Volume 21 (2021)

    On the Ultimate Origination of Things

    David Gunn

    January 2021, vol. 21, no. 05, pp. 1-16

    Why does the universe exist rather than not exist? And why is it the way that it is and not otherwise? Some philosophers have contended that it is reasonable to ask such questions even if the universe is eternal, or held to be so. And some, Leibniz for instance, have claimed in addition that such questions can never be satisfactorily answered by looking to the universe itself, but only by acknowledging the reality of an extramundane and absolutely necessary being as the ultimate origin of things. To all appearances, these claims remain viable. There seems, at any rate, to be nothing in modern cosmology that rules them out. Even so, it is argued here that certain developments in general dynamical theory preclude an extramundane origin, without, however, impugning the legitimacy of our existential questions or contradicting the idea that there exists an absolutely necessary being.

    Does Identity Politics Reinforce Oppression?

    Katherine Ritchie

    January 2021, vol. 21, no. 04, pp. 1-15

    Identity politics has been critiqued in various ways. One central problem — the Reinforcement Problem — claims that identity politics reinforces groups rooted in oppression, thereby undermining its own liberatory aims. Here I consider two versions of the problem — one psychological and one metaphysical. I defang the first by drawing on work in social psychology. I then argue that careful consideration of the metaphysics of social groups and of the practice of identity politics provides resources to dissolve the second version. Identity politics involves the creation or transformation of groups in ways that do not succumb to the metaphysical Reinforcement Problem.

    The Meaning of 'Life's Meaning'

    Michael M. Prinzing

    January 2021, vol. 21, no. 03, pp. 1-14

    Life’s meaning is a deeply important yet perplexing topic. It is often unclear what people are talking about when they talk about life having "meaning". This paper attempts to clarify things by articulating a schema for understanding claims about meaning. It defends a theory according to which X means Y iff Y is a correct interpretation of X—i.e., if Y is a correct answer to an interpretive question, Z. I argue that this (perhaps surprising) claim has impressive explanatory power. Applying this schema to life explains the many ways in which people seem to think and talk about life’s meaning, and common claims in the philosophical literature. It also makes sense of empirical findings from psychological research on perceived meaning in life.

    Modelling Temporal Assertions for Global Directional Eliminativists

    Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller, and James Norton

    January 2021, vol. 21, no. 02, pp. 1-16

    Global directional eliminativists deny that there is any global direction to time. This paper provides a way to understand everyday temporal assertions — assertions made outside the physics or metaphysics rooms, the truth of which appears to require that time has a global direction — on the assumption that global directional eliminativism is true.

    Cudworth on Freewill

    Matthew A. Leisinger

    January 2021, vol. 21, no. 01, pp. 1-25

    In his unpublished freewill manuscripts, Ralph Cudworth seeks to complete the project that he begins in The True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678) by arguing for an account of human liberty that avoids the opposing poles of necessitarianism and indifferency. I argue that Cudworth’s account rests upon a crucial distinction between the will and the power of freewill. Whereas we necessarily will the greater apparent good, freewill is a more fundamental power by which we endeavour to discern the greater good before willing to pursue it. Cudworth thus opposes necessitarianism by arguing for a libertarian account of freewill while nonetheless rejecting the indifferentist claim that we can will contrary to the greater apparent good.

    Coming Soon

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

    Jeffrey Kaplan

    Essence as a Modality: A Proof-Theoretic and Nominalist Analysis

    Preston Stovall