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Episteme Vol. XX


"The Place of Book X in Plato's Republic" by Willie Costello

Here is a new interpretation of Book X of the Republic, which understands this book in relation to the Republic’s central defense of justice and the virtuous life. A metaphysical argument uses the allegory of the cave to understand the problem of poetry as imitation. Appearances can be deceiving; truth need not look like popular wisdom. An ethical argument explains that poetry encourages us to act on the urging of the non-rational part of our soul, thereby diminishing the rational part. Furthermore, since the way our souls react to poetry is as real and as genuine as actual experience, we ought not to respect nor even to listen to the far-from-excellent characters of popular poetry. And so, when read between the lines, Book X asks the reader to act on the wisdom imparted in Books I-IX.

"A Gap in Kim's Eliminative Argument for Reductionism" by B.D. Mooneyham

This paper traces the logical movements in Jaegwon Kim’s philosophy of mind addressed to physicalists. To start, a brief background to the contemporary debate between substance dualists, property dualists, and reductionists is provided. The author then argues that Kim uses inconsistent logic in his argument against non-reductive physicalism, compared with his argument against substance dualism: the pairing problem. It turns out that Kim fails to eliminate substance dualism as a possible theory of mind, in particular as an explanation of mental causation. The author offers a separate argument that would improve Kim’s case.

"Rawls on Abortion: Adapting his Theory of Justice to the Controversy" by Douglas Dreier

Rawls does not have to be explicit about gender or sex issues to be on the pro-choice side of the abortion debate. If we examine Rawls’ principles of justice and his veil of ignorance, we recognize that his logic rips through much of the usual justification for pro-life legality, even in the famous Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Since a person behind the veil might be a pregnant woman, cannot rely on specific moral beliefs, and must be able to have self-respect when the veil is lifted; Rawls is unmistakably pro-choice. Furthermore, in terms of other in vogue political philosophies, neither utilitarianism nor Nozickian political philosophy are better equipped to handle this thorny issue.

"Norm-Expressivism and the Frege-Geach Problem" by Megan Blomfield

How successful is Allan Gibbard’s attempt to solve the Frege-Geach problem for moral non-cognitivism? This author argues that Gibbard is on the right track with his formalism, but is missing an argument about inconsistency that matches the strength of truth-functional logic. The paper includes discussions of non-cognitivism, the Frege-Geach problem, a summary of Gibbard’s argumentation, and summaries of various strong criticisms of Gibbard’s efforts. The author emphasizes the weakness of relying on practical considerations when it comes to consistency between all possible normative moral judgments, yet supports Schroeder’s insight that might help to improve Gibbard’s reasoning.

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