Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Philosophers' Carnival #170

Welcome to the 170th Philosophers' Carnival, a round-up of recent philosophical blog posts from around the web.

First up: PEA Soup hosts a discussion of Elizabeth Barnes' paper "Valuing Disability, Causing Disability" -- defending a "mere difference" view of disability -- with critical précis by Tom Dougherty.

Jason at Bleeding Heart Libertarians defends the "parity" view that one may kill government agents in self-defense whenever one could permissibly kill a similarly situated civilian.

Wo asks whether subjective uncertainty objectively matters.  Performing a risky act that fortunately turns out to do no harm is generally thought by consequentialists to be merely subjectively (not objectively) wrong.  But what should non-consequentialists say about such cases?  Wo offers some very interesting thoughts on the question.

Alex at Aesthetics for Birds explores the distinction(s) between "highbrow" and "lowbrow" art and audiences, suggesting that it may just come down to whether one can offer sophisticated articulations of one's reasons for aesthetic appreciation.  But, she asks, so long as one is responding to good aesthetic reasons, even in an immediate and unreflective way, is it really so important to be able to articulate those reasons?

Clayton of Think Tonk introduces (and solves?) a puzzle about (meta-)rationality.  About most matters, we think it's possible to have rational but false beliefs.  Does this extend to matters of rationality itself?  It seems an awkward combination to hold that one might be rationally required to both (i) believe that you're rationally required to believe that p, and yet (ii) not believe that p. Clayton explores three possible responses in depth -- with no "tl;dr" summary for the lazy reader, you'll want to set aside a decent chunk of time to do this post justice.

Mayo of Error Statistics Philosophy offers some reasons to doubt the law of likelihood, according to which "x [is] evidence supporting H1 over H0 iff Pr(x; H1) > Pr(x; H0)", particularly focusing on the problem of "maximally likely alternatives" -- post hoc hypotheses like "every card in the deck is an Ace of Diamonds" that are gerrymandered to make the data x (an Ace of Diamonds drawn from the deck) look maximally likely in retrospect.

John at Philosophical Disquisitions explains Wielenberg's epistemological objection to divine command theory (particularly addressed to Robert Adams); Brandon of Siris offers a critical response.

Ex-apologist sketches a couple of arguments against classical theism. The first, appealing to the evidential force of "horrors, hiddenness, revulsion, and an inhospitable environment" strikes me as being on firmer ground than the second argument, which rests on the speculative premise: "All concrete objects that have an originating or sustaining cause have a material cause of their existence."

Alexander Pruss discusses a problem for combining tensed propositions with open future views.

Alexander at Origin of Specious discusses McTaggart, Geach, and whether every realized determinable characteristic must take some perfectly determinate form.

Roy at the OUP blog discusses a kind of impossible painting -- a painting that depicts all and only paintings that do not depict themselves -- and its relation to the Liar and Russell paradoxes.

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That's it for the official line-up this month, but no doubt there are many other gems out there that I've missed -- feel free to link to your own recommended (philosophical) reads in the comments!

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