Volume 21 (2021)

    The Most Dangerous Error: Malebranche on the Experience of Causation

    Colin Chamberlain

    May 2021, vol. 21, no. 10, pp. 1-23

    Do the senses represent causation? Many commentators read Nicolas Malebranche as anticipating David Hume’s negative answer to this question. I disagree with this assessment. When a yellow billiard ball strikes a red billiard ball, Malebranche holds that we see the yellow ball as causing the red ball to move. Given Malebranche’s occasionalism, he insists that the visual experience of causal interaction is illusory. Nevertheless, Malebranche holds that the senses (mis)represent finite things as causally efficacious. This experience of creaturely causality explains why Aristotelian philosophers and others struggle to recognize occasionalism’s truth.

    When Eyes Touch

    James Laing

    May 2021, vol. 21, no. 09, pp. 1-17

    How should we understand the special way in which two people are connected when they make eye contact? In this paper, I argue that existing accounts of eye contact —Peacocke’s Reductive Approach and Eilan’s Second Person Approach— are unsatisfactory. In doing so, I make a case for thinking that the source of this dissatisfaction and the path forward can be identified by reflecting on our tendency to describe eye contact on the model of touch. On this basis, I outline a ‘Transactional Approach’ to eye contact.

    Artistic Style as the Expression of Ideals

    Robert Hopkins and Nick Riggle

    May 2021, vol. 21, no. 08, pp. 1-18

    What is artistic style? In the literature one answer to this question has proved influential: the view that artistic style is the expression of personality. In what follows we elaborate upon and evaluatively compare the two most plausible versions of this view with a new proposal—that style is the expression of the artist’s ideals for her art. We proceed by comparing the views’ answers to certain questions we think a theory of individual artistic style should address: Are there limits on what range of features can figure in a style? Can flaws be stylistic? Are there limits on the range of art forms across which a given style can be exhibited? To what extent is a style a kind of unity, and why? What makes style an artistic achievement? Why do we care about style? By considering the different views' answers to these questions we argue that our proposal is a workable theory of individual style and suggest that it fares better on the whole than both versions of the influential and widely accepted view.

    Essence As A Modality: A Proof-Theoretic and Nominalist Analysis

    Preston Stovall

    May 2021, vol. 21, no. 07, pp. 1-28

    Inquiry into the metaphysics of essence tends to be pursued in a realist and model-theoretic spirit, in the sense that metaphysical vocabulary is used in a metalanguage to model truth conditions for the object-language use of essentialist vocabulary. This essay adapts recent developments in proof-theoretic semantics to provide a nominalist analysis for a variety of essentialist vocabularies. A metalanguage employing explanatory inferences is used to individuate introduction and elimination rules for atomic sentences. The object-language assertions of sentences concerning essences are then interpreted as devices for marking off structural features of the explanatory inferences that, under a given interpretation, constitute the contents of the atoms of the language. On this proposal, object-language essentialist vocabulary is mentioned in a proof-theoretic metalanguage that uses a vocabulary of explanation. The result is a nominalist interpretation of essence as a modality, understood in the grammatical sense as a modification of the copula, and a view of metaphysical inquiry that is closely connected to the explanatory commitments present in first-order inquiry into things like sets, chemicals, and organisms. This result illustrates that some of the presuppositions that have animated analytic metaphysics over the last few decades can be profitably substituted with more practice-oriented conceptions of the forms of reasoning at work in different domains of human knowledge.

    Can We Un-forgive?

    Monique Wonderly

    May 2021, vol. 21, no. 06, pp. 1-13

    Despite the recent explosion of philosophical literature on forgiveness, relatively few theorists have addressed the possibility of un-forgiving someone for a moral violation. And among those who have addressed the question, “Can we un-forgive?” we find little consensus. In this paper, I consider whether and in what sense forgiveness is rescindable, retractable, or otherwise reversible. In other words, I consider what it might mean to say that a victim who forgave her offender for a particular act of wrongdoing later un-forgave that individual for the very same act. Examining the possibility of un-forgiving positions us to gain richer understandings of both forgiveness and the complexity of navigating moral relationships more broadly

    Coming Soon

    Attitude and Social Rules, or Why It's Okay to Slurp Your Soup

    Jeffrey Kaplan

    A Problem About Preference

    Anthony S. Gillies