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By In Uncategorized Comments (11)

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
Live
:

    (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 **

A
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: http://www.yale.edu/cogsci/metaxphi.htm

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By In Uncategorized Comments Off on CFP: Northwestern Conference

CFP: Northwestern Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS
From faculty and graduate students

SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL THEORY AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Northwestern University
Third Annual Conference
April 23–25, 2009

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

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:
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).

(more…)

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By In Uncategorized Comments (4)

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.

(more…)

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By In Uncategorized Comments (52)

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. 

(more…)

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By In Uncategorized Comments Off on Wanted: Expert Ethical Intuitions

Wanted: Expert Ethical Intuitions

Eric Schwitzgebel and Fiery Cushman are running a new version of the Moral Sense Test and they are especially interested in collecting responses from moral experts – those with graduate training in ethical or political theory.  Given the readership of this Blog, that probably includes you!

The test should take about 15-20 minutes, and Eric writes that people who have taken earlier versions of the Moral Sense Test, "have
often reported it interesting to think about the kinds of moral
dilemmas posed in the test."

If you have the extra time or want to procrastinate a bit, just click here.
 

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By In Uncategorized Comments Off on CFP: Philosophic Methodology Conference

CFP: Philosophic Methodology Conference

The UT-Austin philosophy department is pleased to announce a week-long graduate student workshop on philosophical methodology, August 12 – August 16.

Possible workshop subtopics include (but are not limited to) intuition, conceptual analysis, reflective equilibrium, reduction, and ontological commitment.

Already confirmed speakers include Julia Driver (Dartmouth), Marc Moffett (Wyoming), Roy Sorensen (Dartmouth), Ernest Sosa (Rutgers), and a number of UT faculty.

We hope to accept around 10 outside graduate student participants.  If you are interested in applying, please see the website for details.

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