Volume 21 (2021)
September 2021, vol. 21, no. 25, pp. 1-21
This paper is an investigation into the metaphysics of social objects such as political borders, states, and organizations. I articulate a metaphysical puzzle concerning such objects and then propose a novel account of social objects that provides a solution to the puzzle. The basic idea behind the puzzle is that under appropriate circumstances, seemingly concrete social objects can apparently be created by acts of agreement, decree, declaration, or the like. Yet there is reason to believe that no concrete object can be created in this way. The central idea of my positive account is that social objects have a normative component to them, and seemingly concrete social objects have both normative and material components. I develop this idea more rigorously using resources from the Aristotelian hylomorphic tradition. The resulting normative hylomorphic account, I argue, solves the puzzle by providing a satisfying explanation of creation-by-agreement and the like, while also avoiding the difficulties facing extant accounts of social objects.
September 2021, vol. 21, no. 24, pp. 1-23
“The addict” is a well-known figure in philosophy, but analytical attempts to define “addictive disorder” are rare. According to extant views, the “hallmark” of addiction lies in an individual’s inability or impaired ability to control the behavior the individual is addicted to doing. But how exactly are we to understand the relevant concept of (in)ability (or impaired ability) in the first place? Furthermore, what else is necessary for an individual to have an addictive disorder? I argue for a definition of “addictive disorder” in terms of desire, tolerance and withdrawal, inability, and harm. The main focus of this paper is on the concept of ability. The view I propose integrates insights from the literature on abilities and develops them further as they are relevant to addiction. The resulting view offers a more differentiated perspective on questions about what individuals with an addictive disorder can and cannot do.
September 2021, vol. 21, no. 23, pp. 1-13
Most contemporary virtue theorists hold that fear of genuine dangers is appropriate, and that what matters is one’s ability to surmount it when necessary. To overcome fear for the sake of the good is an act of courage, while succumbing to it is the manifestation of cowardice. This orthodox view comprises a significant oversight. While it is true that overcoming one’s fear in a moment of crisis is a mark of excellence, courage is not the highest ideal toward which we ought to strive. Virtue theories that give courage an exalted status fail to appreciate the excellence exhibited by those who dutifully or lovingly put themselves in harm’s way without having to overcome an inclination to avoid. While courage is certainly admirable, fearlessness is more excellent in two respects. First, the fearless agent possesses more robust psychological harmony, which includes a deeply internalized acceptance of the fact that one’s personal safety is not the most important thing in life. This attribute is valuable for its own sake. Second, the fearless agent is able to successfully act in accordance with her values with greater reliability because she never has to override a desire to avoid when she ought to confront instead.