Volume 21 (2021)

    Ambidextrous Reasons (or Why Reasons First's Reasons Aren't Facts)

    Nathan Robert Howard

    November 2021, vol. 21, no. 30, pp. 1-16

    The wrong kind of reason problem is a problem for attempts to analyze normative properties using only facts about the balance of normative reasons, a style of analysis on which the ‘Reasons First’ programme depends. I argue that this problem cannot be solved if the orthodox view of reasons is true --- that is, if each normative reason is numerically identical with some fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. That’s because solving the wrong kind of reason problem requires completely distinguishing between the right- and wrong-kind reasons for an attitude. I argue that some facts give both right- and wrong-kind reasons for an attitude. Consequently, no such distinction between the two types of reasons is complete if reasons are facts or the like. I conclude by suggesting that reasons and facts are related by constitution, not identity.

    The Content of Kant's Pure Category of Substance and Its Use on Phenomena and Noumena

    James Messina

    November 2021, vol. 21, no. 29, pp. 1-22

    I begin by arguing that, for Kant, the pure category of substance has both a general content that is in play whenever we think of any entity as a substance (I call this the Subsistence-Power Conception of substance) as well as a more specific content that arises in conjunction with the thought of what Kant calls a positive noumenon (I call this the Inner-Simple Conception of substance). Drawing on this new “Dual Content” account of the pure category of substance, I offer new answers to two contested questions: What is the relation of the pure category to phenomenal substance? What, if any, epistemic gains can we achieve when we apply the pure category to noumena? Regarding the first question, I argue that while phenomenal substance does not qualify as a substance according to the Inner-Simple Conception, it does qualify as one according to the Subsistence-Power Conception. Regarding the second question, I argue that, in the case of the substantiality of positive noumena, Kant’s account allows for justified conditional beliefs involving the Inner-Simple Conception. In the case of negative noumena, it allows for justified existential beliefs involving the Subsistence-Power Conception.

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

    Jeffrey Kaplan

    September 2021, vol. 21, no. 28, pp. 1-18

    Many of the most important social institutions—e.g., law and language—are thought to be normative in some sense. And philosophers have been puzzled by how this normativity can be explained in terms of the social, descriptive states of affairs that presumably constitute them. This paper attempts to solve this sort of puzzle by considering a simpler and less contentious normative social practice: table manners. Once we are clear on the exact sense in which a practice is normative, we see that some practices can be normative in an interesting and non-trivial sense, but also explicable with merely descriptive resources. In addition to arguing that it is possible to explain normative practices with descriptive resources, this paper presents and defends just such an explanation—an account of the nature of table manners that appeals only to descriptive states of affairs.

    Qua Qualification

    Annina J. Loets

    November 2021, vol. 21, no. 27, pp. 1-24

    Qualifications with 'as' or 'qua' are widely used in philosophy, yet how precisely such qualifications work is poorly understood. While extant work on the topic is rife with revisionary assumptions about the nature of individuals, truth, and identity, this article shows that no baroque theory is required to account for such qualifications. I develop and defend a simple theory on which qua-qualifications ascribe relational properties to individuals, and show that the proposal affords a clear metaphysical analysis of the puzzle cases of interest. Moreover, the theory makes adequate predictions about the linguistic behaviour of qua-qualifications and helps us think more clearly about their logic. Since this is more than any extant competing theory can claim, the proposal offers the best account of qua-qualification to date.

    Epistemic Modal Credence

    Simon Goldstein

    November 2021, vol. 21, no. 26, pp. 1-24

    Triviality results threaten plausible principles governing our credence in epistemic modal claims. This paper develops a new account of modal credence which avoids triviality. On the resulting theory, probabilities are assigned not to sets of worlds, but rather to sets of information state-world pairs. The theory avoids triviality by giving up the principle that rational credence is closed under conditionalization. A rational agent can become irrational by conditionalizing on new evidence. In place of conditionalization, the paper develops a new account of updating: conditionalization with normalization.

    Coming Soon

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

    Jelscha Schmid

    No Unity, No Problem: Madhyamaka Metaphysical Indefinitism

    Allison Aitken


    Michael Deigan