By In News and Events Comments Off on CFP on Eudaimonia and Virtue

CFP on Eudaimonia and Virtue

Call for Papers

Eudaimonia and Virtue: Rethinking the Good Life

University of Miami, February 25th-27th, 2011

Many ancient philosophers argued that our thinking and behavior should be grounded in a conception of eudaimonia, or human flourishing and virtue, instead of, for example, a hedonistic conception of happiness or a subjective conception of well-being. A growing number of contemporary psychologists and philosophers think that there is something deeply correct about this general eudaimonist approach, even if we may not fully accept all of the specific arguments and views propounded, for example, by Aristotle and the Stoics. 


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By In Uncategorized Comments Off on CFP: UMiami Grad Student Workshop (Keynote: John Doris)

CFP: UMiami Grad Student Workshop (Keynote: John Doris)

The 3rd Annual Miami Workshop on Ethics and Mind will take place on November 20th-21st, 2010, at the University of Miami.  We are pleased to announce that the Keynote speaker will be John Doris.

Graduate students are hereby invited to submit essays of 5000-10000
words addressing topics at the intersection of the philosophy of mind and

Please prepare papers for blind review and send them, by
September 1st, 2010, to

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Gibbard’s expressivism and reasons for believing consequences

I have just started studying Gibbard's Thinking How to Live, and have a question about it.

Consider the following, apparently valid, argument:

    (1) Either it is before 5 or I should leave now

    (2) It is not before 5

    Therefore, (3) I should leave now.

Presumably if Stan believes (or accepts) 1 and 2 for good reasons,
then he has some reason to believe (accept) 3.  Some would go further and say, for example, that Stan is
rationally required to believe 3, but let's stick with the less contentious
claim that, in these circumstances, he has some reason to believe (accept) 3:

    (SR) Stan has some reason to believe 3

My question is whether Gibbard can account for SR's being true in
the situation I have described (or a suitably cleaned up cousin situation).

I have my doubts, based on the following Gibbardian translation of
Stan's "beliefs" that 1 and 2 are "true" – my source here
is Chapters 3 and 4 of Thinking How to

    (BG1) I rule out [rejecting that it is before 5 & rejecting that I
should leave now]

    (BG2) I reject that it is before 5

Presumably if Stan has good reason to adopt attitudes BG1 and BG2,
then he also has good reason to adopt this attitude:

    (BG3) I rule out [rejecting that I should leave now]

But that is not the same as

    (BG3*) I accept that I should leave now

which is, I think, the Gibbard translation of

    (B3) I believe I should leave now.

Moreover, it is hard to see how having reason to adopt BG1 and BG2
leads to your having some reason to adopt BG3*, because, on Gibbard's view I could
"conform" to BG3 by either (i) being agnostic about whether I should
leave now or (ii) adopting BG3*. 
So, by being agnostic, Stan could consistently adopt BG1, BG2, BG3, and
not adopt BG3*.  And it is not
clear why he would have a reason to change his mind.

I do not have command of Gibbard's new system or the secondary
literature yet, and worry that my doubt is based on a confusion.  I would love to clear any such
confusion up, before I keep studying the book.

Does Gibbard have a good response to my worry, perhaps one based on his concept
of hyper-plans?  Has anyone (maybe
Gibbard) discussed this objection? 
Is it based on a mistake or misunderstanding?

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By In Uncategorized Comments Off on Meta-Ethics Conference in NYC, May 1, 2010

Meta-Ethics Conference in NYC, May 1, 2010

If you will be in the NYC area on May 1st, consider going to this conference; looks like fun!

** Experimental Philosophy and Meta-ethics **

series of recent experimental studies have examined people's intuitions
about meta-ethical issues. Participants in this workshop will discuss
the implications of these studies both for questions about people's
ordinary folk views and for broader philosophical questions about moral
realism, moral relativism and expressivism.

Invited Speakers: Stephen Darwall, Geoff Goodwin, Gilbert Harman,
Jesse Prinz, Hagop Sarkissian and David Wong

All details available at:

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By In Uncategorized Comments Off on CFP: Northwestern Conference

CFP: Northwestern Conference

From faculty and graduate students

Northwestern University
Third Annual Conference
April 23–25, 2009

Keynote Addresses:
Samuel SCHEFFLER: “The Normativity of Tradition”
Seana SHIFFRIN: “Inducing Deliberation”

The deadline for submission is February 15, 2009.
We welcome submissions from both faculty and graduate students,
as some sessions will be reserved for graduate student presentations.
Please submit an essay of approximately 4000 words and an abstract
of not more than 150 words.  Essay topics in all areas of ethical theory
and political philosophy will be considered, although some priority will
be given to essays that take up themes from the works of Samuel
Scheffler and Seana Shiffrin (such as autonomy, distributive justice,
legal philosophy, the morality of association, and responsibility).


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Slaves of the Passions (Part II)

In my first post, I pressed Mark’s defense of the bold Humean thought that, crudely, if someone has a desire, then there is reason for him to act in ways that will help satisfy it.  Let’s grant him that claim and move on.

There is an even larger worry in the offing: will Mark follow Hume in saying that someone could reasonably (or even ought to) choose scratching her finger over saving the world?  He would have to, if he said that a reason’s weight is proportional to the strength of the desire.  But that view, which Mark calls Proportionalism, is something he rejects.  In addition, he also rejects the usual neo-Humean attempts to blunt the counter-intuitiveness of Hume’s finger scratching claim – he does not define correct weighing in terms, e.g. of coherence or higher order desires.


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Slaves of the Passions (Part I)

I am reviewing (our own) Mark Schroeder’s Slaves of the Passions for Ethics.  As the advance praise from Michael Smith and Stephen Darwall indicates, anyone interested in reasons and rationality will profit from reading this book.  In the book, Schroeder defends a novel Humean theory of reasons and maintains that his book is, “an existence proof of a viable reductive view of the normative.” (82) He also has interesting things to say about moral motivation, moral epistemology, and virtue.  The book is full of thought-provoking arguments that break new theoretical ground.

I will be posting a few main worries I have about his view and would be very grateful if you would help me be charitable and assess the seriousness of my worries.

This post will focus on MS’s response to what he calls “the too many reasons problem.”  Crudely put, the worry is that Humeans are committed to claiming that we have many more reasons than we actually do. 


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