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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Freedom of the will : a possible alternative

Elzein, Nadine 2009 (has links)
This thesis is an investigation into free will, and the role of alternative possibilities. I defend an incompatibilist notion of freedom, but argue that such freedom is not exercised in all cases of decision-making. I begin by considering the debate surrounding Harry Frankfurt’s famous argument that alternative possibilities are irrelevant to freedom. I argue that the main disagreement can be best understood by considering the dispute surrounding the 'Flicker-of-Freedom' objection, which contends that there are still alternatives left open in Frankfurt's example. Compatibilists have argued that any such alternatives are outside the agent’s voluntary control and hence irrelevant. But the arguments for this conclusion commit the compatibilist to the more general claim that volitions are not within agents' voluntary control, and incompatibilism is generally motivated by a rejection this claim - so if we could support this claim, we would refute incompatibilism without appealing to Frankfurt’s argument. This disagreement about whether volitions are within agents' voluntary control has not received much attention in recent years, despite figuring implicitly in the debate. But in previous centuries, this figured explicitly as the main focus. I consider the historical debate, started by the famous dispute between Hobbes and Bramhall, and continuing throughout the eighteenth century. Although the libertarian position better captures our ordinary conception of freedom, compatibilists argue that it introduces freedom-undermining irrationality, and randomness of the sort that is either unhelpful or incoherent. Whilst for many cases of decision-making, these challenges are justified, they are not justified in cases involving a particular kind of reasons conflict. I argue that decisions are free in cases of this sort, but we cannot have incompatibilist freedom more generally. However, I also argue that these are the most important cases, given the nature of our concerns about freedom. By restricting the domain of incompatibilist freedom to just these cases, we can avoid introducing irrationality, or randomness of the sort that has made incompatibilism seem incoherent, whilst preserving the incompatibilist's intuition that an important sense of freedom rests on alternative possibilities.

Epistemic internalism : an explanation and defense

Madison, Brent James Charles 2008 (has links)
What does it take for a positive epistemic status to obtain I argue throughout my thesis that if a positive epistemic status obtains, this is not a brute fact. Instead, if for example a belief is justified, it is justified in virtue of some further condition(s) obtaining. A fundamental topic in epistemology is the question of what sorts of factors can be relevant to determining the positive epistemic status of belief. Epistemic Internalism holds that these factors must be "internal" (in a sense that needs to be specified). Epistemic Externalism is the denial of internalism. My thesis is an explanation and defense of an internalist theory of epistemic justification. The central claim of my thesis is that something is "internal" in this sense only if it is, or can easily be, the object of the agent's conscious awareness. By considering key cases, I show that without an awareness requirement on justification, the subject cannot avoid what I call the Subject's Perspective Objection. In developing this objection I examine and respond to an argument against the awareness requirement which claims that such awareness either leads to a vicious regress of requiring higher order beliefs of increasing complexity (if any beliefs are to be justified), or else requiring such awareness is unmotivated. This regress is generated because it is assumed that the relevant kind of awareness must be doxastic. My solution invokes what I call 'strong non-doxastic awareness' that grounds non-inferential justification and thereby avoids this dilemma, while meeting the Subject's Perspective Objection. I also argue that external factors, such as the reliability (actual or conditional) of the mechanism supporting the belief, are not necessary for justification. I argue for this conclusion by comparing what constitutes justified belief in the actual world with one's counterpart in a 'demon world'. I argue that this intuition, correctly interpreted, counts in favour of internalism. As I explain, many philosophers moved by arguments presented by externalists about mental content deny that such a case is possible. In opposition I argue that the awareness requirement remains substantially unaffected, no matter which view of content turns out to be correct. What is key is that the two worlds are completely subjectively indistinguishable from each other for those who inhabit them in all the ways of which they are consciously aware. If neither the obtaining of truth nor reliability is necessary for epistemic justification, what makes justification genuinely epistemic In the final chapter I argue against recent work that assimilates justification with knowledge, as well as for a positive account of the truth connection. As to the former question, I defend the orthodoxy that they are distinct epistemic statuses as to the latter, I argue that the connection between justification and truth is conceptual. That is, epistemic justification is epistemic because it turns on evidence, evidence is epistemic because it is conceptually linked with truth. Epistemic justification, therefore, is conceptually linked with the truth (via evidence), which is what makes it distinctively epistemic. In short, this thesis is an explanation and defense of an internalist theory of epistemic justification. The central claim of the thesis is that something is "internal" in this sense only if it is, or can easily be, the object of the agent's conscious awareness. I argue that conscious awareness is a necessary condition of epistemic justification obtaining, and that factors external to consciousness play no justificatory role.

The myth of the hidden

McNeill, William Edgar Sainsbury 2009 (has links)
Traditionally, it has been supposed that both minds and mental states are unobservable. If the mind and its contents are hidden in this way, our knowledge of others' mental lives would have to be indirect. In this thesis, I argue that it is not plausible to suppose that all of our knowledge, of others mental lives is indirect. It is more plausible to suppose that sometimes, we can perceive others' mental states. Thereby, we can sometimes come to have direct, perceptual knowledge of when another is in some mental state. The hypothesis that we can sometimes perceive each others' mental states is plausible because it is possible, and because if it were true, it would best explain our knowledge of others' mental states. It is possible to perceive others' mental states, because others' behaviours need not conceal those states. Rather, what behaviour sometimes does is to reveal another's mental state. When behaviour acts this way, knowledge of another's mental state need not rest on any beliefs about their behaviour. If others' behaviour could inform us of their mental states only in so far as it could be our evidence of their mental states, then the evidence it would provide could not be sufficient to secure all the knowledge we take ourselves to have about others’ mental states. If so, the claim that all we have to go on in discovering how others think or feel is the evidence of their behaviour could not hope to explain that knowledge. So, only if it were true that others' behaviour sometimes enabled us to perceive their mental states could we adequately explain all our knowledge of their mental states. For these reasons, I claim that the hiddenness of the mental is a myth.

Pragmatics & rationality

Allott, Nicholas Elwyn 2007 (has links)
This thesis is about the reconciliation of realistic views of rationality with inferential-intentional theories of communication. Grice (1957 1975) argued that working out what a speaker meant by an utterance is a matter of inferring the speaker's intentions on the presumption that she is acting rationally. This is abductive inference: inference to the best explanation for the utterance. Thus an utterance both rationalises and causes the interpretation the hearer constructs. Human rationality is bounded because of our 'finitary predicament': we have limited time and resources for computation (Simon, 1957b Cherniak, 1981). This raises questions about the explanatory status of inferential-intentional pragmatic theories. Gricean derivations of speakers' intentions seem costly, and generally hearers are not aware of performing explicit reasoning. Utterance interpretation is typically fast and automatic. Is utterance interpretation a species of reasoning, or does the hearer merely act as "reasoning Within the framework of cognitive science, mental processing is under stood as transitions between mental representations. I develop a traditional view of rationality as reasoning ability, where this is essentially the ability to make transitions that preserve rational acceptability. Following Grice (2001), I claim that there is a 'hard way' and a 'quick way' of reasoning. Work on bounded rationality suggests that much cognitive work is done by heuristics, processes that exploit environmental structure to solve problems at much lower cost than fully explicit calculations. I look at the properties of heuristics that find solutions to open-ended problems such as abductive inference, particularly sequential search heuristics with aspiration-level stopping rules. I draw on relevance theory's view that the comprehension procedure is a heuristic which exploits environmental regularities due to utterances being offers of information (Sperber & Wilson, 1986). This kind of heuristic, I argue, is the 'quick way' that reasoning proceeds in utterance interpretation.

Thinking animals

Árnadóttir, Steinvor Tholl 2009 (has links)
Many personal identity theorists claim that persons are distinct from the animals that constitute them, but when combined with the plausible assumption that animals share the thoughts of the persons they constitute, this denial results in an excess of thinkers and a host of related problems. I consider a number of non-animalist solutions to these problems and argue that they fail. I argue further that satisfactory non-animalist solutions are not forthcoming and that in order to avoid these problems we ought to affirm our identity with animals. I then discuss arguments to the effect that i) animalism faces its own problems of too many thinkers, arising from the non- identity of animals with thinking bodies and thinking body parts, and ii) that in order to avoid these problems we must deny not just that there are persons distinct from animals, but that there are bodies and body parts distinct from animals Once the second of these claims is granted, there is a short further step to the conclusion that there are no such things as body parts, and from there there is a direct route to eliminative animalism. Eliminative animalism denies not only that there are persons distinct from animals, but that there are any composite objects distinct from animals. This position has been gaining popularity recently, but I argue that we need not, and indeed should not, accept it. Although the problems of the thinking animal do commit us to animalism, the problems of thinking bodies and thinking body parts do not commit us to eliminate animalism.

Death, Dying and Decisionmaking

Rice, James Paul 1997 (has links)
No description available.

A critical study of Finnis's natural law theory from Islamic philosophical perspective

Shamsabad, Mohammad Hossein Talebi 2005 (has links)
No description available.

Language and the theory of information

Hamblin, C. L. 1957 (has links)
No description available.

Reflective equilibrium, justification and moral truth

Cadman, Tim 2009 (has links)
No description available.

A Deleuzean interrogation of property and subjectivity

Moore, Nathan 2007 (has links)
The work of Gilles Deleuze presents us with problems that are directly relevant to the theorising of property. Deleuze's project is to establish a thought that does not base itself upon essential questions (such as 'what is it?' or 'what is this?') but instead locates thought within the circumstances through which it is capable of being thought. For this reason he is directly concerned with proprietary issues such as grounds, claiming, territory, and subjectivity. This thesis utilises aspects of Deleuze's work in order to think through some of these implications for property theory, meaning how property and the subject can be currently thought of. In so doing, it is critical of attempts to think property as a universal essence, whether as some particular aspect or function (e.g. alienation), or as a self-same mode or order premised upon dialectics and/or the feminine. Rather, it argues that property and subjectivity must be understood in terms of control, meaning the current regime of late or contemporary capitalism. Through this investigation it argues that both property and the subject are effects rather than essences. In such case, property is (paradoxically) the present assertion of what property will be, while the subject is effectively de-actualised and kept in a state of non-determination: a 'whatever' subject. The thesis utilises a number of writers and theorists in pursuing these lines, including David Hume, Jeanne Schroeder, Hegel, Hardt & Negri, Alain Pottage, Nietzsche, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault and Marilyn $trathem, amongst others.

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