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Episteme Vol. XIII


"The Hyperphilosophy of Extraordinary Communication" by Theresa Thuline

By rejecting orthodoxy, systemization, and objectivity, metaphor allows us to express the extraordinary, contradictory, and paradoxical. Kierkegaard’s Postscript provides a good entry into the concept of metaphor, because it demonstrates the dialectical concepts that give rise to the usefulness of figurative language tools like metaphor and its sidekick, irony. Ricœur extends and elaborates on Kierkegaard’s dialectical philosophy. Together, contrary to Marie I. George’s thoughts on the suitability of metaphors in philosophy, these thinkers speak of the necessarily indirect linguistic means to communicate divine passion and to avoid the pitfalls of standard social meaning-expression. The author concludes by appreciating Pastor Robert White’s essay on using metaphor in preaching.

"Anaphoric Deflationism: Truth and Reference" by Lauren Hartzell

As a reaction to Dorothy Grover and Robert Brandom, this paper examines semantic concerns about intralinguistic relationships and functions. The author supports Brandom’s interpretation of Grover and argues that the prosentential theory of truth must accept the pronominal theory of reference in order to maintain an anaphoric account of truth. The author uses Brandom’s logic to brand Grover an anaphoric deflationist—whether she intended to be one or not. But Brandom’s appeal to reference only begins the project of extending Grover. What other anaphoric mechanisms still need to be identified, the author asks? How do we account for notions of substantive truth and reference? The author answers this second question: the phrase “is true” in prosentences can be basically replaced by “is the truth”; likewise, “refers” can be replaced by “reference” without abandoning the anaphoric function of the complex pronoun. Still, though, it is worrisome that anaphoric deflationism presupposes the exclusion of substantive truth and reference.

"Functionalism, Qualia, and Other Minds" by Elliot Reed

We can solve the problem of other minds by reference to behavior only if we conceive of consciousness in functional terms. Folk psychology, though incomplete, supplies us with mental categories that are useful for prediction and explanation and thus can become functional categories. We need psychology and linguistics to work together to create a substantial body of research. The author spends a great deal of time responding to an objecting interlocutor, out of which comes supplemental details such as a discussion of functional equivalence; a response to the reductio ad absurdum complaint against the liberal intentional stance; an argument about quaila that does not suggest the nonexistence of qualia, but rather argues that people who want to place a special value on qualia, cannot, in turn, solve the problem of other minds; a critique of Searle’s critique; and a reply to a Putnam-inspired appraisal of functionalism’s ability to handle propositional equivalence.

"Causality, Emergentism, and Mentality" by Robert Hemm, Jr.

The author here combines the insights of John Dupré and Jaeqwon Kim to supply a new answer to the big conundrum in the philosophy of mind: the mind/body problem. He begins with an overview of Dupré’s take on the classic modern take of causality and determinism, concluding that if Dupré is right and probabilistic catastrophism is true, this theory of probability has important consequences for the mind/body problem. Specifically, probabilistic catastrophism can address the question forced by Kim’s emergentism: how do irreducible mental properties interact with the closed causal nexus of the physical world? The paper concludes by considering what this new thesis means for the question over whether mentality can be multiply realized—if other things could behave like brains.

"Warrant, Proper Function, and the Great Pumpkin Objection" by Joseph Curtis Miller

Because it eschews classical foundationalism and coherence theory, one must wonder about the reliability of Plantinga’s radical account of knowledge of God’s existence. How does his appeal to proper basicality and epistemic warrant fair against Keith Lehrer’s objections? The answer: not very well. The author gives an analysis of Plantinga’s proper functionality concept, his grounds for warranted belief, and his anticipated response to what he calls the Great Pumpkin Objection. Next, the author presents Lehrer’s two counterexamples, Mr. Truetemp and Ms. Prejudice, and supports Lehrer’s claims that they show that proper functionality is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition for knowledge. Plantinga cannot save himself by drawing a dubious distinction between cognitive process and cognitive faculty, can he? No. Plantinga goes awry somewhere, and perhaps he should think some more about the Great Pumpkin.

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