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Abudu, Kenneth U. , Imafidon, Elvis. Epistemic Injustice, Disability, and Queerness in African Cultures
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 393-409
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Added by: Björn Freter
Abstract: Perception, representations, and knowledge claims about disability and queerness vary across societies and cultures. In African cultures negative knowledge claims and representations of disability and queerness create a perception of the disabled and queer that are not only detrimental to such persons in African societies but arguably undermine the work of understanding difference and tolerance in general. These negative claims raise some epistemological questions, such as: how do Africans come to know about disability and how are such knowledge claims validated within African communities? Against this backdrop, this chapter critically examines the epistemology of disability and queerness in African traditions. It shows that the epistemic authoritarianism found in African epistemology leads to an epistemic injustice that contributes immensely to the discrimination against disabled and queer beings as reflected in many cultural practices across the continent of Africa. The chapter argues that knowledge claims about disability and queerness in Africa emerge mainly from neglect, superstition, myth, and, above all, ignorance.

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Abudu, Kenneth U.. Language and Othering in African Contexts
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 317-329
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Added by: Björn Freter
Abstract: Postmodern and post-analytic understanding of African thought was primarily a shift from attempts to understand African thought using Western conceptual lenses to attempt to understand African framework of thought from the conceptual scheme of the people whose thought was being studied. This paradigm shift in the study of a people’s culture championed by such scholars as Ludwig Wittgenstein – notable in his shift from the pictorial theory of language to the game theory – had and continues to have very successful results in the attempts by sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers to understand African (philosophical) thought. We recall, for instance, the insightful studies of Edward E. Evans-Pritchard, Peter Winch, and Robin Horton and the continuous records by ethnophilosophy. What stands out from this shift to conceptual scheme of a people as a means for unraveling their thought and ideas is the importance of language as a factor that cannot be ignored in understanding various aspects of the being, knowing, and acting of a people. This essay follows in this line of reasoning. It focuses on an underexplored area of the role of language in African thought: how language promotes or impedes positive and negative experiences of othering or alterity in African spaces. It argues that language is imperative to understanding the different levels of othering in African societies. It explores four areas where this is obvious: (1) the lack of competence to speak and communicate in the particular language spoken in the African community in which one dwells naturally in others such as person from the community in a manner that may be inimical to her well-being; (2) the ability to speak in a language of an African people to which one was not naturally born to promote positive relation with the self (the speaker) by the other (the community of selves) to the extent of blurring the gap between the self and the other; (3) the power of language to turn a complete stranger to a close friend when two African strangers meet in a foreign land such as in the Diaspora, a friendship formed solely on the basis of the sameness of language; and (4) the manner in which the other in an African place is conceptually represented to express the people’s understanding of and their responsibility toward the other in such a place. The essay concludes that language remains the richest source to explore and the fastest route to follow in the search for a people’s ideas about othering and difference.

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Adams, Marilyn McCord. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God
1999, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
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Added by: Jamie Collin
Publisher' Note: When confronted by horrendous evil, even the most pious believer may question not only life's worth but also God's power and goodness. A distinguished philosopher and a practicing minister, Marilyn McCord Adams has written a highly original work on a fundamental dilemma of Christian thought - how to reconcile faith in God with the evils that afflict human beings. Adams argues that much of the discussion in analytic philosophy of religion over the last forty years has offered too narrow an understanding of the problem. The ground rules accepted for the discussion have usually led philosophers to avert their gaze from the worst - horrendous - evils and their devastating impact on human lives. They have agreed to debate the issue on the basis of religion-neutral values, and have focused on morals, an approach that - Adams claims - is inadequate for formulating and solving the problem of horrendous evils. She emphasizes instead the fruitfulness of other evaluative categories such as purity and defilement, honor and shame, and aesthetics. If redirected, philosophical reflection on evil can, Adams's book demonstrates, provide a valuable approach not only to theories of God and evil but also to pastoral care.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on philosophy of religion or atheism. It is most likely that this would serve as a secondary rather than primary reading, but would be particularly useful for students who feel that discussions of the problem of evil for theism are carried out at too high a level of abstraction to get to what is really central to the problem.

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Adeel, M. Ashraf. Evolution of Quine’s Thinking on the Thesis of Underdetermination and Scott Soames’s Accusation of Paradoxicality
2015, HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5(1): 56-69.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez
Abstract: Scott Soames argues that interpreted in the light of Quine's holistic verificationism, Quine's thesis of underdetermination leads to a contradiction. It is contended here that if we pay proper attention to the evolution of Quine's thinking on the subject, particularly his criterion of theory individuation, Quine's thesis of underdetermination escapes Soames' charge of paradoxicality.

Comment: Good as a secondary reading for those who are confident with Quine's thesis of underdetermination. Recomended for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science.

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Adrian Piper. Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume II: A Kantian Conception
2008, APRA Foundation Berlin
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Publisher’s Note:

Adrian Piper argues that the Humean conception can be made to work only if it is placed in the context of a wider and genuinely universal conception of the self, whose origins are to be found in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. This conception comprises the basic canons of classical logic, which provide both a model of motivation and a model of rationality. These supply necessary conditions both for the coherence and integrity of the self and also for unified agency. The Kantian conception solves certain intractable problems in decision theory by integrating it into classical predicate logic, and provides answers to longstanding controversies in metaethics concerning moral motivation, rational final ends, and moral justification that the Humean conception engenders. In addition, it sheds light on certain kinds of moral behavior – for example, the whistleblower – that the Humean conception is at a loss to explain.

Comment: Best discussed alongside Kantian and Humean texts. In particular, the work considered requires prior knowledge of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Hume's conception of the self.

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Adrian Piper. Rationality and the Structure of the Self: Reply to Guyer and Bradley
2018, Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Abstract:

These two sets of comments on Volume II of my Rationality and the Structure of the Self (henceforth RSS II), from the two leading philosophers in their respective areas of specialization – Kant scholarship and decision theory – are the very first to appear from any quarter within academic philosophy. My gratitude to Paul Guyer and Richard Bradley for the seriousness, thoroughness and respect with which they treat RSS – and my admiration for their readiness to acknowledge the existence of books that in fact have been in wide circulation for a long time – know no bounds. Their comments and criticisms, though sharp, are always constructive. I take my role here to be to incorporate those comments and criticisms where they hit the mark, and, where they go astray, to further articulate my view to meet the standard of clarity they demand. While Guyer’s and Bradley’s comments both pertain to the substantive view elaborated in RSS II, my responses often refer back to the critical background it presupposes that I offer in RSS Volume I: The Humean Conception (henceforth RSS I). I address Guyer’s more exegetically oriented remarks first, in order to provide a general philosophical framework within which to then discuss the decision-theoretic core of the project that is the focus of Bradley’s comments.

Comment: This text offers the responses of the author to critiques of her work Rationality and the Structure of the Self (Volume II). To be used to deepen the ideas treated in the second volume of Rationality and the Structure of the Self and have a clearer picture of this work, including potential critiques and how to address them.

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Adrian Piper. The Money Pump Is Necessarily Diachronic
2014, Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin/Philosophy
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Abstract:

In “The Irrelevance of the Diachronic Money-Pump Argument for Acyclicity,” The Journal of Philosophy CX, 8 (August 2013), 460-464, Johan E. Gustafsson contends that if Davidson, McKinsey and Suppes’ diachronic money-pump argument in their "Outlines of a Formal Theory of Value, I," Philosophy of Science 22 (1955), 140-160 is valid, so is the synchronic argument Gustafsson himself offers. He concludes that the latter renders irrelevant diachronic choice considerations in general, and the two best-known diachronic solutions to the money pump problem in particular. I argue here that this reasoning is incorrect, and that Gustafsson’s synchronic argument is faulty on independent grounds. Specifically, it is based on a false analogy between the derivation of a synchronic ordinal ranking from a transitive series of pairwise comparisons, and the putative derivation of such a ranking from an intransitive series. The latter is not possible under the assumption of revealed preference theory, and is highly improbable even if that assumption is rejected. Moreover, Gustafsson’s argument raises issues of fidelity to the historical texts that must be addressed. I conclude that the money pump, and cyclical choice more generally, are necessarily diachronic; and therefore that the two best-known diachronic solutions to the money pump problem remain relevant.

Comment: Necessarily requires prior knowlege of the money-pump argument and Johan E. Gustafsson's article considered in the work.

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Adrian Piper. Xenophobia and Kantian Rationalism
1993, Philosophical Forum 24 (1-3):188-232
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Added by: Sara Peppe
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The purpose of this discussion is twofold. First, I want to shed some light on Kant's concept of personhood as rational agency, by situating it in the context of the first Critique's conception of the self as defined by its rational dispositions. I hope to suggest that this concept of personhood cannot be simply grafted onto an essentially Humean conception of the self that is inherently inimical to it, as I believe Rawls, Gewirth, and others have tried to do. Instead I will try to show how deeply embedded this concept of personhood is in Kant's conception of the self as rationally unified consciousness. Second, I want to deploy this embedded concept of personhood as the basis for an analysis of the phenomenon of xenophobia.

Comment: Requires prior knowledge of the works written by Kant, especially the first Critique and the concept of personhood. To be used after having developed knowledge on the above mentioned philosophical themes.

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Ahmed, Arif. Saul Kripke (Contemporary American Thinkers)
2007, Bloomsbury.
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Added by: Jamie Collin
Introduction: Saul Kripke is one of the most important and original post-war analytic philosophers. His work has undeniably had a profound impact on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. Yet his ideas are amongst the most challenging frequently encountered by students of philosophy. In this informative and accessible book, Arif Ahmed provides a clear and thorough account of Kripke's philosophy, his major works and ideas, providing an ideal guide to the important and complex thought of this key philosopher. The book offers a detailed review of his two major works, Naming and Necessity and Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, and explores how Kripke's ideas often seem to overturn widely accepted views and even perceptions of common sense. Geared towards the specific requirements of students who need to reach a sound understanding of Kripke's thought, the book provides a cogent and reliable survey of the nature and significance of Kripke's contribution to philosophy. This is the ideal companion to the study of this most influential and challenging of philosophers.

Comment: This would be very useful in a course on philosophy of language, the work of Saul Kripke, a course on metaphysics which dealt with essences or the necessary a posteriori, or a course dealing with Wittgenstein's views on rule-following and private languages. There are separate chapters on names, necessity, rule-following, and private languages; so a syllabus could make use of these individually depending on need, rather than the entire book. Suitable for undergraduates and graduates.

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Akins, Kathleen. A bat without qualities?
1993, In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell. pp. 345--358.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt
Abstract: Discusses the alleged elusiveness of phenomenal consciousness / argues . . . that there is no way of telling ahead of time just what science will reveal to us / if we start from the thought that science can shed some light upon an alien point of view, we may well find ourselves with the intuition, nevertheless, that there is something that science must leave out / perhaps science can reveal the shape or structure of experience, but it leaves out the tone or shading / perhaps science can make plain to us the representational properties of experience, but it is silent about the phenomenal feel argues that this intuition . . . is to be resisted because it rests upon the flawed idea that we can separate the qualitative from the representational aspects of experience: the idea that it makes sense to try to imagine an experience that is qualitatively just like the visual experience that I am having now, but represents quite different objects and properties in the world

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Akins, Kathleen. Of sensory systems and the “aboutness” of mental states
1996, Journal of Philosophy 93(7): 337-372.
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Added by: Nick Novelli
Summary: The author presents a critique of the classical conception of the senses assumed by the majority of naturalist authors who attempt to explain mental content. This critique is based on neurobiological data on the senses that suggest that they do not seem to describe objective characteristics of the world, but instead act "narcissistically", so to speak, representing information depending on the specific interests of the organism.

Comment: This paper provides a good explanation of the integrated sensory-motor approach in philosophy of mind and how it differs from the classical conception. A good, easy to understand presentation of a challenge to the naive view that the senses give us objective information about the way the world is.

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Akins, Kathleen. What is it Like to Be Boring and Myopic?
1993, in Dennett and His Critics: Demystifying Mind, ed. B Dahlbom, Blackwell, 124-160.
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Added by: Nick Novelli
Summary: A response to Thomas Nagel's famous paper "What is it Like to be a Bat?". Akins uses neuroscientific data to argue that we can find out that bats may not actually have a point of view, and that, contrary to Nagel, this kind of objective study can bring us closer to understanding individuals' subjective experiences, not further away.

Comment: As "What is it Like to be a Bat?" is frequently taught, this paper serves as an interesting counterpoint response to it, providing an alternative perspective. A bit technical and heavy on hard neuroscience, but full understanding of that part is not essential to grasping the basic argument.

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Alcoff, Linda Martin. On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?
2000, In Naomi Zack (ed.), Women of Color and Philosophy: A Critical Reader. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 235-262.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa
Abstract: In assessing the likely credibility of a claim or judgment, is it ever relevant to take into account the social identity of the person who has made the claim? There are strong reasons, political and otherwise, to argue against the epistemic relevance of social identity. However, there are instances where social identity might be deemed relevant, such as in determinations of criminal culpability where a relatively small amount of evidence is the only basis for the decision and where social prejudices can play a role in inductive reasoning. This paper explores these issues.

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Ali Mobini, Mohammed. Earth’s Epistemic Fruits for Harmony with God: An Islamic Theodicy
2013, in The Blackwell companion to the problem of evil (eds J. P. McBrayer and D. Howard-Snyder), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford. Chapter 20.
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Added by: Emily Paul
Publisher's Note: The best life is realized when all existents are in such harmony with one another that all can play their assigned roles. Suffering always comes from disharmony. The vital harmony of life is harmony between creatures and Creator; and the way in which a creature fits with the existence of the Creator is a necessary condition for the creature's survival. Among all creatures, human beings are able to have comprehensive knowledge of God and achieve an active harmony with God in all aspects. The earth is a testing ground in which humans can prepare themselves epistemically and then practically to contribute actively to harmony with God. Since a laboratory has its own rules, we should not expect an ideal life in the earthly laboratory. After the laboratorial role that one plays in the present world, one still is on the watch and can share in the experiences of living people and develop epistemically so that one receives an epistemic safe point that is necessary for harmony with God.

Comment: A great chapter to use when teaching about theodicies, especially because it can be hard to find non-Christian theodicies in mainstream Philosophy of Religion literature. The laboratory analogy is particularly interesting, and it could be good to have a couple of seminar questions relating specifically to the strength of this analogy.

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Allen, Sophie. A Critical Introduction to Properties (Bloomsbury Critical Introductions to Contemporary Metaphysics)
2016, Bloomsbury
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum
Publisher's Note: What do blue things have in common? Or electrons? Or planets? Distinct things appear to share properties; but what are properties and what is the best philosophical account of them? A Critical Introduction to Properties introduces different ontological accounts of properties, exploring how their formulation is shaped by the explanatory demands placed upon them. This accessible introduction begins with a discussion of universals, tropes, sets and resemblance classes, the major objections to them and their responses, providing readers with a firm grasp on the competing ontological accounts of what (if anything) grounds similarity and difference. It then explores issues concerning the formulation and justification of property theories such as: how many properties are there? Should we accept a sparse ontology of properties, or an abundant one? Can we make a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties? Do properties have their causal roles necessarily? What is the relationship between properties and other metaphysical phenomena such as causality, laws and modality? These questions get to the heart of why a coherent theory of properties is so important to metaphysics, and to philosophy more generally. By concluding with the question of the ontological status of properties, the reader is introduced to some Carnapian and contemporary themes about the content and methodology of metaphysics. For students looking for an accessible resource and a more comprehensive understanding of contemporary metaphysics, A Critical Introduction to Properties is a valuable starting point.

Comment: This is an excellent introduction to a particularly important chapter in (first order) metaphysics. Each chapter is dedicated to a key aspect of properties (e.g. universals, tropes, grounded/ungrounded, intrinsic /extrinsic, categorical/dispositional properties, etc.) which Allen describes with great clarity. She gives plenty of references so that interested students can dig deeper easily. It is very clear in presenting arguments and counter-arguments.

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