In this address, I defend happiness as a disposition conducive to, or at least compatible with, a view of the world that is both cognitively and politically valuable, that is, both conducive to truth and ethically appropriate.
In this address, I bemoan philosophy’s apparent lack of practical application and (perhaps deserved) lack of public attention. I suggest that philosophers may have the duty in the 21st century to raise public consciousness of the scientific method, that is, to explain how to identify an empirical issue, how to investigate it, how to determine what counts as relevant evidence, etc. This may help others to distinguish science from technology so that they can make informed ethical decisions, to distinguish science from religion so that they can free themselves from superstition, and to distinguish science from pseudoscience so that they can take better control of their own lives.
Early pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce elaborated a program for knowledge that takes seriously the problems of social power structures interfering with knowledge production and the finitude of the inquirer. Although at first glance the sciences seem to satisfy the requirements Peirce set for such a community, Kuhn’s analysis demonstrates several shortcomings. A preliminary solution to these problems can be found in Hegel’s social epistemology–especially in his demand for recognition of the other.
In this paper I examine Bernard Williams’ claim that an appealing conception of love can come into conflict with impartial morality. First, I explain how Williams’ claim can survive one strategy (Marcia Baron’s idea of a ‘counterfactual condition’) to head off the possibility of conflict. I then examine J.D.Velleman’s Kantian conception of love as another possible way to reject Williams’ claim. I argue, however, that Velleman’s attempt to transcend love’s partiality in his account of love produces an unappealing and unconvincing ideal. This is made particularly clear, I suggest, by the analysis that Velleman is forced to give of the kind of case that generated Williams’ observations in the first place. Thus Velleman’s account should be rejected.
In the spirit of David Kaplan’s “Afterthoughts,” Kent Bach has defended a version of an intention-based semantic theory for demonstratives. I argue that his version is not sufficient. I then make some further observations on the general motivations for intention-based semantic theories and argue that such motivations do not make intention-based semantic theories plausible. The intentions of speakers should be viewed as part of the metasemantics of the context, rather than part of the semantics for demonstratives. Rather, demonstratives should be (semantically) treated like proper names for the correct placement of the intentions of speakers.
The article is a critique of Arthur Danto’s “visually-indistinguishable-pairs argument” in the philosophy of art. Briefly, Danto claims that the only way to distinguish, for example, between Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes and Brillo Boxes found in the supermarket is that the former are enmeshed in a context of artworld interpretations and theories which the latter are not. Such interpretations and theories are thus constitutive of the nature of art and it is not plausible, says Danto, to argue that any formal properties of artifacts per se (i.e., their aesthetic properties such as line, shape, color, texture, and so on) are sufficient to identify artifacts as art. Danto also makes this same argument in reference to Marcel Duchamp’s famous readymade entitled Fountain—a common urinal which Duchamp titled and signed and entered in an art show in 1917. The main body of the article is an attempt to defend a formalist approach to defining art. I point out certain weaknesses in Danto’s position and defend a phenomenological stance which borrows ideas from three sources: 1. the critical theory of formalism; 2. the root meaning of the word aesthetics; and 3. Wittgenstein’s duck-rabbit commentary. I conclude the article by situating my own position in regard to the artworld theories of both Danto and George Dickie.