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Episteme

Article Title

XIX

Abstract

"Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence as a Psychological Test of Action" by Micah Dugas

How ought we to make sense of the doctrine of eternal recurrence? First of all, it follows Nietzsche’s attack on traditional morality, and is an answer to the question: What takes the place of immortality in a world in which God is Dead? But the doctrine is not meant to be a metaphysical hypothesis—such a thing would be at odds with Nietzsche’s thoughts on memory, choice, and the “laws” of nature. Nor is it dogmatic or like Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Rather, “eternal recurrence” is meant to help serve the powerful human who is not like the rest of society—the overman. We must defend the psychological test interpretation of the eternal recurrence, because it better harmonizes with Nietzsche’s body of work.

"Forcing Freedom: Applying Mill's Principles of Liberty in an International Society" by Jill Zimmerman

The author extends Mill’s liberty theory to contemporary international politics, specifically in relation to liberal intervention theory. The author tries to interpret Mill in the spirit of some popular liberal theories, but argues for why such an interpretation, which draws an analogy between the role of an individual and the role of a state’s government, would not be supported by Mill himself. For Mill, the individual is the central moral force, which is not simply in an appeal to prevent against harm toward a particular entity (as with looking-out for one particular nation among many in the international community). Even factoring in Mill’s argument about the Mormon community does not keep Mill from having a relatively wide theory for the acceptability of foreign intervention.

"Possible Worlds and Counterfactuals: Critique and Commentary on Complicating Causation" by Roman Feiman

This article focuses on David Lewis’s theory of causation. The author provides helpful clarity regarding the difference between material and counterfactual conditions, the distinction between causal dependence and causation, and the nature of possible world theories in general. Although it is found that Lewis does not fall victim to the problems of metaphysical impossibility or preemption, his theory still relies too much on mere intuition. Lewis’ solution is not very convincing when it comes to the slippery issue of causation.

"The Natural Philosophies of Descartes and Newton: A Kuhnian Reflection" by Stephen Trochimchuk

Kuhn can be used to describe shifts in science other than just the Copernican Revolution. This paper argues that Newton’s theory of mechanics, especially the notion of gravitational force, only appears to be responding to “deficiencies” in Descartes’ corpuscularism. In reality, Newton’s theory represents a paradigm shift. To make his case, the author first supplies useful summaries of Descartes’ and Newton’s sciences, as well as Kuhn’s meta-scientific project. The author then emphasizes that on issues like gravity and mass, the Cartesian and Newtonian systems of science hold each other’s theoretical concepts to be senseless when judged from within their own. Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions provides an appropriate lens through which to understand this stage in the history of science.

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