At the outset of the Republic, Polemarchus advances the bold thesis that “justice is the art which gives benefit to friends and injury to enemies”. He quickly rejects the hypothesis, and what follows is a long tradition of neglecting the ethics of enmity. The parallel issue of how friendship (and other positive relationships) affects the moral sphere has, by contrast, been greatly illuminated by discussions both ancient and contemporary. This article connects this existing work to the less explored topic of the normative significance of our negative relationships. I explain how negative partiality should be conceptualized through reference to the positive analogue, and argue that at least some forms of negative partiality are justified. I further explore the connection between positive and negative relationships by showing how both are justified by ongoing histories of encounter (though of different kinds). However, I also argue that these relationships are in some important ways asymmetrical (i.e. friendship is not the mirror image of enmity).
A recent argument suggests that proper names are persistently rigid designators. Invoking the Kaplanian distinction between a world of the context of utterance and a world of the circumstance of evaluation, the argument maintains that names have to designate something only in the former, but not in the latter, implying thus that the designated objects must exist only in the former world. This paper shows that names designate something in both kinds of world and are thus obstinately rigid. This is achieved in three steps. First, the author argues that the contents of names must be available in possible worlds regardless of whether the named objects exist in them. Second, the author argues that these contents are expressed by English names in both kinds of world. Third, since Millianism suggests that names express contents by way of designating objects, the author argues that they have to designate something in both kinds of world.
New varieties of libertarianism connect not only free will and moral responsibility to indeterminism, but also agency and choice as such. In this paper, the author highlights what seems to be an embarrassment for all libertarian accounts, but especially for the ones just mentioned. The problem is brought out by clear cases of decisions in which there are strong and rather obvious reasons for one of the options and only relatively weak ones in favour of the alternatives. It is hard to insist that there be indeterminism even in such cases. Either it has no significant role to play, which means that libertarianism is in effect largely abandoned, or it has a purely negative role, being linked to some serious and thoroughgoing defect in the agent’s rationality. Thus, a dilemma for libertarians arises, which the author spells out in the text. Furthermore, he argues that some versions of compatibilism face essentially the same difficulty.
Sanna Hirvonen, Natalia Karczewska and Michał P. Sikorski
Contextualist accounts of aesthetic predicates have difficulties explaining why we feel that speakers are disagreeing when they make true and compatible but superficially contradictory aesthetic judgments. One possible way to account for the disagreement is hybrid expressivism, which holds that the disagreement happens at the level of pragmatically conveyed, clashing contents about the speakers’ conative states. Marques (2016) defends such a strategy, combining dispositionalism about value, contextualism, and hybrid expressivism. This paper critically evaluates the plausibility of the suggested pragmatic mechanisms in conveying the kind of contents Marques takes to explain disagreements. The positive part suggests an alternative account of how aesthetic judgments are sources of information about speakers’ conative aesthetic states.
Descartes’s meditator thinks that if she does not know the existence of God, she cannot be fully certain of anything. This statement seems to contradict the cogito, according to which the existence of I is indubitable and therefore certain. Cannot an atheist be certain that he exists? Atheistic knowledge has been discussed almost exclusively in relation to mathematics, and the more interesting question of the atheist’s certainty of his existence has not received the attention it deserves. By examining the question of atheistic knowledge in relation to the cogito, I articulate the advantage Descartes sees in having knowledge of God. I challenge a long-held reading of the cogito where “I exist” is the first full certainty and argue that while atheistic cogito is more certain than atheistic knowledge in mathematics, it cannot be a starting point for lasting and stable science, because science requires knowing the existence of the non-deceiving God.
This paper explores how hinge epistemology (specifically, Duncan Pritchard’s brand of hinge epistemology) might fruitfully be applied not only to the problem of radical skepticism, but also to certain domain specific (or ‘local’) skepticisms, and in particular, moral skepticism. The paper explains the idea of a domain specific skepticism, and how domain specific skepticisms contrast with radical skepticism. I argue that a domain specific skeptical problem can be resolved in just the same way as radical skepticism, if there are hinge commitments within that domain. I then suggest that there are hinge commitments in the moral domain, and use this to address a moral skeptical problem due to our apparent inability to know moral nihilism to be false.
Following Wittgenstein’s lead, Crispin Wright and others have argued that hinge propositions are immune from skeptical doubt. In particular, the entitlement strategy, as we shall refer to it, says that hinge propositions have a special type of justification (entitlement justification) because of their role in our cognitive lives. Two major criticisms are raised here against the entitlement strategy when used in attempts to justify belief in the external world. First, the hinge strategy is not sufficient to thwart underdetermination skepticism, since underdetermination considerations lead to a much stronger form of skepticism than is commonly realized. Second, the claim that hinge propositions are necessary to trust perception is false. There is an alternative to endorsing a particular hinge proposition about the external world, external world disjunctivism, which permits us to trust perception (to a point), while skirting the difficulties raised by skepticism.