Necessity and Counterfactual Discourse

By James Walsh The question “Is water necessarily H2O?” has a more complicated answer than may appear at first blush. To answer the question, one must first distinguish between conceptual and metaphysical necessity. By differentiating between these two types of necessity, it becomes clear that water is not necessarily H2O on a conceptual level. Whether water is necessarily H2O on a metaphysical level depends on the understanding of the word “water” on the part of the person who is judging whether water is metaphysically necessarily H2O. First I will expound upon the notion of conceptual necessity. Then I will evaluate … Continue reading Necessity and Counterfactual Discourse

Ficino’s Five Questions: A Christian Platonist Response to Aristotle’s Problem of Happiness

By Aaron David Aristotle is known for his philosophy and for his being Plato’s most prized student and intellectual companion. Perhaps Aristotle’s most influential and widely read work is his Nicomachean Ethics, which was, and still is, considered a seminal argument for the value of moral and intellectual virtue. The Ethics does more than argue for virtue; it also discusses human nature and the human condition. This paper will show that Aristotle argues that humankind most deeply desires a “perfect” happiness: one that that is complete, lasting the whole of one’s life, and sufficient in itself to render each day … Continue reading Ficino’s Five Questions: A Christian Platonist Response to Aristotle’s Problem of Happiness

Liberating the Kantian Sublime: Sublimity as Humanism, and Inquiries into the Poetically Sublime

By James Zainaldin Abstract: Kant’s sublime experience is limited by two primary factors: 1) it finds its significance almost exclusively in the moral and religious and 2) it has no place in the sphere of human-produced works. A close reading of Kant’s Analytic of the Sublime returns the understanding that neither of these limitations is an essential property of the sublime experience, however. Indeed, questioning the Kantian sublime’s moral implications actually demonstrates that the sublime is of vital importance to human experience more broadly: the sublime, through its affirmation of the human mind, celebrates and instills a deep appreciation for … Continue reading Liberating the Kantian Sublime: Sublimity as Humanism, and Inquiries into the Poetically Sublime

Egypt, Libya, and the Just War: Lenin versus Gandhi

By Omar Quinonez Abstract: The ‘Arab Spring’ has finally seen its light. Revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisia and Egypt have experience the collapse of decades-long regimes through peaceful protests, while Libya has taken the path of armed struggle. Such differences bring the Arab Spring to the philosophical table. What is the correct path for revolution? Are the Libyan rebels philosophically justified in their armed struggle? Or is non-violence the only ethical path for the Arab Spring? In short, the philosophical question for the Arab people is the question of the just war. This paper is … Continue reading Egypt, Libya, and the Just War: Lenin versus Gandhi

Fluid Identity

By Mitchell Creelman Abstract: In this paper I propose a novel view on the persistence of identity through time. I propose that an object is defined by a certain set of basic properties, that these properties are maintained throughout the life span of the whole, and that the whole does not cease to exist due to the replacement of individual parts. Given the constant change throughout the persistence of a single whole, I call this idea of identity “Fluid Identity.” Throughout this paper, I will outline the concept that I call “fluid identity,” which I will define as the idea … Continue reading Fluid Identity

Skewed Conceptions of Happiness in N. Korea

By Harrison Lim . What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of North Korea? For most people, including United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, words like “solitude,” and “Hermit Kingdom” seem to be a quite accurate description. But why do we instinctively attach an ominous stigma to the quality of life in the nation? We are surrounded by and force-fed the accounts and of the conditions in North Korea by people who have never even been to the country. Very few people have ever ventured to North Korea and the select many who have … Continue reading Skewed Conceptions of Happiness in N. Korea

Proposition 8 and The Harm Principle

By MOLLY SHIPMAN Election Day 2008 was defined by many landmark and surprising decisions by the American people. However, my excitement and pride in being part of the democratic process was somewhat undermined when I learned that California voters’ decided to pass Proposition 8, a state ballot proposition that amended the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. John Stuart Mill’s arguments concerning personal autonomy and the role of government, as outlined in his seminal work On Liberty, were not far from my mind as I contemplated how this disturbing … Continue reading Proposition 8 and The Harm Principle

To Whom Behavior Happens

By JULIAN GROVE In the late nineteenth century, psychologist and philosopher William James wrote in his Principles of Psychology, “So far as I know, the existence of such states [of consciousness] has never been doubted by any critic, however skeptical in other respects he may have been…. All people unhesitatingly believe that they feel themselves thinking… I regard this belief as the most fundamental of all the postulates of Psychology…” (185). James might have felt a bit naïve had he lived eighty years later and read the work of B.F. Skinner. In Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner is very skeptical … Continue reading To Whom Behavior Happens

The Conceptions of Belief Within the Brain

By Julian Grove
Though people use the term regularly, “believing” is a somewhat foggy notion in philosophy. It’s easy for a person to say that he or she has a belief, but saying what that even means is a completely different story; having a belief seems to be a very complicated endeavor from the analyst’s point of view. Jerry Fodor and Daniel Dennett are two contemporary philosophers who propose different accounts of what constitutes belief. This paper compares and contrasts the two, in the end coming up with a slightly different conception of beliefs in the brain than either. Continue reading The Conceptions of Belief Within the Brain