Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

From Rules to Meanings: New Essays on Inferentialism

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2019.05.17 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Ondřej Beran, Vojtěch Kolman, and Ladislav Koreň (eds.), From Rules to Meanings: New Essays on Inferentialism, Routledge, 2018, 357pp., $145.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138102613. Reviewed by Preston Stovall, University of Hradec Králové This volume was produced in response to Jaroslav Peregrin's Inferentialism: Why Rules Matter (2014), and it brings together the work of a number of established and junior philosophers working within this tradition. The essays are grouped into four sections: language and meaning; logic and semantics; rules, agency, and explanation; and history and the present. Collectively they survey some of the ongoing and historical developments in inferentialism, and they lay out guidelines for a systematic and integrated view of the world and our places in it as rational beings. This lends the essays a degree of coherence it can sometimes be difficult to find in edited collections. With an introduction that canvasses the intellectual background of... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Actualism and Possibilism in Ethics

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[New Entry by Travis Timmerman and Yishai Cohen on May 20, 2019.] Suppose that you have been invited to attend an ex-partner's wedding and that the best thing you can do is accept the invitation and be pleasant at the wedding. But, suppose furthermore that if you do accept the invitation, you'll freely decide to get inebriated at the wedding and ruin it for everyone, which would be the worst outcome. The second best thing to do would be to simply decline the invitation. In light of these facts, should you accept or decline the invitation? (Zimmerman 2006: 153). The answer to this question hinges...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Planning, Time, and Self-Governance: Essays in Practical Rationality

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2019.05.15 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michael E. Bratman, Planning, Time, and Self-Governance: Essays in Practical Rationality, Oxford University Press, 2018, 272pp., $29.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780190867867. Reviewed by Elijah Millgram, University of Utah One might well suppose that a philosopher's collection of essays -- this is Michael Bratman' third -- would be simply a progress report, in this case on an evolving view of the role of planning in our lives. Of course it is that, and avowedly, but not simply: throughout his career, Bratman has made a point of intervening in debates that bear on his own position, and when he addresses the two related discussions that take center stage here, it exposes a reemerging and very important disagreement about the ground rules in philosophy of logic. In Bratman's view, part of understanding what plans are and what they do for us is to see a handful... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Structured Propositions

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[Revised entry by Jeffrey C. King on May 15, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] It is a truism that two speakers can say the same thing by uttering different sentences, whether in the same or different languages. For example, when a German speaker utters the sentence 'Schnee ist weiss' and an English speaker utters the sentence 'Snow is white', they have said the same thing by uttering the sentences they did. Proponents of propositions hold that, speaking strictly, when speakers say the same thing by means of different declarative sentences, there is some (non-linguistic) thing, a proposition, that...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Alabama, Abortion and Consistent Application

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Alabama recently passed the most restrictive anti-abortion law to date, forbidding abortion even in cases of rape and incest. While the bill is obviously aimed at restricting abortion, its primary function is to be challenged and end up at the supreme court. The hope is that the conservative judges will use the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. What should strike proponents of rational, informed legislation as deranged is that the supporters of Alabama’s law are apparently both confused about what the law does and proud of their confusion. While this does not entail that the law must be bad, it is certainly problematic. To use an analogy, imagine that your surgeon was proud of his incredible confusion about how your organs worked and their layout. While this does not entail that the surgery he is performing on you will turn out badly, it should certainly raise grave concerns. Likewise for the law: it might be great, but the confusion and ignorance of its creators and supporters should raise concerns. But perhaps it is fine because the law has the noblest of intentions. Image Credit Proponents of the law, such as Alabama governor Kay Ivey, claim that the motivation behind the law is to protect life. As the governor said, “to the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” Some who oppose the bill claim that it is not about protecting life but about restricting women’s reproductive rights. While the philosophical problem of other minds entails that I cannot know what another thinks and feels, it is certainly sensible to look at the available evidence when determining motivations and intentions. In the case of the abortion law, the claim is that Alabamians believe that every life is a precious and sacred gift from God. This is certainly consistent with wanting to reduce the number of abortions. But. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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