2016 Philosophy Publications and Grants

Davis, Stephen T. Rational Faith: A Philosopher’s Defense of Christianity. InterVarsity Press, 2016.

Abstract: If God exists, why doesn’t he eliminate suffering and evil? Does evolution disprove Christianity? Can religion be explained by cognitive science? People have grappled for ages with these kinds of questions. And many in today’s academic world find Christian belief untenable. But renowned philosopher Stephen Davis argues that belief in God is indeed a rational and intellectually sound endeavor. Drawing on a lifetime of rigorous reflection and critical thinking, he explores perennial and contemporary challenges to Christian faith. Davis appraises objections fairly and openly, offering thoughtful approaches to common intellectual problems.

Davis, Stephen T. “Thoughts on Atheism and Relativism.” The City. Vol. VIII, No. 2. March 11, 2016.

A Russian Translation of God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs (Edinburgh University Press, 1997) appeared (Moscow: Kauka-Vostachanaya Literatura, 2016).

Hurley, Paul. “Review. Philip Pettit: The Robust Demands of the Good.” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, January, 2016.

Hurley, Paul. “Two Senses of Moral Verdict and Moral Overridingness.” Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Vol. 6, edited by Mark Timmons, Oxford University Press, 2016, 215-240.

Abstract: In what follows I distinguish two different senses in which philosophers speak of moral verdicts, senses that in turn invite two different senses of moral overridingness. Although one of these senses of moral verdict currently dominates the moral overridingness debate, I focus primarily on the other, and on the importance of disambiguating the two. In section II I show that it is this other sense that offers the most straightforward explanation of the apparent conceptual connections between moral verdicts and both reasons and reactive attitudes. I demonstrate in section III that it is also the central sense deployed by moral theories that recognize distinctively moral reasons, but that need not appeal to distinctive moral verdicts from a distinctively moral point of view. In section IV I show that as more sophisticated variants have been developed within the dominant sense of moral verdict they have come to deploy central elements of this alternative sense, bringing the two closer together. I suggest along the way that the recent tendency to emphasize the dominant sense to the exclusion of the alternative, coupled with the failure to properly disambiguate the two, has fundamentally skewed central debates in moral theory. Finally, in section V I sketch a proposal for understanding the relationship between these two distinct senses.

External grant: Tulane Center for Ethics and Public Policy Research Grant Proposal, $65,000.

Kind, Amy. “Desire-Like Imagination.” Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination, edited by Amy Kind, Routledge, 2016, 163-176.

Abstract: Imagine that there is a baby kangaroo hiding under your desk.  Though presumably this isn’t something that you believe, your imagining might be thought of as importantly analogous to belief, and the same holds more generally for imaginings that are attitudinal in nature.  In particular, such imaginings aim to capture truths about fictional worlds in the same way that belief aims to capture truths about the actual world.  Recently, however, there has been considerable interest in the question of whether there might be imaginings that are counterparts to desire in addition to imaginings that are counterparts to belief.  Desire-like imagination has been thought to have the potential to elucidate several puzzling phenomena that arise in imaginative contexts.   But whether desire-like imagination is really needed to explain such phenomena – and whether there really is such a thing as desire-like imagination—remains hotly contested.  This essay begins by fleshing out a fuller sense of what desire-like imagination is meant to be and then considers the cases both for and against.

Kind, Amy. "Imaginative Phenomenology and Existential Status." Rivista internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 7.2, 2016, 273-278.

Abstract: In this essay I explore the account of imaginative phenomenology developed by Uriah Kriegel in Varieties of Consciousness.  On his view, the difference between perceptual phenomenology and imaginative phenomenology arises from the way that they present the existential status of their object:  While perceptual experience presents its object as existent, imaginative experience presents its object as non-existent.  While I agree with Kriegel that it’s likely that the difference between imaginative phenomenology and perceptual phenomenology is one not just of degree but of kind, I worry about the particular account that he has developed.  I thus develop two lines of criticism.  First, I question whether Kriegel is right that imagination presents its object as non-existent.  Second, I question whether this account of imaginative phenomenology is consistent with other commonly-accepted facts about the nature of imagination.

Kind, Amy. “Imagining Under Constraints.” Knowledge Through Imagination, edited by Amy Kind and Peter Kung, Oxford University Press, 145-159.

Abstract: As Hume has famously claimed, we are nowhere more free than in our imagination. While this feature of the imagination suggests that the imagination has a crucial role to play in modal epistemology, it also suggests that imagining cannot provide us with any non-modal knowledge about the world in which we live. In this paper, I reject this latter suggestion. Offering an account of imagining that I call "imagining under constraints,” I provide a framework for showing when and how an imaginative project can play a justificatory role with respect to our beliefs about the world. That we can be free in our imaginings does not show that they must proceed unfettered; as I argue, our ability to constrain our imaginings in light of facts about the world enables us to learn from them. The important upshot is that the imagination has considerably more epistemic significance than previously thought.

Kind, Amy. “Introduction: Exploring Imagination.” Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination, edited by Amy Kind, Routledge, 2016.

Kind, Amy, ed. Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Imagination, Routledge, 2016.

Abstract: Imagination occupies a central place in philosophy, going back to Aristotle. However, following a period of relative neglect there has been an explosion of interest in imagination in the past two decades as philosophers examine the role of imagination in debates about the mind and cognition, aesthetics and ethics, as well as epistemology, science and mathematics. This outstanding Handbook contains over thirty specially commissioned chapters by leading philosophers organized into six clear sections examining the most important aspects of the philosophy of imagination. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind and psychology, aesthetics, and ethics. It will also be a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as psychology and art.

Kind, Amy. "The Snowman’s Imagination." American Philosophical Quarterly 53.4, 2016, 341-348.

Abstract: Not all imaginings are successful; sometimes, when an imaginer sets out to imagine some target, her imagining seems to involve some kind of mistake.  This error can be diagnosed in two different ways:  (1) the imaginer imagines her target badly, i.e., in a way that mischaracterizes it; or (2) the imaginer fails to imagine her target at all, rather she imagines something else that is similar in some ways to that target.  In ordinary day-to-day imaginings, explanations of type (1) – what I call mischaracterized target explanations – seem most natural, but in discussions of philosophical imaginings (zombies, body swaps, etc.), philosophers tend to adopt explanations of type (2) – what I call missed target explanations.  Surprisingly, however, this tendency goes unquestioned; what debate there is concerns whether there is imaginative error and not how to explain the imaginative error if there is any.  In this paper, I suggest that explanations of imaginative error should stem from considerations internal to imagination, and that once we attend to such considerations, we see that there is little reason to prefer missed target explanations over mischaracterized target explanations.

Kind, Amy and Peter Kung. “Introduction: The Puzzle of Imaginative Use.” Knowledge Through Imagination, edited by Amy Kind and Peter Kung, Oxford University Press, 2016, 1-37.

Kind, Amy and Peter Kung, eds. Knowledge Through Imagination. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Abstract: Imagination is celebrated as our vehicle for escape from the mundane here and now. It transports us to distant lands of magic and make-believe. It provides us with diversions during boring meetings or long bus rides. It enables creation of new things that the world has never seen. Yet the focus on imagination as a means of escape from the real world minimizes the fact that imagination seems also to furnish us with knowledge about it. Imagination seems an essential component in our endeavor to learn about the world in which we live--whether we're planning for the future, aiming to understand other people, or figuring out whether two puzzle pieces fit together. But how can the same mental power that allows us to escape the world as it currently is also inform us about the world as it currently is? The ten original essays in Knowledge Through Imagination, along with a substantial introduction by the editors, grapple with this neglected question; in doing so, they present a diverse array of positions ranging from cautious optimism to deep-seated pessimism. Many of the essays proceed by considering specific domains of inquiry where imagination is often employed--from the navigation of our immediate environment, to the prediction of our own and other peoples' behavior, to the investigation of ethical truth. Other essays assess the prospects for knowledge through imagination from a more general perspective, looking at issues of cognitive architecture and basic rationality. Blending perspectives from philosophy of mind, cognitive science, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics, Knowledge Through Imagination sheds new light on the epistemic role of imagination.

Kreines, James. "Fundamentality without Metaphysical Monism: Response to Critics of Reason in the World." Hegel Bulletin, 2016, 1-19.

Abstract: This article is a reply to comments by Franz Knappik and Robert Stern on my book, Reason in the World: Hegel’s Metaphysics and its Philosophical Appeal. Issues addressed include the systematicity of Hegel’s philosophy, the prioritizing of metaphysical over epistemological questions in his arguments, Hegel’s response to Kant’s Antinomy of Pure Reason, and my conclusion that there are senses in which Hegel’s own position is both ambitiously metaphysical and also monist, but that the monism present there is epistemological, and the ambitious metaphysics is non-monist.

Kreines, James. "Things in Themselves and Metaphysical Grounding: On Allais' Manifest Reality." European Journal of Philosophy 24.1, 2016, 253-266.

Zuckert, Rachel and James Kreines, eds. Hegel on Philosophy in History. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Martin, Adrienne. "Consumer Complicity in Factory Farming.” Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments About the Ethics of Eating, edited by Terence Cuneo, Andrew Chignell, and Matthew Halteman, Routledge Publishing, 2016, 203-14.

Rajczi, Alex. "Liberalism and Public Health Ethics." Bioethics 30.2, 2016, 96-108. 

Abstract: Many public health dilemmas involve a tension between the promotion of health and the rights of individuals.  This paper suggests that we should resolve the tension using our familiar liberal principles of government.  The paper considers the common objections that (i) liberalism is incompatible with standard public health interventions such as anti-smoking measures, intervention in food markets, and mandatory vaccination; (2) there are special reasons for hard paternalism in public health; and (3) liberalism is incompatible with proper protection of the community good.  The paper argues that we should examine these critiques in a larger methodological framework by first acknowledging that the right theory of public health ethics is the one we arrive at in reflective equilibrium.  Once we examine the arguments for and against liberalism in that light, we can see the weaknesses in the objections and the strength of the case for liberalism in public health.  The paper concludes with a brief discussion of how public health officials might usefully implement liberal principles. 

Rajczi, Alex. "On the Incoherence Objection to Rule-Utilitarianism." Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 2016, 1-20.

Abstract: For a long time many philosophers felt the incoherence objection was a decisive objection to rule-consequentialism, but that position has recently become less secure, because Brad Hooker has offered a clever new way for rule-consequentialists to avoid the incoherence objection.  Hooker’s response defeats traditional forms of the incoherence objection, but this paper argues that another version of the problem remains.  Several possible solutions fail.  One other does not, but it introduces other problems into the theory.  I conclude that the new incoherence objection still poses a major challenge to rule-consequentialism, though not for the reasons usually assumed.  It does not constitute a fatal objection to rule-consequentialism but instead highlights a theoretical drawback in the theory which must be taken into account during a more holistic evaluation of rule-consequentialism and its rivals. 

Schroeder, S. Andrew. “Health, Disability, and Well-Being.” The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being, edited by Guy Fletcher, Routledge, 2016, 221-232.

Abstract: Much academic work (in philosophy, economics, law, etc.), as well as common sense, assumes that ill health reduces well-being. It is bad for a person to become sick, injured, disabled, etc. Empirical research, however, shows that people living with health problems report surprisingly high levels of well-being - in some cases as high as the self-reported well-being of healthy people. In this chapter, I explore the relationship between health and well-being. I argue that although we have good reason to believe that health problems causing pain and death typically do reduce well-being, health problems that limit capabilities probably don't reduce well-being nearly as much as most people suppose. I then briefly explore the consequences of this conclusion for political philosophy and ethics. If many health problems don't significantly reduce well-being, why should governments go to great expense to prevent or treat them? Why should parents be obliged to ensure the health of their children?

External grant: "The Ethics of Presenting Complex Scientific Information," grant ($6,000) accompanying the Graves Award in the Humanities.