Kleingeld, Pauline - Kant's Second Thoughts on Race


The Philosophical Quarterly, No 229 Vol 57 October 2007

This paper seeks to describe Kant's views on race clearly and argues that they changed as the full force of his ethical theory unfolded. It starts with the highlights of Kant's essay from 1788 in which he advances a climate-based racial theory. The basic concept is that when races move from different climates, particularly warmer to colder, they lose industriousness and motivation to produce (pg573-4). Author argues that Kant changed his mind some time after 1792, to better accord with his moral theory.

The second section addresses Kant's history of racism and his review of other works that argued against using physical demarcations to determine race (pg576-7). In an essay written around the same time as his Groundwork (1785), Kant again re-affirms his racism as springing from the physical differences between humans (pg578) but curiously does not talk about any differences in moral capacity between the races. In a private letter he seems to suggest that the physical demarcations of races was separable from any possible moral one (579-80), and yet he re-asserts an intellectual hierarchy later on in 1788. Author describes some of the reactions to Kant's 1785 paper (pg580-1), specifically from Metzger, a professor of medicine, and Forster, a proto-anthropologist. It is to Forster that Kant replies in his 1788 essay, which re-introduces the heretofore 'detachable' deficiencies in intellect, reasoning, or agency capabilities associated with climate-based race.

The next section (III) is a summary of the hermeneutics between Kant's racism and his moral theory. Some author argue that the moral theory is paramount and that Kant had regrettable but minor unprincipled and empirical views on race (pg582-3). Others deny this tactic and instead argue that Kant's purported universalist theory is for "whites only", in other words, inegalitarian (pg583). Author criticizes this view because Kant argues that personhood follows from rationality, which all humanity possesses (pg583-4). This would make Kant an inconsistent universalist, rather than a consistent inegalitarian. But Kant's racism isn't a minor bug in his philosophy, it is a contradiction. More importantly, once this is admitted, his moral theory should not be 're-cast' as inegalitarian, but investigated to see in what ways (if any) his racism influenced his moral theory (pg584-5). A peek into the fruits of this investigation is Kant's introduction of a "cosmopolitan right" (pg585) later in the 1790s, after he dropped his hierarchical view of the races.

The final section discusses how Kant had "second thoughts" on his racism in the 1790s. Kant gives non-whites "juridical status" under the "cosmopolitan right" (pg586-7), claiming that contractual law should govern places where colonialism had instead been the rule. The idea here is that Europeans who seek to colonize must treat the natives as equals in a contractual setting, not as 'savages' to be civilized. He also came to reject chattel slavery (pg587-8). Furthermore, Kant came to reject climate-based racism and its implications for the inadvisability of intercontinental migration (for any race other than white). Instead, he argued that 'Nature' adapted humans so that they could live anywhere on earth, and that eventually it would allow for a super-structure of laws amongst the regions of the world (pg589). Finally, Kant drops his hierarchical rankings of the races and restricts his concept of race to be purely physical characteristics, explicitly saying that such characteristics have no bearing on human agency (pg589-91). Author discusses when this change might have occurred, perhaps between 1792 and 1795, as evidenced by his manuscripts changing for his 1795 work "Toward Perpetual Peace".   


Lycan, William - Giving Dualism Its Due


Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol 87, No 4, December 2009

This paper is a serious but largely brisk jaunt through the anti-dualist arguments (relating to the mind-body problem) and how they generally fail to refute the strong Cartesian 'substance' dualism. Author is a staunch materialist, so this is a bit of a confessional, in that he is concerned that his considered beliefs aren't just a product of mainstream philosophy culture but rational and scientific thought. Author first starts with a review of the major arguments in favor of materialism. The first major proponents of the view gave precious few arguments in its favor, instead mostly assuming it or 'inveighing against Cartesian dogma'(pg552). The first bona-fide argument author discusses is from Smart, a rather elementary identity theory for mind-body correspondence and then reduction using parsimony. And here author introduces the first main point of the paper: that the use of the concept of parsimony in evaluating competing theories is only available once all other facets of the competing theories have been considered, and "many, nearly all, other things must be equal" before parsimony can be used. Because dualists and materialists are still arguing over a body of evidence (qualia, intension, meaning, etc.) and how it is to be interpreted (or even whether it should be so), "the parsimony argument does not even come in the door until it is agreed we can find nothing to distinguish mental states from neurophysiological ones" (pg553).

The first argument that had a formal structure that was logically valid and left open the question of the actual substance that would occupy a functional-, or causal-, role, was from Armstrong & Lewis (c-fibers firing). Author's first objection is that the first premise, namely that (a priori) [mental state] occupies a causal role in the behavior, tendencies, and dispositions, of a creature is a "culpably good premise for materialists"(pg554). The dualist, according to author, would not accept this at the very outset: a [mental state] is what presents itself to consciousness, the attendant causal roles it plays are a posteriori. The main point for the dualist is that "we know the mind primarily through introspection" (pg554), not through behavior. The second premise, author claims, begs the question by claiming that [mental state] is exhausted by its causal role. In other words, it denies that there could be overdetermination of the causal role by both something physical and something mental. While many may scoff at overdetermination, author then claims that using parsimony to adjudicate is premature (see above). The strategy to hold off parsimony and allow for overdetermination, epiphenomenalism, and other causally-inert dualist theories is repeated often by author (pg555-6). This concluded the dispatching of arguments in favor of materialism.

Most of the rest of the paper then deals with replies to objections to dualism.
1. The "Interaction problem": how can non-matter interact with matter in any way?
Author: Just because there is no good model doesn't mean the objection is fatal. Causality itself is a tough concept to get right, as is determinism. Also, amend dualism to be spatial: it's right behind the eyes, in each brain. This takes away the non-spatial weirdness of dualism.
2. "Excrescencehood": mind-stuff seem to follow no laws and be extraneous to known facts.
Author: this is just a fundamental dualist/materialist disagreement about what's prior in accounting for mental life: is it prediction and behavior or the phenomena and feels? Clearly the dualist will claim the feels are what are important to capture in accounts of the mental. Besides, according to Wilkes, mental ascriptions are used for more than just explanations and prediction.
3. "Laws of Physics": conservation of matter and energy prohibits mental stuff from getting involved.
Author: Weak-form conservation is still compatible with dualism. Strong-form isn't required by physicists. Also, since we allow that the mental is spatial (but not material), the physical conception of space-time isn't violated.
4. "Evolutionary Theory": How could the mental have evolved as adaptive?
Author: nobody believes that all traits must be adaptive. And Churchland's claim that all traits must be physical and evolved from a physical process is question-begging.
5. "Explanatory Impotence": dualism explains little (if anything), while neuroscience explains a "great deal"(pg560).
Author: This is a bad comparison. Dualism competes with materialism, not neuroscience. But of course materialism does underwrite why neuro-facts are relevant to mental-facts. Author claims the dualist both use these facts through using a "transducer" but also capitalize on the neuro-facts being content-poor with respect to mental properties.
6. "Neural Dependence": mental life is dependent on a working neural one.
Author: Use the transducer argument. "Mind-brain interaction may be constant and very intimate" (pg561).
7. "Epistemology of other minds": How could we know about other minds, especially non-spatial ones?
Author: Again, we fixed that part of dualism by making it spatial. So after that fix is applied, this is a perceptual and epistemological problem, not a mind-body one.
8. "Unity and Individuation": How could the mental and the physical both be attached to one brain?
Author: Well, because dualism is interactionist and each mind has causal connections to a particular body. How is this unique relation explained? Well, look to some evolutionary story (aka, hand waive).
9. "The Pairing Problem": How can each mind be paired with each body?
Author: well, by making the mental spatial. Causal explanations may just be "brute" facts, not requiring further analysis (pg562).


Blackburn, Simon - Williams, Smith, and the Peculiarity of Piacularity


Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2015

This is a paper that revisits Bernard Williams' discussion of moral luck and compares and contrasts it to Adam Smith's treatment of it. In this case we're talking about the moral luck of outcomes to actions-- how events can twist and turn in non-moral ways and yet influence our judgments about the moral worth of the intention or the actor who set the events in motion. Author first starts with laying out Smith's discussion, particularly focusing on the interesting requirement that third person sympathy is key to Smith's system (pg219).
Another discussion follows about how we have peculiar non-moral attachment to animals or objects that have been involved in a favorable endeavor: like a horse who, through remarkable swimming, saves a Turkish officer. Such a horse should have a kind-of non-moral bond with the officer and we would indeed be surprised if the officer then shot the horse (pg220). This non-moral gratitude or affection to inanimate objects or animals (taken to be non-moral agents) can also be influenced by the outcome-- by fortune. The objects that we might attach special significance to, or negative emotions to, seem to be exemplars of luck, as author discusses the "deodand" (pg221-2). For Smith (and for author), these are straightforward cases where the accidents of history should not color one's judgment. It is during this discussion, that author introduces the word Smith used "piacular", meaning involvement in a bad event and needing a kind of expiation, though not morally guilty. The distinction is that we can perhaps see the object or animal as not any worse or better qua object or animal, but our associations with it are so strong that this is an overriding concern. The moral judgment remains intact, but it may be drowned out by other sentiments (pg223-4).
Author then turns to discuss Williams and his interest in the agent's own self-assessment or attitude (agent-regret) toward her own decisions. Williams starts with the example of Gauguin abandoning his family to pursue the life of a painter-- a change in career. For Williams, this decision is justified only by success or failure criteria: if Gauguin is a poor painter he will be "unjustified with 'nothing to say'". Author disputes this because the agent might have some "quiet satisfaction" or "quiet pride" in taking a path that was heartfelt though a failure (pg226), though this response is complicated by inept or foolish decisions (pg226-7). More interestingly, author casts Williams' focus to be primarily about judging past decisions due to wanting analysis for prospective future decisions (pg227). Author argues that such a focus is unnecessarily narrow and that the first-person perspective has "got in the way" (pg227), since the question of whether your past decision is justified (whatever that means in this context) is open to public inspection and 3rd-person judgment too. Perhaps Williams accepts all this, but, author argues, the judgment heaped on poor decisions where no one suffered (e.g. a lucky positive outcome) does not deserve "reproach" (pg227).
The matter of self-understanding of a past decision is complex, since it involves going back into the state of mind the subject was in, author argues. But such a trip is "wearisome" and "futile" (pg229), if even possible at all. The trouble is that the context of such decisions might be unimaginable now that the passions that were involved in the decision have died out (pg228-9). The natural result, then, is that the external judgment of success or failure (even by the own-lights of the agent) is the "master of the field" (pg229). The conclusion is that if Williams is focused on self-assessment, then it is natural that the epistemic position of external factors will prevail on the judgment. However, using Smith's 3rd-party considerations, we could have the needed tools to separate out good decisions from good outcomes.
Author finishes up by discussing some strategies and distinctions that might be employed to deal with distinguishing cases of moral luck (pg230-1).


Blackburn, Simon - The Majesty of Reason


Philosophers of Our Times, Edited by T Honderich, Oxford University Press, 2015

This paper tries to re-establish the use of reason and reasons as mind-dependent and flexible against two "phenomena" in philosophy that have combined reasoning and normativity in enthusiastic but misguided ways.
The first is the notion of the 'externality' of reasons: that they exist independent of agency or, perhaps, that they bear on agents independent of their knowledge of them. The second trouble is the insistence that means-ends reasoning is a normative exercise. Author sees this as a "Trojan horse for inserting rationality into practical life... through the breach in the Humean citadel that it has spearheaded." (pg173-4)

Author starts with a basic understanding of the terms involved: reason isn't a "magical faculty or structure" but is instead relational, a "reason for something" (pg174). The idea here is that reason involves "movement of the mind", going from a first mental state to a second by using reasoning. The strategy is to distinguish between a free association of one thing to another and reasoning from x to y, though "it may be hard to say in what the difference consists" (pg175). Author introduces another distinction, this time between "movements" that an agent accepts or endorses and those the agent doesn't know about or doesn't wish to acknowledge. This might roughly be similar to Gibbard's being in the grip of a norm and merely accepting one (pg175). Author offers some remarks about his use of terms: there must be a genuine cognition for there to be "movements" (of the mind), that we can talk about abstract representations without naming actual agents holding the ideas, and that aims and intentions can figure into reasoning just as much as beliefs do. The conclusion: we commend or endorse certain movements as reasonable, others as not, and yes indeed reasons are available to agents even without their knowledge, to be picked up upon (pg177). But this does not mean that there is no additional step needed after a reason is "apprehended", which author goes on to elaborate.

In section III, author discusses the sense in which reasons are "external"-- that there can be reasons for doing x that the agent does not appreciate or is not moved by. Failure to appreciate such reasons can deserve criticism, a point that was lost on Williams, but author accepts and reiterates (pg177). Author argues, however, that the connection in movements from x to y is based on "the contingent ways we are" (pg178), thus there is nothing gained by an externalist on the point that reasons can be considered external to a particular agent.

For author, good reasoning is a kind of guidance for movement, not "its end-points or its consequences": one can reason correctly that x will result in genocide, and this is good reasoning. There can also be bad reasons for doing y even if there are also good ones, as in the case of giving praise for political reasons rather than from admiration (pg178-9). This point is enmeshed in a general discussion about theoretical and practical reason. The trouble with ethical reasoning is, according to author, that "all we are given are moves within the ethical. We are not provided any independent methodology, or independent underwriting of the ethical as a domain." (pg180). The discussion then moves to questioning why some thinkers (eg Parfit) are given to claim that animals can't respond to reasons while only humans can. This is "pure fantasy", argues author, and gives the example of the identical response from a dog and a human when seeing a snake in the path (pg180-1). It similarly does no good to offer the "pain of irrationality" as a motivation to be guided by reasons.

Author moves to consider the "authority of reason", and generally disagrees with Quinn over the following item: having a pro-attitude toward y doesn't supply a reason x to do y (pg182). With some examples this seems acceptable, but author argues that is in indeed "strange" that being hungry doesn't rationalize eating a piece of pie. This leads to a fruitful discussion about reasoning from desires (pg182-3) and how to fulfill them, and also about justifying beliefs-- on a holistic level. In section VII, author goes on to argue that real philosophical questions (like a conflict between self-interest and justice) seem to wither unnecessarily when the good is identified with the reasonable (pg184-5).

Section VIII of the paper starts to attack the second phenomenon, that of normative guidance in means-ends practical reasoning. Author starts by quoting Kant, whom he claims did not believe that means-ends reasoning was normative in the sense some (wrongly) consider it to be. Author argues that there is no such thing as failing to conform to a "norm of means-ends rationality" (pg186), but instead a variety of related failures: incapability, weakness-of-the-will, and 'being a nuisance'. But the bigger issue is whether there is a norm of means-ends rationalist, and author gets to that next. First, author issues a word of caution regarding using intentions or desires are antecedents in a formulation: the best you should hope for are conditionals (pg186). [Important!] Second, author clarifies around the issue of bedeviling deontic logic and the paradox of the gentle murder (pg187-8). Lastly in this section, there is a clear explanation of the differences between being an efficient or rational means-ends planner and doing good things for good reasons (pg188-9), using Othello's Iago as an example.

The final conclusion is to avoid using the terms "irrational" because of the implication that such found faults are irredeemable.      


Putnam, Hilary - Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity


Journal of American Philosophical Association, 2015

This article is a review of three positions that author holds, that of "liberal naturalism", metaphysical realism, and normative realism. Author first starts with an elucidation of the term "liberal naturalism"; it emerged first from reading Naturalism in Question, edited by De Caro and Macarthur. In that collection, author wrote an essay that attacked Boyd, Casper and Trout's The Philosophy of Science, which had a disjunctive definition of the natural that was too vague to work. The example author used is how to understand Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (the play). Was it "subject to natural laws", and if so, did that capture the "phenomenon"? (pg312-3) The method of resolving this that author prefers is to rely on the naturalism of John Dewey, which does not allow supernatural entities, but also does not reduce ethics and aesthetics to the natural sciences or as meaningless-- a kind of liberal naturalism (pg313). Author also relies on Burge to argue that psychological terms like "representation" do not need reduction to the physical to be empirically valuable or explanatory, and so reduction is dispensable even as a hope. Yet author believes that liberal naturalism covers a broad range of positions, which he does not share, so further refinement is necessary: author is also a metaphysical and normative realist, which he discusses in the next sections.

Author first takes time to distinguish between his criticisms of a particular kind of metaphysical realism from the more broad view, which he has finally come to understand that he holds (on his 80th birthday) (pg213-5). Author quotes his previous lecture and Maudlin's reaction to it: author attacked the idea that there is a mind-independent reality and that an ideal theory of it could be technically false, and Maudlin agreed that this is indeed a feature, not a fault, of 'Metaphysical Realism'. Author has now come to accept that there could be an assertible, warranted, theory that is technically false (pg315-6), and that his attack of it in Realism and Reason was wrong. But "a responsible metaphysical realist needs to say something about what truth is and not simply what it isn't", so author continues to the next section. (pg316)

Author turns to Tarski's contribution to the concept of "True" in a formal language, as applied to a sentence within that language (pg316). In particular, author thinks that Field, in his Tarski's Theory of Truth, correctly interpreted Tarski's work as connecting the concepts of reference (or denotation) to truth. Author goes into specific elaboration with a formal language "Bob" and a "meta-Bob", which is "set-theoretically more powerful than Bob" in the way Tarski would need it (pg317), using "Snow is white" as an example sentence. Author takes a good amount of time dealing with the proposed Tarskian link between reference and truth (pg318-320). What comes out of this technical re-creation of the meta-Bob language is author's claim that neither the correspondence nor the deflationary theory of truth are supported by Tarski (pg321-2), though one can easily interpret Tarski as presupposing the deflationary theory. The bottom line is that the concept of true depends on successful reference (pg322).

The discussion now moves to the oddity of possibly understanding a claim about the world to be true but not be about the entities (asteroids or daises or marsupials) referred to (pg323). It does no good to understand a sentence to refer in a causal way-- for instance that I learned about asteroids from a textbook-- since the truth of the matter is dependent on my reference, not the causal connection that put me in the position to assert the truth. In this attack, deflationists need to revise their approach, particularly when it comes to translating sentences between languages (pg323-4), and verificationists are also targeted. The ultimate nemesis is Quine with his theory of radical translation, which author takes on next (pg324-5). The response basically is that Quine misses "a liberal naturalist understanding of what natural-scientific explanations are", and doesn't take seriously "relations between the basic needs and activities of animals and the ecological facts about their environments" (pg325). In other words, we refer to what we perceive, and we happen to perceive in a rather regular physio-psychological manner across languages.

The third position of normative realism is now discussed, but is ultimately given short shrift. Author claims that morality evolves according to human needs and interests, and that Kantian categorical-imperative-like claims (Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other as a stand-in) aren't good foundations for ethics. Instead, they are good tools to use, similar to using utilitarianism as a tool, in recognizing the implications of action (pg326). The final conclusion is liberating: "One can learn from pragmatists and Wittgensteinians and philosophers of so many other kinds without becoming a card-carrying member of any philosophical sect." (pg327)


Kennedy, Anthony - Obergefell v. Hodges


No. 14-574, June 26, 2015

This is a SCOTUS decision that overturns various state prohibitions on same-sex marriage. This is undoubtedly going to be summarized more extensively and adroitly elsewhere, so I'll stick to the basic outline.

A. Author briefly discusses the institution of marriage and denies that the petitioners for same-sex marriage are seeking to devalue it. Instead, petitioners would like to take part in its privileges and responsibilities.
B. Marriage has both 'continued and changed' throughout time, most especially recently as women became equal in the marriage and laws against miscegenation were struck down. Such changes to the concept of marriage worked "deep [essential] transformations in its structure". Thus the understanding of marriage is dynamic. Author reviews the changing understanding of homosexuality as well, and then its relation to marriage. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution is posited to extend to "certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs". While the original ratifiers of the amendment may not have known the "extent of freedom in all of its dimensions... they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning".
III. The right to same-sex marriage starts with the right to marry, protected by the Constitution, for example in Loving v. Virginia, Zablocki v. Redhail, and Turney v. Safley. Author acknowledges that the court assumed these to be opposite-sex marriages, however the "essential attributes of that right [are] based in history, tradition, and other constitutional liberties" that now must be applied to considering a proscription to same-sex marriage. This application uses four "principles and traditions" that demonstrate that "marriage is fundamental" with "equal force" to same-sex couples.
The four principles and traditions:
-Whom to marry is inherent in the "concept of individual autonomy", an "abiding connection between liberty and marriage", and part of the right to privacy.
-The right to marry is "fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals", and is an "intimate association".
-Marriage is a protection for children, and is therefore connected to related rights regarding childrearing, procreation, and education. These rights are protected in the Due Process clause of the Constitution, according to the precedent from Zablocki v Redhail. Author reasons that the rights of children being raised by same-sex couples need protecting by allowing same-sex marriage of the parents-- the rights of the children not to be stigmatized or suffer "significant material losses" mean that marriage for the parents must be possible.
-Marriage is the keystone of the US social order and there is "no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle". Locking same-sex couples out of this "central institution" provided by the states is demeaning.

Author responds to criticism that the right to same-sex marriage is a new right, not the fundamental right to marry. Response: previous cases didn't talk about the right to interracial marriage, just the right to marry in the "comprehensive sense, asking if there was a sufficient justification for excluding the relevant class from the right". Furthermore, we understand rights do not get their meaning from who had them in the past, but "rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era." Here, the connection between the Constitution and the right to same-sex marriage is given by the author somewhat cryptically: "The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always coextensive, yet in some instances each my be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other". Author does go on to show how these two clauses were used sometimes in conjunction in the precedent-building cases of Loving, Zablocki, in multiple cases involving coverture, Eisenstadt, Skinner, and Lawrence.

Roberts delivers the dissent
Roberts' main point is that the court "is not a legislature" and that the right to same-sex marriage isn't in the constitution. "The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage". Thus states can stick to "the historic definition" of marriage, which Roberts argues is between one man and one woman. Roberts separately claims that the court does harm to same-sex couples by "stealing the issue" from them and not letting them convince the minds of their fellow citizens through a democratic process. Roberts argues for judicial restraint, and acknowledges that there is no serious dispute about a right to marry. The real question he asks is for the definition of marriage, and, especially, who decides on that definition.

A. Roberts argues that the term marriage only and forever has referred to one relationship: between one woman and one man. This is not a coincidence but had a background in ensuring children were raised in stable lifelong conditions. Since the US Constitution says nothing about marriage, Roberts argues the states were entrusted with questions of domestic relations, and the reference of the term marriage either "went without saying" or was understood as opposite-sex. Roberts argues that while marriage did change over time, most especially by removing coverture and bans on miscegenation, that didn't do anything to transform the fundamental "core meaning" as Kennedy argues it did.

B. Roberts give some history on the struggle for same-sex marriage in both the courts and the states and agrees with the "carefully reasoned" decision of the Court of Appeals.

II. Roberts attacks the Due Process basis for the decision, particularly the reasoning behind the Four principles and traditions. He argues this a case where the court employed "substantive" Due Process, as it did in Lochner v. New York; Roberts expressly disavows reasoning about Due Process this way and considers it judicial excess. In the pages that follow, Roberts argues that the court should not be in the business of being a kind of super-legislature, being the final arbiter of whether a law was in the public good or not (the "substantive" Due Process reading which allows this kind of error). While Roberts accepts the notion that some fundamental rights can be implied and not enumerated, his real target is the substantive Due Process and judicial excess, quoting, at one point, Kennedy himself urging the same principles (Glucksberg).

B. Roberts then goes through the majority's decision to try to show its weaknesses.

1. First is a discussion of how previous precedent-relevant cases did not change the "core definition" of marriage, as "traditionally defined".

2. Roberts takes the majority to also be arguing that the implied right to privacy links up with the right to marry to support same-sex marriage. Roberts argues there is no such connection and continues to urge for judicial restraint and seems to imply that the procreative purposes of marriage should be an guide to understanding its meaning.

3. Roberts returns to rail against the majority's decision by again comparing it to Lochner v. New York, and calling it "free-wheeling". The judicial excess that Roberts argues the majority has enjoyed is then subject to further questions, most notably: why is it only that two people can be married, under this decision? Why not plural unions?

4. Roberts dissects the majority's argument that same-sex marriage would "pose no risk of harm" to be a matter of moral philosophy, not constitutional law. The argument from the previous section is expanded: if a tradition such as opposite-sex marriage can be overruled by the court, what other social institution could be too?

III. Roberts now discusses the Equal Protection Clause as a basis for the majority decision. Roberts asks for the usual framework that uses means-ends reasoning regarding the laws and the proposed social benefits, and argues it isn't there in the majority's decision. He argues the discussion is "difficult to follow". It is here that Roberts discusses the lack of precision in the decision: he might be inclined to agree if specific harms, like hospital visitation, were being challenged.

IV. To wrap things up, Roberts rails against judicial excess as undercutting the judiciary's fundamental role and the respect it is afforded in the US. Roberts argues that this question should have been decided democratically and the court is a "blunt instrument" for "creating rights". Roberts also opens up the question of the collision of religious practice with this ruling.

Scalia also dissents

Scalia mostly discusses the loss to US democracy by the decision, and the abuse of power the court exercised. Furthermore, Scalia argues that because at the time of ratification of the 14th Amendment (which the majority argues is the basis for the right), marriage was understood as between one woman and one man, this fact alone "resolves these cases". Scalia decries that a decision that should have been legislative was made instead by a non-representative group of judges. Scalia also attacks the reasoning behind using the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, in an unusually sarcastic manner.

Thomas also dissents

Justice Thomas offers (in IIA1-2) a lengthy reconstruction of what the term "liberty" was taken to mean at the crafting of the US Constitution (plus amendments). Under his reading, drawing primarily from Locke, Blackstone, and the Magna Carta, "liberty" as enumerated in the 14th Amendment was taken to be freedom from external imposition on one's body-- a negative liberty. More importantly, Thomas argues that the right to liberty is a natural right, not one granted by the government. This is considered a "freedom from, not freedom to". For Thomas, to use the term liberty not as a shield against government imposition but instead as a sword to acquire new rights is backwards. The idea here is expressed thus: "Petitioners cannot claim, under the most plausible definition of 'liberty', that they have been imprisoned or physically restrained by the States for participating in same-sex relationships" (B). Thomas sees states refusing to grant same-sex marriage as in no way restricting petitioners lives, but instead it's just petitioners asking for government entitlements. Thomas needs to justify striking down anti-miscegenation laws, which he does so because slavery was "invidious" (footnote 5).

Thomas also complains about not settling this argument through a democratic method, and brings up the question of religious practices as well.

IV. Lastly, Thomas argues that while human dignity is innate and important, there is no "dignity clause" in the Constitution and no government law can deprive anyone of their innate dignity. This is where Thomas has to concede, in a weird way, that "Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved." The meaning here seems to be that the slaves still had innate dignity, even if it wasn't being recognized due to being enslaved.

Alito also dissents

Alito argues that there is no right to same-sex marriage in the US Constitution (it is left to the States) and that "liberty is a term of many meanings". Alito discusses the traditional understanding of marriage as a way to get at stable procreative relationships. Whether same-sex marriage will undermine that-- or it has already been undermined-- is not a question for the court. It is for the legislature. Alito quotes himself at length from Windsor. Alito finishes by claiming, as did previous dissenters, that the court is doing a grave disservice to its authority and the separation of powers and democracy.


Feinberg, Joel - The Nature and Value of Rights


The Journal of Value Inquiry, 1979

This paper might be considered a foundational explanation of what rights are and what it means to have them. Author starts with a thought experiment about a fictional place called "Nowheresville", a place where there are people who live together but have no concept of rights and/or obligations. People there could be considered morally virtuous, filled with compassion, benevolence, sympathy, and pity, but they wouldn't have rights and therefore no claim against another if they were wronged or harmed. This is because, as author goes on to argue, duties toward each other are bound up with the rights we are said to have. On the other hand, there is a second usage of "duty" which allows for a generalized requirement of action, but one that isn't directed for the benefit or due any one particular person (pg143-4). This kind of abstract duty to, perhaps, "the Law", would be allowed in Nowheresville, but it would be, author argues, odd. For instance, if a driver ran a red light and crashed into another, she may have failed her duty, but not toward the other driver she crashed into (since each driver owes the other driver, technically, nothing) (pg144).

The citizens of Nowheresville therefore have both moral virtue (which is generally undefined by author), an abstract duty to the state or law, and even duties created by conscience. Related to this sort of duty are two additional ones, those relating to "personal desert" and "sovereign monopoly of rights". These are interesting, the first one relating to not a right that a musician has for applause, but instead that there is a sort of "fittingness" between actions and desert, or between character traits and rewards (pg145). Author goes on to discuss this kind of desert and our conceptions of it outside of Nowheresville (pg145-6), for instance in the practice of "tipping" and gratuities. The second kind of duty is the "sovereign monopoly of rights", which author analogizes to Hobbes' Levithian (pg146-7). The duty to keep a promise, or to repay debts is owed not to the promisee or to the creditor, but instead to a kind of single sovereign, or (again) an abstract law or god. The role-based duties and obligations (and, perhaps, the rights conferred by being in the role), are necessary for exchange, but they aren't owed to anyone in particular. This is intended to be a counter-intuitive outcome for Nowheresville, and is further analogized with the duties children sometimes take to owe to their parents but not to their siblings (pg147).

The next section of the paper tries to explicate the notion of rights, but admits that a true definition is elusive and must be co-definitional with the concept of "claims against" others, or just "claims" simpliciter (pg148-150). Author distinguishes between asserting a claim, having a claim, and recognizing a claim (pg149-150). Author argues it is the rights, and the claiming against each other, that allows for full dignity and self-respect (pg151), which the citizens of Nowheresville lack. Interestingly, while claims can differ in degree, rights do not (pg152), and also interestingly, there is a way in which someone can have a claim for, or right for X without anyone in particular being under the obligation or duty to provide or perform that X. This might be the case of the right to a decent education, or birth control, in places where no one is in a position to provide such things (pg152-3). Author also takes a stand against McCloskey's conception of rights as "rights to", not "claims against" (pg154). McCloskey seems to find a generalized individual right against all other actors, current and possible, as absurd. Instead, the right inheres to the owner and others are duty-bound to recognize it. Author finds no absurdity in this "vague" generalized claim against the actions of others, so rejects McCloskey's objections.

In the postscript, author clarifies that the citizens of Nowheresville would have rights, but they just wouldn't know it. But further, author suggests that there is something wrong with a world where everyone acts according to their duties and enforces their rights unerringly (pg156). Only with the concept of rights is magnanimity (and, by implication and earlier argument, supererogation) possible, author claims. Finally, some technical issues with rights that one must exercise is clarified, such as, perhaps, the right to an education by someone who isn't mature or educated enough to claim this right for themselves (pg157-8). 


Audi, Robert - Intuition and Its Place in Ethics


Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Vol 1 Issue 1 2015

This paper starts with a discussion of how William Ross has been revived by new intuitionist philosophers to try to develop the concept of self-evident moral propositions. The twentieth century featured unresolved struggles in ethics between realists and non-realists and between naturalists and non-naturalists. Ross was a realist non-naturalist talked about how one can "just see" the truth of some moral principles, though the relation between that property or ability and intuition was unclear. Throughout the century further work has been done here, author argues, to underwrite moral ontology and the conception of the self-evident.

Author takes us through different types of "intuition" in the philosophical literature (pg59-61), focusing on a sixth case of intuition being like cognitive perception or apprehension. Are these beliefs (doxastic), or just intellectual "seemings" (episodic), which could lead to a belief but aren't such as of yet? This is a phenomenological question that author explores next, specifically how episodic intuitions can lead to beliefs (pg62-3). One conclusion is that non-inferential "intuitive" beliefs are dispositions to have episodic (seeming) intuitions about the same propositional content, "evoking a sense of non-inferential credibility" (pg63). With this distinction in place, author sheds some light on the differences between how moral philosophers and epistemologists treat intuitions (pg64).

The intuitive and the self-evident have often been associated, and author takes time to discuss self-evident propositions (pg65-6). For author, the self-evident can also be justified through inference, proof, or other method, like an indirect one through intuition. So while self-evidence can become less dogmatic, the trouble then for intuitionists can be skepticism or denial over the truth of intuitive propositions: how does one prove something that is largely self-evident? (pg67) Author distinguishes between being justified in believing self-evident propositions and actually believing them (pg67), arguing that you can understand the proposition in question, therefore have justification in believing it, but fail to believe it. This is a curious outcome, so author considers what could lead to it: thorough skepticism or prior commitment to an alternate theory that denies the proposition (pg68-9). Furthermore, people can disagree in their reasons for believing p, but still both believe p; a higher-order issue is if they disagree "on reasons" (pg69-70). This kicks off a lengthy discussion on reason-giving and self-evidence (pg70-2), where author leaves room-- especially in philosophy-- for congruence on low-level intuition but not on higher-level disagreements on reasons. This discussion intends to leave self-evidence in tact despite rational disagreement. With self-evidence moderately salvaged, intuitionism in ethics is not "significantly worse off than any other major view in moral philosophy" (pg72).

Author goes on to talk about how intuitions could be data for moral reasoning similar to how perceptions are in epistemic contexts (pg73-4), but a crucial difference is that intuitions can be reviewed later and the propositions they are about can be affirmed or denied. As such, intuitions are good cases for being data in the work of moral philosophy.


Kolodny, Niko - That I should Die and Others Live


Comments to Death and the Afterlife, by Samuel Scheffler, Oxford University Press, 2013

Author starts with two assumptions from Scheffler and then goes on to discuss the conclusions from them. Author focuses on the first assumption, mainly that:
A. Humans fear death not only because it deprives them of future goods, but also because it "extinguishes" them, making them, individually, extinct.
The problem is that Scheffler also believes that if humans never died, they would be unable to live value-laden lives and therefore fear something (death) about which the alternative isn't valuable. Author elaborates that the fear of extinction (the second reason) can't be an egoistic reason, like the fear of deprivation of future goods is (pg160). Hence, the fear of extinction isn't egoistical, or, rather, there isn't an egoistic reason to avoid extinction (not death, but the element of death that is extinction of the person). Trouble arises if there is a further assumption (by author), that:
I. If something would be in some way bad for one, then one has egoistic reason to avoid it.
The trouble here is that it brings the egoistic fear back into fearing something (extinction) that is not egoistically troubling, something author calls "J" (pg161). The discussion continues through Lucretius, who claims that because the pre-birth conditions of a human aren't troubling for said human, its post-mortem conditions should also be un-troubling. If this is the case, based on the principle of not fearing Y (in the future) if a similar X (in the past) wasn't feared, then Scheffler has a weird conclusion that we should not fear bad futures that are relevantly similar to bad pasts (pg162-3).

The second part of the paper involves the claim from Scheffler that the human wish for immortality is conceptually incoherent because it would destroy their value-laden lives. Author replies that even conceptual incoherence doesn't mean we can't wish for it, or regret that we can't have it (pg164-5). Or, perhaps, humans can at least continually wish for life to last just a bit longer, not necessarily 'forever'. But what is the case to be made that eternal life would be value-less? Author examines Scheffler's three main reasons:

1. Life must involve stages to be valuable. Answer: there can be an infinite number of stages
2. That life must have the risk of loss, injury, and danger to be valuable. Answer: those can still exist even with immortality, or perhaps they would be worse.
3. Temporal scarcity is a necessary condition for valuing. Answer: Scarcity, perhaps. But there are other kinds of scarcity than temporal.
At best, Scheffler's arguments might show that immortal beings wouldn't necessarily have human values (pg168-9).

 Lastly, author discusses Scheffler's claims about the limits of egoism. Author believes, contrary to Scheffler, that humans are indeed motivated to see the survival of humanity over their own individual survivals (pg170-1). Author, however, needs to give a special definition of "motivation" where "we would (sincerely, and without needing special argument) see ourselves as having stronger reasons to choose it if given the opportunity." (pg172) In other words, not that a human could make the choice, but that a human would honestly see it as the better one from a rational perspective. Lastly, author suggests that perhaps the concern for the afterlife is, at bottom, egoistic.


Shiffrin, Seana Valentine - Preserving the Valued or Preserving Valuing?


Comments to Death and the Afterlife, by Samuel Scheffler, Oxford University Press, 2013

Author generally agrees with Scheffler's afterlife conjecture in how it gives an non-experientialist account of value and how humans have a limited egoistic self-conception that is deeply social Author wants to explore the conceptual connection between valuing something and wanting it sustained, and also the supposed human "interest in being a part of human history" (pg144).

Author starts with the "conservatism thesis" about preserving what we care about. Author posits that the dismay over losing an afterlife (doomsday) is not the destruction of valuable projects, but the general loss of the human practice of "acting on reasons and of valuing" (pg145). Author plays with the thought that a simple interpretation of the conservatism thesis is not correct, since some valuable things need to end, including our own lives (pg145-6). Thus a more nuanced understanding might be necessary, particularly around understanding the conservation of value as not necessarily temporal (pg147-8), or perhaps that values can change (pg149). The theme of changing values over time is what offers the separation between the conservatism thesis and an explanation for the despair over doomsday: while losing past values to present or future ones can be difficult, it isn't the loss of those values that is dispiriting; instead the problem of doomsday is that valuable things will go away "for no reason or for bad reasons" (pg151), which is an alternative explanation to the despair over doomsday (pg151-4).

The second portion of the paper talks about the value of being in a human history, or, perhaps, just in a history of rational value. If a different species came after humans and they were rational and had values, and "appreciated what we valued and why" (pg155), this seems less troubling to author than doomsday, even if humans were all to die out. Author also describes and explores an asymmetry over humans not being troubled about the lack of value pre-human species, but troubled by the same lack post-human existence (doomsday) (pg156-7). Author uses an example of being created by aliens very recently (but they leave evidence that we had a past, which we eventually discover was false). This example is meant to show that while discovering humans didn't have a rich history is unsettling, it isn't nearly as bad as discovering they don't have a future.   


Frankfurt, Harry - How the Afterlife Matters


Comments to Death and the Afterlife, by Samuel Scheffler, Oxford University Press, 2013

Author starts by complimenting Scheffler on an original philosophical thesis, but does not believe that Schffler got the role the afterlife plays "quite right". Firstly, author argues that there are many things that matter to us that are not predicated on an afterlife: Scheffler mentions pleasure, comfort, relief from pain, author adds music and friendship to that list and continues to argue that Scheffler underestimates what we might value independently of an afterlife (pg133-4). Here author argues that the activity, and the conclusion of it, might be worthy pursuits even if there is no future benefit: for instance doing research and trying to find a cure could be worth doing "happily", even though the product may benefit no future person. Author argues that what we might lose is that element of value that is future-oriented, although that might be a good thing, since it would allow us to focus on what value was "intrinsic" rather than instrumental (to a future) (pg135). With this argument, author casts the afterlife as an instrumental value, where future people would benefit (intrinsically) from present work.

The next discussion is speculation about how what we value might change if we had no contemporaries (not future-people, but present people). The idea here is that much of what we care about loses importance when the social element is removed, author concludes that what matters to us "is that there be other people, who are in some way aware of us-- whether those people exist at some point in the future or they exist right now." (pg137). While author grants is that there is a limit to individualism, but he also argues that this does not necessarily limit egoism by implying altruism, or caring about others for their own sake (pg137-8). The extended point is that we care about future humans that share our values, or perhaps if not share them entirely, will appreciate the work done in the past by us for them. Why do we care about this? Author suggests there is an evolutionary reason. Ultimately, author seeks to minimize the significance of Scheffler's conclusion that the elimination of a collective afterlife would diminish our values, much as the elimination of a personal afterlife did not. Lastly, author discusses two elements of Scheffler's work: (1) that it is primarily empirical, resting on conclusions from thought experiments that could be different given data, and (2) that Scheffler's definition of value as being partially believed to be valuable simpliciter, is mistaken. Here he has a quick interesting discussion in what "valuing something" consists (pg140-1).

Wolf, Susan - The Significance of Doomsday


Comments to Death and the Afterlife, by Samuel Scheffler, Oxford University Press, 2013

Author starts by acknowledging that "our confidence in the continuation of the human race plays an enormous... role in the way we conceive of our activities and understand their value." (pg113) However, author rightly takes a rather humble approach to 'how we would react' under the doomsday scenario, though also admitting she cannot divest how we should act from how we would (pg114-5). More interestingly, author claims that even rampant hedonists (Mike Tyson or Donald Trump) might easily lose interest in their activities and pursuits, though this could possibly be due instead to the social nature of value (pg116-8).

One obvious point is that when facts about the relevance of goals change, those goals are subject to being re-evaluated (pg118), which Scheffler wants to discount as a suitable explanation to the doomsday scenario. Author argues that it seems unlikely, though possible, that artists and scholars would discontinue their work: after all, many just aspire to make some small contribution to the current generation, without considering the afterlife (pg119-120). Author does spend some time questioning Sheffler's conclusions about the drain of meaning in the doomsday scenario (pg120-2), arguing that the care and comfort of others would not cease to be meaningful. Author shares Sheffler's belief, however, that people in the doomsday scenario would not be happy; the difference is that author does think people would have meaningful lives (pg122-3).

Author revisits the Alvey Singer example, the youngster who claims that homework is unimportant since the universe will explode and destroy humanity one day. The certainty of distant doomsday seems not to be the same as the certainty of immanent doomsday, which is a troubling asymmetry for Scheffler because author believes humans are rational (pg125-6). The commentary ends with author reminding us that the belief in an afterlife should give us renewed vigor to care about the future.


Brink, David - Principles and Intuitions in Ethics: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives


Ethics, Vol 124 No 4 (July 2014)

This paper sets out to revisit the contrast between Mill's moral naturalism and Sidgwick's Intuitionism from the 19th century and see how today's Intuitionism is more akin to Mill's naturalism. Author fist reviews the various historical -isms:
-Intuitionism: 19th and 20th century position that moral knowledge rests on precepts that are self-evident after proper reflection (pg666). Except for Sidgwick, mostof them had deontologist/teleological values.
-Naturalism, in contrast, is harder to define. Author takes an extended discussion about utilitarianism as, in Mill's case, the standard for right conduct, even if it isn't always a guide for action (pg667-8). The guides to action, at least according to Mill, can be "Secondary principles" such as honesty, fidelity, fairness. They may seem instrumental, but author argues Mill saw them as more important than that. These sorts of principles can be established when 1) following them generally leads to optimal results and 2) it can't be reliably determined when following the rule would lead to sub-optimal results (pg668).
When discussing the contrast between Naturalism and Intuitionism, author uses Sidgwick's tripartite discussion of moral judgment: particular actions (perceptual), action types (dogmatic), and, finally principles (philosophical) (pg669-70); Mill focuses on and rejects perceptual and dogmatic. Mill's critique is rooted in denying innate or infallible judgments to moral knowledge: the (dogmatic) acceptance of action types is rooted in their heretofore "acceptance value", which is actually justified by past utility (pg670-1). Mill's strategy here is to subsume intuitionist deontology or values into mid-level moral action types, which then get final justification from the first principle of utility (pg670-1,674). Finally, a general outline of Naturalist moral principles are: fallible, brought out by dialectically, and empirical a posteriori (pg671).
Sidgwick criticizes both perceptual and dogmatic forms of Intuitionism, but ultimately accepts philosophical Intuitionism, claiming that first principles are objects of genuine intuition (pg671-2). So the debate among Sidgwick and Mill comes down to whether first principles are matters of intuition (self-evidential, axiomatic) or some other way of knowing. Author replies that if the first principles are axiomatic, how could one decide which principles to adopt? The possible Naturalistic reply would be: adopt the principles that seem to account for (justify) more type and token moral judgments (pg673-5). This is considered "bottom-up epistemic justification" of "top-down metaphysical dependence"; Sidgwick and Mill both agree that utilitarianism gives the best "fit" for common sense morality. 
Author moves on to the more modern day, and claims that the "contemporary heir" to Mill's naturalism about first principles is Rawls' method of reflective equilibrium. Author does not want the considered judgments, when reached during reflective equilibrium, to be considered rational intuitions because they are not innate or infallible (pg676-7). However, Rawls believes the best "fit" is his theory of justice, not utilitarianism. However, the naturalist quest for "fit" of philosophical principles can get complicated by the scope of the project. Should the principles pass a "publicity test", or be psychologically real, or fit with human nature? (pg678-9). Here, author discusses various biases that can enter into the moral judgment and discusses the difficulties with a "broad equilibrium" (pg680).
The next discussion seeks to distinguish the fitting of moral intuitions using Naturalism from Rational Intuitionist commitments. For this, author claims "it might be instructive to look at strands in recent empirical moral psychology". The idea here is that experimental work on moral intuitions uncovers a variety of biases and outcomes that cannot wholeheartedly underwrite moral principles. Instead, author argues, intuitions will have to be taken to be defeasible, or fallible, which will make a new Intuitionism look more like Naturalism. Author discusses Cass Sunstein's use of moral heuristics which are prone to error in tough cases, Jonathan Haidt's empirical work about supposed recalcitrant intuitions, and Kahneman & Tversky's work with the effects of framing on moral questions (pg681-691).


Aune, Bruce - On An Argument by Castañeda


Unpublished Paper

This is a short paper that argues that Hector-Neri Castañeda's discussion of the sentence:

(1) The Editor of Soul believes that he (himself) is a millionaire.

is not revealing groundbreaking philosophical territory. In particular, Castañeda argues that this "indirect reflexive pronoun" (the "he"), is special because it refers using the first-person. Author first argues that (1) is not a sentence where the speaker is the same person as the subject, since nobody uses "he" to refer to oneself when speaking in the first person.

But perhaps the import of the sentence can be salvaged by claiming, as Gary Matthews did, that it picks out a referent without using either a name or a definite description (using instead, perhaps, a 'first personal' indexical). Author argues that (1) does not give any information as to how the subject of the sentence is being picked out. While some might use the "I" to pick themselves out with an unerring first-personal reference, others might use a favorite definite description or proper name, author argues. It is a contingent matter, not a priori. Further, not every use of the "I" relies on this special first-personal "from my own point of view", author argues. Consider: "Tom said I look sad"; here the "I" is being attached to a predicate "looks sad" by Tom, not by the first person. So the "I" in this case, while it unerringly refers, it does not seem to have any special first-personal connection to the speaker.

Perhaps Castañeda was trying to use (1) to underwrite what makes a speaker a person, but author proposes other criteria: humans are language-using animals that
(a) perceive from a certain vantage point
(b) identify their own attitudes and those of others
(c) alter both their environs and themselves to suit (within limits) their "wants"
These features of language-using animals, not any special "I" usage, is sufficient for personhood.

Finally, author closes with a discussion of whether a so-called 'personal point of view' contrasts with a scientific one, offered by Nagle as impersonal and "from nowhere in particular". Author argues that general relativity specifically and most scientific language uses specific reference points when talking about the external world and its objects, and that "Properly understood, a scientific view of the world must, in fact, be regarded as thoroughly perspectival".



Smith, Malcolm - The Duty to Obey the Law


A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, 2nd edition, Dennis Patterson ed.

This paper revisits previous discussions about the moral duty to obey a community or society's laws. Author starts with a brief history on the subject and makes the case that the disagreement over the duty to obey comes from differences in meta-ethical approaches.

The history of a prima facie duty to obey the law came with the development of the prima facie moral obligation, as pioneered by WD Ross. Ross's meta-ethics was a form of intuitionism, a theory that holds that humanity had a moral faculty and that exploration and elucidation of the judgments it issues would turn up moral values. The trouble is that Sidgwick had forcefully argued that no moral value didn't admit of exception. Thus Ross tried to formulate a "prima facie" moral value: one that "all things being equal" has moral authority, but could be overridden by some other compelling principles or circumstances. Ross put things like promise keeping, beneficence, and, without much argument, obeying the law, into the prima facie category. Later, other intuitionists rejected the duty to obey as even a prima facie obligation (pg459), arguing that:
1. law may have authority, but that doesn't necessarily compel a duty to obey
2. the thought that all of society's participants took some sort of oath of duty is a fiction 
3. the law is not always coextensive with moral obligations
4. the obligation to obey moral laws is redundant due to the obligation obey morality

Author believes that the state of play is that few intuitionists still try to find a prima facie duty to obey, but instead those who argue for it are not intuitionists. Instead, they are "catechists", trying to formulate moral principles that, if followed, would be the best for humanity (pg460). Author discusses a prototypical example of the work of John Mackie in "Ethics: Inventing a Right and Wrong". Mackie does not believe in objective morality but instead goes about making a set of moral principles that he argues will contribute to human flourishing. Using this meta-ethical stance, Mackie argues that the duty to obey the law is a "reciprocal norm" (pg461).

Author considers the intuitionist moral theory to be a species of a meta-ethical view of "Commonalism", which argues, loosely: (pg463)
1. Moral intuitions are the source of moral authority, but need to be clarified and de-personalized
2. Moral knowledge is universal or near-universal
3. The work of moral theorists is to describe moral judgment, not to invent it

The trouble with the duty to obey is that it shows the conflict between Commonalists and Catechists in the meta-ethical sphere. Author promises to argue against the Catechist method in further work, but briefly points out that the Catechist method departs significantly from other philosophies, which mostly seek to describe, not prescribe (pg464-5). 


Wisdom, John - Other Minds V


Other Minds, by John Wisdom, Chapter 5: Basil Blackwell (pub), 1965

[This is a brief summary]

In this chapter, which is thoroughly set in the context of the previous ones, White asserts that it is in principle, that is either logically or metaphysically, impossible to know another mind. This seems to be agreement with Black, the skeptic, but instead it is taken to be a pointless statement. White (and Wisdom) believe it isn't meaningless, but it is silly, or having no point to talk about. The paper starts with re-hashing the lesson from the failed attempt at telepathy from the last chapter: that even if a question has sense, and even if you can even describe what would affirm or negate the proposition, if you can't figure out a way to test (affirm/negate) the proposition, the question might still be "unreal" (pg123). Hence Gray's claim that the mind of another is hitherto invisible but could be discoverable is taken to be refuted.

The alternative to something so-far invisible is something invisible by nature, or in principle, which is what Black asserted in the first place. (pg123-4) Before White takes up this possibility, one final option is considered: that knowledge of another mind wouldn't be sensory but somehow some kind of "direct" knowledge (pg124-5). White rejects this because he sees it as not categorically different from "knowledge of future behavior from present behavior" (pg125-9) White somehow takes sharing direct knowledge of one mind to be on the same continuum as seeing a physical object, like a dagger (pg126). And this is disqualified from knowledge of a mind, due to White's "disinclination" (pg126-7). Or, rather, White puts words into Black's mouth that this isn't really knowledge of another's mind (pg127) since it is akin to predictions of future behavior due to shared (public) inputs (and Black affirms it on pg129). Thus if there isn't sensory knowledge of another's mind (ch IV) and there isn't direct knowledge of another's mind (ch V), then knowledge of another's mind is in-principle impossible, or the mind of another is by-nature invisible.

The main thrust of the argument is put by the thing-in-itself advocate Brown, who interrupts to assert there is some special way of knowing, but not of actual mental conditions but only of appearances of them: the infallible and direct way of knowing is knowledge of appearances, not necessarily of mental facts. Mental facts like "being in love" are known indirectly as well, though the first-personal perspective has a source of information that the 3rd-personal perspective may not share. White goes through what he considers to be the many cases of indirect knowledge (pg130-1), and then Gray challenges Brown to lay out his argument, which Brown does (pg133-5). What Brown amounts to saying is thus: our knowledge of our own minds comes from direct, infallible access to content-ful appearances [a pain, footly!], which leads us to indirect belief about our bodies [My foot nerves are twitching in pain], which can of course be fallible [it was a pain, but it wasn't in the foot].

Having laid out this picture, Brown claims that direct knowledge of the appearances of another's mental contents is possible (perhaps using telepathy). White asserts that it is an "absurd idea" (pg135), and that knowledge of another mind is impossible. This apparent agreement with Black confuses Gray, but White goes on to argue that it is necessarily impossible, thus far less threatening than it originally appeared (pg135-6). Black confesses that he did not realize that his statement was necessarily true when he made it, but nevertheless he was referring to what he now acknowledges is a necessary truth (pg136-9). White sums up the argument, put by Brown, but put back into an absurdity or a paradox, by claiming that knowledge, if taken to be of the sort that Brown (and, by extension, Black) think it is, is not applicable to not only other minds, but not applicable to the future, the past, even our own bodies, and, perhaps, finally, the whole world of things (pg140).


Wisdom, John - Other Minds IV


Other Minds, by John Wisdom, Chapter 4: Basil Blackwell (pub), 1965

[This is a brief summary]

This chapter is a continuation from the previous conversation that has been taking place between three fictitious personas, each with their own perspective on knowledge of other minds. In this chapter another character, Brown, who appears to believe in "noumenal bread"(pg102) is briefly introduced, however much of this chapter is a re-description and refinement of what was previously laid out. After some preliminary recap, Gray argues that there is a difference in knowledge-by-inference between an acknowledged, in-principle invisible germ and one that is sought but "hitherto" undetectable given our current methods (pg91). This is meant to be an analogy for mental states, which aren't, Gray says, "defined as detectable though their effects" (pg91). This leaves open the possibility of future discovery of mental states, directly somehow.

Brown briefly interjects that even if there is no more to be done to ascertain whether S is P, isn't there still a further question about whether S really is P? Here it seems the other three disagree (mainly Gray, and to some extent Black) and there is an interlude about the meaninglessness of asking whether S is P after all that is logically and conceivably be done to ascertain the relation has been exhausted. (pg91-5) The upshot of this discussion is Black revealing his view of philosophy (pg93-4) and White his (pg95-6). Black believes that there is no fine line between physical possibility, logical possibility, and conceiveability; White calls the further questioning from Brown "unpoetic" and "intolerable", though meaningful (pg97-101).   

White picks up on the difficulty of understanding differences in beliefs without differences in expectations (pg100-1). [I see an analogy between these comments and some (I think mistaken) formulations of Goodman's Grue problem, see pg100] Subsequently, White offers an initial possibility of directly discovering Smith's mental states, using some kind of new technology, or telepathy (pg 103). The trouble here is that it is unclear this is actually possible and not a kind of regress of indirect knowledge, as White explores (pg103-109).

Black rejects the possibility of a regress but still asserts that knowledge of another mind "directly" would not be sensory but instead be a kind of extended introspection, similar to a heightened ability (but unfortunately picks another sensory ability as an analogy: someone with a heightened sense of touch being able to detect differences in weights between feathers that no one else can detect (pg109-10). This kicks off a discussion about how one would know that this extra-sensory power was reliable and so on (pg110-116), which comes back to the issue that Brown initially posed, of there being something to "weight" that is further than how things react on scales, and feel by comparison, etc (pg115). White decries this absurd result and lists the steps which got them there (pg116). Black takes back his analogy on pg 122 but insists on a difference between introspection and sensation relating to other minds.


Wisdom, John - Other Minds III


Other Minds, by John Wisdom, Chapter 3: Basil Blackwell (pub), 1965

[This is a brief summary]

 In this chapter, a continuation from the dialogue from the previous chapter, a new character, "Grey" is introduced. Grey wants to convince White that Black's skeptical position is not warranted, nor is the externalistic meaning of "S believes that P" exhausts it. Grey tries to tell White that we know what is in other minds by analogy to our own, similar to how we know by analogy about other in-principle invisible phenomena. Grey uses the example of germs, which are known to be causes of many maladies. If the measles fit all the criteria for a germ-based disease but, upon inspection, no germs were to be found, Grey argues that we could still reasonably believe the disease was caused by germs, just invisible ones. This is the analogy Grey tries to give to White regarding mental states and other minds.

White complains early (pg62) that there are three replies to the problems of induction, or the "step" taken from evidence of P to asserting Q: Skeptic: 'don't take the step', Phenomenalist: 'there is no step to take, don't worry', Intuitionist: 'there is another mode of knowing that Q from P; it's ok'. White argues that merely stating: 'we know Q from P, but we can't justify it' is not an answer, but merely restates the problem.

After Grey gives his analogy of the invisible germ case, White talks at length of the 'queerness' (pg72) of the analogy argument: that while we might agree that our knowledge is by analogy, it is a weird sort of analogy since it relies on "the peculiar grammar of the expression of 'invisible things'" (pg72-3). The knowledge by analogy argument, White claims, is "satisfying" (pg74) and "soothing" (pg79) but not a justification since the satisfaction is "unstable" (pg74). The instability comes as follows: looking for the visible germs in a measles patient seems to be the right thing to do using the argument by analogy: measles is germ-caused. But, after no germs are found, to say it is in-principle invisible germs is to go a further step-- to move the goal posts-- to change the analogy (pg74-8).

White agrees that perhaps it is somehow "correct" to use analogy to argue for other minds, but there is something "misleading or tiresome" (pg75) about it. White tries to summarize the way the argument by analogy fails on pg 80-81, by claiming that using normal inductive reasoning to answer skeptical arguments either allows for unintelligible or false premises, or just builds into the grammar a "logical principle" that would not take the form of induction (pg81). Later in the chapter, White argues that Grey is close to simply re-stating the initial conditions that are taken to give evidence, in other words, collapsing the meaning of "will be colorblind" to "will fail the relevant tests" (pg83-5). Grey ends the chapter by trying to salvage the argument by analogy by saying the measles/invisible germs analogy wasn't apt.


Wisdom, John - Other Minds II


Other Minds, by John Wisdom, Chapter 2: Basil Blackwell (pub), 1965

[This is a brief summary]

This chapter (which was also a paper in Mind Vol 50 No 197), is a continuation of the previous chapter which introduced the skepticism about other minds. In this chapter, author writes a dialogue between the skeptic "Black", who asserts the unknowability of another's mind/conscious-states, and the person who apparently wrote the first chapter, "White", who represents the view that such a question is a joke, or absurd.

In this chapter, Black ultimately gets to make the point that when Smith finds out he will go colorblind tomorrow, it means more to Smith than it will to the rest of us. Not only does it mean that Smith will fail the relevant discriminatory tests and so on (what it means to us), but Smith will also not be able to see e.g. red the same way: it will look grey to him. "'No more of this, only this' and he looks at a colorless engraving" (pg51). This is the crux of the difference that Black tries to get White to admit. The difference between understanding this (or any) description about mental states and other descriptions about invisible things (like leprechauns in watches or electric currents in copper wires) is that of different meaning on the subjective level, a meaning we readily understand since we know that we ourselves have qualia. [Yet don't we grant that Smith also has qualia if the statement that he'll be colorblind means anything extra to him too?]


Wisdom, John - Other Minds I


Other Minds, by John Wisdom, Chapter 1: Basil Blackwell (pub), 1965

[This is a brief summary]

While this is the first chapter of a book, each unit was also published in Mind sequentially starting from Vol 49, No 196 (which is where this chapter appeared). This paper starts with the problem of other minds, taking as a starting point a concern from Isaiah Berlin about two kinds of questions one could apply to whether S believes that P. The first is whether S really believes that P. The second is whether S really truly believes P (or anything else), even given outward signs of believing P. This second interest, one dubbed "philosophical doubt" is discussed at length by author. Author acknowledges influence from Wittgenstein, and proceeds to discuss the weirdness of skepticism of the following kind: I know that S shows all signs of believing P, and that there are no further tests we could conduct to determine whether S believes P, but still I doubt or wonder whether S has a belief that P (or any belief at all). Author considers this kind of doubt not meaningless, but a "dead doubt" (pg7).

During this paper, author introduces what he considers an analog to consider: that there are leprechauns in some grandfather clocks that sing fairy songs and disappear on midsummer evenings. Upon opening such clocks, leprechauns are discovered. Now imagine some watches also behave similarly, but when opened, reveal no leprechauns. In this circumstance it seems reasonable to claim there are invisible leprechauns within the watches, even though the operator "invisible" would otherwise signal a weird kind of assertion. An expansion of the analogy is whether there is a difference asserted that instead of invisible leprechauns, there are invisible brownies within the watches. Is this difference in assertions meaningful? Author seems to want to agree that two different images can be conjured. But, that doesn't mean the difference, or the assertion of a difference, isn't "idle" (pg13).


Mankiw, Nicholas Gregory - Defending the One Percent


Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol 27 No 3 Summer 2013

This paper starts with the author admitting that the question of what to do about income inequality is tangled up in political philosophy, which is outside the expertise of economists; nevertheless author will engage in it. The opening uses an abstract thought-experiment where a society had perfect income equality, but then an entrepreneur came along to make/sell something that everybody wanted, thereby generating new wealth for herself. This is supposed to "capture, in an extreme and stylized way" (pg22) the US for the past 40 years.

The first major section of the paper asks whether income inequality is somehow inefficient. Author believes that this could be possible if earnings from the top were based on "rent-seeking", but does not believe this is the case. Author does not agree with Stiglitz's argument in The Price of Inequality that rent-seeking is any more prevalent now than it was in the 1970s, though income inequality has risen significantly since then. Author instead uses Goldin & Katz in The Race between Education and Technology to argue that income inequality is due to the stagnation of education while a steady or increasing pace of technology placed a higher premium on skilled labor (pg23). Author does agree that rent-seeking should be limited or reduced if found, though argues that income inequality would be the symptom, not the disease in this case. Author also concedes that the financial industry, while it has a very important role to play in allocating capital and risk, also has socially questionable, unhelpful, or inefficient roles within it (e.g. high frequency trading). In this case, the judgment is that "the vast personal reward may well exceed the social value of what is produced" (pg24).

Continuing on the theme of inequality, author turns to the goal of equality of opportunity. This goal is seen not only as a counterpart to efficiency (unequal opportunity will lead to inefficiency), but also a valuable goal in itself. Stiglitz proposes "intergenerational transmission of income", meaning the same chance that a poor or wealthy child will make it to the top 10% of income earners. Author believes this metric is too simplistic. Author argues that the metric doesn't capture heredity, which likely influences success in life; author concludes from studies that IQ "has a large degree of heritability" (pg25), and so might other character traits and skills. Regardless, author suggests that it is best to focus on raising poor children from bad conditions. Author concludes from personal experience that the opportunities for the children of the 1% are similar to those of the middle class. Setting aside the needed investment in poor children and skilled education, then, is there more to dislike about income inequality? Author then considers it as a negative element of a society in and of itself (pg26).

Author reconstructs the outline of the Okun discussion about the "big tradeoff" between equality and efficiency, and uses Mirless' model for the calculus. In essence, income is a product of effort and productivity, and the government, as social planner with utilitarian goals, skims income using a "leaky bucket" until the effort of the productive income-earners declines to a certain point (pg26-7). This is called the "elasticity of the labor supply" (pg27). Author first doubts this model because "people have different tastes regarding consumption, leisure, and job attributes" (pg27), and uses the example of economics professors that could have taken higher-paying jobs instead. The next section deals with a more profound attack on this model, questioning the government's motivations in acting as a utilitarian social planner. The first point is that there is no interpersonal way to compare utility (yet/at all), and is a common point against utilitarianism. The second point is that utilitarianism is cosmopolitan, not national, though the government doesn't act in such a way to help all people across all nations (pg28). Another argument author has previously leveled, and repeats here, is that if there are character traits that correlate with productivity, those could reasonably be taxed as well. Thus the absurd conclusion that there might well be a utilitarian basis for taxing tall people, men, or other classes of people who have correlations with productivity or success. The final argument seems to grant the Mirless model and even give it the power to observe productivity directly, instead of just observing its product, income = productivity x effort. If one could observe productivity directly, then that could be taxed in itself to equalize consumption, but then, author argues, the most productive would have to work more than everyone else (pg29). This counter-intuitive conclusion is another reductio ad absurdum against utilitarianism.

Author turns to examine the actual arguments made recently by populist movements like Occupy Wall Street and some other books and policy proposals on income inequality. The first is that the tax code isn't progressive. Author: CBO numbers say that it is progressive, "highly" (pg30). The second is that the income that the 1% derive do not reflect their contributions to society, taking CEO pay for an example of cronyism. Author: Given that private equity firms pay CEOs even more than publicly held companies, the charge of cronyism is unlikely. Third: The 1% have benefited from public investment and infrastructure, which they should pay for. Author: this isn't an ability-to-pay argument, it's a get-what-you-pay-for argument, and it seems plausible that the 1% is paying enough; also most taxes go to other individuals, not better infrastructure.

Author concludes with arguing there is a need for an alternative philosophical framework to utilitarianism. Author considers Rawls' original position, but claims it is unintuitive because of the possibility of sacrifices that individuals (now no longer behind the veil of ignorance) would want to make (pg32). As an example, since kidney diseases mean sick people might need donors, it might make sense, while behind the veil of ignorance, to pledge your kidney in return for the assurance that if you got the disease yourself, you would receive one. But no one would want to have their kidney taken against their will, so author argues this undercuts Rawls' theory. Author proposes a "just deserts" theory, which seems to be: everyone gets income based on their productivity and effort (pg32-3).


Turing, Alan - Computing Machinery and Intelligence


Mind, Vol 54 No 236, Oct 1950

This paper examines the question of whether machines can think. Since it was written when "machines" was still a broad term that could refer equally to a type-writer or an electronic computer, much of the work of the paper is clarifying, and exploring, what kind of machine could fit the bill for being able to learn, and, perhaps, think. Author works on re-phrasing the question to whether a machine (from here on, also "computer") can succeed at the "imitation game" as well as a man could. Here is the baseline game:
Interrogator (C) uses (probably) a keyboard and monitor to communicate with a separate, isolated, man (A), and a woman (B). Both A and B are trying to convince C that each is a woman. In other words, the man is trying to trick C into believing he is a woman. At some point, C makes the assessment on the gender of A and B. It is expected that C will have some degree of success at this.
Author's argument is that if a computer can take A's place and trick C as much of the time as A can, then a computer has played the imitation game as well as a man could, and thus was doing whatever a man was doing just as well. What is interesting is that author spends only a little time discussing the appropriateness of using this kind of game as an alternative to the "can machines think" question (pg435).

After discussing what kind of machine is envisioned (pg435-442), author considers objections (pg443-454):
1. The Theological objection: only humans with souls can think. Response: we're just making another vessel for a soul.
2. The 'Heads in the Sand' objection: if computers thought, humans would not be as special. Response: maybe so but it's possible, no?
3. The Mathematical objection: there are limits to the computing power of machines, cf Godel's proof. Response: and there aren't limits to the computing power of humans?
4. The Argument from Consciousness: thinking is part of understanding, which is part of consciousness, which machines do not have. Response: unless you're charitable, nobody else but you has consciousness. Thus, why not also be charitable about a machine that does what you can do equally well?
5. Arguments from Various Disabilities: machines can't do so many things that humans can do. Response: computers are getting better and much, and furthermore, arguments from disabilities don't hold up when comparing humans to each other. There is an interesting discussion on what kinds of mistakes computers can make (pg448-9) in this section. Author uses a distinction between "errors of functioning" and "errors of conclusion". You can program errors of functioning, but you may want to take that frailty away from computers to the extent possible. However, there is nothing that says a computer can't (and won't, often) make an error of conclusion, e.g. come up with the wrong answer through a flawless method. Author uses the example of inductive reasoning getting an outcome wrong even when used perfectly.
6. Lady Lovelace's Objection: machines do not have learning and cannot come up with anything new. Response: yes, but it isn't hard to see how they will be able to, someday. Furthermore, is novelty the mark of thinking? If so, even humans might not think very much.
7. Argument from Continuity in the Nervous System: the nervous system and a computer are too different, fundamentally. Response: this should not affect the imitation game, or the validity of conclusions, no matter which medium they were reasoned from.
8. The Argument from Informality of Behavior: there is no good way to possibly index all the appropriate behaviors for every situation for a computer, and since humans know the appropriate behaviors for every situation, humans cannot be the same as computers. Response: a computer can know what to do if given the right education and programming. There is also an interesting discussion on the difference between "rules of conduct" and "laws of behavior" here (pg452).
9. The Argument from Extra-Sensory Perception: humans have ESP. Response: since this may be true, to restrict the experiment to a "telepathy-proof room".

The remainder of the paper largely deals with what it would be like (theoretically) to create a learning computer. There includes an interesting discussion (pg454-5) about how the "real mind" is elusive, using a metaphor of the "skin of an onion".


Proudfoot, Diane - Rethinking Turning's Test


The Journal of Philosophy, Vol 110 No 7, July 2013

Author starts by reviewing the history of Alan Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" paper in Mind. The central question is whether a computer could "be said to think", but it was replaced with the question: "are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game". For Turing, the criterion for thinking morphed into what could be taken for an imitation of human activity, and author sets to give a fresh interpretation of the test as a "response-dependence" approach (pg393).

First author reviews the "canonical" view, which employs behaviorism as the criterion: if the machine behaves as a thinking creature would in a given context, it is thinking. Author argues that Turing did not mean to give even sufficient (let alone necessary) conditions for thinking using behaviorism. The interrogator's (the human's) response to the behavior is a necessary part to success in the imitation game. Turing used a different game, one of a man trying to fool an interrogator into believing he was a woman, as the benchmark for how well a computer could fool an interrogator into believing it was thinking. Author discusses how puzzling this emphasis on the interrogator's response is for behaviorists. Instead of writing off this crucial element as misguided, author suggests that the behavoristic interpretation is what is misguided.

The new interpretation author puts forward starts with Turing considering the "idea of 'intelligence'" (pg396) as an "emotional" one, but meaning specifically that we apply the label "intelligent" partly due to our own mental state and perspective; it is response-dependent (pg397). The trick now is to indicate what kinds of subjects and what kinds of conditions are "normal" to elicit the prototypical response, which was Turing's point with the imitation game (pg398). Author argues that common objections to Turing's thesis is that it fails to capture response-independent notions of intelligence miss the point (pg399).

Author reviews an objection to Turing's test, first from Ned Block's "Aunt Bubbles" thought experiment (pg400-2). Block's thought experiment points out the logical possibility of a (very) large index of conversations, which would emulate intelligence if there was an (impossibly) fast search and probability mechanism. Author responds by putting the operator "actually" into the Turing schema.  

Next discussed are rival views to the behavioristic one; the first is Moor's response-independent view (pg402-3). Moor wants the test to be evidence for thinking, which would be internal to the mechanism. Stuart Shieber argues that the test is an "interactive proof" of intelligence. Author also believes this view misses the response-dependence of the test (pg404).  

Author talks about how response-dependence doesn't need to undermine objectivity, or that it is compatible with "qualified" realism (pg405). Author then talks about more the more recent understanding that "intelligence is in the eye of the observer", a form of (perhaps) illusionism, with comments on the Chinese Room from Jordan Pollack. Further discussion is about a problem with response-dependent concepts: that humans anthropomorphize (just about anything) (pg407-8) "the forensic problem of anthropomorphism". Author believes the Turing test has a two-part solution to this: (1) create a situation where there is a disincentive to anthropomorphize (the judge's accuracy would decline), and (2) making anthropomorphism into a controlled variable (pg409).



Lovejoy, Arthur - Plentitude and Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza


The Great Chain Of Being, Ch 5 Harvard University Press, 1936

Author sets out to discuss the relationship between Leibniz's principle of plenitude and his principle of sufficient reason, and whether Leibniz can avoid "absolute logical determinism" that characterizes Spinoza. Author starts by reminding us of Leibniz's writings on the 'single chain' of 'natural beings', that is a gradation and not strict species and genus divisions (pg145). The discussion moves to the principle of sufficient reason, and an inspection of the various (imprecise) formulations of it that Leibniz uses. Author argues that Leibniz's primary motivation is not to justify the particulars of the universe as "goods" but merely as non-arbitrary (pg146-8). Most thinkers of the time held a division between concepts (roughly, Platonic ideas) and objects, with concepts being maintained (for Leibniz) in the mind of God: it was here where ultimate reasons for existence "were to be sought" (pg147-8). The strategy here was to combine the two realms into one, and to add to the realm of objects the reason for their existence, in which case their existence would be self-justifying (pg148-9).

Author explores the thinking of the time relating to the origin of the universe and the "first cause", which must have been internal to itself and independent of other causes, in a word, God (pg149-151). The next question, answered in the affirmative by Spinoza, is whether only God's existence is justified, or whether such justification extends to all objects (pg151-3). The problem for Spinoza, as presented by author, is that the principle of plenitude should have resulted in all beings existing all at once, and not the creation and cessation of things over time (pg154-5). The alternative to Spinoza, according to author, is not to deny the necessary existence of God, but to deny the necessary existence of creation (pg156-165) (cf Duns Scotus, Aristotle, Augustine). In this conception, God creates the universe without motive. Author discusses Milton's struggles with these two ideas for some time (pg160-2).

Author turns back to Leibniz to explore his principle of sufficient reason (pg166-8). Leibniz agrees with Spinoza, against the previously discussed philosophers, that God must have some reason for creating things. Author imputes two reasons for Leibniz's beliefs: (1) as a principle of psychology all conscious choices must have motivating reasons and (2) practically, it is intolerable to believe that chance is the principle of the universe. Author reviews the challenge of Buridan's ass leveled by Clarke against Leibniz (pg168-9), and Leibniz's clumsily response. Author then introduces Leibniz's third alternative, between the determinism of Spinoza and the chance of his critics: that the world so created must not only be logically possible but also "compossible", consistent with each other. Thus the formation of "sets" of entities, and thus many different possible worlds, from which God chooses one, using God's will (a concept Spinoza seems to leave out from God) (pg170-1). The second feature that he needed, above the concept of compossibility, is that of "moral necessity" instead of metaphysical necessity (pg172-3). Author concludes this second distinction has no "logical substance" and that Leibniz is thus mostly equivalent to Spinoza (pg174-6).

Author goes on to argue that Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason "pass[es] over explicitly into the principle of plenitude"(pg177), which author discusses next (pg177-180). The problem for Leibniz is that sometimes he speaks of a degree of perfection in monads (in things), and thus might be caught into having to argue that a world with more eg, human monads, is better than one with eg, crocodile ones. But Leibniz needs to justify crocodiles, so he asserts that all monads have equal rights to existence (pg179). Instead, Leibniz places value on diversity of essence, not just quantity of more perfect ones. Author finally discusses Leibniz's response to those who believed in the possibility of a physical vacuum. Here Leibniz seems to eschew the principle of plenitude in favor of panpsychism and anti-materialism, which argues that minds, not matter, are the fundamentals of the universe (pg181-2).