Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Vol. 90, No. 1, January 2015

The Review of Metaphysics, March 2015 | Go to article overview

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: Vol. 90, No. 1, January 2015


How Tolerant Can You Be? Carnap on Rationality, FLORIAN STEINBERGER

This paper examines a neglected question concerning the centerpiece of Carnap's philosophy: the principle of tolerance. The principle of tolerance states that we are free to devise and adopt any well-defined form of language or linguistic framework we please. A linguistic framework defines framework-internal standards of correct reasoning that guide us in our first-order scientific pursuits. The choice of a linguistic framework, on the other hand, is an "external" question to be settled on pragmatic grounds and so not itself constrained by these (framework-internal) standards. However, even if choosing a framework is a practical matter, we would nevertheless expect the process of framework selection to be subject to rational norms. But which norms might those be? And where do they come from? This paper begins by showing that these questions are crucial to the success of Carnap's entire philosophical project. It then offers a response on behalf of the Camapian which guarantees the rationality of the process of framework selection, while remaining true to Carnap's firm commitment to tolerance.

Normatively Enriched Moral Meta-Semantics, MICHAEL RUBIN

In order to defend the Cornell variety of naturalistic moral realism from Horgan and Timmons's Moral Twin Earth objection, several philosophers have proposed what this paper calls Normatively Enriched Moral Meta-Semantics (NEMMS). According to NEMMS, the natural properties that serve as the contents of moral predicates are fixed (at least in part) by nonmoral normative facts. This paper elucidates two versions of NEMMS: one proposed by David Brink, and the other proposed by Mark van Roojen. The paper shows what these metasemantics have in common, and how each one promises the Cornell realist a response to the Moral Twin Earth objection. It then argues that Cornell realists ought to be wary of adopting NEMMS. A naturalist realist who adopts this metasemantics confronts a trilemma. The proponent of NEMMS owes a metaethical account of the relevant content-fixing normative facts. Such facts are either reducible to recognizably natural facts or they are not. If they are not reducible, then NEMMS entails the denial of ethical naturalism (and so, the denial of Cornell realism). If such facts are taken to be reducible to facts about agents' actual or hypothetical attitudes, then (among other problems) the account renders moral facts stance-dependent. Consequently, moral realism is false. Alternatively, one might propose that the content-fixing normative facts are reducible to attitude-independent natural facts. However, such a proposal is refuted by its own Twin Earth objection.

The Social Virtue of Blind Deference, KRISTOFFER AHLSTROM-VIJ

Recently, it has become popular to account for knowledge and other epistemic states in terms of epistemic virtues. The present paper focuses on an epistemic virtue relevant when deferring to others in testimonial contexts. It is argued that, while many virtue epistemologists will accept that epistemic virtue can be exhibited in cases involving epistemically motivated hearers, carefully vetting their testimonial sources for signs of untrustworthiness prior to deferring, anyone who accepts that also has to accept that an agent may exhibit epistemic virtue in certain cases of blind deference, involving someone soaking up everything he is told without any hesitation. …

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