Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of Philosophy

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of Philosophy

Article excerpt

Vol. 97, No. 7, July 2000

Evolution and the Problem of Other Minds, ELLIOT SOBER

If we observe another individual perform behavior B, this may or may not provide evidence that the individual is in mental state M. How does the additional information that I am usually or always in mental state M when I perform B change the epistemological contours of this problem? This question is discussed in two ways. First, the idea of cladistic parsimony used in evolutionary biology allows one to construct an argument that Other is in state M (rather than in state A), given that Self is in state M and both Self and Other perform behavior B, on the assumption that Self and Other have a common ancestor (and assuming that M or A must be present in individuals who perform B). Second, a likelihood argument is constructed according to which the state of Self is evidence concerning the state of Other, provided that the states of Self and Other are joint effects of a common cause.


Vol. 97, No. 8, August 2000

Utilitarianism, Integrity, and Partiality, ELIZABETH ASHFORD

The article discusses Bernard Williams's integrity objection against utiltiarianism. It argues that if we examine what a valuable conception of integrity consists in, we can see that it actually commits us in the current state of the world to extremely demanding moral obligations, on any plausible account of our moral obligations, including Williams' own. It then argues that any such account of these obligations has difficulty in providing a rationale or how a fundamental conflict betwen them and agents' pursuit of their personal projects can be avoided. …

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