• “Response to ‘Hope and Knowledgeby Trevor Adams”
    Southwest Philosophy Review 39.2 (July 2023): forthcoming.
    • Abstract
      In “Hope and Knowledge,” Trevor Adams (2023) focuses on the epistemic aspect of hope, namely its relation to knowledge, and he rejects the received view that hope and knowledge are incompatible.  This view is held, for instance, by Matthew Benton who says that hope that p is incompatible, in some strong sense, with knowing whether p (that is, with either knowing that p, or with knowing that ~p).  Benton endorses what I would like to call the hypothesis of hope-knowledge incompatibilism (HKI) – that no instance of the schema “S hopes that p” is compatible with an instance of the schema “S knows that p” (or, of “S knows that ~p”).  For Benton, (HKI) holds because all linguistic data provide evidence for the infelicity of hope-ascriptions when conjoined with knowledge-ascriptions.  Adams, on the other hand, rejects (HKI) and adopts instead the hypothesis of hope-knowledge compatibility (HKC) – that some instance of the schema “S hopes that p” is compatible with an instance of the schema “S knows that p”.  For Adams, (HKC) holds because some linguistic data do provide evidence for the felicity of hope-ascriptions when conjoined with knowledge-ascriptions.  While there is much to like about the paper, Adams in the end fails to succeed in providing linguistic data that confirm (HKC).  Nonetheless, there is an important lesson to be learned from his dispute with Benton – namely, that the felicity of an instance of the schema “S hopes that p, and S knows that p” largely depends on the linguistic context of its utterance.  While Adams and Benton pay some attention to the linguistic context of utterance, both fail to fully recognize its importance.
  • “Response to Christopher Tomaszewski’s ‘Intentionality as Partial Identity’”
    Southwest Philosophy Review 33.2 (July 2017): 11-13.
    • Abstract
      Intentionality is a curious notion and so is partial identity; the latter is employed by Christopher Tomaszewski (henceforth, CT) in his paper to afford solutions to a wide array of different philosophical problems. The author’s central thesis is that intentionality is a kind of partial identity; i.e. when the mind is intentionally directed towards an external object, it “takes in” a part of the object – its form, but not its matter. In my essay I first expound Franz Brentano’s views on intentionality – inspired by Aristotle’s doctrine of hylomorphism. Contrary to what CT suggests, I conclude (in light of Brentano’s later work) that intentionality should not be characterized as a genuine relation since one can be intentionally directed towards existing as well as non-existing objects and since, in the case of the latter, it remains unclear what it is that the mind “takes in”. Second, I clarify the notion of partial identity. In this context it is not obvious to me what exactly CT’s appeal to partial identity contributes to the solution of the problem of material constitution. Third, I explicate CT’s thesis that intentionality is partial identity (based on previously given definitions) and conclude that his argument in support of mind/body-dualism fails. Overall, skepticism remains as to whether partial identity adequately captures the tricky terrain of intentionality.
  • “On John McClellan’s ‘Not Skeptical Theism, but Trusting Theism’”
    Southwest Philosophy Review 32.2 (July 2016): 87-94.
    • Abstract
      In the paper I voice my dissatisfaction with the author’s essay because I think that the proposed “McClellean shift” from skeptical to trusting theism faces serious problems. The troubles are mainly caused by the way in which McClellan suggests to extend and “amend” the theist’s argument via the Moorean shift (which is intended to be a counter-argument to the atheist’s evidential argument from evil). But McClellan’s proposal is no amendment at all, as it robs the theist’s Moore-inspired argument its entire logico-probabilistic force.
  • On Boyd’s Rebuttal of Kripke’s Argument for Dualism
    Analytical and Continental Philosophy: Methods and Perspectives. Papers of the 37th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Vol. XXII. Eds. S. Rinofner-Kreidl & H. A. Wiltsche. Kirchberg am Wechsel: The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society (August 2014): 175-177.
    • Abstract
      The essay presents Saul Kripke’s argument for mind/body-dualism and makes the suppositions explicit on which it rests. My claim, inspired by Richard Boyd, is that even if one of Kripke’s central suppositions – the principle of necessity of identities using rigid designators – is shared by the non-traditional identity theorist, it is still possible for her to rebut Kripke’s dualism.
  • On Maxwell Suffis’s ‘From the Ground Up: Explaining Category Differences in Ontological Pluralism’”
    Southwest Philosophy Review 30.2 (July 2014): 17-24.
    • Abstract
      Maxwell Suffis discusses what he calls the problem of fundamental difference: Why do things belong to different ontological categories? Suffis focuses on two attempts to answer the question: 1. Jonathan Schaffer’s Neo-Aristotelian conception of grounding (according to which things belong to different ontological categories because they are grounded by different levels of things), and 2. Kris McDaniel’s ontological pluralism, “the doctrine that there are ways of being” (according to which things belong to different ontological categories because things having one mode of being depend for their being on other things having a different mode of being). In my essay I first briefly expound both theories of Schaffer and McDaniel. Then I address two criticisms presented by Suffis against McDaniel: (a) that Schaffer’s conception of grounding can equally well capture the case of almost-nothings, and (b) that it can do so with greater parsimony. I conclude that Suffis’s essay contains no argument to reject McDaniel’s view that idioms of existential quantification are systematically variably axiomatic (i.e. systematically ambiguous) and that it fails to clarify the sense in which Schaffer’s view (entailing that the whole universe grounds everything else there is) is more parsimonious.
  • Liar-Like Paradoxes and Metalanguage Features
    Southwest Philosophy Review 29.1 (January 2013): 61-70.
    • Abstract
      In their (2008) article Liar-Like Paradox and Object Language Features C.S. Jenkins and Daniel Nolan (henceforth, JN) argue that it is possible to construct Liar-like paradox in a metalanguage even though its object language is not semantically closed. I do not take issue with this claim. I find fault though with the following points contained in JN’s article: First, that it is possible to construct Liar-like paradox in a metalanguage, even though this metalanguage is not semantically closed. Second, that the presented examples of Liar-like paradox are supposed to be counterexamples to Tarski’s diagnosis of the classic Liar paradox. Third, that JN fail to notice Tarski’s postulate. And finally, that JN fail to recognize that the world they are pondering is not among the possible worlds.
  • On Tracy Lupher’s ‘A Logical Choice: The Role of Modal Logics in the Modal Ontological Argument’
    Southwest Philosophy Review 28.2 (July 2012): 101-106.
    • Abstract
      In his essay Tracy Lupher (henceforth, TL) is concerned with Robert Kane’s (1984) version of the modal ontological argument (MOA). As he correctly points out, Kane’s argument is valid only if the accessibility relation between possible worlds is assumed to be symmetric. TL’s remarks pave the way to thinking that the MOA is intended to establish the existence of a perfect being as a matter of logical necessity. Moreover, given TL’s undisputed supposition (even shared by Kane) that S5 – in which the accessibility relation is symmetric – captures the notion of logical necessity, the real issue becomes whether the premise of the MOA is true. Contrary to TL’s main claim, the discussion thus shifts back from technical arguments for why the appropriate modal logic must have a symmetric accessibility relation to metaphysical, theological, or conceptual considerations about the notion of a perfect being itself. I argue that it is only due to such considerations that we even start to ponder the question of what modal logic is the appropriate one to choose.
  • Horwich and the Generalization Problem
    Experience and Analysis. Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Vol. XII. Eds. J. C. Marek & M. E. Reicher. Kirchberg am Wechsel: The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society (August 2004): 187-189.
    • Abstract
      To be complete, Horwich’s minimalist theory must be able to deal with generalizations about truth. A logical and an epistemic-explanatory level of the generalization problem are distinguished, and Horwich’s responses to both sides of the problem are examined. Finally, some persistent problems for minimalism are pointed out.
  • Wahrheit bei Russell und Wittgenstein
    The British Tradition in 20th Century Philosophy. Papers of the 17th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Vol. II. Eds. J. Hintikka & K. Puhl. Kirchberg am Wechsel: The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society (August 1994): 219-229.
    • Abstract
      The essay describes the different ways in which Russell (1910-13) explicates the concept of truth (conceived as correspondence) – due to the influences of Wittgenstein. It then focuses on Wittgenstein’s main objection by which Russell felt “paralyzed”.