Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 59, No. 235, April 2009

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 59, No. 235, April 2009

Article excerpt

Must There Be a Top Level? EINAR DUENGER BOHN

This article first explores the notion of the world's being such that everything in it is a proper part. It then explores the notion of the world's being such that everything in it both is and has a proper part. Given two well recognized assumptions, it argues that both notions represent genuine metaphysical possibilities. Finally it considers, but dismisses, some possible objections.

Expressivism and Moral Certitude, KRISTER BYKVIST and JONAS OLSON

Michael Smith has recently argued that noncognitivists are unable to accommodate crucial structural features of moral belief, and in particular that noncognitivists have trouble accounting for subjects' certitude with respect to their moral beliefs. James Lenman and Michael Ridge have independently constructed "ecumenical" versions of noncognitivism, intended to block this objection. This paper argues that these responses do hot work. If ecumenical noncognitivism, a hybrid view which incorporates both noncognitivist and cognitivist elements, fails to meet Smith's challenge, it is unlikely that "purer" and more familiar versions of noncognitivism will succeed.

When Is Parsimony a Virtue? MICHAEL HUEMER

Parsimony is a virtue of empirical theories. Is it also a virtue of philosophical theories? This article reviews four contemporary accounts of the virtue of parsimony in empirical theorizing, and considers how each might apply to two prominent appeals to parsimony in the philosophical literature, those made on behalf of physicalism and on behalf of nominalism. None of the accounts of the virtue of parsimony extends naturally to either of these philosophical cases. This suggests that in typical philosophical contexts, ontological simplicity has no evidential value.

Luck and History-Sensitive Compatibilism, NEIL LEVY

Libertarianism seems vulnerable to a serious problem concerning present luck because it requires indeterminism somewhere in the causal chain leading to directly free action. Compatibilism, in contrast, is thought to be free of this problem, as not requiring indeterminism in the causal chain. This paper argues that this view is false: compatibilism is subject to a problem of present luck. This is less of a problem for compatibilism than for libertarianism. However, its effects are just as devastating for one kind of compatibilism, the kind of compatibilism which is history-sensitive, and therefore must take the problem of constitutive luck seriously. …

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