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Episteme Vol. II


"Loving the Other: An Inter-Subjective Alternative to Sartre's Analysis" by Steven Corinth

In this paper, the author argues for how we might construct an ontology-based theory of being-in love compatible with Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. Since we want to avoid Sartre’s pessimistic conclusions, such a theory would need to include a structure of intersubjectivity, which, though against Sartre’s stated likings, is needed to improve Sartre’s account of love. First of all, Sartre’s ontology and concept of bad faith make the idea of being in love impossible. The insistence on being-for-others is the disease in Sartre’s system, here—the being-with must be allowed its full capacity. To this end, we must first distinguish between “thematic expression of love” and “concrete experience of love”—having either one at any given time would constitute being-in love. The author then elaborates on the new philosophy at play. The author works through the various considerations that lead to the full analysis of the intersubjective love project, which is founded on Sartre’s ontology; disallows Sartre’s worry of bad faith; and presupposes the lovers’ factual separateness.

"Nietzsche on Description and Interpretation" by Joseph Cruz

The Analytic tradition ought not to ignore Nietzsche’s insight into the debate between realists and anti-realists. Of course, Nietzsche’s views on language, reference, grammar, science, and value creation classify him as an anti-realist. But we must not describe Nietzsche’s views in such a way that he is unfairly attacked by the correspondence theorist. In reality, Nietzsche is very much in disagreement with even optimist realists. The God’s-eye view of the world is incoherent, as can be supported by the philosophy in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the Genealogy of Morals. Furthermore, Nietzsche is not a troubling relativist. Rather, Nietzsche’s perspectivism allows for definite valuations to come from a diversity of perspectives.

"Rights, Duties, and the Future" by Timothy A. Duffy

Since we appear to be fairly comfortable using rights language in general discourse, the rights approach to ensuring a quality existence for future individuals is one that deserves serious consideration. This paper’s author begins his theory by analyzing concepts such as “right,” “claim,” “correct,” and “association.” He then examines the status of natural rights and the one absolute claim that seems to be valid on that front: “each human [who does or who will exist] has a right to survive to the best of his or her abilities.” Okay, but what duties and obligations are entailed? What is the correlation between rights and duties? The author believes the proposed absolute right logically requires an absolute duty, i.e., humans are obliged to adopt social practices that work to best ensure each individual’s absolute right. The author believes a few claims follow: we must have responsible procreation, we must bring humans into a constructed social world that is pleasant but not filled with destructive sources, and we must responsibly investigate future consequences.

"Indeterminacy and the Data of Introspection" by Paul A. Gregory

The author of this paper argues that Searle’s introspective critique of Quine’s indeterminacy thesis is not a blow to Quine’s linguistic behaviorism. The paper begins with a general picture of Quine’s argument about the indeterminacy of language, as exhibited during radical translation but also in understanding one self. The author next pokes holes in the logic of Searle’s conclusion that Quine’s thesis is absurd and therefore incorrect. Searle, problematically, is too attached to his belief that there is such thing as determinate meaning. Instead, we must take up a contextualized understanding of meaning. Quine’s findings do not lead to the conclusion that Searle thinks they do. Rather, they teach us something about how language, a totally effective communication practice, can break-down. Because Quine’s main concern is effective language use, he does not err when he proposes face-value acceptance of the mother tongue—the indeterminate is often effective enough.

"The Pure Ego and Sartre's Transcendence of the Ego" by James T. Hong

In this exploration piece, the author attempts to present a clear picture of Husserlian and (pre-Critique of Dialectical Reason) Sartrean phenomenology via a critique of Sartre’s theory of the transcendent ego. Is there is need for a unifying I, or does Sartre’s formulation of consciousness as primordial read more compellingly? Is the ego built by states and actions and vice versa, or does Sartre have the better answer with the ego being constituted through states constituted by consciousnesses? The author points out that Sartre’s positions lead to the problem of consciousness unification. Plus, Sartre’s criticisms of Husserl can be nullified. Furthermore, Sartre’s desire for individual freedom actually betrays him in his response to the supposed hampering of consciousness caused by the pure ego. What’s really at stake is a clear description of the self: the ego’s relation to consciousness.

"Aquinas' Principle of Individuation" by Patrick Hughes

The author notices ambiguity in Aquinas’ principle of individuation, or how it is that a universal substantial form becomes instantiated in primary substances yet remains universal (to the class). The paper’s first section examines the general notion of the principle of individuation, as well as the three components of primary substance in Aquinas’ and Aristotle’s philosophy. The second investigates Aquinas’ three-tiered concept of matter and how matter is said to be the principle of individuation. The third section clarifies Aquinas’s claim, pointing toward designated matter as signified by quantity as being the specific principle of individuation. But there’s a problem. It would seem that Aquinas is in fact arguing that a primary substance is the principle of individuation for a primary substance. The author provides a nine-point summary of this argument before anticipating a potential response from Aquinas that suggests that it is quantity (an accident! and not matter) which is the principle of individuation. But this is a troubling discovery, no?

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