Intuitions and Perceptions: An Evaluation of Evidential Weight in Epistemology

By Ahmed Elsayyad, Johns Hopkins University This paper was presented at Prometheus’ 2014 Mid-Atlantic Philosophy Conference. I. Background Intuitions are quick and ready insights without any apparent rational thought. There has been debate among the philosophical community on whether intuitions can be used as reliable evidence in answering questions in epistemology. Studies have shown that intuitions can vary by factors such ethnicity and gender. If intuitions can vary by such factors, can we still say intuitions can be used as reliable evidence for philosophical arguments? Some argue that the psychological sources of intuition render it too error prone be used … Continue reading Intuitions and Perceptions: An Evaluation of Evidential Weight in Epistemology

A Minimalist Theory of Emotional Valence: A Response to Jesse Prinz

By Norah Hannel, Connecticut College This paper was presented at Prometheus’ 2014 Mid-Atlantic Philosophy Conference. By offering two counterarguments to Jesse Prinz’s explanation of valence, I will ultimately defend the view that valence depends on an emotion’s pleasantness and unpleasantness. In his book Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (2004), Prinz gives an overview of five possible valence theories that he refutes to then propose his own alternative. Before delineating them, however, I will proffer a clearer understanding of what valence consists in. To embark with a definition in mind, “the difference between positive and negative emotions is called … Continue reading A Minimalist Theory of Emotional Valence: A Response to Jesse Prinz

Call for Papers

Prometheus is currently accepting paper submissions for our academic journal, our online journal, and our mid-atlantic undergraduate philosophy conference. The deadline for our academic journal is Sunday, February 2nd.  The deadline for our conference is Friday, January 31st.  There is no deadline for our online journal; submissions will be considered and accepted on a rolling basis.  For further information on paper submissions, click here. Continue reading Call for Papers

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

Therapy, Ethics, and Religiosity: The Necessity of Conversion Included in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Therapy

By MICHAEL PUTNAM In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, he writes that the ideal philosopher “treats a question; like an illness” (PI 255). This move from treating a question as something to be answered to treating it as something to be cured might encapsulate the focus of the Investigations; it certainly sums up Wittgenstein’s approach to various problems relating to the philosophy of language, the philosophy of logic, and the philosophy of mind. In this sense, Wittgenstein considers his method therapeutic and concludes that philosophy should do nothing more than demonstrate how its own questions are rooted in mistake. But Wittgenstein … Continue reading Therapy, Ethics, and Religiosity: The Necessity of Conversion Included in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Therapy

On Particle-Waves, a Mediating Gaze and the Narrative Sequence

By NATALIE RODRIGUEZ
This paper works through Gilberto Perez’s theory of film narrative, clarifying his distinction between drama and narrative as relevant to understanding the singular form of cinematic narration employed in Renoir’s The Rules of the Game (1939). Rather than thinking of film as being of one primary form or another, one should recognize that such terms are primarily of functional value and should not be taken as actual properties of film, and that broadening our terms to include drama and narrative gives us more insight in talking about film and frees us from the ontological commitment of having to posit invisible, effaced narrators in film where there is no evidence.
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A Defense of the Extended Mind Thesis

by KARINA VOLD
In their article “The Extended Mind” (1998), Andy Clark and David Chalmers introduce a theory of extended cognition. In this paper I explain what extended cognition theories maintain by examining one such theory in particular- namely the Extended Mind thesis (EM), which Clark and Chalmers put forth. Following this, I consider two popular objections raised against EM- one based on concerns about what exactly constitutes a “part” of a cognitive system, and the other based on the intuition that the biological body is what marks the natural boundary between humans and their environments- and provide a defense of EM from each of these objections. Continue reading A Defense of the Extended Mind Thesis

The Case For Vague Objects

By Jaime Harrell
In this paper, I examine David Lewisʼ treatment of vagueness as a problem of “semantic indecision” and conclude that this position on vagueness is inconsistent with the metaphysics of his theory of modal realism. To reach this, I employ a thought experiment in which an exact counterpart of Lewis is subjected to a series of possible worlds treatments designed to satisfy Lewisʼ criteria for counterparthood and test the limits of semantic treatments of higher-order vagueness. I find that Lewisʼ suggestions for dealing with vagueness fails to pick out counterparts at several points in this series, even when given a satisfactorily precisified set of criteria for the qua relation. Continue reading The Case For Vague Objects

Ethical Transvaluation and Consequentialism

By Helen Ciacciarelli
As secularized accounts of morality’s social origins, the theories of Machiavelli and Nietzsche call for a transvaluation of morality. If we analyze their systems of thought through the distorting, reductive lens of modern connotations, we see the repugnancy of Nietzsche’s anti-Semitism or the cold, calculating, seemingly self-interested tactics of Machiavelli; as a consequence, we fail to delve deeper into the complexity of these works. This dismissive approach needs to be replaced with a detailed examination of how these figures redefine the notions of good and evil as the foundations of their philosophy and political theory. Continue reading Ethical Transvaluation and Consequentialism