core uses of 'being' as copula uses with primary substances as subjects.

Meanwhile, Thom Brooks seeks feedback as he re-drafts his popular Publishing Advice for Graduate Students.

The blog 'Minds and Brains' offers A Jaynesian Perspective on Language and Thought, describing an anthropological study supporting the conclusion that "changes in language, culture, and metaphor have profound psychological ramifications."

The Experimental Philosophy blog discusses experimental logic:
In cases at the vague borderline between 'near' and 'not near,' people felt that it was perfectly acceptable to consider an object 'both near and not near.' In fact, they were just as willing to say that an object was 'both near and not near' as they were to say that it was 'neither near nor not near.'

More intuition-probing experimental philosophy can be found over at Public Reason, on 'Distributive Justice in the Abstract and Concrete', which concludes with an interesting methodological question:
if our intuitions in the abstract case differ from those in the concrete case, which sort of intuition should we trust when we are actually doing philosophy?

Finally (inspired by a post from Tamler Sommers), I ask, what are the philosophical 'data' to be explained? Is it enough to explain the psychological fact of our having certain intuitions (e.g. that it's wrong to torture babies for fun), or might the content of the intuition -- the [putative] fact that it's wrong to torture babies for fun -- itself be a datum that requires explanation?

That's it for this edition of the carnival. If you have a philosophy blog, be sure to submit a post for the next edition, to be hosted by Parableman Jeremy Pierce. Oh, and we need more volunteers to host subsequent editions, so do email me if you're interested!


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