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Stanford University Department of Philosophy

Works: 66 works in 68 publications in 1 language and 76 library holdings
Genres: Periodicals 
Classifications: B1,
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Most widely held works by Stanford University
The dualist undergraduate journal of philosophy ( file )
in English and held by 10 libraries worldwide
Mencian philosophic psychology by Bryan W Van Norden( Archival Material )
2 editions published in 1991 in English and held by 3 libraries worldwide
Inferentialism with an attitude : an expressivist theory of objectivity by Laura Elizabeth Maguire( Archival Material )
1 edition published in 2006 in English and held by 2 libraries worldwide
A critical study of Herbert Wildon Carr's theory of monads by Elmo Arnold Robinson( Archival Material )
1 edition published in 1930 in English and held by 2 libraries worldwide
Endowments, inequality, and aggregation an inquiry on the foundations and methods of distributive justice by Daniel Kearney Halliday( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation is organised around the development and defence of a novel distributive principle and its philosophical foundations. This principle serves as a refinement of the view that distributive justice requires the mitigation of endowment differences, which otherwise stand to make some people worse off than others. The principle of distribution itself is extensionally intermediate between Utilitarian principles of distribution, and principles that have (typically) been offered as expressing the idea of giving priority to the worse-off
Zhuangzi and skepticism by Paul Kjellberg( Computer File )
1 edition published in 1993 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Knowing what follows epistemic closure and epistemic logic by Wesley Halcrow Holliday( file )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
The starting point of this dissertation is a simple but central question in epistemology and epistemic logic: roughly, if an agent knows that a proposition P follows from some other propositions, must she know P if she knows the others? In other words, must the set of propositions she knows be "closed under known implication"? This idea of full epistemic closure raises a tension with an attractive idea of fallibilism about knowledge. According to fallibilism, knowing a true proposition Q does not require ruling out every remote possibility of error or deception with respect to Q. If it did, we would know almost nothing. The tension between fallibilism and closure arises when a proposition S picks out a class of remote possibilities in which Q is false, so we know Q implies not-S. While fallibilism may say that we can know Q without ruling out the possibilities picked out by S, closure says that we know Q only if we know not-S. Although not a formal contradiction, this is a tension to say the least. In this dissertation, I explore the extent to which it is possible to make fallibilism compatible with closure. I begin by formalizing a family of fallibilist theories of knowledge in models for epistemic logic. Model-theoretic techniques are used to characterize the closure properties of knowledge according to different fallibilist pictures, identify the structural features of these pictures that correspond to closure properties, transform models of one theory into models of another, prove impossibility results, and ultimately find a middle way between full closure and no closure for fallibilism. I argue that the standard versions of "Fallibilism 1.0" each face one of three serious problems related to closure: the Problem of Vacuous Knowledge, the Problem of Containment, and the Problem of Knowledge Inflation. To solve these problems, I propose a new framework for Fallibilism 2.0: the Multipath Picture of Knowledge. This picture is based on taking seriously the idea that there can be multiple paths to knowing a complex claim about the world. An overlooked consequence of fallibilism is that these multiple paths to knowledge may involve ruling out different sets of alternatives, which should be represented in our picture of knowledge. I argue that the Multipath Picture of Knowledge is a better picture for all fallibilists, whether for or against full closure. Yet I also argue that only by accepting less than full closure can we solve the closure-related problems that plague previous versions of fallibilism
Legitimacy and democracy a platonic defense of voluntary rule by Amanda Ruth Greene( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Democracy is widely recognized as a distinctively legitimate form of government. In this dissertation I evaluate democracy's claim to political legitimacy. I propose a new theory of political legitimacy based on an ideal of voluntary rule, and I call this view the sovereignty conception. The sovereignty conception of legitimacy employs an interpretation of political freedom as voluntary acceptance of rule, based on the positive governance assessments of individual subjects. Thus, I develop and defend the view that a political order is legitimate to the degree that it achieves widespread consent among subjects on the basis of governance outcomes. Due to its orientation to both quality of outcomes and actual consent to rule, the sovereignty conception offers a novel way to value consent in the political domain. Accordingly, I argue that it addresses important shortcomings in other consent theories of legitimacy, namely, voluntarism and contractualism. I also show the advantages of the sovereignty conception of political legitimacy as compared to two alternative accounts that are not based on consent, Philip Pettit's republicanism and Bernard Williams's political realism. Furthermore, I argue that an ideal of voluntary rule that resonates with the sovereignty conception can be found in Plato's Laws, in which he both distinguishes freedom from justice and emphasizes freedom's distinct value. I develop and defend a new interpretation of the Laws, according to which proper political rule involves respect for the freedom of citizens by aiming at their free acceptance of rule. Finally, I utilize the sovereignty conception of legitimacy to propose an alternative argument for the legitimacy of democracy. According to the sovereignty conception, a democracy is legitimate because it prioritizes actual quality consent over other welfare outcomes through its institutional mechanisms of responsiveness to popular approval and disapproval. I argue that the legitimacy of democracy is better defended by the sovereignty conception than by views based on equality or hypothetical consent, and I analyze in particular the democratic theories of Thomas Christiano, David Estlund, and Joshua Cohen. I propose a new way of combining instrumental and non-instrumental elements in an argument for democracy, resulting in a defense that preserves the distinct contributions of democracy's instrumental and non-instrumental value. Ultimately, I show that the personal sovereignty conception of political legitimacy affords a promising new route to justifying the legitimacy of democracy. Thus, the sovereignty conception of political legitimacy represents a novel approach, one that seeks to articulate the distinct value of political legitimacy vis-à-vis other political values
The conditions and possibility of commitment: an argument for moral realism by Marcel Sima Lieberman( Computer File )
1 edition published in 1996 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
The making of the kilogram, 1789-1799 by Sally Riordan( file )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
When France's leading academicians--Lavoisier, Coulomb, Laplace, Condorcet and Lagrange amongst them--set about defining and then implementing a new system of weights and measures in the 1790s, they did so with gusto and pride. Their purpose was not merely to unify the country's weights and measures, but to present to the world a system of measurement that was "perfect", "taken from nature" and "in no way arbitrary". It was deemed necessary to perform fresh scientific experiments, witnessed by international observers, to determine the value of the metre and its off-shoot, the kilogram. The creators of the metric system were anticipating the day when every public measurement, whether for commercial or scientific use, would be made with the new metric measures. The expectation was wild, generated in the fervour of the French Revolution, but it did come true. At the turning of the twenty-first century, the kilogram and the metre are the scientific community's measures of mass and length respectively, and used (even if indirectly) in almost all societal circles. The history of the kilogram has played second fiddle to that of the metre. I chart here how, ten years after the French people called upon its government to deliver a single weight for the entire nation, the first kilogram prototype came to be delivered to its vault. Along the way, I examine experiments that were performed to calibrate the new weight against the old, the metrological ideals that drove the project forward and the craftsmanship with which the first kilogram prototype was fabricated from platinum. My historical research has been guided by philosophical questions. What does it take for a scientific measure to be objective? What is the difference between a calibration and an experiment? Once we know all there it to know about how to measure mass, do we know all there is to know about mass? Without fully addressing questions like these, this thesis provides a commentary relevant to topics in the foundations of measurement: the nature of experimental calibration, the naturalness of scientific measures and the significance of a measure's definition are considered here, but from the perspective of the experimental and technological history of metrology
Objective probability and the art of judgment by Kevin Nelson( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation argues that for many purposes, it is often useful to regard probability as objective; and, furthermore, that we can do so without any metaphysically heavyweight commitments. Those claims will be defended within three broad domains: quantum mechanics, classical statistical mechanics, and macroscopic chance events such as coin tosses. It will be explored how taking objective probability as a function of two arguments (i.e., taking it as primitively conditional) contributes to its overall usefulness. Finally, it will be discussed how objective probability can guide our actual degrees of belief. A pluralist picture will be presented in which many variants of Lewis's Principal Principle are all of some use, each with their merits and demerits
The rule of law a philosophical investigation of law and liberty by Assaf Sharon( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation assesses justifications of the political ideal of the rule of law in virtue of its contribution to individual liberty. The main arguments supporting these justifications are investigated and shown to be effective only with respect to a narrow conception of liberty. A different conception of individual liberty is then developed, which, it is argued, plays an important role in many social contexts, particularly those involving personal relations, and with respect to which the rule of law is often sub-optimal. The aim of this work is to provide an argument based on the value of individual liberty for non-legalistic means of social organization and regulation
The practical demand of means-end rationality by Luis Cheng-Guajardo( file )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
In this dissertation I provide a vindication of the normative requirement on persons to intend and take means to their ends. One basic intuition that we have is the thought that if a person is not intending or taking the means to an intended end of hers, then she is "irrational". Another basic intuition is that a requirement of rationality cannot be true if it simply entails that a person ought to take means to her ends. The tension between these two thoughts leads to the philosophical problem at the heart of this dissertation. That problem is to account for what we take to be a genuine requirement of "means-end rationality" that makes a normative demand on persons. In Part I, I clarify these intuitions and situate the problem within some appropriate constraints. I take as a backdrop very recent work of philosophers whom I call the "Myth Theorists". I show that the Myth Theorists are best understood as presenting those who accept the prevailing contemporary view of the requirement of means-end rationality with a challenge. I present this challenge in what I call the Argument of Superfluity. I show that the advocate of the prevailing view of the normative requirement of means-end rationality supports a "requirement" that appears to have no explanatory work to do in our attributions of "rationality" and "irrationality". I therefore go on to propose an account that allows us to salvage both of our basic intuitions while also incorporating lessons that we learn from the Myth Theorists. On the account that I offer, our decisions and intentions are significant in altering what it is that we have reason to do. Sometimes, but not always, they can determine what it is that we ought to do. The activity of persons therefore has a special significance on my view. The special significance of a person's intentional action is that it is the expression of a person taking something or other to be at least minimally worth bringing about. On my view, a person thereby has at least a pro tanto reason to intend and take the means that she believes are required to realize her end. I argue that satisfaction of the normative requirement of means-end rationality by a person just is the practical expression of her autonomy. In Part II of the dissertation, I distinguish between different conceptions that we have of "autonomy". I also show how two leading contemporary accounts take the normative requirement of means-end rationality to be grounded in the value of what turn out to be different conceptions of a person's autonomy. I argue that one of these conceptions of a person's "autonomy" does not allow us to resolve our philosophical problem while incorporating the lessons that we learn from the Myth Theorists. My account therefore emphasizes the importance of the form of autonomy that is anchored in our understanding of persons as accountable and responsible for their activity
Pyrrhonian paideia by Matthew R Darmalingum( file )
1 edition published in 2012 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Ancient Pyrrhonian skepticism purports to offer philosophical therapy: Philosophical dogmatism is a disease which perpetuates disturbance. Pyrrhonism is a cure which brings tranquility. Through--or in--suspension of judgment, the Pyrrhonist claims to come to overcome the problems of the dogmatists, and live well just in accordance with appearances. But perhaps Pyrrhonism is bunk: Its professed end of freedom from disturbance--ataraxia--appears insubstantial. The professed means of the attainment of this Pyrrhonian tranquility--suspension of belief--appears degenerate, if not impossible. For example, it seems we could not live rational human lives without believing. To explore these complaints, this work attempts, first, to construct Pyrrhonism as a pedagogy towards a radical skepticism in which the thinker may experience appearance unadulterated by dogma. And second, it attempts to bring us to undergo the pedagogy we construct. We attempt the latter, because if the Pyrrhonist is a radical skeptic, she has no theory whose factual correctness could overcome the complaints against it. Then, to appreciate the viability of Pyrrhonism, we would not look for its superior capacity to produce facts, but for its therapeutic power to produce unadulterated appearance. In this effort at constructing an ancient skeptical pedagogy for the sake of undergoing it, we come to produce a Cartesian meditation. For example, we try, along with the Pyrrhonist, to subtract belief in the propositions of material perception and mathematical intuition for the sake of revealing appearance. Since it seems that the Pyrrhonist could not put forward a pedagogy dogmatically, we try to be charitable, and see if we can construct, first, the Pyrrhonian pedagogy through ad hominem analysis of dogmatism, and, second, ad hominem analysis as unavoidable in rational interaction. In the present work, the particular Pyrrhonian ad hominem analysis for a skeptical pedagogy is of Platonism: We attempt to construct Pyrrhonian suspension as a final movement in Platonic ascent towards vision. We analyze the Republic for a conception of the completion of Platonic ascent in contemplative and practical ataraxia. We go on to take seriously Socrates' suggestion in the Republic's Line and Cave that the philosopher, towards the end of her science, is given to apophasis. In going on to examine such apophasis, we take as our exemplar the Neoplatonic remarks about the One in Plotinus' Ennead 5.3. In accordance with the pedagogy of the Republic, we pursue ascent through material and mathematical subtraction towards the principle. And in the end, we pursue analogy between Plotinian vision of the One in subtraction, and Pyrrhonian vision of appearances in suspension of belief. The Pyrrhonists suffer an appearance of the shortcoming of language: Propositional thought appears temporally extended, but the thing we would affirm in believing it would, it seems, have to be entirely present. Likewise, for Plotinus, in the end, vision of the unified principle comes by way of a subtraction in the face of the problem of capturing simplicity in extended thought. The Pyrrhonist claims that we may bring against our present certainty the consideration that we have come to change our minds about things we once thought obvious. Then, we should be open to the possibility that we come to disagree with ourselves in the future. Consideration of this should be enough to bring us to suspension. We pursue such skeptical consideration, and by this, understanding of how the Pyrrhonist, in subtractive vision, may act calmly and, though in suspension, still from rational activity. We try to limn the Pyrrhonist as engaged in such activity through the Aenesidemean expression of both her lack of belief, and her lack of belief that she lacks belief, as she formulates, for the sake of subtraction towards appearance, what appear to be propositions, both in favor of the necessity and against the possibility of the proposition. In this effort at subtraction through equipollence and suspension, we pursue appearance as it might reveal itself to the Pyrrhonist as ground in a reconstruction she might give of her practical activity of expressing herself in dialectic in this way. In turn, by pursuit of this appearance, we try to see how the Pyrrhonist's pedagogical--and so practical--activity of thinking, and speaking, and laying in the balance one thing against the other under norms against hypothesis, regress, and circularity, as well as her analysis of this activity, may be rational, in ease afforded by honesty, and yet without belief
Action and knowledge by Benjamin A Wolfson( Computer File )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
This dissertation mounts a defense of the claim, made by Elizabeth Anscombe in her monograph Intention, that when an agent is acting intentionally, he knows what he is intentionally doing immediately--without observation or inference. We can separate out three elements, which build on each other, in this claim: the agent is acting, is acting intentionally, and has knowledge of what he is doing. The progress of the dissertation roughly follows this rough division. The first two chapters are concerned with articulating what is at stake in the characterization of an agent as acting. Since someone can be doing something without its being the case that she will have done it, and the knowledge claim concerns the doing rather than the having done of an action, we should first of all investigate what is predicated of someone who is said to be underway toward an end. I begin in the first chapter at a further remove from intentional action, with an investigation of not necessarily agential process-claims in general; the second chapter begins the transition to acting intentionally be applying the considerations of the first to the agential context. The third and fourth chapters explicitly turn to acting intentionally. The third begins by addressing an argument meant to establish that intentional action is compatible with ignorance of what one is doing, and in doing so formulates a criterion for performing non-basic actions intentionally. The fourth chapter takes up teleologically basic actions and supplements the criterion of the third to give a sufficient and necessary condition on acting intentionally. The final pair of chapters addresses the knowledge element of the claim. In the fifth, I articulate the concern that the nature of action is such as to render it only knowable theoretically, and examine several theories that attempt to account for knowledge of action observationally or inferentially. This concern is viable in the context of the causal theory of action; in the sixth chapter, I endorse in its place a metaphysically modest teleological theory. With that in place, space is opened up for a neo-expressivist account of knowledge of intention in action, which, when combined with the results of the preceding chapters, redeems the knowledge claim
Axiomatization and representation of difference structures by Stanford University( Book )
in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Underdetermination and indirect measurement by Teru Miyake( file )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
We have been astonishingly successful in gathering knowledge about certain objects or systems to which we seemingly have extremely limited access. Perhaps the most difficult problem in the investigation of such systems is that they are extremely underdetermined. What are the methods through which these cases of underdetermination are resolved? I argue in chapter 1 that these methods are best understood by thinking of what scientists are doing as gaining access to the previously inaccessible parts of these systems through a series of indirect measurements. I then discuss two central problems with such indirect measurements, theory mediation and the combining of effects, and ways in which these difficulties can be dealt with. In chapter 2, I examine the indirect measurement of planetary distances in the solar system in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Copernicus and Kepler. In this case, there was an underdetermination between three different theories about the motions of the planets, which can be partly resolved by the measurement of distances between the planets. The measurement of these distances was enabled by making certain assumptions about the motions of the planets. I argue that part of the justification for making these assumptions comes from decompositional success in playing off measurements of the earth's orbit and the Mars orbit against each other. In chapter 3, I examine the indirect measurement of mechanical properties such as mass and forces in the solar system by Newton. In this case, there were two underdeterminations, the first an underdetermination between two theories about the true motion of the sun and the earth, and the second an underdetermination between various theories for calculating planetary orbits. Newton resolves these two problems of underdetermination through a research program where the various sources of force are identified and accounted for. This program crucially requires the third law of motion to apply between celestial objects, an issue about which Newton was criticized by his contemporaries. I examine the justification for the application of the third law of motion through its successful use for decomposition of forces in the solar system in a long-term research program. I further discuss comments by Kant on the role of the third law of motion for Newton, in which Kant recognizes its indispensability for a long-term program for determining the center of mass of the solar system and thus defining a reference point relative to which forces can be identified. Chapter 4 covers the indirect measurement of density in the earth's interior using observations of seismic waves. One of the difficult problems in this case is that we can think of the interior density of the earth as a continuous function of radius--in order to determine this radius function, you are in effect making a measurement of an infinite number of points. The natural question to ask here is how much resolution the observations give you. I focus on the work of geophysicists who were concerned with this problem, out of which a standard model for the earth's density was developed
Statistics and probability in criminal trials the good, the bad, and the ugly by Marcello Di Bello( file )
1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Is a high probability of guilt, in and of itself, enough to convict? I answer in the negative. The prosecutor's burden of proof does not only consist in establishing the high probability of the defendant's guilt; it also consists in offering a reasonably specific narrative of the crime. This can explain, among other things, the nuances of using statistical evidence in criminal trials. Taking DNA evidence as a case study, I argue that statistical evidence can be particularly problematic whenever it fails to support a reasonably specific narrative of the crime
Representation and realism in Descartes's meditations by Shawn Burns( file )
1 edition published in 2014 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Recent scholarship regarding Descartes's theory of ideas as presented in his Meditations makes a case for regarding Descartes as a direct realist: someone who believes in the existence of extra-mental objects, and who believes our cognitive activity involves the direct apprehension of those objects. On this view, we have direct cognitive access to those objects through ideas, but such ideas are conceived simply as acts, or operations, of the mind, not as mental objects before the mind. This contrasts with a long-standing view of Descartes as a representational realist: someone who believes in the existence of extra-mental objects, and who believes our cognitive activity involves a mediated relationship with those objects. On this view, we have direct cognitive access only to mediating mental objects, called ideas. In this dissertation, I generally defend a representational realist interpretation of Descartes against several direct realist interpretations. I reject John Yolton's sign-signifier, direct realist interpretation, Deborah Brown's Thomistic direct realist view, and John Carriero's quasi-Aristotelian direct realist view. I also reject the view that we ought to interpret Descartes as a direct realist because the concepts involved in his theory of ideas are owed to direct realist, Scholastic predecessors
Seeking explanations : abduction in logic, philosophy of science and artificial intelligence by Atocha Aliseda-Llera( Computer File )
1 edition published in 1997 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
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controlled identity Stanford University

Departamento de Filosofía de la Universidad Stanford
Faculté de philosophie de Standford
Stanford University. Dept. of Philosophy
философский факультет Стэнфордского университета
English (33)
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