On the eve of the conference , here are a few more abstracts of the student papers that will be featured this weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. (If I haven’t yet met you, please introduce yourself.)
“The Structure of Evidence Relation and Evidential Theory of A Prioiri Intuition”
Philosophical tradition as well as the contemporary debate takes intuition’s epistemic work to consist in being evidence in support of philosophical theories. The disagreement is only about whether intellectual intuitions are good or bad evidence in support of philosophical theories. I challenge this widely accepted evidential theory of intuition (ETI). The master argument can be summarized as follows.
If (ETI) is true, there is an explanation of intuition such that it renders intuition evidence. Yet, the metaphysics of intuitive content (a philosophical theory and modal facts that it invokes) is irrelevant to explaining intuition on the one hand, and on the other hand the intuitive content cannot be evidence because there is no substantive explanation of it that would render such an explanandum evidence. Philosophical explanations are in that respect similar to mathematical explanations. Since these two options are the exhaustive and they constitute (ETI), it follows that either (ETI) is false of skepticism about modal knowledge follows. On the assumption that we do have such knowledge, it follows that (ETI) is false.
“The Immorality of Nonmoral Pursuits”
This paper explores the idea of “Moral Saints,” and the arguments in favor of pursuing nonmoral interests, as put forth by Susan Wolf in her article, “Moral Saints.” This paper then introduces a distinction between positive and negative moral acts and their implications on personal moral decisions. Furthermore, this paper displays how, given current global conditions, the pursuance of a nonmoral good is itself immoral. That is, while some credit should be given to the idea of nonmoral goods, in today’s world, it would be unreasonable and, in fact, immoral, to encourage the pursuance of them. Lastly, this paper will conclude with suggestions on how to encourage the adaptation of such negative and positive conceptions of morality and how to coherently incorporate them into an individual’s life.
“On the Limitations of Formal Methods”
My aim of this paper is to point out the limitations of formal methods by drawing upon Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems and the Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem, and seek ways to overcome them by resorting to Platonism. The Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem tells us that there are multiple models that satisfy a first-order formal system. Model-theorists would use this result to argue against Platonism, which holds there is the unique model that describes independent reality. Actually, in this light, Quine/Putnam’s arguments come to take on a clear meaning. But we have to notice that we can reach this conclusion only if we are committed to formal methods. So I would rather say that the Löwenheim-Skolem result betrays the limitations inherent in the formal methods, not the defects for Platonism. I conclude that there are still good candidates which serve as criteria to measure the excellence of the model, such as simplicity, comprehensiveness and maximality.
“A Defense of Lewisian Contextualism”
Over 50 years ago, Edmund Gettier undermined two thousand years of epistemology in a two-and-a-half page paper that succeeded in showing philosophers that the standard definition of truth knowledge and justification are insufficient conditions for knowledge. Ever since, philosophers have been testing out many theories to see if they can create a definition of knowledge that is immune from Gettier-type cases. Fallibilism is one such theory in which it is possible for a person to assert claims such as “The sun will rise tomorrow, but I don’t know that it will.” David Lewis, a Contextualist epistemologist, believes that Fallibilist sentences are contradictory in nature; that they just sound wrong. Stanley is a Fallibilist philosopher who attempts to defend Fallibilist sentences against Lewis’ allegations by arguing that Lewis does not have a full grasp on Fallibilistic language. I will argue that the methods Stanley employs to defend his theory create contradictions within the knowledge assertion, and consequently make it difficult for Fallibilism to stand as a legitimate theory. In light of these findings, I will promote Lewis’ Contextualism as a valid alternative.