By In Call For Papers, Normative Ethics Comments Off on CFP: Neutrality: Reasons, Values, and Times

CFP: Neutrality: Reasons, Values, and Times

From Andrew Forcehimes:

Date: July 12-14, 2017.

Location: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • David Brink (University of California, San Diego)
  • Julia Driver (Washington University at St. Louis)
  • Douglas Portmore (Arizona State University)
  • Michael Smith (Princeton)


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By In Ideas, Metaethics Comments (57)

Non-Natural Normative Properties and the Principle of Parsimony

Disclaimer: This is way outside of my wheelhouse. So the chances that this is just misguided are great. But it’s my month to post and I’m answering the editor’s (Half-Assed) Plea for Half-Assedness.

Many moral skeptics appeal to the following metaphysical thesis in supporting their view:

  • Metaphysical Naturalism (NAT) – There are only natural properties.

And ethical non-naturalists are committed to the following metaphysical thesis:

  • Metaphysical Plurality Thesis (PLU) – In addition to natural properties, there are non-natural properties.

Now, many think that NAT is more plausible than PLU on the grounds of parsimony. I think that this is a mistake.


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By In Practical Rationality Comments (51)

A Bleg: Normative Requirements regarding Intention

Many philosophers (such as J. H. Sobel, R. J. Wallace, G. Harman, M. Bratman, and J. D. Velleman) endorse something along the lines of the following normative requirement regarding intention:

R1: It is impermissible/irrational for S both to intend to X and to believe that she will not X (even if she intends to X).

And I think that most (all?) philosophers endorse something along the lines of this requirement of instrumental rationality:

R2: It is impermissible/irrational for S to intend to Y, believe that X-ing is a necessary means to Y-ing, but not intend to X.

But are there any philosophers who endorse the following requirement?


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By In Uncategorized Comments (22)

A Possibly New Take on Newcomb’s Problem

Consider Newcomb’s Problem: “A psychology professor at your school has a reputation for being brilliant as well as possessed of an enormous fortune she has dedicated to her research. One day you get a request to report to her office at a certain hour. On a table are two boxes. One of them, labeled A, is transparent; in it you can see an enormous pile of $100 bills. The other, labeled B, is opaque. She tells you that there is $10,000 in transparent box A and that in box B there is either $1,000,000 or nothing. She tells you that she is going to give you a choice between:"


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By In News and Events Comments (1)

New PhD in Applied and Practical Philosophy

Arizona State University's newly redesigned PhD in Philosophy features a focus on Practical and Applied Philosophy. Practical Philosophy includes the fields of ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of law, social and political philosophy, and feminist ethics and political philosophy. Applied Philosophy includes both the application of theories developed within any of the sub-disciplines of philosophy to everyday problems or phenomena, as well as the application of research and tools used in other disciplines to understanding and addressing philosophical questions (e.g., experimental philosophy).


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By In Normative Ethics Comments (26)

Why Regan’s Work Is Groundbreaking: There’s No Fundamental Moral Obligation to Perform Acts

earlier post
, I claimed that Regan’s Utilitarianism
and Co-operation
is important because it shows that in order for a
moral theory to be plausible it must require of agents something beyond just
the performance of certain actions—in other words, it must not be
exclusively act-orientated. But, as Matt
suggested in his
, the idea that moral theories should require of agents something beyond just
the performance of certain actions isn’t exactly groundbreaking. After all, lots
of moral theorists have claimed (and well before 1980) that agents are required
not only to perform certain actions but also to possess certain virtues, have
certain motives, internalize certain rules, apply certain decision procedures,


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By In Normative Ethics Comments (19)

Gustafsson’s Criticism of Maximalism

[This post is related to my previous one, but this won’t
be apparent until the very end.]

Some options are more specific than others. One option is
more specific than another if and only if the performance of the one option
logically necessitates the performance of the other but not vice versa. Thus,
sitting down at my desk is more specific than sitting down. And sitting down at
my desk and then checking my email is more specific than sitting down at my
desk. An option is maximally specific (hereafter ‘maximal’) if and only if
there is no other option that is more specific than it.


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