Bullock, Emma, and . A Normatively Neutral Definition of Paternalism

2015, Philosophical Quarterly 65(258): 1-21.

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that a definition of paternalism must meet certain methodological constraints. Given the failings of descriptivist and normatively charged definitions of paternalism, I argue that we have good reason to pursue a normatively neutral definition. Archard’s 1990 definition is one such account. It is for this reason that I return to Archard’s account with a critical eye. I argue that Archard’s account is extensionally inadequate, failing to capture some cases which are clear instances of paternalism. I refine each of his three conditions, ultimately providing an improved definition of paternalistic interference. This revised definition meets specific methodological constraints, offering a definition that is both neutral between anti- and pro-paternalistic intuitions, but that also explains why paternalism is normatively significant. Specifically, this definition captures the conflict between interfering with an individual’s choices and treating the individual benevolently, without making paternalism permissible or impermissible by definition.

Comment: This paper updates Archard's attempt to provide a normatively neutral account of paternalism, and would be a good further reading for any topic touching on paternalism.

Chappell, Sophie-Grace, and . Intuition, Theory and Anti-Theory in Ethics

2015, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Publisher: What form, or forms, might ethical knowledge take? In particular, can ethical knowledge take the form either of moral theory, or of moral intuition? If it can, should it? These are central questions for ethics today, and they are the central questions for the philosophical essays collected in this volume. Intuition, Theory, and Anti-Theory in Ethicsdraws together new work by leading experts in the field, in order to represent as many different perspectives on the discussion as possible. The volume is not built upon any kind of tidy consensus about what ‘knowledge’, ‘theory’, and ‘intuition’ mean. Rather, the idea is to explore as many as possible of the different things that knowledge, theory, and intuition could be in ethics.

Comment: A collection of essays that discuss the different ways we can conceive of moral knowledge. It can be a useful source for learning about the merits of generalism versus particularism (theory versus anti-theory), and about how sceptical to be when it comes to our ethical intuitions. It is a good overview taken as a whole; each individual contribution is self-contained and makes specific arguments.

De Cruz, Helen, and . The Enduring Appeal of Natural Theological Arguments

2014, Philosophy Compass 9/2: 145-153.

Abstract: Natural theology is the branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to gain knowledge of God through non-revealed sources. In a narrower sense, natural theology is the discipline that presents rational arguments for the existence of God. Given that these arguments rarely directly persuade those who are not convinced by their conclusions, why do they enjoy an enduring appeal? This article examines two reasons for the continuing popularity of natural theological arguments: (i) they appeal to intuitions that humans robustly hold and that emerge early in cognitive development; (ii) they serve an argumen- tative function by presenting particular religious views as live options. I conclude with observations on the role of natural theology in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on philosophy or religion, metaphysics (where arguments for and against the existence of God are being considered), epistemology or religious epistemology. The paper is clear and non-technical. It does not provide arguments for or against the existence of God but considers the debate as a whole. It may then be useful for scene-setting, or for placing previously considered arguments in their context.

Gendler, Tamar, and . Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology

2010, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Note: This volume consists of fourteen chapters that focus on a trio of interrelated themes. First: what are the powers and limits of appeals to intuition in supporting or refuting various sorts of claims? Second: what are the cognitive consequences of engaging with content that is represented as imaginary or otherwise unreal? Third: what are the implications of these issues for the methodology of philosophy more generally? These themes are explored in a variety of cases, including thought experiments in science and philosophy, early childhood pretense, self?deception, cognitive and emotional engagement with fiction, mental and motor imagery, automatic and habitual behavior, and social categorization.

Comment: The book contains fourteen previously published essays. The first six essays are on thought experiments and the use of the imagination therein. Mainly, these essays take up the tasks of explaining how thought experiments produce novel beliefs and explaining whether and how thought experiments justify beliefs. Those are good papers for teachings on methodology of philosophy and intuitions. The next six essays are on imagination in general: its nature, its role in motivating action and producing emotion, and its relations to other mental states. It covers a range of topics including the paradox of fictional emotions and the nature of self-deception, the puzzle of imaginative resistance, the problem of the precipice. The topic of the last two essays is a mental state called "alief" which are highly relevant materials for teachings on mental states in action, implicit bias and etc.

Gendler, Tamar Szabó, and . Alief and Belief

2008, Journal of Philosophy 105 (10): 634-663.

Abstract: I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. Paradigmatic alief can be characterized as a mental state with associatively-linked content that is representational, affective and behavioral, and that is activated – consciously or unconsciously – by features of the subject’s internal or ambient environment. Alief is a more primitive state than either belief or imagination: it directly activates behavioral response patterns (as opposed to motivating in conjunction with desire or pretended desire.) I argue that alief explains a large number of otherwise perplexing phenomena and plays a far larger role in causing behavior than has typically been recognized by philosophers. I argue further that the notion can be invoked to explain both the effectiveness and the limitations of certain sorts of example-based reasoning, and that it lies at the core of habit-based views of ethics.

Comment: In this influential paper, Gendler argues for the existence of an important cognitive states that she calls alief. It is a highly-relevant material for teachings on many topics, for example forms of belief, rationality and belief, varieties of irrationality, implicit bias and etc, in upper-division undergraduate courses and postgraduate courses.

Gendler, Tamar Szabó, and . Philosophical thought experiments, intuitions, and cognitive equilibrium

2007, French, Peter A. & Wettstein, Howard K. (eds). Philosophy and Empirical. Oxford: Blackwell. 68-89.

Summary: Drawing on literature from the dual-processing tradition in psychology, this paper tries to explain why contemplation of an imaginary particular may have cognitive and motivational effects that differ from those evoked by an abstract description of the same content, and hence, why thought experiments may be effective devices for conceptual reconfiguration. It suggests that by presenting content in a suitably concrete way, thought experiments recruit representational schemas that were otherwise inactive, thereby evoking responses that may run counter to those evoked by alternative presentations of relevantly similar content.

Comment: In this interesting paper, Gendler elucidates the role and nature of intuition in the light of current philosophical practice. It is a good material for teaching on philosophical intuitions and experimental philosophy.

Nado, Jennifer, and . Philosophical expertise and scientific expertise

2015, Philosophical Psychology 28(7):1026-1044.

Abstract: The “expertise defense” is the claim that philosophers have special expertise that allows them to resist the biases suggested by the findings of experimental philosophers. Typically, this defense is backed up by an analogy with expertise in science or other academic fields. Recently, however, studies have begun to suggest that philosophers’ intuitions may be just as subject to inappropriate variation as those of the folk. Should we conclude that the expertise defense has been debunked? In this paper, the author argues that the analogy with science still motivates a default assumption of philosophical expertise; however, the expertise so motivated is not expertise in intuition, and its existence would not suffice to answer the experimentalist challenge. She suggests that there are deep parallels between the current methodological crisis in philosophy and the decline of introspection-based methods in psychology in the early twentieth century. The comparison can give us insight into the possible future evolution of philosophical methodology.

Comment: This paper offers a thought provoking introduction to issues related to philosophical intuitions, experimental philosophy, and philosophical methodology in general. It is not an easy read, but can serve for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Nagel, Jennifer, and . Epistemic Intuitions

2007, Philosophy Compass 2(6): 792-819.

Abstract: We naturally evaluate the beliefs of others, sometimes by deliberate calculation, and sometimes in a more immediate fashion. Epistemic intuitions are immediate assessments arising when someone’s condition appears to fall on one side or the other of some significant divide in epistemology. After giving a rough sketch of several major features of epistemic intuitions, this article reviews the history of the current philosophical debate about them and describes the major positions in that debate. Linguists and psychologists also study epistemic assessments; the last section of the paper discusses some of their research and its potential relevance to epistemology.

Comment: This is a good introductory article on epistemic intuitions (intuitions interesting to epistemologists). It is useful for teachings on epistemology, philosophical methodology and experimental philosophy.

Nagel, Jennifer, and . Intuitions and Experiments: A Defense of the Case Method in Epistemology

2012, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3): 495-527.

Abstract: Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are produced by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions.

Comment: Nagel is one of the prominent epistemologists who bring relevant psychological researches to philosophical debates. In this excellent paper, Nagel discusses the legitimacy of using pre-theoretical epistemic intuitions in epistemological theorizing in the light of findings in cognitive science. It is very useful for teachings on experimental philosophy in courses on epistemology or methodology of philosophy. It can be used together with Stephen (2013)'s response "Do different groups have different epistemic intuitions? a reply to Jennifer Nagel".

Nagel, Jennifer, and . Knowledge and reliability

forthcoming, Kornblith, Hilary & McLaughlin, Brian (eds.), Alvin Goldman and his Critics. Blackwell.

Internalists have criticised reliabilism for overlooking the importance of the subject’s point of view in the generation of knowledge. This paper argues that there is a troubling ambiguity in the intuitive examples that internalists have used to make their case, and on either way of resolving this ambiguity, reliabilism is untouched. However, the argument used to defend reliabilism against the internalist cases could also be used to defend a more radical form of externalism in epistemology.

Comment: This paper defends reliabilism from criticisms according to which our intuition tells against reliabilism. It is suitable for an introductory epistemology course, sessions on reliabilism or epistemic externalism.