Volume 21 (2021)

    The Promising Puzzle

    Anna Brinkerhoff

    August 2021, vol. 21, no. 22, pp. 1-17

    Here’s a plausible thought: we should make a promise only if we rationally believe that we will follow through. But if that’s right, and if it’s rational to believe only what our evidence supports, then it seems that we shouldn’t make promises to do things our evidence suggests that there’s a significant chance we don’t do – things that many others, or we ourselves, have set out and failed to do. Think: promises to stay faithful or to be on time or to quit smoking. But surely that can’t be right! After all, these are some of our most important promises. This leaves us with a puzzle: either accept that sometimes it’s ok to promise against the evidence or accept that we shouldn’t be making many of our most important promises. This paper develops a response to this puzzle. Promising against the evidence turns out to be morally problematic across the board. But, upon closer inspection, it seems our evidence often does support the belief that we will do something that many others, or we ourselves, have set out and failed to do. When it does, promising is permissible. When it doesn’t, promising is not the right thing to do.

    Do the Social Sciences Vindicate Race's Reality?

    Kareem Khalifa and Richard Lauer

    August 2021, vol. 21, no. 21, pp. 1-17

    Many humanists and social scientists argue—if not assume—that race's centrality in social-scientific research provides an empirical justification for its reality as a constructed kind. In this paper, we first regiment these arguments, and then show that they face significant challenges. Specifically, race-concepts' social-scientific success is compatible with race being neither constructed nor real.

    MAKING Metaphysics

    Thomas Byrne

    July 2021, vol. 21, no. 20, pp. 1-18

    We can cause windows to break and we can break windows; we can cause villages to flood and we can flood villages; and we can cause chocolate to melt and we can melt chocolate. Each time these can come apart: if, for example, A merely instructs B to break the window, then A causes the window to break without breaking it herself. Each instance of A breaking/flooding/melting/burning/killing/etc. something, is an instance of what I call making. I argue that making is an independent, theoretically important notion—akin but irreducible to causing—and metaphysicians should pay attention to it.

    A Problem About Preference

    Anthony S. Gillies

    July 2021, vol. 21, no. 19, pp. 1-30

    Obligation describing language (here: “ought”) is hooked up with preference, a relation of what-is-better-than-what. But ordinary situations underdetermine such relations of what-is-better-than-what. Even so, there are plainly true sentences describing our obligations in those situations. This mismatch is trouble-making and getting out of the trouble requires either giving up the easy link between “ought” and preference or re-thinking the kind of things preferences can be.

    Content Disjunctivism and the Perception of Appearances

    Martin A. Lipman

    July 2021, vol. 21, no. 18, pp. 1-21

    Content disjunctivism is the view that veridical experience involves contents and objects that differ from those of corresponding hallucinations. On one formulation of this view, we are aware of ordinary material things in our surroundings when we experience veridically, and we are aware of mere appearances when we hallucinate. This paper proposes a way of developing this view and offers some considerations in support. Central to the proposed regimentation will be a distinction between different (but related) notions of appearance. We distinguish between the notion of something merely appearing to have a property and the notion of mere appearances, which are types of objects that we can refer to and be aware of. Mere appearances are not sense data or Meinongian non-existent objects but existing objects that do not have the properties that they appear to have. These notions of appearance will be elucidated, in particular by characterizing how they are involved in hallucination and illusion. I argue that the resulting view is supported by how our mental life seems to us when we experience our environment.

    Coming Soon

    Fictions of Systematicity: Maimon's Quest for a Scientific Method in Philosophy

    Jelscha Schmid

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

    Jeffrey Kaplan

    Norm and Object: A Normative Hylomorphic Theory of Social Objects

    Asya Passinsky