Philosophers’ Carnival #154

Welcome to the 154th installment of the Philosophers’ Carnival. There’s lots to enjoy! Thanks to all those who submitted and thanks to all those who will read and enrich the discussion! Contact me if you find broken links so that I can fix them ASAP.

The Individual Differences Reply to Introspective Pessimism. Eric Schwitzgebel considers a prominent to reply to introspective pessimism, draws a distinction between two versions of this reply and then provides his perspective on the matter. Schwitzgebel also links to some of the (past and forthcoming) papers that reply to his introspective skepticism, all of which seem worthy of a look-see.

My Brain Made Me Do It? (More on X-Phi and Bypassing). Eddy Nahmias tells us about some of the results of experiments and what they might suggest about bypassing (e.g., behavior that is somehow caused by consciously inaccessible and neurally determined happenings rather than the agent’s consciously accessible psychological states) and willusionism (i.e., the belief/claim that neuroscience has proven, or in principle can prove, that free will is an illusion). See also the discussion that follows.

Human Enhancement. John Danaher has amassed quite a few posts on the philosophy of human enhancement. Here he presents links to all his posts starting with the most recent ones. (If you are a philosopher and you do now know about John Danaher’s blog: it’s time. In my pre-professional opinion, John is outstandingly clear, concise, and prolific. The only downside to John’s blog is that it might make you feel like you are not reading or writing frequently enough or well enough.)

A Possible Problem for Reasons Fundamentalists. Kate Mann does a splendid job of presenting the problem, reviewing some of the literature, and making her case. She also does well responding to comments.

Why Presuming Innocence is Not a Bayesian Prior. Larry Laudan offers three reasons why presumption of innocence does not instruct jurors to believe that, in fact, the defendant did not commit the crime in question. In his words, “It is, rather, an instruction about [jurors’] probative attitudes.” See also the discussion that follows.

Moral Uncertainty and Motivation. Andrew Sepielli responds to a paper by Brian Weatherson. Weatherson is arguing against a kind of moral hedging. Sepielli provides three reasons that Weatherson’s argument fails. See Weatherson and others respond in the comments.

Grounding grounding. Alexander Pruss explains some ways that grounding can be grounded and in which circumstances grounding grounding will count as an explanation.

Towards a Kinder, Gentler Verificationism. Verificationism failed to produce a workable criterion of verification. Jason Zarri has hopes that this failure can be avoided. His solution involves Carnap, Wittgenstein, and cognitive science.

Does the Truth of a Ramsey sentence Reduce To Its Observational Consequences? Jeffrey Ketland gives us two excerpts that claim the answer is “yes” and then shows why they are mistaken, though not irreparably so.

The Simple Theory of Counterfactuals. True to form, Terrance Tomkow takes no less than 15,000 words to explain his theory. Also true to form, his post is of the highest caliber.

A Problem for the Simple Theory of Counterfactuals. Tristan Haze responds, rather concisely, to TomKow’s theory.

More on Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos. With so many responses to Nagel’s most recent book, it is time to sort through it all. Bruce Mayo makes his attempt in this piece.

Substitution and Models, Part II: Quine & Substitution and Models, Part III: Boolos (and Gödel). Jason Turner follows up on one of his earlier posts which is featured in the February edition of the carnival.



(In)partiality. Richard Chappell presents reasons for and against impartiality and opens the floor to discussion.

Pluralism about Moral Responsibility or Meta-non-meta-skepticism (or is it Meta-meta-non-skepticism?) After presenting Tamler Sommers view about moral responsibility Eddy Nahmias presents a more general description of pluralism about moral responsibility and poses three questions to his audience.

Taking Supervenience Seriously. Carolina Sartorio argues that supervenience is “the best (most natural, simplest, most elegant, etc.) way to understand” how freedom could exclusively be the function of an actual causal sequence. She then lays out two versions of supervenience—i.e., Frankfurt’s view and the Fischer-Ravizza view—each of which fails in one way or another, according to Sartorio. She then asks readers for their thoughts.


Concerning Academic Philosophy

Journal Refereeing and The Veto Principle. Michael Cholbi raises concern about rejecting submissions based on one reviewer’s vote. (Update: it appears this post has been removed from PEA Soup).

Do Women Have Different Philosophical Intuitions than Men? Responding to Buckwalter and Stich. Eddy Nahmias responds to Buckwalter and Stich’s 2010 paper “Gender and Philosophical Intuitions.” The comments, featuring Wesley Buckwalter himself, could also be worth a peek.

Two Thumbs Down For Video Conferencing. Will Wiesner and Greg Sears conducted a study which “shows that using video conferencing for job interviews disadvantages both employers and candidates.” At the time of writing this, the paper is behind a pay wall at the journal’s website here. However, the author of the write-up might be permitted to share the paper with you if you ask nicely.

Weight bias in graduate school admissions. Apparently, “higher BMI significantly predicted fewer post-(in-person)-interview offers of admission into psychology graduate programs.” This makes one think that the Geoffrey-Miller-style bias might not be uncommon. This paper is also behind a paywall as I write this. If it turned out that overweight philosophers (or students) represented a minority share of philosophers, should we institute affirmative selection policies?

Fundamentals and Gimmicks and The End. Eli Horowitz examines a few authors’ thoughts on whether or not ideological stasis is good for philosophy (or good at all).



Fred Dretske has died. There is a brief obituary at New APPS.

Colin McGinn leaves his post at Miami. A write up in the NYT.

New Aesthetics blog: Aesthetics for Birds. I enjoyed Jesse Prinz’s most recent post.

New political philosophy blog: Political Philosop-her.


The next Philosophers’ Carnival will be hosted at Blogging The End. Find the latest Philosophers’ Carnivals here.

Featured image: “School of Athens” by Raphael via Wikipedia [public domain] adapted by Nick Byrd

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Nick Byrd

Nick is a cognitive scientist at Florida State University studying reasoning, wellbeing, and willpower. Check out his blog at

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