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Featured Philosopher: Alex Guerrero

Very pleased today to be able to introduce our next fantastic featured philosopher: Alex Guerrero. Take it away Alex:

Much of my work has focused on the way in which ignorance,uncertainty,expertise,intellectual difficulty, and other epistemic considerations raise problems in moral,legal, and political philosophy.

A common thread throughout this work is that we are regularly in complicated, murky epistemic situations in our moral, legal, and political lives—and this is something that we as philosophers should take seriously, rather than ignore or idealize away.

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CFP: The Tennessee Value and Agency Conference

Second Call for Submissions: TVA 2019 (Knoxville, TN, March 8-10, 2019)  

The Tennessee Value and Agency (TVA) conference has been running annually since 2012.  It has attracted some of the most active philosophers on topics revolving around value and agency and has featured as keynotes some of the most prominent philosophers of our time. This time we aim to attract faculty from a wide spectrum of social and political sciences and involve an equally diverse set of presenters. This coming year’s TVA aims to bring to campus prominent keynotes who are game-changers not only in their field, but also across disciplines.  The theme for TVA 2019 is “Obstacles to agency?”  

Confirmed invitees:   

  • Chrisoula Andreou (Philosophy, Utah)  

  • Alan Fiske (Anthropology, UCLA)  

  • Alex Madva (Philosophy, Calpoly Pomona)  

  • Michael Olson (Psychology, UTK)   

  • Jiaying Zhao (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, UBC)   

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Featured Philosopher: Julia Markovits

Very pleased to be able to introduce our next Featured Philosopher, my Upstate friend, Julia Markovits. Take it away Julia:

Thanks so much for inviting me to contribute!

I’m currently working on a book about praise- and blameworthiness.  One thing I’ll have something to say about in the book is how to understand degrees of praise- and blameworthiness In the book, I defend a kind of quality-of-will account, according to which one dimension of moral worth tracks the extent to which we are (or fail to be) motivated to act by the reasons that would make something the right thing to do.  (I’ve defended this claim before, in my paper “Acting for the Right Reasons” (Philosophical Review, 2010).)  That thesis gives us the tools to account for one kind of variation in degree of moral worth, since our motivating reasons can overlap more or less with the normative reasons that apply to us.

But this notion of degrees of overlap can’t explain some variations in degree of moral worth than seem to have a lot of intuitive support.  For example (as I argued in another paper, “Saints, Heroes, Sages, and Villains, Philosophical Studies, 2012), it can’t explain what makes so-called “heroic” actions especially praiseworthy, since both heroic and ordinary actions may exhibit perfect overlap between the reasons motivating their performance and the normative reasons justifying them.

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Public Philosophy at its Best: Better Argument with John Corvino

John Corvino has a newish series of philosophically informative videos that are super clear and helpful. Consider giving them a look at his YouTube channel here.

It would be lovely if folks who know of other good public philosophy would post it below in the comments.

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Featured Philosopher: Errol Lord

Very pleased to be able to introduce today’s Featured Philosopher, Errol Lord. Take it away Errol:

The following is based on joint work with Kurt Sylvan (see our paper ‘Reasons: Wrong, Right, Normative, Fundamental’, which is forthcoming in Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy. I wrote this, though, so all mistakes belong to me.

There are few substantive claims about normative reasons that everyone can get on board with. Here is one candidate: there is a correlation between certain normative properties and the existence of certain normative reasons. So, for example, whenever someone is admirable, there are normative reasons to admire that person. Whenever something is desirable, there are normative reasons to desire it. The list could go on. To be clear, this is not to say (yet) that we can analyze admirability or desirability in terms of normative reasons. This just posits a correlation.

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By In Featured Philosophers Comments Off on Featured Philosopher: Errol Lord (Thurs, Nov. 8)

Featured Philosopher: Errol Lord (Thurs, Nov. 8)

Don’t change that dial. We will have a discussion with Errol Lord on Thurs, Nov. 8th.

The remaining Featured Philosophers Schedule looks like this:

November 14: Julia Markovits

Dec 12: Alex Guerrero

January 28: Jonathan Quong

Feb 11: Heidi Maibom

Feb 18: Ellie Mason

Feb 25: Japa Pallikkathayil

March 7: Valerie Tiberius

March 20: Julia Driver

April 8: Hille Paakkunainen

April 22: Stephanie Leary

May 1: Luvell Anderson

May 13: Nate Sharadin

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Preston Werner: “Ambitious Moral Perceptualism and Moral Knowledge from the Armchair”

This is the first in our new series of featured philosophers. Many more to come. For the schedule look here.

Ambitious Moral Perceptualism and Moral Knowledge from the Armchair

by Preston Werner

For a few years, I’ve been defending the view that all moral justification (realistically construed) bottoms out in the perceptual experience of moral properties.

There are many discussed objections to what I call the Ambitious Perceptualist view. Here, I want to think through some half-baked ideas about the relationship between Perceptualism and the role of thought experiments in moral deliberation and normative theorizing.

We (justifiably) use thought experiments in normative theorizing. But, the thought goes, this is not so for other domains whose epistemologies bottom out in perception. As Michael Milona (2018) puts it:

“[W]ith [empirical inquiry], we rely on actual experiments, evaluative inquiry only seems to require thought experiments…A theory which denies the possibility of evaluative knowledge by mere reflection is going to be highly revisionary; and many would rightly count such a commitment as a serious strike against the theory.” (more…)

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